Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Purple Party

Professor Bainbridge Kurt Andersen wants a purple party:

Let the present, long-running duopoly of the Republicans and Democrats end. Let the invigorating and truly democratic partisan flux of the American republic’s first century return. Let there be a more or less pacifist, anti-business, protectionist Democratic Party on the left, and an anti-science, Christianist, unapologetically greedy Republican Party on the right—and a robust new independent party of passionately practical progressives in the middle.
There are so many problems with Andersen's analysis it's hard to know where to start, but here's two that jump out at me:

1. Andersen wants a center-left third party (see the reference to "passionately practical progressives"), while the center of political gravity in this country is clearly center-right:
The Professor is right, but that is why I like Andersen's suggestion, because he proposes splitting the left into far left and center left, and the center right Republicans would win all the time.
The Harris Poll® also found that conservatives continue to outnumber liberals by 36 to 18 percent but that the largest number of people think of themselves as moderates (41%). The remarkable thing about these numbers is how little they have changed over the past 30 to 40 years. Harris Interactive data over four decades show that the average numbers of moderates have remained at 40 or 41 percent, and that conservatives have only varied between 32 and 38 percent, while liberals have remained at a steady 18 percent since the 1970s.

Interestingly, Andersen also says:
I worked as a volunteer for George McGovern’s presidential primary campaign, then voted for him in the November election, then for Carter (twice), then Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton (twice), Gore, and Kerry. I’m nine for nine; I’ve never voted for a Republican for president, like most people I know—and, I expect, like most New Yorkers.
Um. Ronald Reagan won NY in both 1980 and 1984, while Nixon won it in 1972, so at least a few New Yorkers have voted Republican in his lifetime.

2. Setting aside the Presidency, the US electoral system is a first past the post, single member constituency structure. Both game theory and empirical evidence tells us that such a system significantly disadvantages third parties. (Just ask the Liberal Democrats in the UK.) As for the Presidency, John Anderson's and Ross Perot's failed campaigns tend to confirm the claim of "Duverger's Law" that "Some representation systems - such as those involving a single elected president or a mayor dominating the government - may encourage two-party systems, since ultimately the contest will pit the two most popular candidates against each other."


Dems thinking about abandoning Iowa and New Hampshire

Yahoo! News reported Ten states asked the Democratic National Committee on Thursday to let them hold early presidential nominating contests in 2008, promising to bring more racial and geographic diversity to the process of choosing a candidate. They made their case to a DNC panel that will choose at least two states to join the traditional presidential kingmakers, Iowa and New Hampshire, in holding early nominating contests in the next White House race. The panel, responding to complaints that the white, rural residents of Iowa and New Hampshire were not representative of the country's diversity, approved a plan last month to add new state contests early in the calendar.

The candidates would prefer a national primary, so they could just specialize in the large media market states, but that would give the little states no influence. But why just IA and NH. Why not rotate among all of the small states and have different ones each year.
All of the states stressed their racial, ethnic and economic diversity and said they would offer Democratic presidential candidates an opportunity to craft and test-drive a message that would help them appeal to the entire country.

Betsy Newmark blogged New Hampshire is all ticked off and is threatening to move their primary up so that they can preserved their primacy.
If everyone keeps moving ahead of everyone else, the primaries will be so much ahead of the election that candidates will have to start all over again as election time comes.
All this tinkering around and adding more front-loading to the calendar means that candidates with big moneyboxes will have even more strength. It takes a wealthy candidate to compete successfully and completely in states as far apart and disparate as these in a crowded schedule where these contests are scheduled so close together. This exacerbates all the problems we have now with the system as it is.

I would much prefer scrapping this entire calendar. Set up regional primaries and rotate the order of the contests each election cycle. I'm not fond of Iowa and NH having such disproportionate influence in picking the nominees. Living in North Carolina, which has a late primary, I'm sick of the decisions being already made months before the candidates reach our state. Don't tinker around the edges of the present system but throw it out and start from scratch.
I agree completely. And once you have set up a rotation order, don't let the parties tinker with it to help one candidate or another.


One More Reason for Liberals to Hate Fox News

Betsy's Page Two researchers, Stefano DellaVigna of Berkeley and Ethan Kaplan of Stockholm University find a "Fox News Effect" that seems to be increasing the Republican share of the vote when Fox News moves into a market. Here is the abstract for their paper.

Does media bias affect voting?
Yes. That is why the MSM tries so hard to push the Liberal Line, and why conservative news sources like Talk Radio, Fox News, and the Right Side of the Blogosphere are so important. If people are not exposed to both sides, they may believe the lies from the left.
We address this question by looking at the entry of Fox News in cable markets and its impact on voting. Between October 1996 and November 2000, the conservative Fox News Channel was introduced in the cable programming of 20 percent of US towns. Fox News availability in 2000 appears to be largely idiosyncratic. Using a data set of voting data for 9,256 towns, we investigate if Republicans gained vote share in towns where Fox News entered the cable market by the year 2000. We find a significant effect of the introduction of Fox News on the vote share in Presidential elections between 1996 and 2000. Republicans gain 0.4 to 0.7 percentage points in the towns which broadcast Fox News. The results are robust to town-level controls, district and county fixed effects, and alternative specifications. We also find a significant effect of Fox News on Senate vote share and on voter turnout. Our estimates imply that Fox News convinced 3 to 8 percent of its viewers to vote Republican. We interpret the results in light of a simple model of voter learning about media bias and about politician quality. The Fox News effect could be a temporary learning effect for rational voters, or a permanent effect for voters subject to non-rational persuasion.
I'm not quite sure what that last phrase "voters subject to non-rational persuasion" refers to. I would be more likely to believe that viewers of Fox News get a different perspective on the news that they don't get from the network news or probably from their newspapers. It opens their eyes to the possibility of their being another side to some story that is being portrayed in a one-sided manner.
That is precisely why the left does not want them to hear both sides of an issue, in a Fair and Balanced Way.
It may get them thinking about media bias. It may help energize half-hearted Republicans to get out and vote when previously they were willing to sit an election out. Given that Fox's overall viewership is small when compared to the three major networks, it's a pretty astounding effect.

Now, just imagine if Fox's share were to increase. That must make some Democrats shudder.


Baby Abuse is OK???

Times Online reported A Bangladeshi woman who shook a baby boy so violently that he suffered brain damage walked free from court yesterday because a judge conceded that she did not know how to behave in the West.

Rahella Khanom, 24, caused the five-month-old boy in her care to suffer fractures to his breast bone and ribs as she tried to rid him of evil spirits, Southwark Crown Court was told.

The injuries inflicted on the child over several weeks had caused one side of his brain to shrink. It was believed that the boy would have been screaming in agony for eight weeks because his injuries went untreated.

Khanom, from Poplar, East London, said that she had wanted to purge the baby of evil spirits as it cried and cried. She was not found to be mentally ill.

The court was told that Khanom, a Muslim, did not understand that shaking a helpless baby would not exorcise an evil spirit....

Where in the Quran does it say that shaking a helpless baby will exorcise an evil spirit?
Kate Bex, for the defence, told the court that Khanom’s religious and cultural beliefs had led to her shaking the child. She said: “She now knows that this was not an appropriate way to deal with her belief in manifestation of spirit.”
So she won't kill any more babies then?
Michelle Malkin blogged Baby Abuse is OK...if you are a Muslim in Britain. A commenter at F/R asks:"What's next, allowing honor killings because the male family members don't know any better?"


Liberal Tolerance Watch

BatesLine blogged about this article Liberal Tolerance Watch by Brandon Dutcher

Intolerance and Prejudice at the State Capitol

Living in the Bible Belt, and working as I do in the public policy arena, I see it all too often. People, often with good intentions, try to use the political process to impose their views on everyone else. They are intolerant of other viewpoints, they try to stifle diversity, and sometimes they can be downright bigoted.

I’m telling you, the left is really bad about this.

Consider, for example, the issue of school choice. As Cato Institute scholars Marie Gryphon and Emily A. Meyer pointed out in a recent study, America has a grand tradition of educational freedom. In fact, it’s a tradition that predates and is longer than our current tradition of delivering education through a government-owned-and-run monopoly. Many people today are trying to regain a measure of that freedom, mainly through policies which empower parents to choose the safest and best schools for their children, whether those schools are public or private.

These school-choice advocates celebrate diversity. They want parents and children to be able to choose from charter schools that emphasize core knowledge, specialty schools that focus on the arts, magnet schools that specialize in science and engineering, and more. Let a hundred flowers bloom. After all, students have unique needs and preferences.
That is absolutely correct.
What’s more, school-choicers celebrate religious diversity. They want to empower parents to choose Jewish day schools, which provide a rigorous faith-based education and help preserve Jewish continuity. Or classical Christian schools, which begin Latin in the third grade and logic in the eighth and equip children to love the Lord their God with all their minds. Or inner-city Catholic schools – often more racially integrated than their public counterparts – which turn at-risk kids into scholars.
That is much better than the Secular Humanism that the public school pushes, where Christianity is something to be feared, and Judiasm something that is ignored, and where the only faith that might even be given any consideration is Islam, and then only because it is in the news.
The nation’s 27,000 private schools (nearly one in four U.S. schools) “by definition help fulfill the ideal of pluralism in American education,” says the Council for American Private Education. “They serve diverse populations, and are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural.”

But the left, for all its professed tolerance, cannot tolerate this sort of diversity, especially religious diversity. The defenders of the status quo prefer secular uniformity. Indeed, they insist upon it religiously. For some reason, school choice is OK for 18-year-olds (Pell Grants at Notre Dame, federal SEOG grants at Oral Roberts University) but not for 17-year-olds.

One journalist, a member of the religious left here in Oklahoma, is particularly hostile to school choice. He often puts derisive quotation marks around “Christian” when referring to Christian schools, and once lambasted a pro-school-choice governor, saying his “tortured rightwing brain” is all too “typical of brown-shirted rich kids privately educated.”

Remarkably, this ugliness goes unpunished. Indeed, the National Education Association has given its highest award to this man who calls Thomas Sowell “a disgrace to the human race,” and he is still a popular speaker at education workshops and conferences.
Education workshops and conferences are held by Education Schools, where teachers are brainwashed to only consider left wing ideas and techniques.
One essay, in which he sniffs at “mantras and Hail Marys” and warns of ominous attempts to “construct new forms of theocratic education,” is featured on the welcome page of the Oklahoma Education Association’s web site.

I suppose none of this should surprise us. After all, Gryphon and Meyer remind us, it was religious prejudice – specifically, anti-Catholic prejudice fueled by an influx of immigrants in the 1830s and 1840s – which inspired the establishment of public schools in the first place. In addition, state constitutional Blaine Amendments, “adopted during the rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment in the 19th and early 20th centuries” and now enshrined in some three-fourths of state constitutions (including Oklahoma’s), prohibit tax money from flowing to “sectarian” schools. The left, apparently without embarrassment, defends these amendments heartily, as they are among the most significant barriers to school choice in the states.
Their real opposition to school choice is that they know they are doing such a bad job that given a choice most parents would take their children out of state schools, and the state money would go to those schools, and not to the failing state schools, and they might lose their jobs (and certainly would lose the chance to brainwash children into their liberal secular philosophy)
The Arizona Supreme Court pronounced that state’s Blaine Amendment “a clear manifestation of religious bigotry.” Justice Clarence Thomas has opined that “hostility to aid to pervasively sectarian schools has a shameful pedigree that we do not hesitate to disavow. … This doctrine, born of bigotry, should be buried now.”

Many of our friends on the left are working tirelessly for a more just and tolerant America, one that respects diversity.
Diversity is suppost to involve many different schools of thought, but they only want to allow left wing ideas to prevail.
They would do well to recognize that educational freedom, as Gryphon and Meyer say, is “critical to an intellectually diverse and tolerant society.”

Rhetoric Insults Thousands of Oklahomans
In last year’s legislative session, Senator Scott Pruitt (R-Broken Arrow) co-authored a tort reform bill for teachers. When the bill was being considered in the House, a Democrat attached an amendment which would require a disclaimer to be placed in all textbooks in which evolution is discussed. The disclaimer would state in part that evolution is “a controversial theory which some scientists present as scientific explanation for the origin of living things,” although “no one was present when life first appeared on earth. Therefore, any statement about life’s origins should be considered as theory, not fact.”

The amended bill passed the House by a vote of 92-9, and was being reconsidered on the Senate floor May 6. Sen. Bernest Cain (D-Oklahoma City), a Unitarian with a graduate degree in theology and a prominent member of Oklahoma’s religious left, was offended by the bill and argued against it. According to a transcript posted on the Web site of KFAQ, a talk radio station in Tulsa, Sen. Cain made the following remarks:

“I just resent people continually, every time they bring a bill out here, trying to force their religion down other people’s throats. Now, this is what this is coming from. … Because he [Senator Pruitt] believes, basically, that his religion ought to be the dominant religion and that his religion ought to say to the rest of the religions what should be in the textbooks of our public schools. … We should not continue to let this religious, far religious views, try to force their way down on us.
Actually students should be exposed to many different religious views, and let them make up their own minds, taking into consideration input they also receive from their parents and their religious leaders.
“I got a quote the other day that I got from Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler. And I don’t have the exact words, but here’s basically what it says. He says, in our government we are going to put Christians in key positions of responsibility because there has been too much liberal access going on out there and we are going to straighten up and make sure that the Christian culture is back in control. Now folks, they took Jewish people and they took them out and they strung them apart, they killed them, they mass murdered some of those people, and all of the ideas that were behind that were, and they were doing this while they were having Christian music going on, while they were having hymns. They killed thousands of Jews while they were doing hymns. That is what happens when you let the right wing of the Taliban come in and try to dictate to the State how we should run our business.
Just because Hitler may have said he was a Christian does not mean that all Christians approve of what he did.
“We should try as much as possible to keep ourselves separate from the religious group. I am telling you, we have got this new mindset that you can be a Taliban, you can be a religious fanatic, and you can bring it to the Senate, you can bring it to the House, you can bring it to the government, it doesn’t matter, it’s all right, we just turn our heads, it’s not that bad. That’s what they did when Hitler came along. They let him come in and he brought in his ideas, he said we’re bringing Christian values back. But was it all Christian values? No, it was everything against Christian values. And that is what I am afraid of from these extreme right-wing religious fanatics who want to bring their religious viewpoints and bring them into the Senate. …

“But no, this is another one of Senator Pruitt’s bills trying to take the religious idea and force it down on the rest of us. … I say we ought to reject this thing and say it right now, we’re not going to let extreme, extreme religious groups come in here and run our government.”
We have done that. They are called Secular Humanists.
Don’t you just love it when liberals engage in nuanced, responsible discourse? They’re always so careful to be tolerant of the viewpoints of others.

It’s interesting to note that the amendment was not ambitious at all. It merely said evolution should be taught as a theory. It did not mandate the teaching of intelligent-design theories or creationism.

After all, we can’t have “extreme, extreme religious groups come in here and run our government.” And certainly Sen. Cain, known for his mainstream views, can recognize an extremist when he sees one. An extremist is one of those far-out people – “the right wing of the Taliban,” if you will – who actually believes a Creator made the world. Fortunately, according to a Tulsa World-sponsored poll in 2000, this fringe element is limited to: a majority of whites, blacks, and Hispanics; a majority of people in every income level; and a majority of liberals, moderates, and conservatives. “A strong majority of the state believes in creationism,” the Tulsa World reported. “The poll showed that support for creationism was solid in almost every political and demographic subdivision.” Indeed, belief in creationism was higher among registered Democrats than registered Republicans.

Nevertheless, if you’re one of those “fanatics” whose religious convictions lead you to a particular view about abortion, or the death penalty, or the lottery, or taxation, or sex education in the classroom, don’t bother bringing your “religious viewpoints … into the Senate.” Unless you’re a member of the religious left.

How’s that for tolerance?


The mushroom cloud is on its way!

Steven Emerson wrote at Counterterrorism Blog Islamists’ message to Israel at New York City rally: "The mushroom cloud is on its way!"

Just as soon as Iran gets the bomb.
Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) Newswire - April 21, 2006 : The Queens-based Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS) held a rally yesterday outside of the Israeli Consulate in Manhattan. Members of the Islamic Thinkers Society are easily identified by their Khilafah flags and provocative signs as well as rhetoric against homosexuals, Jews, Christians, Danes and others, depending on the hot button issue at the moment. Yesterday's rally was held in response to Monday’s Tel Aviv bombing that killed 9 and injured scores.
Why is it "in response to"? I would assume it would be "in celebration of". The "in response to" rally should occur when (not if but when) Israel responds to the Tel Aviv bombing.
While carrying signs including “Islam will Dominate” with a picture of an Islamic flag over the White House,
Which clearly shows their eventual goal, and it is not just to get us out of the Middle East, but to bring the entire world down to their level of barbarism.
the small but loud group of men chanted threatening slogans: Excerpts: Leader (in Arabic): With our blood and our lives we will liberate al Aqsa!
In other words drive Israel into the sea and have total control of Jerusalem
[The rest also respond in Arabic:] With our blood and our lives we will liberate al Aqsa! Israeli Zionists What do you say? The real Holocaust is on its way
As soon as Iran gets the bomb.
Israeli Zionists, What do you say? How many children have you killed today?
You are a little confused here. It is the Palestinians that target women and children. Some Palestinian women and children may be killed when Israel responds to an attack, but that is because the Palestinians that attack Israel are such cowards that they hide behind the skirts of women.
We are not your average Muslims, We are the Muslims of Was al Sunnah....
They certainly are not like most of the Muslims in the world; they are the Islamoterrorists that have hijacked the Muslim faith, and who force moderate Muslims to keep quiet to avoid being attacked themselves.
We will not accept the United Nations, they are the criminals themselves
I might agree with you there, but for different reasons.
They get paid by the Israeli and the US government to do their job.
There is where you are wrong. They take money from the US, but they dont do their job, and they are just antagonistic toward Israel.
We don’t recognize United Nations as a body We only recognize Allah....
And not the real Allah, but a false one we have conjoured up to justify our anger.
Islam will dominate the world
We see their objective.
Islam is the only solution
If that is the only solution, then what the hell is the question?


Gonzales calls for mandatory Web labeling law

CNET News reported Web site operators posting sexually explicit information must place official government warning labels on their pages or risk being imprisoned for up to five years, the Bush administration proposed Thursday.

I hope the label is in the form of a meta tag, rather than just a banner display, so that browsers can be set to not display any of the page.
A mandatory rating system will "prevent people from inadvertently stumbling across pornographic images on the Internet," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said at an event in Alexandria, Va. The Bush administration's proposal would require commercial Web sites to place "marks and notices" to be devised by the Federal Trade Commission on each sexually explicit page.
Fine, just put them in the metatag area.
The definition of sexually explicit broadly covers depictions of everything from sexual intercourse and masturbation to "sadistic abuse" and close-ups of fully clothed genital regions.
I would be satisfied if the coding for that content clearly indicated what was on the page. Browsers could be set to not display it for minors, and yet speciality search engines could spider the net and provide links directly to those pages for adults interested in that sort of thing.
"I hope that Congress will take up this legislation promptly," said Gonzales, who gave a speech about child exploitation and the Internet to the federally funded National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The proposed law is called the Child Pornography and Obscenity Prevention Amendments of 2006.

A second new crime would threaten with imprisonment Web site operators who mislead visitors about sex with deceptive "words or digital images" in their source code--for instance, a site that might pop up in searches for Barbie dolls or Teletubbies but actually features sexually explicit photographs.
I hope the term of imprisonment is very long.
A third new crime appears to require that commercial Web sites not post sexually explicit material on their home page if it can be seen "absent any further actions by the viewer."
Not sure exactly what that means, so I dont know whether I support that or not.
A critic of the proposal said that its requirements amount to an unreasonable imposition on Americans' rights to free expression.
Not at all. The first amendment is supposed to make sure that things like political speech cannot be restricted so that adults can hear all sides. It does not say that you have a right to let children see everything that an adult can see.
In particular, a mandatory rating system backed by criminal penalties is "antithetical to the First Amendment," said Marv Johnson, legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union.


Queen Elizabeth Turns 80, While Charles Waits

NYT Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's monarch for 54 years, celebrated her 80th birthday on Friday, an occasion that drew headlines like "Elizabeth the Great" and "Our Great Mum" and also raised questions about her succession.... Earlier this week, a cousin of the queen, Margaret Rhodes, said she was "perfectly sure" the queen would not retire. The forecasts raised momentous questions. One is the destiny of Charles, the Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, who is 57 and has spent most of his life grooming for the monarchy. "Given that her mother lived to 101, the queen is clearly in for the long haul," the columnist Simon Jenkins wrote in The Sunday Times of London. "Therefore the Prince of Wales must simply wait." Some, though, question whether Charles — less popular than the queen and sometimes criticized for expressing gadfly views on issues like food and architecture — would secure the same affection and national consensus as his mother. The queen's tenure, the columnist Max Hastings wrote Friday in the conservative Daily Mail, "defers a succession which could prove dangerous, unless the Prince of Wales discovers a late maturity."

Or unless they wise up and change the law of succession to bypass Charles and give it to his son, who is more mature than Charles, even though much younger.
Some took the argument further, questioning whether the head of state should still be hereditary. "What does it say about us if, even now, in the 21st century, our symbol is the child of a single, white, aristocratic family, chosen solely by the blood in her veins?"
It is just a ceremonial position; all real power has been taken over by the PM and Parliament. If you selected the Head of State by election or selection, he would demand a lot more power than the King or Queen have now.
Jonathan Freedland wrote Friday in the liberal newspaper The Guardian. "So let's wish the queen a very happy birthday; let's hope she has many more to come and in good health; let's thank her for all she has done.


Friday, April 21, 2006

CAIR Backs Down from Anti-CAIR

- article by Daniel Pipes wrote In a stunning setback, the Council on American-Islamic Relations' defamation suit against Andrew Whitehead of Anti-CAIR has been dismissed with prejudice.

The Anti-CAIR website,, reports a "mutually agreeable settlement," the terms of which are confidential. However, Whitehead notes that he issued no public apology to CAIR, made no retractions or corrections, and left the Anti-CAIR website unchanged, so that it continues to post the statements that triggered CAIR's suit. Specifically, CAIR had complained about Whitehead calling it a "terrorist supporting front organization … founded by Hamas supporters" that aims "to make radical Islam the dominant religion in the United States."

It makes their job harder if people know.
It also objected to being described as "dedicated to the overthrow of the United States Constitution and the installation of an Islamic theocracy in America."
It didn't deny it, it just objected to letting people know.
That clears the decks; no additional actions are pending between these two parties. In brief, Whitehead won a sweet victory, while CAIR suffered a humiliating defeat.

CAIR initially filed suit in a Virginia Circuit Court on March 31, 2004, claiming six of Whitehead's statements were false, that Whitehead made them "with knowledge of their falsity," and that the statements were actionable because "they impute the commission of a criminal offense." CAIR further claimed injury to its "standing and reputation throughout the United States and elsewhere," and sought $1 million in compensatory damages, $350,000 in punitive damages, plus legal fees and interest. It did so despite Whitehead's telling a reporter "I haven't got any [money]."

The original five statements as quoted in CAIR's complaint were:

  1. "Let their [sic] be no doubt that CAIR is a terrorist supporting front organization that is partially funded by terrorists, and that CAIR wishes nothing more than the implementation of Sharia law in America."
  2. CAIR is an "organization founded by Hamas supporters which seeks to overthrow Constitutional government in the United States and replace it with an Islamist theocracy using our own Constitution as protection."
  3. "ACAIR reminds our readers that CAIR was started by Hamas members and is supported by terrorist supporting individuals, groups and countries."
  4. "Why oppose CAIR? CAIR has proven links to, and was founded by, Islamic terrorists. CAIR is not in the United States to promote the civil rights of Muslims. CAIR is here to make radical Islam the dominant religion in the United States and convert our country into an Islamic theocracy along the lines of Iran. In addition, CAIR has managed, through the adroit manipulation of the popular media, to present itself as the ‘moderate' face of Islam in the United States. CAIR succeeded to the point that the majority of its members are not aware that CAIR actively supports terrorists and terrorist supporting groups and nations. In addition, CAIR receives direct funding from Islamic terrorists supporting countries."
  5. "CAIR is a fundamentalist organization dedicated to the overthrow of the United States Constitution and the installation of an Islamic theocracy in America."


Illegal Workers

A reader wrote Jonah Goldberg on The Corner W.R.T. your pointer to Ilya Shapiro making a very good point about overqualified immigrants getting the shaft

This is not really new. I have been here in the US since 1993 and only next year I'll qualify to become a US citizen after jumping through the all the hoops that the Immigration Service put forth. This is one of the reasons I strongly oppose illegals, because they end up getting better deals. However, I have been reminded many times by academic colleagues who generally support amnesty that "life is not really fair" when I make my view known.

I have a solution to this problem though. Anyone who is/ has been here illegally should never ever be allowed to get US citizenship nor be allowed to vote. I am ok with them getting work permit and becoming legals with some waiting period etc., but no path to citizenship should ever be provided to the law breakers.

That is a FANTASTIC idea.
I think this is only fair. This will take away the political muscle of so called "illegal immigrants".


Why not let them vote?

Jonah Goldberg wrote on The Corner Here's an old idea that I've been noodling again for a while: Why not let the Iraqis have a referendum on whether US forces should stay? Here are some reasons, off the top of my head, and in no particular order:

1. The formation of the government is the last major political benchmark for the Iraqis, and it's not going well. Sectarian feelings have hardened and there are few events left that can foster a sense of national unity. But a national referendum on whether Americans should stay would be exactly that.

This is a very good idea.
2. If Iraqis vote yes on continuing America's presence -- which I think they would -- the Iraqi people will feel more "bought-in" to America's project.

3. It will once again signal that America is on the side of democracy while many of its opponents are not.

4. It will (further) pull anti-American elements into the electoral process.

5. It will take the burden off the new government of seeming like a lap dog to the gringos. The president and prime minister can say "I'm bowing to the will of the people" or "this issue has been settled by the people already" whenever presented with that charge.

6. It would deflate the impact of the "occupiers" epithet against Americans.

7. It would send an important signal to opponents of the war in Europe and America about the nature of the project. Could Ted Kennedy really say this is a war for Bush's ego or for oil with so much spittle if the Iraqi people poured into the polls to ask for America to stay?

8. It would help American troop morale.

9. It would take the heat off allies -- current or future -- when it comes to helping in the war effort.

10. It would marry Iraqi nationalism to democratic norms and force Iraqis to think very seriously about what their country would like if America left.

11. Even the American media would have to celebrate such an event.
Now that would be something to see.
12. It would further bind the next president -- Democratic or Republican -- to finishing the job in Iraq.

13. It would have Bush talking on issues where he's best.

Now, what if Iraqis voted no? Well, some of the above points would still hold true. Democracy will have been strengthened in Iraq. America's commitment to democracy will have been reaffirmed in a profoundly dramatic way. The long debate leading up to the vote will have changed the tone and served to teach not only Iraqis, but the region, about how democracy works. Etc.

And while I certainly think it would be bad if Iraqis voted America out of their country, I can think of no more honorable and face-saving way for U.S. forces to exit Iraq than after a vote of this sort. It certainly beats watching people hang from the bottom of helicopters.

I think the referendum would have to be worded carefully and cleverly, and I can think of other problems and benefits, but I think as thought experiment there's enough here to noodle.


Firefox fanatics decide to make money by punishing users

Ed Bott blogged Last night I spent an hour or two visiting unfamiliar websites while researching a topic for an upcoming column. In the process, I discovered a new and exceedingly obnoxious trend: Some members of the Firefox community have decided that you shouldn’t be allowed to view their sites correctly – or, in some cases, at all – unless you’re using the One True Browser.

On at least three sites I visited last night, the home page has been coded so that it looks different if you visit using Internet Explorer. Specifically, the top of the page – a region approximately 180 pixels deep, occupying the full width of the page – is taken over by a large banner that reads: “We see you’re using Internet Explorer. Try Firefox, you’ll like it better.” That’s followed by a bulleted list of the advantages of Firefox, and a big bold arrow pointing to a button where the hapless visitor can download Firefox with the Google toolbar. This is bullshit.

I agree it is stupid, but at least those webmasters thought enough of Firefox to risk offending their viewers using a different browser. Back when Microsoft was trying to suppress the number of people that were switching to Netscape (whose open source code created Mozilla which then turned into Firefox) they did some things in Microsoft Front Page to make pages created by it viewable only by IE, and not by Netscape. The webmaster did not have a choice. There was no "tick off netscape viewers" switch. They did not even tell people they were doing it.
I’ve already got Firefox installed on this computer, and I use it more than half the time.
I use it 95% of the time, but I do leave IE around just in case I need it (like to make sure a page looks ok with its outdated CSS processing software).
But for this project I’m using Internet Explorer. In this case, the web designer says he wants me to have a better browsing experience, so he has deliberately created a degraded and obnoxious browsing experience for me. What’s wrong with that picture?

And despite the altruistic language, let’s be clear – this is about money. If I click that button and download the software, the website owner gets paid by Google. In fact, this is worse than a pop-up ad, because I can’t get rid of it. Every time I visit that site, the obnoxious oversize banner appears, telling me how stupid I am and how smart the website designer is.
I disagree. I don't think it is all about money. The amount the website owner gets paid by Google for the click is peanuts. He is doing it becuase he likes Firefox and he wants others to try it themselves. I agree he is stupid for doing it, but it is not all about money.
This campaign is being run by a site called Explorer Destroyer, which offers three versions of its punish-IE-users code. The one I ran into is the Gentle Encouragement version. There’s also a Semi-serious version, which forces the user to view a splash page before seeing the site, and a Dead Serious version, which completely blocks the site from viewing by any browser that uses the IE user agent. (You can see a demo here.)

I thought the open source movement was about giving people options and about adhering to standards. Hey, Asa, here’s a question for you: Does the Firefox community really advocate designing websites so that they’re deliberately broken if you view them in any browser other than Firefox? What would the community say if Microsoft did the same?
As I indicated above, they did, and it was even worse, because they did it by tweaking their webpage building program Front Page, and did not tell the webmasters they were doing it. Mozilla Composer does not do anything like this.


The Generals' Dangerous Whispers

WaPo reported Last time around, the antiwar left did not have a very high opinion of generals. A popular slogan in the 1960s was "war is too important to be left to the generals." It was the generals who had advocated attacking Cuba during the missile crisis of October 1962, while the civilians preferred -- and got -- a diplomatic solution. In popular culture, "Dr. Strangelove" made indelible the caricature of the war-crazed general. And it was I-know-better generals who took over the U.S. government in a coup in the 1960s bestseller and movie "Seven Days in May."

And that is why we have civilian control of the military.
Another war, another take. I-know-better generals are back. Six of them, retired, are denouncing the Bush administration and calling for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation as secretary of defense. The antiwar types think this is just swell. I don't. There are three possible complaints that the military brass could have against a secretary of defense.
And none of them would justify not having civilian control of the military.
The first is that he doesn't listen to or consult military advisers. The six generals make that charge, but it is thoroughly disproved by the two men who were closer to Rumsfeld day to day, week in, week out than any of the accusing generals: former Joint Chiefs chairman Richard Myers and retired Marine Lt. Gen. Michael DeLong. Both attest to Rumsfeld's continual consultation and give-and-take with the military.

A second complaint is that the defense secretary disregards settled, consensual military advice. The military brass recommends X and SecDef willfully chooses Y. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. Rumsfeld's crusade to "transform" a Cold War-era military into a fast and lean fighting force has met tremendous resistance within the Pentagon. His canceling several heavy weapons systems, such as the monstrous Crusader artillery program, was the necessary overriding of a hidebound bureaucracy by an innovating civilian on a mission.
And that is why they are ticked off at him.The larger the military is, the more generals it needs, and the more stars the top generals get. A modernized fast and lean military mean that it needs fewer generals. In business they would be laid off. In the military, they are retired.
In his most recent broadside, retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste accuses the administration of "radically alter[ing] the results of 12 years of deliberate and continuous war planning" on Iraq. Well, the Bush administration threw out years and years and layer upon layer of war planning on Afghanistan, improvised one of the leanest possible attack plans and achieved one of the more remarkable military victories in recent history. There's nothing sacred about on-the-shelf war plans.
If you want to see what a large military approach to Afganistan would be like, as the Russians.
As for Iraq, it is hardly as if the military was of a single opinion on the critical questions of de-Baathification, disbanding Saddam Hussein's army or optimal coalition troop levels. There were divisions of opinion within the military as there were among the civilians and, indeed, among the best military experts in the country. Rumsfeld chose among the different camps. That's what defense secretaries are supposed to do.

What's left of the generals' revolt? A third complaint: He didn't listen to me . So what? Lincoln didn't listen to McClellan, and fired him. Truman had enough of listening to MacArthur and fired him, too. In our system of government, civilians fire generals, not the other way around.
Precisely. Civilian control of the military. Something we have given to the Iraqis.
Some of the complainers were on active duty when these decisions were made. If they felt so strongly about Rumsfeld's disregard of their advice, why didn't they resign at the time? Why did they wait to do so from the safety of retirement, with their pensions secured?
Can't the military recall retired soldiers in a time of war? Why not recall these generals and send them to Iraq so they can see for themselves what the situtation is.


Los Angeles Times Yanks Columnist's Blog

WaPo The Los Angeles Times suspended the blog of one of its top columnists last night, saying he violated the paper's policy by posting derogatory comments under an assumed name.

A blogger would really like it if some of his readers agreed with him. I know it must be frustrating sometimes when they don't, but does this mean he should use fake names and post comments to his own blog?
The paper said in an online editor's note that Michael Hiltzik, a Pulitzer Prize winner who writes the Golden State column, had admitted posting remarks on both his Times blog and on other Web sites under names other than his own. The Times said it is investigating the matter. Editor Dean Baquet declined comment, and Hiltzik said he could not comment.
Not even to say ooops?
The deceptive postings grew out of a running feud between Hiltzik and conservative bloggers in Southern California. One is Hugh Hewitt, a radio talk show host and blogger. The other is an assistant Los Angeles district attorney named Patrick Frey, who maintains a blog under the name Patterico's Pontifications.

When commenters on Frey's Web site criticized Hiltzik, an examination by Frey of the Internet addresses involved showed it was the Times writer who responded in remarks posted under the name "Mikekoshi."
If you dont have friends that agree with you, invent your own.
Frey wrote that "the evidence is overwhelming that he has used more than one pseudonym. Hiltzik and his pseudonymous selves have echoed each other's arguments, praised one another, and mocked each other's enemies.
You should not have your alternate personalities gang up on your enemies. It's not being fair.
All the while, Hiltzik's readers have been unaware that (at a minimum) the acid-tongued 'Mikekoshi' . . . is in fact Hiltzik himself."


I'm back

Sorry I disappeared the last day or two, but I was in the hospital. We need to push for a law that requires all hospitals to be WiFi hotspots or have some other way of providing patients with internet connectivity.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Why Are They Speaking Up Now?

Melvin R. Laird and Robert E. Pursley wrote in WaPo The retired general officers who have recently called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld want to convince the public that civilian control has silenced military wisdom regarding the war in Iraq.

We are the country we are, rather that what Iraq was, because we do have civilian control of our military.
They have chafed at Rumsfeld's authoritarian style
And if he intimidate them, think what the Islamofascists would have done.
and they may even have legitimate differences of opinion with his decisions. But, while their advice and the weight of their experience should be taken into account, the important time for them to weigh in was while they were on active duty.
Very good point.
The two of us have experienced many of the circumstances confronting Rumsfeld. Our experience and connections at the Defense Department tell us that these generals probably had numerous opportunities to advise and object while on active duty.
But they would not have had the opportunity to get publicity to help sell their books if they had compained then
For them to now imply otherwise is disingenuous and quite possibly harmful for our prospects in Iraq. And it misrepresents the healthy give-and-take that we are confident is widespread between the civilian leadership at the Pentagon and the capable military hierarchy. A general officer is expected to follow orders, but he is also entitled to advise if he thinks those orders are flawed.


CIA mines 'rich' content from blogs

Washington Times reported President Bush and U.S. policy-makers are receiving more intelligence from open sources such as Internet blogs and foreign newspapers than they previously did, senior intelligence officials said.

They recognize that some things are reported only on blogs.
The new Open Source Center (OSC) at CIA headquarters recently stepped up data collection and analysis based on bloggers worldwide and is developing new methods to gauge the reliability of the content, said OSC Director Douglas J. Naquin.
It certainly beats trusting the MSM
"A lot of blogs now have become very big on the Internet, and we're getting a lot of rich information on blogs that are telling us a lot about social perspectives and everything from what the general feeling is to ... people putting information on there that doesn't exist anywhere else," Mr. Naquin told The Washington Times.


Make up your mind

rantburg said Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a bill that would have criminalized the presence of illegal immigrants in Arizona, citing opposition from police agencies that want immigration arrests to remain the responsibility of the federal government.

She does not like the illegal immigration, and complains loudly about it, but because the cops are too lazy to do anything, she vetoes a law that they could have used.
In a letter to lawmakers, Napolitano said she opposes automatically turning all immigrants who sneaked into the state into criminals
They are here illegally, but we dont want to make them criminals.
and that the bill provided no funding for the new duties.
Would she have signed it if there had been additional funding?
"It is unfortunate that the Legislature has once again ignored the officials who are most directly affected by illegal immigration and instead has passed yet another bill that will have no effect on the problem but that will impose an unfunded burden on law enforcement," Napolitano wrote Monday.
The only reason it would have no effect is because of your veto. If they arrested the illegals they would either stop coming, or at least would come through some other state.
Supporters said the bill would have given Arizona a chance to get a handle on its vast border problems by providing a second layer of enforcement to catch the tens of thousands of immigrants who slip past federal agents each year.
A very good idea.
Republican Sen. Barbara Leff of Paradise Valley, who proposed the bill, said the governor has painted herself as tough on illegal immigration by declaring a state of emergency at Arizona's border, but has taken little action to back up her rhetoric.
That is because she does not mean what she says.
"I don't think the governor wants to do anything about this problem," Leff said. She said the bill would have been a means to detain illegal immigrants until federal agents can pick them up.


Farmland 'must go back to the Middle Ages'

Telegraph reported Half the arable farmland in the east of the country must be converted to grass within six years to avoid huge fines for pollution from the European Court, the Government has been warned. Researchers have concluded that the land must go back to what it was in the Middle Ages if new EU rules on reducing nitrate pollution in water are not to be breached.

This should make the Muslims happy, because they want to take all of Europe (and eventually the rest of the world) back to the Middle Ages


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Laura Bush avoids gay families at Easter Egg Roll

Pandagon blogged The plan to ensure that the First Lady wasn’t photographed with gay families at the White House Easter Egg Roll succeeded

That is good. How would you like it if people you did not agree with tried to take advantage of your generosity and sought to make a scene at your house, and get their pictures taken with you. Even if you lived in government owned housing, and would not be there three years from now, does not mean you should have to put up with something like this while you lived there.


Our Intimidated Generals

Judith Apter Klinghoffer wrote I am writing in the hope of lowering my blood pressure. Islamists around the world are on a rampage and all the media focus is on retired generals who did not dare confront their superiors or even tell the truth to the president when asked to do so in the most direct manner.

I have called for Rumsfeld's replacement months ago but that is besides the point. For the generals to attack the Secretary of Defense on the issue of troop numbers in Iraq in 2003 is ridiculous. I want to know whether they think we need more troops in Iraq today or tomorrow.
And if they are willing to go back into Active Duty and lead those additional troops in Iraq.
To hear two and three star generals whine that Rumsfeld is too intimidating causes one to ask who else can so easily intimidate them? Are we talking perhaps of the insurgents, Ahmadinejad, Assad Fils, the North Korean or China?
Those guys not only intimidate them, they scare the crap out of them.
Imagine being a soldier who has served under the command of so easily intimidated a general.
Maybe that is why they are FORMER generals. They did not have what it takes to lead troops in the War on Terrorism. They can handle being at the back of a million man army, just worried about getting their next star for good penmanship or perfect attendance, but actually leading forces in battle???
Their retired generals' contention that they are speaking for their active duty colleagues merely makes matters worse.

On This Week Joe Klein, whom no one can accuse of being a Bush fan, said that Bush repeatedly asked the generals in Iraq if they had everything they needed and they repeatedly assured him they did. But when Jerry Bremer asked them what they would do with an additional division, they said, we'd clear Baghdad. Excuse me? The American army in Iraq does not have a single general with enough guts to respond to the president's question with "depends on what you want us to do?"

Sorry, guys, civil control of the military is not our problem. Gutless military leadership is.

Instapundit blogged Ouch. And this, mind you, is from someone who's wanted Rumsfeld out for months.

Betsy Newmark blogged Judith Apter Klinghoffer is no fan of Rumsfeld, but she has lost patience with the media obsession with six retired generals who have been criticizing Rumsfeld.


States Omit Minorities' School Scores

AP reported An Associated Press computer analysis has found Laquanya is among nearly 2 million children whose scores aren't counted when it comes to meeting the law's requirement that schools track how students of different races perform on standardized tests.... Under the law signed by Bush in 2002, all public school students must be proficient in reading and math by 2014, although only children above second grade are required to be tested. Schools receiving federal poverty aid also must demonstrate annually that students in all racial categories are progressing or risk penalties that include extending the school year, changing curriculum or firing administrators and teachers.

The law requires public schools to test more than 25 million students periodically in reading and math. No scores can be excluded from a school's overall measure.
This is a very misleading article. It implies that the minorities scores are not being counted, but this sentence just admits that all scores are counted in the overall total
But the schools also must report scores by categories, such as race, poverty, migrant status, English proficiency and special education. Failure in any category means the whole school fails. States are helping schools get around that second requirement by using a loophole in the law that allows them to ignore scores of racial groups that are too small to be statistically significant.
That is reasonable. We are doing too much categorizing of students: race, poverty, migrant status, English proficiency and special education, and breaking race down into many sub categories. It is reasonable that if there are just a few students in some category, they should not fail the entire school because of a statistical problem in one sub category. Now I think that 45 is probably a large enough group to be statistically significant, but I certainly would not think that 4 or 5 would be enough to make a statistically significant category.


Comparing the Mapping Services

TechCrunch Online mapping has come a long way in the last year.... We looked at all five of the current map services and examined their features and performance.

The best? Yahoo Maps, for many reasons.
Yahoo may be better, but I have seen more add on services that used the Google API


Monday, April 17, 2006

Attack Canada???

Steve Young wrote on Huffington Post In attempting to provide trivial business as usual cover, Lucianne's son (Jonah Goldberg), looking more and more like mom, said that the U.S. has developed plans to attack Canada. Amazingly, it was not meant as a joke, as he said he reiterated that he "knew they have plans." That host Howard Kurtz let that one fly by without an intercepting followup deserves a followup itself.

Perhaps it was a White House or Pentagon-inspired leak meant as a first salvo to warn Canada to keep Universal Healthcare north of the border. Maybe Canada has looked into purchasing back-bacon yellowcake or their Zamboni-delivery systems are ready to release "Hockey Night in Canada" onto ESPN.

Jonah Goldberg replied While debating the Sy Hersh story about Pentagon plans to attack Iran, I made the entirely conventional point that it would be a scandal for the Pentagon not to have plans to attack Iran. After all preventing states like Iran -- indeed, specifically Iran -- from getting nukes has been the core of American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. I should hope, I said, that the Pentagon has plans to attack Iran, North Korea etc. Heck, it's their job. In fact, I added, I know that the Pentagon even has plans to attack Canada. Young thinks this is all hilarious or absurd or perhaps merely an excuse to flap his gums about how wrong it is I have a column in the LA Times (the left coast lefties are still quite vexed about that).
They don't like it when conservatives have ANY outlet to let people know what they think. They realize that they only way people will buy the garbage they are spouting is if that is they only thing they hear.
He says I've made news here. But the actual news is this guy doesn't know what he's talking about. The US military's plan to attack Canada is called War Plan Red. It's been written up in these things called "newspapers" every so often for years. Most recently in an obscure publication called The Washington Post. Stevie may want to track down a copy somewhere.


White House changes Easter Egg Roll admit process

PageOneQ complained LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) families 'moved from front of the line'.
Fantastic news. They should not have been allowed to stage a protest on the White House lawn; there is a park across the street for that sort of thing.
After waiting outside overnight to be among the first to enter this year's White House Easter Egg Roll, families in line were surprised to learn that the White House had changed the ticketing policy for the annual event, PageOneQ has learned.
They should not have people lineing up overnight; it is a security problem.
The unannounced change means that the families who waited in line the longest, in one case for twenty-four hours, will not be among the visitors at the event's opening ceremonies. The first families in line, who were not part of the LGBT family group, received tickets with an 11:00am entrance time, two hours later than the opening time listed in the White House press release.

Various media reports have publicized participation of lesbian and gay families, including a piece in the New York Times, which ran on April 10th, and media representatives were interviewing families in the line about the small swirl of controversy created by the decision of LGBT families to participate in the annual event.
They were doing it just to get publicity for their perverted lifestyle.
This morning, cameras from approximately half a dozen television stations, including CNN, were on the Ellipse, interviewing families about the decision of LGBT parents to participate.

In a telephone call and email exchange with PageOneQ earlier today, Deputy White House Dana Perino, the Deputy White House Press Secretary told PageOneQ that, "[T]he number of tickets are the same as every year, and that the large group we invited this year is youth volunteers ... and they are coming in the morning.
If the President is going to invite a particular group, they should come when it is most convenient for the First Family.
We invite a group like that every year, for instance one or two years ago it was military families. In order to accomodate [sic] all of the people who want to come to the easter egg roll, we stagger the times to ensure maximum enjoyment for everyone."


Forming a government

Iraq the Model blogged A few more days they asked for which they claim are necessary to complete the negotiations but in fact it looks like yesterday added new problems in addition to the already existing deadlock represented by nominating a new PM and it seems that creating problems has become a trait of the political blocs in a sequence of reactions that make accordance seem far from reach at this point.... This frustrating situation pushed some politicians to seek and speak of emergency solution plans like the 'National rescue government' reportedly proposed by al-Hakeem that speaks basically of forming a new interim government where Abdul Mahdi becomes prime minister for one year to be followed by new general elections to elect a new parliament.
I actually think that might be the best choice. The secular parties were not really very organized, and this might give them a chance to become better organized and get a larger share of the vote, and if they guaranteed the religious parties absolute freedom of religion, for both Shia and Sunni (as well as others), they might be able to get the country organized.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Britons Feeling 'Tired of Tony'

WaPo reports Former Fans Call Blair Out of Touch.... "I want to like him. I just can't anymore," said Hannah Lloyd, 35, a lawyer and mother of three, who said she was dazzled by Blair when he rode into office with Britain's biggest margin of victory in a century. Now, she said, sipping coffee in an Islington cafe, the televised face she once found exciting seems "rather smug."
He has been a good friend to the US, but he is a leftist, and he gets more of his support from the conservatives than from his own party.
When Blair was elected at the age of 43, the youngest prime minister since 1812, "He walked on water, it was like he could do no wrong," said Ben Page, director of the Ipsos MORI polling firm. Now his approval ratings have fallen to just over 30 percent. Nearly half of people polled by the London newspaper the Times this month wanted Blair to resign now or by the end of the year. Fifty-seven percent agreed that "Blair had run out of steam and is unlikely to achieve anything else as prime minister."

Maybe it is because his own left base has turned against him, and now is is losing conservative support because of this Scotsman reported Blair has told George Bush that Britain cannot offer military support to any strike on Iran, regardless of whether the move wins the backing of the international community, government sources claimed yesterday.

Amid increasing tension over Tehran's attempts to develop a military nuclear capacity, the Prime Minister has laid bare the limits of his support for President Bush, who is believed to be considering an assault on Iran, Foreign Office sources revealed.

Could it be that he is just afraid of this: Times of London reported Iran has formed battalions of suicide bombers to strike at British and American targets if the nation’s nuclear sites are attacked. According to Iranian officials, 40,000 trained suicide bombers are ready for action.


Cutting of your nose, to spite your face

NYT Chad threatened Saturday to cut off its flow of oil unless the World Bank releases money frozen in a dispute over how the government should use its oil revenues.
Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. Do they think they will get any oil revenues, if they cut off oil exports?
The announcement followed a late-night meeting by President Idriss Déby and his cabinet to discuss their response to the rebel attack on the capital on Thursday. The rebels, led by former commanders in Mr. Déby's army, were repulsed but are believed to be regrouping nearby. It is likely that the government wants the frozen money to pay for its fight against the rebels. Chad had a deal with the World Bank to pay for a pipeline on condition that most of the revenues would be used to ease poverty. Mr. Déby broke that deal this year to use the money to finance his military,
I suspect they already got and spent money from the World Bank for the bank to require that deal, and if the World Bank did not require them to keep any deals it made, then it would lose all power to make deals.
prompting the World Bank to suspend $124 million in aid.