Thursday, March 30, 2006

There Is No Justice Like Mob Justice

The court of public opinion at Duke University has spoken and all but one member of the school's lacrosse team has been convicted of sexually assaulting a stripper during a raucous, alcohol fueled off-campus party.

According to ESPN, about 40 members of the Duke lacrosse teamed held a wild party last week. The general story has it that they hired two strippers to perform, one of which, stated that she was sexually assaulted by several white members of the team. The woman is black.

The Durham, N.C. police are investigating but no charges have been filed. If found guilty then the legal system will take its course and the crimminals will be punished.

But why wait? The allegation itself was enough to cause the school's administration to suspend the team's season. Campus protests have been held and photos of the entire lacrosse team have been posted on web sites, essentially blaming them all for the incident. The ESPN story states that 45 of 46 team members had to give a DNA sample, the team's lone black player was excused.

It would seem most, but not all, of the team was at the party, but that has not stopped campus activists from stamping "convicted" across the whole lot. This is hardly fair to those who were not in attendance nor those who were, but were not involved in whatever happened. If it even took place.

In addition to the sexual assault aspect to the case, racism is playing a role. The complaintant said the attackers were white and used racial slurs during the attack. According to printed reports, many people on campus say there is a class situation, think Kennedy family, that is now frantically working to protect the "guilty" players.

Whatever happened to due process? Are the players not innocent until proven guilty? Should they be ostrasized in the court of public opinion even before a police investigation is completed?

What has taken place so far is a travesty of justice. If these guys are proven innocent I hope they take the school and the various campus groups that have villified them to court. If a crime did take place then no punishment is harsh enough.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Showdown with Islam

I think its time for the world to find out where Islamic nations stand when it comes to behaving in a civilized fashion.

I'm referring to the on-going Abdul Rahman saga in Afghanistan, which took an interesting turn today. He was released from jail and immediately went into hiding so he would not be killed by his Muslim neighbors.

The insistence that ancient Islamic laws must be enforced to the letter in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia appears intractable. Check out this speech given by the UK's Prince Charles at a conservative Saudi university. Pay close attention to the student's reactions near the tail end of the column.

Now let's jump to the crowd reaction to Rahman in Afghanistan.

On Monday, hundreds of clerics, students and others chanting "Death to Christians!" marched through the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif to protest the court decision Sunday to dismiss the case. Several Muslim clerics threatened to incite Afghans to kill Rahman if he is freed, saying that he is clearly guilty of apostasy and deserves to die.
"Abdul Rahman must be killed. Islam demands it," said senior Cleric Faiez Mohammed, from the nearby northern city of Kunduz. "The Christian foreigners occupying Afghanistan are attacking our religion."

Death to Christians. That pretty much sums up what the non-Muslim world is facing. I suppose Jews the worldover are happy to have some company in the Death To .... chants. Sometimes America fills in the blank spot, but this crowd took it an extra mile to include all Christians. Several billion of us by the latest count I believe.

What does one do with this situation. You can take the walk the fine line of insisting that most Muslims are not like this, which President Bush favors, or you can try something new. An idea that will firmly place the world in one of two camps much like it was during the Cold War.

The U.S. State Department should conduct a worldwide poll of national leaders. They should be asked whether they support the killing of non-Muslims and the emplacement of Sharia throughout the world.

If the answer is yes to either of these questions then that country's name is listed in the enemies camp. Only a clear cut response will be allowed. All others are with us in the Allies camp. However, any joining us will have to stand up in front of the world's media and state that they disavow killing others becuase of their religion and they will no longer allow that kind of talk to eminate from their nation.

The world was divided this way for 50 years when the U.S. and Soviet Union squared off over who will dominate the world. Despite the spectre of near instant nuclear holocaust hanging over our heads, this was a great system. Everyone knew where they stood.

Cuba, was in the Sov camp, New Zealand with us. North Korea commie, South Korea good guy.

The way it is now nobody knows who is who. Is Saudi Arabia a friend or foe? How about Kuwait, Pakistan, Malaysia? I will say this for Iran. They've staked their place in the enemy camp and are proud of it. Good for them. Let's retarget some sub-based nuclear missiles onto Tehran today.

Just because a country is in the enemy camp does mean we can't do business. We will buy Saudi oil, Kuwait can buy our cars, etc.

But at least we will no longer be confused when the Saudi King says nice things to us, while its schools teaches that the only good Christian is a dead Christian.

As far as good old Abdul Rahman is concerned, I hope Israel offers him amnesty. That will show the world how we are supposed to behave.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Murder is pretty weird. In a way it's like suicide. Both are the wrong answer to any bad situation you might find yourself.

I do not mean for that to sound trite, but what was Mary Winkler, wife of a minister, thinking when she killed her husband and took off with her three daughters? She has yet to give a motive for the killing, it does not appear to be a simple self-defensive - he was beating me so I got the shotgun - event. If that were the case there would be no reason to run. Stay there tell the cops he was beating me and I had to take him out or die trying.

For some reason I feel particularly bad for this lady. She seems normal enough from the brief descriptions of her life in the news stories. What would drive her to this. To ruin her life and those of her daughters.

It will all come out in the next few days, but no matter what her story it is amazing that her mind told her that killing this guy, who also comes over as pretty normal, was the right answer for that situation.

I feel the same way when it comes to suicide. It is never the answer to whatever problem it is you are facing. All it does is place the problem in front of somebody else. It is understandable perhaps when you are suffering from a terminal illness. If you have no hope and lots of pain I can see a person wishing to end it all and hope that there is something better on the other side.

I hope for Mary Winkler's sake she had a good reason.

The Religion of Peace is at it Again

Convert to Christianity and a Muslim deserves to be pulled into pieces, so say several Imams in Afghanistan, according to CNN.

What would they do to someone who became Jewish?

Considering the ripped to pieces comment came from someone described as a moderate religious leader, I would say Afghanistan is in a lot of trouble. What would have been interesting would be commentary from some U.S.-based Muslim leaders. Do they support such drastic penalties?

Another thought is whether these religious leaders feel they are creating a good Muslim by threatening him with death unless he re-converts to Islam. Probably they don't care if he is a pius or miserable Muslim as long as they can keep him on the rolls as a Muslim. I suppose it is too much of a loss of face to have someone abandon Islam. If one can leave Islam then so can many and the Imams can't take a chance that there mosques will start emptying out.

It seems Islam is the Mafia of religions, the only way to truly get out is feet first. Tony Soprano would be proud, but then again he a Catholic...

Gotta Love the French Part IV

The French student riots have been going on for several weeks now, but one item mentioned in this Fox News story is quite funny and the entire situation reminiscent of childs temper tantrum.

Violence erupted in several cities Thursday as at least 220,000 students and other youths marched nationwide. France's largest union of high school students, FIDL, estimated that 450,000 participated.

Since when are high schools students unionized, and more importantly why do they a union card? Unions have there place in the world when it comes to negotiating contracts for large groups of workers, but what negotians take place in a French high school? What type of soda the vending machines should dispense, better crepes in the cafeteria?

The only reason that makes sense is they are a training ground for future union agitators. Basically a place French labor unions of the future to develop their leaders.

The French government not allowed this environment to develop over the years, but its socialistic practices have guaranteed that they would now be in a position where most of the kids under 21 in the country are out rioting over job security for jobs that they do not even have.

According to the Fox story the riots stem from the government wishing to implement a jobs law, meant to put the brakes on sky-high unemployment among youths and make France's economy more flexible, would allow employers to more easily hire — and fire — workers under 26. Critics feel it will eat into job protections and leave youths even more vulnerable.

Guaranteed employment does as a national policy does not work. Just ask the Soviet Union. It breeds worker laziness and destroys a corporations ability to promote and hire deserving individuals. These kids are destroying their own futures for perceived job protection. Having a job that ensure nothing but a steady paycheck, with no upward mobility and no chance to make your company strong and competitive is a one way ticket to economic disaster.

To top it off the students seem to think destroying other people's property is the best method to force the government to drop the law. This behavior is exactly what a three year old does when he or she does not get his or her way. Scream, yell and throw things until mommy and daddy give in. Well, let's hope that for once the French government can grow a spine and stand up to the rioters and give them what they deserve. Expulsion from school and a chance to make it on their own with no outside help.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Who Knew Charlie Sheen Was Nuts

Check out this interview he did on his 9/11 theory. You will find the video under CNN's Watch Video section on the lower right side of the home page.

What I find amazing is Sheen and other's who blame the U.S. government for the attacks still live in this country. If Iwere so sure that my government slaughtered thousands of its citizens I would pack up and go some place else. Yet he remains here, making millions on a TV show.

Jon Stewart - Funny Guy, Not Too Bright Though

In a funny, but amazingly interesting interview comedian Jon Stewart interviewed former Iraqi Air Force General Georges Sada, who said Saddam did have WMD right up to the point where he shipped them to Syria for safe keeping prior to our 2003 invasion.

Sada comes across as a pretty nice old man. It's hard to believe he was the number 2 guy in the Iraqi Air Force. While he did not say anything incriminating, he did go out of his way to say that while he knew WMD existed in Iraq both before and after the Persian Gulf war he was not involved in their delivery. Believe him if you want, I'm not so sure how clean this guy really could be if he was a trusted Saddam advisor.

What is interesting is how Stewart, a left leaner if there ever was one, tries subtley to get Sada to admit things are not so good in Iraq. Sada, now an advisor to the Iraqi Security Council, does not give Stewart the answers he is fishing for, instead saying how all of Iraq was happy for being liberated and truly felt at ease when Saddam was finally captured.

Sada praises the U.S., not unusual since he owes his job to us, and insists that he personally knew of the WMD and that they went to Syria. A fact he thinks our government will soon release to the public.

What is so unintentionally revealing is Stewart trying to pull some type of anti-U.S. or anti-war comment out of Sada, but he will not bite. Instead he says that Iraq is dangerous, people like him in the government are in danger every day, but it is a price worth paying for their freedom.

While I take all of Sada's comments with a huge grain of salt, I find it sad that Stewart refuses to see any good coming from our liberation of Iraq. He almost seemed to want Sada to call for Hussein's reinstation as Iraqi dictator because that would be a better alternative to our presence in that country.

Texan Stupidity

The latest idea in DUI enforcement comes to us from the wonderful people in Texas.

According to a CNN story, the best way to stop drunk driving is to arrest people while they are still in a bar. Being intoxicated even in a bar is considered public drunkenness so local police are sending cops into bars to lock people up before they hit the street, or anyone else.

I say arrest the bar tender, no how about the beer delivery guy, no how about the workers at the breweries, or the farmers that grow wheat and hops or the people who make the bottles and cans that hold beer and liquor.

What about people who go to a friends house, or a ball game or get drunk at home then go out to the store. Should the police be allowed to invade these sanctuaries?

Maybe give prohibition another try, it worked so well the first time around.

I am not belittling the seriousness of drunk driving. It kills thousands, but the trick is to teach people not to drive when they are drunk, not arrest them beforehand on what essentially is a technicality. The only way to stop this crime, if that is even possible, is through education and punishment.

Battle of the Idiots

We have a real life Dumb and Dumber situation in the media.

First there is the action of rocker Pete Doherty going insane after a court appearance.

Next there is Tank, yes Tank, Carter who maxxed out the Stupid Meter yesterday with this decision.

I suppose Tank is dumber for managing to extend a 6 month stint in prison to 5 years, but Doherty is close behind. He is free yet doing everything in his power to put his butt into jail.

NCAA Tonite

Now onto my other recent obsession, the NCAA tournement.

It makes zero sense for me to be obsessed with March Madness as I dislike basketball, pro and college, and thus do not watch any of the games. I do, however, join the millons who check for scores on the web 85 times and hour. All this is because I invest $10 in an office pool each year.

I have yet to win, place or show in the pool or for that matter end up in the upper half of the standings. My only satisfaction is I always manage to beat out a co-worker who really knows the sport. It drives him crazy that I spend five minutes on my picks and decide the final winner with a coin toss, while he worries himself silly over each game. Massive entertainment all for $10 a year, I highly recommend it.

WSOP Here I Come

Maybe not yet, but I took my first baby step towards Las Vegas by winning a single-table tournement last night at

This was a sorely needed win. Even though I've only played about five games I was getting worried that I was not good enough to compete, but after avoiding self-inflicted disaster several times I managed to wear down my opposition and leave the table $25 richer.

It was a very competitive group and twice I found myself the short stack, but some luck came my way, along with some timely help from a hold'em how to book, to lead me to victory.

The smartest thing I did was leave while I was ahead. This is never a simple task as once you have the sweet taste of victory on your tongue you want to enjoy it all night long. However, the reality of having to get up and go to work forced me to turn off the PC and head to bed.

Luckily Friday is almost upon us and I can spend the entire night wallowing in victory. I hope.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What I Would Do For $10 Million

Basically anything, but kill somebody.

Oddly, Alfonso Soriano who plays for the Washington Nationals refused to take the field during a Spring Training game yesterday claiming that he was a second baseman and that is where he belonged. According to ESPN, Soriano is due $10 million this year.

$10 million....$10 million.....$10 million

I just can't get the thought out of my head that this idiot would pass up that kind of money just because he is too stubborn to play where the team needs him. The Nationals already have an All Star second baseman, granted Soriano has also attained that honor, but Soriano also has the athletic ability to play the outfield. He just doesn't wanna.

Is Soriano somehow channeling Terrell Owens?

This type of behavior from professional athletes makes me wonder if involving my son in little league, taking him to Mets' games and watching sports together on TV is a mistake. There are so few athletes with any redeeming qualities in this day and age that I would rather my son emulate Jimmy Neutron, the Nickelodeon cartoon character, then a professional athlete.

If it's not steroids, (Sosa, Bonds, McGuire) its marijuana (Ricki Williams) or money (Owens, Soriano and just about all the rest.) The real kicker is it is not the marginal players that are making a mockery out of their sport, but the best and most famous players. And for the most part their actions are self-serving. Williams quits football so he can smoke pot. Come on. Soriano ego is so fragile he is willing to blow $10 million instead of playing somewhere new. Jesus H. Christ.

If my boss gave me a new assignment, even one I disliked, I would say OK and do the best I could. Granted, Soriano has already made enough money to live like a potentate in his native Dominican Republic, but I would think he could always use some more pocket change.

So with all that said I'm sending my resume to the Washington Nationals. I might be 42, and only a mediocre softball players, but I will take on any position they see fit and for half of Soriano's salary.

Frank Robinson, I hope you are listening.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Now Here Is A Problem

An Afghani court may elect to execute a 41 year old man for converting to Christianity when he was 25 years old.

This is a very serious problem for the U.S. If the man is killed it could prove to the world that even a moderate Islamic government is too far gone to deal with today's modern world in a civilized manner.

The court has said that while it has no problem with people of another religion, it is against Sharia law, which the Afghan government is based, to covert from Islam to another religion. Sharia has no problem with people becoming Muslim. Such behavior could be expected under the Taliban or in Iran, but not from a government that was specifically set up to integrate modern elements with Islam.

One would hope that calmer heads will prevail in this case and that the Afghani government is counseled that a free and democratic country does not kill those who disagree with the state religion. With a little luck this case will gather the same level of international outrage that helped spare the Nigerian woman who was sentenced to death by stoning for having a supposedly adulterous relationship.

So far this story has not gained any front page headlines. It was buried in several newspapers and merely mentioned on the Fox News and CNN web sites. This is a rather odd reaction considering half of the world breaks out in protest every time the U.S. executes a crimminal. Where is the outrage from the EU or even the ACLU?

What should be feared is what the Afghani court's ruling represents. That Islam is only a religion of peace if you strictly obey its rules. If you deviate in the slightest you risk having your head chopped off.

On the flip side the Afghan court could make history by deciding that Sharia is wrong and spare the man in question. Such a decision potentially could have a far reaching impact. It would show the world that not all Muslims live in the Middle Ages and that with some serious thought Sharia can be interpreted.

Let's all hold out hope for this option to take hold.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Poker Trouble

I decided to join the world of online gambling this weekend.

Anyone want to buy a house, mine will soon be for sale, cheap. Just kidding, but I certainly can see where it could lead a person down that path.

What is odd is the amount of pressure I feel on me as a newcomer. Considering I gamble in Vegas I really sweat the $5 bucks I have invested in a hand of texas hold'em. Not sure why. So far my best finish has been 5th in a tournament where the top four get paid. Damn!!

I'm all done for this week. I lost the $20 I set aside for my initial trial and that's it until next weekend.

I was really hoping to win or at least place in one tournament so I could play with house money, but no luck.

So instead I will stay on my blog where its free.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Politics of Jessica Simpson

Is being snubbed by actress/celebrity/low-grade moron Jessica Simpson a plus or minus?

Well, if you are a republican it is a snub. According to a CNN story the intelligence-challenged Dukes of Hazzard star declined to meet with President Bush to discuss her favorite charity because it is a non-partisan group.

According to the story:

"It just feels wrong," one Simpson insider told Reuters Wednesday, adding that the actress keeps her political views private. "She would love to meet the president and talk about Operation Smile ... but she can't do it at a fund-raiser for the Republican Party."

Maybe she does not realize that meeting the president does not require her to change her political affiliation. She can remain a democrat, independent or whatever. As is pointed out, if U2's Bono can chat up the president then she can too.

The president did not seem to upset, he probably doesn't even know who she is, but I bet Clinton would have thrown a fit if Jessica bailed out on a little face time with him

Monday, March 13, 2006

Battlestar Galactica/Desparate Housewives

These shows are not normally tied together, but they are more alike then one might think.

Outside of the general settings, space vs. the suburbs, the shows enjoy two of the most complicated plots on television today. This penchant for juggling 18 plot lines was exhibited in the season finale of Battlestar on Friday night and the return episode of Housewives on Sunday.

Battlestar pulled one of its time shift tricks to launch the series one year into the future from where we were the previous week and placed almost all of the main characters into entirely new situations. For example the fleet has decided to stop fleeing from the Cylons and settle on a barealy habitable planet. It appeared that most of the people, including the military, have moved off their comfy starships to take up residence in several thousand tents. Where did the tents came from was not explained, but their settlement looked like a Pakistani refugee camp. Anytime you give up a berth in a centally heated starship to huddle around a makeshift camp fire in a 55-gallon drum you have made the wrong decision.

But that is just me, I like my creature comforts.

Also, Starbuck is no longer a swashbuckling fighter pilot, but a wife trying to take care of a sick husband, the drunken crazed first officer Colonel Tighe has left is post and moved with his prissy, high maintenance wife to the aforementioned tent city and finally the former president of the Colonies lost the election and is now a school teacher while the Colonies are run by a sex-crazed Baltar. (Perhaps he was using Bill Clinton as a role model?)

While I'm not sure any of this makes any sense when placed into the general course of the show, it made for a decent episode. If you have a few days to wade through all the posts on the Battlestar bulletin board you will hear a couple of hundred different opinions on the show. Reading these posts makes me feel a lot better about myself because I can say, "at least I'm not that crazy."

Housewives had almost as many bizarre plot twists. I must admit that while I watch the show I am not as up on certain aspects of it, like the characters names for instance. But just take my word for it, the show bounces around like a ping pong ball and you never know what will happen from week to week.

That is what makes good TV great. It's like Jazz, the writers are constantly improvising. The old Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere were developed the same way. My guess is The Sopranos is similar, but I don't have HBO so I really cannot say.

And now for my tangent......

Enjoying these shows to the point of where I can't wait until the next episode makes me hate reality TV all the more. It represents to polar opposite of what makes for great viewing. Despite the "reality" tag most shows are heavily contrived, use wannabe actors instead of real people and are all based around the same idea, humiliating people for entertainment.

So let's hope Battlestar and Desparate Housewives have a good long run.

UAE Ports Obit

This column by Barbara Lerner or National Review Online does a great job explaining why President Bush was wrong about the ports deal.

It is arguable either way whether having Dubai run our port facilities was a grave security issue. Personally, I believe so, but Lerner points our that it was innaccurate for the president to push for it on the grounds that we would upset the nation's in the region.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Spam: A Wasted Effort

My company recently instituted a new spam filter that piles up suspicious emails onto a web site where the use can check to see if they are valid or junk.

The system works great, a rarity for my company, but after going through the list daily for a few weeks I started to think about how much time and effort is put in toward sending out this crap. Somewhere there must be hundreds of people making up fake Gmail and Yahoo email accounts just to avoid the spam filters. I guess a job is a job...

I do get a kick out of the subject lines.

First, would anyone buy a pharmacutical from a company that cannot spell pharmacy. I would say taking a prescription from Re: ParaQmcy news, Re: ParamHcy news, Re: Partamcynews or Re: PaKramcy news would land you in the hospital pronto.

Then there are those who feel that using a maximu of IM speak will entice you to open the email, get ur facts str8. What facts and why do I currently have them wrong?

I get quite a bit of financial email like Recipe for Market Gains?

Finally there are those that do not fall into any particular category, Protestant gasworks and What a moron. Why do protestant's have so much gas? Do they eat the wrong foods.

About 20 or so of these pile into my inbox each day and every day I delete 20 or so. How do the companies or whatever they are manage to make enough money to keep doing this? An even bigger question is how stupid are the people who actually open and then use of the info found in these messages. My guess is they top out on the idiot meter.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Quick Reminder

During World War II the U.S. government commissioned a series of movies to remind its citizens that it was involved in a global conflict against nations that wanted global domination.

Considering all the evidence before the average American it seems hard in retrospect to understand that such a series of movies could be needed, but humans have a short attention span and once the initial danger has ebbed they tend to forget the dangers lurking beyond their borders.

The same thing has happened today so here is a reprint of Osama bin Laden's 1998 Fatwa that essentially declares war against the U.S. and the West. Read it carefully and you will again rememeber why these people killed 3,000 of your fellow citizens and would happily do so again if given the chance. Remember that every al Queda supporter killed in Iraq is one less we have to deal with elsewhere. Remember that the terrorists want the world to change into something they like and are willing to kill you to make it happen.

Praise be to God, who revealed the Book, controls the clouds, defeats factionalism, and says in His Book: "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)"; and peace be upon our Prophet, Muhammad Bin-'Abdallah, who said: I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but God is worshipped, God who put my livelihood under the shadow of my spear and who inflicts humiliation and scorn on those who disobey my orders.

The Arabian Peninsula has never -- since God made it flat, created its desert, and encircled it with seas -- been stormed by any forces like the crusader armies spreading in it like locusts, eating its riches and wiping out its plantations. All this is happening at a time in which nations are attacking Muslims like people fighting over a plate of food. In the light of the grave situation and the lack of support, we and you are obliged to discuss current events, and we should all agree on how to settle the matter.

No one argues today about three facts that are known to everyone; we will list them, in order to remind everyone:

First, for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.

If some people have in the past argued about the fact of the occupation, all the people of the Peninsula have now acknowledged it. The best proof of this is the Americans' continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, but they are helpless.

Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million... despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation.

So here they come to annihilate what is left of this people and to humiliate their Muslim neighbors. Third, if the Americans' aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel's survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula.

All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on God, his messenger, and Muslims. And ulema have throughout Islamic history unanimously agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries. This was revealed by Imam Bin-Qadamah in "Al- Mughni," Imam al-Kisa'i in "Al-Bada'i," al-Qurtubi in his interpretation, and the shaykh of al-Islam in his books, where he said: "As for the fighting to repulse [an enemy], it is aimed at defending sanctity and religion, and it is a duty as agreed [by the ulema]. Nothing is more sacred than belief except repulsing an enemy who is attacking religion and life." On that basis, and in compliance with God's order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims:

The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, "and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together," and "fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God."

This is in addition to the words of Almighty God: "And why should ye not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? -- women and children, whose cry is: 'Our Lord, rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will help!'"

We -- with God's help -- call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan's U.S. troops and the devil's supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson.

Almighty God said: "O ye who believe, give your response to God and His Apostle, when He calleth you to that which will give you life. And know that God cometh between a man and his heart, and that it is He to whom ye shall all be gathered."

Almighty God also says: "O ye who believe, what is the matter with you, that when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of God, ye cling so heavily to the earth! Do ye prefer the life of this world to the hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him ye would not harm in the least. For God hath power over all things."
Almighty God also says: "So lose no heart, nor fall into despair. For ye must gain mastery if ye are true in faith."

World Baseball Classic

Does anyone beside MLB commish Bud Selig care?

It doesn't do it for me. I don't think Bud realizes that an artificially created tournament, with no natural animosity between nations/teams cannot succeed. All major international oriented sporting events that pit one nation against another benefit from the centuries of conflict these nations have endured. The reason England likes to beat France and Germany in the World Cup is because those three nations have spent decades at war with each other. Brazil hates to lose to Argentina for the same reason.

To some extent international sports were developed to prove national worth outside of the battlefield. Think of the Joe Louis/Max Schmelling fights of the 1930s or Jesse Owens performance at the Berlin Olympics. In both cases Hitler was attempting to showcase Aryan superiority to the world and in both cases he failed as a foreigner, a black one no less, defeated his supermen. To bad Joe and Jesse were not Jewish too, that would have been wonderful.

The reason the 1980 US Olympic hockey victory was so sweet was because of the Cold War. Was anyone crushed by the US' early elimination from the medal round last month? Nope, because nothing larger was at stake.

The WBC has none of this tension. Even Cuba/Venezuela with their anti-American positions can generate any emotion from the average American. There is no true threat from a couple of third world nations that are quickly going nowhere under their respective dictator and wannabe president for life.

The US players saying all the right, nationalistic things when it comes to the WBC, but I believe they really don't care. How else can a 8-6 loss to Canada be explained away. That team should not lose to anyone, much less to our northern neighbor.

I hope Bud gets this WBC thing out of his system after this year and decides to never hold it again. It would be better for him to drop it before a superstar blows out his knee or elbow thus costing his real team a chance to get into a tournament that actually matters, like the World Series.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Scary development

Another reason to tighten our student visa rules.,2933,186946,00.html

The UNC event is worse then what is happening at Yale, but only because people were injured. The Yale story is pretty bad otherwise.

Yes, I'm blogging like crazy today cause I'm bored at work.

A Child's Life

Here is a very troubling story I found in the British paper The Guardian.

It seems the child is terribly handicapped. He cannot live without a massive amount of external life support and the hospital would like permission to pull the plug because he is leading, in their words an "intolerable life." The child is 17-months old and his condition will worsen significantly over time.

An unnamed hospital trust has asked Mr Justice Holman for permission to withdraw life-saving ventilation from the child because he has such a low quality of life.

If the hospital is given permission from the court to remove his life support it would set the a terrible precedent. The child basically cannot do anything. The agony his parents must be suffering is unimaginable.

If the court does allow the hospital to halt life support under the condition stated above just think of how many other people could then be considered for similar treatment. For starters people in long-term comas, the elderly with life threatening problems, the severely handicapped... and those are just the individuals with medical issues.

The phrase "low quality of life" is the real kill, no pun intended. Millions can qualify for hospital induced euthanasia if this label is hung over their head. How about the homeless? Living in the gutter is not the best life. Incurable drug addicts and alcoholics? How abot those in prison for life? How about babies that are going to be born to the aforementioned drug addicts? They are doomed to live in squalor. How about poor people in general? No quality in their life. They cannot even afford a decent vacation for God's sake.

I say the hospital is simply tired of footing the bill for this child. Another plus for socilalized medicine if you ask me.

Oscar's Ego Part II

Not to pick on Clooney, whom I actually like as an actor, but since I only saw his acceptance speech he garners all my sarcasm for the day.

At the end of his acceptance speech for best supporting actor, Clooney said he was proud to belong to such an "out of touch" meaning Hollywood, community. This year's US box office totals show exactly how out of touch Hollywood was in 2005. America reacted to Hollywood's most acclaimed movies by staying home in droves.

From a CBS Marketwatch story on the event.

"Brokeback Mountain" had been the strongest performer in theaters, but had made a paltry $79 million through Sunday. The film was made by Focus Features had garnered eight nominations.
"Crash" was next best in big-screen revenue, bringing in $55.4 million during its run last summer. That film is now out on home video. It had taken six nominations and won two other Oscars for best original screenplay and film editing.
The other best-picture nominees, "Good Night, And Good Luck" "Capote" and "Munich" have made $30.3 million, $23.4 million and $46.1 million, respectively, at the domestic box office. "Good Night," is from Warner Bros. Warner Independent Pictures, Capote was made by Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures Classics.
"Munich" was co-produced and distributed by GE's NBC Universal and DreamWorks.
Small, but profitable
But while the films are among the lowest revenue-getters for a group of Oscar nominees, most have proven to be tremendously profitable.
On a scant budget of $6.5 million, "Crash" has returned close to $70 million in worldwide box-office receipts. "Brokeback" has made nearly $118 million worldwide on a $14 million budget.
"Capote," was produced for $7 million while "Good Night's" budget was $7.5 million
Meanwhile, "Munich" is turning into the black after it was feared the Steven Spielberg film would end up being unprofitable. The film cost an estimated $75 million to make and has produced $98.1 million in receipts thus far. Because studios split receipts with theater owners, a film needs to make roughly double its budget to turn aprofit.

March of the Penguins, which starred small, flightless birds, grossed $77 million domestically.

Now I think it's great that Hollywood can make money on movies like Capote or Good Night. But keep in mind the only reason they were profitable was their low production cost and that was low because the actors refrained from demanding their usual multimillion dollar salary. You can't pay Tom Cruise $25 million for a film and expect to turn a profit on a movie that grosses $55 million.

So what does this mean for the future of the film industry?

Theat actors can take home a lot less money and continue to churn out movies to satisfy themselves, plus viewers in NY and LA. Or it it can keep churning out entertainment for the masses like King Kong or War of the Worlds. These movies might have been panned by critics, but people went to see them in droves.

So the choice is George Clooney can make what he considers important movies that force his point of view on political issues onto the audience. Of course his lavish lifestyle will have to be downsized to something a bit more middle class, but if Clooney feels that strongly about his career then selling the mansion will be a small price to pay.

Oscar's Ego Part 1

If egotism were a replenishable natural resource, like trees, then the world would have to wait at least a month for the supply of ego to build up again after Hollywood's denizens stripped every milliliter of it out of the Earth's atmosphere at last night's Oscars.

I doubt there is a collection of humans anywhere who think so highly of themselves. Granted, the rest of us are to blame for this. Or at least those among us who buy gossip rags, watch entertainment TV or insists on placing these people on a pedastal.

Since I did not see any of the movies up for the awards this year, and thus did not care who wond I only watched the first 15 minutes of the show. I did catch George Clooney's acceptance speech which patted Hollywood on the back for being so progressive. He cited how Hattie McDonald was awarded an Oscar for her performance in Gone With The Wind as a great example of how Hollywood is so forward thinking.

His comment was so delusional I had to wonder at first if he was being serious.

A story on the New Statesmen's web site proved that Clooney had no idea what he was talking about.

Black people have been in Hollywood since the early two-reelers almost a century ago. Yet here are the numbers that count: Hattie McDaniel, Best Supporting Actress, Gone with the Wind, 1939; Sidney Poitier, Best Actor, Lilies of the Field, 1963. In the 38 Academy Award ceremonies since Poitier's triumph, no other black leading actor or actress has won the top prize. Despite 780 total acting nominations and 152 winners since Poitier's award, only four winners have been black, and all have won in supporting roles: Louis Gossett Jr in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), Denzel Washington in Glory (1989), Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost (1990) and Cuba Gooding Jr in Jerry Maguire (1996).

I'm not saying Clooney is clueless becauase other black people have won the award. Instead I want to point out that Hollywood itself has spent the vasty majority of its history discriminating against blacks.

If Hollywood was so liberal back in the 1930s why weren't films of the day filled with black actors and actresses? How about in the 1940s or 50s? I have never read of a case where Humphrey Bogart stood up and demanded a black actor in one of his film. Instead the only black audiences saw was Al Jolson. Finally in the 1960s blacks start to get their due, but Hollywood did not lead the way, it was the civil rights revolution that helped integrate the nation and thus Hollywood.

For Clooney to stand up and state that Hollywood is better then everyone else is a sad sham. Sad because he is so self-absorbed that he cannot see the truth even with history as a guide.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Another Sign of the Apocalypse

Getting a child into a pre-school program is generally not a parent's most difficult activity. Except in NY City where the chore has turned into somekthing akin to getting accepted at an Ivy League school.

Check out this NY Times article for the full story.

OK, perhaps the hoops that these parents must jump through is not a sign the world is coming to an end. In a way it's touching that a mom or dad would fret over having to write an entrance essay for their child. But the fact that a pre-school would require such an action is bizarre in and of itself.

Apparantly there is a dearth of pre-school class space, but something tells me the pre-school administrators simply enjoy putting these parents through hell.

To a lesser extent the parents are also to blame. The reason the competition is so stiff, according to the Nanny Diaries at least, is status. Parents want their children placed in the "right" school. Not necessarily one with the best programs, but the one with the most cache. They are driving up demand, thus helping give themselves a massive headache.

This story makes me wish I had the money to open my own pre-school. Charging parents $10,000 per year so their kids can fiddle with Play Do all day would be very satisfying.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Kill the Ports Deal

The following is the clearest written argument that I have come across that explains why a UAE should not be allowed to buy control of six U.S. ports. It is from William J. Bennett & Seth Leibsohn and found on NRO.

No matter how many assurances we are given that our government will remain in charge of this security, the cargo will be managed and coordinated by a foreign-owned company whose country has anything but a strong record in preventing terrorism. In short, when all the smoke is cleared, the UAE is not a country of tried and true reliability like, say, Great Britain. There is a difference between Great Britain and the UAE, many differences in fact, and we should not be instructed otherwise.

So many pundits have equated allowing the UK to run the ports is the same as allowing the UAE. They are basically saying that if one foreign firm can run the ports, then why not another. This is the most foolish of arguments. Can a car thief be equated with Charles Manson? How about How about George Bush with Hitler ( Oh right, these same people often take that stance.) The UAE and the UK are not on the same playing field and anyone who insists on placing them at the same level is purposefully being disingenuous.

It is a scare tactic because they know most people, especially politicians, do not want to be labeled a racist.

On the flip side of this issue are those individuals who oppose the deal strictly because the president supports it. These people are possibly more disgusting since they are nothing but opportunists. If the president had come out in favor of forbidding the sale of pornography to elementary school children the same people would be opposed.

Those opposing the deal should stand firm in their beliefs and the president should realize that he is destroying his image with the American people. It makes him look like he is once again cuddling up with big business, an image he has refused to shake during his tenure. On the bright side at least a corporation gets something for donating millions to a Republican PAC.

Let's hope the president comes to his senses and helps kill this deal.