Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dance in the Wind

LiveScience reported A series of rotating buildings based on Dynamic Architecture will be built around the world, starting in Dubai, U.A.E. The Dynamic Architecture concept was introduced by Florentine architect David Fisher. The rotating buildings get their electrical power from wind turbines that are placed between floors and which rotate freely with the wind. Additional power is provided from solar cells on the tops of the individual floors.
Wind turbines and solar cells are nice, but why waste the energy rotating entire floors of the building?
Each individual floor is able to rotate slowly, based on commands issued by the owners of condos or apartments on that floor.
What if there is more than one apartment on a floor. Who decides? And this might be nice if there was just one tall building, but when you get a bunch of them next to each other, what sort of view would you have.
I assume that the building owners can also take control, for coordinated movements of the floors. Note that the rotation of the floors is slow and uses power - the rotation of the floors does not produce power. The building is constructed around a central core; each floor is composed of individual pie-like sections that are pre-built and hoisted up the central core (see illustration). The builder claims that rotating buildings can be constructed by just ninety people on the construction site; compare this to the typical skyscraper construction site, which may have up to 2,000 workers at a time.
I would rather see the effort put into making it easy to fight fires in the building, faster elevators, etc. I wonder how stable the building would be in an earthqake.
AllahPundit blogged The buildings are wind-powered so they’re dirt cheap to run and the floors are all prefab so they’re dirt cheap to construct. Soon enough they’ll be mentioned in a Goracle speech, where he’ll note with a mix of sadness and alarm that our commitment to conservation trails that of the Middle East.

JadeNYU commented It also brings up an interesting questions, will they stop the spinning during prayer times so that people can be absolutely positive that they are facing Mecca? I realize that it’s a very slow spin. Still, if you are extremely devout and your prayers take a while, you can start out facing Mecca and end up facing Tel Aviv *gasp*.


Give Back

The Anchoress noted: Greg Kandra wrote after 9/11, I realized with a blinding clarity that the tidy life I’d established for myself could vanish at any moment. Then, one day, on the way back from picking up bagels, I passed a homeless guy on the subway, begging for money. I offered him a fresh bagel. He thanked me with so much enthusiasm, you’d have thought I’d given him a fresh cut of sirloin. When my train came, I looked over my shoulder to see where he’d gone. And there he was, at the end of the platform: he’d broken his bagel in half and was sharing it with another homeless man.

This withered old man who had next to nothing gave half of what he had to someone who had even less. Deep in the recesses of my Catholic memory, something stirred. “And they knew him in the breaking of the bread.” Something began to speak to me.

I realized: I’d been given much. What could I give back?

Greg Kandra decided to become a a Permanent Deacon for the Diocese of Brooklyn, serving at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church in Forest Hills, New York. (Deacons are married, and they have jobs outside the church. They are part of the Catholic clergy, and receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. They preside at weddings, baptisms and funerals, and can proclaim the gospel at mass and preach.)

You may not be able to become a Deacon, but what are you doing for others. I am disabled, and unable to leave the house without help, yet I, together with the help of a number of volunteers, refurbish computers to be donated to schools, churches, and non-profit agencies with a ministry I started called HelpingTulsa.


Man gets death for blasphemy after video trial

Daily Times reported An additional district and sessions judge on Wednesday sentenced a blasphemy accused, Younis Masih, to death after a video jail trial. The court also fined him Rs 100,000.
If he does not pay the fine are you going to kill him anyway?
... The lawyer of the accused said that Christians had arranged a spiritual gathering at Chungi Ammarsidhu in September 9, 2005, at which a neighbour, Abdul Aziz, also a complainant in the case, had objected and demanded that they perform Islamic rituals instead of Christian rites. The argument turned hot during which, the complainant alleged that the accused had used the derogatory remarks.
I would probably be upset too if someone interrupted my Christian spiratual gatering and demanded we perform Islamic rituals.


Wife urged man to die a martyr

BBC NEWS reported A young mother urged her husband to die as a terrorist martyr and said their baby son could follow in his footsteps, the Old Bailey has heard.... Aftab Jafferjee, prosecuting, said they were not merely radicalized Muslims but Mr Nassari was going to engage in "what he and others like him would call a jihad, but what the law describes as terrorism".

So it is ok to be a radicalized Muslim, but he was going to do something about it, which is terrorism.
"He held both the ideology and the technology with which that could be achieved," he said.
How much technology does it take?
... The letter, which was read to the jury, said:
"The moment has come that you and I have to separate for the sake of Allah. "I am so proud of my husband. I am happy that Allah has granted you the chance to be a martyr. "I am writing to let you know that you have my support and to remind you to be strong and do not let Satan influence you.
Don't change your mind, becaue there is someone else I want to marry.
.. to remind you that jihad is now compulsory and we are now obligated to protect Islam, to help our brothers and sisters to fight the kuffar [non-believer]. "I really wish I could go with you because I too feel obligated.
There are female suicide bombers/
I'd like to participate in any way I can. "Everything happens with the will of Allah. Maybe one day I can follow you. If I can't, I will send our son to you so he can follow his father's footsteps."
Robert Spencer blogged "Jihad is now compulsory" because in this view a Muslim land has been attacked, and so according to traditional Islamic law, jihad becomes fard ayn, or compulsory on every believer to aid in some way.

But prior to 9/11 the only Muslem land that had been attacked had been with the US coming to defend Muslims (Kosovo and Kuwait).


Religious Differences

FOXNews reported A man held for questioning in the murder of a father and daughter in California was upset with the family because they broke off his relationship with another daughter for religious reasons, court documents indicated.
Someone killed because of "religious differences". I wonder, could it bae that a rabid Baptist killed an innocent Methodist, or did a fanatical Lutheran kill an innocent Presbyterian.
Friends told the Orange County Register newspaper the victims were devoutly Hindu, and court papers said the religions in question were Hindu and Muslim.
Oh, the religions were Hindu and Muslim, and the Hindus died. I wonder if the Muslim did it? Or is that being Islamophobic?
Iftekhar Murtaza, 22, of Los Angeles was arrested on a fugitive warrant Saturday at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona, and was being held on Wednesday without bail. An extradition hearing was scheduled Thursday. The Register reported that Murtaza had a one-way ticket to Bangladesh.
A one-way ticket to Bangladesh, for the Muslim. Hummm. What should we think?
Michelle Malkin blogged On May 22, Jayprakash Dhanak and his 20-year-old daughter Karishma Dhanak were killed and their home was set on fire. Their beaten, charred bodies were found on a trail in a nearby park [clarification: they were found in an Irvine park 10 miles from the Anaheim Hills home]. Dhanak's wife, Leela, had been beaten and left for dead on a neighbor's lawn. She remains hospitalized. Another daughter who did not live and home and was not there on the day of the murders is in protective custody.

Gateway Pundit blogged Call me crazy... But with the information I am given in this politically correct account of a brutal murder in California, I am just slightly inclined to think that the killer might be a Muslim man. But... the AP doesn't want to help spread any Islamophobia so they speak in code to trick those who tend to torch mosques if they knew the truth. Let's see... Two religions involved- The slain family was Hindu. Maybe the young man with the ticket to Bangladesh is Muslim? Just saying?


Minnesota case fits pattern in U.S. attorneys flap

Los Angeles Times reported For more than 15 years, clean-cut, square-jawed Tom Heffelfinger was the embodiment of a tough Republican prosecutor. Named U.S. attorney for Minnesota in 1991, he won a series of high-profile white-collar crime and gun and explosives cases. By the time Heffelfinger resigned last year, his office had collected a string of awards and commendations from the Justice Department. So it came as a surprise — and something of a mystery — when he turned up on a list of U.S. attorneys who had been targeted for firing.
Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President. Maybe it "pleased the President" to have someone else in that position.
Part of the reason, government documents and other evidence suggest, is that he tried to protect voting rights for Native Americans. At a time when GOP activists wanted U.S. attorneys to concentrate on pursuing voter fraud cases, Heffelfinger's office was expressing deep concern about the effect of a state directive that could have the effect of discouraging Indians in Minnesota from casting ballots. Citing requirements in a new state election law, Republican Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer directed that tribal ID cards could not be used for voter identification by Native Americans living off reservations. Heffelfinger and his staff feared that the ruling could result in discrimination against Indian voters.
Attorney's should not refuse to prosecute crimes, particularly when their bosses tell them to. If there was something wrong with the state law, the judge can declare the law unconstitutional, or the legislature can change it.
Many do not have driver's licenses or forms of identification other than the tribes' photo IDs.
How do they get around? Does Minnesota have that good a public transportation system? Surely they are not driving without driving licenses, since we are talking about tribal members that live off the reservation, since they would be subject to state and federal law.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

GOP plots blue-slip attack

TheHill reported House conservatives are ready to stop the Senate immigration bill in its tracks with a potent procedural weapon should the contentious measure win passage in the upper chamber. The trump card conservatives may hold is a constitutional rule that revenue-related bills must originate in the House. The Senate immigration measure requires that illegal immigrants pay back taxes before becoming citizens, opening the door to a House protest, dubbed a “blue slip” for the color of its paper.
I dpn't like this bill, but this is not way to kill it. It would be too easy for them Dems to just use this as an excuse to drop the provision. I would rather replace it with a requirement that they show they have repaid ALL back taxes.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Outcry over TV kidney competition

BBC NEWS reported A Dutch TV station says it will go ahead with a programme in which a terminally ill woman selects one of three patients to receive her kidneys.
They have done just about everything else on reality TV.
Political parties have called for The Big Donor Show to be scrapped, but broadcaster BNN says it will highlight the country's shortage of organ donors.... "It's a crazy idea," said Joop Atsma, of the ruling Christian Democrat Party. "It can't be possible that, in the Netherlands, people vote about who's getting a kidney," he told the BBC.
And that is not the case here. As indicated below, Lisa will make her choice based on the contestants' history, profile and conversation with their family and friends
.... The 37-year-old donor, identified only as Lisa, will make her choice based on the contestants' history, profile and conversation with their family and friends. Viewers will also be able to send in their advice by text message during the 80-minute show. .... Professor Feehally also pointed out that, under normal circumstances, two people would benefit from a donor, each receiving one kidney. "The set up of the programme bears no relationship to the way decisions are made about transplants in the real world," he said. "Living donors can choose altruistically to give one of their kidneys - usually to a family member.
Can a living donor choose altruistically to give both of their kidneys to someone, knowing it will mean they will have to go on dialysis for the rest of their life. That might not be too bad, if the rest of their life is not expected to be that long.
"If organs become available after someone dies, health professionals with access to detailed information about those waiting for a transplant make objective decisions about who should receive those particular kidneys."
And therein lies the problem. The doctors want to make the decision, and not allow the donor to have a say, since she will be dead. Maybe she will be ticked off at that position, and decide that no one can get her organs. Would the doctors prefer that no one gets them, unless they are allowed to choose?


Is this April 1???

I am pretty sure April Fools Day was last month, but I began to wonder when I saw this report from WKYCRetired TV station owner and broadcast engineer, John Kanzius, wasn't looking for an answer to the energy crisis. He was looking for a cure for cancer. Four years ago, inspiration struck in the middle of the night. Kanzius decided to try using radio waves to kill the cancer cells. His wife Marianne heard the noise and found her husband inventing a radio frequency generator with her pie pans. "I got up immediately, and thought he had lost it." Here are the basics of John's idea: Radio-waves will heat certain metals. Tiny bits of certain metal are injected into a cancer patient. Those nano-particals are attracted to the abnormalities of the cancer cells and ignore the healthy cells. The patient is then exposed to radio waves and only the bad cells heat up and die. But John also came across yet another extrordinary breakthrough. His machine could actually make saltwater burn. John Kanzius discovered that his radio frequency generator could release the oxygen and hydrogen from saltwater and create an incredibly intense flame. "Just like that. If that was in a car cylinder you could see the amount of fire that would be in the cylinder."
How much energy does it take to generate your RF beam, and how much energy do you recover from the flame? If you expect that flame to power a car you must get enough energy out of it to keep the RF beam going and then have energy left over to power the car.
The APV Company Laboratory in Akron has checked out John's amazing invention. They were amazed.
But did they invest in his research, or offer to buy him out?
"That could be a steam engine, a steam turbine. That could be a car engine if you wanted it to be." Imagine the possibilities. Saltwater as the ultimate clean fuel. A happy byproduct of one man searching for the cure for cancer. Check it out. There is an actual video here


Hate vs Love

Any group that hates another group more than it loves its own children is not worthy of statehood, or even any consideration from the civilized world.
PMW reported Hamas TV continues active promotion of Shahada (martyrdom) directed at children. The new video clip, broadcast Sunday, follows the growth of a young Palestinian boy from a child into a Hamas Shahid – Martyr for Allah. The video shows the young child going to the mosque, praying and reading from the Quran, and then holding an automatic rifle together with the Quran as he envisions future participation in violent acts.

The child then matures into a Hamas fighter, is shown participating in battle against Israel, and eventually dying as a Shahid as the choir sings, “The pure blood will produce honor and glory.”
Pure blood. Now where have we heard that before? From a man with a funny moustache
This video directs Palestinian children to aspire to Shahada, reiterating a recurring music video theme of seven years that Shahada is expected of children. “Honor and glory” and "Shahada is sweet" are some of these messages specifically packaged for children on Hamas TV and Fatah controlled PA TV. PA schoolbooks likewise promote Shahada death among children. One example: "O heroes... Do not talk yourselves into flight. Your enemies seek life while you seek death.
Adults telling their own children they should seek death. Maybe we should protect the children by giving the adults what they wish on their own children.
These drops of blood that gush from your bodies will be transformed tomorrow into blazing red meteors
But you will not see it, because you will be dead, and in a very hot place besides.
that will fall down upon the heads of your enemies." [Reading and Texts Part II, Grade 8 (2002), p. 16]

Pamela Geller Oshry blogged This whole culture of death, murder, misogyny, honor killings, slavery, beheadings must be crushed. KILLED before it gets it hands on the nuclear weapons the terror master mothership is perfecting. That is the truth about Islam.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Terrorism focus

CNN reported Claims of terrorism represented less than 0.01 percent of charges filed in recent years in immigration courts by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a report issued Sunday by an independent research group. This comes despite the fact the Bush administration has repeatedly asserted that fighting terrorism is the central mission of DHS. The Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse said it analyzed millions of previously undisclosed records obtained from the immigration courts under the Freedom of Information Act. Of the 814,073 people charged by DHS in immigration courts during the past three years, 12 faced charges of terrorism, TRAC said. Those 12 cases represent 0.0015 percent of the total number of cases filed.
It is a lot harder to prove terrorism than that they are here illegally. Maybe they are just charging them with the easiest thing to prove. How many planes have been flown into buildings SINCE 9/11
"The DHS claims it is focused on terrorism. Well that's just not true," said David Burnham, a TRAC spokesman. "Either there's no terrorism, or they're terrible at catching them. Either way it's bad for all of us."

The TRAC analysis also found that DHS filed a minuscule number of what are called "national security" charges against people in the immigration courts. The report stated that 114, or 0.014 percent of the total of roughly 800,000 individuals charged were charged with national security violations.

TRAC reported more than 85 percent of the charges involved more common immigration violations such as not having a valid immigrant visa, overstaying a student visa or entering the United States without an inspection.
And how did the 19 terrorists on 9/11 get into the US? Maybe Homeland Security is focusing on exactly what they should be? Or would CNN prefer we let them fly a few more planes into buildings? For example, perhaps CNN Headquarters?


Teetering Musharraf Buoyed by U.S. Alliance

WaPo reported As confidence in Gen. Pervez Musharraf falls at home and abroad amid allegations he is moving away from democracy and becoming increasingly autocratic, the Pakistani president has had at least one unwavering ally: the United States. Pakistanis -- particularly opposition figures -- are watching for signs that that will change.
It is not likely that it will change if the only opposition he faces wants to make the country a complete Islamic state, i.e. let the people who are sending Taliban into Afganistan control Pakistan with its nuclear weapons. We would like to see a democratic Pakistan, but one that would remain democratic, not democratically elect a theoacracy that would then permanently take over.
Any indication of weakening support from the United States, they say, could spell the end of Musharraf's teetering administration. But policymakers and analysts here and in Washington insist that is unlikely because the United States lacks a Plan B in Pakistan and is uncomfortable with alternatives to a man who has been considered a vital ally since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "U.S. policy in Pakistan is to move toward free and fair elections. But in practice, that comes in well behind the anti-terrorism agenda," said Teresita C. Schaffer, a former U.S. ambassador and director of the South Asia program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.


Malaysian Christian Tests Islamic Law

WaPo reported Lina Joy has been disowned by her family, shunned by friends and forced into hiding because she renounced Islam and embraced Christianity in Muslim-majority Malaysia. Now, after a seven-year legal struggle, Malaysia's highest court will decide on Wednesday
Update: She lost. They decided against her. A three-judge panel ruled that only the country's Sharia Court could let Azlina Jailani, now known as Lina Joy, remove the word Islam from her identity card. Malaysia's constitution guarantees freedom of worship but says all ethnic Malays are Muslim. Under Sharia law, Muslims are not allowed to convert.... Malaysia's Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said the panel endorsed legal precedents giving Islamic Sharia courts jurisdiction over cases involving Muslims who want to convert. About 200 protesters shouted "Allah-o-Akbar" (God is great)
How great could Allah be if a person cannot change their mind about whether to stay in Islam? Maybe Allah is not God after all, but is Satan.
outside the court when the ruling was announced.
whether her constitutional right to choose her religion overrides an Islamic law that prohibits Malay Muslims from leaving Islam. Either way, the verdict will have profound implications in a country where Islam is increasingly conflicting with minority religions, challenging Malaysia's reputation as a moderate Muslim and multicultural nation that guarantees freedom of worship.
I pray that the decision favors Joy, but I fear it will not.
Joy's case began in 1998 when, after converting, she applied for a name change on her government identity card. The National Registration Department obliged but refused to drop Muslim from the religion category.
Apparently you can reject a Muslim name, but not the Muslim faith, even though Surah 2:256 says “There is no compulsion in religion"
Joy, who was born Azlina Jailani, appealed the decision to a civil court but was told she must take it to sharia courts, which handle Islamic issues. But Joy, 42, has argued that she should not be bound by Islamic law because she is a Christian.
Sounds reasonable to me. Democrats, would you not agree that if a Republican decided they wanted to become a Democrat (I don't know why they would, but let us pretend), should they not have a right to do that, or should it be up to the Republican party?
Subsequent appeals ruled that the sharia court should decide the case. The highest court, the Federal Court, will make the final decision on whether Muslims who renounce their faith must still answer to Islamic courts. About 60 percent of Malaysia's 25 million citizens are Muslim, and their civil, family, marriage and personal rights are decided by sharia courts. The minorities -- the ethnic Chinese, Indians and other smaller communities -- are governed by civil courts.
And if the Federal Court rules that one can leave Islam, that 60% Muslim majority may shrink.
But the constitution does not say who has the final word in cases such as Joy's, when Islam confronts Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism or other religions. If Joy loses her appeal and continues to insist she is a Christian, it could lead to charges of apostasy and a possible jail sentence. "Our country is at a crossroad," said Benjamin Dawson, Joy's attorney. "Are we evolving into an Islamic state or are we going to maintain the secular character of the constitution?"
I will be praying for you.
The founding fathers of Malaysia deliberately left the constitution vague, unwilling to upset any of the three ethnic groups dominant at the time of independence from Britain 50 years ago, when the goal was to build a peaceful, multiracial country.
Two of the three would not resort to violence if they were upset; I wish I could say the same about the third.
... Some Muslim groups say Joy is questioning the position of Islam by taking the case to civil courts. "It is not about one person, it is about challenging the Islamic system in Malaysia," said Muslim Youth Movement President Yusri Mohammad, who set up a coalition of 80 Islamic groups to oppose Joy's case. "By doing this openly, she is encouraging others to do the same. It may open the floodgates to other Muslims, because once it is a precedent, it becomes an option."
And that is what you fear. Islam must really be a terrible faith if the only way they can keep members is by forbidding them to lleave, and either putting them in jail, or killing them, if they do not stay.
Robert Spencer blogged Islam is a room with no exit door, and they're proud of it.

Hugh Fitzgerald blogged During the Cold War Russian dissidents would say to visiting foreigners: "Yes, the Soviet Union is indeed vast. You can go 3,000 miles up and down, and 6,000 miles across. But what happens when you come to the end of those 3,000 miles down? Or those 6,000 miles across? You still can't get out. You still are stuck."

That is Islam. You can't get out. You are not allowed the mental freedom to leave. If Islam did not promote the habit of mental submission, severe limits on artistic expression, hatred of, and war-making upon Infidels, the deliberate infliction of a state of permanent humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity on Infidels, if it did none of those awful things, but only -- only -- prevented those born into Islam from leaving Islam, that alone would entitle us to see it as a totalitarian and cruel belief-system, and to regard it with permanent wariness and worry.


Militants Widen Reach as Terror Seeps Out of Iraq

NYT reported When Muhammad al-Darsi got out of prison in Libya last year after serving time for militant activities, he had one goal: killing Americans in Iraq. A recruiter he found on the Internet arranged to meet him on a bridge in Damascus, Syria. But when he got there, Mr. Darsi, 24, said the recruiter told him he was not needed in Iraq. Instead, he was drafted into the war that is seeping out of Iraq.
In this particular case it appears he went from Libya to Syria to Jordan, and never was in Iraq, so the headline is a bit misleading. What it should say is no country is safe, and that makes it even more important that we not pull our forces out of Iraq and let it serve as a breeding ground for this evil.
A team of militants from Iraq had traveled to Jordan, where they were preparing attacks on Americans and Jews, Mr. Darsi said the recruiter told him. He asked Mr. Darsi to join them and blow himself up in a crowd of tourists at Queen Alia Airport in Amman.
Notice the recruiter is asking someone else to kill himself; the recruiter either must have his own batch of virgins here, or he realizes what he is telling the idiots that do blow themselves up is not true.
“I agreed,” Mr. Darsi said in a nine-page confession to Jordanian authorities after the plot was broken up. The Iraq war, which for years has drawn militants from around the world, is beginning to export fighters and the tactics they have honed in the insurgency to neighboring countries and beyond, according to American, European and Middle Eastern government officials and interviews with militant leaders in Lebanon, Jordan and London.
It is too hard fighting our military in Iraq; they are going after easier pickings in other countries. But if we leave Iraq, they will certainly come back and establish permanent bases there.
Some of the fighters appear to be leaving as part of the waves of Iraqi refugees crossing borders that government officials acknowledge they struggle to control. But others are dispatched from Iraq for specific missions. In the Jordanian airport plot, the authorities said they believed that the bomb maker flew from Baghdad to prepare the explosives for Mr. Darsi.
But the bomb maker probably did not originate in Iraq, and he certainly did not prepare a belt to use himself.
Estimating the number of fighters leaving Iraq is at least as difficult as it has been to count foreign militants joining the insurgency. But early signs of an exodus are clear, and officials in the United States and the Middle East say the potential for veterans of the insurgency to spread far beyond Iraq is significant.
And it would increase if we pull out of Iraq.
Maj. Gen. Achraf Rifi, general director of the Internal Security Forces in Lebanon, said in a recent interview that “if any country says it is safe from this, they are putting their heads in the sand.

Last week, the Lebanese Army found itself in a furious battle against a militant group, Fatah al Islam, whose ranks included as many as 50 veterans of the war in Iraq, according to General Rifi. More than 30 Lebanese soldiers were killed fighting the group at a refugee camp near Tripoli.
I blogged about that here
The army called for outside support. By Friday, the first of eight planeloads of military supplies had arrived from the United States, which called Fatah al Islam “a brutal group of violent extremists.”


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day

Day by Day cartoonist Chris Muir who was embedded in Mosul earlier this spring, publishes his Memorial Day cartoon--which you won't see in the NYTimes or WaPo:

For additional links on Memorial Day see Michelle Malkin and The Anchoress


Al Jazeera: A Force for Change

Jeb Koogler from The Moderate Voice blogged Take a look at this clip from Al Jazeera:

Despite all the criticism that it gets, only on Al Jazeera do you have such open, intense forums for debate where secular activists like Wafa Sultan can have their voices heard.
Al Jazeera certainly runs a lot of Anti-American stuff, but I have to congratulate them for broadcasting Wafa Sultan, speaking in Arabic, to an Arabic audience. And I am very happy that Wafa is brave enough to appear in that situation, and take the position she takes.
This video, for instance, is a segment of a program with Faisal al-Qasim, the host of the political debate show, The Opposite Direction. On his show, Qasim regularly puts forward a highly controversial question (”Why are Muslims attracted to terrorism?” or “Will Arab dictators ever step down?“) and then pits two people with opposing viewpoints against each other. One of the things that’s so amazing about The Opposite Direction is that it not only deals with extremely controversial issues, Qasim also consistently arranges the discussion to be between two equally knowledgeable and respected figures on both sides of the argument.
I wish our MSM would do that.
There is, of course, a lot of discussion about Al Jazeera as being an anti-American network that, among other things, portrays the Iraqi insurgency in a positive light. But, these accusations aside, Al Jazeera, as one of the only independent popular tv networks in the region, is (overall) truly an incredibly positive force for change in the region. Besides Qasim’s show, Al Jazeera hosts a range of different programs that regularly challenge Arab dictators, question social norms, and promote free speech. And it’s not just academics and Westerns who watch the network. The Opposite Direction, for example, is among the most popular tv shows in the entire Arab world.

Also, it’s interesting to note that Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the leader of Qatar who essentially founded the network a few years ago, has gone to great pains to ensure that it remains free and uncensored. This is quite incredible, given that al-Thani himself is an Arab autocrat (albeit a fairly progressive and reform-minded one.) As a result of his support, Al-Thani has found himself quite isolated by his neighbors, many of whom have become upset by the fact that he continues to allow Al Jazeera to broadcast within his country. Saudi Arabia, in particular, has tried multiple times to shut down the network with little success. And, let’s be honest, if Al Jazeera ticks off the Saudi royal family with its controversial debate shows, and its unflinching news coverage, it’s probably doing something right.


Fatah al-Islam Preparing for Final Showdown With Army

Naharnet Newsdesk Hooded Fatah al-Islam fighters have fanned through the residential districts of north Lebanon's Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in preparation for what appears to be a final showdown with the Lebanese army, residents told Naharnet Friday. Fatima Madhy, who deserted her apartment early in the day and re-settled with relatives south of Beirut, said the militants are "everywhere in the camp. They are occupying residential apartments and setting up sniping nests on rooftops."
Muslims taking over property of other Muslims so they can fight with the Lebanon Army (primary Muslims). This is the "Religion of Peace"?
Madhy, 42, said that after taking refuge in the basement with her husband, four children and neighbors, "we went up to our second floor apartment and found three hooded Fatah al-Islam gunmen entrenched in it." "We begged them to leave. We told them that if they open fire from our apartment the Lebanese Army would shell it," Added Madhy, her eyes brimming with tears. "They wouldn't listen. One of them who spoke Arabic with a North African accent told us that we better help them in the fight against the American (U.S) Army." "We argued that it is the Lebanese army that they are fighting, not the U.S. Army, but they didn't want to understand.
They are too smart to fight the U.S. Army; they know they would immediately be wiped out.
One of them said the Lebanese Government is controlled by the Americans which makes it an enemy government," she said.
An enemy of who? You are in Leabanon, fighting the Lebanese Government, and you don't even live there.
Hizbullah Leader Sayed Hassan Nasrallah has accused the majority government of Premier Fouad Saniora of being a U.S.-controlled dummy.
You would prefer an Iranian controlled government acting through their client state Syria???
Madhy's husband, Abdul Karim, a retired Palestinian guerrilla who fought with the mainstream Fatah faction in the 1980s, said Fatah al-Islam fighters are "not Palestinians." "They speak a variety of accents: Syrian, Yemeni, Egyptian, Saudi, Moroccan and Algerian. Some of them do not speak Arabic at all."
If they think the Lebanese government is really the US Government, I wounder if they would mind if the US Counter Attacks Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Saudia Arabia, Morocco, and Algeria? And what would those governments think about their citizens running that risk?
"They say they came here to fight the crusaders," Abdul Karim explained.
They about 900 to 1000 years too late, and in the wrong places.
Abdul Karim decided to get his family out of the camp "when I found out that those strangers are every where. They have spread across the whole camp."