Conservative Liberal

FDR would have been a Republican today.

With friends like these, …

… who needs enemies?  Dennis Prager mentioned this story from Spiegel in his radio show:

NOT LICENSED TO KILL

German Special Forces in Afghanistan Let Taliban Commander Escape

By Susanne Koelbl and Alexander Szandar

German special forces had an important Taliban commander in their sights in Afghanistan. But he escaped — because the Germans were not authorized to use lethal force. The German government’s hands-tied approach to the war is causing friction with its NATO allies.

The wheat is lush and green in the fields of northern Afghanistan this spring. A river winding its way through the broad valley dotted with walled houses completes the picturesque scene. Behind one of these walls, not far from the town of Pol-e-Khomri, sits a man whose enemies, having named him a "target," would like to see dead. He is the Baghlan bomber.

The Taliban commander is regarded as a brutal extremist with excellent connections to terror cells across the border in Pakistan. Security officials consider him to be one of the most dangerous players in the region, which is under German command as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. The military accuses him of laying roadside bombs and of sheltering suicide attackers prior to their bloody missions.

He is also thought to be behind one of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan’s history, the Nov. 6, 2007 attack on a sugar factory in the northwest province of Baghlan. The attack killed 79 people, including dozens of children and many parliamentarians and other politicians, as they celebrated the factory’s reopening.

Germany’s KSK special forces have been charged with capturing the terrorist, in cooperation with the Afghan secret service organization NDS and the Afghan army. The German elite soldiers were able to uncover the Taliban commander’s location. They spent weeks studying his behavior and habits: when he left his house and with whom, how many men he had around him and what weapons they carried, the color of his turban and what vehicles he drove.

At the end of March, they decided to act to seize the commander. Under the protection of darkness, the KSK, together with Afghan forces, advanced toward their target. Wearing black and equipped with night-vision goggles, the team came within just a few hundred meters of their target before they were discovered by Taliban forces.

The dangerous terrorist escaped. It would, however, have been possible for the Germans to kill him — but the KSK were not authorized to do so.

Go ahead and read the whole thing.  Is there anyone who even played a soldier as a kid, who does not find this story ridiculously pathetic?  Don’t get me wrong: the German Special Forces soldiers are likely very good and professional, but their superiors are another matter.  Dennis Prager often says that the Germans learned the wrong lesson after World War 2: instead of learning of necessity to combat evil even in their own midst they learned that it is always wrong to fight.  I could not agree more.

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May 25, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Renaming the terms

This blog was started from the article "Reclaiming the Terms" that I wrote and ever since keep shoving into people’s faces.  In my article I insist that true Liberals are found on the Right of the political spectrum.  But it turns out that sometimes you have to go even further.  So, at the risk of flattering Bookworm again, I am presenting here another of her brilliant articles, in which she renames the illiberal Left into Statists and liberal Right into Individualists:

Renaming the paradigm *UPDATED*

I’ve decided it’s time to jettison entirely the words “Left” and “Right” when used with reference to political ideologies. I came to this conclusion after a very interesting discussion with my mother. While we were talking about the military Junta in Burma, she let drop the fact that she believes that all tyrannies come from the political Right.

I was taken aback, especially when my mother explained to me that the Soviets, Nazis and Italian Fascists were all tyrannies from the Right. I could understand her confusion about the Nazis and the Italian Fascists — after all, Jonah Goldberg wrote a whole book trying to educate people out of their confusion on this subject — but her statement about the Soviets perplexed me.

…………………………………………………………………………….

Conservatives want to contract the power of the Federal government, not expand it, because they have recognized that tyrannies, regardless of the political ideology that powers them, are Statist. Republicans, I said, are Individualists. Given the opportunity to shape this country’s politics, they are the ones who are least likely ones to lead America into the tyrannical, militaristic regime she fears.

It was quite an amazing conversation because, by the end, she really grasped the difference between Left and Right. Right is not Nazis and Fascists and failed Communist states. In America, Right is about individual rights, and Left is about Statism — and it is Statism that, when it runs amok, is dangerous.

Anyway, because of the fact that this type of confusion has poisoned the meaning of these commonly used political terms, I think it’s more accurate to describe the two American ideologies as Statist and Individualist — and I know on which side of the political aisle I want to reside.

As before, excerpts don’t do justice to Bookworm’s article, so read the whole thing.  And, as Bookworm, I know exactly on which side of the political aisle I am – on the side of individual liberty.

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May 18, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Prestige of the engineering work

Engineers were not very highly regarded in the former Soviet Union.  In terms of salary, blue color workers were always paid more.  In fact, if 2 people did the same job, but one had a title of engineer and another was technician, the technician would get higher salary.  So, when Gorbachev came to power, he recognized that the Soviet Union was technologically lagging behind the West.  So, the Soviet Government announced that they would promote the engineering work in order to raise its prestige.  Mikhail Zhvanetsky, a famous Russian-Jewish satirist and a native of Odessa, joked that engineers got increased prestige, but not increased salary.

It turns out that in this country, while engineering pay is pretty good, the prestige of the engineering work is not very high.  There is simply no glamour in it.  Planet Analog, one of the professional publications whose newsletter I get at work, posted an article on this subject:

Commentary: Engineers need an image makeover
Bill Schweber
EE Times
May 02, 2008 (1:43 PM)
URL: http://www.planetanalog.com/showArticle?articleID=207501896

At the recent ACE Awards dinner, our industry honored leading innovators, companies and products. It was good to see an appreciative audience for this well-deserved recognition. But then I realized we were preaching to the converted. The broader world still dismisses engineers and scientists as quirky outsiders.

This became clear when I was trapped and had to watch an episode of the dreadful "Beauty and the Geek." The show’s premise is that there is something wrong with the geeks, but with some help they can be made to be cool, if not actually hot. If I suggested that perhaps the beauties could benefit from a knowledge makeover, I’d be dismissed as, well, a geek.

It wasn’t always this way. Until about the 1960s, engineers were not only honored, they were respected. They were guests on popular TV shows for their accomplishments, not as oddballs to be mocked. Earlier in the 20th century, engineers were accorded more respect and stature than any other professionals.

We’ve come a long way from that world.

The Associated Press has announced it will hire 20 more reporters solely to cover celebrities, and they don’t mean scientists or engineers. And I’ll bet if eight-year-old Carson Page—the Editor’s Choice ACE Award winner for his impressive work with FPGAs—ever appears on the Leno or Letterman show, he’ll be there as an oddity, not a role model.

How did this transformation happen?

I think we are victims of our own success. In the past few decades, we’ve made such incredible progress in so many areas, at an ever-increasing rate, that we’ve made it all look so very easy. The public is no longer impressed by feats of engineering: They think all this amazing gadgetry just happens by itself, because we’ve made it seem that way.

What can we do? It wouldn’t be practical, or advisable, to squelch scientific and technological progress. But perhaps professional societies, universities and high-tech companies could team to launch an image campaign. One message might be: "If it weren’t for the nerd next door, you wouldn’t have (fill in the blank)." Here’s another: "Celebrity fades. Knowledge lasts."

As with so many engineering problems, there is no simple solution. Perhaps it is not even viewed as a problem. Our culture has moved to a new perception of what it values, and it’s not us.

If that’s the case, we have only ourselves to blame. But we owe it to ourselves, and certainly to the next generation of innovators like Carson Page, to do something about it.

The article is pretty short, so I just posted the whole thing here.  It really is sad.  My daughter recently had a "career day" at school.  None of the kids said that they wanted to be an engineer.  And I live in the area heavily populated by engineers.  In addition to that, the whole society is technically illiterate.  A friend of mine told me that in the 1980s, when VCRs first became available, people could not set the clock on the front display of the VCR.  So the clock display kept blinking, and people were getting annoyed.  Apparently some company like RadioShack came up with a kit to stop the blinking.  It was simply a piece of black electrical tape that you would stick onto the clock display and cover it.  The fact that someone was able to sell this thing has to be embarrassing.  Part of the problem that kids nowadays don’t have to make anything themselves.  You can buy everything.  You can even buy a slingshot or a rubber band gun.  What is that?  Things like that kids should be building with their own hands, coming up with their own designs.  Of course, it would be nice if there was some sort of a TV show about engineers.  But, unlike doctors or lawyers, engineers don’t have drama associated with their work.  So, a TV show would not be very exciting.  Something like MacGyver would be pretty exciting, but most of the stuff MacGyver does is not necessarily realistic and definitely not something that you could try at home.

Oh, well.  My older daughter still says once in a while that she wants "to be an engineer, like daddy".  So, not everything is lost.  Although, if my daughter becomes a nurse like mommy, I would be pretty happy too.

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May 18, 2008 Posted by | Engineering | 6 Comments

Significant dates in May

The month of May has several significant dates in modern history, particularly in modern Jewish history. Those are the Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli Independence Day and Victory in Europe Day (Victory Day in Russia). Additionally, the Memorial Day is also at the end of May. So, in commemoration of all these dates I’d like to present an article that I compiled several years ago. This article was originally published on the wonderful historical site called WW II Ace Stories. I highly recommend this site for World War 2 history and aviation history enthusiasts. I used the word "compiled" rather than "written" regarding the article because the article is based on the book "I Am My Brother’s Keeper" by Jeffrey Weiss and Craig Weiss.

In fact, there are chunks of text that were simply scanned out of the book. But I don’t think the authors would mind: after all, I am suggesting to people that they should buy the book and read it. It really is a very good book. The pictures are also from this book and the Internet. I dedicate this post to those, who fought back and saved or avenged themselves and their loved ones. So, without further ado, let me present the story of

Rudy Augarten – avenging the Holocaust.

(Click here to read the story.)

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May 17, 2008 Posted by | Articles, Book Reviews, History | 7 Comments

In fairness to Obama

Obama recently gave an interview to Jeff Goldberg of The Atlantic.  After this interview many commentators on my side were quick to point out that Obama called Israel a "constant wound… a constant sore…" on our foreign policy.  But here is exactly what he said:

JG: Do you think that Israel is a drag on America’s reputation overseas?

BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable. I am absolutely convinced of that, and some of the tensions that might arise between me and some of the more hawkish elements in the Jewish community in the United States might stem from the fact that I’m not going to blindly adhere to whatever the most hawkish position is just because that’s the safest ground politically.

From reading his exact response it is clear that he did not mean that Israel is a "constant sore", but the conflict is.  To accuse him of calling Israel a "constant sore" is to use a favorite trick of the Left: taking his words out of context.  However, this does not mean that his interview is not full of crap.  The Republican Jewish Coalition in its press release called Obama’s statement what it really is, in its proper context: excusing the inexcusable, or, in other words, another of the Left’s favorite things – moral equivalency:

RJC: Obama Excuses the Inexcusable

Contact: Press Secretary Suzanne Kurtz
Monday, May 12, 2008

Washington, D.C. (May 12, 2008 ) — In response to Sen. Barack Obama’s interview in the most recent issue of The Atlantic, the Republican Jewish Coalition released the following statement today:

"Once again, Senator Obama demonstrates his questionable grasp of America’s foreign policy. Senator Obama manages to excuse the inexcusable actions of anti-American militant jihadists by putting the blame for their actions on America’s foreign policy. America stands with Israel because it is one of our strongest allies and the only democracy in the Middle East. Senator Obama naively believes that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will solve the global scourge of radical Islamic extremism. Yet Senator Obama never says how he will rein in Hamas’ daily onslaught on Israel or Iran’s scurrilous condemnations of Israel. Is it any wonder Hamas has endorsed him for president?"

In his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, Sen. Obama described the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as ‘this constant wound.’ Sen. Obama said ‘that this constant sore, does infect all of [America's] foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions.’

RJC is fair and absolutely correct.  And Obama is still full of crap.  And, in related news, linked from LGF to Jim Geraghty:

Palestinians in Gaza Are Phonebanking for Barack Obama

Phil Klein calls our attention to an al-Jazeera news report that sounds like a parody, but is genuine: A report on Palestinians in Gaza who are phonebanking in support of Barack Obama’s campaign.

I transcribed the most jaw-dropping parts:

REPORTER: It may be hard to believe, but working in this tiny Internet cafe in Gaza City may just be one of Barack Obama’s biggest fans.

Before every U.S. primary, 23-year-old Ibrahim Abu Jayyab gathers 17 of his friends to try and rally support for Obama’s campaign in the U.S.

So why does a young Palestinian living in Gaza spend so much of his time and money on an election thousands of miles away?

ABU JAYYAB: [translated] It all started at the time of the U.S. primaries. After studying Obama’s electoral campaign manifesto, I thought, ‘this is a man that is capable of change inside America.’ As for potential change in the Middle East, he can also do that. I think he can bring peace to the area, or at least this is what we hope.

REPORTER: And the game plan? Ibrahim and his friends call random numbers in the U.S. before every primary to deliver one simple message:

ABU JAYYAB: [in English] Elect Senator Obama. I will change. I will achieve… the justice in the Middle East.

I am guessing, this must be illegal, if Obama’s Campaign is actually involved in this.  Read it all.  Here is another link.

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May 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The next time someone accuses US…

… of not trying to alleviate poverty in the world, you might want to point to this news item:

A Gulf in Giving: Oil-Rich States Starve the World Food Program

Friday , May 09, 2008

By George Russell

FC1

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his top lieutenants on Monday are convening the first meeting of the U.N.’s Task Force on the Global Food Crisis. Ban says it will “study the root causes of the crisis,” and propose solutions for “coordinated global action” at a summit of world leaders in June.

…………………………………………………………………………….

Donor listings on WFP’s website show that this year, as in every year since 1999, the U.S. is far and away the biggest aid provider to WFP. Since 2001, U.S. donations to the food agency have averaged more than $1.16 billion annually — or more than five times as much as the next biggest donor, the European Commission.

…………………………………………………………………………….

And while Canada, Australia, Western Europe and Japan have hastened to pony up an additional $260 million in aid since WFP’s latest appeal, the world organization told FOX News, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the international oil cartel, tossed in a grand total of $1.5 million in addition to the $50,000 it had previously donated.

The OPEC total amounts to roughly one minute and 10 seconds worth of the organization’s estimated $674 billion in annual oil revenues in 2007 — revenues that will be vastly exceeded in 2008 with the continuing spiral in world oil prices.

The only other major oil exporter who made the WFP list of 2008 donors was the United Arab Emirates, which kicked in $50,000. UAE oil revenues in 2007 were $63 billion.

By contrast, the poverty-stricken African republic of Burkina Faso is listed as donating more than $600,000, and Bangladesh, perennial home of many of the world’s hungriest people, is listed as donating nearly $5.8 million.

And those people talk about honor?

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May 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do all politicians lie?

They probably all do to some extent.  So, whenever I would point out to someone, even someone who agrees with me, some outrageous lie by a leftist politician, the response I often get is: "Yes, but they all lie".  I often found myself at a loss for words after that.  Well, maybe I don’t have to be in such position any longer.  Bookworm has brilliantly explained in her post that

All lies are not created equal

In response to an earlier post I did about Obama’s habit of lying about easily verifiable events, beliefs and associations in his past, echeccone made the statement, one we’ve often heard, that “every politician lies.” There’s a kind of sweeping truth to that statement, but its very broadness hides the fact that not all lies are created equal. I was just going to leave a responsive comment to echeccone, but it got so long that I decided to use my blogger privilege of elevating my response to its own post. So here is my little riff on why all lies are not created equal, and why Hillary’s and Obama’s lies fall into the worst category.

As any of us who have children or who remember our own childhoods know, lying is an integral part of the human condition. There is no toddler who hasn’t stood before Mom and Dad, staring at the paint on the living room wall, and then glancing down at the paint all over his hands, only to announce without shame, “I didn’t do it.” Said child is always punished, and the punishment comes along with a lengthy explanation about the value of truth and the danger of lies. As a society, we don’t tolerate it well when people deny wrongdoing.

…………………………………………………………………………….

We also are willing to give favored politician some latitude on broken promises. Thus, the question in the voters’ collective mind when a politician breaks an promise is, “Did s/he, at the time s/he made that promise, have any intention of keeping it?” If people believe the answer is “yes,” they’ll listen with some respect to the politician’s excuses for failing to keep that promise. If the answer is “no,” or if it is apparent that no person of reasonable intelligence should have made such a promise in the first place, then voters will be much less forgiving.

And then there are the lies that Hillary and Obama tell, likes that hark back to the toddler years: They get caught doing something bad, and they simply lie about. Hillary confines herself to denials and accusations. In the face of her intransigent denials, when the truth finally emerges, she tends to look awful. Obama is more clever. His first instinct is to deny, and then he starts leaking out the ugly truth. And by leaking it out slowly, he defuses the impact of the fact that, yes, he did engage in wrongdoing or, yes, he did associate (fairly closely) with terrorists or, yes, he did know all along that his preacher is an anti-American racist kind of guy.

The excerpts truly don’t do justice to Bookworm’s article.  Go read the whole thing.  I will have to remember her arguments the next time someone tells me that all politicians lie.

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May 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Muslim reformers

My previous post dealt with the problem.  This one has to do with the solution: Muslim Reform Movement.  The fact is that we all can talk about violence inherent in Islam till we blue in the face, and we will still have a problem.  Even if we defeat the the jihadis militarily now, they will come back later because the ideological basis for them will remain intact.  So, they will have to be defeated ideologically as well.  The only one way to do it in my opinion is to re-interpret Koran, de-emphasizing violence in it.  So, we need to promote the genuine reformers of Islam, people who seek to re-interpret the religious doctrine of Islam.  One of such organizations, Muslims Against Sharia, left a comment on this blog recently, and I am thankful for that.  There are others:

Dr. Tawfik Hamid;

American-Islamic Forum for Democracy.

I am adding these links to my sidebar.  There are probably others.  We need to scream as loud as we can, so that the media listens to these people, rather than CAIR.  Front Page recently conducted a symposium of Muslim reformers.  There is hope.  Finally, it seems that Turkish Government got involved in the Muslim Reform effort:

Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam – and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

The country’s powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.

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Turkey is intent on sweeping away that "cultural baggage" and returning to a form of Islam it claims accords with its original values and those of the Prophet.

But this is where the revolutionary nature of the work becomes apparent. Even some sayings accepted as being genuinely spoken by Muhammad have been altered and reinterpreted.

Prof Mehmet Gormez, a senior official in the Department of Religious Affairs and an expert on the Hadith, gives a telling example.

"There are some messages that ban women from travelling for three days or more without their husband’s permission and they are genuine.

"But this isn’t a religious ban. It came about because in the Prophet’s time it simply wasn’t safe for a woman to travel alone like that. But as time has passed, people have made permanent what was only supposed to be a temporary ban for safety reasons."

The project justifies such bold interference in the 1,400-year-old content of the Hadith by rigorous academic research.

Prof Gormez points out that in another speech, the Prophet said "he longed for the day when a woman might travel long distances alone".

So, he argues, it is clear what the Prophet’s goal was.

…………………………………………………………………………….

According to Fadi Hakura, an expert on Turkey from Chatham House in London, Turkey is doing nothing less than recreating Islam – changing it from a religion whose rules must be obeyed, to one designed to serve the needs of people in a modern secular democracy.

He says that to achieve it, the state is fashioning a new Islam.

"This is kind of akin to the Christian Reformation," he says.

"Not exactly the same, but if you think, it’s changing the theological foundations of [the] religion. "

Fadi Hakura believes that until now secularist Turkey has been intent on creating a new politics for Islam.

Now, he says, "they are trying to fashion a new Islam."

Significantly, the "Ankara School" of theologians working on the new Hadith have been using Western critical techniques and philosophy.

They have also taken an even bolder step – rejecting a long-established rule of Muslim scholars that later (and often more conservative) texts override earlier ones.

"You have to see them as a whole," says Fadi Hakura.

"You can’t say, for example, that the verses of violence override the verses of peace. This is used a lot in the Middle East, this kind of ideology.

"I cannot impress enough how fundamental [this change] is."

Read the whole article.  Generally conservatives like myself are skeptical about government involvement in anything.  But in this particular case, placing government resources behind the project might be a good thing.

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May 7, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What is the number of the enemy we face?

We often hear that the majority of Muslims are not terrorists, but just normal peaceful people going about their daily lives.  That is definitely true for one simple reason: day-to-day activities tend to preoccupy people.  But how big is that violent minority?  Well, consider this post by Elder of Zion:

That "tiny percentage of radical Muslims" again

I’ve already had a number of posts on the book "Who Speaks for Islam?" as I (and others) have shows the duplicity of the authors as they try to downplay the number of radical Muslims in the world.

The authors defined the 7% of Muslims who considered the 9/11 attacks "completely justified" to be "politically radicalized" and they used the term "moderate" for the other 93%.

In a new article by Robert Satloff, he blows a few more holes into the book – but he also gets a hold of the all-important data: how many Muslims mostly or partially justified 9/11?

The answers are not quite as comforting as the authors implied. In addition to the 6.5% who felt that 9/11 was "mostly" justified, we find out:

The cover-up is even worse. The full data from the 9/11 question show that, in addition to the 13.5 percent, there is another 23.1 percent of respondents — 300 million Muslims — who told pollsters the attacks were in some way justified. Esposito and Mogahed don’t utter a word about the vast sea of intolerance in which the radicals operate.

And then there is the more fundamental fraud of using the 9/11 question as the measure of "who is a radical." Amazing as it sounds, according to Esposito and Mogahed, the proper term for a Muslim who hates America, wants to impose Sharia law, supports suicide bombing, and opposes equal rights for women but does not "completely" justify 9/11 is . . . "moderate."

So over one out of every three Muslims worldwide, 36.6%, can find some justification for 9/11; and about 80% of those were defined as "moderate" in this book.Which means that there are nearly a half-billion Muslims worldwide who would be considered supporters of terror by any reasonable definition, not "only" the 91 million that the authors claim.

Read his complete analysis in order to understand the problem.

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May 7, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Infiltration

Being sick has its rewards: I have a little bit more time for blogging when I am not miserable.  So, when a friend alerted me to an interesting article, I decided to post about it:

Amerabia

By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
The Washington Times | Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Even Americans knowledgeable about Europe’s growing accommodation to the totalitarian ideology known alternatively as Islamism, jihadism or Islamofascism tend smugly to believe the same thing can’t happen here. Think again.

Every day, new evidence appears of similar acts of submission — the Islamists call it "dhimmitude" — on the part of the U.S. government, judges, the press and leading corporations. Eurabia, meet the United States of Amerabia.

On May 4, an ominous alarm was sounded in a Pajamas Media column by Youssef Ibrahim, a former New York Times reporter. Mr. Ibrahim is an astute critic of the Islamists’ steady, tireless and increasingly effective efforts to impose — on Muslims and non-Muslims alike — the repressive theo-political-legal agenda they call Shariah law. He warned that "In the very real war on terror, a noisy squabble over ‘fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here’ clouds a simple truth: namely, that ‘they’ are here already. Indeed, Islamists are busy constructing a wing of jihad in America’s backyard."

Among the most worrisome of the "they" now operating inside the U.S. are various front organizations systematically established by the Islamist organization known as the Ikhwan, or Muslim Brotherhood. During last year’s federal trial of the Holy Land Foundation on terrorism-financing charges, the government introduced into evidence the names of many scores of such Ikhwan fronts. Identified also as unindicted co-conspirators were virtually every one of the most prominent Muslim-American organizations, including notably the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

Read it and be scared.  Here is the Yossef Ibrahim’s article that Frank Gaffney mentions:

Islamist Chickens Roosting in America’s Backyard

May 4, 2008 – by Youssef M. Ibrahim

In the very real war on terror, a nosy squabble over “fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here” clouds a simple truth: namely, that “they” are here already. Indeed, Islamists are busy constructing a wing of jihad in America’s backyard.

A potential audience of one million Arab-speaking cable subscribers of Time Warner in the greater New York area can feast on the Arabic Channel known as TAC to choose a menu that includes:

  • A daily dose of Islamic jurisprudence from a sheik — most often Egyptian Amr Khaled, who wears a suit instead of a robe, advocating “peaceful jihad.” He opines on how it is the duty of Arab-Americans to become first, second, and always members of the Muslim ummah. The softness of his jihad-chic demeanor belies its exclusionary message: segregation of Arab-American Muslims from fellow Americans.
  • TAC also serves a nightly diet of Syrian TV News, direct from Damascus with Syria’s view of the world. In this diatribe of analysis and disinformation, Iraq is an American butchery, the Zionist regime of Israel is destined for obliteration, and Syria is the greatest gift to the “Arab cause.”
  • For entertainment there is a sprinkling of pseudo-historic soap operas about the old Muslim empire of Europe. In Ramadan, the month-long fasting period, this proselytizing is revved up to new levels of intensity, removing footage of belly dancing and other “infidel” joys from the steady fare of old Egyptian movies.

On its website, TAC says it is now 14 years old and serves the “Greater New York City Metropolitan area, including Jersey City, Bergen County, NJ, and Mt. Vernon, NY.”

Again, read it all.  And while you are thinking that those people have their 1st Amendment right to broadcast all this stuff which amounts to enemy propaganda, ask yourself this: "Can you imagine German American Bund operating its own radio station during World War 2?"

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May 7, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How the Prius works

Engineers like me always want to know how things work.  So, Planet Analog provided some info on Toyota Prius:

One year ago, Automotive DesignLine and EETimes took a Toyota Prius fresh from the dealer and tore it down to see what makes it tick. The resulting series of stories became some of our best read features ever.

Today, with fuel prices continuing to soar, the hybrid cars are selling faster than ever. If you missed them then, or would like a review, here are direct links to features in that series—along with a time lapse video (at the end of the first article) of our crack engineers taking the vehicle apart, and a subsequent take on the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, targeted to debut in 2010.

Enjoy, my fellow nerds.

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Engineering | Leave a comment

Quick links

Here are some quick links without my comments.  Just read them.

My cousin Karlchen.

Melani Phillips: Happy 60th birthday, Israel — well done for surviving.

WHAT I LEARNED AT ‘ANTI-JIHAD U’ by Judith Miller.

Getting to Know John McCain by Karl Rove. (via Bookworm).

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Irresponsible journalists

I got this in e-mail from Planet Analog, but unfortunately they did not have this editor’s note on the site, so I am posting it here in full.  Many of us know how irresponsible media is.  In addition to that, these journalists are also technically illiterate.  So, what else is new?

  EDITOR’S NOTE

As some of you know, I have a pretty low opinion of most journalists, especially those who try to cover a topic which has even a tiny amount of technical content. I’ve met and worked alongside many of these journalists over the years, and I don’t know which group is worse: the ones who don’t know anything technical but figure they can skate by; or the ones who know just enough to be dangerous and wrong, and that they can handle the topic.

This week’s example is the coverage and hysteria about the MD-80 jet aircraft, mostly operated by American Airlines, and the emergency stand-down of these planes for inspection (and thousands of cancelled flights) due to a possible wiring problem. This was described by most of the media as "faulty wiring", "dangerous wiring", "miswired", and other very skewed, misleading terms. They made it sound as if the AC-supply lines were plugged into DC supplies, or that connectors and cables were mismatched or even crossed.

Only the Wall Street Journal, among the major media, actually had some specifics: "it [the FAA] determined that American Airlines’ repairs didn’t meet its painstaking standards, which dictate details such as which way retention clips holding the wires face, toward the back or front of the aircraft. This matters because the clips could chafe the coating on the wires, causing wear that would expose the wiring to leaks from fuel or hydraulic fluid. . . . some wiring was secured at intervals exceeding the one inch dictated by regulations." (I did find some pictures, after a little on-line searching, and the cable bundles were laced down pretty tightly, with lots of clips and ties closely spaced. But the caption didn’t say if the picture was of "good" or "bad" cabling!)

Now, I know that proper cable dress is very important to long-term reliability (I have been tripped up by cable sloppiness and poor strain relief too often) but does this aircraft-wiring problem constitute "dangerous wiring" or even "miswired"? I’ll let you be the judge!

On a more mundane topic, here’s a thought problem I came across: my laptop PC was doing some disk-intensive work, and fairly warm air was coming out the exhaust. So I thought I would raise it a little, off the flat surface of the desk, to allow airflow and better cooling.

But then I thought about it some more. Air, especially stagnant air, is a poor conductor of heat. Maybe it is better to have the bottom of the laptop directly on the desk, which could act as a heat sink? How good is the thermal contact between the laptop and the desk, and the heat-sinking properties of the wood top? Pretty soon, I was convinced that the intuitive ideas to lift the laptop might actually be counterproductive.

I know that you can buy thermal mats to go under a laptop, to improve surface heat-sinking, but I am not ready to do that. Before I do anything, I want to know if placing the laptop flat on the wooden desktop is better or worse, from a thermal perspective, than raising it a little. And what about a metal desktop, or a plastic laminate desktop? I’d be interested in hearing your views, especially if you can model the thermal situation (and hey, it would make a good article, too!).

OK, enough off-the-subject thoughts. Check out the solid array of diverse technical articles below. And while this week’s ebb-and-flow has fewer new products than last week (don’t read anything into this, it’s a normal weekly variation we see here), we have more news and short items than last week.

Until next week. . . .

Bill Schweber, Planet Analog Site Editor
bschweber@techinsights.com
(formerly @cmp.com; same "desk", new company name)

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Engineering | Leave a comment

An article by Judith Klinghoffer

I got this e-mail from Judith A. Klinghoffer:

…Obama must have trusted the media NOT to read Dreams from my Father p.99-100. In it he specifically contrasts his views from those of a bi-racial woman named Joyce  who refused to be categorized: (the italicization in the text is Obama’s)

 One day I asked her if she was going to the Black Students’ Association meeting. She looked at me funny, then started shaking her head like a baby who doesn’t want what it sees on the spoon.

“I’m not black,” Joyce said, “I’m multiracial.” Then she started telling me about her father, who happened to be Italian and was the sweetest man in the world; and her mother, who happened to be part African and part Native American and part something else. “Why should I have to choose between them?” she asked me. Her voice cracked, and I thought she was going to cry. “It’s not white people who are making me choose. Maybe it used to be that way, but now they’re willing to treat me like a person. No- it’s black people who always have to make everything racial. They’re the ones making me choose. They’re the ones who are telling me that I can’t be who I am . . . . “

In other words Joyce is the person Obama tries to convince us that he is. But she is the person he rejected as a “sellout” in favor of an all out Blackness, the kind which will naturally lead him to Rev. Wright and to Michelle. For this is how he goes on –

 The truth was that I understood her, her and all the other black kids who felt the way she did. In their mannerism, their speech, their mixed-up hearts, I kept recognizing pieces of myself. And that’s exactly what scared me. . . . I needed to put distance between them and myself, to convince myself that I wasn’t compromised – that I was indeed still awake.

To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk rock performance poets. . . . At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy.”

He goes on to explain that changing his name from Barry to Barack was part of the choice.

Read it all.  Obama is no different than his crazy pastor.

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Interesting technology article

Here is an interesting technology article:

‘Missing link’ memristor created: Rewrite the text books?

By R. Colin Johnson

EE Times

(04/30/08, 01:00:00 PM EDT)<!–

–>

PORTLAND, Ore. — The long-sought after memristor–the "missing link" in electronic circuit theory–has been invented by Hewlett Packard Senior Fellow R. Stanley Williams at HP Labs (Palo Alto, Calif.) Memristors–the fourth passive component type after resistors, capacitors and inductors–were postulated in a seminal 1971 paper in the IEEE Transactions on Circuit Theory by professor Leon Chua at the University of California (Berkeley), but their first realization was just announced today by HP. According to Williams and Chua, now virtually every electronics textbook will have to be revised to include the memristor and the new paradigm it represents for electronic circuit theory.

Admittedly, this kind of stuff is interesting for the nerdy guys like me.

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Engineering | Leave a comment

Russian troops in Iran?

Little Green Footballs linked to this article by Amir Taheri:

WHY DOES AHMADINEJAD WANT RUSSIAN TROOPS IN IRAN?
by Amir Taheri
Asharq Alawsat
April 25, 2008

Why is the leadership in Tehran anxious to give Russia the right to land troops in Iran?

The question is not fanciful. The Islamic Republic is conducting a devious campaign to prepare public opinion for that eventuality.

The message is relayed through deliberately vague terms that diplomats understand immediately while the general public does not.

The device is to revive two treaties that most students of Iranian history thought were dead and buried long ago.

…………………………………………………………………………….

Why is an administration that pretends it has a mission from the "Hidden Imam" to liberate the whole world keen to give Russia a licence to land troops in Iran?

Obviously, only Ahmadinejad and his associates know the full answer. However, one could speculate that the Khomeinist president has decided that a war with the United States is inevitable. In such a war, the Americans may well seize Iran’s oilfields, an easy target for a surprise attack and a difficult asset for defenders to protect. Once that happens Russia could land troops in northern Iran and then go to the United Nations to ask for a generalized ceasefire and the fixing of a timetable for the withdrawal of "all foreign troops from all Iranian territory." The US would come under global pressure to cooperate with Russia in ending the conflict and paving the way for the departure of foreign troops and the restoration of Iranian sovereignty.

Do read it all.  Amir Taheri always provides good analysis.  I can add that it looks like the Iranians are trying to pit the Russian troops against Americans.  Once again the jihadis are attempting to use the super-power rivalry for their own purposes.  And once again they might succeed.

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where is ACLU when you need it?

Well, ACLU is a leftist organization and does not care about real civil liberties.  They only get involved in the leftist causes.  The same is true for ADL.  This is from Jewish Russian Telegraph:

Mark Nystedt, Christian, indefatigable pro-Israel, pro-Jewish activist, was arrested last Wenesday the 30th. He is circulating his story, here in full:

As many of you know, I am an avid advocate for Israel. I have targeted liberal Christian denominations and individual churches that blame Israel and Jews for the hostilities in the Middle East (the so-called Arab-Israeli conflict) and who make excuses for those who wish exterminate Israel and kill Jews (Yesha Arabs, aka Palestinians, Arabs, and Persian/Iranians). This blaming of Israel and making excuses for Israel’s enemies fits the classic definition of anti-Semitism. It is often expressed with phases such as "Israel occupied Palestinian territory" and "Israel Apartheid." The West Bank is Israeli territory occupied by Palestinians, the consequence of Jordan attempting to exterminate Israel in 1967; and Israel is the most respectful nation in the Middle East of human/civil rights of its minority citizens while the misery that Yesha Arabs find themselves is the consequence of their ongoing 60-year struggle to kill Jews and exterminate Israel. Targeted anti-Semitic denominations include the Unitarian Universalists Association, the United Church of Christ, and the Episcopal Church.

My usual advocacy method is to sit on a folding chair in front of an offending church with signage, fliers, and booklets. I listen to the radio with earphones and have a pamphlet in hand offering it silently and seated to those who passby. Last year, 5000 people took fliers. [Occasionally, I will pro-actively hand fliers to pedestrians. Last year, in this mode, 4000 people took fliers.] Targeted offending anti-Semitic churches include: – the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul (138 Tremont Street, Boston, across Tremont Street from the Park Street subway station and where the Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts has his offices), – Old South Church (Copley Square, Boston, UCC, which hosted the Sabeel "Apartheid Paradigm in Israel-Palestine" conference in October 2007 and where Massachusetts Governor and Sen Barak Obama’s northeast campaign manager Deval Patrick attends, Sen Obama is a STILL member of Chicago’s infamous Trinity UCC) – the Unitarian First Parish in Cambridge (Harvard Square across from Harvard Yard), and – suburban Episcopal churches.

On April 30 2008, I was in front of the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul. Obviously, someone in Bishop Shaw’s office called the Boston Police with a complaint about me. An Episcopal Diocese NAG (National Association of Gals) employee was hovering to observe the anticipated events. A Boston Police paddy wagon arrived about 2:30. The officer warned me that protesters had to be mobile/walking and not seated and that if I remained seated that I would be arrested. There is no city ordinance that requires protesters to be mobile and this arbitrary requirement by the Boston Police Department denies me constitutional right to free speech.

On June 11 2007, I was in a similar situation. Then I chose to leave. See my on-line unpublished letter to the Jewish Advocate about the ACLU declining to help resolve this matter (google ‘ACLU anti-Semitism Nystedt‘). The ADL also declined to help as they have programming with the Episcopal Church.

So, when I returned to this location on April 30th, I was fully prepared to suffer the consequence of sitting. I sat and I was arrested for disturbing the peace.

Handcuffed, paddy wagon, booked, and overnight in Precinct 1 cell 7. 5×7 with a metal shelf for a bed. It reminded me of Christ’s tomb except that it had a combo toilet/sink an its walls were made of steal. Fortunately, I wore work boots, one of which doubled as a pillow. Didn’t some ancient Israel prophet sleep with a rock as a pillow? Being in this drum amplified my snoring which great annoyed the lockup’s other guests. I woke up at 2:30AM with the sound of the other lockup guests pounding on their walls. I told the arresting officer that I suffer from sleep apnea and need a CPAP machine. No allowance was made for that medical need. Obviously, I considered guilty upon arrest in violation of the the US Constitution. I was released at 3AM, now May 1st, with a summons to appear at the Boston Municipal Court (Edward Brooke Building, 24 New Chardon Street, West End) at 8:30AM, which I did.

The court got started about 9AM with 200+ cases to be heard. About one-third, with non-Anglo names, were no shows and issued warrants for arrest. A few were continued until lawyers could sort things out. The rest were either bailed or held without bail. My lockup buddies showed up wearing hand and ankle cuffs. About 1PM, my case was called. After 30 seconds of reading my file, the (Assistant?) District Attorney recommended that my case be dismissed. The Judge said "Case dismissed," I said "Thank you," and I left. The few dozen defendants still in court were taken aback.

Now, I am looking for a lawyer to sue the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Episcopal Diocese, and the individuals involved for denying me my constitutional right to free speech, harassment, etc, whatever. Any suggestions, except the ACLU and ADL, would be appreciated.

Thank you for listening/reading. Its been therapeutic writing this.

Mark Nystedt. Haverhill Massachusetts.

Please send ideas on how to help Mr. Nystedt.

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

10-point plan to resist jihad

This is via LGF:

N.C. congresswoman releases 10-point list to tackle radical Islam threats

April 18, 2008 6:45 PM

McClatchy Newspapers

(MCT)

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick wants America to ”wake up” and stop allowing terrorism to proliferate – and if that means revoking the passport of a former U.S. president or examining the preaching of prison chaplains, that’s what she’s prepared to do.

…………………………………………………………………………….

Here is Myrick’s 10-point plan to tackle threats posed by radical elements of Islam:

1. Investigate all military chaplains endorsed by Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was imprisoned for funding a terrorist organization.

2. Investigate all prison chaplains endorsed by Alamoudi.

3. Investigate the selection process of Arabic translators working for the Pentagon and the FBI.

4. Examine the non-profit status of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

5. Make it an act of sedition or solicitation of treason to preach or publish materials that call for the deaths of Americans.

6. Audit sovereign wealth funds in the United States.

7. Cancel scholarship student visa program with Saudi Arabia until they reform their text books, which she claims preach hatred and violence against non-Muslims.

8. Restrict religious visas for imams who come from countries that don’t allow reciprocal visits by non-Muslim clergy.

9. Cancel contracts to train Saudi police and security in U.S. counterterrorism tactics.

10. Block the sale of sensitive military munitions to Saudi Arabia.

Read it all.  And also be sure to read Robert Spencer’s article on the subject.

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

   

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