Monday, February 27, 2006

Damon Wayans wants to copyright Niggas.

Culture: Stanley Crouch rips him a new one.

How dare they try to copyright the N-word One of the most repulsively fascinating facts about contemporary black popular culture is how it continues to reach fresh lows. It finds new ways of leaping all fences that would bar it from falling into a bottomless pit of tastelessness. All of the insults and burdens of minstrelsy have been bested by black comedians and rappers who have made stupidity, hedonism, pimping, misogyny, pornography and violence their stock in trade. One defense of this amoral sense of life and culture is that black people didn't invent any of it, so why shouldn't they, like the white people, be able to make big money from it? As one imbecilic black man in television said to me, "I ain't hating on these brothers. All they are doing is dealing with a market the same way that the white people do. This is capitalism and they're responding to a market. You know the old saying, 'Whatever the market will bear.' " Now we find that comedian Damon Wayans has spent the past 14 months trying to copyright the N-word with "iggas" instead of "iggers." He wants to put it on apparel and whatnot. So far, he has not been successful but one can imagine young American kids wearing that word emblazoned on clothes and listening to rap "songs" in which the N-word frequently appears, in conjunction with "bitches" and "hos," among other denigrations. Of course, there is a defense. One Hollywood Negro said that "Damon is no fool. He might be pulling a Brer Rabbit move that would mean that he would take control of the word and make everyone pay to use it." I responded rappers and others would merely put the cost in the budget. The Hollywood guy agreed. However this comes out, it is further proof of how remarkably decadent our moment is. On the one hand, opportunistic numbskulls use the rhetoric of free speech and the liberal arts to justify the thick presence of misogyny and insult in their material, meaning that constantly referring to women as bitches and hos is an expression of their artistry and their freedom of speech. So is the constant screaming of the N-word. Now we have a comedian attempting to copyright the N-word so that everyone who uses it will have to pay him for the right. I guess that takes its place right next to John Singleton, Spike Lee and Will Smith supporting the dehumanizing "Hustle & Flow." In the world of entertainment, the siren call of the commercial, however hollow and denigrating, seems impossible for many to resist, a fact that transcends all ethnic, sexual and religious distinctions.
If he is successful, he could rival Bill Gates in the money within six months, I would do the same thing too. If you are dumb enough to debase yourself in the name of keeping it reaaaal, I am going to be smart enough to get my share. That is the capitalist pig in me and I don't apologise for it. But Crouch is right that its a further coarsing and downward spiral of black culture and people moving along nicely by the Hip-Hop Industry as the lead horse. Its to the point now you get the feeling fighting against it is useless. Just teach your own family and others this is wrong and hope down the road something happens to snap everyone to their senses.


David Cameron making Tories the New Labour.

UK: Sorta like Coke introduced New Coke, what a success that was for the company. The plan to make yourself out to be a one of the tofo eating, sandal wearing swampy with lots of compassion is going to backfire.

"Recent weeks have seen private concern among some MPs and in the rightwing press about the direction Mr Cameron is taking the party, fuelled by the party's failure to build on an initial boost in the polls. The document was unveiled late last night in a choreographed series of media interviews. It commits the party to policies aimed at putting to bed its Thatcherite past. It sets out eight defining ambitions for the party, emphasising a compassionate agenda that focuses on helping the disadvantaged. The plan starts by pledging to put "economic stability and fiscal responsibility first" which it says "must come before tax cuts", and pledges that resources would be shared over time between better public services and reducing taxes. The test of Tory policies must be "how they help the most disadvantaged in society, not the rich", it says, reversing Margaret Thatcher's famous phrase to declare "there is such a thing as society". It promises to improve schools and hospitals "for everyone, not help a few to opt out", but insists that public services "don't have to be run by the state". Government can be "a force for good", it declares, supporting aspirations such as home ownership, saving for a pension and starting a business, as well as supporting families and marriage, carers as well as sport, the arts and culture. "The right test for our policies is how they help the most disadvantaged in society, not the rich," the document argues. The document echoes Mr Cameron's emphasis on the environment, calling for a "long-term, cross-party consensus on sustainable development and climate change". It also picks up on last year's mass campaign to end developing world debt, arguing that "it is our moral obligation to make poverty history". Last night some Conservatives - although not Mr Cameron - argued that the document and party ballot was an attempt to define the modern Conservative party in the way Tony Blair's scrapping of clause four defined New Labour in the mid-1990s. "I think the right thing to do is to put out what the party stands for and is fighting for," Mr Cameron told the BBC last night. "We don't have a clause four so I'm not asking the party to junk something." In tonight's speech Mr Cameron reiterates what is now a familiar attack on New Labour's centralism, laying the charge at Gordon Brown's door. "It's about saying to people don't think we aren't different, here it is, don't think we are just about PR and empty of values, here it is," said one shadow cabinet member last night."
That party that stands for everything succeeds at nothing.


Planned exhibit of Cartoons protested in UC Irvine.

Media: The student bodies have learned fast the threat of violence routine.

Plans by a Republican student group at UC Irvine to showcase the controversial cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that led to violent protests around the world are drawing condemnation from Muslim groups and university officials. The caricatures will be part of a panel discussion sponsored by the campus College Republicans scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. in UCI's Crystal Cove Auditorium. "We are firm believers in the 1st Amendment," said Kristin Lucero, a 21-year-old UCI senior and president of the campus College Republicans. "The public has the right to discuss as well as view the cartoons." Lucero said the cartoons depicting Muhammad, first published by a Danish newspaper, would be displayed along with what she called anti-Semitic and anti-Western cartoons that have been published in Muslim nations. Depictions of Muhammad are prohibited under Islamic law. She said the event was originally designed as a discussion about terrorism threats, but that the controversy over the caricatures of Muhammad offered another issue for debate. Muslim students at UCI see the event as a provocation, said Marya Bangee, 19, a sophomore and member of the Muslim Student Union. "First of all, unless they are living in a bubble, they have to know what has happened around the world" because of the cartoons, she said. "We don't want to limit anyone's freedom of speech, but with freedom comes responsibility." The cartoons, which have since been reprinted by other publications, caused riots that claimed dozens of lives in several countries. Bangee has asked the College Republicans to hold the event without showing the drawings. She said Muslim students fear the cartoons will incite violence locally.
Does Bangee know who would be happy to incite violence? Then it would be best to alert the police.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

UK: Muslims must accept free speech or get out.

UK: So says the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality.

Muslims must accept that freedom of speech is central to Britishness and should be preserved even if it offends people, says Sir Trevor Phillips. The chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) said we should "allow people to offend each other". And he suggested that Muslims who wanted a system of Islamic Shariah law should leave the UK. His comments follow angry protests against cartoons satirising the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Sir Trevor told ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby programme: "What some minorities have to accept is that there are certain central things we all agree about, which are about the way we treat each other. "That we have an attachment to democracy, that we sort things out by voting not by violence and intimidation, that we tolerate things that we don't like." And that commitment to freedom of expression should also allow Muslim preachers to make comments about homosexuality that are offensive to broad segments of the British population, he said. There were several large protests held in London over the cartoons "One point of Britishness is that people can say what they like about the way we should live, however absurd, however unpopular it is," said Sir Trevor. He also rejected the idea of Shariah law in Muslim communities in the UK. "We have one set of laws. They are decided on by one group of people, members of Parliament, and that's the end of the story. "Anybody who lives here has to accept that's the way we do it. If you want to have laws decided in another way, you have to live somewhere else," he said.
This man is stirring up trouble like that Costello fellow in Australia, nothing more than a white rac People must tolerate things they do not like, says Sir Trevor ....Never mind.


Muslim girls want to play only without men watching.

Culture: If this was somewhere in the Middle East or Asia, knock yourselves out. Its in America? The answer is no.

CHICAGO - Duaa Hamoud holds a basketball to her hip. She is standing in a long blue gown in a gym at Bridgeview's Universal School, a co-ed private school. Her head is covered in a white scarf pulled tightly around her neck. Not a wisp of hair is showing. Around her, other high school girls dressed in similar flowing robes shoot a few casual baskets while they wait for practice to begin. There are no men in the gym — no male coaches, no boys from school, no dads or brothers. So when the coach arrives and the real training starts, they can peel off their Islamic dress, exposing their sweat pants and short-sleeved T-shirts. "We'd run if we noticed a man peeking in the window," Hamoud, 16, explains. "We're not allowed to be seen by guys without (Islamic dress). We've all learned to accept that." But the girls can't accept that they have only been allowed to compete against girls basketball teams from other Muslim schools. There are only four in the Chicago area, they complain, and their competition isn't exactly tough. They've been beseeching Coach Farida Abusafa, a 26-year-old English teacher who also coaches sports, to ask public schools and non-Muslim private schools if their girls teams would be willing to compete against girls from the Universal School. But the schools would have to agree to bar men and boys above the age of puberty from watching the games. The dilemma underscores the balancing act many Muslims perform as they toggle between American and Middle Eastern culture. Many of these young girls straddle the divide with ease, yapping on their cell phones at the mall one minute, observing the school's strict gender segregation the next. But the girls are also mindful of the challenges they face. "It's something you have to decide you want to do," said Shaylin Najeeullah, 16, on the varsity basketball team. "You can stay true to what you believe in or you can conform to everybody else and get lost." The Universal School's principal, Farhat Siddiqi, said there was no reason the girls wouldn't be allowed to play teams from public schools or other private schools as long as the prohibition barring men was strictly observed. But she worried that parents from other schools might object, she said. "I don't want to have to impose our religious requirements on anyone else," Siddiqi said.
You think people would object? The ACLU probably would not, but that would be expected. Play by the rules like everone else or keep on isolating yourselves from the rest of the high school sports world. It is an absolutely ridiculous demand.


NYTIMES: We are with you against Islamists!

Media: The same sort of way a guy will tell you he was backing you up after you get you ass kicked in a bar fight because he was ducking behind the bar.

In most of these cases, the legal action represents attempts by cowed authorities to appease the Islamists. But the effect — in Yemen, Jordan and other countries — has only been to give extremists a dollop of legitimacy, and to encourage them to turn up the heat. That, in turn, increases the perception of a "clash of civilizations" between Islam and the West. It is time for moderate Muslims to abandon the illusion that they can placate the Islamists by straddling the fence. It is they who must explain to their people that the cartoons were an isolated incident, and not the face of hostile crusaders. It is they who must make it clear to their people that blowing up mosques, beheading hostages and strapping on belts of explosives are far, far greater evils than a few drawings in a distant paper. They must do so because their future is at stake — not Denmark's.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Gates of AQ opens on Gilneas

Entertainment: I just had to miss it the gates opening by about 10 mins on World of Warcraft. Pics by Avesara on WoW forums.


Australians back Costello's comments.

Australia: This is in part of the knee-jerk victim status the Muslim leaders and P.C. types down there utter every time something like this comes along.

WEST Australians have rallied behind Peter Costello's call for Muslim extremists to be stripped of Australian citizenship. Callers to talkback radio and letters to newspapers have overwhelmingly backed the Treasurer – with many saying they are sick of even hearing the word "Muslim". In a letter to The Sunday Times, Wilson resident Richard Sims congratulated Mr Costello for speaking "from the hip". "As Australians, we do not care whether you worship Allah, Fosters or the Eagles, what we do care is that you do not come to this wonderful country of ours to change it to the way your native land was," he wrote. WA Premier Alan Carpenter supported the Treasurer's comments, calling on migrants to adopt Australian values while still maintaining their cultural ties. "One of the great features of modern Australian life is our ability as a community to respect, enjoy and celebrate our cultural differences," he said. "Everyone who decides to become an Australian citizen should be loyal to Australia and its people, respect our rights and liberties, share our democratic beliefs and uphold and obey our laws." WA Opposition Leader Matt Birney also agreed with Mr Costello, saying political correctness was to blame. "I believe the vast majority of foreign-born West Australians are loyal to our nation and respect our laws and culture," he said. "What is more concerning is that some sections of the community have taken political correctness too far. "Their attempts to accommodate ethnic or religious groups, most of the time without any request from these groups, upset the majority of West Australians and create unnecessary tension in the community."
Costello talks about banning extremists and not allowing them into the country, none of which is the least bit unreasonable. Then comes the call of "Islamophobia" which ticks people off and you get this sort of reaction. You have to be stupid not to see it coming.


Thomas stands by his work or stay away comments.

Nation: Oliver Thomas is not backing down and says he has strong support.

It may be causing an uproar in Houston, but New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas said Friday that he has encountered solid support at home for his view that only employed residents, or those willing to train for a job, should be allowed back into the city's public housing developments. Since Thomas expressed that position at a Housing Committee meeting on Monday, he said, his opinion has often been misconstrued. For example, he didn't mean to imply that the elderly and disabled should be excluded from returning to their homes in the developments. But he does believe that residents of publicly subsidized housing must display the moxie New Orleans needs during its gravest crisis, instead of a sense of entitlement. And he will not "back down" from a view that resonates across the town's political and racial spectrum, Thomas said. "Out of more than 50 phone calls to my office from black and white residents, only two were opposed," he said. "Look, I'm as bleeding a heart as anyone, but people know where I'm coming from, and I think black leaders need to say what has to be done, not what some people may want to hear. "We need to teach our people independence," Thomas said, again addressing the city's African-American community and citing Malcolm X's argument that the welfare state was a modern form of slavery. "If someone is given a chance to better their life, why would they say no? What does that say about them?"
Houston is pissed, perhaps because they realize they are stuck with the worst of Orleans?
For example, former residents who want to return to their previous units or take occupancy of a deserted one must exhibit a desire to go through training programs or provide a prior record of employment, said Nadine Jarmen, the receiver in charge of HANO. It remains unclear how long the new requirements, which officials say are an emergency measure, will remain in place. HANO's new rules -- along with Thomas' comments -- drew an immediate rebuke from officials in Houston, which has absorbed more Katrina evacuees than any other city. There, City Councilman M.J. Khan said Thomas' statements smacked of selective engineering, and he questioned why any city should be able to dictate who lives there. He also questioned why New Orleans, which relied on the graciousness of other cities during a time of crisis, would now cavalierly assume some residents should not be allowed to return. On Friday, the Houston Chronicle joined that fray, ripping the New Orleans City Council in an editorial titled, "No welcome home." "Everyone who fled from New Orleans during the storm deserves the same warm welcome back that they received upon arriving in Houston and other host cities during the emergency," the paper wrote. "If New Orleans is unwilling to do that for its own, to the best of its ability, then the Hurricane Katrina disaster has shattered its sense of community in a manner no engineer or architect can ever repair."
Lets cut the pollyanish views and get to the reality of the situation. There are people in N.O, black and white who see this as an opportunity to start over. Yes, there is social engineering going on because its not every day a city known for this much corruption and crime gets the chance to make good with a second chance. That will mean people who are working and willing to bust ass to make it work. If you get back the welfare addicts, it will just fail again. Houston can put on a show, but they realize that Orleans has given them their poor and its now their problem.


Tennessee's new crack tax brings in the money

Crime: Only crackheads and drug dealers are stupid enough to fall for this though it is sorta innovative. But I do advocate having the states instead of busting pot heads and throwing them into jail, fine and tax them. Pot heads are an untapped revenue source. The harder drugs still should be given jail time.

Drug dealers not only paid their debts to society last year with prison sentences, they often paid with tax money as well. The state's unauthorized substances tax, dubbed the "crack tax," raked in $1,714,565 since becoming effective on Jan 1., 2005, according to a statement released yesterday by the Tennessee Department of Revenue. More than $32 million in uncollected taxes has been assessed. "We're pleased with last year's results," said Emily Richard, a spokeswoman for the state's Department of Revenue. "It definitely was a success." The money collected has already covered the one-time startup cost of the program, $376,400, and the first year of recurring cost, $802,568. But not everyone supports the new law. Nashville defense lawyer Glenn Funk said the tax is unfair because the taxes are often assessed before the suspect is convicted of a crime. "It is a ridiculous law," Funk said. "The law on the books now is allowing revenue agents to seize personal property of citizens based solely on an accusation by a police officer." The unauthorized substances tax is levied on illegal drugs including marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. It also is assessed on illicit alcoholic beverages, such as "moonshine." Under the law, drug dealers are to pay taxes to the Department of Revenue within 48 hours of acquiring an unauthorized substance and obtain a state tax stamp. The amount of money taxed varies based on the type and amount of the drug. Payment of the tax is to be kept confidential and the information is not to be shared with law enforcement. If police catch a suspected drug dealer without the stamps, the tax is assessed, along with a fine for failure to pay the tax upfront. If the person is unable to pay the tax, personal property can be seized. •


Clemson papers reprint Mohammed cartoons.

Media: So far, the ones who are walking the talk around the nation are the college papers.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Two student newspapers at Clemson University have reprinted controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, upsetting Muslim students on campus and drawing a rebuke from the school's president. The papers, the conservative Tiger Town Observer and the liberal Clemson Forum, are not funded by the school, but the Observer has an on-campus office. In an open letter e-mailed to Clemson students and staff, President James Barker said he was disappointed that the papers printed the cartoons, which were first published in a Danish newspaper and have sparked deadly riots around the world. "While I wholeheartedly support freedom of the press and the right of student media to operate independently of administrative oversight and censorship, student journalists must understand that with rights come responsibilities, including the responsibility to be respectful of different faiths and beliefs," Barker wrote. "One of Clemson's goals is to strengthen our sense of community and increase diversity. The publication of these cartoons does nothing to further that goal." The letter said the cartoons were published in both papers Friday. Mehmet Babacan, a student from Turkey who is president of Clemson's Muslim Student Association, called the cartoons "disturbing." "I just can't understand, what's their aim?" he said. "Certainly it's not going to help our community at all to understand each other." Babacan said the cartoons attack one of Islam's holiest symbols. "It's just nonsense and meaningless for us," he said. "I'm just feeling depressed." He said the group planned to issue a formal statement next week.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Jyllands-Posten wins award for cartoons.

Media: No word if the American press famous for its own slaps on the back defending freedom of speech and expression(unless certain groups can cause physical harm to them) has any awards in the works for Posten walking the talk.

Copenhagen - Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which angered the Muslim world by publishing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad last year, has won a Danish critical journalism award for its initiative, the jury said. Denmark’s largest daily was honoured with the Victor Prize for “having opened everyone’s eyes by showing how easy it is to introduce cracks in freedom of expression and how so-called political correctness is infiltrating what we believe to be inalienable rights,” Hans Engell, the editor of tabloid Ekstra Bladet which awards the prize, said during a prize ceremony in Copenhagen late on Thursday. The Victor Prize, named for the late editor-in-chief of Ekstra Bladet Victor Andreasen, was handed to Jyllands-Posten’s editor Carsten Juste. “This prize is awarded to Jyllands-Posten for its adamant defence for months of freedom of expression, which is under threat,” Engell told AFP. “Jyllands-Posten only did its duty: exercise its right to freedom of expression,” he added. Juste, guarded by two secret service bodyguards, noted “how fragile freedom of expression is” as he accepted the award, his newspaper reported.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Now you can't even mention about Mohammed

World: I got it. This point on it will be "He who must not be named!"

NEW YORK A Malaysian newspaper said the government may take action against it for publishing Monday's "Non Sequitur" comic mentioning the Prophet Muhammad, according to a Bloomberg report. Wiley Miller's Feb. 20 cartoon, which can be viewed here, shows an artist next to a sign saying: "Caricatures of Muhammad while you wait!" The caption reads: "Kevin finally achieves his goal to be the most feared man in the world." After the cartoon was published in the New Strait Times, police received complaints from Malaysia's Islamic opposition party (Parti Islam SeMalaysia) and three nongovernmental organizations. The Times got a show-cause letter from the Internal Security Ministry and was given three days to explain in writing why action shouldn't be taken against it for running the cartoon, which the ministry said breached the conditions of the newspaper's publishing permit. "Once again, it seems the ironically challenged have just validated the point of the satire," said Miller, when reached today by E&P. Times Editor in Chief Hishamuddin Aun said in a statement published on the front page today: "The matter is in the hands of the authorities. Everyone should allow the law to take its course."
Cartoon here. I need to trademark the phrase before someone...ah damn it.


Costello: You want Sharia law, go elsewhere.

Australia: Of course this turns into they are just bashing Muslims for Muslim sakes by various leaders.

Prime Minister John Howard has refused Muslim calls to censure Treasurer Peter Costello over comments he made about Islamic extremists. And Mr Costello has challenged Muslim leaders to pledge their allegiance to Australia before they criticise him over his comments about citizenship. Muslim leaders have called for Mr Howard to censure Mr Costello over his speech last night to the Sydney Institute in which he said anyone who believed Islamic sharia law could co-exist with Australian law should move to a country where they felt more comfortable. Islamic Friendship Association president Keysar Trad said Mr Costello had unfairly singled out Muslims and was promoting division and Islamophobia. But Mr Howard said Mr Costello's comments were "fundamentally accurate". "He's not trying to stir up hostilities with Islamic people any more than I was when I made some comments three days before the Cronulla riots," Mr Howard told Southern Cross Broadcasting in Melbourne. Mr Costello said Muslim leaders should be pledging themselves and their followers to Australian values before they started criticising him. "Rather than try and censure me ... they should make a clear statement that they subscribe to all of these views - that they are loyal to Australia, they respect the rights and liberties of others, they believe in democratic government and they believe that all Australians should live unequivocally under the one law made by the Australian parliament - and endorse these values and recommend them to their followers," Mr Costello told Southern Cross Broadcasting. "Pledge themselves unequivocally to these values first of all, and then call on their followers to pledge themselves unequivocally to these values. "This is what I would invite them to do, rather than to criticise me because all Australians should in my view subscribe to these values."
Some are not happy, but one guy agreed with him.
The president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Ameer Ali, says Mr Costello's comments are ignorant and, along with the Prime Minister's views, show a government move away from multiculturalism. He says giving constant publicity to radical Muslims is not helpful and the Treasurer should stick to managing the economy. "Why does he give importance to these tiny people? He quotes some imam, some name. Nobody's heard about this person. I think they have to come clean on this," he said. "Are we going to embrace multiculturalism or are we going back to the White Australia Policy? "That is the fear that I am having now, having listened to all these comments cropping up from the government's side." 'Creating more fear' Director of the Forum on Australia's Islamic Relations (FAIR) Kuranda Seyit says Mr Costello's comments are a deliberate ploy to stir up fear and hatred. "It's creating more fear and Islamophobia, which just adds to the credibility and the strength of the Liberal government, which has survived for so long because its been able to create fear and suspicion around Muslims," he said. The chairwoman of the Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia, Voula Messineri, agrees the comments are a departure from Australia's multicultural values. She says the Treasurer is helping to marginalise a vulnerable group. "What people are thinking about in the mainstream is that Muslims are to be feared and that is very, very unfortunate," she said. Abdul Khan from the Islamic Society of the Northern Territory, who has dual citizenship of Australia and Pakistan, agrees with Mr Costello's comments. "Really it's a great comment that he's made," he said. "People must contribute, here, to the wellbeing of the society and they must do the right thing. They should be law-abiding citizens of the country."


New Orleans: Work or don't come back.

Nation: Now I can take this one of two ways. Way to go Council people for setting the government is our parent set and telling them what New Orleans need right now is not them. The other way is this gung-ho attitude is to get New Orleans back on its feet, then get the shiftless back for votes while they leech off the workers in the future.

The president of the New Orleans City Council is on the defensive Tuesday after he and two other council members said they don't welcome displaced public housing residents who are unwilling to work. During a meeting Monday, Council President Oliver Thomas said the city doesn't need what referred to as "soap opera watchers" right now. Thomas said government programs and agencies have "pampered" people for too long, rather than actually improving their lives. He stressed that former public housing residents who are unwilling to roll up their sleeves are work are better off staying away. Thomas was on national television Tuesday explaining his comments. "Anyone that wants to come and help with this recovery, you know, we want them to come back and participate," Thomas stressed. "What's the one thing we've learned? We've learned we can't count on the federal government. We can't count on the state government. And we can't count on the local government. So we need as many residents in this community, so that we can count on ourselves."
Houston Chron has the "clarification"
"....During that same meeting, according to the newspaper, officials with the Housing Authority of New Orleans shared their plans. Some residents who lived in public housing before the storm will be able to return. Future residents, however, will have to comply with new restrictions, including a series of questions about employment history and job prospects. In other words, people will have to express a willingness to work to qualify for public housing, officials in New Orleans have said. Later in Monday's meeting, Thomas, who is black, reiterated that his remarks were intended for African-Americans. "There's just been a lot of pampering, and at some point you have to say, 'No, no, no, no, no.' ... If our legs don't hurt, you can walk somewhere," he said. "I'm saying these things to motivate my people."
This part should give the workers pause.
Efforts to reach Thomas were unsuccessful Tuesday, but Clarkson said she and the other elected officials aren't targeting the elderly or disabled who once lived in New Orleans public housing. "But it is an indictment of those who can work, but don't work," she said. Clarkson also said the city eventually wants to bring everyone back, but needs to start with workers first, to create a tax base. Then, eventually, she said, New Orleans will have the resources to support everyone, including the unemployable.
So I am leaning to the second way of thinking.


Daily Tar Heel paper in original Mohammed cartoon contro.

Nation: Muslim student group is not happy about this and demanding an apology for it.

Protestors want apology from Daily Tar Heel editor Updated: 2/21/2006 8:37 AM By: Shelvia Dancy & Web Staff (CHAPEL HILL) -- Some Carolina students organized a sit-in at the campus newspaper. They're protesting the editor's decision to print a controversial cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The group wants a printed apology from the Daily Tar Heel. They say the editor should never have published a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad. "A lot of Muslims believe that any depiction of him is not allowed at all, and this depiction of the prophet in this context is profoundly hurtful and upsetting,” said UNC student Salma Mirza. They hope the sit-in makes their message clear. "Here today we're trying to make a statement that you need to include people instead of dividing them because we're already so divided,” added UNC student Devin Rooney. The newspaper's editor, Ryan Tuck, listened to the group's demands and then said, "I apologize to anyone personally offended by the cartoon or any anything else in our newspaper. That is not the goal of our newspaper. But we will not issue an apology." But Mirza says this isn't over. “If this apology is not forthcoming, which we hope it will be, we're prepared to take further action." Protesters say they're already circulating a petition that will ask advertisers to boycott the newspaper. They say they'll give the petition to advertisers if the newspaper continues to refuse to print an apology.
Wisconsin Badger Herald is taking heat for publishing one of the cartoons and its editor went head to head with the critics, not backing down.
"Instead of arguing that The Badger Herald had offended Muslims with its depiction of the prophet Muhammad, Kempe and others at the panel stated repeatedly that The Badger Herald was contributing to a wave of anti-Islam sentiment that was becoming increasingly prevalent across the globe. "To me, the cartoons represent not the effort to understand the Muslim world, but a condemnation of that world without understanding the problems and without seeking to find remedies for it," said Kemal Karpat, a professor emeritus of history at UW-Madison. Many students at the panel also accused The Badger Herald of bias, contending that VerStandig and his colleagues would never have printed images that ridiculed the Holocaust or depicted Christian symbols in a negative light. But VerStandig was just as passionate in defending the decision of his editorial team, arguing that any image that caused such an international uproar and so many deaths was newsworthy and deserved to be presented in public. "We printed this cartoon because other people weren't" VerStandig said. "Free speech, when not used, does run the risk of atrophying." VerStandig countered that a refusal to publish the images should be even more offensive to Muslims. According to him, images of Jews drinking the blood of Palestinians and images of Christ covered in dung are often printed all over the Middle East without a similar uproar. He contended that the general refusal to print the cartoon indicates that the international news media give Islam preferential treatment. Others on the panel took a more neutral approach."


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hillary: Vouchers for the school of jihad?

Edumacation: This must be the more hysterical version of being against school vouchers.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton slammed private-school voucher proposals yesterday, predicting that vouchers would eventually lead to the creation of taxpayer-financed white supremacist academies - or even a government-funded "School of the Jihad." Clinton, a longtime voucher foe who earned the backing of the city teachers union in 2000, says government financing of sectarian groups would incite ethnic and religious conflict - and encourage fringe groups to demand government cash to run their schools. President George W. Bush has long favored laws that require states to provide vouchers, a position that earned him the allegiance of conservative Christian groups that have clamored for public education dollars. "First family that comes and says 'I want to send my daughter to St. Peter's Roman Catholic School' and you say 'Great, wonderful school, here's your voucher,'" Clinton said. "Next parent that comes and says, 'I want to send my child to the school of the Church of the White Supremacist ...' The parent says, 'The way that I read Genesis, Cain was marked, therefore I believe in white supremacy. ... You gave it to a Catholic parent, you gave it to a Jewish parent, under the Constitution, you can't discriminate against me.'" As an adoring, if somewhat puzzled, audience of Bronx activists looked on, Clinton added, "So what if the next parent comes and says, 'I want to send my child to the School of the Jihad? ... I won't stand for it."


No charges against Western Standard for Mohammed cartoons.

Canada: Excellent, I was worried the officials were going to be politically correct as they tend to be up there against the magazine. Not that the local Muslim groups won't keep trying to change the law.

CALGARY - Local Muslims are disappointed the Crown prosecutor's office has recommended no criminal charges be laid against two publications that printed cartoons they find offensive. "I told them, I disagree with you," said Syed Soharwardy, president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada. Earlier this month, the Western Standard and the Jewish Free Press printed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that initially ran in a Danish newspaper and led to riots and protests around the world. Gordon Wong, Calgary's chief Crown prosecutor, said the Criminal Code requires there be an intent to incite hatred against a specific group, and his office had determined there was no intent in this case. "The intent was to debate the issue within the articles. That's different than inciting hatred," Wong said Tuesday. After the cartoons ran, the Muslim Council of Calgary complained to police. Soharwardy's group has also lodged a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, which has yet to decide if it will accept the case. Wong, Greg Lepp, head of the province's special prosecutions unit, and police Chief Jack Beaton met with representatives of the city's Muslim community Tuesday to explain the decision. "We thought it was important we try to explain our decision-making and receive any sort of feedback, communication, questions from the community leaders that we met with, and try to alleviate that," Wong said. Soharwardy said the community is still considering a civil lawsuit against those who published the cartoon. As well, it plans to begin lobbying for legislative changes so that offensive remarks or depictions of any religious figure are considered a crime.


Fear the Dubai port!

Nation: I'm still amused by the overreaction to all of this given the facts, it is all a bunch of political grandstanding, arab phobia and stupidity/ignorance about the whole deal.

Time Magazine: "But to call the United Arab Emirates a country "tied to 9/11" by virtue of the fact that one of the hijackers was born there and others transited through it is akin to attaching the same label to Britain (where shoe-bomber Richard Reid was born) or Germany (where a number of the 9/11 conspirators were based for a time). Dubai's port has a reputation for being one of the best run in the Middle East, says Stephen Flynn, a maritime security expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. And Dubai Ports World, which is a relatively new venture launched by the government of Dubai in 1999, has a number of Americans well known in the shipping industry in its senior leadership. It operates port facilities from Australia through China, Korea and Malaysia to India, Germany and Venezuela. (The acquisition of P&O would give them control over container shipping ports in Vancouver, Buenos Aires and a number of locations in Britain, France and a number of Asian countries.) "It's not exactly a shadow organization for al-Qaeda," says Flynn. Dubai, in fact, was one of the first Middle Eastern countries to join the U.S. Container Security Initiative, which places U.S. customs agents in overseas ports to begin the screening process from a U.S.-bound cargo's point of departure."
Reuters editorial roundup, no surprise about the NYTIMES, they see an opportunity to bash. Experts say this is stupid.
LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. security is not at risk if Arab firm Dubai Ports takes control of major U.S. seaports, shipping experts said on Wednesday, pointing to the firm's flawless record and protection from maritime treaties. Under a $6.8 billion deal Dubai Ports World will take over UK firm P&O operations that include six top U.S. ports. The sale has caused a storm in the United States. U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday rejected congressional pressure to step in and suspend the UAE firm's takeover and vowed to veto any legislation to block the deal. Several members of Congress have expressed concerns over security if the ports were run by Dubai Ports. Maritime security experts sided with the president. "They are professionals and they operate in a market and a market provides discipline," said Professor Geoffrey Till, head of defense studies at King's College University in London. "There is a real incentive for them to demonstrate that something like this is not a security threat and rather more so than an English-based consortium," Till, a naval expert, told Reuters at a maritime security conference in London.
Arabs see bias.
As the U.S. secretary of state heads here for talks, many Arabs go further, saying the very basis of American policy toward the Middle East may be at stake: If the United States can't work with a moderate, friendly and socially liberal Arab ally like Dubai, it may not be able to work with any Arabs at all. "If the American politicians were smart, they would hold Dubai up as a role model," said Abdul Khaleq Abdulla, a political scientist at Emirates University. "Punishing us sends the wrong message." President Bush said basically the same Tuesday, threatening to veto legislation aimed at blocking the port deal. "This is a company that has played by the rules, that has been cooperative with the United States, a country that's an ally in the war on terror, and it would send a terrible signal to friends and allies not to let this transaction go through," Bush said. Among other things, the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is one part, allows the United States to base U.S. Air Force spy planes and refueling flights here and allows U.S. warships to visit. It also has handed over to the United States terrorism suspects arrested on its territory, including the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing in Yemen.
Foreign investment may cool off.
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Blocking a Dubai company's $6.8 billion purchase of an operator of six U.S. ports may send a chilling signal to U.S. and other companies looking to make politically sensitive international investments, analysts and investors said on Wednesday. The deal would give Dubai Ports World, which is backed by United Arab Emirates government, control over ports in Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New York, New Orleans Philadelphia. The acquisition of British-owned P&O (PO.L: Quote, Profile, Research) would create the world's third-largest ports company. Democratic and Republican lawmakers have railed against the deal, questioning whether the Dubai company could be trusted to guard against terrorism. President George W. Bush has threatened to veto any legislation that would block the deal. A similar outcry from American lawmakers over the potential risks to U.S. national interests scuttled last year's bid by China's state-controlled CNOOC Ltd. for Unocal Corp.. U.S. oil firm Chevron Corp. (CVX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) later won the bidding for Unocal. Killing the Dubai Ports World deal would mark the latest example of politics clashing with business deals, and could scare other international companies from risking the time and money to navigate a U.S. regulatory review, analysts said. It also could prejudice foreign governments against investments from U.S. companies. "It will not be seen as just case-specific because there have been other such cases, like Unocal. These are cases are seen as complicating the regulatory process with very unpredictable political and congressional involvement," said Cecil Hunt, a lawyer with Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP in Washington
Now I put a lot of this on the White House with its inept media staff and officials who should have seen this coming. Even after it blew up, they should have been out there with facts such as the ones pointed above to head it off. Instead they were caught flat-footed again. There needs to be a purge of that entire part of the White House, this sort of nonsense has happened way too many times. It also caught GOP members by surprise in an election year which gave the Dems an opening to exploit the situation. That is unacceptable. That said the mass hysteria over this deal is idiotic. If the deal is scraped over Dubai of all places in the Middle East, it will hurt all efforts to bring more countries over there to us thru trade relations which is a big asset for us.


Brutal murder was anti-Semitic, says Sarkozy

France: This has been brewing over a week with the Jewish community getting angry at the fact the police has been downplaying the motives behind the murder. Now Sarkozy comes out and says it.

The French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, yesterday described the abduction, torture and killing of a young Jewish man as an anti-Semitic crime, amid growing anger at the brutal murder. Mr Sarkozy told the French parliament that the gang sought for the murder of Ilan Halimi, 23, whose naked body was found by railway tracks eight days ago, three weeks after he had disappeared, had also tried to kidnap other Jews. The police, who found literature linking some of the suspects to Palestinian and Muslim groups, have insisted the murder was motivated by greed - the gang had demanded a ransom - and not religious motives. Mr Sarkozy told MPs: "The truth is that these crooks acted primarily for sordid and vile motives, to get money, but they were convinced that 'the Jews have money', and if those they kidnapped didn't have money, their family and their community would come up with it. "That's called anti-Semitism by amalgam." He added that four of the six other people the gang had approached and tried to kidnap "were of the Jewish faith" and described the criminals as "barbaric". The judge overseeing the inquiry into the murder has instructed investigators to look into anti-Semitic motives in the cases of seven of the 13 suspects arrested. Mr Sarkozy added: "We have a duty to the memory of Ilan Halimi, to his family, his parents, his friends and above all, all the Jews of France, to establish the truth." Ilan Halimi was snatched on January 21. A young woman, suspected as acting as a lure, has since given herself up. His family received numerous ransom demands. He was found, with 80% of his body burned, naked and handcuffed on February 13. He died on the way to hospital. ....Police had earlier insisted the murder was not anti-Semitic, but the victim's mother Ruth Halimi accused them of ignoring this motive for fear of upsetting Muslim opinion. She told the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that if her son "hadn't been Jewish, he wouldn't have been killed". "We told the police there were at least three attempted kidnappings of young Jews but they kept insisting that the motives were purely criminal." Jean-Claude Marin, the Paris public prosecutor, told Le Monde yesterday: "When the legal case was opened the anti-Semitic nature of the crime did not come up at all. "Then, during the weekend, certain people interviewed let it be known, in an indirect way, that the choice of a Jew guaranteed the payment of a ransom. The judge therefore considered that there was possibly an anti-Semitic motive." According to Le Parisien the woman who had tried to lure two men into the gang's clutches admitted to police that she was instructed to target Jewish men. "In the heads of these youngsters the [Jewish] community had the solidarity to rapidly collect a ransom. The gang wanted money so they went out to get it where they thought they'd find it," a source close to the inquiry told the newspaper. When the kidnapped man's family told the gang they could not find the €450,000 (£315,000) they had demanded they were told to "go and ask in the synagogues", the newspaper added.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bush, ports, UAE, racist/xeno overtones and stupidity.

Nation: How did something like this get so way out of hand? Blame goes all around on this.

The White House appeared stunned by the uprising, over a transaction that they considered routine — especially since China's biggest state-owned shipper runs major ports in the United States, as do a host of other foreign companies. Mr. Bush's aides defended their decision, saying the company, Dubai Ports World, which is owned by the United Arab Emirates, would have no control over security issues. Some administration officials, refusing to be quoted by name, suggested that there was a whiff of racism in the objections to an Arab owner taking over the terminals. The current operator of the six American terminals, P&O Port, is owned by the British company that Dubai Ports World is acquiring. The ports include those in New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia, as well as New York. Mr. Frist, in a rare break from the Bush administration, declared that "the decision to finalize this deal should be put on hold until the administration conducts a more extensive review of this matter." He added, "If the administration cannot delay this process, I plan on introducing legislation to ensure that the deal is placed on hold until this decision gets a more thorough review." Representative Edward Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts and a persistent critic of the administration's actions on port security, said in an interview that "this is now a bipartisan posse chasing the president." But firestorm of opposition to the deal drew a similarly intense expression of befuddlement by shipping industry and port experts. The shipping business, they said, went global more than a decade ago and across the United States, foreign-based companies already control more than 30 percent of the port terminals. That inventory includes APL Limited, which is controlled by the government of Singapore, and which operates terminals in Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, and Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Globally, 24 of the top 25 ship terminal operators are foreign-based, meaning most of the containers sent to the United States leave terminals around the world that are operated by foreign government or foreign-based companies. "This kind of reaction is totally illogical," said Philip Damas, research director at Drewry Shipping Consultants of London. "The location of the headquarters of a company in the age of globalism is irrelevant." But the reasoning did not resonate in Washington, where members of Congress from every end of the political spectrum piled on to condemn the deal and to propose emergency legislation to block it if necessary.
The first blame goes to the White House for not being prepared for this sort of reaction, it was tailored made for a press/congress critter frenzy. From a business standpoint its a good deal. Dubai has become a international center of finance and one of the friendly Middle East countries to America and the West. It already owns multiple places in America and as the Times points out, its not an strange to have ports being foreign owned. Yes I know the talking points about UAE are already out, they recognized the Taliban, bank transfer for 9/11, 2 of 19 terrorists came from there, may be a hub for terrorism fund-raising. If we applied this to all of the Middle East. The only place we would be comfortable with is the Kurdish north. This is not personal, its business. There were legit reason to oppose this without going into hysterics, now its being played out by the usual suspects are going to take advantage to paint America being racists.
James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, said on Tuesday that politicians were exploiting fears left over from the September 11 attacks to gain advantage in a congressional election year. "I find some of the rhetoric being used against this deal shameful and irresponsible. There is bigotry coming out here," he said "Bush is vulnerable so the Democrats jump on it. The Republicans feel vulnerable so they jump on it. The slogan is, if it's Arab, it's bad. Hammer away," Zogby said. Anti-Arab bigotry According to some industry analysts, the change in management would have no real effect on security, which would still be carried out by American workers to international standards. The UAE, whose government owns Dubai Ports World, is an international financial hub and close US ally. "The Emirates have been very pro-active partners in helping our security. They have a solid track record of cooperation," said Peter Tirschwell, publisher of the Journal of Commerce. Rabiah Ahmed of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said members of her organisation also believed anti-Arab bigotry was driving the debate. "The perception in the Arab-American community is that this is related to anti-Arab sentiment," she said.

UAE is among the top countries not only in the Middle East, but the Muslim world to have a good business relationship with as it becomes a business center. The security is not going to be handled by them, they are just running the operations.

The interesting part of all of this is Bush could come out of this looking good as trying to fight the "racist" congress(that is being played out in Arab Media) or to find a way to point out everyone is just being a bit crazy over this.

Expanding on my earlier bit about the White House not being prepared for this. This is yet another self-inflicted wound. Whoever is the day to day operation person behind these policies, if there is any, should be fired. If Karl Rove is in on this, then he shows again while he is a big event planner(elections) with the day to day stuff, he has no clue. Time for changes in the media/information center.


Somali warlords battle Islamists

Africa: The only people to feel sorry for are the ones with neither group and caught in the middle of this.

At least seven more people have been killed on the fourth day of the heaviest fighting seen in the Somali capital for several years. Supporters of some of Mogadishu's militia leaders have clashed with an armed Islamist group which says it is trying to establish law and order. Their opponents say the Islamic courts are terrorising local people. More than 22 people have died since fighting began on Saturday - many of them civilians hit by stray bullets. 'Scary' A witness told AFP news agency on Tuesday that they had seen two people die and 15 wounded in a clash in southern Mogadishu's Daynile district. "The place is full of blood and it is very scary," he said. The main airstrip there which is used by aid agencies and businessmen has been shut.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Muslim anger at PM John Howard for stating facts?

Australia: When digging a hole, stop digging. This has to be the dumbest rationalization I have ever seen.

PRIME Minister John Howard's suggestions that some Muslims are extremists who cannot embrace the Australian way of life are offensive and ignorant, the Islamic Council of New South Wales says. Mr Howard said yesterday he stood by his comments, which were outlined in a book to mark his 10 years in power, claiming sections of Australia's Muslim population were antagonistic to Australian culture. He said a commitment to jihad and extreme attitudes towards women were two problems unique to Muslims that previous intakes of migrants from Europe did not have, and that Australia wanted people to assimilate and adopt Australian ways. Islamic Council of NSW spokesman Ali Roude said Mr Howard had a right to his personal view but that he should involve the entire Australian community if he was contemplating a change in Australia's policy of multiculturalism. "If the PM has a personal preference for assimilation rather than the strategy of multiculturalism, which has been the strong bipartisan position in Australia since the days of the Fraser government, that is his personal right and he is entitled to it," Mr Roude said. "I myself and our council will disagree with him, but we will take it no further." Mr Roude said it was no surprise that Mr Howard had pointed to the radical and offensive views of a minority within the Muslim community. "Within any pluralist society such obscene voices exist," he said. "Within Australia we have seen Captain Francis De Groot and the New Guard, then the League of Rights and the Australian Nationalist Party and more recently the rise and fall of Pauline Hanson and her One Nation Party."
So Howard points out Islamist extremists won't embrace the Australian way of life and that is ignorant? How stupid can you get? Unless Roude can point out how the people and parties he says are on the same level as Islamic extremists, he is full of it. Other apologists are either ignorant or stupid.
SYDNEY, Australia -- Australian Prime Minister John Howard said some segments of the country's Islamic community were "utterly antagonistic" to Australian society in comments published Monday that immediately drew criticism from a Muslim group. Howard also denounced "extreme attitudes" held by some Muslims, including their views on women and support of jihad, or holy war. He said some Muslim immigrants had not integrated into Australian society as well as previous waves of Europeans and Asians. ....Keysar Trad, founder of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, said he was "quite disappointed" with Howard's remarks. "I think his comments will disappoint many mainstream Muslims because they come out of left field and they will not be seen just as criticism of a minority," Trad said.
How have they come out of left field? John Howard and others have not sucked up like in the UK and have on previous occasions denounced the extremists, this cannot be a surprise to anyone. Even the "moderate" Muslim cleric is a bit off in my book.
"Prominent Melbourne cleric Sheik Fehmi Naji El-Imam conceded that there was a radical minority who should probably leave the country. "These (extremists) can be found, but the mainstream are not extremists," the imam of Preston Mosque, in Melbourne's north, said. "But we should ask why the extremist have such views. In the case of Palestine and the double standards of the West, what do you expect?" Sheik Fehmi, who is regarded as a moderate, said he understood why Muslims would fight overseas. But he said Muslim Australians had no business preaching and pursuing violence here. "It's not wrong to fight the invasion in Iraq, it's not wrong to assist the Palestinians but here (in Australia), we cannot go ahead to do some terrorist (attack) to help the people over there," Sheik Fehmi said. "If you live here, you have to keep (extremist views) to yourself. If you cannot keep it to yourself, then leave."
If that is the moderate, there is a huge problem in that community.


Cartoon roundup for Feb 20th

World: At this point bringing you the wacky, unreal, astounding events and fallout from the Mohammed cartoon fiasco. Indian minister offers 11 million dollar reward for cartoonists.

NEW DELHI, 19 February 2006 — A minister in India’s Uttar Pradesh state government has offered a reward of $11.5 million to anyone who would kill any of the cartoonists who drew the images of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Muhammad Yaqoob Qureshi, minister of state for Haj and Minorities Welfare in the Uttar Pradesh government, told a rally in Meerut, 65 km east of New Delhi, after Friday prayers that he would give “the avenger” 510 million rupees ($11.5 million) and his weight in gold. “Drawing a cartoon of the Prophet is blasphemous and Muslims will not tolerate this insult,” he said in a speech that was broadcast by Indian television stations. “The money will be paid by the people of Meerut,” said Yaqoob.
Indian parties say nothing eyeing the Muslim vote.
The Centre has voiced criticism against Uttar Pradesh minister Haji Yaqoob Qureshi for offering a reward of Rs 51 crore for killing the Danish cartoonist. The Centre said the Minister for Haj and Minority Affairs had no business asking for the execution of the controversial Danish cartoonist along with a cash reward. "The government has taken the issue seriously. No one holding a constitutional position can make such remarks," said Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, Parliamentary Affairs Minister. Muslim votebank But political reactions have been lukewarm and muted, perhaps with an eye on the Muslim votebank. Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and other Samajwadi party leaders have been absolutely silent on the outrageous comments made by their minister. The Congress did read out a statement on behalf of party President Sonia Gandhi, but it focussed on the cartoons and not the minister's incitement to violence. "UPA chairperson asked the government to write to the Danish government way back in October last year, expressing the deep sense of anguish, asking for an apology," said Rajiv Shukla, MP, Congress. Caught in the bind Even the Left has not made a categorical criticism. Only the BJP has been unequivocal in its demands. "We criticise all such attempts. But we also condemn the nude painting of Bharat Mata by an Indian artist," said Ravishankar Prasad, MP, BJP. The Centre is caught in a bind and can do little. But the government is trying to show that something is being done.
Clinton and Chirac kissing people's asses left and right.
Anger against cartoons of Prophet Muhammad flared anew in Asia on Friday in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Adding their voice to the crisis, former US President Bill Clinton and French President Jacques Chirac said it was a mistake to publish the cartoons. In Pakistan, police fired tear gas and detained more than 100 protestors on Friday. At least 10 were detained for blocking a highway in Karachi and hurled stones at vehicles. Clinton, on a private visit to Pakistan, said he saw nothing wrong with Muslims demonstrating in a peaceful way, but he feared an opportunity to improve understanding had been squandered. “This is not a time to burn bridges; this is a time to build them. This is an enormous opportunity, because most people are horrified that this occurred." “I am appalled by what happened as a result of these cartoons,” Chirac said. “I am in favour of the freedom of the press as a pillar of democracy. But I am equally for respecting everyone’s sensibilities.”
Al Qaeda will use cartoons to get recruits. The Jesus and Mohammed hugging/kissing cartoon in Toronto is getting interesting as the student paper refuses to back down.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Open Skies treaty going to tick off the enviros.

World: Treaty takes away power of governments to put emission standards on air travel.

Britain could lose its ability to impose environmental taxes, restrictions and safeguards on airlines under a draft treaty between the EU and US which curtails the power of national governments. The draft treaty, meant to liberalise aviation, includes a little noticed clause requiring EU states to reach agreement with each other and with the US before taking measures to tackle noise or pollution from airlines. The text of the draft "open skies" treaty, obtained by the Guardian, is likely to alarm environmental activists who argue that the seemingly unstoppable growth in air travel is among the main contributory factors to global warming. Aviation emissions rose by 12% last year and now account for about 11% of Britain's total greenhouse gas emissions - the fastest growing sector. The government's chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, has described global warming as a bigger threat to the world than global terrorism. The revelations come amid campaigns by environmental protesters to halt expansion plans at several British airports, including Heathrow and Stansted. Yesterday a convoy of more than 100 cars toured some of the villages that would be affected if proposals to build a £2.7bn second runway at Stansted, in Essex, are approved. Article 14 of the draft treaty encompasses any environmental measures which could have "possible adverse effects" on the free traffic of aircraft. It says that signatories to the treaty must "recognise that the costs and benefits of measures to protect the environment must be carefully weighed". The clause states that any disagreement between countries must be referred to a committee comprising governments, airports and airlines. If this fails to produce consensus, the issue is referred to a three-person international arbitration panel. Industry sources say US negotiators insisted on the clause's inclusion. America has vigorously opposed taxes on aviation fuel, or a proposed emissions trading scheme, because of fears that any extra expense will cost jobs and push several of its airlines - already under bankruptcy protection - out of business. Whitehall insiders say the transport secretary, Alistair Darling, wants the environmental article changed. A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "We wouldn't sign anything that meant we couldn't implement an emissions trading scheme." The treaty, however, will be subject to a vote by EU member states requiring 65% of countries to approve it. Britain will have no veto, although a senior EU official offered a cautious response yesterday: "This is a draft. There is a lot that is not yet satisfactory to the European commission and there is plenty of time to amend it."


Flemming Rose op-ed in Wash Post about cartoons

Media: Excellent piece has he explains himself giving more background details. and thinking behind publishing the cartoons.

"....Those examples have to do with exercising restraint because of ethical standards and taste; call it editing. By contrast, I commissioned the cartoons in response to several incidents of self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam. And I still believe that this is a topic that we Europeans must confront, challenging moderate Muslims to speak out. The idea wasn't to provoke gratuitously -- and we certainly didn't intend to trigger violent demonstrations throughout the Muslim world. Our goal was simply to push back self-imposed limits on expression that seemed to be closing in tighter. At the end of September, a Danish standup comedian said in an interview with Jyllands-Posten that he had no problem urinating on the Bible in front of a camera, but he dared not do the same thing with the Koran. This was the culmination of a series of disturbing instances of self-censorship. Last September, a Danish children's writer had trouble finding an illustrator for a book about the life of Muhammad. Three people turned down the job for fear of consequences. The person who finally accepted insisted on anonymity, which in my book is a form of self-censorship. European translators of a critical book about Islam also did not want their names to appear on the book cover beside the name of the author, a Somalia-born Dutch politician who has herself been in hiding. Around the same time, the Tate gallery in London withdrew an installation by the avant-garde artist John Latham depicting the Koran, Bible and Talmud torn to pieces. The museum explained that it did not want to stir things up after the London bombings. (A few months earlier, to avoid offending Muslims, a museum in Goteborg, Sweden, had removed a painting with a sexual motif and a quotation from the Koran.) Finally, at the end of September, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen met with a group of imams, one of whom called on the prime minister to interfere with the press in order to get more positive coverage of Islam. So, over two weeks we witnessed a half-dozen cases of self-censorship, pitting freedom of speech against the fear of confronting issues about Islam. This was a legitimate news story to cover, and Jyllands-Posten decided to do it by adopting the well-known journalistic principle: Show, don't tell. I wrote to members of the association of Danish cartoonists asking them "to draw Muhammad as you see him." We certainly did not ask them to make fun of the prophet. Twelve out of 25 active members responded."
Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn't intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy. This is exactly why Karl Popper, in his seminal work "The Open Society and Its Enemies," insisted that one should not be tolerant with the intolerant. Nowhere do so many religions coexist peacefully as in a democracy where freedom of expression is a fundamental right. In Saudi Arabia, you can get arrested for wearing a cross or having a Bible in your suitcase, while Muslims in secular Denmark can have their own mosques, cemeteries, schools, TV and radio stations. I acknowledge that some people have been offended by the publication of the cartoons, and Jyllands-Posten has apologized for that. But we cannot apologize for our right to publish material, even offensive material. You cannot edit a newspaper if you are paralyzed by worries about every possible insult. I am offended by things in the paper every day: transcripts of speeches by Osama bin Laden, photos from Abu Ghraib, people insisting that Israel should be erased from the face of the Earth, people saying the Holocaust never happened. But that does not mean that I would refrain from printing them as long as they fell within the limits of the law and of the newspaper's ethical code. That other editors would make different choices is the essence of pluralism. As a former correspondent in the Soviet Union, I am sensitive about calls for censorship on the grounds of insult. This is a popular trick of totalitarian movements: Label any critique or call for debate as an insult and punish the offenders. That is what happened to human rights activists and writers such as Andrei Sakharov, Vladimir Bukovsky, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Natan Sharansky, Boris Pasternak. The regime accused them of anti-Soviet propaganda, just as some Muslims are labeling 12 cartoons in a Danish newspaper anti-Islamic. The lesson from the Cold War is: If you give in to totalitarian impulses once, new demands follow. The West prevailed in the Cold War because we stood by our fundamental values and did not appease totalitarian tyrants.


40% of UK Muslims want Sharia law.

UK: Interesting, but not surprising.

Four out of 10 British Muslims want sharia law introduced into parts of the country, a survey reveals today. The ICM opinion poll also indicates that a fifth have sympathy with the "feelings and motives" of the suicide bombers who attacked London last July 7, killing 52 people, although 99 per cent thought the bombers were wrong to carry out the atrocity. 50pc said interracial relations were worsening Overall, the findings depict a Muslim community becoming more radical and feeling more alienated from mainstream society, even though 91 per cent still say they feel loyal to Britain. The results of the poll, conducted for the Sunday Telegraph, came as thousands of Muslims staged a fresh protest in London yesterday against the publication of cartoons of Mohammed. In Libya, at least 10 people died in protests linked to the caricatures. And in Pakistan, a cleric was reported to have put a $1 million (£575,000) bounty on the head of the Danish cartoonist who drew the original pictures. Last night, Sadiq Khan, the Labour MP involved with the official task force set up after the July attacks, said the findings were "alarming". He added: "Vast numbers of Muslims feel disengaged and alienated from mainstream British society." Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "This poll confirms the widespread opposition among British Muslims to the so-called war on terror." The most startling finding is the high level of support for applying sharia law in "predom-inantly Muslim" areas of Britain. Islamic law is used in large parts of the Middle East, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, and is enforced by religious police. Special courts can hand down harsh punishments which can include stoning and amputation. Forty per cent of the British Muslims surveyed said they backed introducing sharia in parts of Britain, while 41 per cent opposed it. Twenty per cent felt sympathy with the July 7 bombers' motives, and 75 per cent did not. One per cent felt the attacks were "right". Nearly two thirds thought the video images shown last week of British troops beating Iraqi youths were symptomatic of a wider problem in Iraq. Half did not think the soldiers would be "appropriately punished". Half of the 500 people surveyed said relations between white Britons and Muslims were getting worse. Only just over half thought the conviction of the cleric Abu Hamza for incitement to murder and race hatred was fair.
The next story is of the "no, Really?" design of how the so called "moderate" clerics and leaders in the UK are using the extremists threats to push their own agenda, they feel they have everyone under their thumb.
For the past two weeks, Patrick Sookhdeo has been canvassing the opinions of Muslim clerics in Britain on the row over the cartoons featuring images of Mohammed that were first published in Denmark and then reprinted in several other European countries. "They think they have won the debate," he says with a sigh. "They believe that the British Government has capitulated to them, because it feared the consequences if it did not. "The cartoons, you see, have not been published in this country, and the Government has been very critical of those countries in which they were published. To many of the Islamic clerics, that's a clear victory. "It's confirmation of what they believe to be a familiar pattern: if spokesmen for British Muslims threaten what they call 'adverse consequences' - violence to the rest of us - then the British Government will cave in. I think it is a very dangerous precedent." Dr Sookhdeo adds that he believes that "in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law. "It is already starting to happen - and unless the Government changes the way it treats the so-called leaders of the Islamic community, it will continue."
Ignorace of the problem is causing it to get worse.
The Prime Minister's ignorance of Islam, Dr Sookhdeo contends, is of a piece with his unsuccessful attempts to conciliate it. And it does indeed seem as if the Government's policy towards radical Islam is based on the hope that if it makes concessions to its leaders, they will reciprocate and relations between fundamentalist Muslims and Tony Blair's Government will then turn into something resembling an ecumenical prayer meeting. Dr Sookhdeo nods in vigorous agreement with that. "Yes - and it is a very big mistake. Look at what happened in the 1990s. The security services knew about Abu Hamza and the preachers like him. They knew that London was becoming the centre for Islamic terrorists. The police knew. The Government knew. Yet nothing was done. "The whole approach towards Muslim militants was based on appeasement. 7/7 proved that that approach does not work - yet it is still being followed. For example, there is a book, The Noble Koran: a New Rendering of its Meaning in English, which is openly available in Muslim bookshops. "It calls for the killing of Jews and Christians, and it sets out a strategy for killing the infidels and for warfare against them. The Government has done nothing whatever to interfere with the sale of that book. "Why not? Government ministers have promised to punish religious hatred, to criminalise the glorification of terrorism, yet they do nothing about this book, which blatantly does both." Perhaps the explanation is just that they do not take it seriously. "I fear that is exactly the problem," says Dr Sookhdeo. "The trouble is that Tony Blair and other ministers see Islam through the prism of their own secular outlook. They simply do not realise how seriously Muslims take their religion. Islamic clerics regard themselves as locked in mortal combat with secularism.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Christians killed by Muslims over Mohammed cartoon.

Africa: I am not surprised that this would take place in Nigeria where they would kill Christians without hesitation.

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) - Nigerian Muslims protesting against caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad attacked Christians and burned churches Saturday in violence that left at least 15 people dead, police and residents said. Troops and police reinforcements were deployed to restore order in the northeastern city Maiduguri, where 15 Christian churches were burned, said Nigerian police spokesman Haz Iwendi. Chima Ezeoke, a Maiduguri resident, said the protesters attacked and looted shops in the city owned by minority Christians, most of them with origins in the country's south. "Most of the dead were Christians beaten to death on the streets by the rioters," Ezeoke said. Nigeria, Africa's most-populous country with more than 130 million people, is roughly divided between a predominantly Muslim north and a mainly Christian south.


Jesus and Mohammed hug on a swan draws protests.

Canada: Yep, this has gone beyond parody and into just plain stupid as the politically correct crowd goes nuts.

TORONTO (CP) - A student newspaper at Canada's largest university is drawing criticism for publishing a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad and Jesus embracing. The University of Toronto student union says it's received several complaints about the Strand, published by Victoria College. The cartoon, submitted by a student, was published Wednesday alongside an editorial addressing the debate on whether to publish controversial Danish cartoons that have sparked protest around the world. It depicts a man resembling Jesus embracing another figure with his back turned with a turban and a tattoo of a crescent moon and star. Union president Paul Bretscher says the editors should pull the cartoon and issue an apology. Karen Whaley, the paper's co-editor-in-chief, says the cartoon wasn't intended to be inflammatory. The controversy comes amid violent protests by Muslims around the world over cartoons first published by a Danish newspaper that depicted the most revered figure in Islam. "This is not an issue of freedom of speech," Bretscher said Friday. "It is about respect and appreciation for the different faiths and cultures on our campus." Bretscher said the drawing - in which both men are also shown in a floating swan as it enters the "Tunnel of Tolerance" - was originally sent to another U of T paper, the Varsity, which declined to publish it. Whaley refused to comment Friday on whether the paper would pull the cartoon. "All I can say on the matter is that it wasn't intended to be inflammatory," Whaley said. "It wasn't intended to offend anyone." But Bretscher said it is hard to believe the Strand's editorial staff didn't anticipate a negative reaction in the wake of worldwide protests.
Second thought, I would not have published it because it is so damn cheesy.


Cartoon riot roundup for Feb 18th,2006

World: Lots of stuff here and there. An Italian minister resigns as his wearing a t-shirt with the Mohammed cartoons causes 11 dead in Libya.

AN Italian minister who wore a T-shirt featuring cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed has quit overnight after he was blamed for deadly riots outside an Italian consulate in Libya. A powerful charity led by a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi called Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli a "racist full of hatred" and said it held him responsible for Friday's violence, in which 11 people were killed. The protest was the bloodiest so far over satirical cartoons of the Prophet that Muslims regard as blasphemous. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and politicians from across Italy's political spectrum had called on Mr Calderoli, a member of the radical Northern League, to step down, accusing him of stoking Muslim anger by proudly wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the cartoons on state television this week. Mr Calderoli, who is known for his inflammatory statements against immigrants and Muslims, said he had quit out of a "sense of responsibility and certainly not because it was demanded by the government and the opposition". "I don't intend to allow further the shameful manipulation which is being brought to bear against me and against the Northern League from members of the ruling coalition," he said in a statement after meeting Northern League party leaders.
Notice how no one now is questioning the fact there was violence, it is now considered normal, so normal, in Canada groups are praising non-violent responses.
A coalition of Muslim groups praised Canadians on Friday for their non-violent reaction to caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that have sparked violent protests around the world. INDEPTH: Muhammad cartoons: a timeline Canada's response to the cartoons have struck a balance between freedom of expression and protecting people from hate and racism, the coalition said at a news conference in Ottawa.
What did they expect? The Canadian government to clamp down on protestors with guns blazing? Canadians to burn down buildings? Muslim leaders calling out for beatdowns? This is bizarro variation of a Chris Rock's joke.
'Muslims always want credit for some s*** they're supposed to do. They'll brag about stuff a normal man just does . They'll say something like, "Yeah, well, I didn't go out and riot." You're not supposed to, you dumb mother****er. "I didn't burn down buildings or kill anyone." Whaddya want? A cookie? You're not supposed to burn down buildings and kill anyone, you low-expectation-having mother****er!'
No one else found this incredibly insulting? Come on now. Cleric in Pakistan puts out a bounty.
In Pakistan on Friday, a cleric even announced a $1-million US bounty on the cartoonists, whose caricatures first appeared in a Danish newspaper in September and have been reprinted in other countries.
10000 protest in London again this weekend led by the Hizb ut-Tahrir and MAC.


Shani Davis becomes first Black to win ind winter gold.

Sports: Bryant Gumbel says what the hell?

TURIN, Italy (AP) -- Shani Davis knew what he was doing. Davis became the first black to win an individual gold medal in Winter Olympic history on Saturday, capturing the men's 1,000-meter speedskating race. Joey Cheek made it a 1-2 American finish, adding a silver to his victory in the 500. Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands captured the bronze. Chad Hedrick, skating the weakest of his individual events, put up an early time that stood until Davis bested it in the 19th of 21 pairs with a time of 1 minute, 8.89 seconds. Four other skaters passed Hedrick as well, leaving the Texan in sixth place -- still an impressive showing considering he was skating the 1,000 for only the seventh time in his career. Davis came under scrutiny for skipping the team pursuit -- especially when the Hedrick-led squad was knocked out in the quarterfinals, doomed by a slow skater who might not have been on the ice if Davis was available. But Davis, world record holder in the 1,000, wanted to focus on his signature event. It certainly paid off.
From left to right, slver medalist Joey Cheek of the United States, gold medalist Shani Davis of the United States and bronze medalist Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands smile during the flower ceremony after the men's 1000 meter speedskating race at Oval Lingotto during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2006. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)


Chuckie Hagel urges talks with Iran

Nation: Based on common interests.

WASHINGTON - Sen. Chuck Hagel reasserted his differences with President Bush's foreign policy Thursday, calling in part for a more measured approach to Iran's nuclear ambitions. Speaking to about 30 journalists who cover the military, the Nebraska Republican said a diplomatic approach was vital to confronting Iran, which has been pressing for nuclear technology. "I think one thing we ought to be doing is engaging the Iranians. Why aren't we talking to them? That's the essence of good foreign policy," he said. "We must find a way to establish some relationship based on common interests."
What common interests? Holocaust denial, wiping Israel off the map, peace in the middle east? Iran does not have common interests with anyone at this point. Even France has given up being diplomatic with them and they will kiss anyone's behind. The only diplomatic approach that would work is for everyone to say go ahead Iran and that is not in the cards.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Nope, Bryant Gumbel still not getting his negro card.

Culture: I know Gumbel has this inferiority complex from the decades of being called Whitey Mcmighty by dumbasses who took the fact he didn't use slang and dressed nice as some sort of insult. This looks like some ploy to get some sort of "street" cred he feels he has to have. But there is no need to slur the winter games and black people at the same time by making this stupid, racist and illogical statement.

"Finally, tonight, the Winter Games. Count me among those who don’t like them and won’t watch them ... Because they’re so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like, try not to be incredulous when someone attempts to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something’s not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what’s called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won ... So if only to hasten the arrival of the day they’re done, when we can move on to March Madness — for God’s sake, let the games begin."
You take out the bolded and he has some sort of point, but it looks like a "YA FEEL ME!" statement he thought would do some good. He is wrong.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

BBC may not air hit drama for fear of offending.

Media: The guy is shooting a member of Al-Qaeda and even that has the PC BBC scared.

BBC bosses are ready to AXE a £1million episode of hit drama Spooks in which an al-Qaeda terrorist is shot dead — in case it upsets Muslims. Filming the assassination plot for the MI5 drama took four weeks. But actor Shaun Dingwall who plays a renegade Christian gunman, fears he could become a target for fundamentalists if the scene is aired. In the episode, due to be shown later this year, a religious nut played by Shaun, 35, guns down the fanatic on the steps of London’s High Court. But production sources admitted it could be canned. One said: “In the climate of Muslim fury over cartoons, Shaun isn’t sure about it all.”


Rasmussen slaps Swedish PM suckup.

EU: Beautiful shot this.

Fogh Rasmussen: I do not think that we could have done anything differently. Even now there is still a rumor that the government refused to meet with a delegation of 11 Islamic ambassadors. That's not true. Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller met with them way back in November. This is normal. However, the ambassadors demanded that I take legal action against the paper. And I advised them that a democratic Danish government could not and would not do that. SPIEGEL: Then why did your Swedish colleague Goran Persson criticize you and say he would have never underestimated such a situation? Fogh Rasmussen: First, he is not in my situation. Second, I would never get involved in any domestic issue in Sweden. And third, I am especially honored to be attacked by the Swedish Social Democrats -- it is a sign that our policies are the correct ones.

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