Thursday, June 07, 2007

Climate Deal

NYT reported The United States agreed today to “seriously consider” a European proposal

We can seriously consider anything, as long as we don't have to destroy our economy to implement it.
to combat global warming by halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, breaking a trans-Atlantic deadlock at a meeting here of the world’s richest industrial nations. The compromise, hammered out in tough negotiations between the United States and Germany, also endorses President Bush’s recent proposal to gather together the world’s largest emitting countries, including China and India, to set a series of national goals for reducing emissions.
Unless those two nations are on board, doing anything to hurt our economy would be sheer stupidity.
The agreement does not include a mandatory 50 percent reduction in emissions, a key provision sought by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Mrs. Merkel, the host of the meeting, proclaimed it a “huge success.”
50% is insane, but it is nice that she has backed down.
After days of discord between Europe and the United States, which had threatened to veto any reference to concrete reductions, the deal amounted to a face-saving compromise for Mrs. Merkel. It also reaffirmed that climate negotiations should take place under the auspices of the United Nations
Of course. They have done such a wonderful job preventing Iran and North Korea from getting nuclear weapons, and in stopping the genocide in Darfur, why shouldn't we do it through the Usless Nations.
— something else sought by Mrs. Merkel.... With Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain planning to leave office later this month, and the new French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, an unknown quantity to Mr. Bush, Mrs. Merkel may be the president’s best friend in Europe, and he can ill afford to cause strain to the relationship.
It would be even worse if he did something to hurt our economy. US Carbon Emissions decreased on Bush's watch, without Kyoto and ten of 15 European Union signatories will miss the Kyoto targets.


Cry Baby reported Paris Hilton was released from a Los Angeles County jail early Thursday because of an unspecified medical problem and will fulfill the reminder of her sentence in home confinement, a sheriff's spokesman said. The 26-year-old hotel heiress was sent home shortly after 2 a.m. fitted with an electronic monitoring bracelet. She had spent five days
5 days??? It was just a little over three days. She reported just befor midnight, and they let her out in the very early morning.
at the Century Regional Detention Facility in suburban Los Angeles for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.... Whitmore said that under the new agreement, Hilton would be confined to her home for 40 days. "Because she has agreed to this through her attorney, her sentence is now back up to the 45 days. She has served already five days so that's 40 days," he explained.... "I am trying to be strong right now," she told reporters at the time. "I'm ready to face my sentence. Even though this is a really hard time, I have my family, my friends and my fans to support me, and that's really helpful."
But after a few days I realise jail is not a place I want to be. Boo Hoo. I want to go home.
.... Hilton was housed in the "special needs" unit of the 13-year-old jail, separate from most of its 2,200 inmates. The unit contains 12 two-person cells reserved for police officers, public officials, celebrities and other high-profile inmates. She didn't have a cellmate.

AvtressArchives blogged Richard A. Hutton, the attorney for Paris Hilton, had said that his client was doing well under the circumstances, but there were reports yesterday that Paris Hilton had been crying and cold in her cell.
I wonder if that would work for Scooter Libby.
Shaun Mullen blogged Paris Hilton Bawls Her Way Out of Jail.... The reason: Paris couldn’t sleep and had become a sniveling mess.
If you can't do the time, then don't do the crime! That applies to everyone except Robert Blake.
StateOfTheDay blogged Paris Hilton, whose only appreciable contribution to society is far less than those advocated by her supporters, has flown the coop. Apparently she was able to wrest herself free from the bonds of justice by doing what she does best: crying and whining until she gets her way.

Of course the official story is that her sentence was commuted to house arrest because of a "medical problem" which had developed during her five days spent behind bars. Most likely she had an allergic reaction to the reality that the world does not in fact revolve around her blond maned cranium like so many paparazzi satellites.

Now we must endure the endless stream of news cycles discussing her harrowing time in lockdown while we wait for the tell all book to hit the store shelves this fall. My money's on it being a pop-up book given how flat and two dimensional the participants are.

UPDATE: Hilton was brought back to the court room and was sent back to jail, screaming and crying, for the full 45 days. The only surprise is that the sheriff is not being held in contempt.


Beware the Bloggers' Bile

TIME reported A strange thing happened to me the day the House of Representatives voted to pass the Iraq-war-funding bill. Congresswoman Jane Harman of California called as the debate was taking place. "Look, I would love to have cast a vote against Bush on this," she told me.
She would love to vote against it, not because of the merits, but because she would like to hurt the President. If Dems take the White House in 2008 will they understand Republicans voting just to hurt the President?
"We need a new strategy, and I hope we can force one in September. But I flew into Baghdad [with 150 young soldiers recently]. To vote against this bill was to vote against giving them the equipment... they need. I couldn't do that."
She could not possibly vote against the troops getting the equipment they need. But she did.
I posted what Harman said on Swampland, the political blog at, along with my opinion that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had changed their positions and voted against the funding for the worst possible reason: presidential politics.
Everything they say or do is for political reasons. They want the power.
And then Harman changed her position. After we spoke, she voted against the funding. The next day, I was blasted by a number of left-wing bloggers: Klein screwed up! I had quoted Harman in the past tense—common usage for politicians who know their words will appear after a vote takes place. That was sloppy and... suspicious! Proof that you just can't trust the mainstream media. On Eschaton, a blog that specializes in media bashing, I was given the coveted "Wanker of the Day" award. Eventually, Harman got wind of this and called, unbidden, to apologize for misleading me, saying I had quoted her correctly but she had changed her mind to reflect the sentiments of her constituents.
She did not care about her constituents; she just did not want to make the nutroots mad at her.
I published her statement and still got hammered by bloggers and Swampland commenters for "stalking" Harman into an apology, for not checking her vote in the Congressional Record, for being a "water boy for the right wing" and many other riffs unfit to print.


Biologists Make Skin Cells Work Like Stem Cells

NYT reported In a surprising advance that could sidestep the ethical debates surrounding stem cell biology, researchers have come much closer to a major goal of regenerative medicine, the conversion of a patient’s cells into specialized tissues that might replace those lost to disease.
The NYT seems so happy that this discovery might sidestep the objections Pro Lifeers raise to the use of embryonic stem cells. They don't realize that we don't object to the cures; we object to the destruction of embryonic life to achieve the cures. We support adult stem cell research, cord blood work, and this sounds very promising.
The advance is an easy-to-use technique for reprogramming a skin cell of a mouse back to the embryonic state. Embryonic cells can be induced in the laboratory to develop into many of the body’s major tissues. If the technique can be adapted to human cells, researchers could use a patient’s skin cells to generate new heart, liver or kidney cells that might be transplantable and would not be rejected by the patient’s immune system. But scientists say they cannot predict when they can overcome the considerable problems in adapting the method to human cells.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A view from behind the veil

Megan Stack wrote in ILos Angeles Times As a woman in the male-dominated kingdom, Times reporter Megan Stack quietly fumed beneath her abaya. Even beyond its borders, her experience taints her perception of the sexes.... The rules are different here. The same U.S. government that heightened public outrage against the Taliban by decrying the mistreatment of Afghan women prizes the oil-slicked Saudi friendship and even offers wan praise for Saudi elections in which women are banned from voting.
I wish Saidia Arabia would treat its women better, just I wish they would stop funding extremist clerics in the west. And a lot of the people on the planes on 9/11 were Saudis but the act was not planned there, but in camps in Afganistan under the Taliban.
All U.S. fast-food franchises operating here, not just Starbucks, make women stand in separate lines. U.S.-owned hotels don't let women check in without a letter from a company vouching for her ability to pay; women checking into hotels alone have long been regarded as prostitutes.
And if we don't wake up Europe will like that soon.
As I roamed in and out of Saudi Arabia, the abaya, or Islamic robe, eventually became the symbol of those shifting rules. I always delayed until the last minute. When I felt the plane dip low over Riyadh, I'd reach furtively into my computer bag to fish out the black robe and scarf crumpled inside. I'd slip my arms into the sleeves without standing up. If I caught the eyes of any male passengers as my fingers fumbled with the snaps, I'd glare. Was I imagining the smug looks on their faces? The sleeves, the length of it, always felt foreign, at first. But it never took long to work its alchemy, to plant the insecurity. After a day or two, the notion of appearing without the robe felt shocking. Stripped of the layers of curve-smothering cloth, my ordinary clothes suddenly felt revealing, even garish. To me, the abaya implied that a woman's body is a distraction and an interruption, a thing that must be hidden from view lest it haul the society into vice and disarray.
Young Saudis must not have any self control.
The simple act of wearing the robe implanted that self-consciousness by osmosis. In the depths of the robe, my posture suffered. I'd draw myself in and bumble along like those adolescent girls who seem to think they can roll their breasts back into their bodies if they curve their spines far enough. That was why, it hit me one day, I always seemed to come back from Saudi Arabia with a backache. The kingdom made me slouch.CQ blogged One passage struck me in particular as revealing. Stack met a couple who had traveled abroad and educated themselves in the West. When they lived outside of Saudi Arabia, the wife was independent, outgoing, and able to take care of herself. When they moved to Saudi Arabia, she could not do any of those things -- and the husband realized that she had become a dependent, an added burden. The system traps everyone, but no one seems ready to change it, and certainly not the religious police that Stack narrowly avoided on one occasion.

This also points out the dangers of moral relativism and multiculturalism. Obviously Stack objects strongly to the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, and rightly so. However, a multiculturalist would probably criticize that objection as a result of Western projection -- especially since it was Stack who went to Saudi Arabia. She could find herself accused of American cultural imperialism, and in fact had that experience when talking with some of the women. Yet, Stack was expected to abide by that culture while in Saudi Arabia, while some Muslims who emigrate to the West demand that we respect that culture when they arrive here, arguing for multiculturalism that doesn't exist in their homelands (and that's not limited to Muslims, either).

AllahPundit blogged Ayaan Hirsi Ali always says that women’s liberation is the key to reversing Islamic extremism. Intuitively that makes sense, but this is the second MEMRI clip in a week touching on “women’s issues” where the most progressive voice in the room has been a male one. Let’s hope that’s only because most Arab women are wary of speaking out against their oppressors, not because they’ve bought the line that this is for their own good. Because if it’s the latter, the long war is going to be even longer than we thought.


Support for Senate Immigration Bill Falls

Rasmussen reported Public support for the Senate immigration reform bill has slipped a bit over the past week. A Rasmussen Reports poll conducted Monday and Tuesday night found that just 23% of voters now support the bill while 50% are opposed.
Support is falling fast. It was 49% opposed when the title was written, and opposition had increased to 50% by the second sentence.
Last week, 26% supported the Senate bill while 48% were opposed.


Arabs blame problems on 1967 war defeat

Yahoo! News reported Forty years after Israel's stunning victory over three Arab armies, the defeat still lingers in the Arab world — so much so, some blame it for everything from a lack of democracy in the region to the rise of religious extremism.
They really should blame it on the stupidity of thinking an 8th century mindset could defeat 20th century technology.
On June 5, 1967, Israeli warplanes destroyed 400 aircraft belonging to Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq — most of them sitting on airport tarmacs. Egypt lost the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip, Syria gave up the Golan Heights, and Jordan relinquished the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Trying to minimize the defeat, Arabs have long called the Six Day War the "naksa," or "setback," but its impact remains a deep wound.
And they would like to wound themselves again. I wonder if this time Israel will just end up with all the land originally planned for them in the Balfour Declaration (current Israel, the "Palestinian Terrorities" and Trans Jordan (modern day Jordan), or whether they will get even more land. I
Egyptian columnist Wael Abdel Fattah wrote in the independent weekly Al-Fagr newspaper that Arabs blame the defeat for "everything" — from "price hikes, dictatorship, religious extremism, sectarian strife, even sexual impotence."
The real problem is trying to live with 8th century customs in the 21st century.
"A military defeat, that could have been limited, has been transformed to an overall defeat, represented by regimes ... and societies that fear change," Syrian writer Bakr Sedqi said in the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat. Jordanian columnist Faisal al Ref'ou said the defeat has fueled a cycle of violence all over the region.

Karol blogged If the Arab world, or, more accurately, the entire Muslim world, ever wants to improve its lot, letting go of the defeat of 40 years ago would be a good start. But, of course, as that's never going to happen, Israel should remember that the road to peace with Egypt was waged through war. Israel has to regain its confidence, and needs to ignore the rest of the world when dealing with its terrorism problem. I don't imagine that the Israel of 40 years ago would have ever responded to the kidnapping of its soldiers with a small incursion into Lebanon while taking a kid glove approach until the international community made it stop. The Israel of today should take some lessons from the Israel of 40 years ago.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

One-hour marriages reported The Shia Muslim tradition of temporary marriage, or sigheh, allows a man and a woman in Iran to marry for a set period of time, ranging from an hour to 99 years. However, the practice is regarded as illicit sex by the majority Sunni community.
Gee, they do something sane.
... Mostafa Pourmohammadi, a cleric, said: "We have to find a solution to meet the sexual desire of the youth who have no possibility of marriage. Temporary marriage is God's rule. We must encourage that.".
What about castration for the youth who have no possibility of marriage?
... Sigheh is seen as a way of channelling young people's sexual urges under Iran's strict sexual segregation. "I have no money to set up a matrimonial life. I don't want prostitutes. What should I do with my sexual needs?" asked Reza Sarabi, 23, a taxi driver
Have you considered masturbation?
.... Once the contract is over, temporary wives cannot enter another relationship for three months and ten days - to determine if there is a child and to establish its paternity. There is no such restriction on men.
What a shocker. Islam treats men better than women. Whoda thunk it.
Pamela Geller Oshry blogged Sounds like something the Hollyweird crowd could dig their ........ teeth into. No community property though.... Who certified Islam as a religion? These are lunatics.


Monday, June 04, 2007

A prom of their own reported More than 100 Muslim teen girls let their hair down Saturday night. Both literally and figuratively. Muslim girls who wear the headscarf in public slid them off as they walked into the first Minnesota Muslim prom exclusively for girls and women. With no men there, they didn't have to cover up and were free to let loose and dance.
Unless they are lesbians (and I thought Islam was hard on homosexuals), how is that fun?
"I'd hate to miss this," said Sabrina Wazwaz, 15, a freshman who goes to Twin Cities Academy in St. Paul. "I think it's really nice how they thought of the Muslim girls who can't go to the American prom, so they made this for us." The event was called PROM, an acronym which stands for Party foR Only Muslimahs, or Muslim girls, and was held in accordance with Islamic culture and values. Many Muslim girls don't go to their high school prom for cultural reasons: They aren't allowed to dance with the opposite sex, and prom dresses can be too revealing for some Muslim girls to wear in public. As an alternative, the event, held at the University of Minnesota's Coffman Memorial Union, allowed participants to dance, wear what they wanted and not feel like they missed out on a staple of the high school experience.... "Some people don't understand Islam," she said. "They just think, 'Oh, her parents are strict, so she can't do anything,' but it's really the opposite. We can do stuff, but it's just the non-Islamic stuff that we can't do."
So they can behead people, hate Jews, blow themselves up, and many other "fun" things.
.... "What we have in common with every other girl is that we just want to feel pretty, be girly and have fun," she said. "We want an excuse to dress like a princess."
Do Muslim princesses dress like that in public?