Saturday, June 03, 2006

How Internet monitoring sparked a CSIS probe

TheStar Last night's dramatic police raid and arrest of as many as a dozen men — with more to come — marks the culmination of Canada's largest ever terrorism investigation into an alleged homegrown cell.

I am glad they were able to bust the cell.
The chain of events began two years ago, sparked by local teenagers roving through Internet sites, reading and espousing anti-Western sentiments and vowing to attack at home, in the name of oppressed Muslims here and abroad.
If the Canadians could discover this, just think what the NSA is able to do with the Terrorist Surveilance program. Now we know why we have not been hit since 9/11
Their words were sometimes encrypted, the Internet sites where they communicated allegedly restricted by passwords, but Canadian spies back in 2004 were reading them. And as the youths' words turned into actions, they began watching them.

According to sources close to the investigation, the suspects are teenagers and men in their 20s who had a relatively typical Canadian upbringing, but — allegedly spurred on by images of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan and angered by what they saw as the mistreatment of Muslims at home — became increasingly violent.


President's Radio Address

White House reports Next week, the United States Senate will begin debate on a constitutional amendment that defines marriage in the United States as the union of a man and woman. On Monday, I will meet with a coalition of community leaders, constitutional scholars, family and civic organizations, and religious leaders. They're Republicans, Democrats, and independents who've come together to support this amendment. Today, I want to explain why I support the Marriage Protection Amendment, and why I'm urging Congress to pass it and send it to the states for ratification.

Some don't see a need for declaring that marriage is to be done between a man and a woman, but look at this report where a Woman married a snake in eastern India. Marriages between humans and other living beings are not uncommon in India. A tribal girl was married to a dog near Bhubaneshwar recently.


Police hunt for lethal chemical suicide vest

iTimes Online A desperate search is under way for a “chemical vest” that a British suicide bomber was ready to deploy in a terror attack on London. Police fear that the strike, using a home-made chemical device, was imminent after an informant told MI5 that he had seen the lethal garment at the home of two young men.... Security chiefs are deeply concerned that there was no sign of the vest inside what they believe is a chemical bomb factory.... After the operation, friends of the wounded man staged a demonstration outside the hospital where he is being treated. They claimed that the police had made a mistake. One said: “Going into someone’s house and shooting them in front of their mum, that’s not right is it? Just because they have got a beard doesn’t mean to say you can shoot them.”

But if they are in a chemical bomb factory, they should watch what they do, even if their "mum" is watching them.


We need an immigration officer in each polling station

Michelle Malkin blogged Francine Busby, the Democratic candidate in Tuesday’s CA-50 special election has been caught on tape telling a Spanish-speaking audience “You don’t need papers for voting.

We need an immigration officer in each polling station.
Responding to a question from a translator about how to help her campaign, Francine Busby also told non-English-speaking volunteers that they don’t need to be registered voters to help the campaign.

Take a listen right here.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Freedom fighter Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Philadelphia Inquirer writes Under threat of death, bodyguards always near, Dutch politician and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali keeps on fearlessly criticizing Islam....

Her critics contend that Hirsi Ali takes the worst aspects of Islam, such as instances of racism and abuse of women, and projects them onto all Muslims. To Hirsi Ali's credit, she includes their criticisms in her book and seeks to answer them.

But you need talk only briefly with Hirsi Ali, or read The Caged Virgin - a crisp, very clear indictment of Islamic misogyny mixed with autobiographical scenes and reflections about her own liberation - to understand that the lady pulls no punches. This is not Rodney King and "Can't we all just get along?" Not "We respect Islam and, hey, everyone has a few bad apples." Hirsi Ali aims at Islam's heart. She insists that the beliefs and life of Islam's prophet, Muhammad, must be confronted, analyzed, and, in many respects, rejected.

"If 1.2 billion to 1.5 billion abide by, follow his rules," Hirsi Ali observes, "and say we want to be like him, then I think it's urgent, it's necessary." She concedes that Muhammad urged Muslims to do some good things, "such as his advice to be charitable toward the poor and orphans." But, Hirsi Ali insists, on the whole he's not admirable.

"He borrowed a little bit from Judaism," she says, "he borrowed a little bit from Christianity, and he invented some things, especially the fierceness with which he dealt with his enemies, the killing, the way he violated special tribal rules."

I bet that is going to tick some Muslims off.
Long before radical Islamists threatened violence in return for any criticism of Muhammad (thus violating the Islamic principle that Muhammad was a man with flaws and should not be idolized),
A very good point.
Islamic scholars accepted that Muhammad was a warrior of his time, contending that he shouldn't be judged by modern standards.
But the Nutcase Islamists believe that that violent side of Muhammad is the only thing that should be followed.
Even Lewis, the great scholar of Islam, leans to that interpretation, though Hirsi Ali sees his graciousness as prudence: "I think Bernard wants to leave the Arabs some dignity... . He wants to give them an opening, which is really noble... . "

Her own view, however, is that "following this man [Muhammad] can lead to only one thing, fascism... ."
That is certainly true if you allow the radicalized Wahabbi clerics to explain to you what you should think.
Hirsi Ali says she decided to confront Muhammad's history after Nigerian Muslims rioted over the planned 2002 Miss World contest there. A British-educated Nigerian journalist poured fuel on the fire by writing that Muhammad himself would have married one of the contestants. The rioting killed 200 people. "So I said," Hirsi Ali confides, " 'You know what, darling Europeans? I'm going to tell you about Muhammad!' "
The Europeans need to understand him, and also understand what the radical Islamists want to do.
True to her gloves-off approach, Hirsi Ali talked about how Muhammad, who had nine wives, fell in love with his wife Aisha when she was 6 and married her when she was 9. Hirsi Ali outraged Dutch Muslims by accusing Muhammad of pedophilia.
How does Islam define pedophilia? If you marry them is it all right?
Hirsi Ali says some took the issue seriously. She emphasizes its relevance because "there are more and more men taking minors as wives, and saying that Muhammad is their example." Hirsi Ali says the debate gave her hope - she received one letter from a Muslim that read, "I don't know what you started in me, but I am thinking... . " In the same way, Hirsi Ali explains, she'd like to challenge the beliefs of Black Muslims in America. She finds it as unfathomable that African Americans would convert to Islam as that Jews would convert to Nazism.

"I want to tell them about Darfur," she asserts firmly. "The people in Darfur are being exterminated just because they are black. So [Islam] is also a racist doctrine... . People don't know what's going on in Saudi Arabia. All these palaces are full of black slaves! So the black community here converting to Islam is like converting voluntarily to slavery. "I think if they hear it from a black person," she says hopefully, "it will help." These days, Hirsi Ali reports, she's working on a book about Enlightenment values - Voltaire remains a great hero. She plans to have it translated into Arabic, Urdu, and other key languages and distributed around the world in video and audio. "I'm going to resurrect Muhammad, and he's going to have conversations with [British philosopher Karl] Popper and me and [economic theorist Friedrich] Hayek." Hirsi Ali smiles. "I hope I live long enough to complete it," she says.
Just leave out the cartoons. I dont think the Islamists can read.


Marriage Protection Amendment

Cato-at-liberty » Reckless Justice: The Marriage Protection Amendment

Here’s a new topic for Chairman Sensenbrenner’s suddenly awake Judiciary Committee: “Does the Marriage Protection Amendment Trample the Constitution?”
How could it trample the constitution? If approved by 2/3 of both houses and by 3/4 of the states (unlikely), it would become a part of the Constitution, but whether it succeeds or fails, how could it be said to trample the Constitution.
Of course, the case seems open and shut. In the landmark Lopez case a decade ago, Chief Justice Rehnquist opened with the basics: “We start with first principles. The Constitution establishes a government of enumerated powers.”
But did he say that those enumerated powers could not be changed by a Constitutional Amendment?


PJM Podcast - Live from Kabul!

Pajamas Media Prominent blogger Bill Roggio has just arrived in Kabul. He is interviewed here on the recent riots in that city and on other matters related to the situation in Afghanistan by PJM’s Sydney editor Richard Fernandez of The Belmont Club. First in a series.

Play or download here.

Plus PJM’s Regular Friday Feature BLOG WEEK IN REVIEW.
Today Austin Bay talks with “Advice Goddess” Amy Alkon, Glenn Reynolds and Eric Umansky. Download here. Subscription available at iTunes.


'Zarqawi tape' urges Sunni unrest

BBC News

An audio recording has been released on the web claiming to feature the voice of al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq, urging Sunnis to attack the country's Shias. The taped voice - allegedly that of Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - says Shias have long collaborated with foreign invaders in Iraq....
"Forget about those advocating the end of sectarianism and calling for national unity," the speaker says.
I doubt if very many Iraqis agree with him.
The recording also describes Iraq's highest-ranking Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, as an "atheist"
According to Fox News, he also says that Shia and Jews come from the same root. Well in that he is correct, since Sunnis, Shia, and Jews all trace themselves back to Abraham, but there is no root other than that. As this article indicates The division between Shia and Sunni dates back to the death of the Prophet Muhammad, and the question of who was to take over the leadership of the Muslim nation. Sunni Muslims agree with the position taken by many of the Prophet's companions, that the new leader should be elected from among those capable of the job. This is what was done, and the Prophet Muhammad's close friend and advisor, Abu Bakr, became the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. The word "Sunni" in Arabic comes from a word meaning "one who follows the traditions of the Prophet." On the other hand, some Muslims share the belief that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet's own family, among those specifically appointed by him, or among Imams appointed by God Himself. The Shia Muslims believe that following the Prophet Muhammad's death, leadership should have passed directly to his cousin/son-in-law, Ali. Throughout history, Shia Muslims have not recognized the authority of elected Muslim leaders, choosing instead to follow a line of Imams which they believe have been appointed by the Prophet Muhammad or God Himself.

Zarqawi clearly does not understand what the word "atheist means, because if there is a difference, one would think that the Shia, who follow a line of Imams which they believe have been appointed by the Prophet Muhammad or God Himself, would be more religious than just following the "traditions of the Prophet".
and lambasts Shia militia groups for attacking Sunnis in their houses on the pretext of searching for insurgents. The speaker in the tape also attacks targets beyond Iraq. He describes Lebanon's Shia militia group, Hezbollah, as a "shield" protecting Israel from attack.
You are insane if you think Hezbollah is protecting Israel from attack.
He also mocks the Iranian leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for "screaming and calling for wiping Israel from the map" while failing to back up his words with actions.
Would you like to try your hand at wiping Israel off the map? Go ahead and take your army and attack Israel.


Congress and Justice Dept. May Both Be Overreaching

NYT reported In the search case, there is broad academic consensus that the constitutional protection for Congressional speech and debate does not extend to evidence of criminal conduct, even if it is in a Congressional office.

And 86% of Americans agree.
That means the Justice Department was probably entitled to seek — and a federal judge probably correct in authorizing — a warrant to search the offices of Representative William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, notwithstanding objections by leaders of Congress.
There is no "probably" about it.
But having the legal power to conduct a search of another branch of government does not mean it is a wise or prudent thing to do. No other administration has ever done it.
The police have never searched my house with a search warrent either. Does that mean that they should not consider it, if they should have enough evidence to convince a judge that they should be allowed to do it?
In ordering a 45-day cooling-off period, during which the solicitor general will hold the seized materials, President Bush seemed to allow time for reflection on the difference between what the executive branch may do and what it should do.
Actually he just gave the Speaker a chance to recover his sanity, and to allow the people time to let their congress critters know what fools they were making of themselves.
At the same time, Congressional leaders may have overreached in describing the search as a flagrant violation of the Constitution.
Indeed, the argument that Congressional offices are immune from law enforcement searches has something in common with the argument that the president has the authority to reinterpret the bills he signs into law, said Douglas W. Kmiec, a law professor at Pepperdine University.
He has not done that. His signing statements just state his view, as "legislative intent" shows the legislature's view, should the judicial branch need to review a law.
"They have no taproot in the constitutional document," Professor Kmiec said of arguments. "They're all sound and fury." Several legal scholars went further, saying they found it hard to take at face value the objections of many legislators about the search of Mr. Jefferson's office.

"Like a lot of these issues where separation-of-powers rhetoric is deployed and where you see cross-party lines of agreement, there's often a competing story," said Daryl J. Levinson, a law professor at Harvard. "Here the story that leaps out at you is that the Republicans are worried that they're next."
They they need to make sure they dont do anything wrong. If there is nothing to find, they should not fear a search.
The judge who authorized the warrant in Mr. Jefferson's case, Thomas F. Hogan of Federal District Court in Washington, will hear arguments on June 16 about whether to order the materials returned. Judge Hogan has in other contexts been unsympathetic to claims of privilege, having last year ordered the jailing of Judith Miller, then a reporter for The New York Times, for refusing to testify about a confidential source.

Mr. Jefferson and many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle have said that the speech-and-debate clause in the Constitution should have barred the search. The clause says that members of Congress "shall not be questioned in any other place" about "any speech or debate in either house." The courts have interpreted the clause broadly. Information concerning almost all legislative activity, including stolen documents received from a tobacco whistle-blower, for instance, have been held to be protected. But materials concerning activities unrelated to the official legislative process are not subject to the privilege (bribery being an obvious example).


Iraqi Assails U.S. for Strikes on Civilians

NYT reported Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki lashed out at the American military on Thursday, denouncing what he characterized as habitual attacks by troops against Iraqi civilians. As outrage over reports that American marines killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha last year continued to shake the new government, the country's senior leaders said that they would demand that American officials turn over their investigative files on the killings and that the Iraqi government would conduct its own inquiry.

If what it appears happened at Haditha really happened, those responsible should definitely be punished. Whether by us or by the Iraqis is a separate matter
In his comments, Mr. Maliki said violence against civilians had become a "daily phenomenon" by many troops in the American-led coalition who "do not respect the Iraqi people."
f he has forces that can take over the job, we would be more than happy to ask our forces to stand down.
"They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion," he said. "This is completely unacceptable."


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Naked ‘Sorceress’ Falls From the Sky

ArabNews reported Members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice received a call of a suspected African “sorceress” in the holy city’s Al-Seeh neighborhood. Members of the committee along with police went to the suspected den of the black arts to find a naked African woman. Embarrassed about busting into an apartment containing a naked woman,

The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice were the barbarians that let an entire building full of women burn to death, not allowing them to escape the fire, and they are embarrasses about busting into an apartment containing a naked woman.
police paused just long enough for the woman to attempt an escape, still naked, through the window of her flat. Police followed in pursuit to discover that the woman had crashed through the ceiling of the neighbor’s flimsy house and landed on the floor next to a bed of sleeping children. The woman was arrested, but not before she was provided some dignity in the form of clothing.
They did not care about the witch's feelings, but they did not want to further embarrass the religious police.
OTB blogged Some mighty gentlemenly folks on the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. But, then, what else would you expect? I’m not sure of the technical distinction between a sorceress and a witch, let alone whether they would survive translation. Nonetheless, there seems to be a consensus that the woman was naked. No photos were available.

Dr. Rusty Shackleford blogged If it wasn't so sad that Saudi Arabia actually has religious police going around arresting people on suspicion of "witchcraft" it would be funny. Wait. It's still funny.


ACLU Defends Pedophiles’ “Right” To Easy Access For Children

Stop The ACLU Via Indy Star

The ACLU of Indiana filed the suit challenging a new city ordinance that fines child molesters caught near city playgrounds or other gathering spots for children. Calling the ordinance passed in mid-May unconstitutionally vague, the group said it would make law-abiding citizens unwitting violators of the ordinance and hinder their ability to work, vote and worship.
It should not affect "law-abiding citizens" unless they are convicted pedophiles, and if they just have not been caught yet since they got out of prison.
The ordinance prohibits sex offenders convicted of crimes against children from coming within 1,000 feet of playgrounds, recreation centers, swimming pools, sports fields or facilities when children are around. This news seems to have quite a few people rightfully outraged this morning. Some of these sex offenders are claiming they can’t go to church because of how close their church is to a playground,
Find another church, one without children, or pray at home.
or that they can’t work for the same reason. However that argument seems pretty weak when you consider the exeception that is included in the law. One exception to the ban is if the offender is accompanied by an adult with no history of sex crimes.
I’m sure there are plenty of adults with no history of sex crimes that attend church and are employed at the same kind of places as these individuals. The ACLU are saying that this law is vague, however what sounds more vague is the arguments against it.


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hey Congress, Who Do You Think You Are?

Tom Bevan wrote on RealClearPolitics If only we could get the NSA to start spying on members of Congress. Tap their phones and read their email, no warrants necessary. We could call it a "Corruption Surveillance Program," and leak the details to the New York Times to make sure everyone in Congress is made aware they're being watched.

I wonder what the NYT would think of that.
I'm being facetious, of course, in part to help elicit an image of the howls of righteous indignation such a program would prompt in Washington D.C. If Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert throws a "separation of powers" tantrum over the idea of letting the FBI perform a basic, carefully vetted search of the office of a Congressman who is by most accounts almost certainly guilty of taking a bribe, imagine the cacophony of teeth-gnashing that would ensue on the Hill at the mere suggestion that members' emails and phone calls be subject to scrutiny.
The point is that our humble public servants in Washington D.C. seem to be experiencing an identity crisis in that they're not acting very humble of late nor do they appear all that devoted to serving the public interest. That may be a bit unfair to many, if not most of the 535 elected officials in the nation's capitol who are good people doing their honest best. As is so often the case in politics, however, perception is reality. And right now the perception is that members of Congress don't feel they have to live by the same rules the rest of us do.
That is absolutely the case.
  • The average American can't smack a police officer without getting arrested.
  • He can't smash his car into a stationary barrier at three in the morning, get out stumbling and slurring, and then get a ride home and a pat on the back from the cops.
  • And he certainly can't complain to any real effect about the FBI entering his co-worker's office with a warrant and just cause seeking evidence to support credible allegations of bribery.
Congress has been plagued for decades by the general perception that influence peddling and corruption is part of how the system works and that "everybody does it." These days, however, the public has at its fingertips a number of tangible and quite seedy examples that fit this perception to a tee; lavish skyboxes, hookers, poker games, $2,800 dinners, free golf trips and ringside seats, and wads of cash stuffed in freezers. That's not exactly what most Americans would consider "doing the people's business," if you know what I mean.
Here is a message I sent to the Speaker and Congressman Sensenbrenner
I am very ashamed of the way you behaved when, after trying to suponea reecords for 8 months, the FBI finally got a warrent and raided
Jefferson's office

Despite what you may think,
  • Congress is not above the law.
  • Separation of Powers means it takes the Judicial Branch AND the Executive Branch to hold the Legislative Branch up for inspection.
  • The Speeches and Debate Clause does not apply to felonies, and bribery is a felony
  • There is a difference between Bribe Money and Campaign Donations
  • If you continue as you are now, you are going to give control over to the Democrats
  • If you are worried about being raided because of Abramof, turn the shreaders on NOW
You dont seem to have a problem with conducting oversight hearings of the other two branches, but when they get together and go after a dishonest congressman, you dont like it.

I urge you to resign
A good part of the brilliance and the success behind the 1994 Republican revolution is that it tapped into a deep vein of public disgust toward incumbent members of Congress who had grown arrogant and accustomed to a sense of entitlement. Newt Gingrich understood what a powerful political force this could be, and it's no coincidence the list of reforms contained in the Contract with America began with this: "FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress."

A short twelve years later we're back to a situation where Congress is displaying a sense of entitlement that borders on arrogance and an unwillingness to seriously reform itself. The American people are tolerant, but they aren't stupid and their tolerance has limits. If members of Congress continue to demonstrate the sort of poor judgment and sense of entitlement we've grown accustomed to seeing lately, don't be surprised to see the public avail themselves of the remedy provided to them by our constitutional republic this November and send a number of incumbents packing.


Estate Tax Lunacy

Harold Meyerson foolishly editorialized in WaPo The Senate, meanwhile, is scheduled next week to take up legislation by Arizona Republican Jon Kyl that would permanently repeal the estate tax on the wealthiest Americans.

Actually no one that died would have the money they left their heirs confiscated, not just rich people. No taxation without respiration.
If enacted, Kyl's bill would plunge the government another trillion dollars into the red during the first decade (2011-2021) that it would be in effect.
Spending is what plunges the government into the red..
Behind the scenes, the action has been on the Democratic side in the Senate, as the party's leadership has sought to dissuade Montana's Max Baucus, ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, from forging a halfway-house compromise with Kyl that would deplete revenue by only $500 billion to $600 billion during that decade. The Republicans would need Baucus to bring roughly a half-dozen Democrats along with him to reach the magic number of 60 votes required to overcome any filibuster that the vast majority of Democrats would mount to block any such measure.
I wish him luck.
Even a paltry $500 billion, of course, is a lot of money to drain from public coffers
A tax cut does not drain anything from the public coffers; it just does not put more in them.
just when boomers are going onto Social Security and Medicare and the number of employers providing health insurance, if present trends continue, might have dropped to a virtuous handful. To cover those and other needs, Congress will either plunge us deeper into debt or increase some other levies -- payroll taxes, say -- that will come out of the pockets of the 99 percent of Americans whom the estate tax doesn't touch.
And who may not even be hit by income taxes.


2 Studies Link Global Warming to Greater Power of Hurricanes

NYT reported Climate researchers at Purdue University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology separately reported new evidence yesterday supporting the idea that global warming is causing stronger hurricanes.

If you pay for the study, you can get it to find whatever you want found.
That claim is the subject of a long-running scientific dispute. And while the new research supports one side, neither the authors nor other climate experts say it is conclusive.
They apparently want to continue to be considered reliable. researchers


Saudi fighters are leading the surge in attacks on British troops

Telegraph reported Foreign terrorists, led by fighters from Saudi Arabia, are behind an upsurge in attacks against British troops in Basra, military sources said yesterday.

We need to learn how to close the borders: with Saudia Arabia, Syria, and Iran. It is too bad we have not had our military doing training sessions keeping our own border closed.
As the Army suffered the highest number of fatal attacks in a month since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, commanders on the ground are concerned at the level of sophistication and ferocity of the assaults.


Insurgent attacks in Iraq at highest level in 2 years

Boston Globe reported The Pentagon reported yesterday that the frequency of insurgent attacks against troops and civilians is at its highest level since American commanders began tracking such figures two years ago,

That is because they are running out of people stupid enough to blow themselves up to kill, so they are resorting to attacks. But we are killing a lot of them in each attack, so soon they will figure that approach does not pay either
an ominous sign that, despite three years of combat, the US-led coalition forces haven't significantly weakened the Iraq insurgency.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Political Party for Everyone in the Netherlands

Betsy Newmark blogged You'd think that the Dutch have enough problems to worry about with the tensions between radical Muslims and traditional Dutch values in their country and violence threatened against anyone who criticizes radical Islamicism. But, apparently, there still are some issues out there that aren't being addressed. So, a new political party is forming.

Dutch pedophiles are launching a political party to push for a cut in the legal age for sexual relations to 12 from 16 and the legalization of child pornography and sex with animals. The Charity, Freedom and Diversity (NVD) party
I can understand Diversity, and perhaps even "Freedom" from their perveted point of view, but "Charity"???
said on its Web site it would be officially registered Wednesday, proclaiming: "We are going to shake The Hague awake!"
It is asleep, particularly regarding the threat presented by radical Islamists, but I doubt there are enough pedophiles to interrupt their slumber.
The party said it wanted to cut the legal age for sexual relations to 12 and eventually scrap the limit altogether. "A ban just makes children curious,"
I doubt very many children have any thoughts, curiosity or other, about being abused by an adult.
Ad van den Berg, one of the party's founders, told the Algemeen Dagblad (AD) newspaper. "We want to make pedophilia the subject of discussion," he said, adding that the subject had been a taboo since the 1996 Marc Dutroux child abuse scandal in neighboring Belgium. "We have been hushed up. The only way is through parliament." The Netherlands already has liberal policies on soft drugs, prostitution, and gay marriage, but the NVD is unlikely to win much support, the AD quoted experts as saying.
Maybe the new party will be able to band together with those Muslims who support child marriage.
Or the Muslims that take Christian children and sell them into sexual slavery.
It just goes to show that where society draws few limits, there will always be some who want to take those limits even further.


European Court Bars Passing Passenger Data to U.S.

NYT reports The European Union's highest court ruled today that an agreement providing for the transfer of extensive personal data on air passengers to the authorities in the United States was illegal. The decision forces the two sides back to the negotiating table at a time when privacy safeguards are increasingly being debated. The European Court of Justice, in Luxembourg, overruled a May 2004 decision by the European Commission and the European Council, which represents national governments. The agreement, which took 18 months to negotiate and was set to last through the end of next year, gives American counterterrorism authorities access to 34 different types of information about passengers on all flights that originate from the 25 member states.

If this means that the countries will cease providing the information, then the US needs to announce that effectively immediately no aircraft that originates from the 25 member states of the EU will be allowed to land in the United States.


Earn Cellphone Minutes by Watching Ads

NYT With the cost of mobile phone calls already dropping sharply, Virgin Mobile USA plans to announce a way that people can talk for no money at all. They will, however, have to pay with a chunk of their attention. The program, called SugarMama, lets people earn one minute of talking time by watching 30-second commercials on a computer or receiving text messages on their phones, then answering questions to prove they were, in fact, paying attention.

I have seen this done in other venues, and it did not last long there. It remains to see how it works here.
Virgin Mobile, a relatively small cellphone carrier with four million mostly young customers, is aiming the program at teenagers, who can earn up to 75 minutes of free talk time a month.
The problem there is that teenagers have recently been through our public school system, and they don't teach kids to understand what they read, and answer questions about it.


CNET’s AllYouCanUpload Is Disruptive

TechCrunch blogged CNET very quietly launched a simple new photo uploading site called AllYouCanUpload last week. At first glance it doesn’t appear to be very special or disruptive. But it is. By launching AllYouCanUpload, CNET just pulled the rug out from under at least two startups (photobucket and imageshack) that focus on providing image hosting for users who want to display those images on other websites, like Myspace, eBay and others. This is a big business - a lot of traffic flows through photobucket today, and it is a profitable and well funded company.

Why does offerring one free service disrupt other free services. Can't people decide which they prefer to use?
AllYouCanUpload is a site that makes uploading photos as easy as it can possibly get. They’ve removed all of the friction. You do not need to register for an account. You just use the uploading tool and you are shown the image along with codes to post the photo on sites like Myspace, ebay and others (I’d also like an option to have the image links emailed to me). Unlike Photobucket and Imageshack, AllYouCanUpload is completely free, and no advertisements appear on the uploading areas of the site (there are ads on the hosted part of the site, which you see if you click on a hosted image). There is no limit to the number of photos that can be uploaded or the total amount of storage that may be consumed. There is no limit on the size of an image, and images are not resized unless you request it. And possibly most importantly, there are absolutely no bandwidth restraints.


Iraq Becomes Deadliest of Modern Wars for Journalists

NYT By some reckonings, the death of two journalists working for CBS News on Monday firmly secured the Iraq war as the deadliest conflict for reporters in modern times.

Are camermen and soundmen considered journalists?
Since the start of the war in 2003, 71 journalists have been killed in Iraq, a figure that does not even include the more than two dozen members of news media support staff who have also died,
If a cameraman and a soundman are considered journalists, what are news media support staff? Or is the NYT playing loose with its figures so it can justify another story against the war?
according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. That number is more than the 63 killed in Vietnam, the 17 killed in Korea, and even the 69 killed in World War II, according to Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan free speech advocacy group.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Google Holiday Graphics

Jonah Goldberg blogged on The Corner It's kind of sad. They change their homepage logo for all sorts of holidays and occasions. Just last week they paid tribute to Arthur Conan Doyle's birthday. But Memorial Day doesn't seem to rate anything at all.

They seldom honor any real holidays. I guess they think that would be "evil".
Update: A reader sends this along:
It's worse than you think. Google doesn't always do logos for the same days every year, but they've never changed their logo for Memorial Day.

Check it out for yourself


Minutemen Build Fence

Chris Simcox, President of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (“MCDC”), today announced plans by the MCDC to work with local Arizona land owners to build border security fencing on private land along the border with Mexico.

And they are not even asking Mexico's permission to do it

At present, six private land owners have partnered with the Minutemen for the commencement of construction of border fencing on their land. Surveillance cameras on the fencing will be monitored via computer by registered Minutemen across the country. We have chosen a fence design that is based on the Israeli fences in Gaza and on the West Bank that have cut terrorist attacks there by 95% or more. In order to be effective, a fence should not be easy to compromise by climbing over it with a ladder, cutting through it with wire cutters, ramming it with a vehicle, or tunneling under it undetected. No fence can be a 100% impenetrable barrier—but a good design will be time-consuming enough to get through that Border Patrol agents can be alerted to get to a point of attempted intrusion before the intrusion can be completed. We thank Colin Hanna and We Need A for the design concept.

Simcox says those involved in the planning hope to keep costs near $150 per foot.

If you want to help, you can donate money.


Justice Dept. Seeks to Block Suits on Spying

NYT reported The Bush administration has asked federal judges in New York and Michigan to dismiss two lawsuits filed over the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program, saying litigating them would jeopardize state secrets.

We just learned how the British security services uncovered 20 major terrorist plots in Britain, and there are as many as 1,200 potential terrorist suspects that may now be in the UK. I suspect we have even more here, and these idiots dont want us to track their phone and email traffic with their bosses overseas.
In papers filed late Friday, Justice Department lawyers said it would be impossible to defend the program's legality without disclosing classified information that could aid terrorists. John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, invoked the state secrets privilege, writing that disclosure would cause "exceptionally grave damage" to national security. The administration laid out some of its supporting arguments in classified memos, filed under seal.
And I suspect some of the anti American media, like Al Jazeera, New York Times, and Washington Post, want to open that seal.
The motion, widely anticipated, involves two cases challenging an N.S.A. program that allows investigators to eavesdrop on Americans who communicate by phone or e-mail with people outside the country suspected of terrorist ties.
A very reasonable program
In New York, the Center for Constitutional Rights
Never heard of them
has asked a judge to stop the program, calling it an abuse of presidential power. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a similar suit in Detroit.
Al Qaeda would really like to stop the program too. Have they donated money to the ACLU?


20 Islamist plots in Britain

Times Online reported Twenty “major conspiracies” by Islamist terrorists in Britain have been uncovered by the security services, John Reid, the home secretary, has disclosed.

It is good that their security services are doing what they are doing to protect their citizens.
Reid said that the existence of so many plots means that the police and MI5 are fully stretched and cannot divert their precious counter-terrorism resources to a lengthy public inquiry into last year’s London suicide bombings.
Sounds like they have the same sort of idiots there as we do here complaining about the Terrorist Surveilance Program
Reid revealed the existence of the plots — far more than have previously been reported — at a meeting with some of the victims’ relatives and survivors of the attacks last week.
The problem with revealing your successes, is that you run the risk of revealing sources and methods for achieving those successes.
He failed to give further details but the claim appears to fit in with briefings by MI5 which suggest that as many as 1,200 potential terrorist suspects may now be in the UK.
And we probably have even more than that here in the US.


Pentagon Seeks Nonnuclear Tip for Sub Missiles

NYT reported The Pentagon is pressing Congress to approve the development of a new weapon that would enable the United States to carry out nonnuclear missile strikes against distant targets within an hour.

Why does the Pentagon have to ask congress if it can put NON-Nuclear warheads on missles rather than Nuclear ones???
The proposal has set off a complex debate about whether this program for strengthening the military's conventional capacity could increase the risks of accidental nuclear confrontation.
Why would giving the military more capability to fight conventional ways increase the risks of a nuclear confrontation? Look at it the reverse way. If conventional weapons make nuclear confrontation more likely, then why not take way conventional weapons, and make everything nuclear. That way if they are attacked and need to defend themselves, mushroom clouds will be automatic.


Interesting but dangerous

Download Squad blogged Have you ever wanted to be able to control your computer remotely, without the technical hurdles (or firewall issues) that come with more serious solutions like VNC? You might take a look at Gmail Remote Command, a free Windows app that will check your Gmail inbox every 60 seconds and, if it sees you've sent it certain preconfigured keywords, will execute commands on the host computer. GRC can make your computer run programs, open URLs, or shut down. This definitely isn't for people who have a need for high security, as it's basically a backdoor into your system for anyone who knows your e-mail address (though you can make your keywords hard to guess), but for more mundane situations it could come in handy--in particular, you could send yourself an e-mail from your cell phone and control your computer from anywhere in the world, or, at least, anywhere you have reception.

This sounds interesting, but very dangerous, and I am not sure I like the idea of Google taking over my computer.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Iran Chief Eclipses Power of Clerics

NYT President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is trying to consolidate power in the office of the presidency in a way never before seen in the 27-year history of the Islamic Republic, apparently with the tacit approval of Iran's supreme leader, according to government officials and political analysts here.

I have always thought that the way to convert Iran to a democracy would be to divide the mullahs into two groups, and kill one of them, making it look like it was done by someone in the other group. Then a week later kill two from the other group, and sit back and watch them kill each other off. But this makes it easier. Kill one mullah, then two of another group of mullahs, then three of Ahmadinejad's key people.
That rare unity of elected and religious leadership at the highest levels offers the United States an opportunity to talk to a government, however combative, that has often spoken with multiple voices. But if Washington, which severed relations with Iran after the 1979 revolution, opened such a dialogue, it could lift the prestige of the Iranian president, who has pushed toward confrontation with the West.


Lost in translation?

Iraq the Model blogs Does the CNN have problems with translation from Arabic to English or is it a case of deliberate twisting of facts?

Yesterday Iraq's and Iran's foreign ministers had a joint press conference in Baghdad after which the CNN ran a headline that reads "Iraqi minister defends Iranian nuclear program" and wrote:

Iran has a right to develop nuclear technology and the international community should drop its demands that Tehran prove it's not trying to build a nuclear weapon, Iraq's foreign minister said Friday..... "Iran doesn't claim that they want to obtain a nuclear weapon or a nuclear bomb, so there is no need that we ask them for any guarantee now," Hoshyar Zebari said after meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki.
I wasn't there at the press conference but I was able to find an audio clip of the same part of minister Zibari's statement through Radio Sawa, and what he said here is so much different from what the CNN claimed he did (my translation):
We respect Iran's and every other nation's right to pursue nuclear technology for research purposes and peaceful use given they accept [giving] the internationally required guarantees that this will not lead to an armament race in the region…
Audio clip available here (Arabic)

Listening to the 2nd version of the story (in Zibari's own voice) it is clear that Iraq recognizes Iran's right to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes exclusively and is moreover asking Iran for guarantees, not the other way around CNN!
This is certainly not the first time that CNN has distorted the news.


Bring It On

JustOneMinute blogged John Kerry wants to re-fight the Swift Boats wars. My goodness, that is the only thing that could get the Times to cover this - during his campaign they stayed about as far from this story as Kerry was from Cambodia at Christmas time..... I am much more curious to see whether we can demonstrate that the MSM was horribly deficient in their coverage of this story. My recollection, which may be colored by hyperbole, is that the entire NY Times coverage amounted to one story saying "The Swift Boat Veterans are lying because Kerry says they are".

He knows he does not stand a chance in hell of getting the nomination again, and he is desperate for another 15 minutes of fame. He could have easily released this material when it was requested during the 2004 election.


Happy Birthday

Happy Fourth Birthday To Power Line


Can Bloggers Get Real?

NYT reported Las Vegas, as the ad campaign likes to remind us, is a place people go to untether themselves from reality — to become, if only for a weekend, anonymous and uncensored. It's odd, then, that Vegas is about to play host to a gathering of ordinary Americans whose objective is precisely the reverse. Next week, 1,000 devotees of the liberal blogging universe

Which is characterized by people completely untethered from reality, and where they can say anything, as long as it is Bush Bashing.
— people who know one another only as pseudonyms on a screen, connected by only their running commentaries — will descend on the Riviera Hotel in hopes of affixing names and faces to their online personas. The event has been dubbed the YearlyKos convention, and it is the first-ever corporeal assemblage of the bloggers at the Web site These are the people who are said to be changing the very nature of American politics,
At least they think they are.
transforming the old smoke-filled room of insiders into an expansive chat room for anyone who wants in. And so it's not surprising that Democratic luminaries like the party's chairman, Howard Dean, and its leaders in Congress, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, have arranged their schedules to address the convention,
To pander to their extreme left wing.
along with at least a few 2008 presidential contenders. No small contingent of political professionals and journalists will show up as well. (I myself will sit on a panel about political journalism, which is kind of like being the Dunkin' Donuts spokesman at a cardiologists' convention.)


Mr. Jefferson, meet Mr. Jefferson

Akhil Reed Amar wrote in Slate William Jefferson and his congressional colleagues are crying foul about an executive-branch search of his Capitol-complex office. How would Thomas Jefferson and his colleagues—the Founding Fathers—have viewed the matter? Consider first what the framers wrote about congressional privileges in Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution:

Senators and Representatives … shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
The opening language here might initially seem promising for (William) Jefferson. The clause seems to broadly immunize Congress members from arrest when Congress is in session. If Jefferson can't even be arrested for various crimes, how can his premises be searched in a criminal investigation?

But on closer inspection, the clause does not insulate sitting Congress members from ordinary criminal arrest and prosecution. No arrest-immunity exists whenever a congressman stands accused of "Treason, Felony, [or] Breach of the Peace"—and the last phrase was, according to the canonical jurist William Blackstone, a catchall term of art that effectively covered all crimes. Following Blackstone, the U.S. Supreme Court has read the catchall expansively in leading cases decided in 1908 and 1972. Thus, sitting congressmen enjoy no special immunity from arrests in ordinary criminal cases.
Precisely. Congress isn't above the law, and bribery isn't "speech or debate." And when they scream Separation of Powers, remember they feel they have the power to suponea material from the other two branches in their "oversight duties", and this was not just the Executive Branch: they had a warrent issued by the Judicial Branch