Saturday, April 7, 2007

UK fury as hostages sell their stories

UK: Given permission by the UK MoD.

This weekend relatives of victims killed or injured in the Iraq war and opposition politicians criticised the authorisation as “inappropriate” and “undignified”. It comes only three days after their release and before they have given detailed evidence to an official inquiry.

Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, said: “One of the great things about our armed forces is their professionalism and dignity. Many people who shared the anxiety of the hostages’ abduction will feel that selling their stories is somewhat undignified and falls below the very high standards we have come to expect from our servicemen and women.”

Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon Gentle was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra in Iraq, said the MoD should not allow the servicemen to sell their stories. “This is wrong and I don’t think it should be allowed by the MoD. None of the parents who have lost loved ones in Iraq have sold their stories,” she said.

Critics claimed it had become a media circus, with one former British commander saying the released hostages were behaving like reality TV contestants. Others said they were being used as pawns in the propaganda war with Iran. But some former soldiers said it was a shrewd move by the MoD to control publication of the captives’ stories.

The storm over the money came as it emerged that the White House had intervened to boost the British captives’ chances of release despite official denials of a deal.

In other news, the London-based brother of the General in Iran who ordered the kidnapping says the UK better say thank you.

Salman Rahim Safavi, an academic and brother of Major-General Yahya Rahim Safavi, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said: “We sent the boys back as a gift to the British people and Tony Blair didn’t even say thank you.”

Safavi, who is in close contact with his brother in Iran, warned that the Tehran leadership has been angry about British reaction since the hostages arrived home and hinted at a tougher response in future.

He said in his first interview: “Tony Blair is unfair. Only a day after we released his soldiers Blair denounced Iran and described us as a country that supports terrorism. This is unacceptable.

EU Referendum is ticked at the ploy by the MoD to turn this into a media circus to save their own behinds.

This is far more skilful than a mere cover-up. It has been difficult enough to try to get people focused on the circumstances which led up to this episode and now it will be even more difficult. Commodore Nick Lambert can sleep easy in his bed in the coming nights in anticipation of the next honours list when he will receive his knighthood in recognition of his services to a grateful government.

Thus the rot which infects the very top of our Armed Forces will go unrecognised and unchecked. The weaknesses will remain unaddressed and the guilty will go unpunished. For the rest, the thousands of brave and unassuming service personnel who do their duty by their country – their jobs will be inestimably harder and dangerous. And more will die.

By comparison with this government, Ahmadinejad is an honourable and principled man. As for the Navy (I can't bring myself to call it Royal), we might as well scrap it, for all the use it is.

Hispanic DUIs? Blame their culture.

Culture: This could be one of the most patronizing, insulting excuse pieces I have seen in a while. There has been a rash of drunk driving cases by illegals with dead victims in the news. Alfredo Ramos of Virginia and Hector Velazquez-Nava who killed "A Christmas Story" director Bob Clark. Last week the News Observer ran an article that said being drunk is basically a Hispanic thing being pushed by illegal young men.

In 2005, there were 37 alcohol-related crashes caused by Hispanic drivers for every 10,000 Hispanics in the state, according to the UNC Highway Safety Research Center. That is more than three times the rate of alcohol-related crashes among non-Hispanics.

Hispanic leaders are struggling to stem a problem that they say is rooted in the waves of young men who leave the calming influences of church and family to labor alone in a new country.

"It's difficult because you're trying to compete with the loneliness," said Tony Asion, public safety director for El Pueblo, an Hispanic advocacy group. "Then, as some learn, more come, and we start again."

...Bobby Dunn, who counsels Spanish-speaking DWI convicts in Johnston and Wilson counties, said his clients are often young men far from home with money in their pockets for the first time. Many were too poor to have cars in Mexico, so they have little experience behind the wheel.

They also see drinking as a way of showing their manhood.

"The magic number is 12," Dunn said, or "un doce" in Spanish. "If you can drink 12 beers, you're a man."

Others say heavy drinking is part of a lifestyle dominated by long work days building homes, painting or picking crops.

Walking down Buck Jones Road to his apartment in West Raleigh, Alberto Gonzalez figured he would drink most of the 12-pack he had just bought that night, even though it was a weeknight.

Gonzalez, 29, said he hadn't given much thought to spending a night without a beer in hand. "I just sit and drink," he said. "Maybe a friend will come by. Other than work, this is what I do."

The way the article is written is one of those "Understand readers why so many Hispanics are getting drunk, its all about illegal immigration and their culture, understand!" This is the sort of thing that will infuriate people. Regardless of what the culture is over there, it won't fly here no matter your status/race/gender.

Long holiday delayed Brits release from Iran?

Iran: According to the Guardian that was a factor. America was also ready to do some serious buzzing to make sure Iran realized this could be huge trouble. The Brits declined.

The US offered to take military action on behalf of the 15 British sailors and marines held by Iran, including buzzing Iranian Revolutionary Guard positions with warplanes, the Guardian has learned.
In the first few days after the captives were seized and British diplomats were getting no news from Tehran on their whereabouts, Pentagon officials asked their British counterparts: what do you want us to do? They offered a series of military options, a list which remains top secret given the mounting risk of war between the US and Iran. But one of the options was for US combat aircraft to mount aggressive patrols over Iranian Revolutionary Guard bases in Iran, to underline the seriousness of the situation.

The British declined the offer and said the US could calm the situation by staying out of it. London also asked the US to tone down military exercises that were already under way in the Gulf. Three days before the capture of the 15 Britons , a second carrier group arrived having been ordered there by president George Bush in January. The aim was to add to pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme and alleged operations inside Iraq against coalition forces.

I find this part hard to believe because once the capture was announced, all the players had to be on alert and trying to figure out quickly what was going on and who authorized this capture.
It took this long because the Iranians got as much as possible from this propaganda coup.

There is also general agreement in London and Tehran that once the crisis had been triggered it took nearly two weeks to untangle, because their release had to be agreed by all the key players in the perpetual poker game that passes for government in Tehran. But those players could not be reached because they were scattered around the country for the No Rouz (new year) holiday.

"Nobody who counted was answering the phone," said one senior British official. "By the time the Iranian leaders got back from the holiday [on Tuesday] the phone was ringing off the hook, including from people they didn't expect, calling on them to release the captives quickly."

Among those unexpected callers were their closest allies, the Syrians, as well as leaders from far-flung states with no direct stake in the Gulf. Even the Colombian government issued a protest.

The crucial decision for release was taken on Tuesday by the supreme national security council. It includes representatives of the presidency, the armed forces and the Revolutionary Guard, and Tuesday was the first day they could all be brought together following the No Rouz holiday.

"I think they realised pretty quickly the game was not worth the candle," a senior British government source said.

The fight over the Great Mosque in Spain continues.

Religion: This quote from the article sums up the Catholics stance on allowing Muslims to pray in the Mosque turned Church.

"Sure, let them — the day I can pray in a mosque," Luis Recio Mateo, 61, a self-described historian and tour guide dressed in a dapper gray suit, said as he left Mass. "If I go into a mosque in Morocco or Mauritania or Constantinople, they'll tell me I'm an infidel. Nor should Muslims pray in my cathedral."

Matthews and Eugene upset at Post editoral.

Politics: You know the one that ripped Pelosi for her Syria trip where among other things screwed up Israel. Here is Chris Matthews(L) and Eugene Robinson(L) showing an extraordinary amount of stupidity in such a short clip.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Why is "The Washington Post" trashing Nancy Pelosi for doing basically what Jim Baker and Lee Hamilton said to do, engage the neighborhood over there in the Middle East?

EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST": I`m pleased to be able to tell you I`m not a member of the editorial board, and you know, I write my columns, they do their editorials. I can tell you where I stand on it, which is that...

Thank you Lord in heaven for small favors.

MATTHEWS: First of all, let`s hear what your newspaper, the mother ship, has to say on this topic. This is the editorial page. I`m quoting from it. You know, this used to be a liberal newspaper, "The Washington Post," back in Nixon`s day with Ben Bradlee and others back there, Meg Greenfield, the editorial page editor. It is not a liberal paper. It`s a hawkish paper.

Quote, "We have found much to criticize in Mr. Bush`s military strategy and regional diplomacy, but Ms. Pelosi`s attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive, it`s foolish."

Pretty strong, Gene.

ROBINSON: Pretty strong. You know...


ROBINSON: ... they should tell us what they really think. You know, I mean, I think that she`s right on the substance. She`s clearly right on the substance. Of course, we should be talking to Syria. And you know, this policy that if we don`t like a regime, you know, we pretend -- you know, we cover our ears and we don`t talk to them, is absurd. If Syria can be helpful or is being harmful in Iraq, in Lebanon, whatever, we should talk to them.

There is some thinking right there. Syria helpful/harmful/good/bad. Lets talk to them anyway because Syria would do a 180 just for us and turn their back on Iranian/Hezzbollah/Hamas support. A good message to send to enemies of America. F us over and we will still engage you.

Cut back on emissions? Think like North Korea.

Enviro: A scary scenario on how far some of these enviros think the world should go to cut emissions right now. Via Tim Blair.

The reductions required are so big that they cannot be achieved within a consumer capitalist society. Huge and extremely radical changes to systems and culture are necessary ...

The scientists are telling us that if we are to stop the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere from reaching twice the pre-industrial level, we must cut global carbon emissions and thus fossil fuel use by 60 per cent in the short term, and more later. If we cut it 60 per cent and shared the remaining energy among 9 billion people, each Australian would have to get by on less than 5 per cent of the fossil fuel now used ...

We cannot achieve a sustainable and just society unless we face up to a huge and radical transition to what some identify as the simpler way. This is a society based on non-affluent but adequate living standards, high levels of self-sufficiency, in small-scale localised economies and co-operative and participatory communities. It would have to be an economy that is not driven by market forces and profit, with no growth and, most difficult of all, little concern with competition, individualism and acquisitiveness.

So if everyone takes the North Korean way of life and apply themselves, everything would be a-okay. Forget your dreams and drive in life to better yourself, worship Al Jong Gore and be thankful.

No thanks. Any government dumb enough to follow on policies like this would be facing a revolt.

Youtube links for the weekend.

Entertainment: I am eight months late on this, but.

Crazy Frog Bros.

This is entered into the World of Warcraft video competition. Vote for Jimmy: The World of Warcraft Story (Some language)

More fallout from Burlington school drill debacle.

Terrorism: The school officials can't be this stupid.

In the last week, on blogs, cable TV and in the local Burlington County Times, pastors and spokespeople for conservative and religious groups have alleged that police who oversaw the drill were insensitive -- at best -- to Christians. They want the police to apologize for how they conducted the drill.

Walt Corter, who designed the exercise as public safety director for the Burlington police, said future drills will include only generic descriptions of the assailants. Still, he said he believes the March 22 drill did not carry negative messages about Christians. The word "Christian" was not used at all, he noted.

"I did not envision any religious group when I drew this scenario up," he said. "This could've been any religion."

The Burlington Township School District struck a similar note in a prepared statement: "Any perceived insensitivities to our religious community as a result of the emergency exercise scenario are regrettable. It was certainly not the intent to portray any group in a negative manner."

During the drill, a group of leaders instructed other attendees that the gunmen were supposed to be members of a right-wing fundamentalist group that "didn't believe in separation of state and church," and that one of the intruder's daughters had been suspended from school for praying before each class, Corter said.
"There was no mention of any religion, no mention of Christianity," Corter said.

You called them the "New CRUSADERS" What does that imply? Buddhists? If he and other officials actually believe this nonsense, it says a lot about the public education system in Burlington.

Friday, April 6, 2007

iPod for every kid? Are they !#$!ing idiots?

Nation: Good to know that Michigan is in such good hands and great economic shape that this is actually brought up as a good idea.

An iPod for every kid? Are they !#$!ing idiots?

The Detroit News

We have come to the conclusion that the crisis Michigan faces is not a shortage of revenue, but an excess of idiocy. Facing a budget deficit that has passed the $1 billion mark, House Democrats Thursday offered a spending plan that would buy a MP3 player or iPod for every school child in Michigan.

No cost estimate was attached to their hare-brained idea to "invest" in education. Details, we are promised, will follow.

The Democrats, led by their increasingly erratic speaker Andy Dillon of Redford Township, also pledge $100 million to make better downtowns.

Their plan goes beyond cluelessness. Democrats are either entirely indifferent to the idea that extreme hard times demand extreme belt tightening, or they are bone stupid. We lean toward the latter.

We say that because the House plan also keeps alive, again without specifics, the promise of tax hikes.

The range of options, according to Rep. Steve Tobocman, D-Detroit, includes raising the income tax, levying a 6 percent tax on some services, and taxing junk food and soda.

We wonder how financially strained Michigan residents will feel about paying higher taxes to buy someone else's kid an iPod.

Houses are cheap in Detroit if anyone is interested.

Houses cheaper than cars in Detroit

DETROIT (Reuters) - With bidding stalled on some of the least desirable residences in Detroit's collapsing housing market, even the fast-talking auctioneer was feeling the stress.

"Folks, the ground underneath the house goes with it. You do know that, right?" he offered.

After selling house after house in the Motor City for less than the $29,000 it costs to buy the average new car, the auctioneer tried a new line: "The lumber in the house is worth more than that!"

As Detroit reels from job losses in the U.S. auto industry, the depressed city has emerged as a boomtown in one area: foreclosed property.

An iPod for every kid and a Nintendo Wii for every senior citizen. Go for it!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Suspect talked off building, China-style

Crime: Someone else said China is getting soft, 10 years ago they wouldn't have had an air cushion below. Video at the link.

Going, going, gone ... tired of waiting for a murder suspect to give himself up, Chinese police got firefighters to shoot him off an eighth-floor windowsill with a water cannon / Reuters / Reuters

ABC News media bias on display.

Media: Or just a bitter snark by a Dem reporter? Via Mediablog and Newsbusters.

Bush Swift Boats Belgium, Congress
President Slips Swift Boat Ambassador Past Congress By TAHMAN BRADLEY

April 4, 2007— While Congress is out of session, President Bush flexed his executive power muscle, appointing businessman Sam Fox as U.S. ambassador to Belgium less than a week after his nomination was pulled when Senate Democrats hammered away at him for donating money to a conservative group that helped sink Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign.

Kerry and Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., led Senate Democrats' opposition to Fox, who in 2004 contributed $50,000 to the slanderous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which used a series of television ads to undermine Kerry's combat record.

Despite his grilling by Democrats, Fox, the national chairman of the Jewish Republican Coalition, refused to apologize for his donation.

So Newsbusters finds this tidbit about Mr. Bradley.
Earlier today, NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham wrote about ABC's Tahman Bradley and his coverage of President Bush's recess appointment of Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium.

The headline for Bradley's story read like that of a left-wing press release: "Bush Swift Boats Belgium, Congress."

Well, blogger Myra Langerhas of "Snarking Dawg" might have found the reason for Bradley's slanted treatment. The Howard University alumnus (Class of 2006) was active in College Democrats and was a 2005 Fellow for People for the American Way, according to a Web site for the left-wing interest group:

Now there is a guy I would want playing around in the ABC news political department. I expect this on Romenesko or Editor and Publisher anyday now.

The first ever Manga adaptation of the Bible

Religion: Why and how could I have missed such awesomeness??

Here is the official website and the creator is British/Nigerian artist Siku.

Manga comics, the most popular literary form in Japan and Korea, are the fastest growing genre in British and American publishing. Dynamic, action-based artwork combined with pacy, emotional storytelling in a style particularly popular amongst teens and young adults.

Many years in the making, The Manga Bible will be a publishing phenomenon. Artist Siku, one of the UK`s hottest comic talents, has brought his distinctive, edgy style to the world`s all-time best-selling book. The Manga Bible is a faithful adaptation of the Bible, injected with new energy by Siku`s beautiful and dramatic artwork.

The Manga Bible - NT Extreme contains the New Testament comic strip adaptation, plus the full-text of the New Testament using the TNIV `Today`s New International Version` translation of the Bible.

Also available: The Manga Bible - NT Raw, which contains the Manga version without full-text, but available at a cheaper price point.

The complete Manga Bible, including the Old Testament, will be available later in the year.

Harry Shearer wrong about David Hicks

Terrorism: Regarding this part of David Hicks in his latest post.

The Australian: The investigation has been triggered by disclosures in US prosecution files about the involvement of Hicks with a terrorist group that has killed thousands of people in the disputed Indian territory of Kashmir.

The prosecution file states that the former kangaroo skinner and father of two who converted to Islam joined the terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba in Pakistan, travelled to the border with Indian Kashmir in 2000 and fired on Indian troops.

The information was sent to New Delhi this week by the Indian deputy high commissioner to Australia, Vinod Kumar.

Senior officials in New Delhi yesterday confirmed they were examining that material. "We're looking into it and finding out the facts," an official said.

"If Mr Hicks was involved with them at any level, and if he was indeed firing weapons at our troops, then, most certainly, we'd like to talk to him about it ... We don't take kindly to attacks on our soldiers - even attacks by people like Mr Hicks."

The US file is consistent with a letter Hicks wrote to his family in Adelaide in which he admits to firing hundreds of bullets in Kashmir at the enemies of Islam.

In a March 2000 letter, Hicks said "don't ask what's happened, I can't be bothered explaining the outcome of these strange events has put me in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in a training camp. Three months training. After which it is my decision whether to cross the Line of Control into Indian-occupied Kashmir."

The training camp was run by LET, the army of the pure, Islamic fundamentalists fighting to free Muslims under Indian rule and designated a terrorist group by Australia in 2003.

Hicks wrote another letter on August 10, 2000 from Kashmir, claiming to have been a guest of Pakistan's army for two weeks at the front in the "controlled war" with India. "I got to fire hundreds of bullets. Most Muslim countries impose hanging for civilians arming themselves for conflict. There are not many countries in the world where a tourist, according to his visa, can go to stay with the army and shoot across the border at its enemy, legally."

One dove's view of UK being Iran's bitch.

UK: Couple of weeks ago I said the Guardian's CIF page is pretty boss but you can tell the talent gap in writing when American leftists posts their articles from everyone else. Matthew "fuck the small businessman" Yglesias fame decides Iran magnanimous and heartfelt Easter week gift of releasing the 15 Brits shows how being a dove/pacifist rules and diplomacy is always a good thing.

"The peaceful conclusion to the Iran hostage drama suggests that the US and UK could achieve more with diplomacy than with threats of force.

"Disappointed though the hawks may be, the fact that the crisis arose in the first place illustrates the continuing dangers posed by the Bush administration's policies of confrontation. Even if the administration isn't deliberately seeking war - and its behavior in this matter indicates that it isn't - the continued attempts to strong-arm Iran and its allies in the region pose a constant risk of misunderstandings and miscalculations."

"....But if the crisis illustrates the dangers of the current situation, its successful resolution illustrates the potential for improvements. Nobody's interests - not America's nor Britain's nor Iran's nor Iraq's nor Israel's nor Syria's - are served by the current atmosphere of tension, nor would anyone's be served by a further heightening of such tensions."

Its been only 2 weeks or so, but Iran did kidnap 15 Brits on the Iraqi side of the border. The goofy thinking that the "policies of confrontation" forced Iran to do this as if Iran is somehow an innocent pushed to the brink by the evil Bushco and Blair cabal.
This was no misunderstanding or miscalculation, this was a deliberate act of war by some accounts a faction of the Iranian power structure to get one up on the coalition. It ended only because Iran got as much propaganda juice as they could out of it. Iran was the one who decided to end it

"On Tuesday night, two of the most powerful yet anonymous men in their respective countries quietly reached agreement to defuse the tension and free the captives.

Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the Prime Minister's foreign policy adviser, held secret talks with Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's national security council and his country's chief negotiator on nuclear issues.

This telephone call between the two officials was the breakthrough encounter."

Maybe he was right, its all about diplomacy winning the day or the fact Iran said that would do Brits, that would do.

"At that moment, it seemed that no end was in sight. Yet the escalation of the crisis also brought Sir Nigel and Mr Larijani to the fore. Mr Larijani was the first to send conciliatory signals, telling Channel Four News on Monday that the situation could be "resolved" by negotiation.

The Iranians had paraded all 15 captives on television and each had apologised for allegedly "trespassing" into Iran's waters. This gave Teheran what it wanted more than anything else - British apologies, albeit on the lips of junior naval ratings in captivity rather than senior ministers in London.

After these appearances, Mr Larijani clearly calculated that his country had extracted the maximum benefit from holding the captives and the time to release them was approaching.

On Tuesday, Mrs Beckett urged caution in "assuming that we're likely to see a very swift end to this crisis".

At that moment, Sir Nigel was about to hold his critical talks with Mr Larijani. Syria, Iran's main ally in the Middle East, announced that it was trying to resolve the situation. Qatar, a friend of Britain in the Gulf and near neighbour of Iran, was also helping.

A grave diplomatic crisis was resolved with a speed that surprised everyone - except Sir Nigel and Mr Larijani."

Any talk of this being other than a humiliation for the UK and its military who has to answer questions on how this was allowed to happen twice in the last few years is nothing more than a fantasy trip.

More from Washington Post about Iran doing all it could before it got worse for them.

Yet Iran is also likely to pay a long-term price for the detention drama, again appearing to undertake rogue actions in violation of international law, experts and officials said. In the end, Iran recognized that the crisis was beginning to exact a cost, as it came under pressure even from allies and other Islamic countries, officials and experts said. Even Syria urged Iran to release the Britons, Syrian and U.S. sources said.

"They are so consumed with short-term issues -- how to undermine the West and how to gain leverage -- at the expense of long-term strategy. They have undermined themselves," said Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "They're playing the immediate moves of checkers and not the long-term strategy of a chess game. In the long term, it undermines their ability to attract foreign investment and have good relations" with the outside world.

Tehran was also unable to rally significant public support for another long-term showdown like the 1979-1981 hostage ordeal involving 52 American diplomats, experts added. "There was no nationalist bounce out of this," said Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "All the usual people you'd expect to be frothing at the mouth simply weren't."

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Pelosi lied about Israel message to Syria?

Politics: or the better chance is she screwed up the message trying to be Miss Diplomat Genius.

PMO: Pelosi did not carry message from Israel to Assad

By Yoav Stern and Amiram Barkat, Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz Service and News Agencies

The Prime Minister's Office has strongly denied that Israel relayed a message to Syria, accepting its calls to renew peace negotiations.

The bureau responded to questions raised yesterday by a statement made by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, following a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad. Pelosi said she had relayed a message from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, to the effect that Israel was ready for peace talks with Syria.

The Prime Minister's Office was quick to issue a denial, stating that "what was discussed with the House speaker did not include any change in Israel's policy, as it has been presented to international parties involved in the matter."

In a special statement of clarification, the bureau stressed that Olmert had told Pelosi that Israel continued to regard Syria as "part of the axis of evil and a party encouraging terrorism in the entire Middle East."

According to sources at the Prime Minister's Office, "Pelosi took part of the things that were said in the meeting, and used what suited her."

Now I got to defend Tavis Smiley. Damn it.

Culture: Member of a Muslim group is upset with Robert Spencer talking to the FBI about Islam makes this hilarious statement to the Indy Star.

Since the despicable terrorist act on 9/11, a new industry has emerged in which anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of Islam can proclaim himself an expert, proclaim Muslims as the new world threat, and receive widespread attention to propagate the misinformation.

An example of this scenario is promotion of the Somali-born author of "Infidel" (Ayaan Hirsi Ali), who recently moved to the United States after it was learned that she had illegally entered the Netherlands. Though she has appeared on many TV and radio programs promoting her book, her appearance on "The Tavis Smiley Show" was particularly troublesome.

Smiley, who has never had a black American Muslim on his program despite the fact that this is one of the largest ethnic groups of Muslims in the country, brings a self-styled expert on his program to bash Islam.

Logic dictates that if a person would like to facilitate understanding about a topic, he would seek an acknowledged expert to perform the task. We are only as effective as the advisers we retain, and if we are seeking only advisers to confirm our bigotry, then God help us all.

Ismail Abdul Aleem
Member, Indiana Association
of Muslim Imams and Chaplains

October 13, 2005
Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan

Smiley like Tom Joyner loves Calypso Louie plus he had Keith Ellison on last year. Ugh, defending Tavis Smiley, someone get me a hazmat team.

Zimbabwe paper runs anti-British threat

Africa: This a sign of how weak the British look now that a diplomat would be threatened with death by the state-run paper?

On Tuesday, the Herald newspaper made what seemed like a death threat against British Embassy political officer Gillian Dare, calling her the "the purse holder and financier" of an alleged terror campaign by the Movement for Democratic Change.

"It will be a pity for her family to welcome her home at Heathrow Airport in a body bag just like some of her colleagues from Iraq and Afghanistan," said an article on the newspaper's front page.

Dare, "labeled in some sections of the media as a British spy, could one day be caught in the crossfire as she plays night nurse to arrested MDC hooligans," the newspaper said.

A British Foreign Office spokeswoman called the threats "shocking and absolutely unacceptable" and said Zimbabwe's ambassador was called to a meeting in London with Permanent Undersecretary Peter Ricketts, who "emphasized that we expect Zimbabwe to offer protection to our diplomats."

Dare remained at the embassy working as normal, she said, speaking on the government's customary condition of anonymity.

Miles O'Brien and Soledad O'Brien off CNN morning.

Media: So..Kiran Chetry finally got her morning show gig which would bring up this question. Did she and/or agent get feelers from CNN that if she went there, she would soon get the morning gig which is why her agent "allegedly" make the demand FOX News fire Gretchen Carlson so Chetry could get that job?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Pelosi gets ripped by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Politics: Well, this is something.

Damascus, 3 April (AKI) - The Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday condemned new US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria. Pelosi shook the hands with "the president (Syria's Basher al-Assad) of one of the worst repressive, totalitarian regimes," the dissident Brotherhood said in a statement.
Syria "still carries out political arrests and torture...and is responsible for the disappearance of thousands of dissidents as well as the forced exile of many others," a Brotherhood leader, Ali Sadr al-Din al-Bayanuni, said in the statement.

Another Syrian opposition group, the US-based the Reform Party of Syria, also criticised Pelosi't trip to Damascus.

"We believe that dialogue with violent dictators harbouring terrorists sends the wrong signal about the US commitment to freedom; especially when dialogue has been tried on many occasions with no results to speak of," the party said in a statement posted on their Internet site.

Ethanol-blend auto emissions no greener than gasoline

Enviro: Interesting report from Canada.

The federal Conservative government committed $2 billion in incentives for ethanol, made from wheat and corn, and biodiesel in last week's budget.

But based on Ottawa's own research, critics say the investment is based more on myth than hard science.

'Not a lot of difference'
Scientists at Environment Canada studied four vehicles of recent makes, testing their emissions in a range for driving conditions and temperatures.

"Looking at tailpipe emissions, from a greenhouse gas perspective, there really isn't much difference between ethanol and gasoline," said Greg Rideout, head of Environment Canada's toxic emissions research.

"Our results seemed to indicate that with today's vehicles, there's not a lot of difference at the tailpipe with greenhouse gas emissions."

The study found no statistical difference between the greenhouse gas emissions of regular unleaded fuel and 10 per cent ethanol blended fuel.

Although the study found a reduction in carbon monoxide, a pollutant that forms smog, emissions of some other gases, such as hydrocarbons, actually increased under certain conditions.

Bill Rees, an ecology professor at the University of British Columbia and longtime opponent of ethanol, has read the report and thinks Canadians need to know its conclusions.

"I must say, I'm a little surprised at that, because it seems to fly in the face of current policy initiatives," he said.

"People are being conned into believing in a product and paying for it through their tax monies when there's no justifiable benefit and indeed many negative costs."

Also the cost of ethanol is driving up the cost of other food and manufacturing products.

High School mock drill with the New Crusaders.

Terrorism: It is New Jersey, no way any of those leftists would stage a mock hostage taking with anyone but Christians as the bad guys. Hell, they could have just staged a hostage situations with non-religious types, but they couldn't even do that. Its a bizarro Besland scenario.

BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP — The scenario has played out in real life across America: Gunfire echoes through a school and students are held hostage.

But police, faculty and staff lived out their own make-believe version yesterday of just such a tragedy at Burlington Township High School, complete with Kevlar-clad officers, armed suspects and students portraying the wounded and dead.

The purpose of the drill was to test the reactions of police, faculty and administration.

“You perform as you practice,” Superintendent Chris Manno said prior to the exercise. “We need to practice under conditions as real as possible in order to evaluate our procedures and plans so that they're as effective as possible.”

The mock terror attack involved two irate men armed with handguns who invaded the high school through the front door. They pretended to shoot several students in the hallway and then barricaded themselves in the media center with 10 student hostages.

Two Burlington Township police detectives portrayed the gunmen. Investigators described them as members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the “New Crusaders” who don't believe in separation of church and state. The mock gunmen went to the school seeking justice because the daughter of one had been expelled for praying before class.

You would think Manno would be smart enough to realize this could look really bad if its gets wide coverage.

Update# The school district put up an "apology"

Rosie O'Donnell doesn't understand free speech

Media: Freedom of speech anyway. She actually writes a coherent post on her blog and whines that her asking conspiracy questions is making people nuts.

America is great in so many ways, one of which is the freedom to speak, and indeed think, freely. I have, of late, begun exercising the rights bestowed upon me by the democratic system I value, and the exercising of these rights has taken the form of an inquiry into what happened five years ago, an inquiry that resists the dominant explanations and that dares to entertain ideas that push me to the edge of what is bearable. I have come to no conclusions and, given the scope of the subject, will not for some time.

If the very act of asking is so destabilizing for people, than I have to wonder whether the fabric of our democracy is indeed so raveled it is beyond salvage. My own belief is that the act of asking is itself reparative, because it brings to life the values on which our constitution rests. I am, therefore, pledging my allegiance, hand over heart, trying, as always, for a rigorous truth.

This is how it works, you can talk and ask all the questions you want about 9/11. Everyone who disagrees with you can say you're an idiot and here is why. That's how it works in America.

Time magazine journalist arrested in Zimbabwe.

Media: Looks like he tried to come in illegally.

A British journalist working for Time magazine has been arrested in Zimbabwe, according to local reports.

Alexander Perry, the South African correspondent for Time magazine, was arrested in Zimbabwe, apparently for entering the country without official media accreditation, according to South Africa's Star newspaper.

Perry, who is based in Cape Town, was arrested in Zimbabwe near the Beit Bridge border post on Saturday, said the Star.

Sources said he was being held at the police station in Gwanda, about 200km north of the border.

Many reporters resort to entering the country illegally as the Zimbabwe government only grants visas to journalists that provide favourable coverage about the country.

Some media organisations, including the BBC, are banned entirely from the country.

Man in unfortunate saw-mill penis incident

Pain: Uh...Sweet Lord Almighty.

A man has been taken to hospital in Australia after his penis and groin got caught in the machinery at a saw mill.

The Adelaide Advertiser reports that the accident is not thought to have had life-threatening consequences, but that there was a degree of uncontrollable bleeding involved.

The thirty-year-old man was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

A spokesman for Parafield Gardens Saw Mill said: 'He got caught in the log moving mechanism on one of the saws.'

The spokesman maintained that the man's injuries were not serious. Which is easy for him to say.

Penis/groin in machine parts and uncontrollable bleeding is very very serious, don't let anyone tell you different.

Congrats to the Florida Gators; back to back champs.

Sports: As this pic is making the rounds which is just mean and fun to caption if you hate the Buckeyes.

Free Image Hosting at

Potential Michigan mining causes enviro panic.

Bidness: Considering how bad the Michigan economy is pushing away jobs to satisfy a few enviro nuts is nuts.

Environmentalists are especially concerned about the proposed nickel mine, known as the Eagle Project and run by Kennecott Minerals Co., since it would tap into sulfide ore bodies, which, when exposed to air, produce sulfuric acid as a byproduct.

The proposed mine is also four miles from the Huron Mountain Club, a private wilderness reserve where 50 families have vacation homes amid old-growth forest dotted with lakes and the Salmon Trout River, home to the rare coaster brook trout.

"This area is so sufficiently unusual, precious and delicate that the mine should not be located here," said Peter Dykema, a Washington lawyer and sixth-generation club member. "We're not against mining -- the world needs nickel and Michigan needs jobs. But it shouldn't be here."

Kennecott project manager Jon Cherry said the mine would operate for about eight years and would be completely cleaned up a few years past that. He said potentially acid-producing waste would be contained in a double-lined pad and water quality would be restored.

But environmentalists contend that accidents are bound to happen.

"Nothing is totally leakproof," said Sierra Club forest ecologist Marvin Roberson. "One bad winter runoff could contaminate the stream and kill off all the coasters."

"I don't see anything good coming out of this, but I see the potential for a lot of harm," said Gary Cook, Huron Mountain Club security director. "What the local, state and federal governments are getting out of it is minuscule."

I get the feeling these families are not exactly your middle class mom and pop with 2.5 kids who come up for a weeks vacation who are annoyed. Wikiing it! shows I would be correct. So you have a old fashioned well offs with their private land not wanting to bother with an industry who would provide jobs for the local people. The enviros are more than happy to join them in this fight. Kinda like Ted Kennedy screaming for wind power but not wanting the windmills screwing up his view. The locals though welcome the mining companies.

Still, many residents see the mine as an economic opportunity that the area would be foolish to pass up.

Tony Retaskie, executive director of the Upper Peninsula Construction Council and a Marquette native, thinks here is as good a place as any.

"It would open up a lot of opportunities in the UP, it would be a much-needed boost for the area," Retaskie said. "I think a lot of people feel that way but they don't want to go public supporting the mine."

Tom Petersen, an Upper Peninsula native and retired mining engineer, thinks opponents have exaggerated the risks.

"There are die-hard environmentalists who just don't want any mining," said Petersen, 57. "If this one goes ahead and is successful, it will open the way for other mines. These groups are trying to keep the camel's nose out of the tent."

Unless the revenue sharing is totally out of whack and enviro protections are made and kept under observation ( This is Michigan, more government regulations is like crack to the state) the enviros and the bluebloods should get out of the way.

Iran continuing to make the British look like bitches.

UK: This is embarrassing. This can't be going over well with the general public outside of London anyway.

Iran's most senior diplomat, Ali Larijani, called for a "delegation" to rule on whether a British naval patrol entered Iranian waters last month before his government would release the 15 marines and sailors it is holding captive.

Laying out what appeared to be a vague road map for the freeing of the British personnel, Mr Larijani said that, if it was found they had crossed into Iranian territory, there should be an apology and they would then be released.

He gave some conciliatory signals in an interview with Channel Four News, saying the Iranian government was not interested in putting the detainees on trial, but warned that might change if Britain attempted to impose more international pressure on Tehran. "We are not interested in this issue getting more complicated," said Mr Larijani, the secretary-general of Iran's national security council.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Regarding the Supreme Court EPA ruling.

Enviro: If you want to know how bad its going to get with this development. Just think smoking laws and eating laws such as banning trans fat times 1000 in obnoxiousness and smarminess. Also, your wallet is going to get much lighter. In the end, it won't make much difference.

Speaking of smary, PM Howards slams the EU who like to talk a big game about Kyoto and cutting on emissions but most of them aren't even close.

The counter-strike came a day after EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas accused Australia of having a "negative attitude" and refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol on climate change for political reasons rather than economic ones.

But Howard, who is under intense domestic pressure ahead of elections later this year over what critics claim was a failure by his government to tackle climate change, would have none of it.

"You've got the spokesman for a group of countries lecturing us about not having signed Kyoto," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

"Yet the great bulk of the countries on whose behalf he speaks are falling well behind their Kyoto targets and are doing less well in meeting them," he fumed.

"Our answer to the spokesman for the European Union is: Look to your own affairs, get your countries complying with the targets you have proclaimed," Howard said.

Killed Political Cartoons book kills one cartoon.

Media: You know which one.

WITH an unintentional irony that might even tickle the Prophet himself, a new book called "Killed Cartoons" killed a cartoon. Not because it was bad, but because it was just too good.

The book, edited by David Wallis and published by Norton, features political cartoons that other publications considered too hot to handle.

Except for one -- a drawing familiar to cartoon watchers, the omission of which merely reiterates the premise that made the book necessary.

Glaringly missing in a history of killed cartoons is one by Doug Marlette that sparked Muslim outrage a few years ago. I know it's shocking that Muslims were outraged, but try to stay focused.

The cartoon depicted a jihadi driving a Ryder truck with a nuclear bomb in back with the caption: What Would Muhammad Drive?

Wallis says he fought unsuccessfully for the cartoon's inclusion, but "I know why it didn't run and you know why it didn't run." He did note with admiration that Norton was the only publishing house of 15 he approached that had the "gumption" to touch the book.

Seriously, I don't want to hear any of the media fluffers talking about freedom of expression is so important when you realize they can be intimidated.

John Doe backlash from leftist blogs.

Terrorism: All due to a pledge by Malkin has some leftists in a tizzy which brings out the racist insults on cue. It does prove once again especially among the younger leftists the idea a minority has to act and think a certain way is strong. They can't fathom any conservative minority not jumping on the liberal bandwagon of government dependence and minority handholding.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

CNN to fire Michael Ware in a couple of days?

Media: I don't like McCain, I ain't voting for the guy and his assessments of Iraq is too upbeat even for me. But given the behavior of Ware reported by Drudge, if they keep him on beyond Monday night it would be up there with Tailwind.

UK surrenders on its history in schools.

UK: Now I am beginning to see why 48% wouldn't even use military action as a last resort to get back the 15 hostages.

Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Governmentbacked study has revealed.

It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.

There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques.

The findings have prompted claims that some schools are using history 'as a vehicle for promoting political correctness'.

The study, funded by the Department for Education and Skills, looked into 'emotive and controversial' history teaching in primary and secondary schools.

It found some teachers are dropping courses covering the Holocaust at the earliest opportunity over fears Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic and anti-Israel reactions in class.

The researchers gave the example of a secondary school in an unnamed northern city, which dropped the Holocaust as a subject for GCSE coursework.

The report said teachers feared confronting 'anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils'.

It added: "In another department, the Holocaust was taught despite anti-Semitic sentiment among some pupils.

"But the same department deliberately avoided teaching the Crusades at Key Stage 3 (11- to 14-year-olds) because their balanced treatment of the topic would have challenged what was taught in some local mosques."

A third school found itself 'strongly challenged by some Christian parents for their treatment of the Arab-Israeli conflict-and the history of the state of Israel that did not accord with the teachings of their denomination'.

The report concluded: "In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship."

Now Republicans sucking up to Syria.

Politics: There is something in the water in D.C where delusions are looked upon as being an opportunity which doesn't exist.

The U.S. House members, who included Virginia Republican Frank Wolf, Pennsylvania Republican Joe Pitts and Alabama Republican Robert Aderholt, also said they had raised with Syrian officials the issue of stopping the alleged flow of foreign fighters from Syria to Iraq.

In a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, the congressmen said they had talked about "ending support for Hezbollah and Hamas, recognizing Israel's right to exist in peace and security, and ceasing interference in Lebanon."

"We came because we believe there is an opportunity for dialogue," the statement said. "We are following in the lead of Ronald Reagan, who reached out to the Soviets during the Cold War," it added.

Ronald wasn't stupid enough to talk to the soviets without having a big redwood holding over them.

400,000 illegals get driver permits in Illnois.

Immigration: How compassionate and enlightened.

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois would become one of only a handful of states in the nation to authorize illegal immigrants to drive legally on their roads under legislation the Illinois House passed Wednesday to create a special driver's permit for undocumented residents.

The 60-54 vote was an important victory for immigrant advocates, who have focused their energy this spring on several measures before the General Assembly.

"Today we make history," said Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago), the sponsor. "The roads in Illinois will be a safer place, and immigrants can drive to church, to work, and take their children to school legally and without fear."

The controversial proposal for a driver's certificate for immigrants, which proponents say would encourage many of the state's estimated 400,000 undocumented immigrants to get proper training and automobile insurance, still faces more tests before becoming law.

The House passed the measure with the bare minimum number of votes. The bill now goes to the Senate, where a committee approved a similar measure earlier this year, and supporters believe they can muster enough votes to win approval.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has pledged to sign the bill.

Opponents had harsh words about that prospect during Wednesday's debate.

"Why are you talking about a driving privilege for folks who can't register to vote?" asked Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Greenville).

"Let's just knock down the borders and give everybody a certificate and say, 'Hey, thanks for being here. You're now a great American. It doesn't matter by the means you got here, but you get all the rank and privileges all our ancestors paid dearly for.' "

Proponents say providing a legal avenue for undocumented immigrants to drive would not only make those already on the road safer but give immigrants better access to jobs and services.

Opponents believe certificates could make it easier for terrorists to make their way in society, as well as tacitly condoning illegal immigration.

Of course the whole idea is not to keep giving out privileges and incentives to make life for illegals who have broken the law. America has become nothing more than a playground.