Saturday, February 25, 2006

NYTimes: We are sniveling cowards, and we’ll prove it.

The hypocrisy in the editorial Silenced by Islamist Rage in today’s New York Times is mind-numbing. When an editorial board and/or an editor write such drivel, you have to wonder what hallucinogen is being passed around the conference table into their Manhattan bubble.
…According to a report by Michael Slackman and Hassan M. Fattah in The New York Times, 11 journalists in five Islamic countries face prosecution for printing some of the Danish cartoons, even when their purpose was to condemn them.

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…

The Plates, the Drafters, and the Casters
'50s and '60s Bands Aim to Stop Copycats

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Doo-wop and rock 'n roll legends are asking lawmakers across the country to stop performances by some not-so-great pretenders.

There are hundreds of bands touring the country these days claiming to be The Platters, the Drifters, the Coasters or some other group from the '50s and '60s, according to the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Sharon, Pa.

Most of them have no ties to the original artists.

"They undercut the legacy of those artists by pretending to be them," said Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, former member of the oldies band Sha Na Na and head of the hall's Truth in Music Committee.

"Almost worst of all is the way in which they steal the applause from the great veterans and pioneers that crafted rock 'n' roll music back in the 50s and early 60s," he said...

He came, he partied, he shrugged
Miller Fails Yet Again in Final Race

SESTRIERE, Italy (AP) -- Favorite Giorgio Rocca of Italy crashed and top American hopes Ted Ligety and Bode Miller also were eliminated in a brutal first of two runs of the Olympic men's slalom Saturday.

With defending Olympic champion Jean-Pierre Vidal of France sidelined with an arm he broke Friday while skiing for pleasure, the final Alpine race of the Turin Games was a wide-open affair.

Benjamin Raich of Austria, gold medalist in the giant slalom, was fastest with a first-run time of 53.37 seconds, only 0.01 seconds ahead of Kalle Palander of Finland. Kentaro Minagawa of Japan was third, 0.07 out of the lead.

Miller, the World Cup overall champion a year ago, will leave the Italian Alps without a medal. He finished his lackluster Olympics by straddling a gate just a few seconds into his run, then skied off the course and raised his arms in mock excitement.

Miller, who has been a local nightlife fixture throughout the games, told The Associated Press he was content with his experience.

"As far as my own personal involvement, I would not change anything. I had an awesome Olympics," Miller told AP sports columnist Jim Litke in an interview. "My preparation certainly could have been different, but I'm not a guy who looks back."…

United Methodist Church: Repent, Richmond, you sinful city!
Braves strike out in Richmond

The United Methodist Church has rejected Richmond for its 2012 international conference because the city's minor league baseball team is named the Braves.

"Many Native Americans, if you ask them what they think about team mascots, will tell you that they find [them] to be demeaning," said Stephen Drachler, a spokesman for the United Methodist Church.

Apparently, nobody asked Virginia's Monacan Nation, located near Lynchburg about 130 miles west of Richmond.

Kenneth Branham, Monacan chief, yesterday said, "The mascot thing has been blown out of proportion."

The problem is not that teams have American Indian names and mascots, but how those mascots act, Mr. Branham said.

"It is not so much the name as the silly way they act," he said. "When children see that, they think that is how Indians act."

The Richmond Braves don't have a mascot. They have a duck -- "a big, happy, yellow" one named "Diamond Duck," Braves spokesman John Emmett said.

What's more, the mascot for the Atlanta Braves -- the Major League parent team of the Richmond Braves -- is a large, talking baseball named "Homer."…

When the panel met last fall to select a site for the 2012 conclave, it automatically ruled out Atlanta, because of its Braves, and Washington, D.C., because of its Redskins…

"However well-intended, sports teams named after Native Americans demean the heritage of native people," says Gail Murphy-Geiss of Centennial, Colo., who headed the selection panel. "They perpetuate unhealthy and unfair stereotypes."

I have a ‘stereotype’ exercise for the reader. Close your eyes, clear you thoughts, and conjure up an image of Ms. Murphy-Geiss. Now imagine what her philosophy might be. See how well you did here .

Illegal aliens: We know where you live, Gringo
Immigrant group to picket watchdogs

A taxpayer-funded immigrant advocacy group says it will picket and keep a close watch on the homes and businesses of members of a local illegal-entry watchdog group that monitors day-laborer sites in Maryland.

"People should not expect in a modern society [Ed. - aka "progressive" open-border] to engage in a campaign of intimidation [Ed. - aka documenting criminal activity] without having a response," says Kim Propeack, a spokeswoman for CASA of Maryland, which runs taxpayer-funded day-laborer centers in Takoma Park, Silver Spring and Wheaton.

"So if [the Maryland Minuteman Civil Defense Corps] want to come to CASA de Maryland, it's perfectly legitimate of us to go to the Minutemen's homes and also protest."

Miss Propeack's comments follow those of CASA Executive Director Gustavo Torres, who was quoted in a published report this week as saying his group will target the Minutemen in a "specific way," in addition to videotaping them as they monitor day laborers.

"We are going to picket their houses, and the schools of their kids, and go to their work," Mr. Torres told the Gazette community newspapers. "If they are going to do this to us, we are going to respond in the same way, to let people know their neighbors are extremists, that they are anti-immigrant. They are going to hear from us..."

Friday, February 24, 2006

CBS: We’ve moved on from ‘Fake but Accurate’ to ‘Flat Out Lies’
‘48 Hours’ apologizes for altered image

The executive producer of CBS’ "48 Hours Mystery" has apologized for airing an altered image of the front page of the Tribune in an episode about the murder trial of Ryan Ferguson that aired Saturday night.

CBS aired an altered image of the Tribune’s front page for its “48 Hours Mystery.” Above is the original Tribune front page. Below is an image from the show.

The producer, Susan Zirinsky, said she didn’t know the image of the front page containing the story about Ferguson’s sentencing had been manipulated until this week after Tribune Managing Editor Jim Robertson complained to CBS in an e-mail…

A real sportsman

With the likes of Bode Miller and Johnny Weir representing the USA at the Winter Olympics, Jason McElwain is a refreshing change.
Autistic Team Manager Makes Hoop Dream Come True

GREECE, N.Y. (Feb. 24) - Jason McElwain had done everything he was asked to do for the Greece Athena High School basketball team - keep the stats, run the clock, hand out water bottles.

That all changed last week for the team manager in the final home game of the season. The 17-year-old senior, who is autistic and usually sits on the bench in a white shirt and black tie, put on a uniform and entered the game with his team way ahead.

McElwain proceeded to hit six 3-point shots, finished with 20 points and was carried off the court on his teammates' shoulders.

"I ended my career on the right note," he told The Associated Press by phone Thursday. "I was really hotter than a pistol!"..

Read the whole thing, it will bring a smile to your face.

(hat tip – Michelle Malkin)

Here’s a surprise
Tenn. Halts Immigrant Driving Certificates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee stopped issuing driving certificates to illegal immigrants Friday after investigations found they were being shuttled from other states, using fake residency papers and sometimes bribing state workers to get the cards…

The certificates, which are stamped "not valid for identification," were meant to improve driving safety by making sure immigrants living in the state knew traffic rules. Recent federal investigations found that illegal immigrants were traveling hundreds of miles from other states to get the certificates illegally.

Non-citizens who can prove they are in the country legally will be allowed to get the certificates beginning March 6, after employee retraining. [Ed. – If they can prove they are legal, why not just issue them a regular driver’s license? It would seem TN has a penchant for tying itself into politically correct knots]

Tennessee is among 11 U.S. states that have not required proof of legal residence to obtain driving documents.

In early 2001, the state started issuing full driver's licenses without requiring a Social Security number, and more than 180,000 people obtained licenses. The driving certificates were created in 2004 to satisfy homeland security concerns; about 51,000 were issued [Ed. – Who would have guessed?]

Applicants are now required to provide two documents, such as a utility bill or lease, to show they live in Tennessee, along with a Social Security number or a sworn affidavit if there is none. [Ed. – Yeah, that will screen out illegals with a propensity for breaking ever law they encounter] They also must pass an eye exam, a driving rules test and a road test.

Nicely said the department was flooded with certificate requests, and employees were overwhelmed trying to determine which documents were acceptable to show residency.

Two major federal arrests in recent months exposed shuttles bringing South and Central American immigrants from as far away as New Jersey to state licensing centers in Knoxville, where the immigrants got certificates using fake residency papers…
And what does the ever helpful ACLU have to say about all this?
Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, said suspending the program "endangers everyone traveling the roads in Tennessee."

"The certificate program, while discriminatory to begin with, at least ensured that drivers were trained and had insurance," Weinberg said. The ACLU had favored the full driver's licenses.
Clearly, that is the ACLU’s main thrust, “that drivers were trained and had insurance.”

Thursday, February 23, 2006

My favorite Judy Woodruff moment

I wish I had video tape, but I don’t.

By mid afternoon on Election Day 2004, some exit polling (soon deemed suspect) showed that John Kerry had a strong lead. And while I didn't watch much of CNN’s coverage during the day, when I did tune in, Woodruff seemed excited, upbeat and focused. Later, in the evening, as actual vote counts began coming in and as more statistically accurate projections were made, Kerry’s prospects for a win went from likely to toss-up to bleak to grim. Woodruff’s demeanor followed suit, till finally (I believe it was around 10:00 pm ET when I looked in) she looked and acted like someone had shot her dog.
Judy Woodruff Back With PBS

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Veteran broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff will return to her one-time home, PBS, for a project examining young people's views on religion, politics and other issues, including America's role in the world….

One step closer to Kurzweil’s Singularity?

Everytime I read a story like this one, I wonder whether the ever more violent "clash of civilizations" and the willingness of the Western World to appease Muslim intransigence turns a truly modern society’s quest for knowledge and technological innovation into a joke.
'Borg' Computer Collective Designs NASA Space Antenna

Like a friendly, non-biological form of the Borg Collective of science fiction fame, 80 personal computers, using artificial intelligence (AI), have combined their silicon brains to quickly design a tiny, advanced space antenna.

If all goes well, three of these computer-designed space antennas will begin their trip into space in March 2006, when an L-1011 aircraft will take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The airplane will drop a Pegasus XL rocket into the sky high above the Pacific Ocean. The rocket will ignite and carry three small Space Technology (ST5) satellites into orbit.

Each satellite will be equipped with a strange-looking, computer-designed space antenna. Although they resemble bent paperclips, the antennas are highly efficient, according to scientists.

"This is the first time an artificially evolved object will have flown in space," observed Jason Lohn, who led the project to design the antennas at NASA Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley…

Scientists also can use the evolutionary AI software to invent and create new structures, computer chips and even machines, according to Lohn. "We are now using the software to design tiny microscopic machines, including gyroscopes, for spaceflight navigation," he ventured.

Four NASA Ames computer scientists spent two years developing the AI evolutionary program. It can operate on as many as 120 personal computers, which work as a team. The scientists wrote the AI software to create designs faster than a human being could.

"The software also may invent designs that no human designer would ever think of," Lohn asserted. In addition, the software can plan devices that are smaller, lighter, consume less power, are stronger and more robust among many other things – characteristics that spaceflight requires, according to Lohn.
(Hat tip

Agence France Presse (AFP): Préjudice? Nous?
Three more Palestinians shot dead in West Bank

Three more Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops during an army incursion into the Nablus region of the northern West Bank, medical sources said.

The three Palestinians died inside a house that was surrounded by Israeli troops and inside which various explosions were heard [Ed. – probably just some firecrackers], the sources said.

They all belonged to the radical Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a nebulous faction [Ed. - aka murdering rabble] loosely affiliated to Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party.

Medical sources named the dead men as 32-year-old Hamudeh Shtewi, Mohamad al-Surakji, 20, and Mohamad Abu Khamis.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told AFP that troops identified "hitting" three gunmen inside a house in the Balata camp after Palestinians opened fire on soldiers conducting an arrest operation. [Ed. – not sure whether any Israeli soldiers were wounded or killed in the fire fight. If yes, then AFP doesn’t deem that newsworthy. If no, then it would seem the Israeli Army is capable of hitting what it shoots at, while the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are not. Perhaps these crack Brigades should stick with remotely detonated bombs snuck into Israeli malls, markets, and restaurants]

Two other Palestinians were earlier fatally shot in the Balata refugee camp were Israeli troops were conducting a vast military operation.

The latest death brings the overall toll since the September 2000 start of the intifada to 4,965, more than three-quarters of the dead being Palestinians, according to an AFP count. [Ed. – Strange, no mention of how many of the 1 ,240 dead Israelis were women and children murdered by terror bombings]

‘A conservative critic’
Actor chases critic from German theater

FRANKFURT, Feb. 23 (UPI) — The German cultural establishment is in an uproar over an incident where an irate actor hurled a dead swan at a critic and chased him out of the theater.

Critic Gerhard Stadelmaier of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung was seated in the front row at the Frankfurt Theater House watching Eugene Ionesco's "The Great Massacre or the Triumph of Death" when the attack happened.

Stadelmaier, a conservative critic, is opposed to the now-common trend in German theater of actors chopping off the heads of rabbits, vomiting mineral water and masturbating one another on stage, The Times of London reported.

"This rubbish theater has gone too far," Stadelmeier said. "You don't have to show everything, but you do have to act."

Actor Thomas Lawinky resented Stadelmeier's criticism of the genre, and when he spotted him, lunged off the stage and hurled the dead bird on his lap and began screaming.

Lawinky has been fired from the theater company.

“Acting is the most minor of gifts and not a very high-class way to earn a living. After all, Shirley Temple could do it at the age of four.”
Katharine Hepburn

Bada bing?
Four Indicted in N.Y. Body-Part Theft Plot

NEW YORK (AP) -- The owner of a New Jersey biomedical company and three other men have been indicted for alleging plotting to carve up cadavers from New York funeral homes and selling the bone and skin for transplants, authorities said Thursday.

The case was "like something out of a cheap horror movie," Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said in announcing the indictment.

The indictment accuses Michael Mastromarino, owner of Biomedical Tissue Services of Fort Lee, N.J., Joseph Micelli, Lee Crucetta and Christopher Aldorasi of conspiring to steal tissue from corpses of people who never gave permission to be donors, Hynes said.

It is the latest chapter in a widening scandal involving scores of funeral homes and hundreds of looted bodies, including that of "Masterpiece Theatre" host Alistair Cooke, who died in March 2004.

The body parts have been tracked to several states where they were used in transplants.

Anthrax in PA

Given the subject matter, NYC Dance Troupe Leader Exposed to Anthrax (excerpts follow) by AP “writer” Adam Goldman lacks answers to obvious, and I would think important, questions.
NEW YORK (AP) -- A dance troupe leader who makes drums with animal hides was in a Pennsylvania hospital after apparently being exposed to anthrax spores, prompting officials in both states to reassure residents that it was a rare accident unrelated to terrorism.

"We have every reason to believe that this infection is an isolated, accidentally and naturally transmitted case," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday during a news conference from City Hall.

The drum maker, Vado Diomande, traveled in December to Ivory Coast in West Africa and became ill shortly after he returned, officials said…

Dr. Lisa Rotz, a medical epidemiologist with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said health officials believe Diomande may have inhaled the spores in a process that includes soaking the hides, stretching them and scraping them to remove hair. She said investigators are seeking samples of the hides to test them for spores…

Here’s my questions:
  • Did Vado Diomande bring the African animal hides into the US before or after they were treated?
  • What process did Diamande follow to get the hides through customs?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

NBC rules - trounces reruns

AP’s television writer Frazier Moore left out one tiny detail in NBC Wins Ratings With Its Olympics. The preponderance of the primetime shows NBC’s Olympic coverage beat were all reruns. It wasn't so much that NBC won as the others decided not to compete. That decision will likely be revisited in four years. Why? Because the shows that did go head-to-head with first-run fare shellacked NBC.
NEW YORK (AP) -- NBC routed network rivals with its first full week of Winter Olympics competition. But the Torino Games took a back seat to several customary hits in the weekly Nielsen rankings.

Fox's "American Idol" held its grip on the top two slots, with Wednesday's edition the week's top-rated show and Tuesday's broadcast No. 2.

In third place, the ABC medical drama "Grey's Anatomy" was healthy as ever, and its Sunday night lead-in, "Desperate Housewives," was anything but desperate in fourth.

Fifth, sixth and seventh place was claimed by Olympics coverage - airing on Monday, Saturday and Thursday, respectively.

ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" was next, followed by the Olympics' Sunday telecast, with Fox's doctor drama "House" rounding out the Top 10…

1984 in 2006

An Austrian Thought Tribunal (their national criminal court) has incarcerated 67-year-old British nutjob and junk “historian” David Irving for his thoughts and utterances in 1989. He denied the Holocaust then and later; doing so is illegal in Austria and punishable with a sentence of up to 10 years.

This of course is perfectly sound Teutonic logic: One ostracizes a repressive political philosophy using repression.
Irving jailed for 3 years after denying Holocaust

David Irving, the controversial historian, was jailed for three years in Austria yesterday after pleading guilty to charges of denying the Holocaust 17 years ago...

Morgan Freeman to Get Spencer Tracy Award

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Morgan Freeman will be honored with UCLA's Spencer Tracy Award, which recognizes outstanding screen performances and professional achievement.

Jason Kaminsky, UCLA campus events commissioner, made the announcement Tuesday. An awards ceremony is scheduled for March 7.

"It was said that Spencer Tracy's natural style set him apart from actors of his time and set performance standards for future generations," Kaminsky said. "We think that the same can be said for the acting of Mr. Freeman."…

It’s my humble opinion that Mr. Freeman is America’s best living film actor. Can you imagine he and Tracy together in a film? The two of them could read the backs of cereal boxes and it would be entertaining.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Priced to Languish

I take long walks on days I know I won’t make it to the pool to swim. Early this morning, I encountered two front yard ‘For Sale’ signs that have been altered since last I saw them. Both signs, posted by different real estate agents (and brokers), now have metal ‘Priced to Sell’ banners hanging below the main body.

I’ve had occasion to buy and sell several homes and I’ve come to believe that real estate agents, taken as a whole or at least in AL, CA, GA, MA, and MD, are not the sharpest knives in the drawer (save one agent I commissioned, who was brilliant).

How obtuse (and I suppose desperate) do you have to be to affix a ‘Priced to Sell’ banner to your 'For Sale' sign?

What also struck me was the nature and method of how the banner was fastened. It was of a piece of the standard added-value banners hung on many residential real estate signs, such as, ‘Pool’, ‘New Kitchen’, ‘Golf Course View’, ‘Must See Interior’, Home Warranty’, etc.

The absence of anyone of those banners doesn’t detract from a house’s ‘curb appeal’ but the sudden appearance of the inane ‘Priced to Sell’ conjures up dealing with a dim-witted selling agent or noncommittal owner or both. One envisions the ‘Price to Sell’ having replaced ‘Ridiculously Overpriced’ or perhaps ‘Not Really For Sale’.

Bring back Cornel West and easy A’s
Summers to Step Down As Harvard President

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Lawrence H. Summers is resigning as president of Harvard University at the end of the academic year, the school announced on its Web site Tuesday.

Summers' resignation ends the briefest tenure of any Harvard president since 1862, when Cornelius Felton died after two years in office.

The announcement comes a week before an expected no-confidence vote by the Harvard faculty, who have criticized Summers leadership style and comments about women in science.

"I have reluctantly concluded that the rifts between me and segments of the Arts and Sciences faculty make it infeasible for me to advance the agenda of renewal that I see as crucial to Harvard's future," Summers wrote in a letter posted on Harvard's Web site. "I believe, therefore, that it is best for the University to have new leadership."

Last year, Summers suggested that innate gender differences between the sexes might explain the few women in science and math...

Summers never had a chance (see below). He was a dead man walking less than a year into his presidency. He actually wanted the professors to teach not proselytize. He wanted Harvard to be a center for academic excellence rather than a pond of “progressives” dispensing the pabulum of political correctness. And the Arts and Sciences faculty would have none of it. Only Summers’ backbone allowed him to last as long as he did.

Seeing crimson

THESE days [Ed. - 1/3/02] university presidents are a hopelessly anodyne bunch. They mouth politically-correct platitudes, make nice comments to potential benefactors and, in general, do their utmost to avoid saying anything that might be misconstrued as either interesting or original.

How refreshing then to deal with Larry Summers. Bill Clinton's erstwhile treasury secretary has always found it hard to suffer nonsense gladly. In Washington, DC, he was muzzled, at least in public. But since being named president of Harvard University six months ago he has reverted to type.

First, Mr Summers called for something to be done about grade inflation. This year more than half of all grades given at Harvard were As. Yet before Mr Summers appeared, most of the 2,000 strong faculty apparently regarded this as a testimony to their brilliant teaching, rather than anything to do with collapsing standards.

Then he praised patriotism, telling a meeting at the Kennedy School that “patriotism” is a word “used too infrequently in communities such as this”, and lamented that the Vietnam War had led to a disaffection “toward people who wear uniforms”. This too seems to have gone down badly.

Now he is at war with the university's Afro-American studies department. According to the Boston Globe, last October Mr Summers rebuked Cornel West [Ed. – West eventually left and went to Princeton; get a load of the song ‘Stolen King’ on West's website. Remember, this is an 'Ivy League' professor not some backwater community college instructor], who holds one of Harvard's coveted university professorships. Mr West's alleged sins included recording a rap CD, leading a political committee for Al Sharpton's possible presidential campaign, writing books more likely to be reviewed in The New York Times than in academic journals and allowing grade inflation.

Since then the incident has spiralled into a full-blown academic tempest. The insulted Mr West is considering a rival offer from Princeton, his former employer. Henry Louis Gates, the department head, and Kwame Anthony Appiah, a philosopher, are thinking of going with him. Mr West has also announced that he intends to take a leave of absence.

It will get worse. Jesse Jackson, that well-known crusader for academic standards, has arranged a meeting with Mr Summers. “The tension at Harvard is having an impact across the country,” says Mr Jackson, whose last venture into politics was to try to broker a deal with the Taliban. Mr Sharpton also wants to meet Mr Summers. He is considering filing a lawsuit against Harvard as “an aggrieved party”...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Did somebody hit Jimmy upside the head with his Nobel Peace Prize?

Jimmy Carter has a “column” in today’s WaPo: Don't Punish the Palestinians

After reading the former president’s trip through fantasyland, I have a few questions.
  1. Has Hamas renounced its stated (and chartered) goal of the violent elimination of Israel?
  2. Given the hundreds of millions of aid dollars annually pumped into the Palestinian Authority, Gaza and the West Bank, why is the PA $900 million in debt?
  3. The customs revenue came about because the PA was land-locked and surrounded by Israel. Now that the PA has Gaza why can’t they import their goods there, collecting their levied duties on their own?
  4. Nine of the 74 Hamas members elected to the parliament were, and remain, in jail for murder and terrorism. The “beleaguered” Palestinian people knowingly and purposefully elected these criminals to office. At what point, Jimmy, does the rational world finally say, “Morons, thugs, and homicidal maniacs are what they are and should be treated as such?”

Mouth Miller aka Botch Miller
Miller Now 0-For-4 at the Turin Olympics

SESTRIERE, Italy (AP) -- Bode Miller is now 0-for-4 at the Turin Games - and all he's got left is his weakest event. Miller, who came to the Olympics as a medal contender in virtually all five Alpine events, continued his run of mediocrity Monday in the giant slalom, finishing in a tie for sixth...

"One of the good things about my career is I have such extensive knowledge, so I always go as hard as I can," Miller told The Associated Press. "Some guys can go 70-80 percent and get results, but I wouldn't do that.

"If things went well, I could be sitting on four medals, maybe all of them gold..."
I imagine Nike marketing is thrilled with their ‘brash’ boy’s performance and attitude.

Hamas: We will bomb the hands that fund us and demand they use their bloody stumps to push money to us.
Israel halts funding to Palestinians

TEL AVIV -- The Israeli Cabinet voted yesterday to cut off all funding to the Palestinian Authority while acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described the self-rule government -- now coming under Hamas control -- as a "terrorist authority…

Israel's economic sanctions, which freeze monthly transfers of as much as $50 million in Palestinian customs revenue, will create a financial crisis in the West Bank and Gaza unless the authority can find alternate sources of funding…"

The financial squeeze was worsened by a U.S. announcement Friday that it is asking the Palestinian Authority to return $50 million in U.S. aid…

"Israel won't transfer a penny to Hamas," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Gideon Meir. "Right now, there is no decision on the funds which will go to the humanitarian organizations. We're differentiating between the Palestinian people and the Palestinian government."

Under an economic agreement that followed the Oslo peace accords, Israeli customs officials agreed to collect duties on goods landed in Israel for delivery to the Palestinian territories and then transfer the proceeds to the Palestinian government.

While Hamas members have rejected the Oslo accords in the past, they now say they will cooperate with Israeli officials who provide services that benefit Palestinians.

Ismail Haniyeh, who was formally nominated yesterday as Hamas' candidate to become prime minister, pledged that the group would not cave in to international pressure to recognize Israel and renounce violence…

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Every US ‘black ops’ operator: “Your wish is my command”
Bin Laden Vows Never to Be Captured Alive

CAIRO, Egypt -Osama bin Laden promised never to be captured alive and declared the United States had resorted to the same "barbaric" tactics used by Saddam Hussein, according to an audiotape purportedly by the al-Qaida leader that was posted Monday on a militant Web site...

Harvard aka the progressive collective on the Charles
Harvard board said to weigh Summers's fate

The governing board of Harvard University is considering removing President Lawrence H. Summers from office to end the escalating strife between faculty members and Summers, according to two Harvard professors and one senior official who have spoken with members of the board recently…

In the last week and a half, professors, especially in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, as well as some current and former university officials, alumni, and donors, have mounted an intense campaign to convince the board that Summers can no longer govern effectively and that the increasingly chaotic campus mood is damaging the institution. The board is the only body with the authority to fire Summers…

… One key consideration is what the removal of Summers would signal about Harvard -- whether anyone can lead the university and whether it would result in an overly empowered faculty.

''It's this dichotomy between people worried that if Harvard ran a president out, it would become ungovernable, and the view, gaining ground, that actually if we lived through another no-confidence vote and its aftermath, that will make Harvard truly ungovernable."

Fear not those who argue but those who dodge*

Jeff Jacoby in today’s Boston Globe.
When fear cows the media

THE PHOENIX is Boston's leading ''alternative" newspaper, the kind of brash, pull-no-punches weekly that might have been expected to print without hesitation the Mohammed cartoons that Islamists have been using to incite rage and riots across the Muslim world. Its willingness to push the envelope was memorably demonstrated in 2002, when it broke with most media to publish a grisly photograph of Daniel Pearl's severed head, and supplied a link on its website to the sickening video of the Wall Street Journal reporter's beheading.

But the Phoenix isn't publishing the Mohammed drawings, and in a brutally candid editorial it explained why.

''Our primary reason," the editors confessed, is ''fear of retaliation from . . . bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do . . . Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and . . . could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix and its related companies in physical jeopardy. As we feel forced, literally, to bend to maniacal pressure, this may be the darkest moment in our 40-year-publishing history…"

Rationalizations notwithstanding, the refusal of the US media to show the images at the heart of one of the most urgent stories of the day is not about restraint and good taste. It's about fear. Editors and publishers are afraid the thugs will target them as they targeted Danny Pearl and Theo van Gogh; afraid the mob will firebomb their newsrooms as it has firebombed Danish embassies. ''We will not accept less than severing the heads of those responsible," an imam in Gaza preaches. ''Whoever insults a prophet, kill him," reads the sign carried by a demonstrator in London. Those are not figures of speech but deadly threats, and American newspapers and networks are intimidated…
* - Marie Ebner von Eschenbach, Aphorisms, 1905

Neville Chamberlain’s mindset yet lingers in the UK

(scroll down for update)

These are excerpts from ‘The day is coming when British Muslims form a state within a state'. I recommend reading the whole thing, particularly Patrick Sookhdeo’s insight into the contextual structure of the Koran.
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…

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…

"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.

"For example, one of the fundamental notions of a secular society is the moral importance of freedom, of individual choice. But in Islam, choice is not allowable: there cannot be free choice about whether to choose or reject any of the fundamental aspects of the religion, because they are all divinely ordained. God has laid down the law, and man must obey.

'Islamic clerics do not believe in a society in which Islam is one religion among others in a society ruled by basically non-religious laws. They believe it must be the dominant religion - and it is their aim to achieve this.

"That is why they do not believe in integration. In 1980, the Islamic Council of Europe laid out their strategy for the future - and the fundamental rule was never dilute your presence. That is to say, do not integrate.

"Rather, concentrate Muslim presence in a particular area until you are a majority in that area, so that the institutions of the local community come to reflect Islamic structures. The education system will be Islamic, the shops will serve only halal food, there will be no advertisements showing naked or semi-naked women, and so on."

That plan, says Dr Sookhdeo, is being followed in Britain. "That is why you are seeing areas which are now almost totally Muslim. The next step will be pushing the Government to recognise sharia law for Muslim communities - which will be backed up by the claim that it is "racist" or "Islamophobic" or "violating the rights of Muslims" to deny them sharia law.

"There's already a Sharia Law Council for the UK. The Government has already started making concessions: it has changed the law so that there are sharia-compliant mortgages and sharia pensions.

"Some Muslims are now pressing to be allowed four wives: they say it is part of their religion. They claim that not being allowed four wives is a denial of their religious liberty. There are Muslim men in Britain who marry and divorce three women, then marry a fourth time - and stay married, in sharia law, to all four.

"The more fundamentalist clerics think that it is only a matter of time before they will persuade the Government to concede on the issue of sharia law. Given the Government's record of capitulating, you can see why they believe that…”
Update - 3/10/06:
The article linked to above has been deleted and the following message now appears on the page: This story has been removed for legal reasons (Filed: 19/02/2006)

However, most, if not all, of the article now entitled ENGLAND: The day is coming when British Muslims form a state within a state is still available here.