Saturday, July 23, 2005

One in four Muslims sympathises with motives of terrorists

Telegraph reports The vast majority of British Muslims condemn the London bombings but a substantial minority are clearly alienated from modern British society and some are prepared to justify terrorist acts. The divisions within the Muslim community go deep. Muslims are divided over the morality of the London bombings, over the extent of their loyalty to this country and over how Muslims should respond to recent events. Most Muslims are evidently moderate and law-abiding but by no means all are. YouGov sought to gauge the character of the Muslim community's response to the events of July 7. As the figures in the chart show, 88 per cent of British Muslims clearly have no intention of trying to justify the bus and Tube murders. However, six per cent insist that the bombings were, on the contrary, fully justified.

Six percent is not exactly one in four
Six per cent may seem a small proportion but in absolute numbers it amounts to about 100,000 individuals who, if not prepared to carry out terrorist acts, are ready to support those who do.
If those six percent are non residents, they should be sent home. If they are residents, the government should keep a close eye on their Imams.
Moreover, the proportion of YouGov's respondents who, while not condoning the London attacks, have some sympathy with the feelings and motives of those who carried them out is considerably larger - 24 per cent. A substantial majority, 56 per cent, say that, whether or not they sympathise with the bombers, they can at least understand why some people might want to behave in this way.

Here are the results


Attacks on UK will continue, radical cleric says

WaPo reported Militant Islamists will continue to attack Britain until the government pulls its troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the country's most outspoken Islamic clerics said on Friday. Speaking 15 days after bombers killed over 50 people in London and a day after a series of failed attacks on the city's transport network, Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed said the British capital should expect more violence.

Britain should expell him, if they can't put him in prison.
"What happened yesterday confirmed that as long as the cause
I.E. If Britain is not yet an Islamic Nation, subject to Sharia Law
and the root problem is still there ... we will see the same effect we saw on July 7," Bakri said. "If the cause is still there the effect will happen again and again," he said, adding he had no information about future attacks or contacts with people planning to carry out attacks. Bakri, a Syrian-born cleric who has been vilified in Britain since 2001 when he praised the September 11 hijackers, said he did not believe the bombings and attempted attacks on London were carried out by British Muslims. He condemned the killing of all innocent civilians but described attacks on British and U.S. troops in Muslim countries as "pro-life" and justified.
How is the killing of all innocent civilians anywhere close to "pro-life"
In an interview with Reuters, Bakri described Osama bin Laden, leader of the radical Islamist network al Qaeda, as "a sincere man who fights against evil forces." Bakri said he would like Britain to become an Islamic state but feared he would be deported before his dream was realized. "I would like to see the Islamic flag fly, not only over number 10 Downing Street, but over the whole world," he said. A hate figure for the British tabloid press, the bearded and bespectacled Bakri said Islam contained "a message of peace for those who want to live with the Muslims in peace." "But Islam is a message of war for those who declare war against Muslims," he said. "I condemn any killing and any bombing against any innocent people in Britain or abroad, but I expect the British people to condemn the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Most of that killing is being done by Islamic terrorists, and I condem them for their action.
However, asked about Islamist attacks on British and U.S. troops and on Israelis, he said: "If violence is pro-life I don't condemn it."
How about condeming the violence that is not pro-life.
Britain has around 1,100 troops in Afghanistan and 8,500 in Iraq. Prime Minister Tony Blair supported the United States in its respective invasions of both countries in 2001 and 2003. Bakri, a 46-year-old father of six, was born in Syria and lived in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. When the Saudi government expelled him in 1985 he came to London. Nicknamed "The Tottenham Ayatollah" after the area of north London in which he lives, he has infuriated many Britons with his firebrand speeches and refusal to condemn suicide bombings. He founded the British branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which describes itself as a non-violent political party dedicated to creating an Islamic caliphate centered on the Middle East. But he split from the group in 1996 and set up al Muhajiroun, which won notoriety in 2001 for celebrating the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon which killed nearly 3,000 people. Bakri has Syrian and Lebanese citizenship and says he thinks the British government might deport him to one of those two countries in the wake of this month's bombings. "But I think that would be political suicide for the British government if they started to deport and imprison all extremists and radicals," he said. "Because if, God forbid, something happened again, they would have nobody left to blame."

Marc @USSNeverdock blogged Just in case there are still those of you out there who want to pretend that these are the words of a radical Muslim, read this:
The New York Times reports "...only 33 percent of Muslims said they wanted more integration into mainstream British culture."

The other 67% want Britain to become an Islamic state.

And it's not just British Muslims who say this. In America the voice of so called moderate Muslims is the terrorist front organization, CAIR who had this to say:
Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR, "I want to see the U.S become an Islamic nation."
You see this has nothing to do with Iraq and Afghanistan and everything to do with Islam's desire to rule the world. Anytime you hear a Muslim or non-Muslim for that matter, say these terrorists attacks are about British foreign policy, ask them what was the first world trade center attack about? That happened in 1993 - ten years before Iraq!


Who’s reading the blogsphere?

Labnotes blogged I’ve been following Robert Scoble’s comparison of the various blogsphere search engines. It was interesting to read what he found out, but I wasn’t prepared for what I found in the blog stats this morning.

This blog has been up for only a few short days. It shows up on technorati and bloglines, I added it there out of curiosity to see how fast they can track new posts. Technorati is back on track, and was very quick in adding one of my posts to the tags tag. I didn’t bother with the rest, but my blog does ping to ping-o-matic. That’s the default setup for Wordpress.

Right now, the search engine saturation is shown as 0 (zero, as in nada), meaning that Google, Yahoo and MSN don’t know it exists. Which is fine. But I am seeing spiders grabbing the feeds, from feedster, icerocket,, syndic8, blogpulse, blogslive, topicblogs, and omni-explorer.

I may be wrong, but I think these additional spiders saw his site because of his pings to ping-o-matic
Now, here’s the interesting bit. The last three are future services. The omni-explorer site has this message:
Omni-Explorer is a venture-backed startup based in Silicon Valley. Stay tuned to this site; we plan on launching shortly. If you have found this page because of the Omni-crawler, please bear with us. We hope to be able to point many more users to the valuable content on your site shortly.
You’re with me? All these startups are building new services that know what’s going on in the blogsphere. They know about a blog that barely exists. And it’s not rocket science, you just need to listen to the pings. But all of that, and this post as well, goes under the radar of the big three.

P.S. And another cool use of technology. The last three spiders report their URL in user agent header, so the site name shows in my logs. That’s how I identified them. Leave clues and people will link back to you.

Update: The Googlebot trails the RSS spiders by three days.
The blogs to be spidered the fastest are (BlogSpot), because that is owned by Google, but it seems to pick up on the others pretty fast.
Update: Interesting entry about omni-explorer.


"Why Blog" Results

Earlier we blogged about a survey Danny Carlton (aka Jack Lewis) was running to compare the blogging habits of bloggers based on the ecosystem ranking as well as traffic.

The results are now available.

The page for the links based tabulation is here

The page for the traffic based tabulation is here


Windows Vista

CNN reports Microsoft announced Friday that it will call its next-generation operating system "Windows Vista." The much-anticipated operating system had formerly been code-named "Longhorn." Microsoft also unveiled the Windows Vista Web site and said the first beta test version of the system, which will be targeted at developers and IT professionals, will be available by Aug. 3. The system is scheduled to be released late next year. Previous Windows releases have been named by year number or by a moniker -- such as Windows XP -- to describe the release itself. But with Windows Vista, Microsoft wanted the name to focus more on the product, and how it brings clarity to users, said Greg Sullivan, group product manager at Microsoft.

But will it work any better? Will it have fewer security holes? Will it lock up less often?


Kerry Seeks Release of Roberts' Documents

SF Gate reports Democratic Sen. John Kerry urged the White House on Friday to release "in their entirety" all documents and memos from Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' tenure in two Republican administrations.

Is this the same Senator Kerry that would not release "in its entirety" his military record during the 2004 election?
"We cannot do our duty if either Judge Roberts or the Bush administration hides elements of his professional record," said the Massachusetts senator who was his party's presidential candidate last year.
What Kerry is talking about is getting all of his notes produced when he was acting as a lawyer, where he might have written something based on the wishes of the client that he was representing, and then the Dems will try to blame the lawyer for arguing for his client


Dean Urges Dems to Court Pro-Life Voters

Newsday reports Democrats need to reach out to voters who oppose abortion rights and promote candidates who share that view, the head of the party said Friday. Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told a group of college Democrats that their party has to change its approach in the debate over abortion. "I think we need to talk about this issue differently," said Dean. "The Republicans have painted us as a pro-abortion party. I don't know anybody in America who is pro-abortion."

The Chairman of the Democratic Party does not know any Democrats???? Someone needs to point out to Howard Dean that most Democratic leaders insist on an absolute litmus test when it appears that there will be any challenge to Roe v Wade, or any restriction to Abortion on Demand at any time, including during the birth of the baby. Does he really think that Pro-Life voters don't realize that?


83 Die in Car Bombs at Egyptian Resort

Yahoo! News reported A rapid series of car bombs and another blast ripped through a luxury hotel and a coffeeshop in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik early Saturday, killing at least 83, a hospital official said. Terrified European and Arab tourists fled into the night, and rescue workers said the death toll could still rise. A rapid series of car bombs and another blast ripped through a luxury hotel and a coffeeshop in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik early Saturday, killing at least 83, a hospital official said. Terrified European and Arab tourists fled into the night, and rescue workers said the death toll could still rise.

Does anyone doubt that these Islamofascists need to be stopped? Here they killed both Muslims and non-Muslim tourists in Sharm el-Sheik, the resort area used for many of the discussions seeking to resolve the Palestinian situation.


Saturday, July 23

This Day In History

  • 1715   The first lighthouse in America was authorized for construction at Little Brewster Island, Massachusetts.
  • 1827   The first swimming school in the U.S. opened in Boston, MA.
  • 1829   William Austin Burt of Mount Vernon, Mich., received a patent for his typographer, a forerunner of the typewriter.
  • 1885   Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the United States, died in Mount McGregor, N.Y., at age 63.
  • 1904   By some accounts, the ice cream cone was invented by Charles E. Menches during the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis.
  • 1938   The first federal game preserve, some 2,000 acres of land located in Utah, was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • 1945   French Marshal Henri Petain, who had headed the Vichy government during World War II, went on trial, charged with treason.
  • 1952   Egyptian military officers led by Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Farouk I.
  • 1967   Rioting that claimed some 43 lives erupted in Detroit.
  • 1984   Vanessa Williams became the first Miss America to resign her title, because of nude photographs published in Penthouse magazine.
  • 1986   Britain's Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey in London. The couple divorced in 1996.
  • 1997   Police found the body of Andrew Cunanan, the suspected killer of designer Gianni Versace and others, on a houseboat in Miami Beach, Fla., an apparent suicide.
  • 2000   Tiger Woods, at age 24, became the youngest golfer to win the career Grand Slam with a record-breaking performance in the British Open.
  • 2001   Pope John Paul II urged President George W. Bush in their first meeting, held at Castel Gandolfo, Italy, to bar creation of human embryos for medical research.
  • 2001   Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Eudora Welty died in Jackson, Miss., at age 92.
  • 2003   Massachusetts' attorney general issued a report saying clergy members and others in the Boston Archdiocese probably sexually abused more than 1,000 people over a period of six decades.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1918   Pee Wee (Harold) Reese (Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop)
  • 1936   Don (Donald Scott) Drysdale (Baseball Hall of Famer)
  • 1940   (John Donald) Don Imus (radio DJ & talk-show host: syndicated program)


Friday, July 22, 2005

London flirts with appeasement

Jerusalem Post reported As Britain tries to absorb the shock of 7/7, some voices are urging what would amount to the appeasement of the terrorists. Experience, however, shows that the appeaser becomes a more attractive target for the terrorists. The appeased terrorist concludes that, having won a battle, he should press for victory in his war against a weakened adversary.

That is particularly true with an enemy like the Islamofascists that hope to eventually turn the entire world into a huge Islamic State
Appeasing terrorists was tried by French president Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s, and made France the most-targeted Western country for a decade. Mitterrand launched his appeasement weeks after becoming president in 1981. He released all the 31 convicted terrorists in French prisons and lifted the ban on pro-terrorist publications and illegal radio stations. He also abolished the State Security Court, set up to deal with terrorism, describing it as a Nazi-style outfit. He let the Basque terrorists of ETA use French territory as a base against Spain and allowed various Palestinian groups and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to operate in Paris. Mitterrand feted Yasser Arafat, then regarded as the godfather of terror, and traveled to Cyprus to court Libya's dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the principal paymaster of international terror at the time. Mitterrand's appeasement included the Khomeinist regime in Teheran and led to an exchange of ambassadors and high-level contacts.... Payback for Mitterrand's policy started with the assassination of General Rene Audron, a senior member of the French Defense Ministry, in 1985. A few months later Paris was hit by a series of bomb attacks, including on two major department stores in which 35 people were injured on Christmas Eve. In February 1986 a major shopping arcade and a hotel on the Champs Elys e were bombed. The wave of attacks continued with the bombing of the Forum des Halles and the attempted blowing up of the Eiffel Tower. By March 1986 France was the victim of a full-scale terror campaign, including a suicide operation in which two Arab terrorists were killed on the Champs Elys e. Attacks on the Paris Metro, Orly Airport and shopping centers created a climate of fear. Dozens of other plots, including an attempt to derail a high-speed train, were nipped in the bud by the police.
France is not alone in having tried appeasement and failed. Algeria, Egypt, Germany, Saudi Arabia and more recently Spain have had similar experiences. The British should know that any appeasement of terrorists could put them in an even greater danger.

TheAnchoress blogged What’s troubling is that Amir Taheri is thinking that London might be flirting with an idea of appeasement. Taheri offers no examples, but just listening to George Galloway and Red Ken Livingstone give you the idea. Appeasement! Why didn’t Churchill think of that? Oh, right…Chamberlain had already tried it. But then, he didn’t have Oprah on hand…no wonder it didn’t work out.

Betsy Newmark blogged Amir Taheri revisits the history of French appeasement of terrorists and what they didn't get for their efforts to placate terrorists. It is as Churchill said after Munich,
Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonor. They chose dishonor. They will have war.
Appeasement does not work.


Judge Strikes Redistricting Initiative From Ballot

LA Times reported Delivering a substantial blow to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's "year of reform" agenda, a judge Thursday struck from the special election ballot an initiative that would have wrest away the Legislature's power to draw political districts. Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Gail Ohanesian ruled that the initiative should not have been placed on the Nov. 8 ballot because the wording circulated on voter petitions had not been approved according to law.

I thought the idea behind a voter petition was that it gave the voters a chance to do an end run around the establishment and propose a law they liked. Now we learn that the establishment has to approve their end run?????
The decision was a victory for Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who had sued to block Proposition 77 upon learning that backers had submitted one version to his office -- the first stop in California's initiative process -- but circulated a different one to the more than 950,000 voters who signed petitions to put it on the ballot.
As long as all of the petitions had the same wording, it would seem that is the wording that should be on the ballot.
The ruling, which Proposition 77 proponents vowed to appeal, seriously weakens the ambitious plan that Schwarzenegger spelled out in his January State of the State speech. Already the governor has dropped a public pension overhaul initiative because of errors in the way it was written. Schwarzenegger had vowed to take away the Legislature's ability to shape its own voting districts, which Democrats and Republicans have both long used to maintain power and keep challengers at bay. But his move to put the redistricting task in the hands of independent judges annoyed politicians from both parties.
I like the idea of taking redistricting out of the hands of the legislature, but I would rather see it done by a computer, the did not know anything about how voters had voted, but just how many registered voters there were in any particular area, and let it form districts that were as compact as possible, and used major streets as boundaries to make it easy for voters to know what district they were in.
Removal of the measure would leave just two governor-backed initiatives for the special election that Schwarzenegger called at a cost now estimated to be at least $50 million: An initiative to curb spending in a way that would increase the governor's power to make budget cuts and one that would make it harder for public school teachers to get tenure. "It removes the underpinning of his most important reform proposal, and I use `reform' in the broadest sense possible," said Lance Olson, an attorney for the No on Proposition 77 committee, which intervened in the case. "So now we're going to have a special election over whether teachers are entitled to a hearing after two years or five years.
I dont think teachers should have tenure at all, and I think they should be paid based on Merit and not on Seniority. If a teacher is not doing his/her job, they should be replaced by a good teacher, regardless of how long they have been failing to properly teach students.
What a waste of taxpayer money." He called Schwarzenegger's political team "the gang that can't shoot straight." The defeat also will likely weaken the governor's ability to negotiate further initiatives with legislative Democrats, who hold majorities in both houses. Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson said the governor was "disappointed that the ruling has silenced the voices of 950,000 Californians. He hopes the proponents will appeal." Thompson added that the governor's office was not involved in the preparation of the initiative. In handing down the decision, Ohanesian rejected the arguments of ballot proponents that the differences in the two texts were too insignificant to matter to voters. The procedures in question are clear and well known and easily followed," said the judge, who ruled from the bench after a two-and-a-half-hour hearing. "There is no good reason to put the courts in the position of having to decide what is good enough for qualifying an initiative measure for the ballot when actual compliance is easily attainable." She also rejected the argument that disqualifying the initiative would "disenfranchise" the nearly 1 million people who signed petitions, saying that proponents still had time to properly qualify the initiative for the June 2006 ballot. Her order bans Secretary of State Bruce McPherson from including Proposition 77 in voting materials or on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Kevin Drum blogged I wouldn't normally mention this except for an odd coincidence: on Sunday I was at a conference of conservative bloggers and heard a presentation from Ted Costa, the guy behind Prop 77. I can offer two firsthand observations. First, Costa is kind of a weird dude. He was dressed in sneakers, robin's egg blue socks, ratty running shorts, and an old t-shirt about a size too small,
I am not sure how a person's wardrobe bears on whether or not he has a good idea that should be submitted to the voters.
and rambled and mumbled his way through a talk that I couldn't really even follow. It was a peculiar experience. Second, he sure seemed mighty shifty about the whole thing, even though the room was full of people who fully sympathized with him and supported Prop 77. A couple of people asked for his side of the story, and in response he produced a disjointed tale about submitting the ballot measure to the AG, then making a change, then telling the AG to ignore the change, but the change got in anyway. Or something. I couldn't really follow it. How about the actual wording, though? Why weren't both versions of the initiative up on Costa's website so that people could compare them to see just how trivial the differences really were? At first Costa said he thought they were on the website, but maybe you had to click a bunch of links to get to them. That didn't really fly, though, and eventually he said he'd get right on this, and the text would be up by the next day. That doesn't seem to have happened, although I have to admit that I haven't scoured the site closely enough to say for sure. Anyway, the whole thing was passing strange. Costa was talking to a very friendly group, but even so they seemed more than a tad suspicious that he wasn't more forthcoming about what actually happened. I don't really know what to make of it all, but I thought I'd pass it along anyway. After all, vaguely remembered original reporting is what the blogosphere is all about, right?

ranaaurora commented Maybe this will give concerned Californians a chance to come up with a non-partisan redistricting measure that is not written by Ted Costa and signed off on by the Governator. It would be nice to see a ballot measure get started by the grass roots (maybe even the blogs). It's bizarre how Costa in California an Sizemore in Oregon dominate the initiative process. Schwarzenegger's designs on the process are also disturbing. I wonder how Robert Moses would have abused the process.


Friday, July 22

This Day In History

  • 1587   A second English colony, also fated to vanish under mysterious circumstances, was established on Roanoke Island off North Carolina.
  • 1796   Cleveland was founded by Gen. Moses Cleaveland.
  • 1916   A bomb went off during a Preparedness Day parade in San Francisco, killing 10 people.
  • 1926   Babe Ruth proved that he could catch a baseball. In a stunt at Mitchell Field in New York, Ruth, a private in the National Guard, caught a baseball that was dropped from an airplane. The plane was at 250 feet and traveling at about 100 miles-per-hour. As the cowhide hit the leather of Ruth’s glove, the ‘Bambino’ said, “Eeeeeeeooooooowwwwwcccchhh!”
  • 1933   American aviator Wiley Post completed the first solo flight around the world in seven days, 18 1/2 hours.
  • 1934   Public enemy number one, the notorious John Dillinger, was gunned down and mortally wounded by FBI agents at the Biograph Theatre in Chicago, IL.
  • 1937   The Senate rejected President Franklin D. Roosevelt's proposal to add more justices to the Supreme Court.
  • 1942   Gasoline rationing involving the use of coupons began along the Atlantic seaboard.
  • 1943   American forces led by Gen. George S. Patton captured Palermo, Sicily.
  • 1946   Jewish extremists blew up a wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing about 100 people.
  • 1955   U.S. Vice President Richard M. Nixon chaired a cabinet meeting in Washington, D.C. It was the first time that a Vice President had carried out this task.
  • 1975   Confederate General Robert E. Lee had his U.S. citizenship restored by the U.S. Congress.
  • 1981   Turkish extremist Mehmet Ali Agca was sentenced in Rome to life in prison for shooting Pope John Paul II.
  • 1991   Police in Milwaukee arrested serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
  • 1992   Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar escaped from his luxury prison near Medellin.
  • 1994   O.J. Simpson pleaded innocent to the slaying of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
  • 1995   Susan Smith was convicted by a jury in Union, S.C., of first-degree murder for drowning her two sons.
  • 1998   Iran tested a medium-range missile capable of reaching Israel or Saudi Arabia.
  • 2002   Factory worker Alejandro Avila was charged with murder and kidnapping in the abduction and slaying of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion of Stanton, Calif.
  • 2003   Saddam Hussein's sons Odai and Qusai were killed when U.S. forces stormed a villa in Mosul, Iraq.
  • 2003   Months after her prisoner-of-war ordeal, Pvt. 1st Class Jessica Lynch returned home to a hero's welcome in Elizabeth, W.Va.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1822   Gregor (Johann) Mendel (botanist: his theories formed basis of genetics and heredity in today’s science; died Jan 6, 1884)
  • 1890   Rose (Fitzgerald) Kennedy (mother of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy; died Jan 22, 1995)
  • 1898   Stephen Vincent Benét (Pulitzer prize-winning poet: [1937], John Brown’s Body [1929], Western Star [1944]; author: The Devil and Daniel Webster; died Mar 13, 1943)
  • 1923   Bob (Robert) Dole (U.S. Senate majority leader, 1996 GOP candidate for president of U.S.)
  • 1928   Orson Bean (Dallas Burroughs)
  • 1940   Alex Trebek (game show host)
  • 1946   Danny Glover (actor)


Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Picture Is Worth A 1000 Words

The Anchoress presents a pictorial essay on what happened before the Iraq War.


Google Moon A Success

We mentioned Google Moon earlier. Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger blogged What happens when you have a company that people love and trust and that demonstrates a good sense of humor? Google showed yesterday with its "moon" site -- getting more good PR than I've seen any company get in a long time. Bloglines: 1,990 links. Technorati: 1,335 links. Feedster: 69 links. Blogpulse: 1,140 messages. Blogdigger: 64 links. Clusty: 3 links.

Google had EVERYONE talking about this site yesterday. Well done! The official Google blog was how they got the word out.

Now that the moon has been mapped, can we get back to earth?

Speaking of which, here's the top mapping services: Google Maps. Mappoint/MSN Maps. Yahoo maps. Mapquest (also owned by Yahoo).

My favorite right now? Google Maps. Hands down. Not even close. But, yes, the Virtual Earth team has made some awfully interesting promises. Google has set the high-water PR bar. I wonder if Virtual Earth can deliver?

Anyone doing a comparison of the map services?


Roberts Nomination

First Read reported Roll Call says: "While no Democrats were willing to admit it publicly, they privately acknowledged the chance that the Roberts nomination may not turn into the imbroglio that both parties had anticipated... In that case, Democrats will need to push other issues to keep their base energized and keep the Republicans on the defensive."

I guess the idea of working with the Republicans, to come up with legislation for the good of the country never occurred to them.


Miss Universe against law reported Canadian Miss Universe Natalie Glebova was forced to take off her official sash at a local festival celebrating Thailand when Toronto authorities invoked a law against sexual stereotyping.

If Canada does not like the Miss Universe contest, why did they select a candidate to represent Canada?
The winner of the international beauty competition held in Bangkok in May, Glebova was to open the festival last weekend sporting her official beauty queen's regalia. However, city employees invoked a regulation against activities which degrade men and women through sexual stereotypes or exploit their bodies to attract attention. Bowing to the local law, the 23 year old blue-eyed brunette was made to remove her Miss Universe sash, though not without complaint. "I definitely don't think that the Miss Universe title is any kind of stereotype or sexual stereotype," said Russian-born Glebova, a graduate of the University of Toronto. Officials of the Miss Universe organisation were also unhappy. "It's a strict reading of the by-laws," Paula Shugart, president of the organisation, said. "According to those conditions, a beauty contest cannot even be held in Toronto", Shugart said.

Arthur Chrenkoff blogged My friends at Powerline will no doubt be outraged at this incident and will want to immediately declare war on Canada, or at least the city of Toronto. Coming soon, courtesy of the Toronto city council: burqas for all women. That will solve the problem of sexual stereotypes and exploitation.

Bingley blogged Amazing, really, that they pass and enforce laws likes this but have the cojones (or whatever the equivalent is for beavers-oops, more 'sexual stereotyping'!) to attack the US for being so eeeevuul? Blech. What do I know. I'm just a stupid redstate guy with a bluestate address.

Mark in Mexico blogged Glebova could still open the festival, organizers were told, but under strict conditions. She couldn't wear her sash or tiara, and couldn't be referred to as either Miss Universe or a beauty queen (no sash or tiara? Does that mean that she could attend naked? That would be cool. I would fly to Toronto to see that). Instead, organizers were told, they could refer to her as "an individual of note contributing to our community." What will our neighbors to the north think of next? So, if I read all this correctly, the city of Toronto, Canada will not permit any activities which degrade men or women through heterosexual stereotyping. Okay, I guess.

Canada allows Gay Marriage, but doesn't allow Miss Universe to wear her sash. It sounds almost as stupid as people insisting that we treat Muslims with courtesy, and revere their Koran, yet every effort is made to remove any governmental acknowledgement of Christianity and its Holy Bible.


Thursday, July 21

This Day In History

  • 1733   John Winthrop was granted the first honorary Doctor of Law Degree in the United States. The honor was bestowed on Mr. Winthrop by Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • 1831   Belgium became independent as Leopold I was proclaimed King of the Belgians.
  • 1861   The first Battle of Bull Run was fought at Manassas, Va., resulting in a Confederate victory.
  • 1873   The first train robbery in America was pulled off by Jesse James and his gang. They took $3,000 from the Rock Island Express at Adair, IA. Stick ’em up. And don’t try to grab my mask!
  • 1899   Author Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Ill.
  • 1899   Poet Hart Crane was born in Garrettsville, Ohio.
  • 1930   The Veterans’ Administration of the United States was established this day.
  • 1944   American forces landed on Guam during World War II.
  • 1944   The Democratic National Convention in Chicago nominated Sen. Harry S. Truman to be vice president.
  • 1949   The U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.
  • 1954   France surrendered North Vietnam to the Communists.
  • 1955   During the Geneva summit, President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented his ''open skies'' proposal under which the United States and the Soviet Union would trade information on each other's military facilities.
  • 1961   Capt. Virgil ''Gus'' Grissom became the second American to rocket into a sub-orbital pattern around the Earth, flying on the Liberty Bell 7.
  • 1969   Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin ''Buzz'' Aldrin blasted off from the moon aboard the lunar module.
  • 1980   Draft registration began in the United States for 19- and 20-year-old men.
  • 1988   Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at the party's convention in Atlanta.
  • 1998   Astronaut Alan Shepard died at age 74.
  • 1999   Navy divers found the bodies of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette, in the wreckage of Kennedy's plane in the Atlantic Ocean off Martha's Vineyard.
  • 2000   Special Counsel John C. Danforth concluded ''with 100 percent certainty'' that the federal government was innocent of wrongdoing in the siege that killed 80 members of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, in 1993.
  • 2002   Telecommunications giant WorldCom Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection, about a month after disclosing it had inflated profits by nearly $4 billion through deceptive accounting.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1899   Ernest (Miller) Hemingway (Pulitzer Prize [1953] & Nobel Prize-winning writer [1954]: The Old Man and the Sea, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls; died July 2, 1961)
  • 1920   Isaac Stern (concert violin impresario: soundtrack: Fiddler on the Roof; died Sep 22, 2001)
  • 1924   Don Knotts (comedian, Emmy Award-winning actor: The Andy Griffith Show [1960-1961, 1961-1962, 1962-1963, 1965-1966, 1966-1967], Matlock, Three’s Company, The Don Knotts Show, The Steve Allen Show)
  • 1938   Janet Reno (U.S. Attorney General 1993-2001)
  • 1948   Cat Stevens (Stephen Demetre Georgiou, Muslim name: Yusuf Islam)


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Google Moon

We have all seen the cute Google graphics on holidays and aniversaries. We have also reported on Google Earth and when they added 3D. Well Google is not limited to maps of the Earth. In honor of the first manned Moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969, they’ve added some NASA imagery to form Google Moon showing the location of six different places where Apollo missions (11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17) landed and the names of the astronauts. You can even click on the "+" and go closer. Click for maximum magnification, and you will see that Google has a sense of humor.

I never realized the moon was so small. Click the right arrow four times, moving to the east, and suddenly you will see the landing area again.


Scotty Was Beamed Up

CNN reported James Doohan, the burly chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" TV series and motion pictures who responded to the apocryphal command "Beam me up, Scotty," died early Wednesday. He was 85.

Doohan died at 5:30 a.m. (1330 GMT) at his Redmond, Washington, home with his wife of 28 years, Wende, at his side, Los Angeles agent and longtime friend Steve Stevens said. The cause of death was pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease, he said.


Quiz Show: Judge John G. Roberts

Underneath Their Robes had this quiz to see what you know about John G Roberts, nominee for the USSC. Their quiz is a little difficult to take, since the answers immediately follow the questions, so I will reformat it, with the answers at the end.

1. John Glover Roberts was born to Jack and Rosemary Roberts on January 27, 1955, in Buffalo, New York. His father, an engineer by training, worked for Bethlehem Steel (as noted in this profile). In terms of siblings, Judge Roberts has:

(a) one sister
(b) a brother and a sister
(c) two brothers
(d) three sisters
(e) none; he's an only child

2. In terms of his religious beliefs, Judge Roberts is:

(a) Protestant
(b) Catholic
(c) Jewish
(d) atheist

3. Although he was born in Buffalo, Judge Roberts grew up in Indiana, to which the Roberts family moved after his father was transferred to run a steel plant there. During high school, he was the captain of:

(a) the football team
(b) the baseball team
(c) the chess team
(d) the academic decathlon team
(e) no team; he focused on his schoolwork

4. To pay his way through Harvard College -- from which he graduated in only three years, summa cum laude, with a degree in history -- Judge Roberts spent summers working in:

(a) a law library
(b) a steel mill
(c) a physician's office
(d) Chippendales
(e) a department store (men's neckwear)

5. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served as managing editor of the Harvard Law Review, Judge Roberts clerked for:

(a) Judge Carl McGowan (D.C. Cir.), then Justice Marshall
(b) Judge David Bazelon (D.C. Cir.), then Justice Powell
(c) Judge Henry J. Friendly (2d Cir.), then Justice Rehnquist
(d) Judge J. Skelly Wright (D.C. Cir.), then Justice Rehnquist

6. After his clerkships, from 1981 to 1986, Judge Roberts spent several years as a government lawyer. He served in:

(a) the Department of Justice's super-elite Office of Legal Counsel
(b) the DOJ's highly influential Office of Legal Policy
(c) the DOJ, as a special assistant to Attorney General William French Smith, followed by the White House Counsel's Office
(d) the justly celebrated U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York
(e) the Solicitor General's Office (which needs no adjectives)

7. From 1986 to 1989, Judge Roberts worked for which exceedingly prestigious, white-shoe Washington law firm:

(a) Hogan & Hartson
(b) Covington & Burling
(c) Williams & Connolly
(d) Wilmer Cutler & Pickering
(e) Kirkland & Ellis (D.C. office)

8. From 1989 to 1993, Judge Roberts served as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States, under Solicitor General Kenneth W. Starr. During his time in the SG's office, he worked on many prominent cases before the Supreme Court.

Which of the following cases from Judge Roberts's stint in the SG's office is NOT mentioned in the Senate questionnaire he submitted in connection with his D.C. Circuit nomination, in response to the request for descriptions of "the ten most significant litigated matters which you personally handled"?

(a) United States v. Kokinda
(b) Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation
(c) ICC v. Boston & Maine Corp.
(d) Rust v. Sullivan

9. In January 1993, Judge Roberts returned to Hogan & Hartson, where he cemented his well-deserved reputation as one of the most talented members of the Supreme Court bar, as well as one of the nation's top appellate lawyers. He also raked in some serious dough. In 2003, the last year he was a partner at Hogan, Judge Roberts earned:

(a) $400,000-$600,000
(b) $600,000-$800,000
(c) $800,000-$1,000,000
(d) $1,000,000-$2,000,000
(e) over $2 million

10. While we're on the subject of Judge Roberts's finances, his most recent reported net worth is:

(a) $1 million to $2 million
(b) $2 million to $3 million
(c) $3 million to $4 million
(d) $4 million to $5 million
(e) over $5 million

11. During his time at Hogan & Hartson, Judge Roberts did a little lobbying work, in addition to his appellate litigation practice. Judge Roberts loobbied on behalf of which of the following organizations:

(a) the NRA
(b) the Western Peanut Growers Association
(c) the Christian Coalition
(d) the AARP
(e) the American Council of Life Insurance

12. Judge Roberts's wife, Jane Roberts, works as:

(a) an attorney
(b) a journalist
(c) a physician (OB/GYN)
(d) a homemaker
(e) a management consultant for defense contractors

13. Judge Roberts enjoys which of the following activities in his spare time?

(a) fox hunting
(b) sailing
(c) reading and golf
(d) fiction writing
(e) competitive bridge

14. Judge Roberts belongs to all of the following organizations, except for:

(a) the Federalist Society
(b) the Republican National Lawyers Association
(c) the Metropolitan Club
(d) the Rotary Club
(e) the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club


Question 1
Answer: (d). In his remarks at the news conference announcing his nomination, Judge Roberts thanked his three sisters -- Cathy, Peggy and Barbara -- for their support. When Senate Democrats start grilling Judge Roberts about his commitment to "women's issues" (read: abortion on demand), expect Judge Roberts to cite his growing up in a household with four women as giving him a sensitivity to women's concerns.

Question 2
Answer: (b). Judge Roberts's Catholicism could have been a factor that moved him to the top of President Bush's shortlist, insofar as it might suggest a willingness to revisit Roe v. Wade (which would please the Republican Party's conservative base). Of course, being a devout Catholic could also make it more difficult for Judge Roberts to win confirmation, if Senate Democrats suspect that his personal religious views might affect his judicial decisionmaking.

Question 3
Answer: (a), impressively enough. How well-rounded of him! In addition to playing football, John Roberts also wrestled for his high school team. Of course, given his brilliance and subsequent academic achievement, one can't be faulted for guessing (c), (d), or (e).

John Roberts is clearly a man who has it all: a razor-sharp mind, great good looks, athleticism, a loving and adorable family, and mucho dinero (as discussed infra). If Judge Roberts weren't such a nice and decent person, we would all really hate him!

Question 4
Answer: (b), surprisingly enough. A3G would pay good money for pictures of a young, sweaty John Roberts toiling in a steel mill, in a hard hat and tank top! As you can see from the college yearbook photo at right, reprinted in the Harvard Crimson, John Roberts was just as good-looking back then as he is today. (In fact, like the vast majority of human beings, Judge Roberts was arguably better-looking when he was younger. Whether you agree with this statement depends on whether you place greater value on a youthful face, which he had back then, or a better haircut, which he has today.)

As for answer (d), Chippendales -- well, a girl can dream, can't she?

Question 5
Answer: (c); this question was a "gimme." It is widely known that Judge Roberts used to work at Friendly's and that he clerked for William H. Rehnquist, who was then an Associate Justice. What's interesting is that now that Chief Justice Rehnquist is sticking around One First Street, the Chief might end up serving on the Court alongside his former clerk. (Perhaps the possibility of serving together with his former clerk, with whom he remains close, was an incentive for WHR to hang in there for one more term?)

The phenomenon of former law clerks serving alongside their judges happens with some regularity on the circuit courts (e.g., Diane Sykes and Terence Evans on the Seventh Circuit, Richard Clifton and the late Herbert Choy on the Ninth Circuit). But, as one curious UTR reader asks, when was the last time it happened at the Supreme Court (if ever)?

Update: A well-informed reader offers this enlightening response: "Never. There have been four Supreme Court law clerks who were later Justices: Justice White (clerked for Chief Justice Vinson), Chief Justice Rehnquist (clerked for Justice Jackson), Justice Stevens (clerked for Justice Rutledge), and Justice Breyer (clerked for Justice Goldberg). A scan of the lists reflects that there is no overlap between the terms of service of any of these pairs of names."

Question 6
Answer: (c). Judge Roberts served from August 1981 to November 1982 as Special Assistant to Attorney General Smith, and from November 1982 to May 1986 as Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, in the White House Counsel's Office. To those of you who selected (e), it wasn't a bad choice -- Judge Roberts did work in the SG's office (although not at this point in his career).

Question 7
Answer: (a). Judge Roberts joined Hogan & Hartson as an associate in May 1986, and he was elected a general partner of the firm in October 1987. He resigned his partnership in October 1989 to assume the post of Principal Deputy Solicitor General, but he returned to the partnership in January 1993. He remained at Hogan, where he headed up the firm's appellate practice, until his 2003 appointment to the D.C. Circuit.

Response (e) is not a bad answer, given the proliferation of high-powered conservative lawyers who have passed through, and continue to populate, the halls of Kirkland & Ellis's Washington office (e.g., Ken Starr).

Question 8
Answer: (d). Quelle surprise! If not for his involvement in Rust v. Sullivan, in which he co-authored a Supreme Court brief arguing that the sacred cow of Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, Judge Roberts would have a 99 percent chance of confirmation (instead of the 90 percent chance that he currently enjoys).

Question 9
Answer: (d). According to his 2004 financial disclosure statement, he earned $1,044,399.54 in gross income from Hogan & Harton in 2003. Not bad, especially for an appellate lawyer!

(Yes, A3G realizes that top appellate practitioners -- such as lawyer/bloggers Howard Bashman and Tom Goldstein, as well as former SG Ted Olson (whose recent summer party at his palatial estate yielded judicial sight-ations galore) -- do just fine for themselves. But let's face facts: appellate law might be interesting, intellectually challenging, and quite prestigious, but it is not where the money's at within the legal profession.)

Question 10
Answer: (c), namely, $3.8 million. If that strikes you as low relative to his income, recall that Judge Roberts hasn't been earning a million dollars a year for his entire 25-year career. Those fat Hogan & Hartson paychecks were diluted by several years of government-service penury. And people don't join the D.C. Circuit for the pay ($171,800), baby -- they do it for the prestige!

Of course, Judge Roberts does enjoy significant investment income. His financial disclosure form reveals a healthy portfolio of well-diversified investments, consisting largely of blue-chip stocks and bonds (but also including a "1/8 Interest in Cottage, Knocklong, Limerick, Ireland").

Question 11
Answer: (b). Thus, as noted here by Sean Sirrine of Objective Justice, John Roberts "worked for peanuts"! In the late 1990s, Judge Roberts lobbied on behalf of the Western Peanut Growers Association and the Panhandle Peanut Growers Association, in support of the Warehouse Storage Loan Program and the Peanut Price Support Program (thrilling stuff).

Question 12
Answer: (a). An accomplished lawyer in her own right, Jane Sullivan Roberts, 50, is a partner at the distinguished firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. She "practices with the firm’s communications and global sourcing groups, concentrating in representing clients in sophisticated transactions involving technology. She has extensive experience in representing clients in the buying and selling of space-related goods and services, including companies involved in the development of multi-billion dollar global and regional satellite systems."

As a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop, where profits per partner exceed $750,000, Mrs. Roberts surely makes several times what her husband earns as a D.C. Circuit judge (or what he would earn if confirmed as an Associate Justice, namely, $194,200). She came from the Shaw Pittman side of the Pillsbury Winthrop/Shaw Pittman merger. The outfit she's wearing in the picture of her on the firm website (see left) -- a dark suit accessorized with a pale scarf -- seems like it would have been a better choice than the bright pink number she wore to last night's White House press conference.

Jane Roberts -- a graduate of Holy Cross, Melbourne University, and Brown -- has an impressive educational pedigree (even if it's not as jaw-droppingly fabulous as her husband's). She is known as a devout Catholic, and she reportedly served at one point as an executive of Feminists for Life.

John and Jane Roberts were married on July 27, 1996. (Early wishes for a happy anniversary, Judge and Mrs. Roberts!) They have two children, Josie and Jack (who is presumably named after his grandfather, and therefore John G. Roberts, III). The Roberts family lives in a large and elegant colonial home in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Question 13
Answer: (c). Response (a) is true of Judge Roberts's colleague, Chief Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg (whose other other hobby derailed his own Supreme Court candidacy). Response (b) is true of another conservative D.C. Circuit jurist, Judge Laurence H. Silberman, and response (d) would be appropriate for Judge David B. Sentelle. Response (e) applies to champion bridge player Judge Amalya L. Kearse (2d Cir.).

Question 14
Answer: (d). Judge Roberts's status as a card-carrying member of the Federalist Society and the RNLA reassures conservatives of his bona fides, despite his lack of a lengthy paper trail (which might otherwise suggest Souter-ish tendencies). As for his membership in the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, does anyone out there know his handicap?


So, how did you do? Giving yourself one point for each correct answer, measure yourself against the following scale:

14: one of the Elect (perfect score required)
12-13: feeder judge clerk
10-11: circuit court clerk
8-9: district court clerk
7-6: state court clerk
0-5: most foul of the Great Unwashed

As revealed by the above discussion, Judge John Roberts is a truly amazing individual. He's exceedingly accomplished, attractive, and affable, and he would be an excellent addition to the Supreme Court. Let's do everything we can to make his confirmation a reality!


O'Connor's view reported Sandra Day O'Connor heard about President Bush's nomination for her replacement on the Supreme Court while she was returning from a day of fly-fishing in Idaho. Her first words were unequivocal: "That's fabulous!" she said. She immediately described John G. Roberts as a "brilliant legal mind, a straight shooter, articulate, and he should not have trouble being confirmed by October. He's good in every way, except he's not a woman."

Is she suggesting some sort of sex-change operation?
She said she was almost sure President Bush would not appoint a woman as a replacement for William H. Rehnquist because she didn't think he would want a woman as chief justice. "So that almost assures there won't be a woman appointed to the court at this time."
Does she think that a woman would not be able to do the job of Chief Justice? Also when Rehnquist retires, there is nothing to prevent him from nominating an existing associate justice to the CJ slot, and a woman to the vacated associate justice slot.


Teachers say no-one should 'fail'

BBC reports Education Secretary Ruth Kelly has dismissed suggestions that the concept of "failure" should be removed from school in favour of "deferred success".

If you dont want to say the student has failed, what about saying the teacher has failed, and punishing the teacher?
She said she gave the idea - which will be discussed at a teachers' conference - "nought out of 10". The Professional Association of Teachers will be told at its meeting next week that the label of failure could undermine pupils' enthusiasm.... She argues that repeated failure, such as in exams, can damage pupils' interest in learning.
We have stupid teachers unions here in the USA too, and they have equally foolish ideas.
She told the Today programme on BBC Radio Four she had deliberately made the motion provocative to spark a good debate, but said it reflected the way the education system was developing. "We have made so much development in recent years in making examinations more flexible, doing them in modules so you can concentrate on different parts of them at different times," she said. "What happens when an exam is failed but, for example, three-quarters of it is perfectly satisfactorily done?
If you do 3/4 perfectly and get 1/4 wrong, you get a grade of 75 which is a C
It should be possible to do the other bits as add-ons afterwards and to defer the success of the exam."

Damian Penny blogged I'm not Catholic, but if I ever have kids, I'm leaning strongly toward having them taught by nuns. Strict nuns.

Chris Lawrence blogged The new term for failure: “deferred success.” My observation: in some students’ cases, their success seems to be deferred post mortem. Following this logic, we can also call dropouts “deferred graduates,” which should at least swell alumni association membership rolls.

Jan Haugland blogged Yeah, that will really make the kids well-prepared for life.

Orrin Judd blogged You know the old saying, "the war for England was lost on the levelled playing fields of Eton."


Atta's father praises London bombs

CNN reported The father of one of the hijackers who commandeered the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, praised the recent terror attacks in London and said many more would follow. Speaking to CNN producer Ayman Mohyeldin Tuesday in his apartment in the upper-middle-class Cairo suburb of Giza, Mohamed el-Amir said he would like to see more attacks like the July 7 bombings of three London subway trains and a bus that killed 52 people, plus the four bombers. Displayed prominently in the apartment were pictures of el-Amir's son, Mohamed Atta, the man who is believed to have piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the north tower of the World Trade Center as part of the attacks on the United States. El-Amir said the attacks in the United States and the July 7 attacks in London were the beginning of what would be a 50-year religious war

As George Bush has said, this war is not going to end soon
, in which there would be many more fighters like his son. He declared that terror cells around the world were a "nuclear bomb that has now been activated and is ticking." The man, who gave his age as "at least 70," said he had no sorrow for what happened in London, and said there was a double standard in the way the world viewed the victims in London and victims in the Islamic world.
Are you talking about the innocent Iraqis being killed by other Muslims? We deplore the death of innocents both places.
Cursing in Arabic, el-Amir also denounced Arab leaders and Muslims who condemned the London attacks as being traitors and non-Muslims. He passionately vowed that he would do anything within his power to encourage more attacks.

Arthur Chrenkoff blogged That's a significant change in tune since three years ago, when El-Amir's son, far from being a "fighter", was just a patsy. In 2002, papa Atta was fearful that American would poison him; today, he's quite happy to ask the infidels for $5,000 per taped interview, so he can donate the proceeds towards another terror attack. CNN, presumably, declined. In case you need reminding, Mohammed Atta was one of those marginalized and poverty-stricken sons of professional middle class, who was pre-emptively radicalized by the future American invasion of Iraq.

Michelle Malkin blogged Read the whole sickening thing.



The men who blame Britain

Telegraph reports Critics of Tony Blair's policy in Iraq and Afghanistan claimed yesterday that Britain must share some of the responsibility for the Underground and bus bombings in London. While moderate Muslim leaders agreed to try to dissuade disaffected youths from turning to terrorism, radical clerics blamed the Government - and even the public for re-electing Mr Blair - for making the country a target.

Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, suggested that decades of western intervention in the Middle East and the Iraq war could have influenced the bombers. "I suspect the real problem was that we funded these people as long as they were killing Russians. We gave no thought to the fact that when they stopped killing Russians they might start killing us."

We funded them because Russia invaded their country and wanted to take it over, and make it a part of the Soviet Union. We are in Afganistan and Iraq to free the countries and give them Democracy; not make them a part of either the US or Britain.
Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed said that support for America over Afghanistan and Iraq and the re-election of Mr Blair had all contributed to the attacks. "I blame the British Government, the British public and the Muslim community in the UK because they failed to make the extra effort to put an end to the cycle of bloodshed which started before 9/11 and on July 7 was devastating for everybody," he told the Evening Standard.
It is true that Al Quaida was killing people before 9/11, but that is not the fault of the the British Government, the British public, or most of the Muslim community in the UK
Anjem Choudary, the British leader of the militant Islamist group al-Muhajiroun, said that Muslim leaders should not meet Mr Blair for talks while Muslims were being "murdered" in Iraq.
This is true. And they are being murdered by other Muslims who don't want Iraq to become democratic.
Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, he declined to condemn the London bombings, which killed 56 people, and said there was "a very real possibility" of a repetition. "The British Government wants to show that they are on the side of justice and of truth, whereas in reality the real terrorists are the British regime, and even the British police, who have tried to divide the Muslim community into moderates and extremists, whereas this classification doesn't exist in Islam."
Is that true? Are all Muslims extremists? Can we quote you on that?
Ave Atque Vale--Paleologos blogged Those of us who challenge the government and media consensus that terrorism is a "perversion of Islam" really don't have to work too hard. Here are some wonderful British Muslim leaders puncturing the balloon for us. These fellows are wandering around London, holding court, giving speeches. Enjoy the diversity, Londonistan!

Stephen Pollard blogged If Americans had voted for Gore or Nader they'd have been left alone. And, I suppose, if we'd all voted Respect the same would apply here, too.


Wednesday, July 20

This Day In History

  • 1810   Colombia declared independence from Spain.
  • 1861   The Congress of the Confederate States began holding sessions in Richmond, Va.
  • 1868   Legislation that ordered U.S. tax stamps to be placed on all cigarette packs was passed this day.
  • 1871   British Columbia joined the confederation as a Canadian province.
  • 1881   Sioux Indian leader Sitting Bull, a fugitive since the Battle of the Little Big Horn, surrendered to federal troops.
  • 1917   The World War I draft lottery began.
  • 1942   The first detachment of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps began basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.
  • 1944   Adolf Hitler was only slightly wounded when a bomb planted by would-be assassins exploded at the German leader's Rastenburg headquarters.
  • 1944   President Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented fourth term of office at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
  • 1951   Jordan's King Abdullah Ibn Hussein was assassinated in Jerusalem.
  • 1976   America's Viking 1 robot spacecraft landed on Mars.
  • 1977   A flash flood hit Johnstown, Pa., killing 80 people and causing $350 million in damage.
  • 1990   A federal appeals court set aside Oliver North's Iran-Contra convictions.
  • 1992   Vaclav Havel, the playwright who led the Velvet Revolution against communism, stepped down as president of Czechoslovakia.
  • 1993   White House deputy counsel Vince Foster was found shot to death in a park near Washington in an apparent suicide.
  • 1994   Bosnian Serbs rejected an international peace plan sponsored by the United States, Russia, France, Britain and Germany.
  • 1997   Seven people were arrested after New York City police found scores of deaf Mexicans kept in slave-like conditions and forced to peddle trinkets for smugglers who had brought them to the United States.
  • 1999   After 38 years at the bottom of the Atlantic, astronaut Gus Grissom's Liberty Bell 7 Mercury capsule was lifted to the surface.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1919   Sir Edmund Hillary (explorer: first to climb Mt. Everest)
  • 1938   Diana Rigg (The Avengers)
  • 1938   Natalie Wood (Natasha Nikolaevna Gurdin)


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

John G Roberts

John G Roberts is the USSC Nominee. I had a lot of stuff for Edith Brown "Joy" Clement and a fair amount on J. Michael Luttig, but I got surprised by the nomination of John Roberts

Age: 50

Harvard College, A.B., 1976
Harvard Law School, J.D., 1979

Federal Judicial Service:
U. S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit
Nominated by George W. Bush on January 7, 2003. Nomination approved by the Judiciary Committee 16-3, confirmed by the full Senate on May 8, 2003 without a roll call vote. Received commission on June 2, 2003.
Professional Career:
Principal Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice, 1989-1993
Private practice, Washington, DC, 1986-1989, 1993-2003
Associate Counsel to the President, White House Counsel's Office, 1982-1986
Special Assistant to the Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, 1981-1982
Clerk, Assoc. Justice William Rehnquist, Supreme Court of the United States, 1980-1981
Clerk, Hon. Henry Friendly, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 1979-1980

John Roberts was supposedly in London

Live blogging on Southern Appeal

Live blogging on ConfirmThem

Here are some of his opinions as a judge.

Here is his bio according to WaPo

Here is what Sen. John Coryn (R-Tex.) thinks

Here is what NARAL thinks

Here is what Freddie at ConfirmThem thinks President Bush certainly came through for judicial conservatives tonight. Roberts is a solid originalist/textualist, and he will make for an incredible justice. Oh, and he will be confirmed. My favorite quote of the night, courtesy of 42 U.S.C. 1983 (over at the Greedy Clerks Board):

My God - they’re going to put a real lawyer on the bench. This is very, very exciting.
Here is what UnderneathTheirRobes thinks

Here is his opinion in Hedgepeth v. WMATA, the case involving a woman arrested for eating on the Metro

Here is a transcript of the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for John G. Roberts dated Jan. 29, 2003

Roberts's D.C. Confirmation Hearing transcript

Here is his 2003 Financial Disclosure Report

Wikipedia article

Here is what dKosopedia (the left wing Daily Kos community) thinks of him

Here is what thinks

Here is what SCNB thinks

Here is what NOW thinks

Here is what WaPo thinks, also this

Here is what NYT thinks

Here is what ProChoiceAmerica thinks

Here is what National Abortion Federation thinks

Here is what Alliance for Justice thinks

Here is what Free Congress Foundation’s Judicial Selection Monitoring Project thought in 2001

Here is what Orlando Report thinks

Here is what GOPNation thinks

Here is what JonathanBWilson thinks

Here is his college yearbook photo

Here is what WFU - School of Law said when he delivered the Second Annual Rupe Lecture

Here is what Volokh thinks

Here is what BusinessWeek thinks


Down Goes the Deficit

Jerry Bowyer reported Last week, Josh Bolten, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, announced that the budget forecast has been revised. The projected deficit, it seems, is sinking like a stone.

The prior estimate had been $427 billion, the new estimate is down $94 billion to $333 billion. Knowledgeable observers braced themselves for the “rosy scenario” charges that pop up any time the Bush administration says that something might be going better than expected. But something happened that rendered this line of attack impotent: The government released its monthly cash-flow statement, and it told the same story as Bolten’s forecast — revenues are rising and the deficit is falling.

Just as Hillary Clinton was trying to thrill her base by blasting the GWB Tax Cuts, we see that they are working, just as they did for JFK, and just as they did for Reagan (the only problem with Reagan is he let the Dems talk him into increased spending. GWB has been a bit loose with the excess spending himself, and I hope he can get that under control, but we do see the increased revenues that resulted from the tax cuts, and hopefully Congress will make them permanent.
The Treasury budget is not a guess, a hope, or a forecast. It is a simple accounting of the dollars that have flowed into the federal government from tax revenues and the dollars that have flowed out through expenditures. Here’s what it shows: Total revenues were up 15 percent through the first nine months of fiscal year 2005 compared to the year-ago period. During the first nine months of fiscal 2005, the federal government ran a deficit of $249.8 billion, 24 percent lower than the deficit during the same period last year. Sometimes the economic statistics printed in the newspaper look so-so; sometimes they look good, and sometimes they look great. That’s the problem with economic statistics. In the worst of times some of them are looking up, and in the best of times some of them are looking down. So what’s an investor to do? For starters, it’s always a good idea to find out whether the numbers you’re reading are based on somebody’s guess or somebody’s oath.


British Seek New Laws to Confront Terror

NYT reeports After the shock of the London bombings, British authorities are readying new laws that would give the police stronger powers to try to pre-empt terror attacks and to silence clerics regarded as what the police call "preachers of hate." At the same time, the police and government officials say they are urging Muslim leaders to "take on the extremists," in the words of Prime Minister Tony Blair, in an effort to draw Muslims into the policing of their own communities. Lord Charles Falconer, the government minister in charge of the judiciary, said Sunday that the proposed legislation would have three aims -

  1. to outlaw "indirect incitement" to commit terrorist acts,
  2. to prevent "acts preparatory" to terrorism and
  3. to prevent "providing or receiving training" in terrorism.
Lord Falconer told the BBC that the proposed laws would permit the imprisonment or deportation of people "attacking the values of the West" or "glorifying the acts of suicide bombers." It would also make it illegal for Britons to go to camps known for training in terrorism techniques or to help other people go to such places for such training.
I agree with the need for those laws, not just in Britain, but in all countries in Europe, and here in the US.
Marc W. Schneider blogged I have no great love for the way that our politicians spew forth with purple rhetoric everytime there is an attack, especially invoking evil and the threat to western civilization. We don't need politicians moralizing about evil. It seems counterproductive to rational thinking. But at the same time, we don't need people relativizing murder and equating blowing up subways with political activity. IMO, as long as the left cannot distinguish between murder and legitimate political activity, it has no call to govern civilized nations. Whatever the west has done or not done, it does not justify bombing subways or flying planes into buildings and our leftist politicians need to learn that.


War on Wal-Mart

City Journal reported Here is a story you’re unlikely to read in the spate of press attacks on Wal-Mart these days: When Hartford, Connecticut, tore down a blighted housing project, city officials hatched an innovative plan to redevelop the land: lure Wal-Mart there, entice other retailers with the promise of being near the discount giant, and then use the development’s revenues to build new housing. Wal-Mart, after some convincing, agreed, and city officials and neighborhood residents celebrated a big win—better shopping, more jobs, and new housing in one of America’s poorest cities. But then, out of nowhere, outsiders claiming to represent the local community began protesting.

Some will complain about just about anything.
Astonished city leaders and local residents quickly discovered the forces fueling the campaign: a Connecticut chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union; and ACORN, the radical community group. Outraged residents fought back, denouncing outside interference, but opponents persisted, filing three separate lawsuits that have delayed construction, including a ludicrous suit claiming that the development would destroy unique vegetation that has sprouted since the housing project came down. “These people looked for every possible reason to stop a project that the community wants,” says Jackie Fongemie, a frustrated community activist who has fought for the store. “Where were the environmentalists when rats were running wild around this place?”....
I don't know about the environmentalists, but I bet PETA was happy that the rats were allowed to run wild.
The few small-town merchants and their political allies who protested that the stores were destroying town shopping districts sensed, though they didn’t completely understand it at the time, that Wal-Mart was at the forefront of a revolution that would transform the American landscape, as consumers abandoned small, inefficient Main Street stores to shop in expansive shopping centers offering everything at one stop and at low prices. Before Wal-Mart, general-merchandise stores typically operated on profit margins as high as 45 percent of sales, but Wal-Mart managed on an operating profit of just 22 percent and passed the difference on to customers, who flocked in when they saw how much they could save. Merchants predicted that Wal-Mart would hike its prices as soon as the competition disappeared, but years later Wal-Mart is still considered among the sharpest-priced, best-value retailers in the world—even in its original small-town markets....
And they will remain that way, because otherwise KMart and Target would take over from them.
Wal-Mart staved off unions with another then-revolutionary and now-standard management technique: giving employees a stake in the company’s success, offering them one of the earliest profit-sharing programs, which, as an incentive to work hard, doled out shares in one of the best-performing stocks of the last 50 years.
I bet that ticked the unions off
In his biography, Walton tells of hourly employees who prospered, like truck driver Bob Clark, who accumulated more than $700,000 in his profit-sharing account over 20 years; and Jean Kelley, a shipping supervisor who in ten years at Wal-Mart accrued nearly $230,000 in Wal-Mart shares.
Something they would not have done had unions taken over. Only the union bosses would have the big bank accounts.
The folksy country retailer also quickly recognized the value of efficient inventory and delivery systems, ultimately leading a technology revolution that spread throughout the retailing industry and its chain of suppliers.... It was among the first to put computers—and later, scanners—in stores to track inventory, starting back in the 1970s. With information from those computers telling headquarters what consumers were buying and what items needed to be reordered, Wal-Mart managers realized they could revolutionize the way merchandise moved to stores. Instead of building warehouses that stored vast stocks of items, they constructed a network of computerized distribution centers, which on one side received needed goods from suppliers and almost immediately sent them out the other side to individual stores just before the stores ran out of them. The company even added a satellite system that could track its delivery trucks through global positioning technology and tell store managers exactly when shipments would arrive. So efficient did the whole system become that Wal-Mart was soon selling goods in its stores even before it had to pay its suppliers for them, vastly cutting its inventory costs. Nor did Wal-Mart stop these innovations at its own doorstep. It compelled suppliers to squeeze out their own waste and to connect to its computerized inventory system, so that a factory could know when it was time to stamp out 20,000 more ten-inch frying pans or 15,000 more 12-inch ones.
This is something that only a large company like Wal-Mart, could do.
Union-supported policy groups, like the San Diego–based Center on Policy Initiatives, argue that Wal-Mart should be made to pay “sustainable” or “self-sufficiency” wages—wages that they deem adequate to meet basic needs—in order to gain permission to expand in California.
The Left should look at how Communism failed, and how Socialism is failing in Europe. We are a Capitalistic society, and the marketplace is what decides (whether it be salaries for employees, or prices of goods sold)
The “sustainable” wage has become a popular idea with the Left, which argues that minimum wages should be much higher than the federal $5.15 per hour and should be based on an area’s cost of living. In many parts of California, liberal economists estimate, that means up to $38,000 a year for an adult worker supporting a spouse. But the Left’s case ignores the greater benefit that an efficient operator like Wal-Mart brings to shoppers and an entire economy by driving down prices and forcing other stores to perform better.... Despite the Left’s charges that Wal-Mart doesn’t pay sustainable wages, the company has little trouble recruiting, in part because the gap between its pay and union wages isn’t as large as opponents claim. The LAEDC study calculates that the true difference is less than $3 an hour, which can be offset by the other benefits that a growing company like Wal-Mart offers workers, especially in the form of advancement and stock benefits.
And no one forces people to work at Wal-Mart
While employment at unionized food stores tends to be static, with union members never moving up from their original jobs and relying on wage increases built into contracts to advance their salaries, Wal-Mart promotes heavily from within. More than two-thirds of its management started out working in its stores....Wal-Mart’s pay scales aren’t the only thing that unions and their allies fear, however. A restless innovator constantly forcing other corporations to follow it, Wal-Mart is now pushing to limit soaring health-care costs, by embracing a fundamental redefinition of health insurance as protection from catastrophic illnesses that can financially ruin employees, rather than a benefit meant to pay for every health-care bill. In this, Wal-Mart endorses the many health-policy reformers who say that current corporate and government health plans, offering lavish coverage with little contribution from workers, have encouraged over-use of the system and helped spark runaway medical inflation. To discourage that, Wal-Mart’s health plans have high deductibles and don’t pay for extras like eye exams, chiropractic visits, or contraceptives. But the company will pay 100 percent of an individual’s health-care costs beyond $1,750 and has no lifetime caps on coverage—unlike more than half of other companies. As a result of its policies, Wal-Mart spends about 37 percent less per covered employee on health insurance than do similar companies.
Companies like GM, which is about to be driven into bankrupcy by healh care costs, should take note of what Walmart does.
To rein in Wal-Mart, the Left will have to keep up its assault in the courts, the statehouses, and the media, because it can’t win the battle for the hearts and minds of consumers. In a recent report on shopping patterns, WSL Strategic Retail said that Wal-Mart has succeeded like no other company in understanding what consumers want and giving it to them. Despite Wal-Mart’s years of success, the report predicted, the future looks even more favorable for the company and others that operate with its low-price, big-store philosophy. To succeed against Wal-Mart, then, the Left will have to fight to deny the vast majority of Americans what they want. Every battle it wins in that war will cost the American consumer plenty.

Brad Plumer blogged Here is a list of the Pros and Cons

Ezra Klein blogged Wal-Mart's low prices are severely overstated. The company's done such a good job of branding itself your checkbook's guardian angel that folks have begun to believe them. It's not so, though. Wal-Mart squeezes pennies on about 1% of a store's merchandise, what are called cost-sensitive items.
How does the number-one retailer maintain an image of low prices? First, by actually making sure its prices are lower than its competitors, at least on key items. These items are called "price-sensitive" items in the industry, and it is commonly believed that the average consumer knows the "going price" of fewer than 100 items. These tend to be commodities that are purchased frequently.

A mid-size Wal-Mart supercenter may offer for sale 100,000 separate items, or stock-keeping units (skus). Wal-Mart and other major retailers believe that the general public knows the going price of only 1 to 2 percent of these items. Therefore, each Wal-Mart store shops for the prices of only about 1,500 items in their competitors' stores. If it is ever found that a competitor has a lower price on one of these items than Wal-Mart, the store manager will immediately lower his or her price to be the lowest in the area.
These items are, of course, given prominent display throughout the store, further tattooing Wal-Mart's low-prices brand into consumer minds. Other pieces of merchandise aren't at such low prices and, in some cases, are surprisingly expensive, but because consumers don't know what they should cost, that goes unnoticed.
The consumers need to know what things cost, and buy the ones that are the best savings. AFAIK, WalMart does not force people to buy the ones for which it does not provide major savings
The point here isn't that Wal-Mart is enormously cheap on many things, but that it's not so cheap on so many that it can justify the labor standards, labor abuses, or hostility to unions. This isn't a competition issue, it's a branding issue. And progressives shouldn't let it be rephrased into a liberal hostility to lower prices.


Syrian Protest

Most Syrians struggle to even read Arabic - much less have a clue about English.

So, how does a group of Syrian protest leaders create the most impact with their signs by having the standard "Death To Americans" (etc.) slogans printed in English?

Answer: They simply hire an English-speaking civilian to translate and write their statements in English.

Bus fare to anti-war protest rally $0.50

Paint and canvas protest signs - $32.00

Asking a retired US Army Sergeant to translate your anti-American slogans - PRICELESS

Hat tip to Lee Pang


Five From the 5th Circuit Mentioned for High Court

WaPo reported It wasn't all that long ago that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit was on the cutting edge of the civil rights movement, a liberal pocket of scholars aggressively enforcing the Supreme Court's demand for speedy desegregation in the Deep South. But things have changed mightily in 20 years. Today, the New Orleans-based appellate court is considered among the most conservative in the land -- but it is still at the center of politics and history. As both sides dig in for what is expected to a be contentious ideological struggle over a successor to Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, five of the judges mentioned as possible nominees are on the 5th Circuit: Edith Brown Clement, Emilio M. Garza, Edith Hollan Jones, Priscilla R. Owen and Edward C. Prado.

Any of which would make a good addition to the USSC
"A court is made up of more that just individual judges. It has a tone or a mood. The fact that the president is looking at so many judges from the 5th Circuit tells us more or less what he may be looking for," said University of Pittsburgh law professor Arthur D. Hellman. "He may not want just a conservative judge, but one that comes from a conservative environment and is more likely to think in those terms." The five judges will face varying degrees of opposition. Democrats say two, Jones and Garza, are unacceptable because the judges have denounced Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision establishing a woman's right to an abortion. Clement has fewer opinions on social issues to parse, and Prado, who was appointed by Bush, is considered moderate by many Democrats. The court -- which covers Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana -- is known for its independence, and the Supreme Court has reversed it in a number of high-profile cases. The high court has also openly rebuked the 5th Circuit in death penalty cases, signaling that the appeals court crossed the line in denying defendants' rights.
Any court will be reversed once in a while. But the 9th has been reversed far more frequently than the 5th has, and on a much wider range of issues than death penalty cases.
Captain Ed blogged Partisan interest groups have had to read the tea leaves to determine the likeliest candidates for which they will need ready arguments of "extraordinary circumstances," giving them the leeway they believe will allow the Gang of 14 to approve a filibuster. These groups seem to have settled on a district-by-district group attack, and the Fifth District Court of Appeals has become their primary target. The Washington Post reports that five of the Fifth have reportedly made President Bush's short list in an article subheaded, "Southern Appeals Bench Known For Conservatism"

William J. Dyer blogged Maybe WaPo staff writer Lois Romano got stuck with an assignment she didn't want or didn't like — "Hey, lookee, five of the names written on trial balloons all come from the Fifth Circuit, go write a story about that" — and the best she could come up with before her deadline for this Page A8 story was this collection of superficial half-truths, talking points, and tired clichés. Figuring out whether this is a statistical fluke or something actually meaningful would certainly require some in-depth research and some original thought.