Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Fatal Attraction"

This is a great title for this post. Austin Bay Blog has it right on target...

Fatal Attraction: 4000 Al Qaeda dead in Iraq

A release from CBS News and the Associated Press in Cairo.

The lede:

The new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq said in an audiotape posted on the Internet Thursday that more than 4,000 foreign insurgent fighters have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

“The blood has been spilled in Iraq of more than 4,000 foreigners who came to fight,” said the man, who identified himself as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir - also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri - the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, though the voice could not be independently identified.
Austin Bay Blog » Fatal Attraction: 4000 Al Qaeda dead in Iraq

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Speaking out against violent Islam

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, has spoken out against “violent” Islam during a lecture in which he defended Pope Benedict’s “extraordinarily effective and lucid” speech, The Times has reported.

“Great urgency” is needed for Muslims to address the religion’s association with violence, said Lord Carey. He said the “clash of civilisations” that many say is endangering the world, was not between Islamic extremists and the West but rather it was with Islam as a whole.

Lord Carey said, “We are living in dangerous and potentially cataclysmic times. There will be no significant material and economic progress [in Muslim communities] until the Muslim mind is allowed to challenge the status quo of Muslim conventions and even their most cherished shibboleths.”

It was also reported this week that the man who shot and wounded the last Pope, John Paul II, had now written to Pope Benedict XVI to warn him that he was in danger. There will be no significant material and economic progress [in Muslim communities] until the Muslim mind is allowed to challenge the status quo of Muslim conventions and even their most cherished shibboleths. Lord Carey of Clifton

Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who tried to murder John Paul II in 1981 and is now in prison in Turkey, urged the Pope not to visit the country in November, according to The Times.

Christian Today – Christian News > Lord Carey Calls for Islam to Urgently Address its Violent Image

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Because terrorism didn't exist before the Iraq War

Saying that the Iraq war is fueling terrorism is like saying the Pope is fuleing muslim violence.

The U.S. war in Iraq has increased, not decreased, the threat of terrorism, according to a top-level, classified intelligence summary.

Findings of that National Intelligence Estimate on "Trends in Global Terrorism" were first reported over the weekend by The New York Times.

The intellegence report finds the war in Iraq has fueled a new generation of Islamic radicalism, which has spread around the globe.

U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte disputes that characterization of the report, saying published accounts reflect only "a small handful" of the study's conclusions.

Robert Hutchings was the chairman of the National Intelligence Council in 2004 when the Council wrote a similarly critical, but unclassified, review. Hutchings speaks with Renee Montagne about the news.

NPR : Iraq War Fuels Terrorism Threat, U.S. Report Says

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Allen outing absolutely bizarro

Sen. Allen has been "outed" as jewish. Huge faux pas. Allen has made a great mistake here by not already knowing that some of his ancestors were jewish and that he should have been embracing his jewishness for years already.

It's too bad too, since he had Presidential ambitions at one time...

“I think his national political future is over,” says Kati Marton, author of the forthcoming “Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World,” who has written extensively about her own discovery, as an adult, that her parents were Jewish and that her grandparents died at Auschwitz. “Because he doesn’t seem to know how to deal with some of the most sensitive issues that speak to his fundamental character … Allen obviously hasn’t assimilated too many of history’s lessons and the lessons of American politics, which is that you can’t hide anything—you have to embrace it, you have to own it.” Sixty years since the Holocaust, with politicians from Gen. Wesley Clark to Sen. John Kerry “owning” their Jewish roots in public, she adds, a revelation of Jewishness should be anything but shameful.

But as the case of Madeleine Albright shows, coming to grips with hidden Jewish ancestry isn’t always easy. Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, offered to be Allen’s counselor in his new search for identity. Foxman, who was born Jewish in Poland but was raised Roman Catholic by a nanny who protected him during World War II, suggests that Allen has yet to make peace with his own Jewish roots. “He needs to work it out within himself, and he needs to sit down with me [or the media] and share the depths of his anger, confusion and embarrassment.” Will George Allen’s Jewish Moment Help or Hurt? - Newsweek Society -

Does this all seem out of proportion to anyone else? I mean c'mon!

“Because he doesn’t seem to know how to deal with some of the mostsensitive issues that speak to his fundamental character … Allenobviously hasn’t assimilated too many of history’s lessons and thelessons of American politics, which is that you can’t hide anything—youhave to embrace it, you have to own it.”

The lessons of history? If someone came to me and told me that I had english ancestry would I have been "hiding" something? Something is wrong with these people that makes them think that this is a big deal.

The quote from Foxman is even more perplexing.

[he] suggests that Allen has yet to make peace with his own Jewish roots.“He needs to work it out within himself, and he needs to sit down withme [or the media] and share the depths of his anger, confusion andembarrassment.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Today is talk like a pirate day! Yaaaarrrrr!

Avast, me hearties!

Welcome to the one and only, official, accept-no-substitutes Talk Like A Pirate Day Web site.

You've read about it in Dave Barry's blog. Maybe you caught one of our radio or TV interviews. Or maybe you just stumbled on to our site while googling around for sites your mother probably wouldn't approve of. Perhaps you're one of the millions of people from South Africa to Australia, from New York to the Pacific Northwest, who party like pirates every September 19th.

However you got here, stick around an' learn all about September 19 - International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19

Monday, September 18, 2006

Iranian leader urges more papal protests?

CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Qaida inIraq warned Pope Benedict XVI on Monday that its war against Christianity and the West will go on until Islam takes over the world, and Iran's supreme leader called for more protests over the pontiff's remarks on Islam.

Protests broke out in South Asia and Indonesia, with angry Muslims saying Benedict's statement of regret a day earlier did not go far enough. In southern Iraq, demonstrators carrying black flags burned an effigy of the pope.

Islamic leaders around the world issued more condemnations of the pope's comments, but some moderates in the Middle East appeared to be trying to put a damper on the outrage, fearing it could spiral into attacks on Christians in the region. ~Iranian leader urges more papal protests - Yahoo! News

oh yeah, it's on. er, I mean, "Bring it on."

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Researchers promoting Socialist Party in Survey

I'm not actually seeing any real difference between these researchers and what the Democratic party does every election...

The researchers looked at how many voters in the two sections they could persuade to vote for the Socialist Party, rather than the Republicans or Democrats. (The Socialist Party was chosen because it had no chance of winning the elections.)

What the researchers wanted to study was the contrast between rational and emotional appeals in political persuasion. The questionnaire's appeal was rational. It asked people who wanted a more egalitarian society to vote their views on policy matters. The letter's appeal was emotional: "We beg you in the name of those early memories and spring-time hopes to support the Socialist ticket in the coming elections!" it said. When the election was over, the Socialist vote increased by 35 percent over the previous election in the sections of the city that received the rational appeal. In the sections that received the emotional appeal, the Socialist vote increased by 50 percent. In Politics, Aim for the Heart, Not the Head -

Incredibly, this little experiment proves that existing campaign consultants are obviously worthless when compared to these researchers. Increasing the Socialist vote by 35% with a dry rational appeal for socialism is a downright miracle! Increasing it 50% -- Damn!

But then how many votes does it take to increase their vote 50%? Maybe ten, perhaps twelve more voters?

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Chirac, "never favorable to sanctions"

Chamberlain back from the dead. Axis of weasels.

PARIS (AP) — President Jacques Chirac proposed a compromise Monday to kickstart talks between Iran and the international community, suggesting the threat of U.N. sanctions be suspended in exchange for Tehran halting its uranium enrichment program.

"I don't believe in a solution without dialogue," Chirac said in an interview with Europe-1 radio. He suggested the international community suspend the threat of U.N. sanctions and that Iran, in turn, suspend enrichment while the two sides talk.

"I am not pessimistic," Chirac said. "I think that Iran is a great nation, an old culture, an old civilization, and that we can find solutions through dialogue."

Upbeat about the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, Chirac said in the wide-ranging radio interview that he was pessimistic about the outcomes in Iraq and Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region.

Chirac spoke before leaving for New York to attend the annual U.N. General Assembly, which opens Tuesday.

Asked about Iran, the French president noted that "Iran for years developed a clandestine nuclear program." However, "I am never favorable to sanctions" and, should they be unavoidable, they should be "moderate and adapted," he said.

In Vienna, Iranian Vice President Reza Aghazadeh said his country was "ready for negotiations and political compromise." However, he coupled that remark with a warning that "any hostile action by the U.N. Security Council would lead to limitation of cooperation" with the International Atomic Energy Agency. - French leader proposes Iran compromise

It was not too long ago that Chirac was talking about retaliating with nukes.

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Speed of light computing!

This is interesting:
A silicon microchip that generates laser beams has been developed by researchers at Intel and the University of California, Santa Barbara, both in the US.The hybrid silicon-laser chip could transfer data between computer components much more quickly by using optical fibres rather than ordinary computer wires, its developers say.Although the chip is several years away from commercialisation, it could kick-start a revolution in computing and communications, by cutting hardware costs and even leading to completely new architectures, the researchers claim. Laser-making chip promises data transfer boost - tech - 18 September 2006 - New Scientist Tech
Yeeh-haw! I can't wait for this to trickle down to commercial applications.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pope initiates dialogue

I've already blogged this over at hegemonic headquarters, aka,, but I thought it could use a slightly different treatment rather than another post there.

In a provocative speech citing the concept of jihad and referencing the Muslim prophet by name, Benedict sends the world a signal that it's time for hard questions—not hugs and handshakes The Pope Tackles Faith and Terrorism -- Page 1

What I don't understand is why more people aren't already in line with this idea that you don't agree with your enemy when he says that you are evil and they have a right to hate you.

Jeff Israely explores the Pope's speech in a little more detail, including background that I didn't see anywhere else yet.

The Pope makes points about reason and faith and contrasts Islam's apparent irrationality.

His discourse Tuesday sought to delineate what he sees as a fundamental difference between Christianity's view that God is intrinsically linked to reason (the Greek concept of logos) and Islam´s view that "God is absolutely transcendent." Benedict said that Islam teaches that God's "will is not boundup with any of our categories, even that of rationality." The risk he seesimplicit in this concept of the divine is that the irrationality ofviolence can potentially be justified if someone believes it is God's will. "As faras understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion isconcerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the convictionthat acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is italways and intrinsically true?" The Pope Tackles Faith and Terrorism -- Page 1

Apparently, the Pope said a few more things that rung like a bell. Maybe I should try to get the transcript for this speech if there is one out there somewhere.

But Tuesday's university lecture was a watershed. After laying out the historical contrasts with Islam, the Pope used much of the discourse to call on the West, and Europe in particular, to clearly affirm the value of a faith in God —and a God built on reason. "While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them," he said. "We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons."

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Iraqi leader visits Tehran this week

"Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki paid his first visit to Tehran this week" ~NPR

Guess I'd have to listen to the NPR sound file to get more info.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Flock blogging features

I've got to say that the blogging feature on the flock browser is great. I'm using it right now in fact and it streamlines the whole process nicely. Verily.

Kudos to the flock developers.

Feature request: the ability to post one article to multiple blogs.

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Olberman fan says bravo to lies

I'm not sure why, but anytime a liberal "goes out on a limb" to call Bush a liar and basically tell lies about what he's done theyjust eat it up.

Shame on you Mr. President; Bravo! Mr. Olbermann

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