Saturday, February 18, 2006

Another loony statement by Baldwin

Baldwin to mother ship. Come in mother ship.

Alec Baldwin wonders on The Huffington Post "Will They Go to Court?" So, I suppose the question is...what kind of civil trial will we see, or not see, between Cheney and Whittington?

Considering that when he left the hospital, Whittington said "We all assume certain risks in whatever we do, whatever activities we pursue. And regardless of how experienced, careful and dedicated we are, accidents do and will happen – and that’s what happened last Friday"
If he was even thinking about a lawsuit, he never would have gone on record saying it was just an accident.
and "My family and I are deeply sorry for all that vice president Cheney has had to go through this past week.
The Angry Left really went balistic with that statement.
  • Self-Blaming By the Victim If Cheney shooting victim Harry Whittington thinks he's doing the Veep any favors by apologizing to him and his family for what they "have had to go through this week," then his judgment is as poor as it was when he decided to go out in the woods with Dick Cheney to begin with.
  • Robert A. George Whittington sounds like an embarrassed samurai who has suddenly, uh, lost face. Ahem. Next: a reading from the recently-discovered deathbed letter of apology from Alexander Hamilton to Aaron Burr.
  • Desert Rat Democrat I'm Sorry You Shot Me, Mr. Cheney
We send our love and respect to them as they deal with situations that are much more serious than what we’ve had this week."
Whittington is certainly no stranger to a court room and to civil litigation. Will Cheney pay him off, preemptively? Will they go to court? I would imagine if a guy with a few beers in him
Cheney said he had ONE beer for lunch several hours earlier. And the land owner did not know there was any beer beign served.
shoots you in the face on a hunting trip, how could you turn down that opportunity? What would Cheney do about the whole secrecy thing then? I mean, this is the guy that sicced Enron on Gray Davis and the state of California to embarrass Davis,
Baldwin is trying to rewrite history here. Enron did not do what it did because Cheney wanted to embarrass Gray Davis. It did what it did to MAKE MONEY, and the fact that Davis was stupid enough to try to control prices from the consumer side of things, and yet wanted to prevent supply problems, and made longterm contracts at a too high price was not Cheney's fault. It was not even Enron's fault. Davis was an idiot.
trigger the recall and then watched Arnold Schwarzenegger become governor of California. (To this day, perhaps, still the low point in American political life.)
Is it a low point because Arnold is a Republican, or is it something else. Reagan was a Republican governor of Califronia.
Then Cheney covered it up.
How did Cheney cover it up. Did he do something to keep people from knowing Schwarzenegger is governor of California..


Friday, February 17, 2006


Michelle Malkin blogged "Gevoelig" means "sensitive" in Dutch. Just watch the very cool animated cartoon here.


Michelle is right, this is absolutely the funniest thing I have ever seen


Abuse Photos

New Abu Graib photos have surfaced Salon explains Why we're publishing the new Abu Ghraib photos - America -- and the world -- has the right to know what was done in our name.

And Salon hopes that people will not realize this is old news, and that the people who did this are already in prison. They just hope that it will make the Bush administration look bad, and they really don't care what happens to our forces in Iraq.
CNN showed some of them, and Michelle Malkin asked Why the Abu Ghraib photos, but not the Mohammed Cartoons?

but the real story is contained in Jawa Report's story Prisoner Abuse Photos from Iraq that MSM Won't Show You

The MSM may show the Abu Graib photos, because they help tear down America and reflect badly on the Bush Administration, and if they can't find something new, they will repeat stories from three years ago. But Jawa Report has a collection of photos showing how barbarians in Iraq treat innocent hostages it captures.


Will Apple Adopt Windows?

John Dvorak wrote The idea that Apple would ditch its own OS for Microsoft Windows came to me from Yakov Epstein, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University, who wrote to me convinced that the process had already begun. I was amused, but after mulling over various coincidences, I'm convinced he may be right.
I was surprised when they switched to the Intel Chip, but John makes a very good case for the possibility that Mac OS may be on its last legs, and that Apple may be switching to Windows, perhaps with a tweaked GUI.
This would be the most phenomenal turnabout in the history of desktop computing.


Iran Renames Danish Pastries

Yahoo! News
Iranians love Danish pastries, but when they look for the flaky dessert at the bakery they now have to ask for "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad." Bakeries across the capital were covering up their ads for Danish pastries Thursday after the confectioners' union ordered the name change in retaliation for caricatures of the Muslim prophet published in a Danish newspaper.

This reminds me of French Fries being renamed Freedom Fries. It is silly, but it is a lot more civilized than burning embasies.
"Given the insults by Danish newspapers against the prophet, as of now the name of Danish pastries will give way to 'Rose of Muhammad' pastries," the union said in its order.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blogging? Six tips on how to do it right

ZDNet reported

  • Tip #1: What's in a name? Search engine results.
    The idea is to select a name that will bring searchers to your blog if they search on the name of your blog. While that might be ok, they are also going to be able to come in based on the words you post.
  • Tip #2: Read a bunch of blogs before you start.
    Definitely a good idea.
  • Tip #3: Keep it simple. Keep it focused.
  • Tip #4: Demonstrate passion.
  • Tip #5: Show your authority.
  • Tip #6: Add comments.
    In my opinion, a blog without comments or trackbacks is not a blog.


Weed out textbooks offensive to Muslims

Telegraph reports School textbooks should be reviewed for intolerant depictions of Islam and other faiths by experts overseen by the European Union and Islamic leaders, the European Parliament was told yesterday.

If that means eliminating offensive cartoons, then I agree. They do not belong in textbooks. But if it means removing historical accounts showing how barbaric Muslims used to be, and how many of them still are, then thanks but no thanks.
The call for a special committee to examine religious education in schools came from Hans-Gert Pöttering, the German Christian Democrat, who heads the largest group of MEPs. But the proposal was immediately condemned as "appeasement" by Charles Tannock, a British Conservative MEP.
Who was probably right.
Mr Pöttering, the head of the centre-Right, but largely federalist European People's Party, said the work of building bridges between Islam and the West had to "begin with young people".
Does this review apply to what is taught in Madrassas and other Muslim schools, or just what non-Muslim Europeans are taught?


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

An Arrogance of Power

David Ignatius wrote in WaPo There is a temptation that seeps into the souls of even the most righteous politicians and leads them to bend the rules, and eventually the truth, to suit the political needs of the moment. That arrogance of power is on display with the Bush administration. The most vivid example is the long delay in informing the country that Vice President Cheney had accidentally shot a man last Saturday while hunting in Texas.
The real Arrogance of Power is on the part of the media, thinking that the White House should have as its first priority informing the White House Press Corp anytime something embarrassing happens. These arrogant idiots think they should have been informed even before Cheney had the medical people traveling with him help the man that was shot, and certainly before Cheney visited him in the hospital. However if they had been informed before Cheney went to visit the man, they would have said he was just grandstanding, and wanting to turn it into a Photo Opportunity.
For a White House that informs us about the smallest bumps and scrapes suffered by the president and vice president, the lag is inexplicable.
Why? Injury to Potus or the VP might conceivably be of interest to the American People, since they are in charge of the Executive Branch of the government, but injury to a lawyer in Texas is not earthshaking news, even it his injury was the result of an accident involving the VP.
But let us assume the obvious: It was an attempt to delay and perhaps suppress embarrassing news.
Of course it was. And what is wrong with that.
We will never know whether the vice president's office would have announced the incident at all if the host of the hunting party, Katharine Armstrong, hadn't made her own decision Sunday morning to inform her local paper.
Reports are they discussed making it public, and decided Katharine Armstrong would handle it. But the press is not even willing to take their word about that. Is there any surprise that they did not see any reason to tell them more.
Nobody died at Armstrong Ranch, but this incident reminds me a bit of Sen. Edward Kennedy's delay in informing Massachusetts authorities about his role in the fatal automobile accident at Chappaquiddick in 1969.
There is a big difference. Not only was the man not pregnant, and at a time before Roe v Wade would have made an abortion legal, but Cheney made sure he got immediate medical attention, rather than leaving him to drown in a car, and he made sure the man was promptly flown to a hospital, and visited him there.


Congressional Probe of NSA Spying Is in Doubt

reported Congress appeared ready to launch an investigation into the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program last week, but an all-out White House lobbying campaign has dramatically slowed the effort and may kill it, key Republican and Democratic sources said yesterday.
That is good. The program is necessary for our defense. It was weakened by the leak, and the leaker and NYT editors should be charged with treason, but exposing the program even more by hearings would hurt the country. It is important to the 2006 elections to show that Democrats are weak on defense, but there will be better ways to do that closer to the election.
The Senate intelligence committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a Democratic-sponsored motion to start an inquiry into the recently revealed program in which the National Security Agency eavesdrops on an undisclosed number of phone calls and e-mails involving U.S. residents without obtaining warrants from a secret court. Two committee Democrats said the panel -- made up of eight Republicans and seven Democrats -- was clearly leaning in favor of the motion last week but now is closely divided and possibly inclined against it.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

ID Cards for Britons Advance

NYT reported The government of Prime Minister Tony Blair faced down its opposition on Monday in a politically charged vote in the House of Commons on a plan to introduce mandatory national identification cards...
Good for them. We need ID cards with biometric data that are impossible to forge, and people from other countries entering legally need similar, with biometric data but different colored, id cards.
The government argues that the biometric information in both the new passports and the ID's, like fingerprints and iris scans, will help the police fight terrorism, organized crime and identity fraud.


Chinese Official Defends Internet Controls

NYT reports Chinese authorities are determined to stop "harmful information" from spreading through the Internet, but the controls it places on Web sites and Internet service providers in mainland China do not differ much from those employed by the United States and European countries, a senior Chinese official responsible for managing the Internet said today.
The controls may be technically similar but what is determined "harmful" is very different.
The official, Liu Zhengrong, who supervises Internet affairs for the information office of the Chinese State Council, or cabinet, did not dispute charges that China operates a technologically sophisticated firewall to protect the ruling Communist Party against what it treats as Web-based challenges from people inside China and abroad. But he sought to place the massive Chinese efforts to control the Web in the best possible light, stressing repeatedly that Chinese Internet minders abide strictly by laws and regulations that in some cases have been modeled on American and European statutes. "If you study the main international practices in this regard you will find that China is basically in compliance with the international norm," he said.
If by international norm they are counting all of the small dictatorships, they may be right.
"The main purposes and methods of implementing our laws are basically the same."
We just want to control what our people see and think.


Saddam Says He's on a Hunger Strike

Yahoo! News reported
Saddam Hussein and three former officials in his regime on Tuesday told the court handling their trial that they were on a hunger strike in protest of the judge overseeing the proceedings. Saddam said he had not eaten in three days, while his former intelligence chief, Ibrahim Barzan, said he had been on strike for two days.
Please don't force feed them. Just prepare some food that smells delicious, and place it outside their cells, just outside of their reach.
Their claims of a hunger strike could not be independently confirmed. The defendants are being held in U.S. detention, and U.S. officials could not immediately be reached to comment.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Bill would keep servers out of China

USAToday reported Free-speech advocates have blasted Google and other Internet companies for bowing to China's demands that they censor or fork over information the communist government deemed objectionable. Now, Congress is stepping in with proposed legislation that could hobble the companies as they plunge deeper into one of the world's hottest economies.
Trust Congress to step in and make things worse.
This is Round 2 for Congress. Last year, it scrutinized and slowed other business deals with ties to China's government among oil companies and computer makers. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights.
That is stupid. It just means that China will build their own servers or buy them from other countries.
Moving servers would keep personal data they house from government reach. But that also could weaken the firms' crucial Internet search engines.


Governor Nobody sneaks up on Hillary

Sunday Times reported Hillary Clinton would make an excellent president, according to Meg Hirschberg, whose husband runs a hugely successful organic yoghurt company in New Hampshire: “She’s amazing and brilliant and smart and lovely.”
There must be two Hillary Clintons.
So that’s a vote for Clinton in 2008, then? Not at all. Hirschberg is thinking of backing Mark Warner, the former governor of Virginia, a likable, low-key, moderate Democrat who won a traditionally Republican state and, by all accounts, ran it competently. At this stage, it is enough of a recommendation.
Actually the American Public much prefers to see former Governors or former Vice Presidents in the White House than it does former Senators, because they have demonstrated the ability to run an Executive Branch. JFK was the last Senator elected President. All 100 senators think they know enough to run the country, but the voters do not agree.
“I don’t know a thing about him and I don’t care,” Hirschberg said last week as Warner listened to her husband explaining the finer points of organic farming. “I just want somebody with decent values who can win. It’s nothing to do with Hillary personally. It’s irrational and unfair, but she is polarising.”


Report: U.S. Is Abusing Captives

Los Angeles Times reports A draft United Nations report on the detainees at Guantanamo Bay concludes that the U.S. treatment of them violates their rights to physical and mental health and, in some cases, constitutes torture. It also urges the United States to close the military prison in Cuba and bring the captives to trial on U.S. territory, charging that Washington's justification for the continued detention is a distortion of international law. The report, compiled by five U.N. envoys who interviewed former prisoners,

who certainly told the truth
detainees' lawyers and families,
who probably do not even know the truth
and U.S. officials,
whose statements were probably disregarded.
is the product of an 18-month investigation ordered by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. The team did not have access to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
They probably should have been given access.
Nonetheless, its findings — notably a conclusion that the violent force-feeding of hunger strikers, incidents of excessive violence used in transporting prisoners and combinations of interrogation techniques "must be assessed as amounting to torture" — are likely to stoke U.S. and international criticism of the prison....

The draft report, reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, has not been officially released. U.N. officials are in the process of incorporating comments and clarifications from the U.S. government.
But rather than wait for the official report, the Times is printing the draft, since it contains items that may not be in the final report.
In November, the Bush administration offered the U.N. team the same tour of the prison given to journalists and members of Congress, but refused the envoys access to prisoners. Because of that, the U.N. group declined the visit.
So they were not denied access to Gitmo, they just declined to see for themselves because they were not going to be able to interact with prisoners, and possibly pass on information from them.
.... Nowak said that the U.N. team was "particularly concerned" about the force-feeding of hunger strikers through nasal tubes that detainees said were brutally inserted and removed, causing intense pain, bleeding and vomiting. "It remains a current phenomenon," Nowak said. International Red Cross guidelines state: "Doctors should never be party to actual coercive feeding. Such actions can be considered a form of torture and under no circumstances should doctors participate in them on the pretext of saving the hunger striker's life."
Would they prefer that we
  • Let them die? As I understand it, suicide is prohibited in the Koran
  • Should the medical procedure of inserting a feeding tube be performed by non-medically trained people


More Questions Raised About Delay in Reporting Cheney Misfire

Editor & Publisher reported
The more than 18-hour delay in news emerging that the Vice President of the United States had shot a man, sending him to an intensive care unit with his wounds, grew even more curious late Sunday. E&P has learned that the official confirmation of the shooting came about only after a local reporter in Corpus Christi, Texas, received a tip from the owner of the property where the shooting occured and called Vice President Cheney's office for confirmation. The confirmation was made but it is not known for certain that Cheney's office, the White House, or anyone else intended to announce the shooting if the reporter, Jaime Powell of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, had not received word from the ranch owner.

I doubt very seriously if they had any intention of "announcing" the shooting. It was an accident. Does the editor of E&P "announce" it when he has an accident? Cheney did what needed to be done. He made sure the man got prompt medical attention, and he visited him in the hospital. He did not attempt to cover it up, but he certainly did not "announce" it.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Why Not Publish These Cartoons?

Deborah Howell wrote in WaPo Hundreds of readers have asked why The Post hasn't reprinted the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that inflamed Muslims around the world, leading to deadly protests and the burning of embassies.
Because they are frightened.
Some readers questioned the Post's journalistic courage. Martin Lawton of Arlington wrote: "Certainly, given the uproar, it seems incumbent to publish them now so readers can take a look for themselves and make their own decisions. The cartoons have become The Story. How can The Post not show these images and keep a straight face?" Executive Editor Len Downie made the decision, consulting with other top editors. The issue, he said, is one of journalistic judgment, not courage.
The cartoons do not disparage the Bush administration, and that is WaPo's primary purpose. As a secondary reason, they don't want their presses firebombed.
Downie said, "This newspaper vigorously exercises its freedom of expression every day. In doing so, we have standards for accuracy, fairness and taste that our readers have come to expect from The Post. We decided that publishing these cartoons would violate our standards. This has not prevented us from reporting about them and the controversy in great detail in many stories over several days."
But we don't think those stories will cause the Muslims to attack us.
Most good newspapers don't set out to offend readers. But newspapers shouldn't avoid controversy, and if they don't occasionally offend readers, they're probably not doing their job. The Post is edited for accuracy, clarity, fairness and taste. That involves hundreds of decisions a day about which stories, pictures and drawings get into the paper and which don't. The Post's news standards include a prohibition on gratuitous nudity, obscenity and violence. "Defamatory or prejudicial words and phrases that perpetuate racial, religious or ethnic stereotypes are impermissible,"
Unless they are directed at Republicans or Christians.
the paper's stylebook says. This also applies to photos and drawings.


British imam praises London Tube bombers

Sunday Times reported A leading imam in the mosque where the July 7 bombers worshipped has hailed their terrorist attack on London as a “good” act in a secretly taped conversation with an undercover reporter. Hamid Ali, spiritual leader of the mosque in West Yorkshire, said it had forced people to take notice when peaceful meetings and conferences had no impact. He also praised the bombers as the “children” of Abdullah al-Faisal, a firebrand Muslim cleric, who was convicted of inciting murder and racial hatred in 2003.
Will Ali be deported???
Ali revealed that the leader of the London suicide bombers had attended sermons in Yorkshire by al-Faisal and tapes of al-Faisal’s teachings were still circulating within his mosque. Al-Faisal, who has branded non-Muslims as “cockroaches” ripe for extermination, is serving a seven-year prison sentence but is eligible for early release next week.
Hopefully the British will be smart enough to keep him in prison, unless they intend to deport him immediately.
Evidence of continuing extremism and terrorist sympathisers in the bombers’ community has been exposed by a six-week investigation by The Sunday Times. It contrasts with the public statements of condemnation by community leaders — including Ali — in the immediate aftermath of the July 7 attacks.


Saudi Cleric Demands Trial Over Drawings

Forbes reports Saudi Arabia's top cleric called on the world's Muslims to reject apologies for the "slanderous" caricatures of Islam's Prophet Mohammed and demanded the authors and publishers of the cartoons be tried and punished, Saudi newspapers reported Saturday.
To provide an illustration of what these trials should consist of, why doesn't Saudia Arabia begin holding trials for cartoonists whose cartoons mocking Jews appear almost daily in Saudia Arabia newspapers. Then to show how Saudia Arabia respects all religions, they should stop taking Bibles away from Christians, and allow Jews and Christians to practice their religions with no interference from the government, and in fact with government protection. After all, Surat al-Baqara, 136 (Qur'an 2:136) says Say ye: "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: