Saturday, July 30, 2005

Google Maps

GMDir shows a number of application for Google Maps

For example here is a weather map of Tulsa, with symbols for wind velocity and direction at various parts of the city

oodle has Google Map applications (For Sale items, Cars, Housing, Jobs and other local services) for a number of cities, unfortunately Tulsa is not one of them

BeenMapped offers the ability to bookmark particular locations and share their location with others. I did not see any for Tulsa.

Spacecraft Tracking tracks the International Space Station and Space Shuttle (while it's in orbit). So will this one

Earthquake showes the latest Earthquakes in the US measuring in magnitude greater than 1.5. This shows recent earthquakes.

Geobloggers shows geocoded flickr photos on a Google Map. There are 10 for the Tulsa area

Texas Sex Offenders allows you to plot Texas sex offenders on a map by zipcode and then be able to display the offense details by clicking on their names. Wish we had that for Oklahoma, which is not even included in the National Sex Offender Public Registry, but are included here, along with a Violent Crime Offender Registry


Muslims Constitution

Samir Hassan blogged in Friends of Democracy Will Muslims Accept the Constitution of Al-Madina Al-Munnawara?

He is talking about those that claim that the idea of a constitution is inconsistent with the religious and historical character of Iraqi society and the rich heritage of traditions, but he points out that the constitution of Al-Madina Al-Munnawara which was established by the prophet Mohammed in Yethrib at 622 A.D.


France ejects 12 Islamic 'preachers of hate'

Telegraph reports The gulf between British and French treatment of preachers of hatred and violence was thrown sharply into focus yesterday when France announced the summary expulsion of a dozen Islamists between now and the end of August. A tough new anti-terrorism package was unveiled by Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister and a popular centre-Right politician. His proposals reflect French determination to act swiftly against extremists in defiance of the human rights lobby, which is noticeably less vocal in France than in Britain. Imams and their followers who fuel anti-western feeling among impressionable young French Muslims will be rounded up and returned to their countries of origin, most commonly in France's case to its former north African colonies.

Good for the French. I hope that all of Europe, and the US, will do the same.


Iraqi Constitution

Omar blogs on iraqthemodel If this is going to be the final draft, then I'm going to say "NO"....

  • the republic of Iraq (the Islamic, federal) is a sovereign, independent country and the governing system is a democratic, republican, federal one.

    The Islamic republic of Iraq!? NO WAY.

  • Islam is the official religion of the state and it is the main source of legislations and it is not allowed to make laws that contradict the fundamental teachings of Islam and its rules (the ones agreed upon by all Muslims) and this constitution shall preserve the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people (with its Shea't majority and its Sunni component) and respect the rights of all other religions.

    This is the deadliest point if approved; Islam or any religion cannot and must not be the main source of legislation.

  • The Iraqi state is part of the Islamic and Arabic worlds or (the Iraqi state is a founding member of the Arab league and the Islamic conference organization).

    Do we really need to put that in the constitution? After all, our "Muslim and Arab brothers" brought us nothing but troubles.

  • The family is the bas of the community and the state preserves the family's genuine Iraqi identity that is based on patriot, religious and ethical values and the state also is responsible for protecting maternity and childhood and looks after the youths and provide the appropriate environment to assure the development of their skills and capabilities.

    I don't know for sure what they mean by saying "the state preserves the family's genuine Iraqi identity that is based on patriot, religious and ethical values" but it doesn't sound great anyway

  • The state protects the basic rights of women including equality with men in accordance to the Islamic share'at and the state helps the women in creating balance between their duties within their families and their duties within the community.

    Equality according to Islamic Share'at? Thia is totally new to me!
Hopefully the sections Omar objects to will be changed before the Proposed Constitution is submitted for a vote


Liveblogging post mortem

Dwight Silverman attempted "Liveblogging" an event, and it did not go well, but he provides an interesting post mortem of things to consider if you ever attempt to LiveBlog an event.

Personally rather than reading someone liveblogging an event, I would rather be able to watch and hear the event over the net, and have it recorded so that it could be rewatched later as well.


Stem Cell Research

WaPo reports Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced yesterday that he now supports legislation to lift President Bush's restrictions on federally funded embryonic stem cell research, a shift that infuriated religious conservatives and turned a spotlight back on the White House.... In the face of a presidential veto threat, the Tennessee Republican with White House aspirations of his own said he will support House-passed legislation to repeal the Bush restrictions and allow research on stem cells donated by couples who have completed in vitro fertilization and no longer need their remaining frozen embryos. He hopes to schedule a Senate vote in September, though he acknowledged widespread disagreement on how to proceed with a debate that could involve up to eight competing bills.

joel blogged The ethics of IVF (in vitro fertilization) is based on expediency: it does help couples who are having trouble getting pregnant to have children. But it creates many more embryos than the couple will use, mainly because creating embryos one at a time would be prohibitively expensive. If you believe, as Frist claims he does, that human life begins at conception, then IVF involves the hideous equation of lives for money.

I agree that life begins at conception, but the problem is not that Frist will support allowing research on the embryos that are about to be destroyed; the problem is that so many embryos were created without the intention of bringing them to term. What they should do is allow these embryos to be used, but require tighter controls over the future creation of excess embryos in future IVF procedures.
Once you accept the morality or at least the expediency of IVF's lives-for-money equation, Frist's frozen embryo exploitation scheme is a relatively small step, involving only piddly issues like privacy and the lack of "strong ethical and scientific oversight." To put it another way, as long as the parents are ok with it, and as long as the doctors and scientists give it the nod, it's ok to take an innocent human life. Frist, you give new play to the phrase "hypocritical oath."
I disagree with the characterization. The problem is that the embryos were about to be destroyed; not that some use was made of them
Michael blogged he believes that parents should have the option of destroying their unborn children if it's for a good cause.
Would you prefer that they destroy their unborn children for no good cause? Because that is the alternative.

Stem Cell Research is going to be approved. What we should focus on is not trying to block it, but bundling in
  • restrictions on the creation of so many excess embryos with no expectation of bringing them to term
  • absolute prohibition of creating any embryo with the intention of harvesting it's stem cells, or doing anything with it other than bringing it to term
  • spending an equal amount of money on adult stem cell research


Permanent Patriot Act

NYT reported The Senate voted unanimously on Friday to make permanent virtually all the main provisions of the law known as the USA Patriot Act, after Republican leaders agreed to include additional civil rights safeguards and to forestall any expansion of the government's counterterrorism powers. The House passed a bill of its own last week that would also extend the law's surveillance and law enforcement powers, which the Bush administration considers critical to combating terrorism. While the House and Senate bills are not identical, the differences are modest enough that Congressional officials said they were confident that they could work out a compromise.

This is good.


Pentagon to give up bases in Germany reported The US army said on Friday it would hand over 13 of its German bases to Berlin, some perhaps as early as next year, as part of the Pentagon's gradual draw-down of 50,000 troops stationed in Europe. Almost all of the bases are in or near the southern German town of W├╝rzburg, headquarters of the US army's 1st Infantry Division. Earlier this week, the Pentagon announced the 1st ID would move to Fort Riley, Kansas, by the middle of next year. The other German-based army division, the 1st Armoured, will move to Fort Bliss, Texas, but the timing of its move has not been announced. The division is currently going to Iraq.

This makes a lot of sense. Aside from a base with a major hospital, I dont see why we need a significant military presence in Germany.


Moral Hazard

J. Peter Scoblic writes in The New Republic Online Democracy has become George W. Bush's reflexive answer to terrorism. Before the wreckage left by the July 7 bombings in London had even cooled, he broke from the G-8 summit in Scotland to explain how we would defeat the perpetrators of such attacks: "We will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate." Four days later, he elaborated, "Today in the Middle East, freedom is once again contending with an ideology that seeks to sow anger and hatred and despair. And, like fascism and communism before, the hateful ideologies that use terror will be defeated by the unstoppable power of freedom and democracy."

This is true. Love trumps hate, and freedom trumps despair.
.... Yet the notion that we should defend ourselves chiefly by spreading democracy seems less than reassuring on the heels of the July 7 attack. After all, the four bombers who struck London were British--residents of one of the world's oldest and most stable democracies.
Britain went overboard and permitted the most extreme speach soliciting jihadists. Freedom of speech does not mean you can yell fire in a crowded theater.
The war on terrorism is, at some level, a war of ideas: To the extent that we can substitute democracy and liberal values for autocracy and Islamic fundamentalism, we will probably improve our security--and we should therefore try to do so.
So George W Bush's approach is right.
Illustration by Christophe VorletBut freedom--as Richard Haass, Bush's former director of policy planning at the State Department, has written--is not a doctrine. That is, the spread of freedom cannot be our guiding principle in the war on terrorism, because the spread of freedom cannot protect us from all terrorist threats, particularly the immediate ones. In fact, in the short term, democratization appears to exacerbate, rather than ameliorate, terrorism. The case in point is, of course, Iraq, which, according to the National Intelligence Council, now serves as a training and recruitment ground for the next generation of jihadists--its popularly elected government notwithstanding.
It may well be a training ground, because the jihadists fear a stable democracy and are coming in from many other countries, but it is not a recruitment ground, because Iraqis are not being lured into becoming jihadists; they are coming from Saudia Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, and many other countries. There is a certain level of Sunni insurgents, but many of them are criminals released by Saddam just before the US invasion, who dont want a stable government because then they would be sent back to prision.


Catch and Release

Rich Lowry wrote in National Review Online “Catch and release” should stay with the fishes.

There are two types of people who are intimately familiar with the practice of “catch and release” — fishermen and border-control agents. Fishermen at least get some satisfaction from it. For border-control agents, it is a symptom of this nation’s contempt for its own immigration laws. When Mexicans are caught crossing into the U.S., they are returned across the border. When illegals from countries Other Than Mexico (OTMs) are caught, it’s more complicated. They often come from Latin American countries that have various obstacles to repatriation,

If there are obstacles to repatriation, then we need to explore solutions to those obstacles, but just letting someone go is not the solution. If we can't send them back to their country of origin, what would we do with them should they show up for their deportion hearing, and should the decision be to deport?
and we don’t have the space to hold them. So they are released into the U.S. after they promise to show up at a deportation hearing. That promise and $80 might get you the services of an illegal day laborer. Congress is beginning a scorching battle over immigration policy, pitting anti-enforcement business and ethnic lobbies backing the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill against grassroots supporters of a tough-enforcement approach, embodied in the more muscular Kyl-Cornyn bill. There is no better emblem of the border insanity Congress must fix than the travesty of “catch and release.”
I completely agree. I cannot see any reasonable explanation for this policy.
The Border Patrol is set to apprehend 150,000 OTMs in this fiscal year. Most of those are caught in the Rio Grande Valley Sector in Southeast Texas, where 52,160 OTMs have been caught so far this year. Of those, 92 percent have been released on their own recognizance — and are probably bound for an urban area near you. The immigration court in Harlingen, Texas, has a failure-to-appear rate of roughly 90 percent. The illegals are supposed to provide an address where they can be found. Instead, they provide fake addresses or none at all. OTMs are known to present themselves to border agents once they cross the border so they can get their “notice to appear” (or “to disappear,” as it is commonly called) and duly proceed on their way. Law-enforcement officials tell of people claiming to be from South or Central America being released although they don’t speak Spanish. An estimated 400,000 fugitive illegals in the U.S. have failed to appear for their hearings. The office within the Department of Homeland Security responsible for detentions and removals has 18,500 detention beds. Of those, 16,800 are reserved for criminals and others who urgently have to be detained. Those beds are overwhelmed, since so many criminal aliens attempt to (and do) make it into the U.S. (Between March 2003 and February 2004, nearly 80,000 criminal aliens were deported.) That leaves only 1,700 beds for everyone else. It’s not enough.
Then buy more beds, or let them sleep on the floor.


Saturday, July 30

This Day In History

  • 1619   The first representative assembly in America convened in Jamestown, Va.
  • 1729   The city of Baltimore was founded.
  • 1792   The French national anthem ''La Marseillaise'' by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, was first sung in Paris.
  • 1863   American automaker Henry Ford was born in Dearborn Township, Mich.
  • 1889   Vladimir Zworykin, called the ''Father of Television'' for inventing the iconoscope, was born in Russia.
  • 1898   "Scientific America" carried the first magazine automobile ad. The Winton Motor Car Company of Cleveland, OH invited readers to “Dispense with a Horse.”
  • 1932   The Olympic Games opened in Los Angeles, CA. The Games would revisit Los Angeles -- and the same venues of the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Rose Bowl, etc. -- in 1984.
  • 1942   President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill creating a women's auxiliary agency in the Navy known as Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES.
  • 1956   The phrase “In God We Trust” was adopted as the U.S. national motto.
  • 1965   President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare bill into law.
  • 1975   Former Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in suburban Detroit. Although presumed dead, his remains have never been found.
  • 1996   A federal law enforcement source said security guard Richard Jewell had become a focus of the investigation into the bombing at Centennial Olympic Park. Jewell was later cleared.
  • 1996   Actress Claudette Colbert died at age 92.
  • 1998   ''Buffalo Bob'' Smith, the cowboy-suited host of ''The Howdy Doody Show,'' died at age 80.
  • 2002   Expelled from Congress a week earlier, an unrepentant James A. Traficant Jr. was sentenced to eight years behind bars for corruption.
  • 2002   WNBA player Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks became the first woman to dunk in a professional game during her team's 82-73 loss to the Miami Sol.
  • 2003   Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, who discovered Elvis Presley, died in Memphis, Tenn., at age 80.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1818   Emily Bronte (author: Wuthering Heights; died Dec 19, 1848)
  • 1863   Henry Ford (auto manufacturer: first assembly line production: the Tin Lizzie; died Apr 7, 1947)
  • 1939   Peter Bogdanovich (director: What’s Up Doc?, Paper Moon, Nickelodeon; director/writer: The Last Picture Show, Texasville)
  • 1939   Eleanor Smeal (feminist: president of NOW)
  • 1941   Paul Anka (songwriter)
  • 1947   Arnold Schwarzenegger (actor, Governor)
  • 1956   Delta Burke (actress: Delta, Designing Women, Filthy Rich, Chisholm; Miss Florida)
  • 1956   Anita Hill (law professor: Hill-Thomas hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee concerning Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court)
  • 1974   Hilary Swank (actress: Growing Pains, Evening Shade, The Next Karate Kid)


Friday, July 29, 2005

Sources: Bush to Appoint Bolton on Recess

Yahoo! News reports President Bush intends to announce next week that he is going around Congress to install embattled nominee John Bolton as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, senior administration officials said Friday.

It's about time. Why did it take this long. Congress has been adjourned several times since it was obvious the Dems were never going to let Bolton through
Bush has the power to fill vacancies without Senate approval while Congress is in recess. Under the Constitution, a recess appointment during the lawmakers' August break would last until the next session of Congress, which begins in January 2007. An end run around the Senate confirmation process would certainly annoy senators — particularly Democrats — at a time when Bush's nomination of John Roberts to serve on the Supreme Court hangs in the balance. It also could hamper Bolton at the United Nations, by sending him there as a short-timer without the Senate's backing.

Jayson @PoliPundit blogged If the headline of this media self-therapy session is accurate, then it’s about to get much colder on Planet Moonbat Liberal.


Another Planet

NYT reported Add a 10th planet to the solar system - or possibly subtract one. Astronomers announced today that they had found a lump of rock and ice that is larger than Pluto and the farthest known object in the solar system. The discovery will likely rekindle debate over the definition of "planet" and whether Pluto should still be regarded as one. The new object - as yet unnamed, but temporarily designated as 2003 UB313 - is currently 9 billion miles away from the Sun, or 97 times as far away as the Earth and about three times Pluto's current distance from the Sun. But its 560-year elliptical orbit also brings it as close as 3.3 billion miles. Pluto's orbit ranges between 2.7 billion and 4.6 billion miles. The astronomers do not have an exact size for the new planet, but its brightness and distance tell them that it is at least as large as Pluto. "It is guaranteed bigger than Pluto," said Michael E. Brown, a professor of planetary astronomy at Caltech and a member of the team that made the discovery. "Even if it were 100 percent reflective, it would be larger than Pluto. It can't be more than 100 percent reflective." The discovery was made Jan. 8 using a 48-inch telescope at Palomar Observatory in California. Dr. Brown and the other members of the team - Chadwick A. Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii and David L. Rabinowitz of Yale University - then found that they had, unknowingly, taken images of the planet taken as far back as 2003.

Little Mercury is first, then Venus with its clouds galore, then comes Earth, our mother Planet, and redish Mars is number four. Jupiter is next, a real giant, then Saturn with its shiny rings, Uranus seven, and Neptune eight, and far off Pluto is not great. But Mercury is first.

That was a song a learned when I was very young. Now I guess I am going to have to learn a new song.


More Daylight Savings: Energy Boon or Scheduling Snafu?

National Geographic reported This week the U.S. Congress is expected to pass a mammoth new energy bill that includes subsidies to oil and gas companies and encourages nuclear power. Yet the bill's most controversial aspect may be its monthlong extension of daylight saving time. The move's energy-saving potential is uncertain. So few data exist on the subject that the plan calls for a new energy-impact study to be commissioned after the proposal becomes law—but before clock changes would actually take effect in 2007. The bill calls for daylight savings to begin three weeks earlier, on the second Sunday in March, and to end on the first Sunday in November, one week later than daylight saving time currently does (see the history of daylight saving time in the U.S.). Advocates such as Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey, who is co-sponsoring the bill in the House of Representatives, say the plan is about more than just saving energy. "In addition to the benefits of energy saving, less crime, fewer traffic fatalities, more recreation time and increased economic activity, day light saving just brings a smile to everybody's faces," Congressman Markey said in a press statement. Some of the bill's boosters cite U.S. Department of Transportation studies from the 1970s. The studies evaluated the 1974 and 1975 extensions of daylight saving time. The 1970s extensions were designed to address the energy crisis spurred by an oil embargo. In 2001 then-acting deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy Linda Lawson discussed the 1970s research before the House Science Committee. She reported that the studies had found an extension of daylight savings in springtime "might result in electricity savings of 1 percent in March and April, equivalent to roughly a hundred thousand barrels of oil daily over the two months." (See "How Long Will Cheap Oil Last?") The study also noted reductions in crime and traffic accidents, attributed to extended daylight hours. But Lawson also cautioned the committee about drawing conclusions from studies that were already old in 2001. "I want to note that these studies are over 25 years old and were limited in scope," she told the committee. "Congress captured many of the benefits identified in our studies in the legislative changes to daylight saving time enacted in 1986. There have been dramatic changes in lifestyle and commerce since we completed our studies that raise serious questions about extrapolating conclusions from our studies into today's world." Recent research on the subject is thin on the ground. The state of California's energy commission, however, studied the effects of daylight saving time on energy costs during California's 2001 energy crisis. "Our report indicated that if we [extended] daylight saving time through all of March, there would be a decline of electricity use at peak hours of about 3.5 percent," said Claudia Chandler, the organization's assistant executive director.

"However, overall electricity use would only decline about one half of a percent. You're basically shifting noncritical energy use to later in the day," Chandler said. "It was assumed that people would stay outside later and that when they came in they would go to bed earlier because it got dark." "In California it's all about shifting use to off-peak hours after 7 p.m.," Chandler continued. "I don't know how it might work in states that don't have the same kind of weather-driven [usage] peaks as California." The plan's opponents point to potential problems that have little to do with regional weather patterns. The airline industry is adamantly against a change of the daylight saving calendar, which officials say will severely affect scheduling. "There will be disruption all over the place. If [daylight saving time] is extended [by] four weeks, we'll end up with some really major difficulties," Anthony Concil said. Concil is spokesperson for the International Air Transport Association, which represents 265 airlines that account for 94 percent of all international scheduled air traffic. "When Europe and the U.S. are on different times, connections become less convenient. Right now there is one week of discord between the U.S. and Europe so it's sort of at a manageable level," Concil said. If the energy bill passes in its present form, every year "you might have a monthlong period where you have lousy connections, so from a traveler's perspective it's not going to be particularly good," he added. Airlines may ultimately feel the change where it hurts the most—on the bottom line....

My personal feeling is that if we have to have Daylight Savings Time during part of the year, we should have Daylight Losing Time the rest of the year to make up for it. In generally I would prefer to see them dump the whole thing. You just get used to it being light when you wake up, just to have them switch into Daylight Savings Time, and it is dark again when you have to go to work, and when kids have to walk to the Bus Stop, risking their lives by doing it when it is still dark.


The jihadists cannot be reasoned with, only defeated

Victor Davis Hanson wrote in National Review Online Remember how shortly after September 11 Mohammed Atta’s lawyer father sounded worried in his cozy apartment? He stammered that his son did not help engineer the deaths of 3,000 Americans. According to him, the videos of the falling towers were doctored. Or maybe the wily Jews did it. Why, in fact, he had only talked to dear Mohammed Junior that very day, September 11. Surely someone other than his son was the killer taped boarding his death plane.

Anything other than the truth.
Apparently Mohammed el-Amir was worried of American retaliation — as if a cruise missile might shatter the very window of his upper-middle class Giza apartment on the premise that the father’s hatred had been passed on to the son. He sings a rather different tune now. Mohammed el-Amir recently boasts that he would like to see more attacks like the July 7 bombings of the London subway. Indeed, he promised to use any future fees from his interviews to fund more of such terrorist killings of the type that his now admittedly deceased son mastered. Apparently in the years since 9/11, el-Amir has lost his worry about an angry America taking out its wrath on the former Muslim Brotherhood member who sired such a monster like Atta. Yet one wonders at what he is saying now, after the worst terrorist attack in Egyptian history at the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
He still wants to be paid $5000 for an interview, so he can pay the expenses of a terrorist.
Egypt finally is suffering from the same terror and mayhem that its radical sons like the pampered Atta and Dr. Zawahiri unleashed on so many poorer others. The Mubaracracy may not take kindly to Atta’s father endorsing such carnage from his pleasant apartment that is incinerating those other than Jews and Westerners — and threatens to ruin the nation’s entire tourist industry. The father of Mohammed Atta is emblematic of this crazy war, and we can learn various lessons from his sad saga. First, for all their braggadocio, the Islamists are cowardly, fickle, and attuned to the current political pulse. When the West is angry and liable to expel Middle Eastern zealots from its shores, strike dictators and terrorists abroad, and seems unfathomable in its intentions, the Islamists retreat. Thus a shaky al-Amir once assured us after 9/11 that his son was not capable of such mass murder. But when we seem complacent, they brag of more killing to come. Imagine an American father giving interviews from his apartment in New York, after his son had just blown up a shrine in Mecca, with impunity promising to subsidize further such terrorist attacks. If our government allowed him to rant and rave like that in such advocacy of mass murder, then we would be no better than he. The other lesson is that the war the Arab autocracies thought was waged against the West by their own zealots has now turned on them. The old calculus of deflecting their failures onto us by entering in an unspoken unholy agreement with the Islamists is coming to an end. George Bush’s “You are either with us or against us” is belatedly arriving to the Middle East’s illegitimate regimes. And the governments of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other autocracies are in worse shape than we are. At least we are promoting democratic alternatives to their dictatorships, in the hopes that when such strongmen fall, there is another choice besides the jihadists. But the autocrats themselves have nowhere to go. Since they never allowed a loyal democratic opposition, there is only the unsavory choice of either liberalizing while they are in the middle of a bombing war with extremists — or the fate of the shah. Quite simply, Islam is not in need of a reformation, but of a civil war in the Middle East, since the jihadists cannot be reasoned with, only defeated. Only with their humiliation, will come a climate of tolerance and reform, when berated and beaten-down moderates can come out of the shadows. The challenge for the Middle East is analogous to our own prior war with Hitler who sought to redefine Western culture along some racial notion of a pure Volk long ago unspoiled by Romanizing civilization. Proving the West was not about race or some notion of an ubermenschen ruling class did not require an “internal dialogue,” much less another religious reformation, but the complete annihilation of Nazism. So it must be with the latest fad of radical Islamicism. Contrary to popular opinion, there has not been a single standard doctrine of hatred in the Middle East. Radical Islam is just the most recent brand of many successive pathologies, not necessarily any more embraced by a billion people than Hitler’s Nazism was characteristic of the entire West. In the 1940s the raging -ism in the Middle East was anti-Semitic secular fascism, copycatting Hitler and Mussolini — who seemed by 1942 ascendant and victorious. Between the 1950s and 1970s Soviet-style atheistic Baathism and tribal Pan-Arabism were deemed the waves of the future and unstoppable. By the 1980s Islamism was the new antidote for the old bacillus of failure and inadequacy. Each time an -ism was defeated, it was only to be followed by another — as it always is in the absence of free markets and constitutional government. Saddam started out as a pro-Soviet Communist puppet, then fancied himself a fascistic dictator and pan-Arabist nationalist, and ended up building mosques, always in search of the most resonant strain of hatred. Arafat was once a left-wing atheistic thug. When the Soviet Union waned, he dropped the boutique socialism, and became a South-American-style caudillo. At the end of his days, he too got religion as the Arab Street turned to fundamentalism and Hamas threatened to eat away his support. The common theme is not the Koran, but the constant pathology of the Middle East — gender apartheid, polygamy, religious intolerance, tribalism, no freedom, a censored press, an educational system of brainwashing rather than free inquiry — that lends itself to the next cult to explain away failure and blame the West, which always looms as both whore and Madonna to the Arab Street. Iraq has inadvertently become the battleground of a long overdue reckoning, a bellwether of the future of the Middle East. If the constitutionalists win, then the jihadists will be in retreat and there will be at last a third way between radical Islam and dictatorship. We must now step up our efforts. At home we should no more tolerate the expression of Islamic fascism on the shores of the West than Churchill would have allowed Hitler Youth to teach Aryan global racial superiority in London while it was under the Blitz. When the extremists are repatriated to the Middle East, and understand they are never again welcome in Europe and America, millions of others will know the reason why — and decide by their own attitudes to the killers in their midst whether they themselves wish ever again to visit, work, or be educated in the West. If the terrorists are not isolated and ostracized at home, then any Western government would have to be suicidal to admit any more young males from the Islamic Middle East. Indeed, if the Iranian public or the Saudis, or Egyptian citizenry do not begin creating a climate hostile to radical Islam, then they de facto can only become the enemies of the United States in a war that they can only lose.
There will be such a war, and here is how it will turn out.
To fathom our success abroad, read what the Islamic websites — or Mohammed Atta’s own father — now say about the evil Americans and George Bush, who, they lament, have set Muslim against Muslim in Lebanon, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine. The foreign contagion of democracy and reform, despite the best efforts of both the mullah and the strongman, now infects the Arab Street and it seems to be driving bin Laden and Bashar Assad alike crazy.
Iraqi guardsmen are fighting al Qaedists as Afghans die in firefights with Taliban remnants. Note well that at the loci of American democratizing presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, there are few local Iraqis and Afghans — as there are few Turkish or Indian Muslims — who are eager for global jihad against the West. The killers instead flock from elsewhere to those new nations to stop the experiment before it spreads. Give dictatorial Pakistan or Egypt billions, and we get ever more terrorists; give the Iraqis and Afghans their freedom and their citizens are unlikely to show up in London and Madrid blowing up civilians, but rather busy at home killing jihadists. In this Mexican standoff, the Islamists, dictators, and democratic reformers are waging a struggle for the hearts and minds of the Middle East. We have had our own similar three-way shootout in the West between fascists, Communists, and liberal republics. Backing Communists to stop fascists or helping autocrats fight Communists were stop-gap, wartime exigencies — never solutions in themselves. The Middle East does not need a reformation in Islam as much as a war to eradicate a minority of religious fanatics who are empowered through their blackmail of dictatorships — and to do so in a way that leads to constitutional government rather than buttressing a police state. So far governments have chosen appeasement and bribery — if at times some torture when demands for investigations rise — and so time is running out for the entire region. There are a million Muslims in Israel — the mother of all evils in the radical Islamic mind. Yet very few have turned themselves into global jihadists, and hundreds are not blowing themselves up daily in Tel Aviv, much less in London or New York. Why? Perhaps the twofold knowledge that they have rights in Israel not found in the Arab world that they don’t wish to forfeit, and they are surrounded by people who would not tolerate their terrorism. For the first time, Afghans and Iraqis have a stake in their own future — and know the United States is at last on the right side of history and intends to stay and win by their side. So we press on.


Madrassa foreigners 'must leave'

BBC reports Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says all foreign students at madrassas, or religious schools, some 1,400 pupils, must leave the country. "Any (foreigners) in the madrassas - even dual nationality holders - will leave Pakistan," Gen Musharraf said.

I guess this is good. It means we only need to worry about the Pakistani extremists that will then come out of Pakistan. Maybe a better solution would be to clamp down on what is taught at the madrassas.

Saudia Arabia, are you doing anything to clamp down on what is taught in your madrassas?
This is the latest in a series of measures the president has announced in a renewed clampdown on extremism. Madrassas have been in the spotlight after one of the London bombers was reported to have studied at one.


Bush Continues to Make Advances on His Agenda

NYT reports His problems remain many, and include the relentless violence in Iraq,

and the MSM that refuses to report the good things
the leak investigation that has ensnared some of his top aides
and which the MSM continues to hype
and poll numbers that suggest substantial dissatisfaction with both his foreign and domestic policies.
or rather which shows how the MSM has misled many.
But President Bush has still had a pretty good July, showing how his own doggedness and a Republican majority in Congress have consistently allowed him to push his agenda forward even when the political winds are in his face. In a flurry of last-minute action as it prepared to recess, Congress on Thursday passed or stood at the brink of final action on several hard-fought measures that had been at the top of Mr. Bush's summer to-do list and that at times had seemed to be long shots. The House narrowly approved a new trade deal with Central American nations early on Thursday morning, the final hurdle for a pact that was one of the administration's top economic priorities this year. The House and Senate were wrapping up work Thursday on an energy bill that more or less conforms to what Mr. Bush has sought. And the two chambers were moving toward final passage of a transportation bill that contained enough pork to please lawmakers as they headed home, but with a price tag acceptable to the White House. Even as the legislative wheels turned in Mr. Bush's direction, the White House was watching with satisfaction as the president's choice to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, Judge John G. Roberts, continued to win support from all wings of the Republican Party while leaving Democrats with little that might threaten his confirmation. "You can disagree with the merits of individual things, but there's a lot that's been done," said John B. Breaux, the former Democratic senator from Louisiana who often worked across party lines. The president's record over the past few weeks, combined with generally good economic news and word that the budget deficit is shrinking, suggests that Mr. Bush has hardly lapsed into the lame-duck status that Democrats had been hoping to assign him.

Hugh Hewitt blogged For a nation that is the midst of a poker craze, you would think that by now most would have figured out that President Bush isn't the sort of character who calls "All In" twice a month. Rather, he plays his hands well, wins most of the time, and watches as his opponents throw down cards in disgust and walk away. (If you didn't hear Nancy Pelosi's press conference yesterday, you missed the pure sound of a loser who will never be anything but a loser because she cannot get above her own bitterness to ask what it is that allows the president to keep winning hand after hand.)

True enough, Bush hasn't brought home Social Security reform, and Democratic obstruction on that and a host of other issues will be part of the campaign in '06. Bush knows that his place at the table goes on for three and half more years.

But he keeps piling up win after win. When the "legacy" detectives come 'round in '09 and thereafter, they won't be struggling --as they have been with Clinton-- to find anything of note.

Captain Ed blogged It doesn't stop with the laundry list of legislative wins covered by the New York Times and the AP -- two media sources hardly sympathetic to Bush -- but earlier this week he finally forced the Democrats to give a substantive response to his proposed Social Security reforms. Not only did Bush make the Democrats stop playing their faux-Gingrich strategy of yelling "No!" over and over again, but in their haste they put forward a plan which changes nothing in Social Security ... but emphasizes private retirement plans, an endorsement that has privatization opponents shaking their heads.

The Dems continue to underestimate Bush


Blogs that Matter

Matthew Schifrin writes in Forbes This summer we have trained our sights on the rapidly growing world of blogs, also known as the "blogosphere". We identify the best blogs in categories ranging from Art and Literary Blogs, to Small Business, Marketing, Shopping and Music Blogs.

  • Forbes Favorites: Blogs
    Our editors' top picks in 10 Blogging categories from Automobile Blogs to Video Blogs.

  • Art Blogs
    The art world sometimes feels like another country with its own language and customs. Blogs can offer a passport. While some mirror the insular and gossipy nature of the art world, there are many that are thoughtful, accessible and dedicated to taking the mystery and intimidation out of the looking experience.

  • Automobile Blogs
    Today, there are more than 450 million passenger cars traveling the streets and roads of the world so it is no surprise that when they are not behind the wheel, car enthusiasts and experts have taken to the Web to provide grassroots insights about the driving machines they are passionate about.

  • Blog Tools
    Are you feeling the lure of Weblogging? Publishing your ideas and opinions for all the World Wide Web to read? If you are, you will need to know which sites offer the best tools for setting up and managing your fledgling Web publishing operation.
    Similiar to my Comparison of Blog Services. Interestingly they rate WordPress their favorite (and it is what I am working on templates for, to move my Blog to), and their next entry is Blogger, which I use.

  • Career Blogs
    Job-hunting is a full time job itself. Whether you're looking for a job or just taking a look at what's out there, you can collect a great deal of practical information from these career-related blogs.

  • City Blogs
    Need a good chocolate pedicure? Hankering for a taste of old Coney Island's Mermaid Festival? You'll find them here. Metro blogging sites are sprouting all over the world to tell you where to eat, drink, recreate and shop.
    Four NY Blogs, plus Chicago, DC, San Francisco, and Toranto, and one for 30 cities [actually 33 as I count them] (Atlanta, Austin, Bangkok, Berlin, Birmingham, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Hawaii, Houston, Istanbul, Karachi, Lahore, London, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Minneapolis, Montreal, New Orleans, New York City, Orange County, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna, Washington D.C.) but they leave out Tulsa

  • Economics Blogs
    Blogging has become a popular way for economists to share their insight and opinions with readers from all over the world. The trend has created a community of online opinions that economists, both casual and professional, can read and respond to. Economists and armchair commentators can share the most soporific statistics and the most pragmatic ideas while finding time to disagree.

  • Health and Fitness Blogs
    Even with the proliferation of gyms, fitness magazines and diets du jour, those seeking to improve their health often feel in need of connection, support, and not a little self-aggrandizement. The Web now offers a vast number of blogs where individuals post information about their strategies to improve their health and fitness.

  • Literary Blogs
    Much like political blogs, literary blogs have made pseudo-celebrities of their creators while offering alternatives to the mainstream press. Their breathless late-night posts--part literary gossip, part book club chatter, part critical rant--discuss the books that aren't reviewed in The New York Times.

  • Marketing Blogs
    Most new era marketers understand the power of promotion and branding as well as the benefits of low costs real-time connectivity offered by the Web. Hence, it's no surprise that many professional marketers and "guru" authors--looking to increase their own credibility and enhance business--have taken to blogging by offering advice and insights on their craft.

  • Media Blogs
    Many blogs take it as their mission to monitor the so-called MSM, or Mainstream Media. And since you can't beat 'em, mass media figures have decided to join 'em--and started blogging as well. Today it's tough to separate the media-watchers from the mass media itself.
    I have been watching many of these, and I find it strange that they include Huffington Post in this category

  • Medical Blogs
    Medical advice, suspect or not, has long been available on the Web. Now, you can add medical blogs to the list. Of course, the information here is no substitute for a visit to the doctor, but those posting articles and commentary on these blogs can help you to become more informed and ask the right questions when you do visit the doctor.
    These look interesting, and I may start monitoring some of them.

  • Meta Blogs
    Most people don't realize it but blogs are more than just Web pages, they're built on databases. What that means is that the information they contain (posts about ice cream, politics or about the NBA playoffs) isn't just accessible through a Web browser. All sorts of software applications can access the data (also known as "feeds") and read or search it. The "meta" sites below do just that, allowing you to search through millions of blogs at once; to read the latest from a selected few; and to look for interesting tidbits.
    These are interesting. I would have included them in Blogging Tools, but they are certainly useful for Prospective and Current Bloggers

  • Music Blogs
    Much of what's peddled for download on the Internet's hundreds of music-oriented blogs isn't authorized by the artists or their labels. It's not just the Billboard hits, either. The best of the lot serve up sharp reviews, witty repartee, an active and vocal audience, and yes, access to the kind of exclusive, sometimes illegal music and mixes unavailable at the Virgin Megastore.

  • Political Blogs
    Polite, bipartisan and civil discussions are for wussies. In the realm of political blogs, pundits say what they won't say on television. The vast majority of political bloggers are left leaning but there are a growing number of more conservative commentators coming online.
    I found it interesting that of the Left Wing blogs, they list Atrios higher than Daily Kos. I bet that ticks him off.

  • Shopping Blogs
    Everyone knows the Web is a shopper's paradise, teeming with great goods and great buys. But how to fish them out of the vast virtual ocean? Enter shopping bloggers. Whether you're interested in the hottest designer fashions or a comic book version of the ancient Hindu epic Mahabharata, these uber-shoppers troll the Web for the coolest stuff, along with the best deals and discounts.

  • Small Business Blogs
    It stands to reason that budding businesspeople would be attracted to Weblogs, those do-it-yourself publishing sites that embody the very spirit of entrepreneurism. What do blogs add to the small-business dialogue that a whole host of magazines, cable channels and Web sites don't? In addition to transmitting news, industry gossip and occasional rants, the best small business blogs offer interactivity, allowing readers to chime into the dialogue with their own bright ideas.

  • Sports Blogs
    Blogs and fandom go hand-in-hand. Where better to obsess, rant, speculate--and just plain interact with other rabid sports fans than the 24/7 free-for-all of the blogosphere? Check out sports blogs for commentary and stories you won't see on SportsCenter.

  • Technology Blogs
    There are thousands of technology Web sites out there, but Weblogs are your e-ticket to becoming an industry insider.

  • Video Blogs
    Vlogging's early-adopters are from a vast array of backgrounds who share anything from confessional-style video diaries, hand puppet action movies, baby's first haircut or citizen journalist-style daily newscasts. It isn't anything like what you see on TV, and that's the point. It is new, personal, amateur, and growing more popular every day.

  • Video Game Blogs
    Electronic gaming is booming and as Generation X and Yers get older it will become even bigger and more mainstream. Most gamers are already using the Web to play, buy, chat and read about games and gaming so blogs abound.


Why jihadists target the West |

CSM reports A recent global upsurge in Islamist terrorism is rekindling a debate over the extremists' motivations that first spiked after the 9/11 attacks: Is the violence aimed at who we (the West) are - or at what we do? For some experts, the attacks - whether in London or Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt - are aimed at the West for what it is doing: in other words for its policies, like the war in Iraq. Others insist that the perpetrators are more at odds with the ideals of the West and "who we are."

CSM is running a poll on this subject, and with 988 votes in 62.1% think it is "what we do", and 37.9% think it is "who we are". These results how how people have been fooled by the MSM. Only 37.9% realize the truth, it is "who we are". For those who say it is because of the War in Iraq, remember we were not in Iraq OR in Afganistan when planes were flown into two buildings in New York, into the Pentagon, and into a field in Pennsylvania (probably headed for either the White House or Congress).

For the latter group, this is a war of civilizations or ideologies that the West has no choice but to fight aggressively, because anything else would entail appeasement and imply a retreat from identity and principles.

Precisely. And while there may be some validity in the "what we do", it is not focused on our presence in Iraq (that is just an excuse, and if we were not in Iraq it would be our presence in Afganistan, or our support for Israel, or some other excuse). The "what we do" that they object to is our culture. They object to the movies and TV shows that come out of Hollywood. I happen to object to many of them as well, but I just don't watch those movies and TV shows; I don't blow myself up to kill others. They object to they way we treat women with respect, and to the way our women dress. If they dont like it, they need to move elsewhere, because I dont see that changing (and I wonder if their women would prefer to stay here).


London is bombed. Protect Muslims!

JWR reported Desperation has again led Muslims to commit suicide bombings, this time in London. Brits still bewildered by the attacks, protesting, "But we're not Jewish!" need to get out of their cocoons and start asking the relevant question: Why is this happening?

Sarcasm mode on
To stop terrorism, one must remove the root causes of terrorism. To that end, maybe it's time England pulled out of occupied Londonistan. Only then will this cycle of violence end. With the unemployment rate among British Muslims at 10 percent above the national average, perhaps a divestment campaign, as well as an academic boycott of England, would help England figure out what it's been doing wrong. Either way, our favoritism toward this colonial power at the expense of Muslims must end. "Polls of British Muslims show a considerable sense of anger," reports the NY Times. "Eight out of 10 believe that the war on terrorism is a war on Islam, while a poll conducted last year…found a surprising 13 percent who said that further attacks…on the United States would be justified." This is worrisome, considering that Muslims in Europe and America are picking up electoral strength as their numbers grow. In fact, we can expect soon to see a new addition to the bumper sticker genre of "I'm a woman and I vote," or "I'm retired and I vote": "I'm Muslim and I bomb." Within a day of the 7/7 attacks on British civilians, which naturally resulted in a surge of worldwide concern for Muslim welfare, headlines began streaming in, such as "Muslim Leaders Fear Revenge Attacks from the Extreme Right." ("And Therapy from the Left.") Other headlines have been hailing Britons for their stoicism in the face of terror. The UK Guardian reported that London's pubs were full — a response that sharply contrasted with American "hysteria" over such massacres. Then again, it's not like the Islamofascists have defeated the Brits on the soccer field yet. Experts have said it's likely the explosives used in London came from Muslim Bosnia — eliciting another huge sigh of relief from the world that we got rid of that Serbian dude. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Muslims are leaving European countries to blow themselves up in Iraq, confirming that living in Europe is so yucky that people would rather be dead in Iraq than alive in Europe.
Can anyone read Arabic? I am curious to know what is written on the girl's green headband.


Columnist Off The Air After ABC/Disney Is Intimidated By CAIR

JWR reports Yesterday Michael Graham wrote in his column: "I take no pleasure in saying it. It pains me to think it. I could very well lose my job in talk radio over admitting it. But it is the plain truth: Islam is a terror organization." And then his fears came true. Hours after his column appeared here, Graham, a mid-morning talker at WMAL in Washington, D.C., was suspended without pay pending an investigation. Graham's column and previous on-air comments were not the first time he's had a run-in with CAIR. In an April, 2004 column, he details other attempts by the Muslim group to silence him. But as late as this week, a WMAL executive, Randall Bloomquist, told the Washington Post that despite CAIR's protests about some of Graham's on-air utterances, the station had no intention of reprimanding him. Describing Graham's rhetoric as "amped up", he said, according to the paper, it is justified within the context of the program.

To write a polite but passionate letter to WMAL radio, CLICK HERE.


London attacks: turning point for US Islamic community

Shadi Hamid wrote in CSM It was all too familiar. Part of me felt a tinge of desperation, a feeling of inevitability. But this time, there was something else - a feeling that we, the American Muslim community, were now ready to take the steps we should have taken long ago.

You are right, you should have done it long ago, but I am happy to see you recognize that fact.
Where we had slowly become desensitized by the endless reports of slaughter in Iraq, 7/7 came unexpectedly, forcing our community to finally confront an uneasy reality. On that day, something clicked inside me and so many other Muslims who, in focusing primarily on the threat to Muslim civil liberties, had not paid enough attention to the threat of religious extremism in our own communities.
And you are in the best position to help expose the religious extremeism in your own communities.
July 7 will haunt us for the foreseeable future - as it should. As American Muslims, we had seen terrorism as something uniquely foreign - relevant, but remote. But the London attacks were a frightening reminder that if anti-American anger and jihadist sentiment were left unaddressed in our communities, the consequences would be devastating. Too often, in the face of nearly daily terror attacks abroad, American Muslims had wiggled and equivocated. Past condemnations of terrorist attacks have been sincere, no doubt, but they've sometimes had the appearance of being forced. This time around the response from the national Islamic organizations has been more forceful and resolute but that, alone, isn't enough.
I agree. We need you to help expose religious extremists in your communities.
First, the July 7 bombings reaffirmed what already should have been obvious - Islam has been hijacked by a band of murderers. It's imperative that Muslims, instead of waiting for others to remedy the situation, offer a stronger, more systematic response to terrorism. Mosque leaders must begin by instituting a policy of zero-tolerance for terrorism. In practice, this means that anyone caught advocating violence against the US government or its citizens should be, first, expelled from mosque grounds, and then reported to the appropriate authorities. Second, national Islamic organizations and local mosques must do more to encourage political integration of young American Muslims. Most Muslims will continue to oppose the Bush administration's policies abroad, especially its unbalanced approach to the Palestinian conflict
You may find this hard to believe, but Bush has said he clearly supports the idea of a Palestinian state, but it must be a democratic, law abiding state, prepared to live in peace with its neighbors, including Israel.
and its continued support for various Arab and Muslim autocracies. Yet, at the same time, an effort should be made to convince young, easily impressionable Muslims that the key to change lies not in a return to some idealized notion of an Islamic state, but rather in a pragmatic, nuanced approach to involvement in the American political process. Finally, Muslims must rediscover their religion's deep respect for the sanctity of human life - whether the lives in question are British, Iraqi, or Israeli.
I agree
The Muslim community's inability or unwillingness to speak out against suicide bombing in Israel is reflective of the moral depths to which we've so tragically sunk. Some things in life are morally ambiguous. The killing of Israelis in cafes and pizzerias, however, is not one of them. When we argue that the immorality or illegality of suicide bombing is contingent upon political considerations, we're on a dangerously slippery slope.


Friday, July 29

This Day In History

  • 1588   The English soundly defeated the Spanish Armada in the Battle of Gravelines.
  • 1890   Artist Vincent van Gogh died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Auvers, France, at age 37.
  • 1914   Transcontinental telephone service began with the first phone conversation between New York and San Francisco.
  • 1957   The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.
  • 1957   Jack Paar made his debut as host of NBC's ''Tonight'' show.
  • 1958   President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created NASA.
  • 1967   Fire swept the USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin, killing 134 servicemen.
  • 1968   Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church's stance against artificial methods of birth control.
  • 1975   President Gerald R. Ford became the first U.S. president to visit the site of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland.
  • 1993   The Israeli Supreme Court acquitted retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk of being Nazi death camp guard ''Ivan the Terrible,'' and threw out his death sentence.
  • 1997   Minamata Bay in Japan   once a worldwide symbol of industrial pollution   was declared free of mercury 40 years after contaminated fish were blamed for deaths and birth defects.
  • 1998   Choreographer Jerome Robbins died at age 79.
  • 1999   A day trader opened fire in two Atlanta brokerage offices, killing nine people and wounding 13 before shooting himself to death; he had earlier killed his wife and two children.
  • 2003   Boston Red Sox batter Bill Mueller became the first player in major league history to hit grand slams from both sides of the plate in a single game in a 14-7 win at Texas.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1905   Clara (Gordon) Bow (actress)
  • 1907   Melvin Belli (‘King of Torts’: attorney)
  • 1913   Stephen (Horace) McNally (actor: Dear Detective, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, A Bullet is Waiting, The Black Castle; died June 4, 1994)


Thursday, July 28, 2005

U.S. Muslims issue anti-terrorism 'fatwa'

Yahoo reports Top U.S. Muslim scholars issued a "fatwa," or religious edict, against terrorism on Thursday and called on Muslims to help authorities fight the scourge of militant violence.

It's about time.
The fatwa was part of efforts by U.S. Muslims to counter perceived links between Islam and terrorism and avert any negative backlash after this month's bombings by suspected Islamic extremists in London and Egypt. "Having our religious scholars side by side with our community leaders leaves no room for anybody to suggest that Islam and Muslims condone or support any forms or acts of terrorism," said Esam Omeish, president of the Muslim American Society, one of the groups which announced the fatwa. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said it was the first time Muslims in North America had issued an anti-terrorism edict, although they had repeatedly condemned such acts of violence. American Muslims this month launched a nationwide advertising campaign in which they declared that those who committed terrorism in the name of Islam were betraying the teachings of the Koran.


US jails Yemeni al-Qaeda backer

BBC reported A Yemeni cleric who claimed to have ties with Osama Bin Laden has been sentenced to 75 years in prison in New York. Sheikh Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad was convicted on charges of conspiring to support the al-Qaeda network and Palestinian militant group Hamas. At a meeting with two FBI informants in Germany, he was recorded promising to funnel more than $2m (£1.1m) to Hamas. He was arrested by German police in January 2003 and extradited to the US. For each of five counts, Moayad received 15-year sentences, each to be served consecutively. He was also fined $1.25m in a federal court. He was convicted of conspiring to support al-Qaeda and Hamas, supporting the Palestinian group and attempting to support al-Qaeda. The judge in the case, Judge Sterling Johnson, said videotaped evidence used to convict him was "chilling". "He did provide material support, money, weapons and recruits to Hamas and al Qaeda," the judge said.

Gee, why just 75 years? <grin>


British Request Fails to Stop ABC Report on Bomb Investigation

NYT reported The British police asked ABC News on Tuesday to withhold a report showing images of what were said to be unexploded bombs found in a car used by the July 7 bombers and of the inside of a subway train mangled in the attacks, a network official said yesterday. But on its "World News Tonight" program on Tuesday, ABC went ahead with the report, which said the attacks might have been part of a wider plot, said the official, Jon Banner, executive producer of "World News Tonight." He said the account was cut from the program when it was broadcast later in Britain by the BBC. The Metropolitan Police sent an e-mail message yesterday that asked news organizations "in the strongest possible terms" not to replay the images "because they may prejudice both the ongoing investigation and any future prosecutions." The police called the images "unauthorized." Mr. Banner said that Scotland Yard learned that ABC News was going to broadcast the story and asked it to hold back. "We checked with other police sources here and in London, checked with our own security consultants," before making a decision to go forward, he said. "We thought it was newsworthy."

And I suspect that if the police were right, and ABC's broadcast of the image prejudices both the ongoing investigation and any future prosecutions they will also find it "newsworthy" to blame the police, but I suspect they will not admit that they were at fault.


Truly Muslim, fully American

Fatina Abdrabboh wrote in CSM "I condemn terrorism." Lately, because I'm a Muslim, these are the only three words people seem to want to hear come out of my mouth. Beyond the words themselves, the way I proclaim them is measured for sincerity. Perhaps even more than the days immediately after 9/11, I as a Muslim feel now that many of my fellow Americans believe that Islam and its adherents are evil, pure and simple.

That is because the only Muslims they see on the news are evil, pure and simple.
I can't help wondering if the fact that I'm identifiably Muslim through my hijab, or scarf, is so potent that the only response I evoke is anger.... Why is my stance on terrorism my only defining feature? Casual conversations at the grocery store, the gym, the dry cleaner all seem laser-guided, by the way I look, to Islam and terrorism - and never to those everyday conversations that might revolve around other aspects of my life like how I like my Harvard classes, my training for the Boston Marathon, or my recent obsession with my stock portfolio....
That is because we have not seen stories of Harbard students, Boston Marathon runners, or stock market investors blowing themselves and others around them up.
Terrorism is not about Islam; it is about a perverse agenda being paraded through the Muslim world under the banner of my faith.
I agree, but people would believe it a lot more if more Muslims spoke up and said it.
Why then should Muslims in America have to condemn it all the time? Just because we don't wear T-shirts that say "Muslims condemn terrorism" doesn't mean we don't abhor such acts.
If you are going to wear your hijab, which identifies you as Muslim, it certainly would help if you alwo war a T-Shirt that says "Muslims condem terrorism"
Yes, there's an increased obligation for Arabs and Muslims to fulfill their responsibility as American citizens to integrate with the broader community, and most undoubtedly have.


Adding Items to My Shopping Basket

Dan Gillmor blogged Suppose you were shopping at the supermarket and the checkout clerk pulled an item from under the counter, scanned it and put it in the bag -- and only then mentioned that you could, of course, remove it from your purchase. Most people would frown on such a move. So why do software and other companies think they can get away with doing this when you're shopping online? And why do they think that brazenly calling it a "convenience" makes it any more acceptable? The item pictured here offers me a backup CD of the software I'm about to purchase, along with the quick-start guide. Well, I downloaded the software and can easily make my own CD for way less than a dollar. And the quick-start guide -- all six pages of it -- were part of the download. I like Macromedia and its software. I don't much like this approach to doing business.

I must agree with Dan, I am shocked to see this. I have never had it done to me, and if it ever was, I would not shop at that site again.


Struggle for a British Islam

csm reports Rahim Jung glances nervously upward and brushes water from his beard as raindrops begin spattering the small crowd of demonstrators gathered along busy Park Lane, which runs alongside Hyde Park. Around him, women pull their hijabs closer as the assembly raises aloft homemade placards reading "Not in the Name of Islam," and "We love Britain." "Our message is that it's perfectly possible to be a practicing Muslim and abhor the atrocities that happened," says Mr. Jung, a social worker from London who helped organize the demonstration.

Of course it is possible, and it is good to see Muslims like Rahim Jung standing up and speaking his mind.
"We are part of Britain." Jung is part of a small but increasingly vocal number of reformists who aim to counter the radical ideology behind the 7/7 and 7/21 bombings with a peaceful and distinctly British Islam. Notably, they're not taking their cues from Britain's leading Muslim clerics.
Many of whom should be ejected from Britain.
Rather, their effort is largely spontaneous - a grass-roots phenomenon that is emerging to bridge the disconnect between faith and nationality that, for some Muslims, ends in violence. "We believe that we are as British as anyone, if not more, because we are British by choice," says Dr. Akmal Makhdum, a psychiatrist who organized the gathering. "The way of life here does not mean you have to give up your culture, because the British way of life allows you to keep it." Polls taken since the bombings, however, show that men as unabashedly pro-British as Mr. Makhdum face a daunting challenge. Nearly two-thirds of Britain's 1.6 million Muslims have considered leaving the country, a Guardian/ICM poll this week showed. Between Makhdum and the rejectionists opposing him, the bulk of ordinary Muslims have been thrown into the thick of the debate by the Islamic terrorists who struck London twice in a fortnight. "The bombers are throwing away everything our parents have done for us," laments Wasif Khan, who works for global professional services firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in London. "It's so frustrating." "It's only been in the last 10 years that we've been able to say we are British," says his wife Ayesha, a third-generation Muslim who remembers the lingering racism her elders had struggled against. "All [the bombers] were thinking is that they, personally, were going to heaven," she adds bitterly. "They'd been brainwashed for a larger cause, but individually they were completely selfish. They need to figure out what true Islam is."


The roots of Islamic terrorism

International Herald Tribune reports Most commentators argue that Islamic terrorism is a fanatical perversion of Islam which deviates from its true teachings. They call for a Western-style modernization of the Muslim world, hoping thereby that radical Islam will be tamed. This analysis misses the point. The nature of the terrorist threat is unambiguously Islamic and is not so much a deviation from Muslim tradition as an appeal to it.

But does that mean that we should react with an appeal to the use of Knights going off to fight in the Crusades?
Al Qaeda's ideology draws on two traditions to legitimize itself: one classical, the other modern. Regarding classical Islam, the oft-quoted remark that Islam is a religion of peace is false. It is historically illiterate to claim that war is foreign to Islam and it is theologically uninformed to argue that jihad is merely a personal inner struggle with no external military correlate.
Not really. Violence is the way Islam was spread back in the time of the Prophet, but that does not mean it should resort to it today. And I really doubt that the Prophet ever encouraged people to kill innocents, including innocent Muslims, to achieve their victories.
On the contrary, Islam is linked from the beginning with the practice of divinely sanctioned warfare and lethal injunctions against apostates and unbelievers. Islam experienced no period of wandering and exclusion; from its inception, Islam formed a unitary state bent on military conquest.... Islam, with good reason, will never embrace Western secularization. But it could begin to develop a critique of its history by recovering some of its aborted traditions. Islam must place true religious conversion (like that of Sufism) over territorial conquest. Islam needs to restore the legislative authority of communal consensus to allow Muslims to develop along with, rather than against, the future.


In Bush Win, House Narrowly Approves CAFTA

SFGate reports President Bush insisted that the small trade agreement with six Latin American nations would pay big dividends for security, stability and freedom in the Western Hemisphere. After persistent lobbying by the White House, Congress finally agreed. It took personal visits from the president and vice president, along with strenuous arm-twisting from Republican leaders, before the House passed the Central American Free Trade Agreement early Thursday by a two-vote margin, 217-215. The Senate approved CAFTA last month 54-45, and it now goes to the president for his signature. It was a major victory for the Bush administration, which had to fend off claims by critics that the pact would harm American workers.

This is good news, not just for the economic impacts, but because the Dems were fighting it hoping that a defeat would mean Bush would be treated as a Lame Duck.


To end Islamic fanaticism, solve the Israeli-‘Palestinian’dispute?

Larry Elder wrote in JWR The prime minister's statement angered Israelis and comforted Palestinians. What caused all the ruckus? According to the Associated Press, Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a radio interview, said the solution to Islamic terrorism turns on solving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. One slight problem. Blair never said it.

Never confuse the MSM with facts, or expect them to print the truth.
The AP retracted the story, calling it "erroneously reported." Here's the con: Murderous Arab extremism either results from, or will be solved by, the failure or success of "resolving" the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. Arab scholars, intellectuals, writers and politicians join with many Americans in reciting this nonsensical mantra. But do Palestinians and Arab Muslims honestly and truly want a two-state solution?
There certainly are a lot of peaceful people in that area that would love to be at peace with Israel, because a peaceful Israel would help its neighbors. The question is do they want peace with israel enough to stand up to those in their countries that want violence, and the destruction of Israel.
After all, Egypt and Jordan signed peace accords with Israel. And Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries do not abut Israel. Israel, of course, continues its territorial disputes with Syria and Lebanon, but much of the Arab world claims no land from Israel. So why do they care? The customary answer is that Muslims feel a keen solidarity with their Palestinian brothers, who reside in a "Holy Land" with "Holy sites," thus making Palestinian statehood a cause for Muslims everywhere. Indeed, Judea Pearl, the father of murdered reporter Daniel Pearl, wrote about a mid-May World Economic Forum in Jordan. "According to The Economist," wrote Pearl, "speaker Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, barked: 'Palestine!' every time Liz Cheney, an assistant secretary in the U.S. State Department, mentioned the vision of an 'Arab democratic spring.'"
It is something I would like to see, but they must first gain control over those wanting violence, and disarm them.


It's the Hateful Ideology, Stupid

Anne Applebaum wrote in JWR Only two senators were in the room when Karen Hughes testified at her confirmation hearings. When it came time for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote on her nomination Tuesday, she was easily approved. And thus with no discussion and no debate, Hughes takes over the least noticed, least respected and possibly most important job in the State Department. Her formal title is undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. In plain English, her job is to fight anti-Americanism, promote American culture and above all to do intellectual battle with the ideology of radical Islam, a set of beliefs so powerful that they can persuade middle-class, second-generation British Muslims to blow themselves up on buses and trains.

And I believe that GWB selected well, because I believe that Karen is a good person for that job.
Presumably, President Bush selected Hughes for this task because she was very good at running his election campaigns. And indeed, in the testimony she gave last week to a nearly empty room, she sounded like she was still running an election campaign. Like Hillary Clinton, she said she wanted people around the world to know that she would be "listening" to them: "I want to learn more about you and your lives, what you believe, what you fear, what you dream, what you value most." Like Jesse Jackson, she deployed alliteration, alluding to the four "E's": "engagement, exchanges, education and empowerment." Unfortunately, Hughes's most important constituents aren't going to respond to engagement and empowerment, let alone exchange and education, unless the latter involves those flight schools where they don't teach you how to take off or land. It has become clear in Iraq, if it wasn't already, that what we call the "war on terrorism" is in fact a small part of a larger intellectual and religious struggle within Islam, between moderates who want to live in modern countries, and radicals who want to impose their extreme interpretation of sharia , or religious law.
That is true, and it is the moderates that Karen will be focusing on with "engagement, exchanges, education and empowerment" as she seeks to strengthen their backbones to stand up to the radicals.
So far, most of the money, and most of the "public diplomacy," has been channeled to the radicals. Consider, for example, an extraordinary report published this year by the Center for Religious Freedom, a division of Freedom House, which surveys more than 200 books and pamphlets collected at mosques and Islamic centers in U.S. cities. Most were in Arabic. All were published by the Saudi government or royal family, and all promote the extreme form of Wahhabi Islam found in Saudi Arabia. The books reflect contempt for the United States, condemn democracy as un-Islamic, and claim that Muslims are religiously obliged to hate Christians and Jews. Most insidiously, the documents denounce moderate Muslims, especially those who advocate religious tolerance, as infidels. If a Muslim commits adultery or becomes a homosexual, one pamphlet — published by the Saudi government's ministry of Islamic affairs — advises that "it would be lawful for Muslims to spill his blood and take his money."
We need to sic the ACLU on them. While I don't approve of either adultry or homosexuality, I think their solution is a bit extreme. Perhaps not as extreme as stoning a woman to death because she was raped, but extreme none the less.
I am citing this study not merely to finger the Saudis, but also to show what we are up against. The Saudi king's own Web site boasts of his support for mosques and schools in Lagos, Islamabad, Madrid, Buenos Aires and elsewhere. A friend reports recently seeing a new Saudi mosque in Kosovo. We have to assume that the materials found in the United States exist in all of those places, too.


The Tragedy of Islam

Michael Graham wrote in JWR I take no pleasure in saying it. It pains me to think it. I could very well lose my job in talk radio over admitting it. But it is the plain truth: Islam is a terror organization.

That is not true. Islam is a religion, which has been hijacked by a Terror Organization. There are violent verses in the Holy Bible, but there are no Christian Organizations suggesting they justify wholesale killing of innocents. There are violent verses in the Koran, but thee are many Muslims that realize that they do not call for the wholesale killing of innocents. Unfortunately there is no central Muslim authority (no one like a Pope), and they dont have organized councils like the Southern Baptist Council, United Methodist convention, etc. and the Imams of the moderate mosques are afraid to speak up too loudly against what the violent ones are doing, for fear they will be targeted.
For years, I've been trying to give the world's Muslim community the benefit of the doubt, along with the benefit of my typical-American's complete disinterest in their faith. Before 9/11, I knew nothing about Islam except the greeting "asalaam alaikum," taught to me by a Pakistani friend in Chicago. Immediately after 9/11, I nodded in ignorant agreement as President Bush assured me that "Islam is a religion of peace." But nearly four years later, nobody can defend that statement. And I mean "nobody." Certainly not the group of "moderate" Muslim clerics and imams who gathered in London last week to issue a statement on terrorism and their faith. When asked the question "Are suicide bombings always a violation of Islam," they could not answer "Yes. Always." Instead, these "moderate British Muslims" had to answer "It depends." Precisely what it depends on, news reports did not say.
It depends on whether they fear they may become taragets if they speak out too loudly.
Sadly, given our new knowledge of Islam from the past four years, it probably depends on whether or not you're killing Jews. That is part of the state of modern Islam. Another fact about the state of Islam is that a majority of Muslims in countries like Jordan continue to believe that suicide bombings are legitimate. Still another is the poll reported by a left-leaning British paper than only 73 percent of British Muslims would tell police if they knew about a planned terrorist attack.
If 73 percent will tell, that is a very good thing.
The other 27 percent? They are a part of modern Islam, too. The Council on American-Islamic Relations is outraged that I would dare to connect the worldwide epidemic of terrorism with Islam.
I have my doubts about CAIR
They put it down to bigotry, asserting that a lifetime of disinterest in Islam has suddenly become blind hatred. They couldn't be more wrong. Not to be mean to the folks at CAIR, but I don't: Care, that is. I simply don't care about Islam, its theology, its history — I have no interest in it at all. All I care about is not getting blown to smithereens when I board a bus or ride a plane. I care about living in a world where terrorism and murder/suicide bombings are rejected by all.


Mainstream media suppress Iraq optimism

Michael Fumento writes in Townhall Editorial page associate editor Mark Yost at the Knight-Ridder newspaper the St. Paul Pioneer Press committed a major boo-boo. He penned a provocative column on media coverage of the Iraq war, observing that from what his contacts there told him – with apologies to Johnny Mercer – the mainstream media are accentuating the negative and ignoring the positive.

This is something I have said many many many times.
Yost couldn’t have imagined he was bathing in blood and throwing himself into the shark pen. His media colleagues were merciless. “With your column, you have spat on the copy of the brave men and women who are doing their best in terrible conditions,”
It is not the reporters fault, who are working in those conditions, that they dont turn in stories they know their editors, who are safe at home, won't run, because they only want to run the bad news.
reporter Chuck Laszewski at the same newspaper charged in an open letter. “You have insulted them and demeaned them,” he wrote. “I am embarrassed to call you my colleague.” Knight-Ridder D.C. Bureau Chief Clark Hoyt devoted a column to a Yost roast, taking time out only to slam U.S. progress in Iraq. To read it is to know exactly why so many Americans believe we can’t trust the media to fairly cover the war. OF COURSE the war coverage is slanted: The adage "If it bleeds it leads" doesn’t halt at the Iraqi border. That's why when two small shells land in a barren section of city the size of Boston blares: "Blasts rock Baghdad near coalition headquarters" whereas the completion of an electrification program or water main gets not a column inch. It was the very obviousness of Yost’s observation that led to vicious attacks attempting to either show there is no bias or that alternatively there is a bias but it’s justified. One reporter claimed on the Poynter Institute’s Romenesko open blog for journalists that Yost "must not be watching the network nightly newscasts," yet that's exactly what Yost was criticizing. David Hannners, another Pioneer Press reporter, insisted the media have no obligation to present positive stories because war itself is a negative thing. Come again?
That is exactly the problem. These Left Wing media masters dont like war, and the don't like Bush, so they run only things which indicate the negative side of the issue, and they bury the positive stories.


Thursday, July 28

This Day In History

  • 1540   King Henry VIII's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, was executed. The same day, Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard.
  • 1750   Composer Johann Sebastian Bach died in Leipzig, Germany, at age 65.
  • 1794   Maximilien Robespierre, a leading figure of the French Revolution, was sent to the guillotine.
  • 1821   Peru declared its independence from Spain.
  • 1866   Although its use was not required, the metric system was legalized by the U.S. Congress for the standardization of weights and measures throughout the United States. And we still don’t have it figured out. How many yards in a meter or quarts in a litre?
  • 1868   The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing due process and the equal protection of the laws to former slaves, was declared in effect.
  • 1896   The city of Miami, Fla., was incorporated.
  • 1929   Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, first lady from 1961 to 1963, was born in Southampton, N.Y.
  • 1932   Federal troops forcibly dispersed the so-called ''Bonus Army'' of World War I veterans who had gathered in Washington, D.C., to demand money they weren't scheduled to receive until 1945.
  • 1945   A U.S. Army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York City's Empire State Building, killing 14 people.
  • 1951   The Walt Disney film "Alice in Wonderland" was released by RKO pictures.
  • 1959   In preparation for statehood, Hawaiians voted to send the first Chinese-American, Hiram L. Fong, to the Senate and the first Japanese-American, Daniel K. Inouye, to the House of Representatives.
  • 1965   President Lyndon B. Johnson announced he was increasing the number of American troops in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000.
  • 1976   An earthquake devastated northern China, killing at least 242,000 people.
  • 1995   A jury in Union, S.C., rejected the death penalty for Susan Smith, sentencing her instead to life in prison for drowning her two young sons.
  • 1998   Bell Atlantic and GTE announced a $52 billion merger that created Verizon.
  • 1998   Monica Lewinsky was given blanket immunity from prosecution in exchange for grand jury testimony in the investigation of her relationship with President Bill Clinton.
  • 2002   Nine coal miners trapped in the flooded Quecreek Mine in Somerset, Pa., were rescued after 77 hours underground.
  • 2002   Speaking publicly on the church abuse scandal for the first time, Pope John Paul II told young Catholics in Toronto that sexual abuse of children by priests ''fills us all with a deep sense of sadness and shame.''
  • 2002   Cycling champion Lance Armstrong won his fourth straight Tour de France.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1866   Beatrix (Helen) Potter (children’s stories author: Peter Rabbit books; died Dec 22, 1943)
  • 1929   Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (First Lady: wife of 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy; wife of Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis; editor: Doubleday Publishing; died May 19, 1994)
  • 1948   Sally (Ann) Struthers (Emmy Award-winning actress: All in the Family [1971-72, 1978]; Five Easy Pieces, The Odd Couple; promoter of the Christian Children’s Fund)


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blogs 101

NYT has an interesting article called "Blogs 101". It has plenty of useful links for Collections & Rankings, General, Technology & Media, Technology Toys & Cool Things, Politics & Government, 'Traditional Media', Business, New York, Food, Design, and Miscellany.


Map Tips

Institute for Analytic Journalism blogged about PC World columnist Steve Bass's article Maps for Fun and Business. The blog article seems to imply that the new Google Earth, which we talked about here was no longer available, but I just tried it and it worked fine.

Steve's article raises an issue about apparent bluring of some buildings

but discussion on AboveTopSecret reveal they are weather balloons.

There are several interesting sites listed in the article, such as Google Sightseeing


Kinsley Plans to Change Jobs

NYT reported Michael Kinsley, the provocative editorial and opinion-page editor of The Los Angeles Times, said yesterday that he would be changing jobs in the next few months and most likely would no longer be running the department. He will not necessarily leave the editorial page, he said, but his new role is still being worked out.

Nikki Finke writes in LA Weekly All day Monday, the offices of the LAT’s editorial, Op-Ed and newly christened Current sections swirled with water-cooler talk that boss Kinsley would be leaving now that he has to report to the commercial, and not the editorial, side of the newspaper. His staffers were already reeling from that under-the-radar bombshell: the announcement that LAT Editor John Carroll would be moving out of, and Managing Editor Dean Baquet into, the Spring Street power office, and that, “as part of the leadership transition,” Kinsley would report not to Carroll but to recently installed Publisher Jeff Johnson.... In typical Kinsley fashion, self-serving and self-righteous, he beat his own paper to the punch and on Monday gave the news of his stepping down to the LAT’s arch-rival, The New York Times....

I wonder what the LA Times thinks. The first article is from the NYT, this one is from LA Weekly. I checked the LA Times, and all they had were some of Kinsley's columns.
“It’s a very complicated arrangement I have, and not all aspects are working as well as others,” he told the NYT. “This living in Seattle and editing the editorial page is not an ideal arrangement. It’s not ideal for me and it’s not ideal for the paper. I don’t think it’s terrible. I think I’m doing a pretty good job. But that’s the one thing that is not working out, so we’re going to try to fix it.”

A pretty good job? On what planet? A more accurate description of his tenure at the LAT would be a pretty horrible job that’s proved disastrous both to Kinsley’s persona and to the paper’s prestige
It is just a guess, but I suspect Nikki Finke does not like Michael Kinsley. I recall some time ago that Michael Kinsley seemed to be at war with Maureen Dowd. I wonder if Nikki and Maureen were friends.
.... One minute he was announcing with great fanfare a new feature of regular “wikitorials” as if he’d reinvented the Internet; the next minute he was deleting comments filled with porn and swear words. He declared this obvious failure a wild success even if in his eyes only.
It was a major failure. Wikis are good way to develop opinions from many knowledgable people on non-controversial subjects, but that is the antithesis of an editorial
That’s because his primary purpose was to attract attention to himself on the East Coast among those journalism peers and political pundits he’d carefully cultivated in New York and Washington over three decades of schmoozing and sucking up.... The one-time New Republic and Slate editor brought to the party an old-school liberal penchant for placing witty banter ahead of serious argument. An example is that recent Kinsley-penned LAT commentary downplaying the significance of the so-called Downing Street Memo concerning the timing of the decision to go to war with Iraq and the Bush administration’s distortion of the related WMD intelligence. He had the arrogance and audacity not just to pooh-pooh the memo’s contents but also to poke fun at the progressive movement for pumping up the volume surrounding it. “I don’t buy the fuss. Nevertheless, I am enjoying it, as an encouraging sign of the left’s revival. Developing a paranoid theory and promoting it to the very edge of national respectability takes ideological self-confidence,” Kinsley ridiculed. Rush Limbaugh couldn’t have been more dismissive.