Saturday, December 23, 2006

Shiite Cleric Won't Support Coalition

ABC News: reported Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric withheld support Saturday for a U.S.-backed plan to build a coalition across sectarian lines, Shiite lawmakers said,

Surprise! Surprise! The need for a coalition is so that Maliki is not dependent on al Sadr, so we can target al Sadr, and al Sadr does not like that.
jeopardizing hopes that such a show of political unity could help stem the country's deadly violence.
Absolutely, and an alliance of Sunni, Shia, and Kurds will show they that stability can be gained by bi-partisan alliances.
Members of the United Iraqi Alliance, the Shiite coalition that dominates parliament, met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf after traveling to the holy city over the past few days. Al-Sistani holds no political post and rarely emerges from his home and adjacent office, but he has strong influence over Shiite politics. Some members of the Shiite alliance have sought a coalition that would include Kurds and Sunnis, and sideline Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric whose militia is blamed for much of Iraq's sectarian violence. Lawmakers who attended the meeting with al-Sistani said the cleric opposed any move that would divide Shiites.
Since Al-Sistani endorsed such an alliance earlier, I wonder if al Sadr threatened him, or if the lawmaker speaking for him is one of al Sadrs.


Poll says religion does more harm than good

Guardian Unlimited More people in Britain think religion causes harm than believe it does good, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today. It shows that an overwhelming majority see religion as a cause of division and tension - greatly outnumbering the smaller majority who also believe that it can be a force for good.

I can understand that in a country where the King declared imune from following the orders of the [Catholic] Church, and set up his own church [Church of England], but if they want to avoid being taken over by the Muslims they have let into the country, they better embrace some Christian religion, because Muslims hate non-believers even more than they hate Christians.
The poll also reveals that non-believers outnumber believers in Britain by almost two to one. It paints a picture of a sceptical nation with massive doubts about the effect religion has on society: 82% of those questioned say they see religion as a cause of division and tension between people. Only 16% disagree. The findings are at odds with attempts by some religious leaders to define the country as one made up of many faith communities.


Insurgents offer U.S. 30-day truce for withdrawal

KBCI-TV reported The purported leader of an al-Qaida-linked militant group offered U.S. troops a one-month truce for withdrawing from Iraq without being attacked, according to a speech posted on an Islamic Web site Friday.

Don't count on it.
The leader of Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, also called on former officers in Saddam Hussein's disbanded army to join his militia, promising to provide them with a salary and house so long as they could recite three ''suras,'' or groups of verses, of the Quran.
To get the house, all you have to do is oick the one you want, and kill it's current occupants.
The 20-minute audio tape appeared on an Islamic Web site known for displaying militant groups' statements. In Washington, a senior U.S. intelligence official said the CIA was reviewing the tape to determine its authenticity. The ''Islamic State of Iraq'' declared itself in October. It is believed to be an umbrella group for militant organizations, including al-Qaida in Iraq. Addressing the United States, al-Baghdadi said: ''We order you to withdrew your troops immediately, using troop carriers and aircraft, and taking only your personal weapons. Don't withdraw any heavy weapons.
We want them for war booty. And to protect us from Iran.
Instead you should hand over those and your military bases to the holy warriors of the Islamic State.''


Spending freeze targets pet projects for members of Congress

McClatchy Washington Bureau reported Democratic leaders in the new Congress plan to strip funding for thousands of pet projects for individual members, a big display of fiscal discipline they say will help cut deficits and curb spending abuses. As soon as they take control on Jan. 4, Democrats plan to impose a one-year moratorium on all special projects,

Why a one year moratorium. If they are bad, there should be a permanent moratorium. A one year moratorium just means you are killing Republican pork, to later replace it with Democratic pork. Make the moratorium permanent, and you will achieve real deficit cutting and elimination of spending abuses. Then if you will also eliminate forced spending on Democratic pet projects, you will go a long way to doing what the Republicans should have done, but did not do, cutting the size of government.
known as earmarks, effectively killing those that were tucked into unfinished spending bills by the Republican-led Congress.


Hispanic groups call for moratorium on work raids

Yahoo! News U.S. Hispanic groups and activists on Thursday called for a moratorium on workplace raids to round up illegal immigrants, saying they were reminiscent of Nazi crackdowns on Jews in the 1930s.

Actually the Jews were there legally, these raids are to get people who are not here legally. Just because you made it across the border does not mean you are entitled to a job, and to use stolen or forged social security cards to get those jobs.
They accused the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement of "racial profiling," or selective enforcement against Hispanics, for arresting 1,300 workers on immigration violations in December 12 raids at meatpacking plants in six states. "We are demanding an end to these immigration raids, where they are targeting brown faces.
They are targeting people who are here illegally; if most of them have brown faces, that is because there are a lot of illegals with those characteristics
That is major, major racial profiling, and that cannot be tolerated," said Rosa Rosales, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, at a news conference.
Racial profiling would be if they stopped everyone with a brown face on the street, not if they go to an employeer and said we see in your reports that a lot of your employees have invalid or stolen social security numbers; let us see those people, whatever color their faces are.
"This unfortunately reminds me of when Hitler began rounding up the Jews for no reason and locking them up," Democratic Party activist Carla Vela said. "Now they're coming for the Latinos, who will they come for next?"
Anyone who is here illegally


Friday, December 22, 2006

Zawahiri Tape

ICT reported rhe Full Transcript of Zawahiri Tape December 20, 2006: .... The first thing that I wish to talk about is the passing of 89 years since the Balfour Declaration, in which someone who didn’t own the Holy Land of Palestine gave it to someone who didn’t deserve it…

Muslims got most, if not all, of their lanf through conquest. If this is ok for them, why not for Britain.
That historical event which we must not allow to pass from memory, and which we must transmit from generation to generation, in order that we be aware of the extent of the animosity of Britain and the Crusader West in general to the Muslim Ummah…

The animosity of Britain to Islam which stretches over centuries: isn’t it the one who used to occupy most Islamic lands? Isn’t it the one who moved Abd al-Aziz Al Sa’ud and al-Husayn ibn Ali to stab the Ottoman state in its back? And isn’t it the one who handed over to the Jews one of the holiest places of Islam?
Their claim to Jerusalem is that Mohammed once dreamed about it; God a href="">promised it/a> to the Jews
.... And the second of these facts is that the recovery of every land which was once a land of Islam is the personal duty of every Muslim. Therefore, as Muslims, we cannot possibly concede to Israel so much as a hand-span of Palestine, and there is no difference as far as we are concerned between Palestine 1948 and Palestine 1967: all of it is Palestine and all of it belongs to the Muslims,
Well so much for "the Roadmap" and "Land for Peace"
and all the international resolutions which bit off chunks of it and allowed the presence of Israel on it – from the partition resolution to Resolution 1701 – are null and void, non-binding resolutions, which aren’t worth so much as a mosquito’s wing on the scales of Islam.... The United Nations is an organization hostile to Islam.
Then why does the US continually have to veto one sided resolutions in favor of Muslims aqnd against Israel
Its charter is based on the rule of other than the Shari’ah
Thank God
and obligates all UN members, including the governments of the Islamic countries, to recognize Israel, because it – like them – is a member of the UN. And it also obligates them to recognize Russia’s occupation of Chechnya and the Muslim Caucasus, China’s occupation of East Turkistan, Spain’s occupation of Ceuta and Melilla and the occupation of other Muslim lands by non-Muslim governments which are part of the UN. And furthermore, the UN is the one who established the Jewish presence in Palestine, the Crusader presence in Afghanistan, and the Crusader occupation of Iraq, and it is the international false witness which runs the rigged elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it is the one who today is attempting to enable the Crusaders to invade Darfur under cover of the UN.


Islamist Doctors

The MEMRI Blog reported A 17 year old boy was admitted to a hospital with extreme pain and swelling in the groin. When sent for an ultrasound, a veiled woman radiologist Dr. K. Aribag refused to administer the test and told the patient to return the next day. The young man was disappointed for a second time when the second doctor turned out to be another veiled female doctor who also refused to treat him, due to the Islamic ban on touching a man's body. Finally, after the Chief Physician was involved and a male radiologist was found, the young man underwent an emergency surgery, but lost a testical due to the delays.

Considering how Muslims must have their women veiled so that they don't go beserk and rape them, maybe the lower amount of testosterone will make this lad somewhat human.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Speech by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri

SITE Institute reports The speech opens with a discussion of Palestine, Zawahiri reminding of Israel’s establishment and stating that the animosity of the British to Islam stretches over decades.

Britain used to rule of much of the land, and they were not defeated, they just decided to grant them independence.
He then turns to attempts by the UN and “America’s man in Palestine,” Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority, to broker peace agreements with Israel and cease dispute with Hamas, and argues that elections based on secular constitutions or resolutions accepting Israel will not liberate “one sand-grain” of Palestine.
It will if the Palestinians decide they want peace.
Jihad, then, is the sole means to effect the desired change.
Dead Palestinians.
He states: “It is our duty to reject and cast off these resolutions and wage war on them, instead of taking indecisive stances towards them, and saying that we shall respect them and acknowledge them as a fact of life, and other such terms which lead to the forfeiture of the Muslims’ rights”.
In other words they have a right to perpetual warfare, but not to peace???
Zawahiri also discusses the five years which have passed since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, arguing that coalition forces have faced a torrent of Mujahideen and Taliban fighters supported by Pashtun tribes, and America will soon fail in this prospect just as the Soviet Union two decades ago.
Perhaps, but we seem to be doing pretty good at this time.
He states: “And the Islamic Emirate shall return to Kabul soon - Allah willing - following the Crusader pullout, and its popularity has not merely increased in Afghanistan, but also in neighboring countries. And these are facts known to all”.
Especially those smoking hashish.
To the Democrats in America, Zawahiri states that they did not win and the Republicans did not lose; rather, it is the Mujahideen who have won,
How many seats in the House and how many in the Senate did the Mujahideen win?
and the American forces and their allies those who lost. Zawahiri addresses the American people and reminds that their security will not be assured unless such is realized in Palestine,
Which they can have any time they realize that peace is better than war.
and adds that they only realize the failure of the current administration when the Mujahideen slaughtered their soldiers. The Mujahideen, he indicates, will not stop inflicting losses upon their enemy until American and “Crusader” forces leave Muslim lands and cease supporting their rulers. Zawahiri then advocates that America seek to negotiate with the “real powers” in the Islamic world for their departure.
You are crazier than the Presient of Iran.
It is a new era and period in world history, Zawahiri announces; a period of Khalid Islambouli, Abdullah Azzam, Muhammad Atta, Muhammad Siddique Khan, and Shehzad Tanwir.

Harkening to the speech’s subject, Zawahiri directly tells the Muslim Nation that they have a decision in which they may live on the margins of the New World Order, or rely upon Allah and embrace Islam, doing jihad for His Sake.
In other words they can live in peace, side beside the state of Israel, and learn what a good friend Israel can be, or they can continue to try to kill Jews, and find they are losing many more of their people for every Jew they kill.
Scholars who advocate Muslims to take a moderate and progressive position are condemned
To live in peace on this earth, and they will probably find they will do better in the next world than if they spent their time on this world killing everyone that disagreed with them.
and those who obligate Muslim women in France to remove their hijab and those who obligate the Muslim in Britain to “obey Elizabeth” are not suitable, in Zawahiri opinion, to take the reins of leadership or authority. The Palestinian women of Beit Hanoun who surrounded the besieged mosque are deemed more courageous, resolution, and honorable than the “religion-selling traitors” in Iraq and Afghanistan, Cairo, Riyadh, Amman, and Sana’a.


Why won't Carter debate his book?

Alan Dershowitz wrote in The Boston Globe You can always tell when a public figure has written an indefensible book: when he refuses to debate it in the court of public opinion. And you can always tell when he's a hypocrite to boot: when he says he wrote a book in order to stimulate a debate, and then he refuses to participate in any such debate.

He wants others to do the debating. He does not know enough to debate.
I'm talking about former president Jimmy Carter and his new book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid." Carter's book has been condemned as "moronic" (Slate), "anti-historical" (The Washington Post), "laughable" (San Francisco Chronicle), and riddled with errors and bias in reviews across the country. Many of the reviews have been written by non-Jewish as well as Jewish critics, and not by "representatives of Jewish organizations" as Carter has claimed. Carter has gone even beyond the errors of his book in interviews, in which he has said that the situation in Israel is worse than the crimes committed in Apartheid South Africa. When asked whether he believed that Israel's "persecution" of Palestinians was "[e]ven worse . . . than a place like Rwanda," Carter answered, "Yes. I think -- yes."

When Larry King referred to my review several times to challenge Carter, Carter first said I hadn't read the book and then blustered, "You know, I think it's a waste of my time and yours to quote professor Dershowitz. He's so obviously biased, Larry, and it's not worth my time to waste it on commenting on him." (He never did answer King's questions.)
He only wants to debate people that don't know anything.
The next week Carter wrote a series of op-eds bemoaning the reception his book had received. He wrote that his "most troubling experience" had been "the rejection of [his] offers to speak" at "university campuses with high Jewish enrollment." The fact is that Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz had invited Carter to come to Brandeis to debate me, and Carter refused. The reason Carter gave was this: "There is no need to for me to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine."
And you do? Did you know know what Arafat was like?
As Carter knows, I've been to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, many times -- certainly more times than Carter has been there -- and I've written three books dealing with the subject of Middle Eastern history, politics, and the peace process. The real reason Carter won't debate me is that I would correct his factual errors. It's not that I know too little; it's that I know too much.
Maybe you can debate him on building houses for Habitat for Humanities.
Nor is Carter the unbiased observer of the Middle East that he claims to be. He has accepted money and an award from Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan , saying in 2001: "This award has special significance for me because it is named for my personal friend, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan." This is the same Zayed, the long-time ruler of the United Arab Emirates, whose $2.5 million gift to the Harvard Divinity School was returned in 2004 due to Zayed's rampant Jew-hatred. Zayed's personal foundation, the Zayed Center, claims that it was Zionists, rather than Nazis, who "were the people who killed the Jews in Europe" during the Holocaust. It has held lectures on the blood libel and conspiracy theories about Jews and America perpetrating Sept. 11. Carter's acceptance of money from this biased group casts real doubt on his objectivity and creates an obvious conflict of interest.
But he is a good friend because he gave Carter money.
Carter's refusal to debate wouldn't be so strange if it weren't for the fact that he claims that he wrote the book precisely so as to start debate over the issue of the Israel-Palestine peace process. If that were really true, Carter would be thrilled to have the opportunity to debate. Authors should be accountable for their ideas and their facts. Books shouldn't be like chapel, delivered from on high and believed on faith.


Mohammed overtakes George in list of most popular names

Telegraph reported Mohammed, and its most common alternative spelling Muhammad, are now more popular babies' names in England and Wales than George, reflecting the diverse ethnic mix of the population.

And you wonder why this is happening? Care to buy a clue?


London Braces for Attack

The Blotter reportedBritish intelligence and law enforcement officials have passed on a grim assessment to their U.S. counterparts, "It will be a miracle if there isn't a terror attack over the holidays in London," a senior American law enforcement official tells

You guys have let way too many Muslims into your country, and have not encouraged them to assimilate into British society.
British police have been quietly carrying out a series of key arrests as they continue to track at least six active "plots" tied to what they call "al Qaeda of England."
Do more of them, even if people scream about multiculturism. That does not mean that one foreign culture should be allowed to change established British culture.
Officials said they could not cite any specific date or target but said al Qaeda had planned previous operations during the Christmas holidays that had been disrupted. "It is not a matter of if there will be an attack, but how bad the attack will be," an intelligence official told Authorities say they are seeking at least 18 suspected suicide bombers.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sixth Month in Prison for Fatima and Child

Arab News reported Fatima, the 34-year-old woman who was divorced in absentia against her will from her husband by a judge at the request of her half-brothers, has entered her sixth month of incarceration at a prison in Dammam. The husband, Mansour Al-Timani, 37, says prison officials have impeded his ability to communicate with the woman that he still considers his wife.

The couple was divorced without even knowing about the situation because her two half brothers objected to the marriage, and now she is in jail, not because of anything she has done, but because the law requires she have a male guardian, and she refuses to go back to her half brothers that forced the divorce. Isn't Sharia Law wonderful.
In October, prison officials insisted that Mansour take custody of the older of the two children, two-year-old Noha. She was allowed to keep her 11-month-old son, Salman, in prison with her. “Since that time the connection between me and (Fatima) by telephone has totally been cut off,” said Mansour.
They won't let the husband call his wife, because the half brothers manipulate the divorce that the couple did not want.
The official that answered the phone at the prison, who would not provide his name, said that since the two are officially divorced, Mansour no longer has the right to call by telephone. “Communicating with prisoners has certain channels and procedures,” said the voice on the other end of the line. Mansour said he is allowed 15 minutes with his wife when he visits in person on Saturdays so that the children — one with the mother in prison and the other with the father outside — can spend time with both parents.
Interesting they let him see her, but not talk to her on the phone.
Fatima in fact has the freedom to return to the custody of her family (women of any age are legally required to have a mahram, or male guardian) but she has refused saying she would only walk out of prison into the arms of the man she still considers her husband.
The rights of a woman under Islam.
On July 20, 2005, Justice Ibrahim Al-Farraj divorced the couple in their absence in the northern city of Al-Jouf at the request of two of Fatima’s half-brothers. They claim that Mansour hid his tribal affiliation when he sought permission from the now-deceased father to marry the woman, a charge Mansour denies and is irrelevant because under Shariah, tribal affiliation is not a consideration for a legitimate marriage.

The couple were not only divorced in absentia after nearly three years of marriage, but were not informed immediately of the decision. They were arrested later in Jeddah (where they had fled after learning of the ruling, hoping to find help from an official here). Mansour was later released, but Fatima refused to return to the custody of her family and therefore languishes in prison. Meanwhile, Justice Al-Farraj hasn’t been seen at his court since early November. The Ministry of Justice would not comment on whether the judge is under suspension or being investigated for his ruling that has angered the public — the court’s decision was even ridiculed in the popular television comedy serial “Tash.” Fatima’s lawyer, Abdul Rahman Al-Lahem, said his appeal against the divorce ruling, submitted Oct. 7, is still pending. “I know that the cassation court has ordered the file from the court in Al-Jouf for review... That’s a good move,” said Al-Lahem. Until the next step in a judicial process that has taken over a year is made, the husband and wife have nothing to do but wait: She in prison and he outside.


Police killer suspect fled Britain in a veil

Times Online A man who was being hunted for the murder of a policewoman is understood to have escaped from Britain by disguising himself as a veiled Muslim woman. Mustaf Jama, a prime suspect in the fatal shooting of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, assumed his sister’s identity — wearing the niqab and using her passport — to evade supposedly stringent checks at Heathrow, according to police sources.

And people wonder why Britons are opposed to people wearing the nijab, and particularly having it be used in a photo on their id. You cannot tell who it is, even the sex of the person is unclear.
The use of the niqab, which leaves only a narrow slit for the eyes, highlights flaws in British airport security. At the time, Jama was Britain’s most wanted man, while Heathrow was on a heightened state of alert after the 7/7 terrorist atrocities in London five months previously


Top Shiite Cleric Is Said to Favor a Coalition for Iraq

NYT reported Iraq’s most venerated Shiite cleric has tentatively approved an American-backed coalition of Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish parties that aims to isolate extremists, particularly the powerful Shiite militia leader Moktada al-Sadr, Iraqi and Western officials say.

Good for him. He should have been able to control al-Sadr himself, if al-Sadr had truly been doing it for religious reasons, but he was doing it for power, and I applaud what Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has said.
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein the cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has been the spiritual custodian of Shiite political dominance in Iraq, corralling the fractious Shiite parties into an alliance to rule the country. But Ayatollah Sistani has grown increasingly distressed as the Shiite-led government has proved incapable of taming the violence and improving public services, Shiite officials say. He now appears to be backing away from his demand that the Shiite bloc play the dominant political role and that it hold together at all costs, Iraqi and Western officials say.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Iraq Insurgents Starve Capital of Electricity

NYT reported Over the past six months, Baghdad has been all but isolated electrically, Iraqi officials say, as insurgents have effectively won their battle to bring down critical high-voltage lines and cut off the capital from the major power plants to the north, south and west.

We need to tell the Iraqis, hey, it is your fellow Iraqis that are doing this to you. If you want it to stop, you need to turn them in.


Sadr Army is called top threat in Iraq

Los Angeles Times reported Armed militiamen affiliated with radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr pose the gravest danger to the security and stability of Iraq, surpassing Sunni Arab insurgents and Al Qaeda terrorists, a new Defense Department report to Congress says.

I agree. We need to convince Maliki to let us put a bullet in that black turbaned idiot, and if he will not, we need to pack up and go home, and let him get wiped out in the violence Sadr is causing.
The finding represents the military's strongest characterization of the danger posed by Sadr and is among the conclusions of a quarterly report to Congress that chronicles the instability in Iraq and record level of sectarian violence.


Pelosi preparing new shackles for free speech

Mark Tapscott wrote in Examiner Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has cooked up with Public Citizen’s Joan Claybrook a “lobbying reform” that actually protects rich special interests and activists millionaires while clamping new shackles on citizens’ First Amendment rights to petition Congress and speak their minds. Pelosi tried earlier this year to move H.R. 4682, the “Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006,” which is now cited by Public Citizen’s Web site as the vehicle it is helping the incoming speaker to craft for the new Congress.... The key provision of the 2006 bill was its redefinition of grassroots lobbying to include small citizens groups whose messages about Congress and public policy issues are directed toward the general public, according to attorneys for the Free Speech Coalition. All informational and educational materials produced by such groups would have to be registered and reported on a quarterly basis. Failure to report would result in severe civil penalties (likely followed soon by criminal penalties as well).... In other words, for the first time in American history, potentially millions of concerned citizens involved in grassroots lobbying and representing viewpoints from across the entire political spectrum would have to register with Congress in order to exercise their First Amendment rights. There is even more bad news here, though, because the Pelosi-Claybrook proposal includes loopholes big enough to protect Big Labor, Big Corporations and Big Nonprofits, as well as guys with Big Wallets like George Soros. Big Government, you see, always takes care of its big friends.

This sounds even worse than McCain-Feingold, which was terrible. I wonder if there is something in there that will say that liberal and secular progressive speech will remain free, but conservative speech is forbidden.
.... What we are witnessing here is the continuing repeal of the First Amendment. If Pelosi-Claybrook becomes law in 2007, you can be sure it will be followed by more regulations and restrictions on free speech in 2008 and beyond.

Blue Crab blogged Tapscott points out that this is an extension of the McCain-Feingold abomination. He's right. The assault began in earnest with that monstrous piece of legislation. But what this newest one will bring should concern everyone. This is a method of putting a Congressional boot down on anyone trying to get a message out that Congress does not like.


'Islamophobia' on the rise in Europe, report says

International Herald Tribune reported "Islamophobia" is on the rise across Europe, where many Muslims are menaced and misunderstood — some on a daily basis — the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia said Monday in a new report.

Menacing them is not proper. Understanding depends on what effort they are making to be understood, and also whether they seek to remake the country they are a guest in to the way they think the country should be (like Sharia law), or whether they are adapting themselves to the customs and norms of the country they are living in.
The Vienna-based center, which tracks ethnic and religious bias across the 25-country European Union, said Muslims routinely suffered problems ranging from physical attacks to discrimination in the job and housing markets.
When people see Muslims rioting in the street over a cartoon, I am not surprised they might not want to hire them, or have them living in their buildings.
It called on leaders to strengthen policies on integration, and on Muslims to "engage more actively in public life" to counter negative perceptions driven by terrorism or violence, such as the backlash this year caused by cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. "The key word is 'respect,'" said Beate Winkler, director of the group. "People need to feel respected and included. We need to highlight the common ground that we have."
Respect is something that is earned, and the best way to earn it, is to show it yourself.


Monday, December 18, 2006

The political process enters a new phase

IRAQ THE MODEL blogged Instead of a 'national rescue front' led by the opposition some influential politicians here are considering forming a new political front made up of members of the government ostensibly to override sectarian and ethnic divides, and it seems there's support from Washington to form this bloc.

This is good hews.
More about the shape and role should be clear when Tariq al-Hashimi returns from there as he represents one of the main candidate components of the proposed bloc (the Islamic party, the SCIRI and the two Kurdish parties) with reports about possible inclusion of the Iraqi bloc of Allawi, who already said he'd join the bloc if he gets invited to.
The important thing is that a coalition of Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds will show that sectarian violence is not the answer, and they should form political alliances.
This new bloc, once formed, is expected to work jointly with Maliki to carry out a wide cabinet reshuffle as well as take measures to deal with Sadr and his militia. Iraq Pundit has another theory in which he thinks Maliki could be replaced by Aadil Abdul Mahdil, the current VP from the SCIRI but I guess that's not among the primary goals of the new front, not now at least because I think the goal is to press and encourage Maliki to make some decisions rather than to replace him which might further destabilize the political process instead of advancing it.
Keep Maliki, and least for the short term.
Speculations for new names are already appearing in the media here and these names indicate that the direction of the new bloc will be towards including, and giving a bigger role to, elements who believe in continuing the political process and who reject extreme ideas and irrational suggestions for solutions. The latter represented by groups such as the Sadrists, the Ahl al-Iraq conference (the part of the accord front headed by Adnan al-Dulaimi) and Salih al-Mutlaq and his team, in other words the parties that call for fighting the MNF and deal irresponsibly with the sectarian situation whether by violent acts or provocative statements.
The important thing is to show Maliki he can remain in power, and let us take al Sadr out.


The March to Mecca

Greg Gutfeld blogged on The Huffington Post Human Rights Watch,, ACT-UP, the Huffington Post and David Geffen are proud to present the March to Mecca, a celebration of peace that calls all gay brothers, sisters and people undergoing sex-reassignment to march to the holiest of holy cities, Mecca, the capital city of Saudi Arabia's Makkah province on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2007.

They must be crazy if the think this will work.
The march, a brainchild of activists and celebrities who acknowledge that more gays are dying from Islamic fundamentalism than from the policies of George W. Bush, will begin 12 noon sharp in Jeddah, the stunning night-life friendly Saudi Arabian city located on the coast of the Red Sea.
Do you think the are going to let a bunch of non-muslims into Mecca?
"Not marching in these countries, in this era of terror, seems cowardly," says event co-organizer Sharon Stone. "I'm embarrassed to say at social gatherings I even blamed the United States for everything. But I realized it's the radical Muslims - not the US - who want gays dead, and for that I am truly sorry."
You are absolutely right, but if you fo get in, expect to lose your head, and I am not kidding. Muslims are not going to allow people to protest against them in their own Holy City.
Paris' gay Socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who was stabbed by an immigrant Muslim, is organizing the European contingency which features Limahl, Johnny Hallyday and Ciccolina. Whoopie Goldberg, along with Robin Williams will be hosting the kick off party at the Sheraton Riyadh. There will be refreshments and karaoke, hosted by David Hyde Pierce. Beth Ditto, lead singer of the Gossip, who will perform with the newly reformed Yaz, thinks the march is overdue. "Forget right wing Christians. They don't hang gays for being gay. Islamofascists do. That's why were asking moderate, non-violent Muslims across the Western Province to join hands and embrace gay people everywhere."
"Almost half of all Muslim countries outlaw gay relations," says Huffington Post contributor Gene Stone, "and more than 70 countries ban all homosexuality, sometimes making it punishable by death. And here I am, blogging about how bad Renew America is. LOL."
Have a good trip


Talk in Class Turns to God, Setting Off Public Debate on Rights

NYT Before David Paszkiewicz got to teach his accelerated 11th-grade history class about the United States Constitution this fall, he was accused of violating it.

While Devid Paszkiewicsz went too far with his prosetlyzing, I don't see that he violated the Constitution, which says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. AFAIK, David Paszkiewicz is a teacher, he is not Congress, and he did not make any law. Also as I understand reading other blogs, he was answering questions, and not introducing this data.
Shortly after school began in September, the teacher told his sixth-period students at Kearny High School that evolution and the Big Bang were not scientific,
They are theories, and he is entitled to his opinion on them. After all the same 1st Amendment provides Congress shall make no law .... abridging the freedom of speech
that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark,
Do you have proof they were not?
and that only Christians had a place in heaven, according to audio recordings made by a student whose family is now considering a lawsuit claiming Mr. Paszkiewicz broke the church-state boundary.
Did he establish a religion, or prohibit anyone's free exercise of their religion.
“If you reject his gift of salvation, then you know where you belong,” Mr. Paszkiewicz was recorded saying of Jesus. “He did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sins on his own body, suffered your pains for you, and he’s saying, ‘Please, accept me, believe.’ If you reject that, you belong in hell.”
I believe he is right. Personally I believe that Jews who follow the covenant God established with them will also be in heaven. John 14:6 says I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me., but do you really think that if someone has a compact with God, that he will not let them through.
The student, Matthew LaClair, said that he felt uncomfortable with Mr. Paszkiewicz’s statements
Oh gee, we certainly would not want him to feel uncomfortable. I am uncomfortable about a lot of things. Is anyone interested in a list?
in the first week, and taped eight classes starting Sept. 13 out of fear that officials would not believe the teacher had made the comments.

PZ Myers blogged The story also documents some of the reactions in the community. It's mostly negative…against the student who dared to document the flagrantly illegal actions of the teacher.

Steve M blogged I love the early reaction to the story by commenters at Ann Althouse's ersatz-centrist right-wing blog:
... this smells like a sting. If the story is accurate, how very convenient that the kid just happened to be the son of a secular humanist lawyer. I'd want to know if that's true, and if so, has the father previously litigated issues like this? Is he someone actively hostile to religion? The record is replete of examples where the left uses their children as a battering ram for their political causes: in recent memory, Michael Newdow and Cindy Sheehan spring to mind.... how very convenient that the kid just happened to be the son of a secular humanist lawyer
Yes, I was on board til I got to that little factoid.

Heretik blogged The kid who taped the preacher teacher has his own hell. Matthew LaClair has received a death threat. The kid says he shouldn’t be worried about Supreme Court cases something like this might bring up, “I should be worrying about who I’m going to take to the prom.” Maybe then he could dance with all the children of god, even the Muslim girl, maybe an atheist or an agnostic, before we all head to hell.


France to pull troops from Afghanistan

Yahoo! News reported France is to withdraw its 200-strong special forces from Afghanistan, all of its ground troops engaged in the U.S anti-terror operation there, authorities announced Sunday.

Oh horrows. How will we prevail without 200 French forces. Who will carry the white flags?
The decision to pull the elite troops, based in the southeastern city of Jalalabad, comes as the Taliban militia are gaining strength despite the strong engagement — some 32,800 troops — in NATO's International Security Assistance Force. France has balked at sending its 1,100-strong NATO contingent outside the relatively safe Afghan capital, Kabul.
They might shoot at them.


Hardliners defeated in Iran's twin elections

Times Online reported Iranians have dealt a blow to President Ahmadinejad’s hardline Government, by thwarting his allies in municipal and clerical elections.

This may be true, but I also note Iranian students hide in fear for lives after venting fury at Ahmadinejad
According to early results, Mr Ahmadinejad’s fundamentalist mentor who espouses cultural isolation from the West, was trailing sixth in the Tehran vote for the Assembly of Experts, Iran’s all-powerful clerical council. Reformists were also expected to seize a handful of seats on Tehran city council, signalling a comeback after three electoral defeats in the past three years. While Friday’s twin elections may not have a direct impact on policy, the West will welcome any indication that Mr Ahmadinejad’s popularity is waning. It was the first nationwide vote since the populist swept to power 16 months ago.


Tsunami survivors given the lash

Sunday Times reported When people around the world sent millions of pounds to help the stricken Indonesian province of Aceh after the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, few could have imagined that their money would end up subsidising the lashing of women in public. But militant Islamists have since imposed sharia law in Aceh and have cornered Indonesian government funds to organise a moral vigilante force that harasses women and stages frequent displays of humiliation and state-sanctioned violence.

It reminds me when the taliban were using internationally built soccer stadiums for public executions, and when the international community objected, they said they would be happy to have the international community pay to build them other facilities to be used for public executions. There may be plenty of good Muslims out there, who want to live in the 21st century in peace with everyone, but they need to stand up to those that want to take everything back to 7th century standards.
International aid workers and Indonesian women’s organisations are now expressing dismay that the flow of foreign cash for reconstruction has allowed the government to spend scarce money on a new bureaucracy and religious police to enforce puritan laws, such as the compulsory wearing of headscarves.

CQ blogged The entire spectacle has more than a whiff of repressed sexuality about it. Women accused of moral crimes get hauled in front of a crowd of jeering men, who work themselves into a state of hysteria while the charges are read. Then the women get caned as many as ten times to the exultation of the men watching the punishment. It sounds like a strange outlet for a severely repressed society, especially as the morality squad has conducted more than 140 times now.

The problem with foreign aid for disaster sites is the prevailing political structure of the country or area. When the government is corrupt, the aid will not go to its intended recipients but instead to support the corrupt government. Massive amounts of cash only serve to allow these regimes to keep and extend their grip on power. In this case, some could be forgiven for forgetting the lesson, given the random and acute nature of the disaster, but it shows that even in these circumstances aid will get diverted to purposes other than those intended.

Western nations need to develop new methods of aid delivery. We cannot simply refuse to help when people starve to death or when tsunamis strike, but we also cannot fund the imposition of shari'a and other kinds of oppression. We need to insist on controlling the delivery channels for aid to ensure that it reaches the real victims. When we have successfully done so, we have seen the benefits of our generosity reflected in the improved lives of the downtrodden. When we do not, we become accessories to the violence and abuse that the powerless receive.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Baha'is Lose Battle for Recognition

Arab News reported An Egyptian court denied Baha'is yesterday the right to state their religion on official documents and described them as pro-Israeli apostates. The Supreme Administrative Court ruled against the right of Hossam Ezzat Mussa and his wife, Rania Enayat, to state their religion on official documents.

Bahai was founded in 19th century, growing out of Babism, which started on May 23, 1844 in Shiraz, Persia, when Mirza Ali Muhammad proclaimed himself the Bab (from Arabic, meaning "gate"), the gate to divine truth. The Bab said that he was equal to Muhammad, and that former prophets had been divine manifestations. He also predicted that an even greater manifestation would come 19 years later, as well as the revelation of a Holy Book, to be called Bayan, which should supersede the Koran. So I can see why Muslims might not like them, but Muhammad started off copying much of Islam, trying to convince Christians and Jews that their religious scriptures predicted that he would appear in a line of prophets fom Moses, Abraham, and Jesus. Muslims might not appreciated the same scam being done to their prophet, but in what way does that make them pro-Israeli apostates.
Judge Sayed Nofal, speaking after reading out the verdict, said “the constitution promotes freedom of belief for the three recognized heavenly religions and they are Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
Only Christians and Jews are accorded second class (Dhimmi) ststus.
“As for the Bahais, Islamic jurists have all agreed that the Bahai faith is not one of the three recognized religions,” he said. “Those who belong to this religion are apostates of Islam, because the faith’s principles contradict the Islamic religion and all other religions.” The couple had filed the case in 2004. In April this year a lower court ruled in their favor.


Jimmy Carter Issues Letter to Jewish Community

The Carter Center We discussed the word "apartheid," which I defined as the forced segregation of two peoples living in the same land, with one of them dominating and persecuting the other.

And which does not apply here. Carter recognizes that Arabs in Israel have rights which are not being interfered with, and Israel sends troops into Gaza only when it is attacked.
I made clear in the book's text and in my response to the rabbis that the system of apartheid in Palestine is not based on racism but the desire of a minority of Israelis for Palestinian land
And the desire of Palestinians for Jewish land, and their attacking Israel on a regular basis, even after Israel withdrew from Gaza.
and the resulting suppression of protests that involve violence.
Firing rockets over a wall or sending homicide bombers to blow themselves up, hoping to kill a few Jews, are not legitimate means of protest. Or are you talking about Hamas killing Fatah when they protest, or Fatah killing Hamas when they protest? The Israelis are not responsible for that.
.... I made it clear that I have never claimed that American Jews control the news media, but reiterated that the overwhelming bias for Israel comes from among Christians like me who have been taught since childhood to honor and protect God's chosen people from among whom came our own savior, Jesus Christ.
And you now turn against them.
An additional factor, especially in the political arena, is the powerful influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is exercising its legitimate goal of explaining the current policies of Israel's government and arousing maximum support in our country. There are no significant countervailing voices.
So you decided to be one? If the Palestinians truly want to talk to Israel, and if peace is more important than killing Jews, I am sure Israel will talk to them.
I am familiar with the extreme acts of violence that have been perpetrated against innocent civilians, and understand the fear among many Israelis that threats against their safety and even their existence as a nation still exist. I reiterated my strong condemnation of any such acts of terrorism.
That is nice.
When asked my proposals for peace in the Middle East, I summarized by calling for Hamas members and all other Palestinians to renounce violence and adopt the same commitment made by the Arab nations in 2002: the full recognition of Israel's right to exist in peace within its legally recognized 1967 borders (to be modified by mutual agreement by land swaps). This would comply with U.N. Resolutions, the official policy of the United States, commitments made at Camp David in 1978 and in Oslo in 1993, and the premises of the International Quartet's "Roadmap for Peace."
And there is not a snowball's chance in hell they will do it.
An immediate step would be the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, now absent for six years. President Mahmoud Abbas is the official spokesman for the Palestinians, as head of the Palestinian National Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization, and has repeatedly called for peace talks. I asked the rabbis to join in an effort to induce the Israeli government to comply with this proposal.
Tell Hamas to accept the idea of living side by side with Israel, in peace.
In addition, I pointed out that the Palestinian people were being deprived of the necessities of life by economic restrictions imposed on them by Israel and the United States because 42% had voted for Hamas candidates in the most recent election.
Why should we send money so that Hamas can use it to buy rockets to shoot at Israel.
Teachers, nurses, policemen, firemen, and other employees are not being paid, and the U.N. has reported that food supplies in Gaza are equivalent to those among the poorest families in sub-Sahara Africa with half the families surviving on one meal a day. My other request was that American Jewish citizens help to alleviate their plight.
The problem is not Israel, it is Hamas, and its supporter, Iran, who wants to see Israel destroyed.


Episcopalians Reach Point of Revolt

NYT For about 30 years, the Episcopal Church has been one big unhappy family. Under one roof there were female bishops and male bishops who would not ordain women. There were parishes that celebrated gay weddings and parishes that denounced them; theologians sure that Jesus was the only route to salvation, and theologians who disagreed.

A church in which everyone must decide for himself what his faith means, is not much of a church. It is good that they should split.
Now, after years of threats, the family is breaking up. As many as eight conservative Episcopal churches in Virginia are expected to announce today that their parishioners have voted to cut their ties with the Episcopal Church. Two are large, historic congregations that minister to the Washington elite and occupy real estate worth a combined $27 million, which could result in a legal battle over who keeps the property.
Follow the money. If the locals contributed most of the cost, title should stay with the local church. If the Church built the building, they should retain title.
OTB blogged The idea of the congregations in an Episcopal church revolting against their bishop is quite bizarre. After all, the belief apostolic succession of the bishops is a defining tenant of what it means to be Episcopal; indeed, that’s what the name means. Still, there’s no doubt that the church has become virtually nihilistic. Episcopalians openly joke about the fact that they don’t really believe in much of anything. It has become very much a priesthood of all believers, with a total rejection of a unified, hierarchical doctrine. I’m surprised, frankly, that it has taken people this long to get sick of that. A central reason people attend church to begin with is to be part of something bigger than themselves to create a sense of order. If you’re going to be left to your own conscience to determine your own private morality, you might as well just be a free agent and keep the tithe.

D.A. Ridgely blogged Like the Church of England itself, the newly created Episcopal Church saw itself as a continuation of the “church catholic” from the Apostolic age, and so it needed its bishops to have been ordained from other bishops in an unbroken apostolic succession (a theological point, by the way, about which the Anglicans and Roman Catholics still disagree). But bishops in England were comfortably well off members of the House of Lords and unlikely to leave all of that behind for the wilds of the former colonies, so the first American bishops were “renegade” Scottish bishops, the Scots always being up for anything to piss the English off. (This is why the heraldic crest of the Episcopal Church includes the St. Andrew’s Cross, St. Andrew being the patron saint of Scotland.)

The point of this little history lesson is that the Episcopal Church in the U.S. has from its very beginnings been both “conservative” and “liberal.” Ironically, it is unique among all other Protestant denominations in the U.S. in that there was no schism within the Episcopal Church resulting from the Civil War. By long standing custom, tradition and temperament, it has managed to finesse its internal differences over everything from liturgics to politics. In the last fifty years the Church has weathered a number of crises from the infamous “reparations” General Convention in the 1960s through a major revision to the Book of Common Prayer and the ordination of women in the 1970s. Many conservatives and traditionalists have argued that these upheavals were responsible for the continuing, steep decline in membership in the last half century, but they have for the most part nonetheless themselves remained within the denomination. Until now.


US accused of using aid to sway votes in UN security council

Observer reported The US uses its aid budget to bribe those countries which have a vote in the United Nations security council, giving them 59 per cent more cash in years when they have a seat, according to research by economists.

It is US Taxpayer money. I am very happy to hear it is being spent to help achieve US interests.
Kofi Annan, the outgoing UN Secretary-General, expressed his frustration at the power the US wields over the UN in his parting speech last week.
Whine. Whine. Whine.
In a detailed analysis of 50 years of data, Harvard University's Ilyana Kuziemko and Eric Werker provide the clearest evidence yet that money is used by the council's richest member to grease the wheels of diplomacy.
Glad to hear it.
CQ blogged Easily one of the most amusing articles of this year appears in today's Observer regarding a pattern that analysts have discovered in our foreign-aid allocations. It seems that the US allocates more aid to nations when they serve on the UN Security Council for two-year terms than at other times, and the Observer isn't happy about that at all. Well, what a shock! America acts in its own interest, and we use our foreign aid to advance our foreign policy. It must be the first time that's ever happened in world history! Or, perhaps, I only imagined the calls from organizations like the Guardian/Observer to withhold aid and trade from places like apartheid South Africa, among others.

People can't have it both ways. The United Nations has emerged as the preffered method to tie down America in order to control our foreign-policy impulses, a strategy that had been successful of late. The vast majority of that body consists of autocracies and dictatorships whose goals are diametrically opposed to ours, but the US has played along with the UN in order to bolster our standing with allies more enamored with people like Robert Mugabe and Fidel Castro.


Jews far more likely to be victims of faith hatred than Muslims

Telegraph Jewish people are four times more likely to be attacked because of their religion than Muslims, according to figures compiled by the police.

The Torah does not tell Jews to attack non-Jews. The Quran specifically orders Muslims to attack Christians, Jews, and polytheists.
One in 400 Jews compared to one in 1,700 Muslims are likely to be victims of "faith hate" attacks every year. The figure is based on data collected over three months in police areas accounting for half the Muslim and Jewish populations of England and Wales. The crimes range from assault and verbal abuse to criminal damage at places of worship.... Rabbi Alex Chapper, 33, was the victim of a "faith-hate" crime in July last year. He was returning from a synagogue in Ilford, Essex, with three Jewish friends after conducting a service. All were wearing skull caps. Seven Asian teenagers followed them down the road shouting "Yehudi", which means Jew in Arabic. One of them shouted, "We are Pakistani, you are Jewish. We are going to kill you",
Ah, Islam. The Religion of Peace. NOT!!!!!
before punching Rabbi Chapper in the face and hitting one of his friends over the head with a bottle.


Time Magazine's Person of the Year

Oh what an honor. I am Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

Don't feel disappointed. You are also chosen. As My Way News reported The annual honor for 2006 went to each and every one of us, as Time cited the shift from institutions to individuals - citizens of the new digital democracy, as the magazine put it. The winners this year were anyone using or creating content on the World Wide Web.

I certainly do that.
"If you choose an individual, you have to justify how that person affected millions of people," said Richard Stengel, who took over as Time's managing editor earlier this year. "But if you choose millions of people, you don't have to justify it to anyone."
Well a lot of the discussion I am reading and hearing on TV seems to indicate people think you copped out with this choice.
The magazine did cite 26 "People Who Mattered," from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il to Pope Benedict XVI to the troika of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. And Stengel said if the magazine had decided to go with an individual, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the likely choice. "It just felt to me a little off selecting him," Stengel said.
I am happy you did not select that nutcase.
The 2006 "Person of the Year" package hits newsstands Monday. The cover shows a white keyboard with a mirror for a computer screen where buyers can see their reflection.

PJM blogged For decades it was “Man of the Year.” Once it was “Women of the Year.” Then gender bit the dust and it was “Person of the Year.” This morphed, as morph it must, into “Group of the Year.” But more and more it was a case of, choose what they would, a huge portion of the public would think, “Those bozos at Time, they’re crazy.” Result? This year Time has throw up its hands and made the “Person of the Year” [you] .. or me… or, well, just anybody. This must mark the ultimate in an orgy of diversity. Now that You know, You can cancel Your subscription to Time. What? You’re not a doctor, dentist, or podiatrist? In that case, You can forget about it.

Blue Crab blogged Well, obviously, anyone reading these words I wrote is an above average, intelligent and downright good-looking person. As is, modestly, your humble host. But seriously, there has been a huge change in the world due to the internet. The repercussions of that change have yet to be fully understood. I think Time, while dodging a tricky call that would have brought them some serious abuse (see the link), may be on to something whether they meant it to be so or not. The world is changing. One pixel at a time.

CQ blogged I'm not much of a fan of the Time Magazine Person of the Year fuss. They usually do a decent job of picking someone significant enough to qualify, but often miss the best choices. Of course, sometimes they completely misfire, such as in 1982 when they selected the computer, or in 1988 when they chose "Endangered Earth". Of late, they have tended to select choices that within a few years makes readers say, "Who?" Those examples came in 1996 (David Ho), 1997 (Andy Grove), 1999 (Jeffrey Bezos), and one complete suck-up choice in 1991 (Ted Turner). This year, they have made their second complete suck-up choice ... everyone:

JihadWatch blogged Robert Spencer chosen Time Magazine's Person of the Year! Uh, along with a few billion other people, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Leon Spinks, Anna Nicole Smith, Magdi Allam, Britney Spears, Anjum Chaudri, Margaret Thatcher, Jeffrey Imm, Tammy Bruce, Twostellas, Omar Bakri, Anthony Braxton, Brigitte Gabriel, Evan Parker, Ban Ki-moon, Yanni, Bernard Lewis, that friendly Pakistani guy who runs the grocery store around the corner from here, and, of course, you. This monumental bit of silliness on Time's part is just another illustration of the West's failure of will. We have no longer any standards, any distinctions, any excellence, because we are pathologically afraid of branding anyone a failure.

Don Surber blogged I am sure this will be controversial. A generation ago, Time picked the computer as its Man of the Year in 1982. Many people thought a better choice would have been Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan or Lech Walesa. Some will see this year's choice as a punt. And Stengel said if Time picked one person it likely would have been Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I like the choice. Technology can liberate people, which is why so many regimes are trying to keep the lid on the Internet as if it were Pandora's box. Most of the technology is used for crap: baseball fantasy leagues, crotch shots of celebrities and spam, spam, spam. But like Pandora's box, the Internet also unleashes upon the world hope.

Jim Lynch blogged I Didn’t Even Know I Was in the Running

AllahPundit blogged A fine choice, if perhaps a bit obvious.

BlogPI blogged Are we this good or is Time just that predictable? On October 9, the day Google announced its acquisition of YouTube, we wrote:
[I]t’s only been about 10 months since Time Magazine declined to choose an individual for its much-devalued Person of the Year award, so it only stands to reason they’re back in the hunt. It’s also been nearly a decade since Time named someone (or thing) from the tech industry — Jeff Bezos in 1999 — and more than 20 years since they named the PC its “Machine of the Year.” Also, it’s not an election year, so it won’t be the winner of the presidential election. It’s time for another gimmick!