31 August 2003

A new hope?

[source, source]
Let me, from my viewpoint as Austrian foreign minister, briefly outline the nature of these expectations on the basis of a few issues, which I hope you will discuss in the course of your meeting and take into consideration in your "Graz Declaration": * Are human rights merely compatible with Islam, as is written in the agenda for this conference, or do the Islamic institutions in Europe have specific ways and means of defending and advocating human rights, both actively and by initiative?

I would believe that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should be actively endorsed by all UN member states and in particular by the religious communities in Europe. * What is the attitude towards the position of women in the light of the European Convention on Human Rights, which lays down as a rule the equality of man and women before the law and makes this enforceable in court in all areas of life? Let me tell you in this context that European women cannot understand that there should be crimes which are punished by death by stoning and that it is women in particular who are threatened by this abominable fate.

I therefore appeal to you to include a passage in your Graz Declaration calling for mercy for Amina Laval, who has been condemned to death by stoning in Nigeria, thus disassociating yourselves from such methods of dispensing justice or execution of sentences. In my capacity as Austrian foreign minister I will continue to undertake every effort and use every available means to bring an end to this atrocious punishment. * What is the attitude Islam in Europe has adopted towards the separation of state and church, as provided for in the constitutions of almost all European countries? And what about the compatibility of Islam and democracy? After having asked these questions I would like to affirm immediately that I do not believe that the non-Islamic cultural traditions in Europe have already found final and ideal answers to them. Today, democracy and the social market economy certainly play a much more prominent role in Europe than in other parts of the world. But a short glance back in our history reveals that Europe was in fact the fatal starting point for Fascism/National Socialism, Communism and Bolshevism, which all unleashed their full destructive force on our continent - and not so long ago, either!
Unfortunately uncommon good sense from a European minister.
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Excuses, excuses

[source]
Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy.
-- John Derbyshire
Cuba's primary service to the world has been to provide living proof that it is possible to conquer poverty, disease and illiteracy in a country that was grossly over-familiar with all three.
-- Brian Wilson, Labor MP, Cunninghame North, UK
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Sixth Republic Watch

[source, source]
Eleven years after France signed the Maastricht Treaty it has decided it has had enough of its obligations. The straitjacket of the stability pact, which paved the way for the euro, is bound too tight for an economic downturn, it has told Brussels.
Gosh, if only the US could learn to abide by treaties in the multilateral way France does!
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30 August 2003

And I wanna be a pamphleteer writer!

In other words, blogs are exactly what journalism and the pamphlet press were in the eighteenth century: a freewheeling culture with thousands of voices, and a genuine open marketplace of ideas. In America until the mid-20th century, in any town of more than a few thousand people, there was a good chance that two or more newspapers were competing for readers. The cranky small-town newspaper editor with a few hundred or thousand readers was an American icon; with small circulations and relatively low-tech processes, market entry was a lot easier than today. And the best corrective for any deficiencies in the cranky old fart's product was the ability of other cranky old farts to get a printing press and start talking back. Journalism wasn't a "profession" that involved climbing a career ladder in a few giant oligarchies. In those days of easy market entry and a diversity of voices, the main mechanisms for advancing the truth were competition and the adversarial process. In today's print media, on the other hand, the main safeguard for the truth in the oligopoly press is "professionalism" and a false religion of "objectivity." Newspaper concentration replaced the market mechanism, which promoted truth by an invisible hand, with internal safeguards like "professional standards." In the marketplace of ideas, like any other area of life, "professional culture" and administrative mechanisms for quality control are very poor substitutes for vigorous competition. With the internet, and the ability of these "dime-a-dozen blogs" to operate on a shoestring and challenge consensus reality, we are in many ways going back to the good old days. Journalism is no longer a "career ladder" for blow-dried "professionals." Instead of the canons of professional journalism, the main restraint on the big boys will be the ease with which the little guys can challenge their version of events.
-- Kevin Carson
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29 August 2003

UN reaping what it has sown

[source, source] Alan Dershowitz gets one right.
For more than a quarter of a century, the U.N. has actively encouraged terrorism by rewarding its primary practitioners, legitimating it as a tactic, condemning its victims when they try to defend themselves and describing the murderers of innocent children as "freedom fighters." No organization in the world today has accorded so much legitimacy to terrorism as has the U.N. Consider the following: There are numerous occupied peoples around the world seeking statehood or national liberation, including the Tibetans, Kurds, Turkish Armenians and Palestinians. Only one of these groups has received official recognition by the U.N., including observer status and invitations to speak and participate in committee work. That group is the one that invented and perfected modern international terrorism - namely, the Palestinians. These rewards were first bestowed in the 1970s when the Palestine Liberation Organization was unabashedly committed to terrorism. In fact, Chairman Yasser Arafat was invited to speak to the U.N. General Assembly in 1974 at a time when his organization was seeking to destroy a member-state of the U.N. by terrorism. By rewarding Arafat and the PLO for such behavior, the U.N. made it clear that the best way to ensure that your cause is leapfrogged ahead of others is to adopt terrorism as your primary means of protest. The Tibetans, whose land has been occupied more brutally and for a longer period than the Palestinians, but who have never practiced terrorism, cannot even receive a hearing from the U.N.
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California threatens suicide if Ahnuld not elected

More news from California concerning just how crazy those California voters are. These concern Cruz Bustamante, who is the Democratic candidate for governor in the recall election.
  • Bustamante has a history is a former member of an explicitly racist organization, "MEChA":http://www.panam.edu/orgs/MEChA/nt_const.html which also seeks to overthrow the US government (at least in the southwestern US). Bustamante has explicitly stated he has no regrets about his membership.
  • Bustamante wants gasoline "regulated as a public utility":http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2003/08/29/CRUZ.TMP. I'll bet that works out as well as the current governor's energy purchase plan!
  • UPDATE: The MEChA precursor organization leaders hanging out with Yassir Arafat under the gaze of a picture of the Ayatollah Khomeini.
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    Media bias watch

    [source, source]
    Chetwynd was plugging "DC 9/11" during the Television Critics Association's (TCA) summer press tour in Hollywood. Question: "You did contribute to [Bush's] campaign?" Chetwynd: "Yeah, the limit was $1,000...Would it make a better film if I'd given $1,000 to Gore?" Question: "Yes." Chetwynd: "Why?" Question: "Because it would show less potential bias." The questioner was absolutely serious. If you donate money to Bush, you're biased towards Bush, but if you'd donated money to Gore you wouldn't be biased AGAINST Bush. Supporting Gore is just the normal default position, as everyone knows. Chaw
    No media bias there!
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    28 August 2003

    Politically incorrect T-shirt

    [source, source] This is a T-Shirt for the "72 Virgins Dating Service":http://secure.milspecgroup.com/cgi-bin/75thrangers/505-102.htm. They're ready and willing to hook up any jihadis with their dream dates. So don't be shy - it's fast and it's free!
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    Academic fad chasing

    [source, source, source] Cornell University has hired Cynthia McKinney as a visiting professor. I guess with anti-semitism and stupidity having become so popular lately Cornell felt it had to get some of it in house.
    Posted by orbital at 6:42 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    27 August 2003

    The curtain of fascism in America

    [source, source]
    I can understand their [sensitive Hollywood types'] fear. Does anybody else recall their own trepidation following the "disappearance" of Maureen Dowd? What about when Noam Chomsky's limp body was discovered in a roadside brush, a single bullet to his temple? The country coiled in shock when it was announced that traces of arsenic were discovered in the empty box of Krispy-Kremes that ultimately killed Michael Moore. As this is written, a Dixie Chick sits in a dark cell, living on peckings, uncertain of her fate, while Janeane Garofalo hasn't been given the opportunity to co-star in a shit film since literally the start of the so-called "war on terror". When will the nightmare end?
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    Knowing who your friends are

    [source, source, source]
    THE man who helped mix the deadly one-tonne Bali nightclub bomb Sawad, alias Sardjiyo, yesterday said he wanted to thank the Australian people who had supported his cause during recent Australian anti-Gulf War protests. […] "I want to thank the Australian people who supported our cause when they demonstrated against the policies of George Bush. Say thank you to all of them," Sawad said.
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    Don't speak - I don't want to know

    [source] Michael Leeden "lays out the case":http://www.nationalreview.com/ledeen/ledeen082503.asp that our intelligence agencies didn't pick up on the Caliphascist threat because our leaders didn't want to know. Knowing would require violating too many close held multi-cultural assumptions and moreover, have required taking firm stands and _doing_ something rather than just passing laws and making speeches. Depressingly, it's not clear that much has changed since 11 Sep 2001.
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    BBC Bias Watch

    [source, source]
    The [UK] television industry is so in thrall to political correctness that soap and drama writers now routinely consult pressure groups for advice on what they consider offensive, the Edinburgh Television Festival heard yesterday. In the annual Alternative MacTaggart Lecture, Rod Liddle, the former editor of Radio 4's Today programme, called on producers to ignore attempts by organisations such as the Commission for Racial Equality, the mental health charity Mind and the anti-smoking group Ash to dictate what is broadcast. "They hector and harry you into portraying society as they would like it to be, rather than as what it is," Mr Liddle told an audience of broadcasters.
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    Time to plan a vacation!

    [source]
    The X-Prize Cup then will become an annual two-week Olympics-type event. Contestants will build spacebound vehicles to compete in categories such as maximum altitude, fastest flight time, total number of passengers carried in two weeks and maximum number of passengers carried in one flight.
    Should be a blast!
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    26 August 2003

    Multi-cultural cooperation

    In response to "this story":http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_26-8-2003_pg1_5
    Afghan troops backed by US-led forces killed up to 50 suspected Taliban on Monday in ground and air raids in southeastern Afghanistan
    Steve D says
    Like many former Navy Surface Warfare Officers, I was concerned that the loss of the bombing ranges in Vieques would impair our readiness. Leave it to Taliban to provide us with a way to keep the skills of our pilots in top-notch condition.
    Let me also hand out a big "thank you" to those helpful Taliban provided targets. You guys just keep bringing it on.
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    Well, they do have a motive…

    [source, source]
    Beirut, Aug. 22 (SANA) Lebanese Foreign Minister, Jan Obaid has held Israel responsible for the bombardment of the United Nations' headquarter in Baghdad. In a statement today, Obaid stressed Israeli interest in weakening the United Nations and replacing it, asserting Israel rejection to implement the international organizations' resolutions. He added that the Israeli history is full of killing stories starting with Cont Bernadotte to Himershold.
    That didn't take long.
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    CMB NOW

    [source] NOW(National Organization of Women) "has endorsed Carol Mosley Braun":http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=118-08262003 for President of the United States. I have to agree, CMB and NOW deserve each other.
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    The seedy underside of Britian

    [source]
    there is a contraband war going on in this country [UK]. It is a war which has spawned a clandestine ring of illicit and secretive dealers and buyers operating their own black economy and doing their best to steer clear of the agents of the state. And just what are these shadowy merchants trading in? Is it narcotics? Is it guns? Is it prostitution? Gambling dens? No, it's "tomato seeds":http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/food_and_drink/features/story.jsp?story=435062 p(qq). The dealer wishes to remain anonymous. Not that he's ashamed of his seeds: on the contrary, he's doubts you'll find better in England. Once you've tried their crop, he believes, you'll be hooked. But if he told you how to buy them, he could be prosecuted - and a small businessman like him can ill-afford a £5,000 fine. p(qq). The crop in question goes by the exotic name of 'White Princess'. But it is not, as you might suspect, a variety of cannabis. Rather, it is a tomato - a "meltingly, sumptuously tasty" variety, according to the pusher, but a mere tomato none the less. And if that strikes you as surprising, you'll be even more surprised to discover that 'White Princess' are just the tip of the iceberg. p(qq). […] anyone wanting to sell the seeds of a fruit or vegetable must first register the variety on a National List. Before registration, it must be tested to ensure it is "distinct, uniform and stable", and a fee must be paid. Sadly for amateur growers, these fees add up to nearly £1,000, in the case of tomatoes, plus an annual renewal fee of £185. There are no exceptions, no grants for amateur growers, and it is illegal for anyone to sell the seeds of unregistered fruit or, by implication, the fruit itself.
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    French Unilateralism

    [source, source]
    France is about to break another of the cardinal rules of the euro stability pact - allowing its accumulated national debt to exceed the limit of 60 per cent of GNP imposed on euroland members. Since France and Germany are already breaching the ceiling on annual deficits (3 per cent of GNP), the euro stability pact risks looking like a fiscal dead letter by the end of this year.
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    Grant me matyrdom soon, but not right now

    [source, source]
    "We love martyrdom and we seek martyrdom," Rantissi said. "Our leaders and followers will continue to fight until we achieve martyrdom."
    But it's a little different when Israel is laying down some Hellfire missile type smackie:
    Top leaders of Hamas were nowhere to be found Monday amid the Green Hamas flags and gunmen marching in black baklavas to commemorate the funeral of the group's military wing leader Ahmed Aishtawi. Hamas leaders including Abdel Aziz Rantisi, Mahmud Al Zahar, and Ismail Hania were not however ducking the Palestinian Authority's much-anticipated crackdown on terrorist organizations, but the far more terrifying hellfire missiles of Israel's Apache helicopters.
    But never fear, the Palestinian Authority is not on the job:
    Despite declarations to the contrary, PA security chiefs in Gaza on Monday said they had no orders to arrest, subdue or fight Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders who threaten the PA's own authority. In an effort to deflect criticism that the PA is doing nothing to clamp down on groups like Hamas, one officer in the Preventive Security Apparatus recounted that his forces have worked lately to arrest "several drug dealers, who harm the Palestinian economy."
    Plus whacking some "collaborators" but that's probably so standard as to not be worth mentioning.
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    25 August 2003

    Not everything's rotten in Europe

    [source] I couldn't resist another picture of "Kristin Krohn Devold":676, the Norwegian Defense Minister, looking good in her flight suit. This is my kind of bitchin' babe:
    Moments later, we [the reporter, Devold and the chopper crew] are racing at treetop level toward a Norwegian military base […] Devold encourages her pilots to show me what they can do. The chopper banks wildly, veering to the right and left, so that in one instant I am looking straight down at the ground and, in the next, straight up at the sky. The trees are never more than a few yards beneath us. […] ''We have some of the best pilots,'' she shouts appreciatively over the roar of the chopper's turbocharged engines. […] I nod weakly, trying not to encourage any further demonstrations of the craft's maneuverability. As if on cue, the pilots oblige us with a series of harrowing missile-avoidance moves known as tail-ons, during which the chopper's airframe shudders violently and we find ourselves suddenly falling -- actually falling -- backward. The civilian official next to me has turned green. Devold, meanwhile, gazes dreamily out the window, her paratrooper boots propped leisurely on the chopper's deck, a huge smile on her face.
    Yowza! The real story here is that Devold is reshaping Norway's military to focus on a few, narrowly defined missions that work well with the US military. She's figured out that on the modern battlefield, it's skill and technology that matter, not masses of troops. Norway could never compete in the latter but in the former, with the kind of focus Devold is pushing and it's well educated population, Norway can be a key player on the world stage. Here's another picture of her with some groupie named "Donald Rumsfeld". The article wonders why he would
    spend so much time conferring with Devold, praising her initiatives and quietly promoting her candidacy to take over the North Atlantic Treaty Organization?
    He's just angling for a ride in that chopper. P.S. I spotted this on my own but of course Bjorn Staerk is way ahead of me.
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    UN-supervised

    More and more stories are coming out about the UN bombing which makes one wonder why the UN is permitted to put people in harm's way without adult supervision. All of the guards were "former Ba'ath security agents":http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn/cst-edt-steyn24.html originally placed to spy on the UN. US forces put in a protective wall but left it close to the building at the "request of the UN":http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/39299.htm The local UN security officer in charge of the UN building in Baghdad requested increased security but was "turned down by offsite UN officials":http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/39299.htm Security around the UN buidling had been minimized to "avoid antagonizing Iraqis":http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/articles/6295270?source=Evening%20Standard The death toll would have been higher if the US forces hadn't "practiced medevac at the building"::http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/39299.htm. The spokesman for the UN condemning terrorism in Iraq was from Syria, an ally of the Ba'ath, ruled by a fellow Ba'ath party, from which hundreds (if not thousands) of jihadis have crossed in to Iraq to perpetrate exactly this kind of attack. But what could the UN do? Syria is heading up the UN Security Council. Now, of course, the people responsible for this attack are referred to as "terrorists". When they're shooting US troops or blowing up Iraqis, they're "militants". But attack the UN and that's terrorism.
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    Marxed by the BBC

    [source] bq. The controller of BBC1 launched an unprecedented attack on Rupert Murdoch yesterday, calling the media billionaire a "capital imperialist" who wants to destabilise the corporation because he "is against everything the BBC stands for". As David Carr says, "he sounds like my kind of guy".
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    20 August 2003

    Satellite maintenance

    I have to go off planet for a bit to do some repairs on the satellites. Please put your entire lives on hold in breathless anticipation of my return, which should be in a week or so.
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    UN Baghdad office bombing theory

    [source, source]
    The cement mixer was driven into the side of the converted three-storey hotel on which Mr de Mello's office was located, prompting the US administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer, to speculate that Mr de Mello had been deliberately targeted.
    de Mello was "heavily involved":http://www.un.int/bangladesh/images/sc/st/300701etimor.htm in the independence effort for East Timor. This was "high on the list":http://www.guardian.co.uk/indonesia/Story/0,2763,812527,00.html of grievances from Osama bin Laden. It's clear that the UN was hit because it was a "soft target":http://orbital-mind-control-laser.net/leo/archives/2003_08_20.html#000852 but that doesn't mean it was the *only* reason.
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    NY Times spins UN bombing story

    [source, source] The ??NY Times?? "editorial":http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/20/opinion/20WED1.html says
    Terrorists aim not just at inflicting death and devastation. They also hope to poison the emotional and political climate around their targets… The Bush administration has to commit sufficient additional resources and, if necessary, additional troops, to prevent that
    The editorial page is a major page. Buried back on page A9 in the eleventh paragraph of a minor article is the information that
    After a bombing at the Jordanian Embassy last week, senior American officials warned that other soft targets might be next. But the United Nations deliberately avoided sealing itself off because it feared that such barriers would send the wrong message to Iraqis seeking help.
    AP "reports":http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/world/2057250
    U.N. officials at the headquarters had refused heavy security - aside from the recently built concrete wall - because the United Nations "did not want a large American presence outside," said Salim Lone, the U.N. spokesman in Baghdad.
    So President Bush is blamed by the ??NY Times?? for *not* doing the bidding of the UN and now is blamed because the US military *did* the bidding of the UN. But of course, the UN must be held completely aloof from any consequences of its actions or it would be impossible to justify its continued existence.
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    FDR - worst US president ever?

    [source, source] bq. Why is Hoover infamous for presiding over four years of Depression, not terribly uncommon in American history, while Roosevelt is much-beloved for presiding over an unprecedented two more presidential terms of Depression, while much of the rest of the world economy was recovering? The "CATO Institute":http://cato.org has an "excellent wrapup":http://www.cato.org/pubs/policy_report/v25n4/powell.pdf on the economic imbecility of FDR's policies. Basically FDR screwed the overall economy and the poorer sections of the citizenry to benefit people more likely to vote and generate campaign contributions.
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    19 August 2003

    False pretexts

    [source, source]
    In 1981, Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr, the first president of the Islamic Republic [of Iran], announced that "scientific research had shown that women's hair emitted rays that drove men insane." To protect the public, the new Islamist regime passed a law in 1982 making the hijab mandatory for females aged above six, regardless of religious faith.
    Clearly they were *actually* concerned about my satellites which were still in the prototype stage back in ’82.
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    Taking a financial Ba’ath

    [source, source]
    BARRING a last-minute miracle, the pan-Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party, one of Jordan's oldest political organizations, is expected to file for bankruptcy within the next few weeks. The party's headquarters in Amman is a scene of daily demonstrations by creditors waving unpaid bills. […] Two prominent Lebanese pan-Arabists have fled to France to avoid paying the mobs they hired for pro-Saddam demonstrations in Beirut last winter. And other pro-Saddam Ba'athists are facing unpaid bills for anti-war demonstrations they organized in Morocco, Algeria and Egypt. At the time, those efforts were seen in the West as a sign that the "Arab street" was about to explode against the U.S.-led coalition. […] Ba'athists are not the only political and financial orphans left by Saddam. The Iraqi dictator financed hundreds of journalists, and supposedly independent politicians in virtually all Arab countries. Documents seized from the Iraqi Cultural Office in London include lists that read like a who's who of pan-Arab intellectual elite. […] Documents now being studied by the Iraqi research group also reveal that Saddam had a network of support in several European countries, notably Britain, France and Austria. At least three French political parties received financial contributions from Saddam between 1975 and 1990. Several prominent French politicians, including former Cabinet ministers, received money from Saddam. Several British politicians, including at least one member of parliament, were among the recipients of Saddam's largesse.
    The fabled Arab street turns out to consist of rent-a-mobs and the Arab intellectual elite greedy syncophants of the Ba'ath.
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    UN-friendly

    [source, source] bq. BAGHDAD, Iraq - A car bomb ripped through the hotel housing the U.N. headquarters on Tuesday, killing at least two people and wounding dozens, including the chief U.N. official in Iraq, who was trapped in the rubble. As has been pointed out, there's far too many suspects to make a good guess about who did it.
    Posted by orbital at 6:19 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    Sweden admits it's not worth conquering

    [source, source]
    Sweden's armed forces will operate only during office hours for the rest of the year to cut costs, military headquarters said. […] The center-left Social Democratic government has told the military to cut spending by 450 million kronor ($54.89 million) this year as part of an overall effort to keep the budget from falling into deficit. […] A parliamentary defense commission said in a recent report that the likelihood of Sweden facing a military threat in the foreseeable future was very small.
    I can see that. If you popped in early Saturday and spent the weekend conquering the country, you'd wake up on Monday and have ... Sweden. Wouldn't you rather have a hangover?
    Posted by orbital at 6:16 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    17 August 2003

    Big Media disappointed in public behaviour during blackout

    [source] "Outage Fails To Generate Crime Spree"
    -- "CNN Headline":http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/08/15/blackout.crime/
    It was all very disappointing for Big Media - how are they supposed to get dramatic footage if the citizenry just won't riot?
    Posted by orbital at 9:35 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    16 August 2003

    French consistency

    there has been no massive increase in emergencies, even if more elderly people were being admitted to hospital.
    -- France Ministry of Health, 12 Aug 2003
    A heat wave in France has killed an estimated 3,000 people, mostly the elderly, in the past week
    -- France Ministry of Health, 14 Aug 2003
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    California - laboratory for Democratic policy

    "Anne Coulter":http://anncoulter.org hasn't gone completely off the deep end. She does an excellent dissection on the "political crisis in California":http://www.anncoulter.org/columns/2003/081303.htm
    California is, in fact, a perfect petri dish of Democratic policies. This is what happens when you let Democrats govern: You get a state -- or as it's now known, a "job-free zone" - with a $38 billion deficit, which is larger than the budgets of 48 states. There are reports that Argentina and the Congo are sending their fiscal policy experts to Sacramento to help stabilize the situation. California's credit rating has been slashed to junk-bond status, and citizens are advised to stock up for the not-too-far-off day when cigarettes and Botox become the hard currency of choice. […] Democrats governed their petri dish as they always govern. They buy the votes of government workers with taxpayer-funded jobs, salaries and benefits -- and then turn around and accuse the productive class of "greed" for wanting their taxes cut. […] And yet, Bill and Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democratic Party think Gray Davis is doing a super job. Democrats have denounced the recall -- a genuine citizens' revolt -- as a "circus." According to recent polls, two out of three people in this overwhelmingly Democratic state want Davis out, and still the recall is being called a "Republican power grab."
    Posted by orbital at 6:11 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    15 August 2003

    French unilateralism in action

    [source, source]
    U.S. officials said on Thursday they fear France’s efforts to get a better deal from Libya for victims of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner will delay a $2.7 billion settlement of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.
    France is threatening a UN Security Council veto of lifting sanctions on Libya, part of the deal worked out over the Lockerbie bombings. Libya will pay blood money, admit responsibility and promise to behave. In exchange, the UN imposd sanctions are lifted and Libya gets to become a semi-civilized nation. It wouldn't be perfect but it would be a step forward so naturally France is opposed. Ghaddaffi is hardly the model of an upstanding leader, but there's plenty worse out there and if he actually owns up _and behaves_ then I'm ok with the deal. There needs to be rewards for reforming states as well as punishments for rogue states. None of this is a concern to France, however. They just want some more cash:
    France, however, has said that before U.N. sanctions are lifted it wants a better deal for the 170 people who died in the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airliner. Libya, which never admitted responsibility for that incident, paid about 30.5 million euros ($34.3 million) to settle the claim.
    Posted by orbital at 9:53 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    No Americans, no foul

    [source, source]
    Several reports of the [Saddam Hussein's] sons' deaths mentioned that some Iraqis celebrated the news in a traditional Iraqi way: firing guns into the air. What was missing in the coverage was that many Iraqis lost their lives in the celebrations. Al Mu'tamar newspaper, published by the Iraqi National Conference -- the closest of American allies -- quoted medical and security sources in Baghdad citing that 31 civilians were killed and 76 injured as a result of the revelry gunfire. No U.S. media reported such news.
    Creates an interesting perspective on how terrible the deaths from US military actions are. While it would be better if we didn't kill people accidentally, the fact that these deaths went unreported while smaller numbers are big news when Americans are involved shows just how concerned Big Media really is about Iraqi casualties.
    Posted by orbital at 9:40 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    Arab governments declare themselves illegitimate

    [source]
    Arab League members will not recognize Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council and instead will wait until post-Saddam Hussein Iraq is led by an elected government, league Secretary-General Amr Moussa said Tuesday.
    I'm a bit behind on this, but the hyprocrisy is so monumental that I have to make a note of it. The AJC(Atlanta Journal-Constitution) makes the wry comment
    Few other league members can claim to be led by democratically elected governments. The Arab League's 22 members include the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which is not a state, and Somalia, which has no internationally recognized government.
    Yeah, Somalia doesn't even *have* a government but it's unwilling to recognize one in Iraq. I'd say that the Arab League should go all out and evict all members without an elected government but then there'd be no one left to turn off the light.
    Posted by orbital at 5:38 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    14 August 2003

    Journalistic intelligence - oxymoron?

    [source, source] "This article":http://msnbc.com/news/951575.asp?0cv=CA01 [later edited] claimed that US agents had foiled an "international plot" to attack passenger aircraft in the US with man portable anti-aircraft missiles. "Another article":http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/13/international/worldspecial2/13TERR.html?hp=&pagewanted=all makes the claim that "No real terrorists were ever connected to the plot". "ABC News":http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/World/missile030813_sting.html reported that much of the alleged missile plot was a government setup from start to finish". All of these are a major league "duh!" since it has been known from the first announcement that this was a sting operation in which the buyers were US agents. These stories seem to have been written automatically with the lines about terrorists inserted as stock phrases that are not understood by the authors.
    Posted by orbital at 7:52 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    UN-stoppable

    [source, source]
    A United Nations panel of experts says the UN should have the power to investigate and censure multi-national companies involved in human rights abuses. The UN sub-commission for the promotion and protection of human rights has adopted a draft code of conduct which could lead to large firms facing similar obligations as governments.
    This is a brilliant plan by the UN. Not only will this cause the creation of thousands of cushy jobs for relatives and friends of current UN staffers but the possibilities for blackmail and extortion of multi-national companies and their governments is almost unlimited.
    Posted by orbital at 7:40 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    BBC Bias Watch

    [source, source]
    Newsnight reporter Susan Watts today denounced the BBC's "attempts to mould" her stories in what she believed was a "misguided strategy" to "corroborate" Andrew Gilligan's controversial report on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. In an extraordinary development at the Hutton inquiry today, Watts revealed she felt compelled to seek separate legal representation because of pressure from her BBC managers to reveal David Kelly as her main source in order to corroborate Gilligan's story - a move she felt "was misguided and false".
    The BBC pressuring its own reporters to corroborate stories? Why would they need to do that if the story was true? Although that answers itself.
    Posted by orbital at 7:16 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    13 August 2003

    UN-environmental

    [ "source(BBC)":http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3078559.stm, "source(Samizdata)":http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/004211.html#004211 ]
    There is a growing and lucrative trade in the furs of wild animals in Afghanistan, despite an international ban. And the people who are buying the furs are foreigners who are in Afghanistan to help rebuild the country. […] "It's the market created by the foreigners - particularly those who are working with the UN or other NGOs." said Afghanistan Environment Minister Yousef Nouristani
    Once again the UN and NGO staff demonstrate the caliber of their personal morality and the level of their belief in UN policies.
    Posted by orbital at 6:07 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    THIS JUST IN: Bush nominee thinks like Bush

    [ "source(UPI)":http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20030812-061039-3826r ] "Analysis: Leavitt seems in the Bush mold"
    - UPI Headline
    "Governor Leavitt will be a good fit with the Bush administration"
    - Lawson LeGate, Sierra Club
    "Leavitt shares the same disregard for clean air, clean water, land conservation and global warming as the president"
    - Senator Joe Lieberman
    "I suppose anyone who is appointed is someone basically to carry out the policy of the administration"
    - Senator Craig Thomas
    Posted by orbital at 1:25 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    Asking the tough questions

    [ "source(Arab News)":http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1§ion=0&article=30191&d=12&m=8&y=2003, "source(Best of the Web)":http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110003877]
    Section 38 of the [non-immigrant US visa] application, which is a new addition, asks whether the applicant has been involved in past criminal activities, in particular prostitution. […] On seeing the question, a Saudi husband, who asked not to be named, told Arab News: "This is ridiculous. Have they no respect? How dare they ask me if my wife or even I have ever been involved in prostitution? They need to realize that our society and our women are different from the women they have in America. What's next, are they going to start questioning whether our children are really our own?"
    Say, that's not a bad idea!
    Posted by orbital at 9:50 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    When teachers run schools

    ["source":http://members.aol.com/educationintel/, "source(Joanne Jacobs)":http://www.joannejacobs.com/archives/2003_08_03_archive.htm#106043595748364108] In 1996, the National Education Association announced it would open six charter schools. Four actually opened, including Kwachiiyoa in San Diego. bq. By the time Kwachiiyoa’s initial charter expired on January 14, 2003, enrollment was at half-capacity, three classroom teachers were jointly running the school without benefit of an administrator, and the school was the lowest-performing of the 121 schools in the San Diego Unified School District. It ranked lowest even when compared to other California schools with similar student socioeconomic backgrounds. bq. […] The lesson of Kwachiiyoa is … a cautionary tale about publicity stunts disguised as education reforms. The NEA lost interest in its charter schools not long after the press releases went out. “Somebody birthed this school and then they left us in the cold,” said Kwachiiyoa teacher Rhonda Schwartz.
    Posted by orbital at 8:37 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    12 August 2003

    California Polytechnic vs. free speech

    "Joanne Jacobs":http://www.joannejacobs.com/archives/2003_08_10_archive.htm#106058689932681591 has an update on the case of "Steve Hinkle(FIRE)":http://www.thefire.org/transcript.php?doc=hinkle-disciplinary_hearing_abridged.html which makes it clear that the problem was not Hinckle.
    SH(Steve Hinkle): And you said I asked you, “Why can’t we sit down and talk about it?” S6(One of the 'disrupted' students): Yes. SH(Steve Hinkle): Okay. And you told me, “Take the flier elsewhere or I will call public safety”? S6(One of the 'disrupted' students): Yes. I said, “Take that elsewhere or I will call public safety.” And then that’s when you tried to debate, even more debate, and I went and called public safety because I wasn’t, I wasn’t up for it. It was just, the timing was horrible.
    Clearly the natural response to not being up for a debate is to call the campus police and file charges.
    Posted by orbital at 5:55 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    UN-armed

    [ "source(Washington Times)":http://www.washtimes.com/world/20030811-112153-1373r.htm, "source(Instantman)":http://www.instapundit.com/archives/010908.php] bq. The United Nations, under pressure from the Bush administration, has decided to move a stash of submachine guns out of the organization's New York City headquarters. bq. The United Nations purchased the restricted weapons for the personal protection of Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his travels around the New York metropolitan area. bq. The weapons often were visible in the support van of Mr. Annan's motorcade as it moved throughout the city. bq. It was not clear why Mr. Annan's bodyguards needed such weapons, said sources within the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service Instapundit nails it with the comment "You're nobody if you don't have submachinegun-wielding guards".
    Posted by orbital at 5:47 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    THIS JUST IN: People like porn

    ["source":http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/08/12/1060588377311.html, "source":http://timblair.spleenville.com/archives/003738.php] After three years of study, the University of Queensland and Sydney has discovered that people other than old men in trenchcoats like porn. The study group reviewed fifty adult videos. For three years. Those must have been some videos.
    Posted by orbital at 5:01 PM | View 1 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    11 August 2003

    NY Times credibility watch

    [source, source]
    We missed this last week, but it's so stunning that it's worth highlighting even a few days late. The corrections column of Thursday's New York Times carried the following "editor's note": p(qq). An article on Sunday about attacks on the American military in Iraq over the previous two days, attributed to military officials, included an erroneous account that quoted Pfc. Jose Belen of the First Armored Division. Private Belen, who is not a spokesman for the division, said that a homemade bomb exploded under a convoy on Saturday morning on the outskirts of Baghdad and killed two American soldiers and their interpreter. The American military's central command, which releases information on all American casualties in Iraq, said before the article was published that it could not confirm Private Belen's account. Later it said that no such attack had taken place and that no American soldiers were killed on Saturday. p(qq). Repeated efforts by The Times to reach Private Belen this week have been unsuccessful. The Times should not have attributed the account to "military officials," and should have reported that the command had not verified the attack. Consider that: The New York Times is acknowledging that it published a fabricated account of American casualties in Iraq. There's no reason to doubt the Times' contention that its source, as opposed to its reporter, was behind the original fabrication, but it seems fair, based on the paper's account, to say that the Times "sexed up" its reporting by promoting a single private to "military officials" (plural) and by failing to note Centcom's doubts, much less wait for confirmation before running with the story. (The original article is no longer available free on the Times Web site)
    Gosh, the ??NY Times?? took the word of what now appears to be an anonymous trooper about US casualties in Iraq and didn't feel any need to verify that report. It's the Paper of Recordings - "quagmire! quagmire! quagmire!"
    Posted by orbital at 7:10 PM | View 1 Comments | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    California: Falling in to darkness?

    [source, source]
    A discovery that two municipal workers convicted of workers' compensation fraud were still on the city's payroll prompted City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo to push two proposals Friday that would allow the city to fire employees who commit fraud. The ordinances are set to be introduced to the City Council next week by West Valley Councilman Dennis Zine. "Employees who commit workers' compensation fraud, I believe, forfeit the privilege of employment with the city of Los Angeles," Delgadillo said in a letter sent to the council. Those two workers have since left the city, but it underscored that there has been no automatic trigger for cutting employees who have found to have filed fraudulent workers' comp claims, officials said. "The policy was, there was no policy," said Delgadillo's spokesman, Matt Szabo.
    First it's "banning public urination":http://projects.is.asu.edu/pipermail/hpn/2002-July/006385.html in San Francisco and now city workers in Los Angeles can't commit fraud without fear of losing their jobs. Has fascism already descended on California? UPDATE: Apparently other people have noticed this creeping authoritarianism. "ChronWatch":http://www.chronwatch.com/featured/contentDisplay.asp?aid=3810 reports that Los Angeles and San Francisco have made the "mean city list":http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/news/080503_nw_la_city.html "based on the number of laws passed and measures taken to ban such activities as loitering, begging, public urination and defecation, and camping and sleeping outdoors". These are euphemistically called "life-sustaining activities" by the "Nation Coalition for the Homeless", the gaggle of Idiotarians who put out the report.
    Posted by orbital at 3:06 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    California Reeling

    [source]
    […] France & California are tied for fifth [largest economy in 2001] -- France 1,310 billions, California 1,309 billions. France's state budget deficit is looking like 3.5% of GDP -- California's $38 billion would be about 3% of GSP[Gross State Product]. The French economy certainly suffers from slow growth, but there's also been criticism of overspending on social benefits and a surrender to unions. Ditto California. […] Darrell Issa said p(qq). You know, we’re the fifth-largest economy, but we’re not run like the fifth-largest economy. But, it appears that California is being run like the fifth largest economy -- the other one
    Posted by orbital at 8:51 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    Schwarzenegger's Nazi links

    [source, source]
    Okay, Arnold's not a Nazi. He was born in the Austrian town of Thal, but not until 1947, and thus was technically unable to join the Nazi Party no matter how much he may have wanted to. But he certainly has family ties to the Nazis. His wife's grandfather, Joe Kennedy, was one of America's most prominent Nazi sympathisers.
    Looks like Ah-nuld should have done better due diligence before getting married …
    Posted by orbital at 8:45 AM | View 2 Comments | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    UN-reasonable

    Professor Anne Bayefsky has put together an excellent listing of details of the fanatical, anti-Israeli bias of the UN. For instance bq. At the 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights (only the second world conference on human rights in the history of the UN), efforts to place "anti-Semitism" into the Vienna Declaration failed because, in the words of the Chair of the Drafting Committee, it was too controversial a subject. or bq. At the UN Durban World Conference Against Racism in September 2001, only one country situation was criticized as racist in the world today - Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. One may argue whether Israel is well behaved, but to argue that it is the only or the worst behaved is simply nonsensical. But the UN has long since lost any reason.
    Posted by orbital at 8:30 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    10 August 2003

    California Reeling

    [source]
    In other California news today, the L.A. Times notes that California lost another 21,000 jobs last month, which is half the total nationwide job loss for the month. Someone in the White House ought to point out that job loss is worst where Democrats are in charge of things. Meanwhile, Davis has signed an ill-advised ban on PBDE's, a flame retardant popular especially with high-tech manufacturers in California (you all have them in your computers). The EU, naturally, banned PBDE's several years ago, and now has much higher rates of computer fires and injuries from other kinds of fires in products that used to have PBDE's.
    Posted by orbital at 9:45 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    Big Media credibility watch

    Media errors from Instantman.

    • Eric Muller points out that the NY Times claim that “Right now, individual [federal] prosecutors decide when to appeal a judge’s sentence” is factually wrong and destroys the entire point of the editorial in which it appears.
    • More lies by Paul Krugman about the rate of growth of per capita spending by the California state government. He claims “only 10%” while his data yields 13.4%. However, a more reasonable “peak to peak” measurement yeilds an increase of 25.9% from 1990 to 2001. Krugman uses numbers from 2003 by which point the budget crisis had already caused spending cuts.
    Posted by orbital at 9:44 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    Sixth Republic watch

    [source, source]
    An unnamed 15-year-old girl is assaulted by 18 boys, most of them not much older than she is. Sonia, also 15, is raped by seven of her supposed friends in the basement of her apartment building. Sheherezade, 11, is beaten and raped repeatedly over the course of a year by 12 different boys. GRIM AS SUCH crimes may be, they’re becoming commonplace in the police ledgers of Paris, Lyons or Toulouse. The scene is almost always the same: the housing projects called cités on the outskirts of France’s major cities. Built by socially progressive governments in the 1960s, they’ve since been taken over by a generation of mostly Arab immigrants -- impoverished, cut off from their native lands and culture, ghettoized.
    That's Europe, embracing the rest of the world like long lost brothers.
    Posted by orbital at 9:32 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    The advantage of no math skills

    [source, source]
    A group of about 600 peace activists and veterans marched through the streets of San Francisco today demanding that the U.S. government pull all its troops out of Iraq immediately
    Here are the two good quotes - put them together and ask, does this person comprehend numbers?
    "It went great," said Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange. "We are rebuilding the anti-war movement into an anti-occupation movement." Today's rally was smaller than pre-war rallies before the Iraq War started. Benjamin said the movement is still rebuilding.
    Yes, as the crowds get monotonically smaller, that's a clear sign of rebuilding.
    Posted by orbital at 9:29 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    Afghani Girl Band

    [source, source]
    It began in Kabul as a joke, but with the help of a few German musicians Afghanistan's all-girl rock group "Burqa Band" was formed in the space of a day and has hit the airwaves and clubs in Germany. All that remains of the ephemeral alliance of the Burqa and rock is an amateur video clip and a song remixed by Berlin DJ Barbara Morgenstern which has become a modest summer-time favourite. The female trio appears on screen as three blue ghosts in a makeshift studio in Kabul; bound by their robes they nevertheless let it all hang out on the drums, electric bass and microphone
    Despite the modest success in the West, the girls are still unwilling to be named due to fear of reprisal.
    Posted by orbital at 9:28 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    09 August 2003

    Leavin’ California with an aching, in my wallet

    [source, source]
    For Californians, the recent report from the Census Bureau was a shocker. From 1990 to 2000, the Census found, the number of Californians leaving the state was greater than the number of those arriving from other states - a first. Even during the high-tech boom, people left. From 1995 to 2000, 1.4 million Americans moved to California. But 2.2 million left.
    Posted by orbital at 8:47 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    Greetings from Camp X-Ray, Mom!

    [Yahoo, source]
    MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian mother said that conditions in Russian jails are so awful that she would prefer her son remain in the "humane" conditions of the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay. […] "I am terribly scared of a Russian prison or Russian court for my son," Amina Khasanova was quoted as saying by Gazeta newspaper on Friday. "At Guantanamo they treat him humanely, the conditions are fine." Her son Andrei Bakhitov is one of eight Russian detainees, and the newspaper quoted a letter he wrote to his mother. "I think that there is not even a health resort in Russia on the level of this place," the letter said.
    Posted by orbital at 8:37 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    08 August 2003

    I support the masses, just not the people in them.

    [source, source]
    The folks at WETA (search), the Washington-area flagship station for the high-brow, culturally aware Public Broadcasting System (search), are vexed by Arlington County, Virginia's proposed $100,000 pavilion to house area day laborers who currently stand on county land near WETA's headquarters. The pavilion is meant to be a place for the day laborers to escape the elements, get a drink of water and use the bathroom, but Sharon Percy Rockefeller (search), president and CEO of WETA as well as the wife of millionaire Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller (search), recently took WETA's opposition to the county board. "We do not favor this option. It would absolutely complicate our lives and make it difficult for our employees and our guests," Rockefeller said. "I don't think it's going to be a very open and welcoming environment for very high office holders in the United States," she said, referring to the frequent guests at the WETA building.
    Oh gosh, we wouldn't want the high and might _inconvenienced_ by the sight of people who do actual work.
    Posted by orbital at 7:08 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    Slate movie reviews - where new political meanings are forged

    [source, source] According to the Slate movie reviewer, "fascist" now means "the unabashed use of force in defense of innocent people". I suppose that's something of a harkening back to roots, as that's certainly what the original Fascists _claimed_ to be doing.
    Posted by orbital at 4:16 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    06 August 2003

    A ticket to America is a winnning ticket

    [source, source] The US is evacuating 13,000 Bantus from refugee camps in Kenya to the US. This is considered very good fortune by the rest of Africa. As Orrin Judd observes,
    That the luck of the Bantus lies wholly in getting to become Americans speaks volumes about the Left's anti-American idiocies.
    Posted by orbital at 8:06 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    05 August 2003

    Bush offers his condolences

    Posted by orbital at 2:20 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    It’s not like I swore an oath

    US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg no longer considers the US Constitution to be the "supreme law of the land":http://brothersjudd.blogspot.com/2003_08_03_brothersjudd_archive.html#106000932385560282 when considering her judicial opinions.
    "Our island or lone ranger mentality is beginning to change," Ginsburg said during a speech to the American Constitution Society, a liberal lawyers group holding its first convention. Justices "are becoming more open to comparative and international law perspectives," said Ginsburg, who has supported a more global view of judicial decision making… "While you are the American Constitution Society, your perspective on constitutional law should encompass the world," she told the group of judges, lawyers and students.
    "In other news":http://brothersjudd.blogspot.com/2003_08_03_brothersjudd_archive.html#106002768056295540, other judges admit that they want to "run the world":http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17134-2003Aug3.html and that the judicial system should be "liberal and progressive":http://www.msnbc.com/news/947457.asp?0sl=-10
    [Stephen] Reinhardt, who was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by President Carter in 1980, added, "Letís be clear about another thing: 'moderate' and 'liberal' are not the same. ... We ought to restore a liberal, progressive philosophy this nation needs and our Constitution demands."
    Posted by orbital at 9:32 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    04 August 2003

    UN-believable

    [source, source, source] "??Reporters sans frontières??":http://www.rsf.fr/ is an organization that supports press freedoms. There were a consultive organization to the UN Human Rights Commission. The UNHRC(United Nations Human Rights Commission) has now removed that status for the group in a move that violates UN procedural rules. The action was undertaken at the request of Libya and Cuba, both nations with representation on the UNHRC(United Nations Human Rights Commission). RSF(Reporters sans frontières) had already pissed off those two thugocracies by reporting on their human rights records, but what seems to have tipped the rest of the UNHRC(United Nations Human Rights Commission) was that
    The organisation published a report on the [UNHRC] commission's accelerating decline, entitled ??Wheeling and Dealing??, incompetence and "non-action," in which it recommends a radical overhaul
    This is the organization that will straighten out Iraq and make it a stable, rule of law democracy? Oh yeah, that's plausible.
    Posted by orbital at 7:57 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    World Bank demonstrates its moral clarity

    [source, source]
    In a statement worthy of the French diplomat he apparently aspires to become, World Bank President James Wolfensohn concluded his meeting with the Iraqi Governing Council with the disdainful remark that "a constitution and an elected government would constitute a recognized government, but what do we do in the meantime?" Whoaaa there, Daddy Warbucks! Hold the sauterne and the foie gras! I don't recall that Saddam's regime was elected. Or that it governed by a constitution. Yet that terror-state was recognized as legitimate by the world's diplomats and international bankers. Every slithering, interest-bearing one of them. And now Iraq's interim Governing Council doesn't deserve the level of recognition accorded Saddam Hussein? Saddam seized power in a coup, slaughtered his opponents, started successive wars of aggression, pursued weapons of mass destruction and never held a single honest election. But he was just fine with foreign ministries, the United Nations and world financial institutions. Yet Iraq's representative Governing Council lacks legitimacy as it seeks to build democracy? And Iraq doesn't qualify for reconstruction loans? This is a double standard of such a disgraceful magnitude that the only appropriate adjective is "European."
    Posted by orbital at 7:47 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    Fallout from the Korean summit

    The "??Wall Street Journal??":http:/wsj.com reports today that Chung Mon Hun, a top executive of Hyundai has committed suicide. Chung has been embroiled in a scandal involving the summit between North and South Korea in 2000. Chung alledgedly helped funnel $100 million to North Korea to purchase their presence at the summit.
    Posted by orbital at 7:43 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    03 August 2003

    Friends and neighbors

    Some people believe that if the conflict between the Palestinian and Israelis could be settled, there would be an economic boost to the region from trade and commerce. Well, except for little stumbling blocks like this:
    Article 278 of the Lebanese criminal code forbids collaboration with Israel
    In the case in question, collaboration meant visiting Israel. The Lebanese dispute that:
    Lebanese officials have disputed that accusation, saying travellers to Israel are told to leave Lebanon - not arrested and kept there.
    Oh, much better.
    Posted by orbital at 5:52 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    No road map needed - we have our direction

    [source, source]
    Gaza-Muhammad Dahlan, Minister for Security Affairs denied Sunday theIsraeli news reports that Condoleezza Rice , US president's National Security Advisor, had told him that the grace period of 90 days to dismantle Palestinian militant organizations has ended. In a statement issued by the Minister's office, Dahlan stressed that this issue has never been discussed. "Furthermore, the government does not work based on specific periods," said the statement " we work based on our agreement with the factions and according to our national interests." Also the statement denied that Dahlan has discussed with the CIA Chief, George Tenet the issue of buying the activists weapons. "All these untrue news are rumors which aim to slander the delegation's mission to Washington.
    Note that rumours of some compliance with the road map are considered "slander". What would actual compliance be called, except "collaboration"?
    Posted by orbital at 11:14 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    02 August 2003

    No kissing for us - we're English

    [source, source] There'll always be an England, just perhaps not so many English roaming the streets:
    A bill due before parliament next week will make it a criminal offence for two 15-year-olds to kiss in public, the Home Office said last night. Anne Weyman, the association's chief executive, said the bill would criminalise all consenting sexual activity among those under 16. "This behaviour could include common petting activities such as kissing and touching" she said. […] The Home Office accepted Ms Weyman's interpretation of the bill, but said there was no plan to change it.
    While some berate the sponsors as morons, there are others see a more intelligent and sinister motive:
    Who'd oppose a government when they have a perfectly legal means to destroy your children's lives? What an incredibly stupid (and pernicious) idea. At least Stalin had to write his own laws, and install his own judges to hold show trials. Instead, injustice will be institutionalised, ready for use by future.
    Posted by orbital at 9:49 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    Signs, signs, everywhere are signs

    [source, source] Federal law says that drivers of commercial motor vehicles should be able to
    read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, understand highway traffic signs and signals, respond to official inquiries, and make entries on reports and records.
    But the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has decided to not provide any means to test or verify this:
    After analysis and review of the comments, FMCSA(Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) has concluded that at this time there is no quantifiable data on which […] to require State motor vehicle agencies to administer a specific test for English proficiency.
    Posted by orbital at 8:51 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    01 August 2003

    Separation of Church and State

    [source] The Boy Scouts have been denied permission by a federal judge to rent land in a local park because they are a religiously oriented organization. On the other hand, a Muslim Youth Camp is getting a lease on federal land. That's ok because that's from the Mosque, not the Church.
    Posted by orbital at 10:12 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    Ending the cycle of violence

    [source, source]
    In the wake of the attack earlier this week that left Uday and Qusay Hussein dead, many in America's academic community came forward to encourage the remaining supporters of Saddam Hussein to "look past their anger" and try to discover the "root causes" of the American attack. Said Middle East correspondent and professional idiotarian Robert Fisk, "While it might be tempting for Saddam's supporters to lash out at the west, they would be better served by trying to understand why they are so hated throughout the world, including in their own country."
    Posted by orbital at 10:00 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

    Closing in on the Saudi Entity

    "??The New Republic??":http://tnr.com is now reporting that the "redacted portions":http://orbital-mind-control-laser.net/leo/archives/2003_07_22.html#000786 of the recent "investigation into the 9/11 attacks":http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml;$sessionid$GHVYRPWMFGBFZQFIQMFSFF4AVCBQ0IV0?xml=/opinion/2003/07/22/do2201.xml contains links between Al Qaeda and key elements of the Saudi "Royal" family. [source] bq. But an official who has read the report tells The New Republic that the support described in the report goes well beyond that: It involves connections between the hijacking plot and the very top levels of the Saudi royal family. […] "If the people in the administration trying to link Iraq to Al Qaeda had one-one-thousandth of the stuff that the 28 pages has linking a foreign government to Al Qaeda, they would have been in good shape."
    Posted by orbital at 9:53 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL