Saturday, August 06, 2005

Voting Law

WaPo reported Today marks the 40th year of the Voting Rights Act, and civil rights activists poured into sticky-hot Atlanta for a march that harks back to the thunderous demonstrations and rallies that led to the act's signing on Aug. 6, 1965. But black, Hispanic and Asian American leaders who plan to link arms in front of the Georgia Capitol said this protest is no historic reenactment. They are fighting a law passed by the state's Republican-controlled legislature in March that requires voters to obtain one of six forms of photo identification before going to the polls, as opposed to the 17 types of picture and non-picture ID they currently use. Georgia officials say the changes -- which experts say will make the state's screening measures the strictest in the nation -- are needed to prevent fraud.

Good for the Georgia state legislature. Photo ID cards should be required in all states to vote. I even think they should have to have at least two forms of ID. And when voter fraud is detected it should be punished severly.
The skirmish over the Georgia rules is a part of the continuing debate over the landmark voting rights legislation, which has boosted minority representation and altered the contours of American politics. At the time the law was enacted, there were three black members of Congress; today there are 43. There are also 25 Hispanic House members and one Hispanic senator, compared with five members of Congress in 1965....

One of those provisions, Section 5, requires states to draw minority-controlled congressional districts if black and Hispanic voters dominate certain residential areas.... Thernstrom and some other critics of the law also say that instead of fulfilling its intended purpose, it is now being used to create misshapen districts that herd minorities into a few areas while leaving adjacent districts overwhelmingly white, an action that has had the effect of helping Republicans.....
So the law requires gerrymandering to create a black district so a black can be elected, and now they complain that removes their chances of being elected in the resulting mainly white districts. That is why district lines should be done stricly by computers, programmed to get districts as compact as possible, and using major streets and/or other geographical boundaries as borders.
Rural black voters, many of whom are too poor to own cars, have said they can't get to one of the state's 56 driver's license offices to get a photo ID. Black legislators stormed out of chambers to protest the change.
The law provided 6 types of photo ID; drivers licenses are one one of the six


King David's Palace

I read King David’s Palace Is Found, Archaeologist Says and did not think that much of it, since I thought it was a given that Jews had lived in the area for a long time, but The Anchoress read the same piece with a more discerning eye This is obviously a very exciting story.... So, why should I feel a little let down? Well, take a look at the way the NY Times wrote it:

Line 1) An Israeli archaeologist says she has uncovered in East Jerusalem what may be the fabled palace of the biblical King David.

Line 2) Her work has been sponsored by a conservative Israeli research institute and financed by an American Jewish investment banker who would like to prove that Jerusalem was indeed the capital of the Jewish kingdom described in the Bible.

Line 3) Other scholars are skeptical that the foundation walls discovered by the archaeologist, Eilat Mazar, are David’s palace.

Am I the only one annoyed that before we get to read anything specific about what has been found, we must first be warned by the Times that this research is funded by “conseravtive(s)” and (paraphrased) “a Jew with an agenda?” That before I have read one interesting revelation, the Times inserts the “doubt?”

Later in the article, of course, we read this: The find will also be used in the broad political battle over Jerusalem - whether the Jews have their origins here and thus have some special hold on the place, or whether, as many Palestinians have said, including the late Yasir Arafat, the idea of a Jewish origin in Jerusalem is a myth used to justify conquest and occupation.

I must have been living a very sheltered life. I never realized that the "Palestinians" were saying that the idea of a Jewish origin in Jerusalem is a myth. I thought the myth was that the muslims in the area called themselves "Palestinians"

As I understand history The First Temple was planned by David and erected by Solomon at a commanding position on Mount Moriah, now called the Temple Mount, dedicated in 953 BC. The First Temple stood for 374 years, until it was totally destroyed by the Babylonians led by King Nebuchadnezzar on the 9th day of Av, 586 BC.

After the reign of Solomon (approx. 950 BC), the Israelite kingdom broke up into two states: Israel, with its capital at Samaria, and Judah (origin of the name 'Jew'), under the house of David, with its capital at Jerusalem. The two kingdoms were later conquered by expanding Mesopotamian states, Israel by Assyria (approx. 720 BC) and Judah by Babylonia (586 BC). Jewish government was established again in Judea, but was finally lost until modern times after invasion by the Romans and the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, not many years after it was constructed by Herod the Great in 19 or 20 BC.
The Koran refers to Moses. Does it not say where the Jews went when they left Egypt?
Ah, yes…so you see, it was necessary to begin the article with a debunking, because if you are a Palestinian sympathizer, you wouldn’t want to give fresh impetus to the idea that - gasp - the Jews might have some rights to East Jerusalem. The NY Times made sure it did its part.

Interspersed within the piece are some interesting lines about the archeological site, but we read repeatedly that maybe biblical Jerusalem wasn’t much to write home about, after all. In every way, the idea that Jerusalem and Jews belong together is downplayed. Much space is given over to doubt, to questioning the methods of means of the archeologist (she’s trying to fit history…blah, blah…”)

An annoying article…but I do love the last line, which seems almost like God Having Fun, and which will attract many folks interested in “end-times” postulations: Ms. Mazar continues to dig, but right now, three families are living in houses where she would most like to explore. One family is Muslim, one Christian and one Jewish.

Imagine that…a little microcosm of interested conflict, reflecting a worldwide one, right there on a tiny plot of land that might be incredibly - earthshakingly - important.

Yes, I do think God has a sense of humor.



UrbanTulsa reports Free WiFi for the city of Tulsa was at the top of the list of projects to consider pursuing when the Young Professionals of Tulsa formed last year. But high infrastructure and maintenance costs loomed, and when the effort lagged, the private sector beat them to it. YPTulsan John Gaberino said another member of the group had attempted to bundle the request for start-up money in a larger application for Vision 2025 funds downtown. But the effort failed, and now three private investors have put together at least a quarter-of-a-million dollars in investment money for the first batch of units alone. Eventually, phase one will include 150 units in addition to the 75 now in place at $3,500 a piece--units that Trevor Langham, Tulsa Metronet’s CEO and one of the three investors, says are currently the strongest in WiFi capability.

The initial coverage area will include Yale Ave. to the Arkansas and I-244 to approximately 51st Street, the units affixed to power poles around the city. That means within that area, at $25 a month, customers can launch their browser anywhere they choose with little interference.

“That’s not much more than normal dial-up,” Gaberino said. “It’s less than most broadbands.”

But also a LOT slower than most broadbands.
While Gaberino said a member of the group had discussed whether the effort should be provided free by the public sector, he said he was less concerned with who implemented WiFi, and more concerned with when it was implemented.
In other words encourage SBC to get in and start charging for it, and that will kill plans to offer it for free.
Langham said the design and plan of the technology had been in place for about two years, but the technology itself hadn’t fully developed until eight or 10 months ago. He established an IT consulting company last January when he left a 10-year stint in the Williams family of companies. Meanwhile, he watched as municipalities across the country slowly began to establish citywide WiFi through public/private partnerships. “I thought, ‘if they can do it, we can do it,’” Langham said. “One of my partners (whom I already had through the consulting business), he said, ‘I think this will be a great thing for Tulsa. Looking at the demographic, Tulsa is pretty high-tech.’” San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Spokane, Wash., Boston and Cerritos, Calif. and even Oklahoma City are either in the process of establishing a citywide WiFi network, or they’ve already done so.

BatesLine blogged That could be a good deal, if some sort of roaming privileges come with it. With SBC DSL, you have access to the dialup network as a backup, or when traveling, and for an extra $2 a month, you can connect at WiFi-equipped McDonald's, Barnes and Noble bookstores, and UPS Stores. If you're tethered to the home area, you're losing one of the advantages of wireless computing.


Blair Is Seeking to Curb Radicals Who Preach Hate

NYT reported Prime Minister Tony Blair promised new measures on Friday to close down mosques and bar or deport clerics deemed to be fostering hatred and violence, bringing Britain's antiterrorism policy more into line with some of its neighbors' and answering critics who say the country has sheltered Islamic extremists for years. He also said two Islamic organizations would be banned. A global list would be drawn up of people "whose activities or views pose a threat to Britain's security," and they would be kept out of Britain. "Let no one be in any doubt," he said at a news conference. "The rules of the game are changing." Mr. Blair's announcement was immediately condemned by Muslim groups here

Why would they condem it. Are they saying that violence and killing is a necessary part of Islam?
, who warned that the moves would be seen as "dangerous" and discriminatory, driving Muslim radicals underground just weeks after July 7,
Then the moderate, peaceful Muslims need to keep an eye on the underground activities and keep the police informed.
when four bombers attacked London's transportation system and killed 56 people, including themselves. A second attack followed on July 21 but caused no casualties.


Equal Time

Salt Lake Tribune wrote Intelligent Design: Why limit equal time to biology class? President Bush has thrown in with those who think that an idea called "intelligent design" should be taught alongside evolution in the nation's schools. "I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," the president told some visiting newspaper reporters from his native Texas.

Everyone is making it look like this is a new initiative GWB is launching. Actually he just answered a reporter's question. But I agree with his answer.
Evolution, the unifying explanation of all life processes on Earth, is the approach taken by serious scientists as they examine how everything works. But it is not a flawless explanation of absolutely everything, and it is clearly troubling to some who are bothered by the apparent meaninglessness of it all. Thus the growing movement to have intelligent design - the idea that it all had to have had some mindfulness behind it - included, as the president says, as a different school of thought.
Basically what is being taught is the Secular Humanist view, supported by athiests and agnostics, that Evolution is a completely natural process, and that no Supreme Power is involved. But the vast majority in this country are monotheists, i.e. either Christians, Jews, or Muslims. What is wrong with teaching that evolution might well have been one of the tools God used when he created the Earth (and everything else).

OK. But why stop there? While the science teacher is at it, he might make the study of astronomy more poetic by including the theory that the sun is not a frighteningly impersonal thermonuclear furnace but actually the flaming chariot of Phoebus Apollo streaking across the sky.
Perhaps Greek Literature would be a better place for that.
Or he might calm the students' fears of being adrift in a soulless universe by casting aside all this Copernican nonsense and admitting that, as any fool can see just by looking up, the Earth stands still and the sun, moon and stars revolve around us, er, it.
Actually there are scientific proofs dispelling that theory, while there are no scientific proofs supporting the theory that evolution is just a matter of chance, and that there is no supreme power involved
And in civics class, why limit students to an understanding of representative democracy, checks and balances and the rule of law? What about equal time for fascism? It's clearly a less complicated, more efficient system of government, one that dispenses with such bothersome notions as elections, free speech and minority rights.
Civics is a study of our system of government, but fascism should certianly be covered in history.
Or whatever happened to good old monarchy? It provides better costumes, pageantry and music, and helps everyone remember to keep their place.
There are a number of monarchies in the world, some are constitutional monarchies (like Britain) where the monarch does not have much power, but it retains the pagentry and music
.... But given the limited time and resources of our schools, and the sometimes minuscule attention span of our students, we need to make sure we don't lose our focus. In science class, focus on established science.
Actually because of the limited time, I would rather see them spend their time on the three R's: Reading, Riting, and Rithmetic (Reading Writing, and Arithmetic). But if they do have time for science, they should teach a secular version that is not at odds with the beliefs of over 80% of the people.
Why are the rabid left so insistent in pushing a secular approach to everything. It is not establishing a particular denomination as the official church of the US to admit the existence of God. Christianity, Judiasm, and Islam all believe in the existence of God. The secularists would have children taught that everything was formless and empty, with all matter contained in a Cosmic Egg, which exploded in the Big Bang. But who, or what, created the Cosmic Egg, and who or what, caused it to explode into a huge blast of light and energy.

What is there in the Big Bang theory that disproves this version: Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

After the Big Bang the Secular version of creation says that the particles from the explosion eventually coelesed to form planets, and that at least on this planet small single cell and then multicell organisms appeared in the water, and then evolved into plants and then animal life on dry land. Why is this not an equally valid explanation: And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

People say they have trouble believing in God because they have not seen him. But why have they not seen him? It is somewhat difficult here in the city, because of light polution, but if you go out in the country, on a clear night, you can look up into the sky, and see the results of Creation. I dont see how one can look on such a magnificant scene, and not see the face of the Creator. And when one looks at the vastness of Creation, and realizes what a small, insignificant part of it we are here on Earth, how can one not appreciate the fact that creator loved us so much that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

And if you cannot travel to the country to see the face of the Creator, why not visit the maternity ward of any hospital, and look through the window at the innocent faces of some of His latest creations. They just came from Him, and if you look closely at their innocent faces, you should be able to see Him. Mankind cannot create a single, undifferentiated, stem-cell, and God just created each of those innocent lives you can see through the window.


Saturday, August 6

This Day In History

  • 1787   The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia began to debate the articles contained in a draft of the United States Constitution.
  • 1806   The Holy Roman Empire went out of existence as Emperor Francis I abdicated.
  • 1825   Bolivia declared its independence from Peru.
  • 1890   Convicted murderer William Kemmler became the first person to be executed in the electric chair as he was put to death at Auburn State Prison in New York.
  • 1926   Warner Brothers premiered its ''Vitaphone'' sound-on-disc movie system in New York.
  • 1926   Gertrude Ederle of New York became the first American woman to swim the English Channel.
  • 1930   Joseph Crater, 41 years old and a New York Supreme Court Justice, mysteriously disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again. His wife, Estelle, declared Judge Crater to be legally dead in 1937.
  • 1962   Jamaica became an independent dominion within the British Commonwealth.
  • 1965   President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.
  • 1965   The album ''Help!'' by the Beatles was released.
  • 1978   Pope Paul VI died at Castel Gandolfo at age 80.
  • 1986   William J. Schroeder died after living 620 days with the ''Jarvik 7'' artificial heart.
  • 1996   NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin announced the possibility that a primitive form of microscopic life may have existed on Mars more than three billion years ago. The evidence came from a fossil found on a meteorite in Antarctica believed to have come from Mars billions of years ago.
  • 1997   British Prime Minister Tony Blair shook hands with Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams in the first meeting in 76 years between a British leader and the IRA's allies.
  • 1997   Apple Computer and Microsoft agreed to share technology in a deal giving Microsoft a stake in Apple's survival.
  • 1998   Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky spent 8 1/2 hours testifying before a grand jury about her relationship with President Bill Clinton.
  • 1998   A House committee voted to cite Attorney General Janet Reno for contempt of Congress for her refusal to turn over reports recommending that she seek an independent counsel to investigate campaign fund-raising.
  • 2002   One-year-old Guatemalan twins joined at the head were separated at the UCLA Medical Center.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1809   Alfred Tennyson (England’s Poet Laureate [1850]: The Charge of the Light Brigade, In Memoriam, The Lady of Shalott, The Lotuseaters, The Idylls of the King, Maud, Enoch Arden, Locksley Hall Sixty Years After; died Oct 6, 1892)
  • 1881   Leo Carrillo (actor: The Cisco Kid; died Sep 10, 1961)
  • 1881   Sir Alexander Fleming (Nobel Prize-winning bacteriologist [1945]: discovered penicillin; died Mar 11, 1955)
  • 1881   Louella Parsons (Oettinger) (gossip columnist: competed in print and on radio with nemesis Hedda Hopper; died Dec 9, 1972)
  • 1892   Hoot (Edmund Richard) Gibson (actor)
  • 1911   Lucille Ball (Emmy Award-winning comedienne, actress)
  • 1917   Robert Mitchum (actor)
  • 1928   Andy Warhol (Warhola) (filmmaker, pop artist)


Friday, August 05, 2005

Cloned Dog

The Associated Press announced today that Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk had successfully cloned a dog for the first time.

Said Hwang, "No big deal. It tasted just like regular dog."

Hat Tip to rec.humor.funny


Search: Advanced Reuters US scientists find flexible stem cells in placenta

Yahoo News reported Scientists looking for easier and less-controversial alternatives to stem cells from human embryos said on Friday they found a potential source in placentas saved during childbirth. They described primitive cells found in a part of the placenta called the amnion, which they coaxed into forming a variety of cell types and which look very similar to sought-after embryonic stem cells. With 4 million children born in the United States each year, placentas could provide a ready source of the cells, the team at the University of Pittsburgh said. It is not yet certain that the cells they found are true stem cells, said Stephen Strom, who worked on the study. But they carry two important genes, called Oct 4 and nanog, which so far have only been seen on embryonic stem cells.

But would the extreme left, that takes so much pleasure out of aborting babies, whether as embryos made for IVF procedures, to preventing them from being implanted (IU486), to killing them even as they are in the process of being born (partial birth abortion), be willing for cells to be used from material made available as a byproduct of the actual birth of babies?


Leading Republican differs with Bush on evolution

Reuters reports A leading Republican senator allied with the religious right differed on Thursday with President Bush's support for teaching an alternative to the theory of evolution known as "intelligent design." Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, a possible 2008 presidential contender who faces a tough re-election fight next year in Pennsylvania, said intelligent design, which is backed by many religious conservatives, lacked scientific credibility and should not be taught in science classes.

ID says that Evolution was one of the tools that God used to create the world (and everything else). The Secular Humanists say that Evolution did it without god's help. I find it strange that Rick Santorum would endorse the godless solution over the solution that involves God.
Bush told reporters from Texas on Monday that "both sides" in the debate over intelligent design and evolution should be taught in schools "so people can understand what the debate is about."
I agree. I would also like Creation taught as an alternative as well, since many believe in it (Creation and ID are NOT the same thing)
"I think I would probably tailor that a little more than what the president has suggested," Santorum, the third-ranking Republican member of the U.S. Senate, told National Public Radio. "I'm not comfortable with intelligent design being taught in the science classroom."
The first amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". Secular Humanism is a religion that caters to atheists and agnostics, who prefer the godless version of Evolution. Since there are so many more Christians, Jews, and Muslims, all of whom believe in a Supreme Being, than there are atheists and agnostics, why not also offer the alternative of Evolution occurring as a tool of that Supreme Being, and possibly also teaching the Creationist's version (which says it happened literally as told in Genesis).
Evangelical Christians have launched campaigns in at least 18 states to make public schools teach intelligent design alongside Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Proponents of intelligent design argue that nature is so complex that it could not have occurred by random natural selection, as held by Darwin's 1859 theory of evolution, and so must be the work of an unnamed "intelligent cause."


Friday, August 5

This Day In History

  • 1861   The federal government levied an income tax for the first time.
  • 1844   The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid at Bedloe’s Island (now called Liberty Island), New York. The actual statue was accepted as a gift to the United States from the people of France by U.S. President Grover Cleveland on October 28, 1886. The statue became a symbol of freedom to the European immigrants who passed it on their way to Ellis Island and their admittance to the United States. It remains today as a symbol of liberty for all.
  • 1864   Union Adm. David G. Farragut is said to have given his famous order, ''Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!'' as he led his fleet against Mobile Bay, Ala., during the Civil War.
  • 1884   The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor.
  • 1914   The first electric traffic lights were installed, in Cleveland.
  • 1924   The comic strip ''Little Orphan Annie'' by Harold Gray made its debut.
  • 1936   Jesse Owens won his third gold medal by running a 200-meter race in 20.7 seconds at the Olympic Games held in Berlin, Germany.
  • 1957   ''American Bandstand,'' hosted by Dick Clark, made its network debut on ABC-TV.
  • 1962   Actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her Los Angeles home at age 36. Her death was ruled a probable suicide from an overdose of sleeping pills.
  • 1966   The album ''Revolver'' by the Beatles was released.
  • 1969   The U.S. space probe Mariner 7 flew by Mars, sending back photographs and scientific data.
  • 1981   The federal government began firing air traffic controllers who had gone on strike.
  • 1992   Federal civil rights charges were filed against four Los Angeles police officers acquitted of state charges in the videotaped beating of Rodney King; two were later convicted.
  • 1994   A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington chose Kenneth W. Starr to take over the Whitewater investigation from Robert Fiske.
  • 1998   Marie Noe of Philadelphia was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, accused of smothering eight of her children to death between 1949 and 1968.
  • 2000   Actor Alec Guinness died at age 86.
  • 2001   Afghanistan's ruling Taliban jailed eight foreign aid workers, including two Americans, for allegedly preaching Christianity.
  • 2002   The coral-encrusted gun turret of the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor was raised from the floor of the Atlantic.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1850   Guy de Maupassant (author: The Tellier House, Yvette, Toine, The Horla, The Diamond Necklace, The Umbrella, The Piece of String, A Woman’s Life, Bel-Ami, Peter and John; died July 6, 1893)
  • 1911   Robert Taylor (Spangler Brugh) (actor)
  • 1930   Neil Armstrong (NASA astronaut: command pilot of Gemini 8 [launched Mar 16, 1966], performed first successful docking of two vehicles in space; commander of Apollo 11 [1969], first manned lunar landing mission: Armstrong was first man to land a craft on the Moon and first man to step on its surface)
  • 1946   Loni Anderson (actress: WKRP in Cincinnati)


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Qaeda says Islamic sharia must be only law in Iraq

Jihad Watch blogged I saw this coming over two years ago (and before that, too, in Islam Unveiled). From Reuters, with thanks to Eschwapp:

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iraq's al Qaeda group said on Thursday that Islamic sharia law should be the only legislation to govern the country, according to an Internet statement.

"The Islamic sharia is the right religion and anything else is wrong and rejected, including the constitution. No human being is allowed to legislate laws which are the right of God alone," said the statement posted on a Web site frequently used by the al Qaeda organization in Iraq.

"Participating in drafting legislations and the constitution is equal to infidelism and blatant polytheism. Whoever believes in it or calls for it or rules by it is an apostate and an infidel."
Founding Forefather commented If I had the choice to choose between Jesus Christ or Mohammed, I would clearly have to choose Christ. Christ is the Prince of Peace. Mohammed ruled with the sword. Jesus Christ is the last prophet, while Mohammed is a false prophet. Christ performed miracles; Mohammed did not. Christ is utterly holy. Mohammed's actions are utterly ungodly. Sharia law is nothing but a fabrication by a bunch of power hungry, male chauvinist pigs that are still living in the Middle Ages.
I agree
ecil_man commented The problem is Bush has foolishly made radical islam the LAW in iraq. How could there be any other outcome. We should have sent missionaries. We should have treated moslems like they treated nonmoslems.
If you think those two approaches are consistent, I am not surprised you think Bush has made radical islam the law in Iraq.

Those two alternatives are very much at odds with each other. Are you saying we should have tried to convert them, or totally destroyed all of them.

In truth our treatmesnt of there religion as holy of holies allowed no other outcome.
We respect all religions. It is what the first amendment to the constitution requires us to do. And Surat aal-E-Imran, 3 (Qur'an 3:3) says It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong).

We should have allowed our guards to pee on the koran before letting the prisoners touch it. If Iraq becomes an islamic horror nation of evil. We have only Bush and Rice to blame since they keep reenforcing the fact that Islam is the holy of holies without any chance of them to see christian valuses what other outcome could there have been with such a failed policy.


Iraqi Constitution Update

Iraq the Model blogged It was expected that the suggested draft of the constitution which I posted several day ago would fuel arguments and serious discussions in the corridors of the National Assembly and the government and from what I heard and read in local media and from some information that leaked from some politicians, I learned that some of the upsetting articles of the draft have been changed or omitted while some other articles are still being discussed. And regarding the most critical issue which is defining the role of religion in the constitution, there's also a good possibility for changing the part that said "2-Islam is the official religion of the state and it is the main source of legislations…" to something like "Islam is …..and it's a main source of legislations" or "…is one of the sources of legislations" and either way is going to somehow protect the rights of women and human rights in general and at the same time satisfy the demands of religious parties and frankly speaking I don't think it's possible at the moment to have no mention of Islam in the constitution.

It would be good if you could include something like Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof but you dont want to let some future bunch of judges to deciding that means the government has to work to root out all connections to Islam
Another controversial point was the distribution of revenues of important resources (mainly oil money) among the federal counties (or provinces) and the central state and apparently they have settled on a resolution that assigns 90% of these incomes to the central state while the remaining 10% would go directly to the province to be invested by the local authorities in projects that focus mainly on the infra structure or according to the needs of the province.
Sounds like our congress. Wants the bulk of the money to spend as it wants, and to heck with what the states [provinces] think


I choose science

Ed Bott blogged My forehead is slightly flatter today than it was yesterday. That's because of the time I spent pounding it against my desktop last night when I learned that the President of the United States thinks that it makes perfect sense to combine science classes with folklore and mythology instead of having them in separate buildings.

I choose science also, but you must have been pounding your head against your desktop quite a bit if you interpret Bush's statement that school children should be exposed to the concept of Intelligent Design, which says that Evolution was one of the tools that God used in Creation, along side the Secular Humanists version which said that Evolution took place in a godless environment, as an endorsement of folklore and mythology.

Secular Humanism is a religion, albeit a much smaller one than Christianity, Judiasm, and Islam. If our schools are going to teach Evolution, then why should it be taught only from the Secular Humanist perspective? Why not also teach it in a way that Christians, Jews, and Muslims might be able to accept, that Evolution was a tool used by an Intelligent Designer [God] when he created everything.


What Other Bloggers Are Blogging

La Shawn Barber blogged

  • HaloScan users, try Simpletracks. HaloScan and WordPress are having a feud of some sort.
    LaShawn is correct that we are having problems doing HaloScan trackbacks to her WordPress blog, and in fact when I only have one blog to trackback, such as this entry, I use Simpletracks or reedmaniac. The problem with using them when I am blogging about something on Memorandum is that I often have several blogs to trackback to, and HaloScan will do up to 5 at one time, while it would take 5 different invocations of Simpletracks to do it
  • Stem Cell Research: Senator Bill Frist caused a big old flap by coming out in favor of stem cell research on aborted embryos. I wonder if he’s being blackmailed? Hmm. Blogger Karen of Scottsdale, who is in a wheelchair, comments.
    As I indicated earlier, I would not object to Frist's switch to support the Stem Cell bill if he would work to try to control the number of embryos that are created in IVF procedures, that are subsequently destroyed. I fully understand the ethical problems with using the embryos for research, but I am equally upset at them being just thrown down the sink, and there is enough pressure to pass the stem cell bill that rather than trying to block it (which wont work), I would rather insert language to cut back on further embryos being created, just to be destroyed (or used in research).
  • Rice for President: One of my advertisers is a group called Americans For Rice, and I’ve been asked by several people where I stand on the Condi-for-president meme. I wouldn’t vote for Condoleezza Rice for president of the United States. First, I don’t think women generally have the sensibilities to run the country. Before you jump all over me, it’s important that you know I don’t care what you think. You’re reading this blog, so you obviously care what I think, so there it is.
    I certainly would not want to see Hillary elected President, but my objection to Rice as a candidate is that she does not have experience running for office, and would never survive the election process. I think she would make a good President, despite her Pro Choice stance. I also think La Shawn would make a good president too.
  • New/smaller bloggers, I’ve got something to say to you. One day a few of you may become huge. Your traffic and Ecosystem ranking will rise, and your reputation in the blogosphere will grow. Or not. But whatever happens, do me a favor? Don’t forget about or bad-mouth the bigger bloggers who linked to your posts and helped you back when you were smaller or first starting out, OK? It’s bad form. Especially if you asked them to link to your posts. Sadly, it’s happened to me, and it’s…sad. The bitterness dripping from one such post was…bitter, and I don’t know why it’s there. I’m not a flame warrior, so I won’t link. It really doesn’t matter who it is. Just remember old LB’s advice.
    I completely agree, and if LaShawn will tell me who it is, I would be happy to pay them a visit
  • Intelligent Design: Mike Marshall (whom I met at CPAC) discusses the Intelligent Design and government schools debate. Bryan Preston (whom I met at CPAC) at JunkYardBlog says to naysayers:
    We have lots of choices. And you libertarians seem to think that that’s a good thing. Or not. President Bush today said something about teaching intelligent design in public schools. And the libertarians react with a ferocity they generally reserve for caliphascists and Jimmy Carter-scale idiotarians….He is talking about the competition of ideas, something libertarians normally favor. But not in this context. I wonder why?
    Not too difficult to figure out, Bryan. The ungodly are afraid that God might really exist. As I’ve said before, secularism is a religion, too. But why raise your blood pressure over government schools anyway? They’re run mostly by degenerates. That’s why I say: Hooray for Homeschooling Moms!: Christian Home School Teachers’ Lounge, Homeschool Mom Blog, The Classical Family, Spunky Homeschool
    I completely agree with LaShawn that HomeSchooling is the answer for your children, but I would still like to see Public [government] schools improved. And it really ticks me off when they say ID is the same as Creationism. That is just not true. Creationism is very much at odds with Evolution, because it holds that the story in Genesis is literally true. ID is not at odds with Evolution. It is only at odds with the Secular Humanists godless version of Evolution. ID holds that Evolution was a tool that God used in Creation.


DNS servers, an internet problem? notes In a scan of 2.5 million DNS (Domain Name System) servers, which act as the White Pages of the Internet, security researcher Dan Kaminsky found that approximately 230,000 DNS servers could be vulnerable to a threat known as DNS cache poisoning.

During a DNS cache poisoning attack, hackers replace the IP addresses of legitimate Web sites stored on the DNS machine with the address of a malicious site. The address then proceeds to redirect people to the bogus site, where they may be required to input personal information, or have harmful software installed on their computer. The technique can even be used to redirect e-mail, experts said.

"The reason behind a potential attack is money" states the SANS Internet Storm Center, which tracks network threats. Attackers usually get paid for every spyware or adware program that they install on a person's computer.

Out of the 2.5 million DNS servers scanned in the test, 230,000 servers were identified as potentially vulnerable, 60,000 are very likely to be open to this specific type of attack, and 13,000 have a cache that can definitely be poisoned.

Hat tip to Tech Smores

Every ISP has at least two DNS servers, and many webservers have their own DNS server, which acts a primary for their ISP to access to get the proper settings for the domain names on those webservers. All WebServers and DNS servers need to check to see if there are security patches that need to be applied


Consider that other 'army' in Iraq

CSMonitor reports Regretfully, another report of violence in Iraq doesn't surprise us. But when this brutality hits close to home it gives us pause, and it should. We are taken out of our protective mental cocoons and made to think, to think and consider those who face daily danger while assisting others regain basic necessities of life; to pause and pray for their safety and success.

There is a second army in Iraq that we read and hear of only occasionally. It is a courageous group of workers striving to rebuild a country. Despite the danger, they are at work to restore a judicial system, guide the crafting of a new constitution, rebuild an electrical system, train police, refurbish schools and supply them with basic materials, reconstruct and upgrade water systems and oil pipelines, and repair and supply hospitals. Some are driving trucks filled with supplies, teaching, advising, feeding, or working to bring a measure of sanity to people surrounded by violence and brutality.
But the MSM won't report what they are doing, because it is good, and they only want to report the bad.
This army of workers faces down danger every day. Contractors estimate a third of their costs involve providing security for their workers, and the death toll for security guards is high. While salaries may be high, many of these workers are responding to a more basic compulsion to bring aid and order to the people of Iraq regardless of the violence that surrounds them. For many people in Iraq, these workers are their link to hope. And the only reason we could possibly know any of this is that included in this army of workers are journalists - men and women striving to help the rest of the world understand what is truly going on in the midst of the confusion of daily bombing and violence. Terrorism and corruption depend on darkness, ignorance, and intimidation in their battle against progress and order. On the most basic level, the journalist records events - but his or her work goes far deeper than this. Their observations, contacts, and investigation also uncover corruption, venality, dysfunction, or malfeasance. This uncovering is an essential step in nurturing Iraq's progress. But the reporter's work goes further than this. Journalists also highlight the people and programs that are effectively changing people's lives. Reporting on what is working is as essential as uncovering what is malfunctioning if people are to evaluate any situation intelligently.
Journalists like Steven Vincent and Arthur Chrenkoff do their best to get the truth out, but if MSM editors won't print it, most Americans won't see it.


Thursday, August 4

This Day In History

  • 1735   A jury acquitted John Peter Zenger of the New York Weekly Journal of seditious libel.
  • 1753   George Washington became a Master Mason on this day.
  • 1790   The Coast Guard had its beginnings as the Revenue Cutter Service.
  • 1792   English romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in Field Place, England.
  • 1821   "The Saturday Evening Post" was published as a weekly for the first time.
  • 1830   Plans for the city of Chicago were laid out.
  • 1892   Andrew and Abby Borden were axed to death in their home in Fall River, Mass. Lizzie Borden, Andrew Borden's daughter from a previous marriage, was accused of the killings, though she was later acquited.
  • 1916   The United States purchased the Danish Virgin Islands for $25 million.
  • 1944   Nazi police raided the secret annex of a building in Amsterdam and arrested eight people, including 15-year-old Anne Frank, whose diary became a famous account of the Holocaust.
  • 1964   The bodies of three missing civil rights workers were found buried in an earthen dam in Mississippi.
  • 1977   President Jimmy Carter signed a measure establishing the Department of Energy.
  • 1987   The Federal Communications Commission voted to rescind the Fairness Doctrine, which required radio and television stations to present balanced coverage of controversial issues.
  • 1994   Serb-dominated Yugoslavia withdrew its support for Bosnian Serbs, sealing the 300-mile border between Yugoslavia and Serb-held Bosnia.
  • 2002   A Palestinian suicide bomber blew up a bus in northern Israel during rush hour, killing himself and nine passengers.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1900   Ernie Pyle (journalist: Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter [1944]: reports of 1940 London bombings and war reports from Africa, Italy and France; managing editor: Washington Daily News; killed by sniper’s bullet on Ie Shima, small island off Okinawa, April 18, 1945)
  • 1540   Joseph Scaliger (scientific chronologist: the Julian calendar; died in 1609)
  • 1792   Percy Bysshe Shelley (lyric poet)
  • 1884   Isoroku Yamamoto (Japanese Admiral during WWII: planned attack on Pearl Harbor; killed when U.S. 13th Air Force shot down his plane Apr 18, 1943)
  • 1901   (Daniel) Louis Armstrong (Satchmo: jazz musician: trumpet)
  • 1912   Raoul Wallenberg (architect; humanitarian: rescued at least 100,000 Jews from certain death in World War II; honored posthumously by the U.S. government: U.S. House of Representatives voted to award Mr. Wallenberg with honorary American citizenship [1981]: only the second person to receive such recognition [Winston Churchill was the first]; died in a Russian prison July 17, 1947)
  • 1920   Helen Thomas (journalist: UPI White House correspondent [from Kennedy to Clinton: 1961-2000]; author: Front Row at the White House)


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Election 2008: Republican Candidates Fare Better in Early Trial Heats

Gallup reports Even though the next presidential election is more than three years away, those who might pursue the office are already testing the waters in New Hampshire, in Iowa, and at other gatherings where party power brokers are present. The latest Gallup Poll assessed the public's overall views of four possible contenders for the office and tested how they would fare today in a hypothetical election. A majority of Americans say they have favorable views of Republican and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. On the other hand, more Americans view Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., unfavorably than favorably, and his ratings have grown more negative since his loss to George W. Bush in last fall's presidential election. The trial heat matchups show the two possible Republican candidates holding an edge over the two Democratic candidates among registered voters.

It is a bit far into the future for this to mean much, but at least I like the way it looks today.


Jihad: Who's joining, and why?

CSMonitor reported In Tuesday's edition, a report in this space looked at the origins and goals of Islamist militancy, and of Al Qaeda in particular. This briefing explores how the movement is evolving at a time of concern about terror cells in Western cities such as London.

  • Is the global jihad spreading to Europe?
    It seems clear that this is happening.
  • Who is joining the jihad?
  • Is the same thing happening in America?
  • Are new groups emerging as Al Qaeda franchises, such as in Egypt?
  • Are the goals of jihadists changing?
  • What's Al Qaeda's view of democracy movements in muslim countries?
    Al Qaeda is against democracy as most in the West would understand it. What it wants is the replacement of existing authoritarian regimes with religious states. These would impose a rigid view of the Koran on citizens. In Al Qaeda's view, Western democratic ideas stand in the way of God's will on earth.
    Far be it from me to say for certain what God really wants, but the Islamists say that the Koran is a literal translation of His words, and Surat aal-E-Imran, 3 (Qur'an 3:3) says It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong)., and if I remember correctly what Jesus said, it is Jesus who would return to reign on earth, and I don't believe He plans to blow up innocent individuals on the way.
    Al Qaeda ideologue Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - the self-proclaimed mastermind of Al Qaeda in Iraq - have attacked democracy as a "trick" to deny Muslims the full flowering of Islam.
  • If the U.S. left the Middle East, would militants focus their attacks on Shiites?
  • The Islamist extremists whose rage the world is feeling today are primarily Sunni Muslims. In Iraq, which was ruled and dominated by a Sunni minority since the British created the country in the early 20th century, Sunni extremists are already targeting the ruling Shiite majority. Those extremists see the Shiites as impure and have no compunction about targeting Shiite civilians. For some scholars of Islam, the US, in replacing a Sunni regime with a Shiite-dominated one, faces unforeseen challenges as the shift in power is worked out. Some see wider dangers as its neighbors jockey for influence: What happens if turmoil in the new Iraq leads to an open confrontation between a Shiite-dominated Iran and the Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia?
    Such as the confrontation between the Sunnis that ran Iraq when it attacked the Shiites that controlled Iran, but this time with Iran having nuclear weapons?
  • Is a backlash against jihadism building from within Islam?


The bomb-go-boom networks

Brent Bozell wrote in Townhall My son's friend Todd Jones just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. At a celebratory gathering at his parents' home, we chatted a while, and I asked him what he thought were the biggest problems facing the military. Without hesitating, he shot back: "The terrorists and the media."

And of the two, the media are doing the most damage. I have great faith in our military, and I think they can andle the terrorists, it will just take a little longer, but will the media be successful in turning public opinion against the military and what they are doing in Iraq first.

The midia desperately wants to turn Iraq into another Vietnam, but they don't realize that the Vietnamize did not want to turn the entire world into a huge Islamic state. That is exactly the objective of the terrorists.
In a rare moment of balance on CBS, Army Capt. Christopher Vick echoed that sentiment: "I think it's hard for Americans to get up every day and turn on the news and see the horrible things that are going on here, because there's no focus on the good things that go on. What they see is another car bomb went off." This kind of coverage is exactly what the terrorists are seeking to achieve, believes Vick. Mark Yost, who served in the Navy during the Reagan years, caused a stir in media circles for stating the obvious in an editorial in the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "to judge by the dispatches, all the Iraqis do is stand outside markets and government buildings waiting to be blown up." On CNN's "Reliable Sources," host Howard Kurtz asked Frank Sesno, a former Washington bureau chief for CNN, about the Yost column. Sesno acknowledged you get more depth from print coverage, but suggested "even then, the bias is towards that which is going wrong, that which is blowing up and that which is not working." He said Americans ask: "Is anything getting rebuilt? Are they really democrats over there? How engaged are the Sunnis? Could I see an interview with any of these founding fathers and founding mothers of this new emerging country? Can you find that? You'll have a hard time doing it." He's not kidding. In late June, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibraham al-Jafari came to Washington. On June 24, he appeared with President Bush at the White House and gave a speech at the National Press Club. But try and find Jafari's name in a Nexis search of TV news. Of the Big Three, only CBS seemed to notice him in Washington -- on their little-seen Saturday morning show.... You already know the media's response to the criticism: It's not their job to lead the cheers but to "tell the truth." That "truth," in their eyes, is the war was an unjustified, costly and ill-planned quagmire. Our news media can proclaim it is not their job to help President Bush win the war on terrorists in Iraq. But their job ought to be to cover all of Iraq, and not just show the American people a stilted nightly horror movie, a dinner plate of Terrorist Helper.


Staunch Islam and Its Many Foes (Including Apathy)

Somini Sengupta wrote in NYT Since coming to power in state elections nearly three years ago, a coalition of radical Islamist parties here [Pakistan] in North-West Frontier Province has faced a few stumbling blocks on the road to creating a model Islamic state. First, they made it illegal to play music on city buses, but that law seemed to fall flat on its face. Caravans of luridly painted buses still cruise the streets of Peshawar, tinny pop music pouring out of their windows. Then they banned mannequins in shop windows, but shopkeepers shrugged it off. The mannequins quickly returned to the bazaar, displaying stiff smiles. The Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal, as the coalition of religious radicals is called in Urdu, did succeed in closing the two pubs that served alcohol (though only to non-Pakistani foreigners). Some of their foot soldiers went on a free-for-all vandalizing advertising billboards that displayed pictures of women. And the coalition banned musical performances at a government-owned concert hall.

Why on earth would anyone want a "model Islamic state" if this is what that means?
But high unemployment, dysfunctional schools, a dearth of doctors in the countryside, women dying at alarmingly high rates in childbirth - those problems it has been so far unable to tackle.
It probably did not even try. Were those priorities in the Seventh Century?
Now, in the latest tussle over the influence of religious radicals in Pakistani society and politics, the Islamist-led provincial legislature has passed a bill that would empower religious police to ensure that the people of Frontier Province comply with "Islamic values and etiquettes" in everyday life. The authors of the law assure that the hisba police and a government-appointed cleric who would adjudicate cases would use persuasion, not force, though skeptics wonder how voluntary it would be.
Scream loudly. Life under the Taliban was not a bed of roses when they controlled Afganistan.
The bill has prompted a shrill outcry against what critics call the potential Talibanization of the province. Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, keen to cast himself as a moderate, has spoken against the bill, and his government has appealed to the Supreme Court to decide whether it complies with the federal Constitution. [The Supreme Court heard arguments on Aug. 1 and 2, but has not issued a judgment.] In Pakistan, Shariah, or Islamic law, already regulates civil matters like marriage, divorce and inheritance. But the federal Constitution guarantees personal freedoms, which, critics say, the hisba law would violate. The most controversial provision of the "hisba" bill - roughly meaning accountability - is the appointment of a "mohtasib" - roughly meaning ombudsman - in each of the 84 counties and districts in the province. The mohtasib would have authority to regulate a broad spectrum of public and private life, from making sure Muslims offer daily prayers and children obey their parents to stopping bribery of government officials and child labor. It would be up to the mohtasib to interpret Islamic "values" in each locality. He would have a police force at his disposal. There would be no appeal. "The law is very clear," argued Bushra Gohar, who runs an organization here that promotes women and children's rights. "The mohtasib does have extraordinary powers to be judge, jury and executioner. No one can appeal. No one can question."


Basra blogger is abducted and murdered

Times Online reported A freelance American journalist who wrote about alleged corruption and lawlessness in the Iraqi city of Basra has been abducted at gunpoint and shot dead. Steven Vincent's body was recovered at the side of a road south of Basra late last night, several hours after he and his female translator were kidnapped as they left a currency exchange shop, within sight of a British military checkpoint. There is speculation that Mr Vincent, who received death threats, was murdered in an attempt to silence him. Four days before his death he had written an opinion piece in The New York Times in which he said that the police force in the British-controlled city had been infiltrated by Shia Muslim extremist militias, who were responsible for carrying out hundreds of murders of prominent Sunni Muslims. He criticised the British, whose 8,000 troops in the area are responsible for security in Basra, for turning a blind eye to abuses of power by Shia extremists. The whole city was "increasingly coming under the control of Shia religious groups, from the relatively mainstream... to the bellicose followers of the rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr".

Steven Vincent, was murdered in Basra hours after this was published. A piece of his on Islamists there appeared in a recent New York Times Op-Ed, "Switched off in Basra"

Real security reform requires psychological as well as physical training. Unless the British include in their security sector reform strategy some basic lessons in democratic principles, Basra risks falling further under the sway of Islamic extremists and their Western-trained police enforcers.
(and subsequently the International Herald Tribune) this past weekend.

Arthur Chrenkoff blogged Steve had a successful and rewarding career as an art critic in New York. Then came September 11, and his life would never be the same again. "When the Administration launched the Operation Iraqi freedom, I felt strangely excited," he wrote. "I wanted to join the conflict." Too old to enlist (his only military experience, driving a cab in NYC, he says), too freelance to hope to accompany the troops, Steve made the decision to see Iraq away from the frontlines: "I sought to embed myself in the Iraqi society.".... Allah willed that he came back to the land between the rivers that fascinated him and captured his imagination. Some cowardly bastards didn't. I don't know whether the "insurgents" who murdered Steve, knew who they were killing - that wouldn't surprise me - or if they merely kidnapped a random Westerner who was hanging out with an Iraqi woman. Maybe there were just criminals, maybe they were neo-Baathists, or maybe Shia extremists..... The most despicable misuse of terminology, however, occurs when Leftists call the Saddamites and foreign jihadists "“the resistance."” What an example of moral inversion! For the fact is, paramilitary death squads are attacking the Iraqi people. And those who oppose the killers--the Iraqi police and National Guardsmen, members of the Allawi government, people like Nour - they are the "“resistance."” They are preventing Islamofascists from seizing Iraq, they are resisting evil men from turning the entire nation into a mass slaughterhouse like we saw in re-liberated Falluja. Anyone who cares about success in our struggle against Islamofascism - —or upholds principles of moral clarity and lucid thought - —should combat such Orwellian distortions of our language.

Arthur also has a lot of other good information on Steven, and a number of other links to other bloggers commenting on this subject

Mary Madigan blogged Steven Vincent was murdered yesterday in Basra by what the police call "unknown gunmen". Many condolences to his family. Judith Weiss has more at Kesher Talk, including a link to an interview with Vincent. The more I read of Vincent's work, the more I learn about what was lost.

James Joyner blogged Vincent's case is an altogether different matter, though. He was not collateral damage in a firefight but rather a targetted victim. That makes his death an outrage in addition to a tragedy.

James has several news stories and links to a number of bloggers commenting on Vincent's loss


Wednesday, August 3

This Day In History

  • 1776   Members of the Continental Congress began attaching their signatures to the Declaration of Independence.
  • 1492   Christopher Columbus set sail on the "Santa Maria". He was accompanied by a crew of 90 and two more ships, the "Nina" and the "Pinta". They left Spain half an hour before sunrise to begin the search for a water passage to Cathay. Instead, Columbus and company landed on October 12 at Guanahani, San Salvador Island in the Bahamas ... not India but the New World of the Americas.
  • 1921   Opera singer Enrico Caruso died in Naples, Italy.
  • 1921   A jury in Chicago acquitted several former members of the Chicago White Sox and two others of conspiring to defraud the public by throwing the World Series.
  • 1933   The world-famous Mickey Mouse Watch was introduced. The timepiece sold for $2.75. A Mickey Mouse Clock sold for $1.50. New models now sell for $25 or more and the original watches and clocks are worth hundreds of dollars.
  • 1934   German President Paul von Hindenburg died, paving the way for Adolf Hitler's complete takeover.
  • 1939   Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt urging creation of an atomic weapons research program.
  • 1943   A Navy patrol torpedo boat, PT-109, commanded by Lt. John F. Kennedy, sank after being sheared in two by a Japanese destroyer off the Solomon Islands. Kennedy was credited with saving members of the crew.
  • 1945   President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Clement Attlee concluded the Potsdam conference.
  • 1964   The Pentagon reported the first of two attacks on U.S. destroyers by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin.
  • 1979   Johnny Carson, the "Tonight Show" host, graced the cover of the Burbank, CA telephone directory. You know you’ve made it when you’re on the cover of the phone book.
  • 1985   A Delta Air Lines jumbo jet crashed while attempting to land at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, killing 137 people.
  • 1990   Iraq invaded Kuwait, seizing control of the oil-rich emirate.
  • 1997   Author William S. Burroughs died at age 83.
  • 2000   Republicans nominated Texas Gov. George W. Bush for president and Dick Cheney for vice president at the party's convention in Philadelphia.
  • 2001   Muslim extremists seized 36 Filipinos on the southern island of Basilan and beheaded at least four.
  • 2003   Liberian President Charles Taylor agreed to cede power.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1900   Ernie Pyle (journalist: Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter [1944]: reports of 1940 London bombings and war reports from Africa, Italy and France; managing editor: Washington Daily News; killed by sniper’s bullet on Ie Shima, small island off Okinawa, April 18, 1945)
  • 1900   John T. Scopes (high school teacher: subject of famous 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial: convicted of teaching evolution in Tennessee school; died Oct 21, 1970)
  • 1940   Martin Sheen (Ramon Estevez) (actor: The West Wing)
  • 1941   Martha Stewart


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Physical Fitness

Yahoo! News reported The following is a fact sheet released today by the Democratic National Committee:

The White House this weekend announced that resident Bush received good news during his annual physical. Doctors pronounced the President to be in "superior" physical condition, which media reports attributed to his rigorous, six day a week exercise routine.

Gee, I bet they are not happy that Bush is in such good shape. He does not go into every McDonalds he sees and pick up a bag of french fries either.
While President Bush has made physical fitness a personal priority, his cuts to education funding have forced schools to roll back physical education classes and his Administration's efforts to undermine Title IX sports programs have threatened thousands of women's college sports programs.
I suspect their definition of cut is "less than we hoped they would increase spending to"
"President Bush's has dropped the ball when it comes to fully funding physical education in public schools
Funding for public schools is primarilly the job of local, and to some extent state government.
and women's athletic programs at the college level," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Josh Earnest. "His personal habits indicate that physical fitness is not just fun and games for him. Don't our kids deserve the same opportunities to be physically fit?
Maybe they should walk and run more, and ride their bike to school, rather than getting Momma to drive them. And maybe the schools should get rid of the vending machines for candy and soft drinks.
President Bush should stop running from his responsibility and make sure that all American children have access to physical fitness programs."

Michelle Malkin blogged See Lorie Byrd and Lyflines for details of a snort-worthy DNC press release. I, for one, am glad we don't have a president who has muffin top.

RyanVOX blogged Personally, I would rather have a guy in shape running things than a overweight Bubba who was actually doing more harm to women by using a female intern as an object of sexual gratification in the Oval Office.

Single Malt Pundit blogged according to the DNC, you need a government program to make kids exercise. Yup, it takes a village to make a fat kid go outside rather than trying to unlock the hidden sex scenes in Grand Theft Auto - or more accurately, it takes several million dollars of Uncle Sam’s money. Not to mention the fact that physical education programs tend to be little more than a waste of time that should be spent on more valuable subjects.

Ankle Biting Pundits blogged Honestly, if George Bush walked on water tomorrow, the DNC would issue a press release entitled "Bush Can't Swim".


One blog created 'every second'

BBC reported The blogosphere is continuing to grow, with a weblog created every second, according to blog trackers Technorati. In its latest State of the Blogosphere report, it said the number of blogs it was tracking now stood at more than 14.2m blogs, up from 7.8m in March. It suggests, on average, the number of blogs is doubling every five months.



America's 'terrible thing'

James Carroll editorialized in Boston Globe At least God told Moses the truth. Before laying on him the requirements of a monotheistic faith that would immediately cause violent conflict with idol-worshipers, God said, ''It is a terrible thing that I will do with you." And so it was.

One can certainly do a lot with a word or two quoted out of context. He is referring to Exodus 34:10 which in the King James Version says
And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.
But is it really terrible? In the New International Version that verse reads
Then the LORD said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.
and in New American standard the verse reads
Then God said, "Behold, I am going to make a covenant Before all your people I will perform miracles which have not been produced in all the earth nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the LORD, for it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you.
So is it a "terrible thing", an "awsome thing", or a "fearful thing". Even if we go with KJV, "It is a terrible thing that I will do with you." I don't think it is too bad, because God is doing it WITH us, and if God is with you, what should you fear?
The statement comes in the very verses of Exodus that define the covenant God makes with Moses and his harried people. ''I shall do marvels," God promises. But it is the certainty of ''the terrible thing" that defines this relationship going forward. The terrible thing, first, of permanent war against the Amorites, the Canaanites, and their eternal successors. The terrible thing, existentially, of living without idols. The terrible thing of the Law, which all inevitably violate. The terrible thing of being forced to face the truth, a mandate God gives by example with this stark declaration at the outset.

In the United States of America, a terrible thing shapes our relationship to the world, but we do not admit it, not even on its unhappy anniversary. Sixty years ago this week, American B-29s named Enola Gay and Bock's Car dropped atomic bombs on two Japanese cities. The men responsible insisted, in the face of shocking devastation, that the bombs were not so terrible. ''We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world," Truman confided to his diary after the successful test of the weapon in July. But he immediately mitigated its terribleness by swearing to himself (as he would to the public for the rest of his life) that ''the target will be a purely military one." No women or children at Ground Zero. After learning of the Hiroshima attack, thinking not of Japanese casualties but of the power he had just claimed for his nation, he described the bomb as ''the greatest thing in history." Truman's secretary of war, Henry L. Stimson, knew more of the horrors of the bomb than any other senior figure, but he too downplayed its terrible character. ''This deliberate, premeditated destruction was our least abhorrent choice," he wrote later. He saluted the atomic bomb for putting an end to the firebombing of Japanese cities, as if that murderous operation were carried out by some other force than his own. ''Thank God for the atomic bomb," the critic and war veteran Paul Fussell wrote. Only an American consensus that the bomb was a good thing -- not terrible at all -- allowed the nation's succeeding generations to pour treasure and moral value into the nuclear abyss. The bomb remains the source of transcendent political power, which is why other nations maneuver to obtain it, even now. Arriviste nuclear terrorists want to play with the fire that Washington not only lit, but keeps burning. The United States has yet to reckon with the evil forces it set loose 60 years ago, a refusal that keeps those forces rampant today.
The bomb was good to end WWII, because even though it killed a lot of people, including women and children, more would have died if we had had to invade the island of Japan to end the war, and that would have been necessary.
And so with Iraq. Under George W. Bush, America has done and is doing a terrible thing in that nation.
What is so terrible about giving the citizens a chance to choose their own form of government for the first time in their lives? Or are the humanitarian projects, like electricity, water, sewage projects, etc somehow bad?
Yet to hear the war described in Washington, one would still think it is an exercise in nation building, democracy, humanitarian intervention -- women's liberation. Indeed, the administration's language mavens last week began eschewing the word ''war," which is a sure sign they know it is lost. The hard truth is that we have destroyed the place we claimed to want to rescue, and no matter what tactics the improvising Pentagon adopts (US troops withdraw? US forces escalate?), the situation will only worsen. Political pressures require Bush to pretend that a positive outcome hovers at the horizon in Iraq, but that is a mirage. Together with Tony Blair, he also denies that terror attacks a world away from Baghdad constitute a second front in the Iraq war, but that too is self-serving illusion. The coalition of denial.

Just as the consequences of the introduction of nuclear weapons into the global polity are so dreadful that America still cannot acknowledge them, so the facts of life on the ground in Iraq -- and below ground in London -- are now so deeply tragic that dumb deception is the administration's only response. We are working marvels, Washington boasts, even as the ruins pile up. It may seem irreverent, or irrelevant, to compare all of this to the initiating act of the God of Exodus,
I certainly would not equate our gift of Democracy to the Iraqi people with God's Covenant in Exodus, but we do the best we can.
but the warning is there to heed, together with the example. If it is a terrible thing we are doing, at very least we can face that truth. And admit it.

Orrin Judd blogged Of course nuclear weapons are terrible, but far more devastatig--in terms of life, wealth, and social capital--has been the refusal to use them to win wars since.


How radical Islamists see the world

CSMonitor reports Today and tomorrow, the Monitor examines the origins of Islamic terrorism and how it is evolving now.

  • What is Al Qaeda today compared to five years ago?
  • Who are Al Qaeda's leaders?
  • Are they still organizing operations?
  • What do the militants want?
    For Islamist militants, the long-term objective is an Islamic superstate, or caliphate. Narrower objectives include the end of the state of Israel and toppling secular Middle Eastern regimes like Egypt's. It is an article of faith that the US and all secular Western states stand in their way, and weakening those states is seen as positive for all their objectives.
    World domination as a long-term objective, and weakening their enemies as a short-term objective. Where have we seen that before?
  • Who is their main enemy?
    The global jihad has long named two types of targets: the "near enemy" (Israel or secular Arab regimes) and the "far enemy" - America and its allies.
  • What Is their ideal society?
    They want a society that applies the Koran literally and adheres to the social practices that prevailed at the time of the prophet Muhammad. It would not be democratic in any modern sense, though there are provisions for shura, or consultation - generally interpreted to mean the leader should take advice from trusted community members. In their interpretation of Islam, women and men have defined roles, and women generally have fewer rights.
    A LOT fewer rights.
    Their views stem from the Salafi movement within Islam's Sunni sect, the religion's largest. For a Salafi adherent, interpretation of the Koran stops 1,300 years ago, with Muhammad, his companions, and the three generations that followed them.
  • What about Wahhabi thinking - is that behind Al Qaeda?
  • What are the roots of violent jihad?
  • What does the Koran say about violence against civilians?
    As with most religions, it is a question of where emphasis is placed. The Koran has fairly clear injunctions against murder, including "Whoever slays a human being, unless it be for murder or for spreading corruption on earth, it shall be as though he had slain all mankind" (5:32). Suicide is warned against even more strongly: "Do not kill yourselves ... whoever does so, in transgression and wrongfully, we shall roast in a fire" (4:29). Warfare in certain circumstances is condoned, even urged, just as in the Old Testament, but there are limits. "Fight in the cause of God against those who fight against you, but do not transgress limits. God loves not transgressors" (2:190) and "let there be no hostility, except to those who practice oppression" (2:193). In the most widespread interpretations, such verses bar both attacks on civilians and suicide attacks, while allowing Muslims to fight against those who directly attack them. But how does one define the meaning of "those who practice oppression" or "spreading corruption on earth" or even "those who fight against you?" It is here that the minority of Islamist radicals who attack civilians find their wiggle room.


Saddam's trial on live television

Telegraph reported The trial of Saddam Hussein will be shown on live television, Iraq's national security adviser said yesterday. The trial will show the Arab and Muslim world "that this is going to be a fair, just trial with a defence counsel in there, with a proper prosecuting counsel as well there," Iraqi national security adviser Muwaffaq Rubaie told CNN. "And everybody will watch this trial live on television." Earlier this month, an Iraqi tribunal filed the first charges against the deposed Iraqi leader over the 1982 killing of 143 residents of the village of Dujail, north-east of Baghdad, where he had been the target of a failed assassination attempt. No date for his trial has yet been set.

Sorry OJ and Laci, this really will be the Trial of the Century. I hope Fox does not feel it must cover it 24x7 though.


Bush endorses teaching `intelligent design' theory in schools

KR Washington Bureau reports President Bush waded into the debate over evolution and "intelligent design" Monday, saying schools should teach both theories on the creation and complexity of life.

The debate is between Evolution and Creationism. Intelligent Design merely says that the Darwinists may be right about Evolution being the way it happened, but that there was an Intelligent Designer (God) controling the process.
In a wide-ranging question-and-answer session with a small group of reporters, Bush essentially endorsed efforts by Christian conservatives to give intelligent design equal standing with the theory of evolution in the nation's schools.
He is certainly right that if students are to be taught an Athestic view of Evolution, they should also be taught the Intelligent Design approach to Evolution. but it is not Evolution OR Intelligent Design, it is Creation by an Intelligent Designer using Evolution.
On other topics, Bush said he has no idea how Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts would vote in a case challenging the legality of abortion because he never asked him about it. He also defended Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, who was suspended Monday for using performance-enhancing steroids. Bush declined to state his personal views on "intelligent design," the belief that life forms are so complex that their creation can't be explained by Darwinian evolutionary theory alone, but rather points to intentional creation, presumably divine. The theory of evolution, first articulated by British naturalist Charles Darwin in 1859, is based on the idea that life organisms developed over time through random mutations and factors in nature that favored certain traits that helped species survive. Scientists concede that evolution doesn't answer every question about the creation of life, but most consider intelligent design an attempt to inject religion into science courses.
That is because the Secular Humanists in charge of the schools are so afraid of the recognition of a Creator that they lie about what ID really means.
Bush compared the current debate to earlier disputes over "creationism," a related view that adheres more closely to biblical explanations. As governor of Texas, Bush said students should be exposed to both creationism and evolution. On Monday the president said he favors the same approach for intelligent design "so people can understand what the debate is about."

Betsy Newmark blogged I wish federal politicians, even the President whom I usually like, would stay out of state responsibilities. And one of those responsibilities is clearly educational curriculum. The proper answer to a question about whether schools should teach intelligent design is that that is an issue for local and state school boards and not one for the president of the United States. Unfortunately, that was not Bush's response to that question. This is yet another issue where school choice seems to be the best answer.
I have no problem with Bush expressing his opinion, but I agree that local school boards should decide what to teach, and I like the idea of School Choice.
If a school's policy on science education is very important to a family, let them have lots of choices so they can pick the one best suited to their wishes.

Jon Henke blogged Being exposed to alternate ideas is fine. We ought to come up with some sort of non-federally funded means of exposing people to these alternate ideas. Perhaps a place they could go voluntarily. Maybe every Sunday. We could call it "Church". Science class, however, is not a place for "diversity". It's a place for, you know, science.
I would be overjoyed if the school system felt that schools were not the place for pushing diversity, and if they got back to the basics, but if we are going to have diversity pushed every where else, why avoid the science classroom


Seargent Shiek

Salt Lake Tribune reported U.S. soldier's aid to Iraqis earns him title of sheik

Sheik Horn floats around the room in white robe and headdress, exchanging pleasantries with dozens of village leaders. But he is the only sheik with blonde streaks in his mustache - and the only one who attended country music star Toby Keith's recent concert in Baghdad with fellow U.S. soldiers. Officially, he is Army Staff Sgt. Dale L. Horn, but to residents of the 37 villages and towns that he patrols he is known as the American sheik. Sheiks, or village elders, are known as the real power in rural Iraq. And the 5-foot-6-inch Floridian's ascension to the esteemed position came through humor and the military's need to clamp down on rocket attacks.

And the good job that our soldiers are performing in Iraq
Late last year a full-blown battle between insurgents and U.S. and Iraqi forces had erupted, and U.S. commanders assigned a unit to stop rocket and mortar attacks that regularly hit their base. Horn, who had been trained to operate radar for a field artillery unit, was now thrust into a job that largely hinged on coaxing locals into divulging information about insurgents. Horn, 25, a native of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., acknowledges he had little interest in the region before coming here. But a local sheik friendly to U.S. forces, Mohammed Ismail Ahmed, explained the inner workings of rural Iraqi society on one of Horn's first Humvee patrols. Horn says he was intrigued, and started making a point of stopping by all the villages, all but one dominated by Sunni Arabs, to talk to people about their life and security problems. Moreover, he pressed for development projects in the area: he now boasts that he helped funnel $136,000 worth of aid into the area. Part of that paid for delivery of clean water to 30 villages during the broiling summer months.
Good for him.
Mohammed, Horn's mentor, eventually suggested during a meeting of village leaders that Horn be named a sheik. Some sheiks later gave him five sheep and a postage stamp of land, fulfilling some of the requirements for sheikdom. Others encouraged him to start looking for a second wife, which Horn's spouse back in Florida immediately vetoed.
And Shiek Horn better listen to her!!!


Miss Everett Teen USA 2004 enlists in Army

Seattle Times reports Miss Everett Teen USA 2004 is putting away her sash to put on a U.S. Army uniform. Last summer, Jennifer Cabanayan appeared at community events, including the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival and the National Night Out Against Crime, as Miss Everett Teen USA 2004. Now she has enlisted in the Army and will leave for boot camp at Fort Jackson, S.C., on Aug. 11. The petite brunette says Army service has always been in the back of her mind. "I'm capable, I'm healthy. This is the right thing to do," said Cabanayan, who attended Cascade and Marysville-Pilchuck high schools before earning her GED. "I cannot wait for that moment of putting on a uniform. It gives you that honor." Paulene Saylor, Cabanayan's mother, said her daughter comes from a military family. Saylor's father, Otis Saylor of Stanwood, served two tours in Vietnam with an Army airborne unit. His granddaughter will follow in his boot steps. After basic training, she'll go to airborne jump school at Fort Benning, Ga.

TheAnchoress blogged From Beauty Queen to Gy-rene? Is that how to spell Gy-rene? Please correct me, you Marines, out there! Anyway, she’s not joining the Marines, she’s joining the Army. But Army didn’t rhyme. :-) This is a pretty cool story. Ace, who points out that the usual “we support the troops but not Bush’s war” folks are wishing her ill. Sigh. Well, I wish her the best, anyway.

Ace blogged Over at Fark, where this story was found, the usual suspects are wishing death on her. But they support the troops, you know.

Joe Gandelman blogged Well, there go two common stereotypes: that cliched idea that anyone who enters a beauty contest doesn't ponder big issues and the cliched idea that today's generation is more interested in self than society

Like the others, I commend Jennifer for her decision


Tuesday, August 2

This Day In History

  • 1776   Members of the Continental Congress began attaching their signatures to the Declaration of Independence.
  • 1769   The city of Los Angeles was named on this day. Gaspar de Portola, a Spanish army captain, and Juan Crespi, a Franciscan priest, stopped on their way north from San Diego. They really liked the area and decided to name it Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula, which means Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula -- Porciuncula being a chapel in Italy.
  • 1824   Fifth Avenue was opened in New York City. It became one of the most famous thoroughfares in the world, the home of many beautiful, fashionable stores.
  • 1858   The first mailboxes were installed along the streets of Boston and New York City. The idea of mailboxes began in Belgium in 1848. We suggest that you check yours twice on this special day. And remember, mailboxes must be, as it says on the lid, “Approved by Postmaster General”!
  • 1876   Wild Bill (James Butler) Hickok was gunned down by Jack McCall, a desperado from Texas, in Saloon #10 at Deadwood, in the Dakota Territory. Hickok was playing poker (with his back to the door) at the time of the shooting. McCall shot Wild Bill in the back, and was hanged for the shooting, never revealing his motive. The poker hand Hickok was holding when he died consisted of a pair of black aces and a pair of black eights. This combination became known as the dead man's hand.
  • 1887   Barbed wire was patented by Chester A. Hodge of Beloit, WI.
  • 1921   Opera singer Enrico Caruso died in Naples, Italy.
  • 1921   A jury in Chicago acquitted several former members of the Chicago White Sox and two others of conspiring to defraud the public by throwing the World Series.
  • 1934   German President Paul von Hindenburg died, paving the way for Adolf Hitler's complete takeover.
  • 1939   Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt urging creation of an atomic weapons research program.
  • 1943   A Navy patrol torpedo boat, PT-109, commanded by Lt. John F. Kennedy, sank after being sheared in two by a Japanese destroyer off the Solomon Islands. Kennedy was credited with saving members of the crew.
  • 1945   President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Clement Attlee concluded the Potsdam conference.
  • 1964   The Pentagon reported the first of two attacks on U.S. destroyers by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin.
  • 1979   New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson died in the crash of his private plane in Canton, Ohio.
  • 1985   A Delta Air Lines jumbo jet crashed while attempting to land at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, killing 137 people.
  • 1990   Iraq invaded Kuwait, seizing control of the oil-rich emirate.
  • 1997   Author William S. Burroughs died at age 83.
  • 2000   Republicans nominated Texas Gov. George W. Bush for president and Dick Cheney for vice president at the party's convention in Philadelphia.
  • 2001   Muslim extremists seized 36 Filipinos on the southern island of Basilan and beheaded at least four.
  • 2003   Liberian President Charles Taylor agreed to cede power.
Happy Birthday To

  • 1905   Myrna Loy (Williams) (actress: Thin Man movies, Airport)
  • 1924   James Baldwin (author: Go Tell It on the Mountain; died Dec 1, 1987)
  • 1924   Carroll O’Connor (Emmy Award-winning actor: All in the Family)
  • 1932   Peter O’Toole (actor)


Monday, August 01, 2005

A roundup of the past two weeks' good news from Iraq.

Arthur Chrenkoff wrote in OpinionJournal A foreign reporter recently asked Monsignor Rabban al Qas, Chaldean bishop of Amadiyah and Arbil, whether there is any good news coming out of Iraq. "Twenty-three Iraqis are killed every day in Iraq," the interviewer observed. "Nearly two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, there is no security as yet. Is there still hope in Iraq?" To which the monsignor replied:

What the media portray is true: explosions, killings, attacks. But if you see how much order, discipline, transport, displacements, and work have improved, there is a change for the better compared to one or two years ago. Now people understand there is a government, the structure of a new state. Thousands and thousands of allied and Iraqi soldiers are present. There is a constitution which is being drawn up, laws are being enacted.

The presence of authority is recognised. This was not the case before. And Al-Qaeda integralists and terrorists coming from abroad seek to penetrate Iraq precisely to destroy the beginnings of this social organization.
A war for the future of Iraq is going on, but that war is being fought not only with guns and explosives. Terrorists and insurgents are killing soldiers and civilians and sabotaging infrastructure, and the Iraqi and coalition security forces in turn are hunting down the enemies of the new Iraq. But every step towards self-government, every new job created, every new school opened, is a small victory against those who would want to turn Iraq's clock back three--or 1,300--years. Below are some of these stories that often get lost in the fog and smoke of war.

Read all of these, and see if you remember being told about ANY of them by the Main Stream Media.