Friday, December 31, 2004

Tsunami: Guardian reporting that aid relief is not reaching where it needs to go because of lack of planning. "Aid chiefs admitted yesterday that the effort to get relief into the areas most devastated by the tsunami was being hampered by lack of coordination. Food, water, medicine and other vital supplies were reaching the region but were not always getting to the neediest of victims, because of ruined infrastructure, bottlenecks at airports and on roads, and organisational problems. Most frustratingly, aid was reaching some areas which already had enough, and in some places food and supplies were being left to rot at the roadside. " It's all well and good having a big aid waving contest about who is giving the most money and most "caring." But no planning means things are going to waste. That's why I was not impressed by the lefty sites crying and whining that President Bush is not showing he "cares" about the victims. from CNN: "The director of the U.S. Agency for International Development told CNN on Friday that the $35 million pledge was only the first step in U.S. aid to the countries that were devastated by Sunday's earthquake and tsunamis."The money was committed on Sunday when the emergency took place," Andrew Natsios told CNN's "American Morning." "It's action on the ground that is needed. We will get more than enough money from the president and I'm sure Congress later on when we need it." The other nonsense was this could have been a nice PR move to show the majority of Muslims in the region he cares, that is the most callous craven cowardly reasoning I have read so far. Most people are donating because they are helping out victims of a disaster, not because they are thinking of PR moves.

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Tsunami: The one thing I do not want to see is any "Tsunami Aid" concerts, just take the money and donate to the various relief organizations. I have always disliked these sort of nonsense, its nothing more than an ego fest for pop stars to feel good about themselves.

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Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tsunami: After reading the various angles the New York Times took on the disaster to bash President Bush and Americans in general here, here and this editorial . It all seems rushed and not at all subtle as the usual bash Bush pieces, especially the editorial that reads like a moonbat diatribe. Wizbang points out that these sentiments were all over the leftist Daily Kos site from its commentators. I can understand being the holidays, the first stringers may not be there, so the backups are doing the work, but getting your angles/ideas from Daily "screw'em" Kos seems desperate and amateur.

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Tsunami: Natural disasters always being out the whiny leftist attitude of everyone drop their capitialist ways and give give give! Sally Jenkins wants the BCS teams to give up their winnings and send it to Phuket. Robert Rivkin wants to have a "Tsunami surtax", Senator Leahy wants to move money from rebuilding Iraq to go to Tsunami relief. Then you have whiners like Clare Short who sees an evil thing when President Bush makes a coalition of countries to coordinate relief efforts that do not involve the United Nations. “I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up,” she said.“Only really the UN can do that job,” she told BBC Radio Four’s PM programme.“It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers.” The fact the UN in its relief efforts are spotty(see Darfur) and corrupt(See Oil for Food) you will forgive me for not taking Short seriously at any level.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami: Nice to see that having dead bodies lying about doesn't stop some tourists from having a good time. "Stefan Johansson, a 41-year-old air force officer from Sweden, is hoping that tonight is the night. He is not concerned about aftershocks hitting the beach half a mile from here, or about the haphazard rescue operation finally under way in southern Thailand. Nor is he worried by the deaths of several hundred compatriots. Mr Johansson is anxious that the bar girl he has his eye on is going to keep holding out on him. "I'm having a good holiday," he said. "I went for a walk along the sand this morning, did a bit of swimming. Now I'm off drinking, and then we'll see." Mr Johansson is not alone. Four days after the tidal wave hit, normal life has returned to much of Phuket and surrounding resorts such as Patong. The "girlie" bars are reopening, the bazaars selling rip-off Rolex watches are busy, the tourists are streaming off flights and on to the beach. Here Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's request for the country to wear black and forego New Year festivities seems likely to fall on deaf ears. "I heard what was going on with the wave and so on, and I just thought it was a bit of an exaggeration," said Peter Anstiss, 48, from Sydney, as he shared a beer with his brother in a bar off Patong beach's main drag. "I didn't think too much about it." "....One new arrival at the Diamond Cliff, who flew in with her family from Moscow on Tuesday, relaxed on a lounger beside the pool. "We are here on holiday, not to be sad," she said. "I know bad things have happened, but it's nothing to do with us." With many beaches still covered in debris, and corpses still being brought in by the tide, most tourists are staying in their hotels. And though many of those in Phuket when the tidal wave struck have left, others are seeing out the rest of their holiday. "

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Blogs: Nick Coleman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, also known as the Minneapolis Hammer and Sickle(also the Minneapolis Red Star), throws a rambling hissy fit at the guys who run the Powerline blog for being conservatives and alive. No one has quite figured out how to fisk his article because it doesn't make much sense. It seems more and more "mainstream" journalists are getting agitated that their influence is waning and worse, they are being questioned and corrected(see Rathergate). In the case of Coleman, I guess being picked on and made fun for his columns of knowledge he throws out there on a weekly basis is getting to him. Tsunami: The Death Toll is now over 100,000 and rising rapidly. President Bush says a coalition of countries composed of the United States, India, Australia and Japan will be coordinating relief aid and rebuilding efforts.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

UN: At least Paul Volcker is upfront that the UN investigation into the oil for food programs is going to be a whitewash. "Volcker refused to speculate on why the council didn't stop the smuggling but indicated the issue would likely be addressed in his reports. An initial report is expected in January and a final report in the summer, he said. Volcker stressed his inquiry is focused on "what went wrong or right inside the UN" in managing the oil-for-food program. The investigation isn't just focusing on whether UN officials may be guilty of corruption, he said but on other issues: did UN officials follow proper procedures? Was there "bad administration rather than corrupt administration?" What were the directions from the Security Council, and what was its responsibility? But Volcker said the investigation can't avoid the question of smuggling, including why the Security Council didn't take action to stop it and the responsibility of the five permanent veto-wielding members - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China. He said co-operation with his investigators has generally been good, though it varies by person and country, especially when it comes to financial matters. Volcker said his investigators have interviewed Saddam's associates and plan to interview more - but they have not asked to interview Saddam, though "maybe we should."

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Tsunami: David and Joanne Ali of Australia show what disgusting, putrid, self centered garbage human beings can be in horrific circumstances. They whined that the Australian government didn't get them out of the resort island of Phuket fast enough. "The newlyweds, who arrived home today, said other countries ordered immediate extra flights, with officials actively searching for their nationals. "(Other Australians) were all a bit upset too to see that (other) countries cared enough to send over extra planes just to get them out (and) buses were coming around," Mr Ali said. "There was nothing from Australia. We were just left standing there." Ms Ali said: "We got this SMS saying (Foreign Minister) Alexander Downer's sending you water and blankets, and we all just (said) 'Oh great, that's going to do a lot for us. We just want to get out of here'." Mr Ali said the reaction should have been "much more, much faster". "I just got the feeling if it wasn't something to do with terrorism and if (Prime Minister) John Howard couldn't get political mileage out of it, then why bother." and even worse for these delicate flowers. "We just had to go with the flow with whatever they could provide us with there. "If any of those officials from the Government had been there and seen those bodies floating passed you and people getting smashed by cars, sheets of glass cutting people in half ..." People are searching for relatives, burying their dead, utter chaos and destruction. This poor 2 year old kid is lying in a hospital no one knows who he is. This one year old lost his mom and these two trogs whine because it took them 48 hours to leave on their scheduled flight, Australian officials are bad people. Then they throw in a cheap political shot at Prime Minister John Howard. What a wonderful pair. BTW, how come out of all the complaints, these are the only two on record Australian news sources can find to bitch so far?

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Monday, December 27, 2004

Airlines: U.S Airways after this weekend where flights cancelled, luggage lost and employees being stupid and going on an informal strike needs to be shut down, torn apart and forced to start over. I have no sympathy for the employees who stayed home because you are helping managment greatly in making it easier to take drastic measures.

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NPR: Radio and Records on Thursday reported that NPR hired Ed Gordan to replace Tavis Smiley who left NPR because he claimed the public radio station was getting in his way on how his show should be. "The most difficult thing that I have had to do," he told me, "is fight a culture at NPR, a culture that is antithetical to the best interests of people of color." The African American Public Radio Consortium, which helped recruit Smiley four years ago, has meanwhile urged Smiley's listeners to stay with NPR. Perhaps they will, as NPR embarks on a search for a new permanent host to replace Smiley.But Smiley is a personality with particular cachet among many blacks. He has a fan base that has followed him from his days on Black Entertainment Television to "The Tom Joyner Morning Show" on black commercial radio." "....In addition, NPR asked Smiley to work this particular miracle and then proceeded to question the way he did it. "The struggle that I am engaged in, and that my staff is engaged in, is to get this network to understand that we live in the most multicultural, multiracial and multiethnic America ever, and that we know how to do this show," he told me.During Smiley's time at NPR, the network and its stations reportedly questioned his openness with his liberal political views, his irreverent style and his willingness to ask challenging questions, as well as to allow a few arguments to break out on his show." I have listened to Smiley on Tom Joyner's show. He comes off as a loudmouth saying simplistic things that end up in the "liberal gooood, everything else bad" mantra with the occasional black empowerment talk that comes off like a bad Jesse Jackson shakedown impression. He's also a defender of Jean Aristide at a time when everyone realized the guy had turn into a mini version of Papa Doc over the last 5+ years. That is enough to question his judgement. But I'm wondering if NPR was just getting tired of his act and realizing that his ego was writing checks his talent couldn't cash.

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Nytimes: Powerline tackles and drops for a loss a pretty insipid Thomas Friedman's column that takes a backhanded slap at the Bush Admin and the supposed screwed country America is where defense gets the biggest money and social programs don't get enough. Friedman's hate of the President Bush over the last couple of years has turned him into a poor man's version of Robert Fisk and John Pilger combined. All that is missing is the whining western guilt of how bad we are to the rest of the world and America sucks overtones. UK: The Tories introduced a bill to make sure that homeowners have better protection from being prosecuted if they have to defend themselves against criminals in their homes. The fact they have to push a bill to do so is pathetic in this day and age.

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Sunday, December 26, 2004

UK: Salaman Rushdie condemns the way the UK government has reacted to the forced closing of the play "Behzti" by Sikhs earlier this week, especially by the MP Mactaggart, whose voting area has a large Sikh population. " Ms Mactaggart, whose constituency of Slough has a large Sikh population, refused to condemn the mob and told Radio Four's Today programme on Tuesday that the play would be helped by the closure. "I think that when people are moved by theatre to protest, in a way that is a sign of the free speech which is so much part of the British tradition. I think that it is a great thing that people care enough about a performance to protest," she said. Mr Rushdie said that Ms Mactaggart had failed to grasp the arguments involved, and should be defending the rights of artists to express themselves. "If being upset is the only requirement to banning something, there will be nothing on in the theatres," he warned. "Should we ban Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice for being anti-Semitic? Where do you stop?" Mr Rushdie, who was born in India, said that the Sikh protestors had adopted the violent tactics used by Hindu nationalists on the sub-Continent. "This seems to be a trend that has come from India, where extremists have attacked a number of artistic and cultural events, with very little control. Works by some of India's most revered artists have been attacked by Shiv Sena [an extremist Hindu grouping], and now the Sikh community here are travelling down a similar path," he said. " UK: UK police will no longer use the term black or Asian to describe blacks and Asians, they will now be known as "visible minority ethnics." Also, Irish and Greeks are to be known as "invisible." A case of political correctness in Britain gone mad or someone who hates P.C. terms deciding to just go to the extreme to tick people off like me!

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Kyoto: Philadelphia Inquirer editorial on America's stance about the Kyoto treaty goes with the hope that most people who actually read it only have the Inquirer as their news source. "A storm of recent climate news must have passed the White House by - or maybe it knocked out the power in key offices. That might explain why administration representatives acted like bystanders they did at the United Nations convention on global climate change this month in Buenos Aires. "Many of delegates to this month's Buenos Aires convention disagreed. Representatives of about 200 countries were there to work out details of the Kyoto Treaty, which requires 30 industrialized nations to reduce their emissions by 2012. The treaty has been ratified by 130 countries, but not the United States. It takes effect Feb. 16. "....The Buenos Aires convention had hoped to look beyond Kyoto and 2012, but U.S. delegates declined. They stood on the sidelines quibbling over the very term climate change (preferring climate variability). They questioned scientific findings. They bragged about technologies that are decades from market. In other words, the world's largest polluter continues to stall on an issue which most of the world views as urgent."' Problem is all of this is selective reporting as Reuters reported, many countries have problem with the Kyoto treaty especially beyond 2012. " BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Reuters) - U.N. talks on climate change have ended with few steps forward after the United States, oil producers and developing giants slammed the brakes on the European Union's drive for deeper emissions cuts to stop globalwarming. While the United States remained intransigent on future talks, the oil-producing nations and Saudi Arabia in particular also thwarted the EU agenda. "It would be a big mistake to put this all down to the United States. Not for the first time, the oil-producing countries play a far biggerrole than anyone ever gives them credit for," said British Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett. "

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Saturday, December 25, 2004

Abortion : Via Justoneminte, Democrats are struggling to figure out how to make abortion a non-issue. Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly is way off base with this reasoning. "I'm usually in favor of more inclusive language, greater sensitivity, etc. etc. But obsessing about the emotional turmoil of getting an abortion just doesn't work. Since we fundamentally believe that there's nothing wrong with pre-viability abortion, shouldn't our job instead be to persuade women that they shouldn't feel emotionally whipsawed if they choose to get an abortion? It's awfully hard to take both sides. " If this was the strategy from the Democrats to make being emotional about abortion a bad thing, all hell would break loose for them. Abortion is not something that cannot be made emotionless like having your nails done, something that the mainstream of the party(even Howard Dean) realize is not the way to go. "....All these issues that put us into the extreme and not the mainstream really hurt us with the heartland of the country," said Donna Brazile, a Democratic Party leader who managed Al Gore's campaign in 2000. "Even I have trouble explaining to my family that we are not about killing babies." "....We ought not turn our back on pro-life people, even though the vast majority of people in this party are pro-choice," Dr. Dean said. "I don't have any objection to someone who is pro-life, if they really dedicated to the welfare of children." "If somebody is willing to stick with us who is pro-life, that means they are the right kind of pro-life person," said Dr. Dean, the former governor of Vermont. "What I don't want to do is to have a national message that makes it impossible for you to be a conservative, or to be a progressive who can't win." ....And Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said Republicans had "been successful at painting the view of the pro-choice movement as abortion on demand - and nothing can be farther from the truth." But, this is what they have to deal with, ""I think it's a big mistake for Democrats to think they can win politically by moving away from a pro-choice stand," said Nancy Keenan, president of Naral Pro-Choice America. "It's time for Democrats to stop playing the defensive role on this issue and of doing a better job of showing how extreme the other side really is." Gloria Feldt, the president of Planned Parenthood, said Democrats "need to stop allowing the extreme, anti-choice right wing of the Republican Party to paint them into a corner where all they talk about is abortion. We have the high ground here if we focus our policy and our discussion on the prevention of unintended pregnancies." There is the make it emotionless tact that will not work and the disconnect from the mainstream by calling all those who are talking about abortion the extreme right wing. Bill Clinton's "safe but rare" bit was enough in some cases make the issue moot if the voters felt the candidate wasn't for abortion on demand, but at this point with people like Feldt and Keenan, not even that would be effective.

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Friday, December 24, 2004

Soda: The first upscale gangsta soda, Chronic 187 with the motto "Murder your thirst, fool!" The official website is here for more hilarity or horror depending on your mood and/or sanity. The site has annoying theme song playing, so watch your volume.

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Mexico: Mexico's foreign relations secretary bashes the state of Arizona for the new law that stops benefits from going to illegal aliens as racist and against their rights. "The Foreign Relations Secretariat denounced Thursday a U.S. federal court decision allowing Arizona to implement Proposition 200, a ballot initiative approved in November that bans undocumented immigrants from receiving some public benefits. The ministry issued a statement expressing "its utmost concern because the involvement of state and local authorities in immigration matters leads to violations of our compatriots' rights." Excuse the voters of Arizona for not wanting their taxes going to pay for services used by illegal aliens, the nerve of these people.

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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Arlen Specter: President Bush is going to renominate the candidates for federal judges that were stalled in hearings. Much dismay on the democrats side and Specter who barely survived keeping his chairman of the Judiciary Committee spot seems to think he can whine off about it. "But the most notable reaction came from Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, a Republican who is expected to become the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Mr. Specter, who was re-elected in November and seems to have survived a challenge from some conservative Republicans who had opposed his ascension to the chairmanship, suggested that he was also troubled by Mr. Bush's announcement. "....It has been my hope that we might be able to approach this whole issue with some cooler perspective," he said in an interview. "I would have preferred to have some time in the 109th Congress to improve the climate to avoid judicial gridlock and future filibusters." Mr. Specter, who said he had been talking to both Republicans and Democrats in order to improve the chances for compromise, said it might now be "difficult to change the atmosphere with the submission of these names." But he said the president was, in any case, entitled to do as he had done and that as chairman he would "play the cards that are dealt," in trying to get Mr. Bush's nominees confirmed." I think it's getting closer to the point where someone needs to be made an example.

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Canada : This is either an example of nothing of importance going on in Canada or Canadians are just way too uptight. "HALIFAX - The Supreme Court of Canada is being asked to hear arguments on whether the word "kemosabe" is racist to native people. The request comes from the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, which is dealing with a grievance dating back to 1999. Dorothy Kateri Moore, a Mi'kmaq woman working at a sports store in Sydney, N.S., had complained that her boss, Trevor Miller, referred to her and other workers as "kemosabe" – the term used by the 1950s TV character Tonto, the Lone Ranger's sidekick, to describe the masked cowboy. "....The board of inquiry spent one day looking at old Lone Ranger shows, eventually concluding that the term was never used in a derogatory way and that Tonto and the Lone Ranger treated each other with respect. The Supreme Court has yet to decide if it will hear the appeal. " Just to save the Supreme Court time, I have found the true meaning of Kemosabe.

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UN: The ongoing sex scandal in Congo by United Nations peacekeeping forces is getting bigger and now there are sex tapes with underage girls on sale made by a French National. "The expert was a Frenchman who worked at Goma airport as part of the UN’s $700 million-a-year effort to rebuild the war-shattered country. When police raided his home they discovered that he had turned his bedroom into a studio for videotaping and photographing sex sessions with young girls. The bed was surrounded by large mirrors on three sides, according to a senior Congolese police officer. On the fourth side was a camera that he could operate from the bed with a remote control. When the police arrived the man was allegedly about to rape a 12-year-old girl sent to him in a sting operation. Three home-made porn videos and more than 50 photographs were found. "

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Sudan: State Minister at the Interior Ministry, Mohamed Ahmed Haroun accuses Israel and Germany of arming the rebels and hosting the leaders respectively. UN: Kofi is not backing his son in saying that its a Republican witch hunt and also admits that the UN idiotic stance to deal with Darfur and Sudan is not working. "KOFI Annan yesterday called on the United Nations Security Council to reassess urgently its efforts to end the conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region, saying the current approach is not working. The call came a day after the British charity group Save the Children announced it was pulling out of the ravaged region after four of its workers were killed and two others raped in Darfur in the space of two months. Both Mr Annan, the UN secretary general, and the Security Council have expressed deep concern at the deteriorating security situation in the region, where rebels and government-backed forces have repeatedly broken pledges to stop fighting. Only 900 troops of a 4,000-strong African Union force have actually been deployed. " France: The release of the two French journalists has everyone asking questions, the biggest being was a ransom paid? "The Islamic Army of Iraq, the enigmatic organisation that kidnapped the journalists and their Syrian driver-fixer, Mr Joundi, said that the release was a tribute to France's "support for the Iraqi people and the Palestinian cause". If so, why did it take almost four months for the kidnappers to let them go? The newspaper Le Monde said yesterday that a "senior political figure" had indicated money exchanged hands for the release of the journalists. Several opposition politicians also hinted they believed there had been a deal with the kidnappers which was partly financial. That may have taken the form of a "deniable" payment - money handed over by an Arab government or money handed to an intermediary for fixing access to the kidnappers. Further details may, or may not, emerge in the next few days. " Yeah, they paid a ransom, maybe not directly, but you don't call in that many "favors" and suck up that much without paying a price. UK: A second theatre has cancelled putting on play that Sikhs have said is offensive to them after getting death threats and the play writer who is now in hiding asking him not to do it. Daily Telegraph points out that intolerance and violence is becoming the norm instead of an exception. Instead of government MPs denouncing it, they turning into cowards. "The Government, already running scared of the "Muslim vote", took this none-too-subtle hint from the Sikhs. Yesterday the Home Office minister for race equality, Fiona Mactaggart, refused to condemn the intimidation of the Birmingham Rep, insisting that Sikh protesters were merely exercising their right to freedom of speech "which is so much part of the British tradition… the free speech of the protesters is as important as the free speech of the artist". Later Ms Mactaggart condemned the violence, though only in the most mealy-mouthed manner. The arts minister, Estelle Morris, also said that she "fully supported" the decision to cancel, adding that "it is a cornerstone of our democracy that freedom of speech and artistic expression - within the law - should be defended at all times". Miss Morris's sophistry is not excused by the fact that she is a local MP. Both ministers are pandering to intolerance. The subject-matter of the play is intended to shock Sikhs; indeed, most others, too, would find it offensive. But its merits are irrelevant to the principle that is at stake. In Britain, the land that once brought the rule of law to the world, we have a minister responsible for law and order apparently reluctant to label mob rule as such, and a minister for the arts who justifies censorship. We have authorities so in awe of ethnic "community leaders" that they capitulate to violence, rather than protect the right of citizens of all races and faiths to go about their lawful business. And we have a government that seeks to criminalise "incitement to religious hatred", thereby denying us the right to discuss our beliefs without fear of prosecution. Instead of shoring up the legal ramparts of our hard-won liberties against a lethal new intolerance, the Establishment hoists the white flag. " Embrassing behavior by the Sikhs and the MPs, if you can't, there is no justification for it. You can't on one hand say you support freedom of expression and artistic expression and then meekly add "within the law". Who is going to make the decision? This is another example of rolling over when someone in authority in Britain should be screaming from the top of Big Ben, this sort of behavior is not tolerated in Western Civilization. Reuters with more. "...Bhatti was defiant in the face of a backlash by her own Sikh community, saying after the play was canceled that "perhaps those who are affronted by the menace of dialogue and discussion need to be offended." Sam Marlowe, theater critic for the Times newspaper described the closure as "an artistic tragedy." Some British media have drawn parallels between the violent Sikh protests in Birmingham and the murder last month of maverick Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who outraged Muslims with a film accusing Islam of promoting violence against women. Van Gogh's murder has further fueled hostilities toward immigrants in the Netherlands and sparked debate about freedom of speech. "That is not a path that Britain should follow," the Independent broadsheet wrote in an editorial. "All sections of society must subscribe to the principle of toleration ... We must not tolerate censorship, indirect or otherwise." "'

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Canada: More outrage about the Boyd report saying it's okay to allow Sharia law in Canada from Peter Worthington. "Sharia law has no place in civilized society, no matter how benignly it is depicted. It dates back to the 14th century and does not treat the sexes equally. Period. In Ontario it may not be used to order women stoned to death for behaviour it tolerates in men, but it is a matter of degree. There is no need for it in Canada. It is not religious freedom, it is religious oppression. Listen to the Council of Muslim Women and rational Muslims like Tarak Fatah, and not the Canadian Islamic Congress, which sees itself as the sole interpreter of sharia law. "

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Olbermann: Leftist anchor of the low-rated countdown, Keith Olbermann gets into a heated email exchange with a tv producer who calls the show a "travesty". Olbermann has been on the case of election fraud especially in Ohio, even though nothing has been found except what is parrotted by tin foil moonbats. It hasn't translated into ratings and the fact he is the only one covering it to him proves there is no liberal media. "3. The American media has a liberal bias: I think we can pretty much put this one to bed. The mainstream media has so tiptoed around the voting irregularities stories that it’s deflated any reasonable belief that there are swarms of reporters bypassing facts to substitute their own agendas. Instead of a circus, the Conyers “voting forums” have received tepid coverage. Had there been a reversal of the poles in this political equation, of course, the impenetrable Sean Hannity would be in his 49th consecutive day of broadcasting without sleep, and by now would’ve already announced that Democrats from Outer Space had stolen the election. " Lets go back to Rather and the fake memos, and the claim then that because ABC and NBC were going after this story against Rather, this proved there was no liberal bias. Wrong, they went after that story because while they are all liberal, they are also a business, and if you can cut down one of your competitors, so be it. The second reason is if they did NOT pursue the fake memos, what is left of mainstream media credibility would have been shot to hell. The second reason why no one gives a damn about these tin foil theories that Olbermann is pushing because there is no story and it makes no sense going on and on about fairy tales. Washington Post on November 11th as an example went over them and declared them bunk. "Ultimately, none of the most popular theories holds up to close scrutiny. And the people who most stand to benefit from the conspiracy theories -- the Kerry campaign and the Democratic National Committee -- are not biting. "


John Kerry: Kerry still can't catch a break as the 31 electoral votes from New York has his name as "John L. Kerry"(loser?) and the popular far left website Daily Kos wants him shot. More from Justoneminute and Instapundit.
UK: Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian writes about Sikhs in Birmingham who got a play shut down because they claimed it was an insult to them. He realizes the awful truth about Liberals trying to play both sides. "The conflict played out in Birmingham, and elsewhere every day, is between two values - one that liberals have cherished for centuries and another acquired much more recently. The ancient, almost defining liberal ideal is freedom: of expression, of movement, of protest. The newer value is an approach to society's minorities that aims to go beyond mere tolerance, and reaches for understanding and sensitivity. Today's good liberal aims to be both. Stop one in the street and ask if artists should have the right to say what they like, and the answer will be yes. Ask if Muslims or Sikhs or Jews have the right to have their feelings respected, their differences understood, and the answer will be yes again. " "....Until now, too many progressives have sought to muddle through, to pretend that this tension does not exist. But just as Isaiah Berlin once forced the left to see that freedom and equality were very often at odds, so it is time for today's liberals to be honest - and admit that the ideals they have clumsily bolted together for three decades often chafe badly. Sometimes one of them is sacrificed for the sake of the other. Better to admit it and to decide consciously which value we are preferring in this case or that, than to pretend there is no conflict. Hard-headed liberalism means hard choices. " ...and the choice that he makes is? "Such is the landscape we now inhabit. The choices are not simple, but they need to be faced with rigour. So when the Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh was murdered by an Islamist extremist, no liberal should have done anything but condemn it completely. This was not just censorship of the most brutal kind, it was also a heinous crime, murder. And yet some progressives found it hard to condemn the killing unequivocally, because van Gogh had so extravagantly violated the newer liberal value of cultural sensitivity: he had gone out of his way to offend Muslims (and Jews, for that matter) in wild, unrestrained language. In their urge to stand with Muslims as an oppressed group, many liberals let their judgment be clouded. They somehow construed the murder as if it were, say, a political attempt to block a van Gogh film or cancel a play - as if this was on a par with the Behzti affair. They might indeed want to back the offended group in such a situation, preferring the progressive's respect for the marginalised minority to the liberal principle of free speech, but this was not that situation: this was a murder. Again, it's clarity and rigour that's needed. I am having to make some of these awkward choices myself. All of my instincts set me against the government's proposed move to outlaw incitement to religious hatred. An admirer of America's first amendment, I start as an absolutist on free speech: let everyone say what they want. Once politicians or lawyers start deciding what's acceptable and what isn't, the trouble begins. But that position would, applied consistently, require me to call for the abolition of the current law banning incitement to racial hatred. And yet, though that law places a limit on free speech, I cannot deny that it has done more good than harm. It has helped establish a social norm in Britain, rendering the once acceptable racism of the 1970s beyond the pale today." In the end, a Liberal will choose political correctness even though he knows it's wrong. These incitement laws and P.C. thinking do more harm than good, it pushes the hatred underground, out of the public eye to give off this facade that everything is great. All it takes is an event to make the whole thing explode like it did with Van Gogh's murder in Holland.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Iran: Diplomats are not the smartest people in the world. " VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran's decision to keep preparing raw uranium for enrichment, a step on the way to making nuclear weapons, breaks the spirit though not the letter of its pledge to freeze all such activity, diplomats said on Tuesday. Under a deal Iran reached with three EU nations to freeze all enrichment activity as of Nov. 22, preparing "yellowcake" uranium for enrichment is strictly prohibited. But the accord allowed Iran to finish some limited uranium conversion work that it had already begun before the suspension took effect. But Iran will now continue enrichment-related work until February, Western diplomats told Reuters. Continuing the work that long "would certainly violate the spirit of the agreement," a Western diplomat said. "Iran has a legal basis for doing it, but it will not inspire much confidence in them," another diplomat said." Iran has to be thinking it can't be this easy to fool these people and then shocked that it is. Canada: Montreal Gazette blasts the use of sharia law in Canada. The idea that Sharia law should be allowed a foothold in Quebec is floating around this month with talk of a proposed meeting between Montreal Muslim Council president Salam Elmenyawi and Justice Minister Jacques Dupuis. Sharia in Canada is a thoroughly bad idea that should be rejected promptly and permanently - along with any other impulse to tailor Canada's justice system to individual cultures.

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Shaq/Kobe: Shaq giving Kobe some advice for their showdown on Christmas Day. "MIAMI -- Shaquille O'Neal has some advice for former teammate Kobe Bryant when the rivals play against each other for the first time -- stay out of the lane. "If you've got a Corvette that runs into a brick wall, you know what's gonna happen," he said in a halftime interview on ABC's "Monday Night Football." "He's a corvette. I'm a brick wall. So you know what's gonna happen." Harry Potter: Yeah, I like Potter and J.K. Rowling just announced she has completed the 6th book, her publisher will announce the release date on Tuesday. Kyoto: Columnist from the Toronto Star, a liberal paper that regularly pushes the treaty as the greatest thing since slice bread, finally gets the point the treaty is dead as well. "The Kyoto Protocol's original goals seemed maddeningly simple when they were worked out in 1997: cut greenhouse gas emissions by a modest 5 per cent (based on 1990 levels) by 2012. Nevertheless, what seemed easy on paper became a sticky problem in the global policy-making world. The emissions targets didn't apply to some of the major developing nations like China and India, whose black-smoke factories were considered crucial to economic development. In the mature industrial powers, particularly Canada and the U.S., the targets were considered inequitable and unenforceable, and an unjustifiable burden on economies still tied to carbon fuels. ....What all this suggests is that Kyoto — a bold idea for its time — may not, after all, be the most effective instrument for addressing climate change. We need to go back to the drawing board. Declaratory environmentalism sounds good, but it's hard to legislate nations into doing the right thing. "

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Monday, December 20, 2004

Canada: Ontario's former attorney general Marion Boyd releases a report saying it's acceptable to have Muslim use Sharia laws to settle disputes in the province. Critics of Sharia are not happy and calls Boyd naive. "Marion Boyd today has given legitimacy and credibility to the right-wing racists who fundamentally are against equal rights for men and women," McPhedran said. Boyd's report also angered Tarek Fatah, with the Canadian Muslim Congress. She says if the province decides to move toward Shariah law, it will create "an under-class of underprivileged people who can go into their ghettos and deal with issues and not bother them." Canada likes to think of itself as worldly, but it keeps showing how naive they really are.

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UK: Cherie Booth, PM Tony Blair's wife, has taken on the case of Shabina Begum who wants to wear a "traditional" robe called the jilbab that covers from head to toe to a school that has a uniform code. "....Ms Begum, whose father and mother are both dead, attended the "highly successful" 1,000-pupil Denbigh High School in Luton, Beds, where 79 per cent of students are Muslims, from the age of 12. At first she consented to wear the authorised school uniform of shalwar kameez - tunic and trousers - but in September 2002, she and her brother, Shuweb Rahman, informed the assistant headteacher Stuart Moore that she would wear it no longer, preferring instead to wear a full length robe and headscarf. She was sent home from school. She applied to court for a judicial review of the school's decision on human rights grounds. Six months ago, High Court judge Mr Justice Bennett dismissed the girl’s case, ruling that she had failed to show that the school had excluded her or breached her human rights. He said in his ruling that the school was entitled to limit Muslim students to wearing the shalwar kameez. The High Court judge added that Ms Begum chose not to return to Denbigh, knowing that her refusal to wear the shalwar kameez meant she was unlikely to be allowed to attend. She has received little formal education for two years. " Here is the argument that Begum and Cherie Booth are pushing. " Miss Booth said the jilbab was not considered to be an extreme form of dress code observance, but was recognised by many Muslims as a requirement for their religion. She said: "The question of modestly dressed females is not a quirky culture thing, it is recognised as a genuine manifestation of religious belief."" Here is my take on this, Begum is a little drama queen and Cherie needs to go whine about the death penalty. The jilbab is a cultural answer to an interpretation of a religious statement(Quran 24:31). It's not a requirement in the Quran spelled out in detail. Queen Rania Al- Abdullah of Jordan "fisked" this argument in an email to the Arab Times in 2001. Another case in New Zealand where a woman refused to remove her veil because she said it was against Islam was dismissed by a Muslim MP. "....Labour MP Ashraf Choudhary, New Zealand's first Muslim MP, today said that face covering was a cultural rather than religious issue. Muslim men and women had to dress modestly. "For both men and women, clothing requirements are not meant to be a restriction but rather a way in which a society will function in a proper manner and environment," he said in a statement. "Migrants and refugees, irrespective of their religious or cultural background, who have made New Zealand their home must integrate in the society to achieve their full potential. "While New Zealand is a secular state and does not discriminate on race, religion or ethnicity and protects human rights of all religious and ethnic minorities, this is not a country for extremists or extremist views," he said. Some conservative Muslims believed otherwise but most educated and learned people were of the opinion that face covering of women was not required, he said. " So if there is any common sense by this new judge, this case brought on by Begum will be tossed out.

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Video Games: EA buys 20% of Ubisoft, the monster that is Electronic Arts is hungry and needs more!!! Of course, I wish I kept my EA stocks before all of this.

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Sunday, December 19, 2004

AIDS: ANC accuses America of using Africans as test subjects for a new drug (nevirapine) that prevents transmission of HIV between mother and child. Guardian suggests Thabo Mbeki of writing the unsigned letter because he is opposed to the use of western drugs to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa. No one to my knowledge has ever clearly figured out this bizzare stance of Mbeki since South Africa has the most people with AIDS in the world.

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Blogs: Powerline blog named Time's Blog of the year, much to the chagrin of Dan Rather I'm sure.

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Islam: Prince Charles is getting involved to stop the horrendous practice of killing Muslim who convert to another religion. He met with both Muslim and Christian leaders with the sorry predictable results. " Among the Christians at the confidential meeting was an Anglican archbishop from a part of Nigeria where Islamic Sharia law is enforced. Others included the Bishop of London, the Right Reverend Richard Chartres, and the Pakistani-born Bishop of Rochester, the Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali. It is believed the Muslim group, which included the Islamic scholar Zaki Badawi, cautioned the Prince and other non-Muslims against speaking publicly on the issue. It argued that Islamic moderates could have more influence on the traditional position if the debate remained largely internal. A member of the Christian group said on Friday that he was "very, very unhappy" about the outcome. Patrick Sookhdeo, the international director of the Barnabus Fund, which campaigns on behalf of persecuted Christians abroad, stressed that he was speaking on the record only because details of the meeting had already leaked." That argument about Islamic moderates having more influence is a cop-out as I have seen very few results happening when the "moderates" get involved. This is just code speak for not wanting to upset the more radical elements who first targets would be the moderates who are supposed to speak out. In other words, they are cowards. "Patrick Sookhdeo, the international director of the Barnabus Fund, which campaigns on behalf of persecuted Christians abroad, stressed that he was speaking on the record only because details of the meeting had already leaked. He urged the Prince and Muslim leaders in Britain to criticise openly the traditional Islamic law on apostasy, calling for it to be abolished throughout the world. "My view, and I think the other Christians shared it, is that when something is wrong it must be stated as a wrong." Other Christian leaders were more sympathetic to the worries of the Muslims that public criticism could prove counterproductive." Excellent advice, if you speak up, they might speed up the normal rate of killing people who convert. Complete cowards.

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Saturday, December 18, 2004

Kyoto Treaty dead in the water. Ronald Bailey of Reason magazine says after 2012, Kyoto is history as more countries besides the United States resist the EU and enviros push to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. "The conventional wisdom that it's the United States against the rest of the world in climate change diplomacy has been turned on its head. Instead it turns out that it is the Europeans who are isolated. China, India, and most of the rest of the developing countries have joined forces with the United States to completely reject the idea of future binding GHG emission limits. At the conference here in Buenos Aires, Italy shocked its fellow European Union members when it called for an end to the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. These countries recognize that stringent emission limits would be huge barriers to their economic growth and future development. " Reuters: " BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Reuters) - U.N. talks on climate change have ended with few steps forward after the United States, oilproducers and developing giants slammed the brakes on the European Union's drive for deeper emissions cuts to stop globalwarming. While the United States remained intransigent on future talks, the oil-producing nations and Saudi Arabia in particular also thwartedthe EU agenda."It would be a big mistake to put this all down to the United States. Not for the first time, the oil-producing countries play a far biggerrole than anyone ever gives them credit for," said British Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett. Negotiators had to overcome OPEC resistance to push through a partial climate aid package for developing countries, the most hurtby the rise in world temperatures linked to man-made emissions like carbon dioxide.The developing nations also resisted the EU's agenda, aware that many Europeans believe the fast-growing economies should stoptheir dirty practices, like coal-intensive industry or burning forests to make way for farming."We are not prepared to discuss reductions in emissions," said Brazilian head delegate Everton Vieira Vargas." Roger Simon has thoughts about this as well.

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UK: Charlie Moore is back with a rebuttal of the absolutely appalling, inexcusable article by Iqbal Sacranie secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain who was responding to Moore's first article on why the incitement to hatred law is a gag on free speech. If Moore was baiting for a reaction to prove his point, Iqbal and others did that even better than Moore could have hoped. "The reaction to my own article shows the problem. The Muslim Association of Britain (not to be confused with the MCB) said that what I had written was "repulsive", composed out of an "arrogance borne by only the most zealous of racists". Because of my "filth and drivel", I should be dismissed from The Daily Telegraph, and the paper should apologise. Just in case the point was missed, the MAB reminded the paper of the lessons of the Salman Rushdie affair. It also referred readers to a website, IslamOnline.net which globalises the denunciation of my column with a Cairo dateline and offers a link to a discussion of what should happen to non-Muslims who insult the Prophet ("In Islam, it is well known that the punishment for the one who insults the Prophet is to be killed… However, we Muslims are advised to be forgiving and pardoning.") Who are the Muslim Association of Britain? I've been looking them up. They have close links to the extremist Muslim Brotherhood, one of whose leaders, Qutb, advocated takfir, the branding of all Muslims as infidels unless they conform to sharia. Some MAB activists support Hamas and its policy of suicide bombing. ...On the same programme on which Miss Mactaggart appeared (Radio 4's Today), a spokesman for the MAB popped up to support the religious hatred law and said that people should not be allowed to shout things like "Bin Laden" at Muslims in the street. (By the way, why does he see that, from his point of view, as an insult?) So here we have a body with activists who support the killing of Israeli Jews, telling people in Britain that they must stop displaying religious intolerance - all of this listened to respectfully by the BBC. I am trying to avoid the word "Orwellian", but I can't. " Read the entire article.


Christmas: Pasco county reversed its decision to ban Christmas trees.

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Friday, December 17, 2004

Minnesota: Bloom County comes to life in Minneapolis as a reporter got in trouble for sending an email with "racially insensitive" words. "A Star Tribune reporter was disciplined Thursday after he disclosed that he wrote an e-mail to a Minneapolis police official that contained racially insensitive language. David Chanen, a police reporter, told editors that he used the term "colored officers" in an e-mail sent Wednesday to Minneapolis Police Inspector Donald Banham, who is black. Star Tribune Managing Editor Scott Gillespie sent a letter Thursday to Minneapolis Police Chief Bill McManus saying that the newspaper "owes you and your department a deep and sincere apology" for the language used in the e-mail. McManus said Thursday night that the newspaper's apology "should be made to Minneapolis Police Department officers of color, not to me. Certainly, they are all offended by it. This isn't the 1960s anymore." Gillespie and Chanen said the reporter had intended to use the term "officers of color," but made an error in rushing to send the e-mail. Gillespie said he couldn't comment on the details of the discipline because it was a personnel matter. What the hell is "officers of color", when did describing someone as black become offensive, this reminded me of the strip where Steve Dallas argued with his parents in Bloom County. Mom: That's the most adorable little colored girl playing outside. Steve: "Colored"?!? You're saying "colored people" in 1988?!? You know better, Ma. Mom: Then why the "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People? I don't think Negroes mind at all. Steve: Don't say "Negroes," Ma! You can't say "Negroes"! Mom: Can I say "United Negro College Fund"? Steve: You're baiting me, Ma! Dad: That's it! We're leaving. Mom: Stay put, Reginald. "Mister Socially Sensitive" isn't finished shaming his parents into enlightenment. Steve: Everybody just calm down. Let's agree to use the the New-Age term "People of Color." Mom: People of Color? Steve: People of Color. Mom: . . . Colored people. Steve: NO!!! Dad: We're leaving!

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Christmas: Christmas trees have been banned from all public places in Pasco county, Florida because the county lawyer says they are religious symbols. Barney the Dog: Barney's Christmas video is up and the part where Karl Rove wants more Red ornaments than Blue is going to tick someone off. Canada: If you read a report about someone that says this, "KARLA HOMOLKA is a ticking time bomb who is likely to kill again, according to a recent risk assessment by the National Parole Board. "The commission believes if (Homolka) was freed before the end of the sentence ... we are convinced you would commit an infraction that would result in the death or grave harm of another person," the Dec. 12 assessment obtained by the Toronto Sun states. " You would hope that this person would be locked away or moved onto an island. But, since this is Canada, the end of her sentence is July 5th, 2005 and she most likely will end up in Alberta.

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Hollywood: Harrison Ford starring in a movie called, 'No True Glory: The Battle for Fallujah', given his stance on American foreign policy, I see this being made into sympathy movie for the terrorists and showing Ford's character on the same angst level as President Bartlet on the West Wing. Total suckfest. via Tim Blair


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Australia: Good example why I find these "incitement to hate" laws to be nothing more than a P.C. gag on free speech in Western countries, A Victoria tribunal found an evangelical Christian ministry guilty of making fun of Islam. "In a decision handed down today in a key test of Victoria's three-year-old racial and religious vilification laws, Judge Michael Higgins found in favour of the Islamic Council of Victoria, which took the action against Catch The Fire. Judge Higgins found that Catch the Fire and Pastor Scot had breached section eight of the Religious and Racial Tolerance Act. Also found in breach was church leader Pastor Nalliah, who was an unsuccessful senate candidate for the Family First party in this year's federal election. Judge Higgins will decide on penalties, which could include orders for an apology or damages, early next year. " "In a summary of reasons for his decision, Judge Higgins said Pastor Scot had throughout the seminar made fun of Muslim beliefs and conduct. "It was done, not in the context of a serious discussion of Muslims' religious beliefs," Judge Higgins said. "It was presented in a way which is essentially hostile, demeaning and derogatory of all Muslim people, their God, Allah, the prophet Mohammed and in general Muslim religious beliefs and practices."" You apply that sort of nonsense in America, 90% of the press would be found guilty, but the point is this is yet another restraint put on free speech. If you want to act like a fool, so be it. But to be found guilty by some human rights tribunal and may have to pay damages is a embrassing blow to free speech and debating of issues no matter how vile you think the presentation is. This is the same sort of mechanism that Britain wants to introduce, but I doubt it will go far there. Plus, if the church minister did his homework, he could have created mischief quite easily. There are more than enough stupid quotes from so called Muslim leaders that should have denounced and ridicule. "Pastor Scot also had said Muslims had a plan to overrun western democracy by violence and terror and wanted to turn Australia into an Islamic nation, and he exaggerated Muslim population numbers in Australia." Omar M. Ahmad, chairman of the board of C.A.I.R: "If you choose to live here (in America) . . . you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam," he said. "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant, " he said. "The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth," he said.

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President Bush: AP brings the whine in this piece. "PARIS (AP) - To the French, he's an uncouth cowboy - a swaggering statesman in a Stetson who shoots from the hip and asks questions later, if he asks them at all. They're not the only ones who think so. From Berlin to Beijing, U.S. President George W. Bush was widely scorned abroad during his first term as a headstrong hombre more interested in action than consultation. Now, as the world spins into a new year, many are eyeing his second term with a mixture of caution, frustration and resignation. Denied the chance to wipe the slate clean with a Kerry administration, nations like France - snubbed and sidelined by a bitter trans-Atlantic rift over Iraq and other foreign policy squabbles - can only hope that Bush will cast a less imposing shadow over the next four years. " All signs point to major disappointment for these hopes, which is a good thing.


Shaq/Kobe: Kobe went on a PR blitz on Wednesday , all over PTI and ESPN basketball shows to try and stop the downhill motion his image is going, Shaq was not in any mood to listen to his apology. "....Bryant also addressed the idea that he drove O'Neal out of Los Angeles. ''People automatically thought that I forced Shaq out, forced Phil [Jackson] out, and that is just not true,'' Bryant said. ``Who am I to say what the Lakers should do when I didn't know where I was going?'' O'Neal said everyone he was closely associated with on the Lakers is no longer with the team, which he doesn't consider a coincidence. ''Listen, everybody that had something to do with me has been fired or traded or cut,'' O'Neal said. ``My boy Rick Fox was cut, and he's out there doing [bad] movies.'' O'Neal doesn't intend to prove anything to Bryant and the Lakers on Christmas Day. ''I don't have to make a point,'' O'Neal said. ``I'm George Bush. I'm the president. I built that arena, so I don't have to make a point. I think it'll take us out of what we're trying to do for me to go in there and try to make points.''
Oliver Stone: Stone is whining(lots of whining today) that America didn't appreciate his box office dud Alexander because they don't like history and uncomfortable about seeing someone empire building..cause that's what America is doing of course. Politics, he argued, might have been a more appropriate focus for viewers looking for controversy. "If you're going to start talking about headlines, why don't you start to talk about the strange parallels between Alexander's empire building and America's empire building that they did in the Near East?" he said. "They didn't do that in America. They did it in Europe, they're doing it in Europe much more. "I think one of the reasons - this is speculation - is that perhaps Americans are uncomfortable with the idea that someone else tried it first and maybe tried it better," Stone added. According to Rotten Tomatoes , 163 critics total, 85% of them can't appreciate Oliver Stone's brillance.

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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Missle Defense: New York Times with the typical liberal attitude towards anything in trying to advance defense capabilities. If you at first don't succeed, quit, with this mind boggling quote. "...With rogue nations like North Korea working on nuclear missiles, a credible shield may someday be needed, but only after its efficacy has been proved." So, America should wait till North Korea has the missiles ready, then we start to work on a shield. Good thinking.

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Gun Control: San Francisco will vote next year if guns will be banned from everyone except law enforcement, military and security guards. Criminals are not included in the list. But, keeping guns out of the hands of citizens has always been popular. Heinrich Himmler : "Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA - ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the State" Vladmir Lenin: "One man with a gun can control 100 without one." Joseph Stalin: "If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves. "


EU/Turkey: Gaddafi says Turkey trying to get into the EU is a trojan horse for Islamic militants.

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UN/Kofi: In a move that surprises no one, Democrats are coming out to support Kofi Annan and saying leave him alone. Senator Patrick Leahy. Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said he disapproved of moves by several Republicans to withhold U.S. payments unless the world body fully cooperates with Congressional probes into the oil-for-food scandal in Iraq. "I think we ought to take a deep breath. This is not a time to make a political football out of the U.N.," Leahy told reporters after seeing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "We need them in the Sudan. We need them throughout parts of Africa ... in Iraq, in Haiti." Yeah, The United Nations is doing a wonderful job in Sudan, Iraq they are non-existent, and Haiti everything is under control.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Iran: Economist says it's a failing state, but not failing bad enough for change to happen.

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EU: EU President Barroso rises the warning flag that the socialist model is in trouble and needs fixing badly. ""Without growth, without job creation, without more dynamism in our economies we cannot maintain the high levels of social insurance, protection and environmental protection which ... we call the European model", Mr Barroso told MEPs on Tuesday (14 December) " If you factor in not only American competition, but Asia and even the new EU countries in Eastern Europe where the labor is much cheaper and taxes much lower. Unless the EU does drastic changes to reform their economy to better compete, they are screwed.

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Iraqi bloggers: Juan Cole, far leftist calls into question the credibility and motives of Iraqi Bloggers at Iraq the Model by using a neat slight of hand to begin the argument, he brings in a report from Martini Republic that basically calls them CIA operatives, adds his two cents that their opinion is out of the mainstream of Iraq and implies it's all a scam. All hell breaks loose and Jeff Jarvis rips Cole for stupidity and explaining how idiotic the conspiracy theories he has made up are in light of the evidence. Cole jumps back and sticks to his opinion poll and says this about calling into question the brothers credibility. "I drew attention to Martini Republic's questions about the independence of IraqTheModel without actually expressing any opinion myself one way or another, except to say that they are out of the Iraqi mainstream. "' There he exposes the trick, if the only thing he said was that the brothers opinion were out of the mainstream, it's just going to be a he said/they said deal with most people dismissing Cole out of hand. But, bring in the M.R. article filled with conspiracies, now, his "out of the mainstream Iraq opinion can be explained as he lets the M.R do the implying and he puts some numbers up to complete the reality he wants to create. As I said, it's a neat trick that you can fall for if you are not paying attention. if he had used a more credible site with questions that can't be explained away in five seconds. He might have had something.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Israel/Hamas: LGF links up to a story that show Hamas is not entirely stupid, wish they realized this after they reached the stadium. "...Fearing an Israeli reprisal attack, Hamas has decided to cancel a major rally marking the 17th anniversary of its founding. The rally was supposed to be held in one of Gaza City’s stadiums on Friday, but Hamas decided to postpone it indefinitely out of fear that Israel would target the Islamic movement’s leaders in retaliation for Sunday’s attack on an IDF outpost near Rafah, in which five soldiers were killed and six others wounded. " UK: Polly Toynbee of the Guardian seems to realize that perhaps the Left is bending its principles just a little too much so they can be protectors of the "weak" and mouthpieces for anti_Americanism. She comes out against the proposed law against incitement to religious hatred and gives up the Left motives. "...The natural allies of the rationalists have decamped. The left embraces Islam for its anti-Americanism. Liberals and progressives have had a collective softening of the brain and weakening of the knees. While they have a sympathetic instinct to defend harassed minorities, they prefer to abandon some fundamental principles and prevaricate over some basic freedoms than to face up to the damage religions do, the wars they fuel and the rights they deny. Voltaire would have defended Islamic communities to the death from racists - but not set their beliefs beyond ordinary debate. Presumably to test the proposed law to destruction, Charles Moore last week wrote a deliberately provocative article opening with the words: "Was the prophet Mohammed a paedophile?" (He married a nine-year-old.) He says the new bill might prevent some raising this question, "rude and mistaken" though it might be. It had, of course, exactly the desired effect. The bill's Muslim supporters plunged straight into his crude elephant trap. The Muslim Association of Britain called for Moore's sacking and said the paper should have known better in the light of the Salman Rushdie affair - distinctly threatening. The Islamic Human Rights Commission called for a boycott of the Telegraph - a more reasonable riposte. Iqbal Sacranie of the mainstream Muslim Council of Britain said that linking the Prophet's name with this crime "will have shocked Muslim readers" who are "calling for safeguards against vilification of dearly cherished beliefs". And there it is. He expects the new law to protect "cherished beliefs", while David Blunkett in the Commons assured his critics it would do no such thing. Dead prophets and holy books would be as open to criticism and ridicule as ever. The law will protect the believers, not their beliefs. That difference appears to escape most Muslims. Ministers keep reassuring critics that "only four or five people a year" are likely to be prosecuted in rare cases. If so, then the Muslims who lobbied hard for this law are destined for deep disappointment - and much anger. " Nothing makes a EU lefty turn right when groups want their religious beliefs and themselves above reproach.

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UK: I can't wait to see the 10 day waiting period to buy a knife and having to get a license for it in Britain. Devastated relatives of stabbing victims travelled to No 10 yesterday to make an emotional plea for a change in the law.They are demanding a five-year minimum jail term for carrying a blade longer than three inches, the same as for a gun.The Home Office, which publishes a new package of measures on knife crime tomorrow, has said that would not take in to account people legitimately carrying knifes for work or other reasons. yeah right, it always starts out this way and then slides fast into stupidity. UK: An absolutely idiotic opinion given by Iqbal Sacranie in the London Telegraph in response to Charlie Moore's article about the push to have laws "banning incitement to religious hatred" I would considered the law now to be over the top though policing, if someone wants to act like a twit, so be it, you also have the freedom to debate/boycott that person or political party or whatever. But the gist of Sacranie's argument is this. "...It is no easy task to convey to a secular audience the immense love and esteem in which Muslims hold the Prophet. To us, he was the restorer of the worship of the One True God; teacher of an elegant and pristine monotheism; the friend of the orphans and the poor; a wise statesman, brave warrior, loving father, considerate husband; he was also the final of God's Prophets sent to mankind to remind us of the awesome Day of Judgment, when all will be called to account for the deeds we have committed during our lifetimes. Anyway, back to Mr Moore. We seem to be revisiting the arguments that came to the fore during the Satanic Verses affair. Is freedom of expression without bounds? Muslims are not alone in saying "No" and calling for safeguards against vilification of dearly cherished beliefs. Earlier this year, the BBC accepted complaints from Catholics and withdrew its cartoon series Popetown. Why does society not show the same courtesy and sensitivity towards Muslims?" The BBC example works against his argument, people heard about the show and applied pressure to the BBC and BBC backed down, the same happened with CBS and the Reagan miniseries. Both cases it was the public, not the government causing the change. That is the course that everyone should take when it concerns works and opinions about anything in the public domain. Muslims who are pushing for this law like Sacranie are doing more harm than good. He is casting Muslims as being thin-skinned and intolerant of people in Western civilization who do question religious beliefs. That is something he and others who are part of the West better get used too.

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Monday, December 13, 2004

Madden: EA signs exclusive deal with NFL and NFL players union for the next 5 years, shutting down any competition from Take Two's/Sega ESPN football series. Take Two is unhappy. "Take-Two said the Sega NFL game was not a "material contributor" to its profits, but nonetheless it condemned the exclusive NFL/EA deal."We believe that the decisions of the National Football League and Players Inc. to grant an exclusive license for video games do a tremendous disservice to the consumers and sports fans, whose funds ultimately support the NFL, by limiting their choices, curbing creativity and almost certainly leading to higher game prices," Take-Two said in a statement." Sports Business Journal had this scoop way back in May 2004 which brought denials from all parties involved. But according to Gene Upshaw in today's article. "We started talking about this months before the ESPN product even hit the shelves," Gene Upshaw, director of the NFL Players Association, told Reuters. "Its been an ongoing dialogue about what can we do in this category to make it better for all of us."

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EU: Turkey knows how to push the buttons in getting it's membership into the EU. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned European Union leaders that violence from Islamic extremists could escalate if the EU rejects Turkey as a member. Speaking before the opening of Istanbul’s first modern art museum Mr Erdogan said, according to the Times: "There is nothing we can do if the EU feels that it can live with being simply a Christian club . . . but if these countries burn their bridges with the rest of the world, history will not forgive them". That ought to get the EU's attention.

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UK: Pencil Sharpers banned after one student took one apart( must be an OZ fan) and sliced another student in the neck, but banning is not the stupid part. "....The victim was attacked in the playground at Waterloo Primary School in Ashton under Lyne. He was taken to Tameside Hospital where he had butterfly stitches placed on the wound.The attacker was suspended for two days and is now back in school. But the decision to allow the boy to return to school has angered parents. Some have signed a petition calling on the school to permanently expel the youngster. Tracy Buckley, the school's head of governors, has written to all parents, saying the school understood the gravity of the incident and acted accordingly. The letter states: "The school, like every other school, has a duty to promote `inclusion' of all pupils. The emphasis of the (DfES) guidance is that a permanent exclusion is discouraged and to be considered as a last resort in very extreme circumstances. A fixed period exclusion was entirely appropriate for the circumstances." You have to love the PC crowd now governing the educational system in United Kingdom, I would say they are taking their cues from their American counterparts, but giving the little psycho slasher only two days would have created lawsuits up the ying yang over here by the parent of the kid who got sliced in the neck at least. BUT, on the good side, at least parents in Manchester know that your child getting sliced in the neck is not an "extreme circumstance".

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Sunday, December 12, 2004

Germany: More from the Financial Times on the job cuts announced at the GM factory in Opel.

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Diplomats annoy me greatly. Typical of diplomat stupidity, Sarah_Ann Smith comes away from her trip in Spain bemoaning all the friction in the world today and states that we should all learn from Spain's Islamic era when everyone got along and was happy! "...Back home, I keep thinking of Spain's experience, contemporary and historical, in all its complexity, and realize that, for better or worse, we're all in this post- Sept. 11 world together - Christian, Muslim, Jew and, yes, secularist. And the only way to genuine peace and security, and freedom from fear, is through tolerant acceptance and appreciation of our differences and mutual encouragement of the best in all our traditions. We could do far worse in this respect than imitating Spain's Islamic era at its best. " Article sounds nice and rosy until you do a quick google search and realize it wasn't everyone getting along by choice, from the BBC Islamic Spain section. It was not as cheerful as it sounded.

"...Jews and Christians were able to thrive under Muslim rule, providing they obeyed certain rules. These rules were not much of a burden by the standards of the time, although they would now be considered completely unacceptable.

There were several reasons why the Muslim rulers tolerated these rival faiths:

  • They were monotheistic faiths - so arguably their members were worshipping the same God - despite having some wayward beliefs and practices: most notably the failure to accept the significance of Muhammad (pbuh) and the Qur'an.
  • The Christians outnumbered the Muslims, and mass conversion or mass execution was simply not practical. Outlawing and controlling the beliefs of so many people would have been massively expensive.
  • Bringing non-Muslims into government provided the rulers with administrators who were loyal (because not attached to any of the various Muslim groups), and who could be easily disciplined or removed if the need arose. One Emir had a Christian as the head of his bodyguard.
  • There was clear guidance in the Qur'an that Christians and Jews should be tolerated if they obeyed certain rules.

  • Dhimmis and Jizya The Muslim rulers allowed Jews and Christians to live according to their faiths and customs. They were given the status of Dhimmis (or Zimmis), which allowed them some power to organise themselves and freedom of religion.In return (not that they had any choice) the dhimmis had to pay a tax called jizya. If they didn't want to pay it, they could convert to Islam or be executed. This was not as oppressive as it sounds, in that the dhimmis got the full protection of the state in return for their money.
Restrictions The non-Muslims were expected to obey the law, avoid blasphemy, and not to try to convert Muslims. Male Muslims could marry Christian or Jewish women; Christian men could not marry female Muslims. At times there were restrictions on practicing one's faith too obviously. Bell-ringing or chanting too loudly were frowned on, and public processions were restricted. Christians in Spain assimilated much of the Muslim culture. Some learned Arabic, some adopted the same clothes as their rulers (some Christian women even started wearing the veil); some took Arabic names. Christians who did this were known as Mozarabs.

Oppression Not all Muslim rulers were tolerant. Almanzor looted churches and imposed strict restrictions.After the high point of Muslim Spain things got worse. New leaders came from a more aggressive school of Islam and were not disposed to allow the previous freedoms to continue. Christians could not have taller houses than Muslims, could not employ Muslim servants, and had to give way to Muslims on the street.

Christians could not display any sign of their faith outside, not even carrying a Bible. There were persecutions and executions.As the Islamic empire declined, and more territory was taken back by Christian rulers, Muslims in Christian areas found themselves facing similar restrictions to those they had formerly imposed on others."

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