Saturday, October 08, 2005

Moonbat Princess

Pieter Dorsman blogged The sister of Dutch Queen Beatrix has stepped into the limelight to declare that the West should initiate peace negotiations with al-Qaeda

Exactly what should we offer them. They attacked us, several times, culminating with 9/11, before we attacked them. Zawahiri said their objectives were:
  • First, expel American forces from Iraq.
  • Second, establish a caliphate over as much of Iraq as possible.
  • Third, extend the jihad to neighboring countries, with specific reference to Egypt and the Levant -- a term that describes Syria and Lebanon.
  • And finally, war against Israel.
And we know that their ultimate goal is a Global Caliphate, i.e. the entire world under Islamic Rule. If we were nice to them, do you think they would be happy with just half of the world?

in an interview with De Volkskrant, one of the country's top newspapers.... To my non-Dutch readers whose jaws have probably now all dropped, this may sound shocking and unbelievable but Princess Irene has been a certified moonbat for years, long even before Perry de Havilland coined the term. She was part of the big anti-cruise missile rallies during the 1980s, and left the Dutch nation speechless after revelations in another newspaper interview that she often engaged in dialogues with trees and dolphins.

Marcus Aurelius blogged One thing that is not so obvious to us denizens of the later 20th and early 21st centuries is the amount of resistance to Churchill's war on Adolf Hitler. The usual narrative is the Western democracies rallied against Hitler with united populations. This is a misconception that probably arises from the people who were wrong about Hitler hoping people would forget how awfully wrong they were. Fact is, quite a few people in the UK (the elites were for coming to terms with Adolf Hitler) even after the repeated broken promises by Adolf Hitler and numerous "one more chances" there was much resistance to fighting Adolf. As I have said in the past this is a fine impulse but after a point it ceases being resistance to war and becomes invitation to enslavement.

Dr. Rusty Shackleford blogged I have a great idea! Let's negotiate with mass-murderering terrorists who want to stone to death women who get pregnant out of wedlock! Maybe they will meet us in the middle and and only kill half the Jews in the world and only give adulteresses fifty lashes instead of the death sentence?


Mary Mapes Hits Bloggers and MSM in Upcoming Book

Editor&Publisher reported Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post might have a bigger scoop than he thought. In his online column this morning, as a final, almost throwaway item, he quoted from the first chapter of the forthcoming book by former CBS producer Mary Mapes that covers, among other things, her controversial experience with the Dan Rather/Bush/National Guard “60 Minutes” segment. Among the excerpts: "I was incredulous that the mainstream press -- a group I'd been a part of for nearly twenty-five years and thought I knew -- was falling for the blogs' critiques.

They had been getting away with telling lies for 25 years; why did that have to stop?
I was shocked at the ferocity of the attack. I was terrified at CBS's lack of preparedness in defending us. I was furious at the unrelenting attacks on Dan. And I was helpless to do anything about any of it."
Truth can really hurt someone who is not used to it.

OneBigDog blogged Note to Mapes: The documents were phony and your liberal biased blindness did not allow you to do what the public expects of respectable journalists. Documents are destroyed when they are phony and no fax machine in the world will take a document from 30 years ago and change the font to that found on computers not available at the time they were supposedly written.

Perhaps the reason that you are upset is that with the Internet, the public no longer needs to sit in front of a TV and have your spin spoon fed to them. The public now has a means to verify claims made by the liberal biased media. Instead of being told what we should believe, we are investigating for ourselves and finding the truth.

Bill blogged What's more persuasive, Mapes' grasping analysis of the destruction of "subtle arcs and lines in the letters" or the analysis of a renowned forensic document examiner and "one of the pioneers of electronic typesetting." Or your own eyes?


Sunnis Wary

NYT reported On a narrow street in Adhamiya, the Sunni Arab heart of the capital, an elderly sheik sits in a darkened room pondering his country's future. At 64, he has seen the withdrawal of the British decades ago, the demise of a monarchy and the rise and fall of Saddam Hussein. Now changes are looming that could be just as profound. In a week, Iraqis will vote on a constitution that, if approved, would set the stage for full independence from the American-led occupation. But for many Sunni Arabs, the constitution seems to signify the birth of a new nation, in which they have been relegated to the distant sidelines.

Gee, they won't be able to rule over 80% of the people like they used to. They just need to hope that the 80% will treat them better than they did when they were in power.
"We are paying for the mistakes of Saddam," said the sheik, Abu Omar al-Adhami, leaning forward and speaking intensely, his bare feet planted squarely on the tile floor. "It's the end of the road, a done deal."


MI5 unmasks covert arms programmes

Guardian reported The determination of countries across the Middle East and Asia to develop nuclear arsenals and other weapons of mass destruction is laid bare by a secret British intelligence document which has been seen by the Guardian. More than 360 private companies, university departments and government organisations in eight countries, including the Pakistan high commission in London, are identified as having procured goods or technology for use in weapons programmes. The length of the list, compiled by MI5, suggests that the arms trade supermarket is bigger than has so far been publicly realised. MI5 warns against exports to organisations in Iran, Pakistan, India, Israel, Syria and Egypt

Most of those are Islamic countries. I thought Islam was supposed to be a Religion of Peace
and to beware of front companies in the United Arab Emirates, which appears to be a hub for the trade.

Tim Worstall blogged The Guardian has a story on various front companies that are used to buy up nuclear technologies and materials. (Note that these would not include uranium and plutonium themselves. Rather the specialist materials to manipulate those.)

JihadWatch blogged Perhaps MI5 would be well-advised to look into the differing motives and ideologies of the countries listed, and gauge the threat from each accordingly. But that may be too much trouble.

iqbal commented India and Israel are not Islamic countries, therefore their nuclear ambitions are not comparable to those of islamic countries. India and Israel, have real mortal threat from Islam and thier nuclear weapons are in fact are ultimate weapons to be used against Islamic wars, if waged against them. All Islamic countries are persuing nculear weapons to annhilate Kafirs from the earth.


Al-Jazeera Finds Its English Voice

WaPo reported Al-Jazeera, which is launching an English-language network with Washington as a major hub, has landed its first big-name Western journalist: David Frost. And the veteran BBC interviewer says he's perfectly comfortable with the unlikely marriage.

I wonder how comfortable he will be the next time some bombs go off in the London Underground.
"I love new frontiers and new challenges," Frost, 66, said yesterday from London. He said the new network, al-Jazeera International, has promised him "total editorial control" and that he had checked out the company with U.S. and British government officials, "all of which gave al-Jazeera a clean bill of health in terms of its lack of links with terrorism."
Who in the heck in our government gave al-Jaxerra a clean bill of health in terms of its lack of links with terrorism? Where does it get the video and audio tapes from al Quaeda? Does the tape fairy bring them? Or are they just saying that they are not aware of any al Jazerra staff blowing themselves up to kill people?
But the Bush administration has repeatedly denounced al-Jazeera. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has accused the Qatar-based operation of promoting terrorism and "vicious lies" and has banned its reporters from Iraq. The State Department has complained about "false" and "inflammatory" reporting. Said Frost, who will host a weekly interview program: "For all the people who think it's anti-American, there are various countries in the Middle East who think it's too pro-Western. I would say the jury's out on al-Jazeera. Obviously, we all suffer from the handicap of not being able to sit there and watch in Arabic." The Thursday announcement of the hiring of Frost, who will continue to work for the BBC, comes as al-Jazeera is looking for a few good Americans -- anchors, correspondents and producers -- for the network as it prepares to launch early next year.
I would suggest they contact Dan Rather, who is out of a job, but then they were looking for good journalists.
From a nondescript office building on K Street, where an armed guard mans the lobby, staffers have been calling television agents about their clients. But a number of those approached, including several well-known personalities whose agent would not identify them by name, have quickly rebuffed the overture.

RantingProfs blogged Several questions: first, does "total editorial control" extend to all aspects of production? such as editing? (Will Frost control what images are shown while he is speaking?) Will Frost control his time slot, how (and whether) his show is promoted? Will Frost's show be promoted to those in the Islamic world who have heard of al Jazeera, but don't speak Arabic, and therefore don't have access to the original? or will it be used to whitewash the original al Jazeera to the non-Arabic speaking world, so that the Western world will say, "but we've seen al Jazeera, and it just isn't as bad as the Americans say?" Who truly is the audience for an English speaking al Jazeera? Has anyone asked what the goal of this project is? Because precisely the kinds of things that make al Jazeera so popular in the Arabic world -- extremely graphic footage of violence in the Palestinian territories, or violence in Iraq -- would not be likely to be particularly acceptable to large mainstream audiences in Britain or America. By definition if they want to go mainstream, the product will have to change. What, precisely, is the point of this project? Is anyone asking?

Tim Russo blogged Frost also notes that we all suffer from not being able to watch Al Jazeera in Arabic, so we should just hold our horses on the bias stuff. Not sure I buy that, but Frost is no slouch interviewer...if they put strings on his interviews, he will squeal to high heaven. British journalism is what American journalism wishes it could be...sleazy as the Sun, hard hitting as the BBC, and smarter than everybody else. Frost will quickly test his editorial limits. And his addition, a man who's place in British TV is roughly analagous to NBC's Tim Russert (very roughly....Frost towers over British news), makes me want to watch Al Jazeera International when it's launched.


Iran Moves to Curb Hard-Liners

WaPo reported Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Shiite Muslim cleric who holds ultimate authority in Iran, has altered the country's power structure by granting a relatively moderate panel new authority to supervise an elected government increasingly dominated by religious hard-liners.

On first blush, this sounds positive, but it is very difficult to know exactly what is going on in Iran, and this may just be a head fake.
Khamenei expanded the authority of the Expediency Council, an appointive body whose longtime chairman, former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, is a fixture of Iranian politics and invariably described as wily insider. Rafsanjani lost last June's presidential election, but Khamenei's new decree, made public Oct. 1, gives Rafsanjani at least nominal supervision over the administration put in place by the winner, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The council also was given supervisory authority over the Iranian parliament, despite the squawks of lawmakers who accused the council of a power grab. Previously, the council was only empowered to settle disputes between the parliament and the Guardian Council -- another, more influential appointive body -- and to advise Khamenei.
It could be that Rafsanjani was not really as "moderate" as people in the West thought, and possibly Ahmadinejad may either be more moderate than people in the west think, or the Ayatollah may think he can control Rafsanjani more than he can control Ahmadinejad
"The adjudication of the Expediency Council is the final word," council secretary Mohsen Rezai told reporters in Tehran, the capital, this week. "And even if other state sectors do not agree with it, it is the final word and they have to accept it." The practical effect of the change remains to be seen. The structure of Iran's theocratic government is complex and its operations are opaque.

But analysts found significance in the timing of the change, which had been proposed to Khamenei years earlier. Coming now, the expansion of the Expediency Council's power was widely viewed as, at minimum, a gesture intended to restore some prestige to Rafsanjani. He played a key role in elevating Khamenei to the position of supreme religious leader after the 1989 death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 revolution that installed Iran's religious government.

Others also saw an effort to balance the rise of hard-liners who control Iran's elective branches of government, as well as the judiciary and the Guardian Council. Control of parliament shifted to conservatives last year in an election the Guardian Council closed off to anyone else.


Star of David

Aftenposten Norway reported A municipally employed teacher in Kristiansand has been prevented from wearing a Star of David around his neck. Kristiansand Adult Education Center, where the man works, ruled that the Jewish symbol could be deemed a provocation towards the many Muslim students at the school. Teacher Inge Telhaug said he feels this is a violation of his freedom of speech. "I can't accept this. It is a small star, 16 millimeters (0.6 inches) that I have around my neck, usually under a T-shirt. I see it as my right to wear it," Telhaug told NRK. Telhaug teaches immigrants Norwegian language and culture at the education center. Telhaug is not Jewish. "I see it as the oldest religious symbol we have in our culture, because without Judaism there would be no Christianity," Telhaug. The principal of the school, Kjell Gislefoss, feels that the Star of David can also be interpreted as a political symbol for the state of Israel, and is afraid the star can provoke and offend students, for example immigrants from the Palestinian territories.

Why is everyone so fearful of offending Muslims? I am offended by the many things done to not offend Muslims. Does anyone care about that?

This man cannot wear an 0.6 inch religious symbol around his neck, while earlier I blogged about a stupid judge in San Diego overturning the will of 76% of the voters to transfer a war memorial to the Federal Government so that a 43 foot cross does not have to be destroyed, as a few athiests want. Why are Christian and Jewish symbols disresptected, while people are so fearful of offending Muslims that they have to ban images of Winnie the Pooh's friend Piglet, and they want to change the British Flag


Nine Explain Interrogation Votes

WaPo reported Reacting to reports of abuse of detainees in Iraq and elsewhere, the Senate voted 90 to 9 Wednesday night for an amendment by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would ban the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone in the custody of the U.S. military. The provision, inserted in a military spending bill, also would restrict interrogation techniques to those authorized in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation. The House version contains no such language, so the fate of the amendment will be determined in a House-Senate conference. The Federal Page checked in yesterday with the nine Republicans who voted against to find out why they opposed the McCain amendment. Here is what they told us:

I don't care what the nine said. What excuse did the other 90 make for tieing the hands of the military who is facing an enemy that beheads civilians, and saying they must treat these animals with kid gloves.


Mt Soledad Cross

10News reported A Superior Court judge has ruled that a proposed transfer of the Mount Soledad Cross to the federal government is unconstitutional. Judge Patricia Cowett found Friday that maintenance of the cross is an "unconstitutional preference of religion." Cowett also said transferring ownership of the 43-foot cross and surrounding property to the federal government is an "unconstitutional aid to religion."

Cowett must really hate Christians and Christian symbols. It is one thing to say that the city should not maintain a monument containing a religious symbol, but if 76% of the people want to transfer the property to the U.S. Interior Department as a national veterans memorial how is it an "aid to religion" to allow them to do it.
"The court hereby finds the ordinance placing Proposition A on the ballot and Proposition A unconstitutional, and therefore invalid and unenforceable. Maintenance of this Latin Cross as it is on the property in question, is found to be an unconstitutional preference of religion in violation of Artical I, Section 4, of the California Constitution, and the transfer of the memorial with the cross as its centerpiece to the federal government to save the cross as it is, where it is, is an unconstitutional aid to religion in violation of Artical XVI, Section 5, of the California Constitution."....
I don't know what an "Aritcal" is, but Article XVI, Section 5 says
Neither the Legislature, nor any county, city and county, township, school district, or other municipal corporation, shall ever make an appropriation, or pay from any public fund whatever, or
grant anything to or in aid of any religious sect, church, creed, or sectarian purpose, or help to support or sustain any school, college, university, hospital, or other institution controlled by any religious creed, church, or sectarian denomination whatever; nor shall any grant or donation of personal property or real estate ever be made by the State, or any city, city and county, town, or other municipal corporation for any religious creed, church, or sectarian purpose whatever; provided, that nothing in this section shall prevent the Legislature granting aid pursuant to Section 3 of Article XVI.
They can't give it to a church, but it does not say they can't give it to the Federal Government, or sell it to a private individual.
The city has attempted twice to sell the property to the Mount Soledad Association, but federal courts have overturned the sales because they said the transactions favored a buyer who would preserve the cross.
So it is not that they dont want the city or state to pay for maintenance, they want the cross destroyed.
Tom blogged In a direct slap in the face of an overwhelming majority of voters, Superior Court Judge Patricia Yim Cowett has found Proposition "A", the save the Mt. Soledad War Memorial Cross measure, unconstitutional. Prop "A" was the initiative on San Diego's July 2005 special election to save the Mt. Soledad War Memorial Cross by transferring it to the U.S. Interior Department as a national veterans memorial which was approved by an astounding 76% of voters. The day after the election, attorney James McElroy, whose client, atheist Philip Paulson, filed a lawsuit challenging the presence of the cross on city land in 1989, called the vote meaningless. "It still doesn't mean a damn thing," he said. "Voters should have never voted on it. It's a waste of taxpayers' money.".... After 16 years of litigation and much judge shopping, Paulson and McElroy continue to rely on finding "the right judge" to try advance their agenda. This is just the latest in a series of costly and divisive maneuvers that pair has foisted on the people of San Diego.

CaliforniaConservative blogged More examples abound. From Prop. F to Prop. K to Prop. A, the history of Mt. Soledad illustrates the influence of atheists and judicial activists to railroad with majority will of the people.

The above site quoted atheist Philip Paulson, who filed a lawsuit challenging the presence of the cross on city land in 1989. "We need to attack Jesus…" That is exactly what this is, an attack on Jesus.

StopTheACLU blogged When did our nation come under the power of judges? Isn’t it supposed to be of the people and for the people? When will the perverting of Constitution come to a stop? The people spoke, and the people were overruled. Is that really a democracy? Is this what our founding fathers intended. Is this truly the land of the free?

Bill Faith blogged Just one more example of why we need judges who rule based on what the law and The Constitution really say, not what they think they should say. In this case, a dingmoonbat (mustn't be sexist, Bill) judge apparently found some excuse in the California constitution to override the wishes of a clear majority of the people; there may or may not be recourse in the federal court system. How about Constitutional guarantees of Equal Protection? 75% of the voters in San Diego have just been disenfranchised. Doesn't the Federal government have an obligation to keep that from happening?


CIA leak case

Yahoo! News reported A New York Times reporter has given investigators notes from a conversation she had with a top aide to Vice President
Dick Cheney weeks earlier than was previously known, suggesting White House involvement started well before the outing of a CIA operative, legal sources said.... Miller's notes could help Fitzgerald establish that Libby had started talking to reporters about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her diplomat husband, Joseph Wilson, weeks before Wilson publicly criticized the administration's Iraq policy in a Times opinion piece, the sources said....

If that is the case, then whatever he said could not be "in retaliation" for something that had not yet been printed (unless you can prove Libby has a time machine, or can predict the future).
She testified about a meeting with Libby on July 8, 2003 at the St. Regis Hotel and a later conversation by telephone on July 12, 2003, sources said. But after she testified, Miller discovered that she had additional notes from the June 2003 conversation with Libby. That was well before Wilson on July 6, 2003 published an opinion piece in The New York Times accusing the White House of twisting intelligence on Iraq, but after reports of his mission had begun to surface. A column by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times on May 6, 2003 may have been the trigger for the interest by Cheney's office, the sources said. Kristof's column contained the first public mention of Wilson's mission in Niger, though Wilson was not identified by name. It also mentioned for the first time the alleged role of Cheney's office in seeking an investigation of the uranium deal, prompting the CIA to dispatch Wilson.
Since Libby knew Kristof was lying, and that Cheney's office had nothing to do with sending Wilson, it is not unreasonable that he might question why the CIA would have chosen to send someone with no experience in WMD.
Top Cheney aides were eager to dispel Wilson's assertion that he was sent to Niger at the urging of the vice president, sources involved in the case said.


Saturday, October 8

This Day In History

  • 1869   Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States, died in Concord, N.H., at age 64.
  • 1871   The Great Chicago Fire erupted.
  • 1890   American aviation hero Eddie Rickenbacker was born in Columbus, Ohio.
  • 1918   Sgt. Alvin C. York almost single-handedly killed 25 German soldiers and captured 132 in the Argonne Forest in France.
  • 1934   Bruno Hauptmann was indicted for murder in the death of the infant son of Charles A. Lindbergh.
  • 1944   ''The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet'' made its debut on CBS Radio.
  • 1945   President Harry S. Truman announced that the secret of the atomic bomb would be shared only with Britain and Canada.
  • 1956   Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in a World Series as the New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0.
  • 1970   Soviet author Alexander Solzhenitsyn was named winner of the Nobel Prize for literature.
  • 1985   The hijackers of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro killed American passenger Leon Klinghoffer and dumped his body and wheelchair overboard.
  • 1996   Pope John Paul II underwent an appendectomy.
  • 2001   Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge was sworn in as director of the new Office of Homeland Security.
  • 2002   A federal judge approved President George W. Bush's request to reopen West Coast ports, ending a caustic 10-day labor lockout that was costing the U.S. economy an estimated $1 billion to $2 billion a day.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1890   Eddie Rickenbacker (aviator: decorated World War I hero; President and CEO of Eastern Airlines [1938-63]; died July 23, 1973)
  • 1895   Juan (Domingo) Peron (President of Argentina [1946-1955] [1973-1974]; married Eva Peron [Evita] who died in 1952; married Maria Estela Martinez aka Isabel, who became Vice President of Argentina in 1973 and then took over the presidency upon the death of her husband [1974]; died July 1, 1974)
  • 1919   Jack McGrath (auto racer: Indy 500 [1955]; died Nov 6, 1955)
  • 1940   Paul Hogan (actor: Crocodile Dundee series)
  • 1941   Rev. Jesse Jackson (civil rights leader, founder: Rainbow Coalition)
  • 1943   Chevy Chase (Cornelius Crane Chase) (Emmy Award-winning comedian, actor: Saturday Night Live [1976]; The Chevy Chase Show, Fletch, Man of the House, Caddyshack I & II, National Lampoon’s Vacation series, Three Amigos, The Groove Tube; Emmy Award-winning comedy writer: The Paul Simon Special [1978], Saturday Night Live [1976]; The Groove Tube)
  • 1948   Sarah Purcell (TV reporter: Real People)
  • 1956   Stephanie Zimbalist (actress: Remington Steele)


Friday, October 07, 2005

Refinery Construction Bill Is Drawing Broad Criticism

NYT reported A Texas congressman's bill to give the oil industry incentives to increase refinery capacity would gut air-quality protections that currently govern the refining and power industries, Democrats, environmental groups and state and local regulators are charging. The legislation's sponsor, Representative Joe L. Barton, the Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that no new domestic refineries had been completed in the past three decades. "We've got to do something to change the status quo," Mr. Barton added, "and this bill intends to do it but it does it without messing with any environmental laws."

The measure is scheduled for a vote on the House floor Friday. Mr. Barton and leading Democrats predicted a close vote; the bill was approved by Mr. Barton's committee on a voice vote last week. It was introduced within weeks of the passage of major energy legislation that had been a goal of the Republican leadership for two years or more and includes some provisions that were dropped from that bill.

The bill passed 212 to 210
But Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast in the weeks after the energy bill, and the subsequent rise in gasoline prices created a new political climate, prompting Mr. Barton to reintroduce some of the ideas that had not survived in the earlier legislation.

Mr. Barton's legislation would give regions downwind of polluted areas more time to comply with national standards on ozone levels and would limit the government's ability to prosecute utilities or refineries if they make plant changes that increase their overall emissions of pollutants. It also provides for government reimbursement of an energy company if a private or state lawsuit delays construction of a new refinery.
I hope it encourages refineries to be built somewhere other than the Gulf Coast, so that our gasoline supply would not be able to be severly damaged by a hurricane.
In a letter to the House majority and minority leaders Thursday, nine state attorneys general, including Eliot Spitzer of New York, said that enactment of the bill "would be a major setback for air quality across the nation," adding that it "permanently eviscerates key protections of the Clean Air Act" governing refineries and power plants.
Maybe those protections are to blame for the failure of any new refineries to be constructed in the last thirty years.
.... Its Senate prospects were far more dubious. Legislation containing some of the same provisions failed to clear the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this year. In addition to its other provisions, the legislation directs the Environmental Protection Agency to cut back to 6 from 17 the number of gasoline and diesel fuel blends that states may require as part of their air-pollution control efforts.
That should go a long way to reducing the annual shortage (and price increases) as refineries switch to making the extra blends.
.... The timing of the Barton legislation, coming so soon after passage of the more comprehensive energy bill and including some provisions eliminated from that measure, prompted Democrats and environmental groups to charge that the Texas Republican was exploiting the hurricanes to help the energy industry shed long-standing environmental obligations.
Or trying to deal with problems highlighted by the hurricanes


Weblogs 2.0

Infrablog reported Word is out, and it’s true: VeriSign has acquired the assets of Dave Winer’s I’m sure Dave will have plenty to say on the subject, but this past year has reached a point where Dave needed to either a) invest significant capital into the development of Weblogs 2.0 – a ping server to handle the next several years of traffic growth, b) sell it to someone else who would do the same, or c) watch as the current system slowly (or maybe quickly) succumbed to the ever-growing stream of pings. Last Thursday processed just under 2 million (1.96M) pings for the day. When we started talking with Dave, a couple months back, the ping totals were barely half of that, and the load even then on the servers made pinging weblogs a chancy proposition during peak posting times (late morning and mid-evening in the US). For a long time, ping servers could be stood up as a single box running on a fast business DSL connection. Those days have passed at least for the popular ping servers; pings are well on their way to requiring serious infrastructure.

Our Vision for

  • Free
    Basic pings, the messages processed by, will remain free to submit, and free to retrieve from the service. Over time, we plan to offer value-added services to publishers and consumers that we can charge a fee for, in much the same way companies like Yahoo! provide basic email services for free, and offer premium “upgrades” for a fee (e.g. extra storage, domain hosting, integrated website, etc.) But pings will remain free; our goal is to make the best, most widely used ping server available.
  • Open
    We are strong believers in standards and open computing. We’ll keep the XML-RPC format Dave Winer built around, and add to it, with additional services that leverage and extend the usefulness of pings.

Chris Abraham published a list of ping servers you should add to your blogging software, and published this writeup on what a ping server is.


Delaware blogging decision

Ideoblog blogged In John Doe 1 v. Cahill, decided October 5, the Delaware Supreme Court came down with a major decision protecting anonymous bloggers against an attempt to expose them through a defamation action.... Cahill is an important first step toward judicially clarifying the standards applicable to blog defamation, at least until the “Supreme Court” gets hold of these issues.

Professor Steve Bainbridge blogged Big Win for Bloggers in Delaware

The Delaware Supreme Court is best known for being the leader in state corporation law. Recently, however, the Court was given the chance to become “the first State Supreme Court to address” the issue of whether defamation plaintiffs suing an anonymous blogger was entitled to compel the blogger’s ISP to disclose the blogger’s identity, “particularly in the context of a case involving political criticism of a public figure.”

I don’t claim to be a First Amendment expert, but it looks to me like the Delaware court did a very good job in this case (Doe v. Cahill; download pdf of opinion here).

This is good news for anonymous bloggers. There is always for those extremely paranoid, but this should be enough for most people


CNET News's Blog 100

CNET News offers their list of the top 100 blogs, Categories: Cutting Edge (9), Digital lifestyle (13), Law, politics (3), Mac nation (8), Open source (6), Search, Media (13), Security, Threats (9), Software (15), Tech business(16), and Web culture (8).

Hat Tip TechBlog


Triumph over terror

Oliver North wrote in Townhall Beyond responsible dialogue, the best antidote to the imams, sheiks, ayatollahs and mullahs who incite terror are purple fingers. That's why violence in Iraq is increasing as the Oct. 15th Constitutional referendum approaches. Millions of people lining up to vote are a threat to the power of the Jihadis -- and they know it. So too are many other developments in Iraq that the masters of the media miss as they file reports on "the war" from the balconies of their air-conditioned hotel rooms in Baghdad's green zone.

They have no incentive to report the good news, because the MSM prefers to just publicize the bad stuff.
Over the summer, 43 Iraqi schools were renovated, making it possible for another 18,000 Iraqi children to get a quality education instead of a deadly indoctrination. Since June of 2004, 656 schools have been rebuilt or renovated. Hundreds of thousands more Iraqis have clean water today than ever before thanks to new water treatment plants being brought on-line. In the villages surrounding Kirkuk, for example, 25,000 residents have running water for the first time in their lives. In August, the new Iraqi Highway Patrol headquarters opened its doors in Baghdad, and six new highway patrol stations are under construction. Major Andy Johnson of the 18th Military Police Brigade calls this "a major step toward consolidating Iraqi control over the security of the main highways and commercial arteries in Iraq." Throughout Iraq there are more children going to school, more people with electricity, clean water and sanitation than ever before. There are more newspapers, radio stations, televisions, fire stations and health care facilities in Iraq today than at any point in the history of Mesopotamia. Yet we never hear about these things from our mainstream media.

Major General S.T. Johnson, who commanded the forward element of the 2nd Marine Division in Iraq puts it this way: "As a result of everyone's perseverance and personal risk, children here are going to school; water and electricity are widely available in the provinces of Karbala and Najaf which, almost one year ago, were dysfunctional. Forward operating bases in Najaf continue to be turned over to Iraqi Security Forces. Last but not least, thanks to our Military Training Teams and joint coalition and Iraqi patrols, Iraqi Security Forces and everyday people are taking charge and securing their national interests."


Vouch for the Kids

Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote in National Review Online The desire to help the people of the Katrina-ravaged Gulf Coast has been abundant, as private citizens, businesses, and Congress sent much-needed money, supplies, shelter, and services. It's important to remember that Katrina victims need more than cash — and Americans and governments at all levels have reached out to help. And they might get even more help — constructive help — despite Ted "don't teach a child to fish" Kennedy. Heaven forbid a kid gets a school voucher to attend a private school; even a kid who can't go back to the private school his parents sacrificed to send him to; even a kid who can't go back to a public school because the building was leveled by Katrina's fury.

As part of a larger education package, in mid-September the White House proposed $488 million for private-school tuition. If a family preferred to send their child to a private school instead of a public school, the government would subsidize the alternative. "Parents may choose to send children to private schools. They may not. But this is their choice," explained Susan Aspey, an Education Department spokeswoman. Moreover, in cases where private schools — as some in Texas did, for instance — took in Katrina victims, the schools will be reimbursed. This seems simply fair.

That is because it is fair
Oh, but, the horror of it all! Children going to private schools with public money. Massachusetts Democrat Edward M. Kennedy, ranking Democrat on the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, blasted the White House proposal. "Instead of reopening ideological battles, we should be focused on reopening schools and getting people the help that they need."
That is exactly what Bush proposes: reopen all schools, not just the public ones, and in the meantime get people the help they need to get their child educated, whereever the parent chooses. Aren't Democrats supposed to be in favor of CHOICE, or is that only when it comes to killing babies.
But the vouchers bill is an emergency measure that makes sense. Looking ahead, it's an investment worth making — and a debate on school choice long overdue. Overall, some studies have shown higher achievement in those attending school under a voucher program, and surveys have found parents at least feel their children are getting a better education. There's no good reason New Orleans shouldn't be the next experiment. In New Orleans, before Katrina, about 61,000 children were enrolled in private schools. It was about one quarter of the 248,000 students attending school in the broader area. Laughably though, Kennedy has insisted that "we need to focus on rebuilding the public school systems which are the cornerstone of the Gulf Coast communities and economies."
I guess corruption is higher in the public schools, or that they teach that corruption is the way to succeed in Louisiana.
Any cornerstone would be missing a fundamental element there without a nod to families that were embracing education there, public or private. And private schools are to be encouraged in a reconstructed New Orleans. Not only because they were the choice of so many families pre-Katrina, but because a little competition to the public schools there would be a beautiful thing, and force a mess of a public-school system into reform. A reconstituted public system there with the same people, with the same philosophy would be a recipe for future disaster.

Before Katrina hit, 73 of New Orleans's more than 120 schools were "failing," according to state standards. In one 2004 survey, 96 percent of high-school-age students were below average in English and 94 percent were in math.
That is just the way Kennedy wants it, because an uneducated student is more likely to grow up and vote Democratic because they can't earn a living, and they need a handout.
It's not just in the classroom that's a wreck. In a state-mandate audit of the school system's payroll records (pre-Katrina), one of the investigators announced: "I'm a CPA doing this 20 years. This is the absolute worst I've ever seen. Anyone can bend any rule around here."

If an investment is going to be made in rebuilding, that's not the system that should be rebuilt — do it right this time. And, again, maybe a little competition is the ticket to ride to educational success.
Faced with the realities on the ground in New Orleans, both pre- and post-Katrina, school choice now — and, if it works, later — may just be the silver lining in the storm. Ted Kennedy, not unlike his approach to the John Roberts Supreme Court hearings, is the one playing politics with Katrina, in his opposition to giving kids a chance at choice. He's shown some signs of a willingness to bend, though with unnecessary restrictions. This one should be a no-brainer. And we can make it easy: Sen. Kennedy, like his peers in both parties, enjoys using catchy sound bites to get his message across. Okay, I can play along: Support school vouchers. Do it for the children, Ted. Leave no child behind. Whatever slogan works for you. Just vouch for them.


Harriet who?

Thomas Sowell wrote in Townhall Conservatives who have for years contributed time, money, and sweat to help elect Republicans have often been justifiably outraged at the way the Republicans have then let them down, wimped out, or even openly betrayed the promises on which they were elected. Much of that frustration and anger is now being directed at President Bush for his nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Why not someone like Judge Janice Rogers Brown or any of a number of other identifiable judges with a proven history of upholding conservative judicial principles under fire?

I too would have preferred Judge Janice Rogers Brown, because I think the Republicans could have gotten some good footage from CSPAN2 as the Dems had a fit about a Black Woman being chosen, and that could have been well used in the 2006 and 2008 elections, but I am willing to give GWB a chance, and will withhold my final opinion until I see how she does in the hearings.
Looming in the background is the specter of people like Justice Anthony Kennedy, who went on the High Court with a "conservative" label and then succumbed to the Washington liberal culture. But while the past is undeniable, it is also not predestination. This administration needs to be held responsible for its own shortcomings but not those of previous Republican administrations.
Exactly. And George Bush 41 did not know Souter,, but GWB certainly knows Miers.
Rush Limbaugh has aptly called this a nomination made from a position of weakness. But there are different kinds of weakness and sometimes the difference matters. President Bush has taken on too many tough fights -- Social Security being a classic example -- to be regarded as a man who is personally weak. What is weak is the Republican majority in the Senate.
There are too many RINOs and others afraid of a fight.
When it comes to taking on a tough fight with the Senate Democrats over judicial nominations, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist doesn't really have a majority to lead. Before the President nominated anybody, before he even took the oath of office for his second term, Senator Arlen Specter was already warning him not to nominate anyone who would rile up the Senate. Later, Senator John Warner issued a similar warning. It sounded like a familiar Republican strategy of pre-emptive surrender. Before we can judge how the President played his hand, we have to consider what kind of hand he had to play. It was a weak hand -- and the weakness was in the Republican Senators.

Does this mean that Harriet Miers will not be a good Supreme Court justice if she is confirmed? It is hard to imagine her being worse than Sandra Day O'Connor -- or even as bad.
The very fact that Harriet Miers is a member of an evangelical church suggests that she is not dying to be accepted by the beautiful people, and is unlikely to sell out the Constitution of the United States in order to be the toast of Georgetown cocktail parties or praised in the New York Times. Considering some of the turkeys that Republicans have put on the Supreme Court in the past, she could be a big improvement. We don't know. But President Bush says he has known Harriet Miers long enough that he feels sure. For the rest of us, she is a stealth nominee. Not since The Invisible Man has there been so much stealth. That's not ideal by a long shot. But ideal was probably never in the cards, given the weak sisters among the Republicans' Senate "majority."

There is another aspect of this. The Senate Democrats huffed and puffed when Judge John Roberts was nominated but, in the end, he faced them down and was confirmed by a very comfortable margin. The Democrats cannot afford to huff and puff and then back down, or be beaten down, again. On the other hand, they cannot let a high-profile conservative get confirmed without putting up a dogfight to satisfy their left-wing special interest groups. Perhaps that is why some Democrats seem to welcome this stealth nominee. Even if she turns out to vote consistently with Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the Democrats are off the hook with their base because they can always say that they had no idea and that she stonewalled them at the confirmation hearings.

The bottom line with any Supreme Court justice is how they vote on the issues before the High Court. It would be nice to have someone with ringing rhetoric and dazzling intellectual firepower. But the bottom line is how they vote. If the President is right about Harriet Miers, she may be the best choice he could make under the circumstances.

Joe Budzinski blogged Read all of it; as usual, Sowell shines the much-needed light of rationality - on a situation many conservatives may be misinterpreting. It may not leave you feeling particularly good about the national GOP, but if you are a realist you will appreciate having the facts.


Internet traffic disrupted as providers feud

MSNBC reported Thousands of Internet users struggled to send e-mail and keep their Web sites running Thursday after a dispute between two service providers left large portions of the Internet unable to talk to each other. Computer technicians scrambled to shore up their networks after Level 3 Communications Inc. refused to accept traffic from rival Cogent Communications Group Inc., rendering large portions of the Internet unreachable by others.

I did not experience any problem. Did you?
"We weren't able to get to our e-mail systems, we weren't able to get to our externally hosted chat systems," said Bob Serr, chief technology officer at Chicago instant-messaging provider Parlano Inc. "Some customers say they've had trouble getting to our Web site." The rift meant that thousands of customers -- including individuals who use Time Warner Inc.'s Road Runner cable-modem service -- were not able to view Web sites and send e-mail to servers located on the other company's network, violating the Internet's premise as a universal, borderless network of computers.

The dispute affects roughly 15 percent to 17 percent of the Internet, Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer said. "The usability and value people get out of the Internet is highly dependent on its ability to be ubiquitous and affordable, and I think what Level 3 is attempting to do is undermine both of those core principles," he said in an interview.

Like other large, wholesale Internet service providers, Cogent and Level 3 handed off traffic from one network to each other free of charge, until Level 3 said that it was handling too much Cogent traffic. "We felt that there was an imbalance and we were disadvantaged in that relationship and we were ending up with what amounts to free capacity," Level 3 spokeswoman Jennifer Daumler said. Cogent's Schaeffer said Level 3 was simply trying to get Cogent to raise its prices, which at $10 per megabit are far below the market average of $60 or so per megabit.

Here is a definition of Tier 1 carrier, and here is a list of tier 1 internet service providers. Level 3 is shown, but Cogent is not. The company is a Tier 2 carrier internet service provider, with aspirations of becoming a Tier 1 carrier. Cogent's business model is charging the lowest possible pricing for high speed internet connectivity, in order to win business in volume. They say they operate one of the top ten Internet backbones in the world. From this I see that Cogent is also called PSINet, and they have 4.1% of the market. I could not find their backbone map here


Why Bali?

Clifford D. May wrote in Townhall The latest suicide-bombings in Bali should make us stop and think: What did the people of Bali do to so anger Militant Islamists? Balinese troops are not battling Baathist insurgents and al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq. Bali was not involved in toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan. Bali hasn't sided with India over disputed Kashmir or with Israel over the disputed West Bank.

Of course none of those are the real reasons they are killing people; those are just excuses people trump up to explain things, because they don't want to confront the real reasons.
Indeed, Bali's foreign policy can hardly be regarded as objectionable by anyone – because Bali has no foreign policy. The predominately Hindu island is not independent. It is part of Indonesia which happens to be the largest Muslim nation in the world. Yet Bali has now been struck twice by terrorists, the first time three years ago. There also have been two attacks in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, one outside the Australian Embassy last year, the other at a hotel in 2003. What do the Islamists want? The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize – to frighten, to intimidate. The Islamists want relatively liberal democratic Indonesia to knuckle under. Like the Nazis and Communists, Militant Islamists are totalitarians – they despise democratic societies. The difference is that where Nazis saw democracy as decadent, and Communists viewed democracy as bourgeois, Militant Islamists regard democracy as blasphemous: It awards to citizens powers that belong to God -- as interpreted by them, of course.

Islamists also are offended by Indonesia's traditional tolerance of its religious minorities. In the militants' view, Hindus, Christians, Jews and other groups living in “Muslim lands” can aspire only to be dhimmis -- second-class citizens who are grudgingly endured and whose faiths are aggressively discouraged.
Which is why these "Muslim lands" should cease to be "Muslim lands", and instead be lands where all religions, including Islam, can be followed, but where all religions must be treated equally.
And, of course, Bali hosts Australians, Americans and other infidels who sit on beaches wearing skimpy clothing, drinking alcohol and engaging in additional behaviors of which Islamists disapprove. The Indonesian journalist Sadanand Dhume wrote last week that “Saudi and Gulf petrodollars” have been used in recent years to undermine the country's “easy-going” Islamic traditions while indoctrinating young Muslim men to react with violence to “the sight of a beer bottle, a church steeple or a woman's bare head.”

Indonesia is not the only Muslim country the Islamists are targeting. In August, scores of bombs rocked Bangladesh. Only a few people were killed and the international community shrugged. But Bangladeshis got the message loud and clear: “Become more like us, more Muslim – as we define the term -- or we will make you suffer. No one can protect you. No one will even try.”

Similarly, and again with little attention from the U.N., the media or just about anyone else, southern Thailand has become the bloodiest killing ground for Muslims after Iraq. Although most Thais are Buddhists, Muslims predominate in three southern provinces. There, bombings, beheadings and drive-by shootings have killed more than 1,000 people, including moderate Muslims and Buddhist monks and teachers.

One conclusion should be obvious: If nations such as Indonesia, Bangladesh and Thailand can not make themselves inoffensive to Militant Islamism there is no way that the United States could perform such a feat, no matter which policies we changed or how much our public diplomacy improved.
And anyone that suggest we can satisfy them if we just do x, y, and z is a fool.
Americans received no credit in the eyes of Islamists for their assistance to Muslims rebelling against Soviet domination of Afghanistan, their rescue of Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's clutches, their intervention on behalf of Muslim communities in Kosovo and Bosnia.
Or their generosity (far more than Muslim countries) when Indonesia was hit by the tsunami


Nobel Prize

CNN reported The U.N. nuclear watchdog and its head, Mohamed ElBaradei, won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their efforts to limit the spread of atomic weapons. ElBaradei told CNN he was "overwhelmed." He said it was "a shot in the arm" for his agency and would strengthen its resolve in dealing with major issues like North Korea and Iran. The Norwegian Nobel Committee picked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and ElBaradei, an Egyptian, from a record field of 199 candidates.

The Nobel Prize in Physics went to two Americans (Roy J. Glauber got 1/2 and John L. Hall got 1/4) and one German (Theodor W. Hänsch got 1/4). Glauber got his "for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence", and Hall and Hänsch "for their contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique"

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to one Frenchman and two Americans: Yves Chauvin, Robert H. Grubbs, and Richard R. Schrock "for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis"

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to two Australians, Barry J. Marshall and J. Robin Warren "for their discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease"


Zawahiri Envisions Jihad on New Fronts

WaPo reports The United States has obtained a letter from Osama bin Laden's deputy to the leader of Iraq's insurgency that outlines a long-term strategic vision for a global jihad, with the next phase of the war to be taken into Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, according to U.S. officials. But the letter, described by one senior administration official as a "treatise" from Ayman Zawahiri, also warns Abu Musab Zarqawi against alienating the Islamic world, and virtually reprimands the Iraqi branch of al Qaeda for beheading hostages and then distributing videotapes, officials said. Zawahiri also requests financial support from his ally in Iraq and then asks for more information about the insurgency there -- so al Qaeda is as informed as the United States about the activities, the officials said.

He is right about Zarquawi's killing of civilians hurting him, but I don't expect Zarquawi to stop, becuase they are much easier to kill than American soldiers, that have guns, and shoot back. Very effectively in fact.
The senior administration official said the 13-page document is dated in early July and provides a "comprehensive look at al Qaeda's strategy in Iraq and beyond" with "chilling clarity." U.S. officials said the letter was captured during counterterrorism operations in Iraq, but they were unwilling to specify how or when, and would provide only two quotes from it. The senior official said it has been authenticated "based on multiple sources over an extended period of time." They released information about the letter to four news organizations -- saying word of its existence had started leaking out to reporters -- on the same day that President Bush delivered a speech about the war on terrorism.

The letter of instructions and requests outlines a four-stage plan,
This says what Bush has been saying all along. It is not just about Iraq, but it has much wider effects. Either good effects, or bad effects, but much wider effects.
according to officials:
  • First, expel American forces from Iraq.
  • Second, establish a caliphate over as much of Iraq as possible.
  • Third, extend the jihad to neighboring countries, with specific reference to Egypt and the Levant -- a term that describes Syria and Lebanon.
  • And finally, war against Israel.
U.S. officials say they were struck by the letter's emphasis on the centrality of Iraq to al Qaeda's long-term mission. One of the two excerpts provided by officials quotes Zawahiri, a former doctor from Egypt, telling his Jordanian-born ally, "I want to be the first to congratulate you for what God has blessed you with in terms of fighting in the heart of the Islamic world, which was formerly the field for major battles in Islam's history, and what is now the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era." But bin Laden's deputy also purportedly makes clear that the war would not end with an American withdrawal and that anything other than religious rule in Iraq would be dangerous. "And it is that the Mujaheddin must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, and then lay down their weapons, and silence the fighting zeal. We will return to having the secularists and traitors holding sway over us," the letter reportedly says.

In one indication of tensions between the al Qaeda leadership and its Iraqi division, U.S. officials said, Zawahiri writes about the need to maintain popular support. He is critical of Shiite Muslims and says a clash between the Sunni-dominated movement and the Shiite sect is inevitable, officials said, but he rebukes the leader of Iraq's insurgency for its brutal tactics -- noting that hostages can just as effectively be killed with bullets rather than by beheading, officials said.
And do you think popular support will be higher if an Iraqi has a family member killed with bullets rather than beheading?
The letter may indicate al Qaeda's recognition of Muslim public opinion, said one Middle East scholar. "If the letter's true, it's new because they haven't shown any particular avoidance of certain ruthless tactics. It says to me they are concerned about the way they are being perceived in the Muslim world," said Shibley Telhami of the Brookings Institution and the University of Maryland. "The vast majority of people in the Arab world sympathize with al Qaeda only because it champions their issues and speaks their language and it's seemingly effective against their enemies. But most would not want al Qaeda to be the rulers. They would be repulsed to have someone like Zarqawi, who is beheading people, to head their government," he said.
Would they rather be ruled by the Taliban? Is shooting women in a soccer stadium better than beheading them?
Zarqawi appears not to have heeded the message, because insurgents have continued the beheadings, including two this week. Bin Laden's deputy has spoken before about the broad plans for the al Qaeda movement. In a book smuggled out of Afghanistan in December 2001, Zawahiri said the goal of jihad is to establish a religious state throughout the Islamic world and "reinstate its fallen caliphate and regain its lost glory."

CQ blogged This does show that President Bush had it right in his speech yesterday; AQ and its associates don't fight to push the Americans from Southwest Asia. They terrorize people in the hope of re-establishing a dictatorial and absolute Caliph that will run all of the former Arabic lands, including Israel. Pulling our troops out will only bring them that much closer to success.

blogged A long-term vision for the global jihad -- the details of which will come as no surprise to Jihad Watch readers

RantingProfs blogged The good professor should have made clear (or the reporter who decided which of his comments to use should have made clear) that while sympathy for al Queda may remain higher than we would like, the trend lines are going in the direction we'd prefer in more countries than not.

WindsOfChange blogged This is where I'd like to see the actual text of the letter, as the al-Zawahiri videos released to date suggest that he has real-time access to at least satellite television and, I would even go as far as arguing, not only al-Jazeera but also CNN International and BBC World Service. His request for information from Zarqawi may simply mean that he's smart enough not to believe either everything he reads in the news or his own propaganda and instead wants to know what the situation is directly from his commander on the front. The request for financial support seems a bit odd, but then again from the records recovered in the al-Qaeda computer that were printed up in the Wall Street Journal and the Atlantic Monthly leave me with the impression that al-Zawahiri is something of a penny-pincher and may want to make sure that Zarqawi is sending any extra cash he doesn't need back to the rest of the network.


Muddled Republicans, Muddled Democrats

OpinionJournal reported With all of President Bush's political troubles, it's Democrats on Capitol Hill who are complaining that they still can't get a unified message out. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi refused to appoint members to a bipartisan committee investigating the failures of Katrina aid relief, but she is being second-guessed by more moderate members who say her actions make the party look obstructionist.

They are precisely correct.
Liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne last week acknowledged the Democrats' incoherence and said "the party's problems are structural" and rooted in the fact that 21% of Americans call themselves liberal while 34% identify themselves as conservatives and 45% said they were moderate. That means "liberal-leaning Democrats are far more dependent than conservatively inclined Republicans on alliances with the political center. Democrats second-guess themselves because they have to."
The pendulum is still swinging, and people are becoming more and more conservative.
That indecision explains why Democrats can't seem to resolve the tension between their more moderate members and the Howard Dean/ crowd that is always calling for a political jihad on the Bush administration.
I know how they can resolve it. The moderate members can become Republicans.
The party's differing wings were on full display two weekends ago in Wyoming when Democratic National Committee vice chairman Mike Honda, who is also a liberal California congressman, addressed state party leaders. He got an earful. The state's Democratic governor, Dave Freudenthal, bluntly told his fellow Democrats that they should distance themselves from liberal party leaders at the national level. "This is a [state] party that's not afraid of firearms," he said. "I don't care about Howard Dean," he added, referring to the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Honda gamely acknowledged that national party organizations had some work to do to understand local concerns. "We lost touch at the federal level," he admitted. "Our job is to correct this with you." He urged his audience to put Mr. Dean and his role in the party "in context."
In other words ignore him.
Despite those soothing words, it's clear that Democrats are no closer to solving the internal contradictions within their party than Republicans are. Right now, both parties seem to be doing a pretty good job of presenting a picture of disarray and confusion to the American people.
The Republican disarray is primarilly about Harriet Miers, and once the hearings start that should be resolved, one way or the other.


Friday, October 7

This Day In History

  • 1765   The Stamp Act Congress convened in New York to draw up colonial grievances against England.
  • 1777   The second Battle of Saratoga began during the American Revolution.
  • 1849   Author Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore at age 40.
  • 1868   Cornell University was inaugurated in Ithaca, N.Y.
  • 1916   Georgia Tech’s Yellow Jackets beat helpless Cumberland College 222-0! Coach John Heisman (of Heisman Trophy fame) led the Golden Tornado, as his Georgia Tech team was nicknamed, into the history books. They carried the ball for 978 yards and never once threw a pass!
  • 1949   The Republic of East Germany was formed.
  • 1954   Marian Anderson became the first black singer hired by the Metropolitan Opera in New York
  • 1959   A U.S. House subcommittee began investigations of allegedly rigged TV quiz shows.
  • 1963   President John F. Kennedy signed the documents of ratification for a nuclear test ban treaty with Britain and the Soviet Union.
  • 1968   The Motion Picture Association of America adopted its film-rating system.
  • 1981   Egypt's parliament named Vice President Hosni Mubarak to succeed the assassinated Anwar Sadat.
  • 1982   The musical ''Cats'' opened on Broadway, beginning its record run of 7,485 performances.
  • 1989   Hungary's Communist Party renounced Marxism in favor of democratic socialism during a party congress in Budapest.
  • 1998   Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, robbed and left tied to a wooden fence post outside Laramie, Wyo.; he died five days later.
  • 1999   American Home Products Corp. agreed to pay up to $4.83 billion to settle claims that the fen-phen diet drug combination caused dangerous heart valve problems.
  • 2000   Vojislav Kostunica took the oath of office as Yugoslavia's first popularly elected president.
  • 2001   The United States and Britain launched air strikes against Taliban positions and Osama bin Laden's training camps in Afghanistan; bin Laden praised God for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in a videotaped statement aired on the Arabic satellite station Al-Jazeera.
  • 2002   The Washington-area sniper struck again, shooting and critically wounding a 13-year-old boy as his aunt dropped him off at school in Bowie, Md.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1849   James Whitcomb Riley (poet: When the Frost is on the Punkin’, Little Orphant Annie; died July 22, 1916)
  • 1888   Henry Wallace (33rd Vice President of U.S. [1941-1945]; died Nov 18, 1965)
  • 1905   Andy Devine (Jeremiah Schwartz) (actor: The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, Flipper, Andy’s Gang, Whale of a Tale, Myra Breckinridge, How the West was Won, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Red Badge of Courage, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves; died Feb 18, 1977)
  • 1931   Desmond Tutu (Nobel Peace Prize-winner [1984]: Archbishop: 1st black Anglican bishop of Johannesburg, S. Africa)
  • 1943   Oliver North (U.S. military: Marine Corps Lt. Col.: center of Iran-contra Affair; radio/TV personality)
  • 1951   John Cougar Mellencamp (singer)


Thursday, October 06, 2005

God told me to invade Iraq

BBC reported President George W. Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals.

And of course the BBC always tells the truth. NOT!!!
Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003.

Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

Abu Mazen was at the same meeting and recounts how President Bush told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."
Interesting how two people at the same meeting heard two different things. Must be the translator's fault. <grin>


Bush's unpleasant surprise

Robert Novak wrote in Townhall .... Two weeks ago, Bush was seriously considering another Texas woman he likes and knows well. The nomination of Federal Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen would have been highly regarded in the conservative community. Owen was confirmed for the appellate bench only after the compromise forged by the Group of Fourteen, and Republican senators advised the White House they did not want to fight for her again so soon.

Anchoress blogged Is this true?

While Novak is clear that he finds this to be no excuse for the nomination of Miers, this is still a very interesting little tidbit…and we need to know if it’s true. Because if the senate Republicans communicated to the president that they were not in the mood to do battle…then perhaps the president said, “you don’t want a battle? Well then here is Reid’s list of acceptable nominees - here, he mentions Harriet, so you know what, I’ll NOMINATE her…and then maybe next time you won’t tell me you’re not in the mood to do battle…

I’d like some more information on that one little line…because frankly, everything I’ve seen of this president tells me he is not afraid of a fight. And everything I’ve seen of the Senate GOP tells me they ARE.

Perhaps rather than beating up on the “president who betrayed” some folks should be beating up on the “senators who won’t fight…”

That sounds like a very good idea to me.
Mark Levin at NRO is saying something similar.


Democrats Urged to Abandon Election Myths

Yahoo! News reported To regain political power Democrats must abandon favorite election myths, adopt a strong position on national defense and pick candidates who connect with average voters, two political analysts from the party said Thursday. Political scientists Elaine Kamarck and William Galston, both Democrats, warned that the most important first step is to abandon beliefs they describe as "election myths."

The report, done for the moderate Democratic strategy group Third Way, compared the current situation to 1989, when they wrote a report that mapped a centrist strategy for Democrats.

If it was done for moderate / centrist Dems, we dont need to worry about it. The extreme left will not allow them to take control. They may try to pretend to be centrists to capture the independent vote, but they dont understand moderation.
The said the current "myths" are:
  • The belief Democrats can win if they just do a great job of mobilizing their base. Republicans have improved at mobilizing their own base, so Democrats need to do more than that.
  • The theory demographic changes over time will make Democrats a majority
    Just wait 40 years, and maybe the pendelum will swing back
    , a questionable concept with the Hispanic vote increasingly up for grabs.
  • The belief Democrats can succeed politically if they simply learn to talk more effectively about their positions.
  • The strategy of avoiding cultural issues, playing down national security and changing the subject to domestic issues. National security is too dominant a concern now.
The report noted Republican gains among married people, Catholics, Hispanics and women during the last presidential election. Democrats must choose to appeal to a broader majority that includes many moderates, said Galston, a political scientist at the University of Maryland. The Democrats also must develop a coherent foreign policy because "we just don't have one,"
Awww.... Who told them?
said Kamarck, a political scientist at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


Breaking America's grip on the net

Guardian reported Hendon is the Department for Trade and Industry's director of business relations and was in Geneva representing the UK government and European Union at the third and final preparatory meeting for next month's World Summit on the Information Society. He had just announced a political coup over the running of the internet. Old allies in world politics, representatives from the UK and US sat just feet away from each other, but all looked straight ahead as Hendon explained the EU had decided to end the US government's unilateral control of the internet and put in place a new body that would now run this revolutionary communications medium.

The EU can decide whatever it wants, but does it really want to disrupt the global internet. I feel certain that the Root Servers for US domains will remain in the US, and if the EU wants to disrupt things by taking control of the Root Servers for European domains, good luck.
The issue of who should control the net had proved an extremely divisive issue, and for 11 days the world's governments traded blows. For the vast majority of people who use the internet, the only real concern is getting on it. But with the internet now essential to countries' basic infrastructure - Brazil relies on it for 90% of its tax collection - the question of who has control has become critical.
And does Brazil think the EU can do a better job?
And the unwelcome answer for many is that it is the US government. In the early days, an enlightened Department of Commerce (DoC) pushed and funded expansion of the internet. And when it became global, it created a private company, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) to run it. But the DoC retained overall control, and in June stated what many had always feared: that it would retain indefinite control of the internet's foundation - its "root servers", which act as the basic directory for the whole internet.
Does the EU suggest it can redesign the internet to not require the Root Servers? Fortunately by the time they figure out what they are, the US will probably have Internet 2 operational, and maybe then we can just dump the current Internet on the fools in the EU.
A number of countries represented in Geneva, including Brazil, China, Cuba, Iran and several African states, insisted the US give up control, but it refused. The meeting "was going nowhere", Hendon says, and so the EU took a bold step and proposed two stark changes: a new forum that would decide public policy, and a "cooperation model" comprising governments that would be in overall charge. Much to the distress of the US, the idea proved popular. Its representative hit back, stating that it "can't in any way allow any changes" that went against the "historic role" of the US in controlling the top level of the internet. But the refusal to budge only strengthened opposition, and now the world's governments are expected to agree a deal to award themselves ultimate control. It will be officially raised at a UN summit of world leaders next month and, faced with international consensus, there is little the US government can do but acquiesce.
You don't understand the US government.
But will this move mean, as the US ambassador David Gross argued, that "even on technical details, the industry will have to follow government-set policies, UN-set policies"?

No, according to Nitin Desai, the UN's special adviser on internet governance. "There is clearly an acceptance here that governments are not concerned with the technical and operational management of the internet. Standards are set by the users."
That is the biggest lie I ever heard. The only reason they want control is to allow government set policies, like who can say what, and who will see it.
Hendon is also adamant: "The really important point is that the EU doesn't want to see this change as bringing new government control over the internet. Governments will only be involved where they need to be and only on issues setting the top-level framework." But expert and author of Ruling the Root, Milton Mueller, is not so sure. An overseeing council "could interfere with standards. What would stop it saying 'when you're making this standard for data transfer you have to include some kind of surveillance for law enforcement'?"

Then there is human rights. China has attracted criticism for filtering content from the net within its borders. Tunisia - host of the World Summit - has also come under attack for silencing online voices. Mueller doesn't see a governmental overseeing council having any impact: "What human rights groups want is for someone to be able to bring some kind of enforceable claim to stop them violating people's rights. But how's that going to happen? I can't see that a council is going to be able to improve the human rights situation." And what about business? Will a governmental body running the internet add unnecessary bureaucracy or will it bring clarity and a coherent system? Mueller is unsure: "The idea of the council is so vague. It's not clear to me that governments know what to do about anything at this stage apart from get in the way of things that other people do." There are still dozens of unanswered questions but all the answers are pointing the same way: international governments deciding the internet's future. The internet will never be the same again.

Alcibiades blogged Hello? Has The Guardian ever heard of the irascible John Bolton? He eats Guardian reporters for lunch. Or noticed that Bush is in a stubborn mood?.... Ah yes. I believe that China, Iran, Cuba, Brazil and several African states have no interest at all in setting new government regulation over the internet. None! at! all!


Gore Speech

AP reports Here is the text of former Vice President Al Gore's remarks at the We Media conference on Wednesday in New York:

I came here today because I believe that American democracy is in grave danger.

The House, the Senate, and the White House are in Republican hands, and they don't like the fact that liberals have been "creating laws" in the Judicial branch. They want to go back to what the Founders created.
It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse. I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" now functions....
The Democrats use to be able to control what everyone thought, through their domination of the media, but cracks in that control are beginning to occur, like Fox News. We used to be able to control what the children were taught through our friends in the Teachers Unions, but now more and more students are going to private schools, religious schools, or are even being homeschooled, where their parents are teaching them what they want, without our being able to control any of it. And this internet I invented is distributing news that our friends in the MSM have blocked.
Just as the proverbial fish doesn't know it lives in water, the United States in its first half century knew nothing but the world of print: the Bible, Thomas Paine's fiery call to revolution, the Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, our laws, the Congressional Record, newspapers, and books.
And the schools taught children how to read.
Though they feared that a government might try to censor the printing press - as King George had done - they could not imagine that America's public discourse would ever consist mainly of something other than words in print. And yet, as we meet here this morning, more than 40 years have passed since the majority of Americans received their news and information from the printed word. Newspapers are hemorrhaging readers and, for the most part, resisting the temptation to inflate their circulation numbers. Reading itself is in sharp decline, not only in our country but in most of the world. The Republic of Letters has been invaded and occupied by television.

Radio, the internet, movies, telephones, and other media all now vie for our attention - but it is television that still completely dominates the flow of information in modern America. In fact, according to an authoritative global study, Americans now watch television an average of four hours and 28 minutes every day -- 90 minutes more than the world average.... The internet is a formidable new medium of communication, but it is important to note that it still doesn't hold a candle to television. Indeed, studies show that the majority of Internet users are actually simultaneously watching television while they are online.
That is true, in fact I was listening to it when I started writing this post, but that did not prevent me from writing it.
There is an important reason why television maintains such a hold on its viewers in a way that the internet does not, but I'll get to that in a few minutes.

Television first overtook newsprint to become the dominant source of information in America in 1963. But for the next two decades, the television networks mimicked the nation's leading newspapers by faithfully following the standards of the journalism profession. Indeed, men like Edward R. Murrow led the profession in raising the bar. But all the while, television's share of the total audience for news and information continued to grow -- and its lead over newsprint continued to expand. And then one day, a smart young political consultant turned to an older elected official and succinctly described a new reality in America's public discourse: "If it's not on television, it doesn't exist"....

The three most important characteristics of this marketplace of ideas were:
  1. It was open to every individual, with no barriers to entry, save the necessity of literacy. This access, it is crucial to add, applied not only to the receipt of information but also to the ability to contribute information directly into the flow of ideas that was available to all;
    The same is true today of the Internet
  2. The fate of ideas contributed by individuals depended, for the most part, on an emergent Meritocracy of Ideas. Those judged by the market to be good rose to the top, regardless of the wealth or class of the individual responsible for them;
    True today on the Internet. I started this blog less than 9 monts ago, and already I am a Large Mammal in the TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem with over 100 visits a day
  3. The accepted rules of discourse presumed that the participants were all governed by an unspoken duty to search for general agreement.
    I dont know much about the Left Side of the Blogosphere, I seldom go there, but until very recently, when Bush nominated Harriet Miers, the Right Side of the Blogosphere was pretty much in general agreement.
That is what a "Conversation of Democracy" is all about.... Consider the rules by which our present "public forum" now operates, and how different they are from the forum our Founders knew. Instead of the easy and free access individuals had to participate in the national conversation by means of the printed word, the world of television makes it virtually impossible for individuals to take part in what passes for a national conversation today. Inexpensive metal printing presses were almost everywhere in America. They were easily accessible and operated by printers eager to typeset essays, pamphlets, books or flyers.
I suspect there are more Radio AND Television stations today than there were printing presses in colonial times. And there are more blogs today than there were PEOPLE back then.
Television stations and networks, by contrast, are almost completely inaccessible to individual citizens and almost always uninterested in ideas contributed by individual citizens.

Ironically, television programming is actually more accessible to more people than any source of information has ever been in all of history. But here is the crucial distinction: it is accessible in only one direction; there is no true interactivity, and certainly no conversation....
Which is why the internet is so important.
So, unlike the marketplace of ideas that emerged in the wake of the printing press, there is virtually no exchange of ideas at all in television's domain. My partner Joel Hyatt and I are trying to change that - at least where Current TV is concerned. Perhaps not coincidentally, we are the only independently owned news and information network in all of American television.
Do you encourage conservatives to participate on an equal basis with liberal contributors?
It is important to note that the absence of a two-way conversation in American television also means that there is no "meritocracy of ideas" on television. To the extent that there is a "marketplace" of any kind for ideas on television, it is a rigged market, an oligopoly, with imposing barriers to entry that exclude the average citizen.... The present executive branch has made it a practice to try and control and intimidate news organizations: from PBS to CBS to Newsweek.
The taxpayer pays for PBS. And it was bloggers that exposed what was happening at CBS and Newsweek, not the White House.
They placed a former male escort in the White House press pool to pose as a reporter - and then called upon him to give the president a hand at crucial moments.
The White House did not put him there; Talon News sent him to get Day Passes to the Press Room, and a Liberal Blogger got the first permanent press credentials.
They paid actors to make make phony video press releases and paid cash to some reporters who were willing to take it in return for positive stories. And every day they unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the President.
If you think the White House controls the Blogosphere you are very wrong. If they did, why has there been all of the static about the Harriet Miers nomination?
For these and other reasons, The US Press was recently found in a comprehensive international study to be only the 27th freest press in the world. And that too seems strange to me.... I don't know all the answers, but along with my partner, Joel Hyatt, I am trying to work within the medium of television to recreate a multi- way conversation that includes individuals and operates according to a meritocracy of ideas.... The greatest source of hope for reestablishing a vigorous and accessible marketplace for ideas is the Internet. Indeed, Current TV relies on video streaming over the Internet as the means by which individuals send us what we call viewer-created content or VC squared. We also rely on the Internet for the two-way conversation that we have every day with our viewers enabling them to participate in the decisions on programming our network.... First, as exciting as the Internet is, it still lacks the single most powerful characteristic of the television medium; because of its packet-switching architecture,
You designed it (or at least you claim to be the one that did, even though we know the truth)
and its continued reliance on a wide variety of bandwidth connections (including the so-called "last mile" to the home), it does not support the real-time mass distribution of full-motion video.
i can download full motion video, but I dont see why it is necessary.
Make no mistake, full-motion video is what makes television such a powerful medium. Our brains - like the brains of all vertebrates - are hard-wired to immediately notice sudden movement in our field of vision. We not only notice, we are compelled to look. When our evolutionary predecessors gathered on the African savanna a million years ago and the leaves next to them moved, the ones who didn't look are not our ancestors. The ones who did look passed on to us the genetic trait that neuroscientists call "the establishing reflex." And that is the brain syndrome activated by television continuously - sometimes as frequently as once per second. That is the reason why the industry phrase, "glue eyeballs to the screen," is actually more than a glib and idle boast. It is also a major part of the reason why Americans watch the TV screen an average of four and a half hours a day.

It is true that video streaming is becoming more common over the Internet, and true as well that cheap storage of streamed video is making it possible for many young television viewers to engage in what the industry calls "time shifting" and personalize their television watching habits. Moreover, as higher bandwidth connections continue to replace smaller information pipelines, the Internet's capacity for carrying television will continue to dramatically improve. But in spite of these developments, it is television delivered over cable and satellite that will continue for the remainder of this decade and probably the next to be the dominant medium of communication in America's democracy. And so long as that is the case, I truly believe that America's democracy is at grave risk.
So should we get rid of television?
The final point I want to make is this: We must ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible to all citizens without any limitation on the ability of individuals to choose the content they wish regardless of the Internet service provider they use to connect to the Worldwide Web. We cannot take this future for granted. We must be prepared to fight for it because some of the same forces of corporate consolidation and control that have distorted the television marketplace have an interest in controlling the Internet marketplace as well. Far too much is at stake to ever allow that to happen.
That may be happening in China and other authoritarian and totalitarian countries, but not here. I can reach the same websites with Cox Cable as someone with AoL (I just do it faster and less expensively)
We must ensure by all means possible that this medium of democracy's future develops in the mold of the open and free marketplace of ideas that our Founders knew was essential to the health and survival of freedom.

OTB blogged As to the ability of ordinary citizens to get heard on a national stage, it is infinitely easier now than it was twenty years ago, let alone two hundred. How was a shopkeeper in Philadelphia to get his message out to the masses of Charleston in the 1770s? It was virtually impossible, in fact, unless one owned a newspaper. Nowadays, anyone can set up a free website on Blogspot or several other services and commence typing. Some get thousands of visitors a day. That was simply impossible for even the rich and powerful generations ago.

rmackinnon blogged When I worked for CNN, it was always the images that people remembered. They rarely remembered what I actually said.

Eric blogged The Internet -- whether accessed by cable, phone line, or WiFi, has shown itself rather tough to control, and although I am very worried about Google's and Microsoft's capitulation to government controls in totalitarian countries, I have seen no evidence that corporations (which by their nature only want to sell bandwidth), have any more interest in controlling the uncontrollable content which runs through it than any of the telephone service providers have over the content of what customers might discuss over the phone.

Bill Nienhuis blogged Just how many liberal talking points can one fit in a paragraph? Or a sentence for that matter. He’s covering everything he can possibly think of. This address is a moonbat smorgasboard. It’s a late night all-you-can-eat buffet at Shoney’s. In fact, this wasn’t a speech, it was just another AlGore rant. He’ll never get elected to any office if his position on the issues come off as nothing more than lefty ramblings.