Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Maybe This Is Where He Gets His Unimpeachable Sources

Excerpt from this Dan Rather interview:

Describing his love of CBS and CBS News, Rather observed in the interview last year: "In my mind and the minds of the people I work with, this is a magical, mystical kingdom -- our version of Camelot. And we feel we are working at a kind of roundtable of King Arthur proportions. Now, it may be that this kingdom exists only in our minds. But that makes it no less real for those of us who live it every day."

And then there was this: "Ed Murrow's ghost is here. I've seen him and talked to him on the third floor of this building many times late at night. And I can tell you that he's watching over us."

So yeah, as LGF says, "Dan Rather Talks To Spirits".

"Episcopal Church Officially Promotes Idol Worship"

I'm about a month behind on this one, but I'll post anyway since this story is very important. If true, this makes the Episcopal's homosexual clergy issue seem small in comparison.

For more info, check out the Christdot post that led me to the story, as well as all of the post's comments.

Something To Do On A Friday Night

Anybody want to check this out sometime? More info here.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Stem Cells A Success

Umbilical stem cells, that is, not embryonic stem cells. Story here.

Hat tip bond_servant at Christdot.

This Blog Has A LiveJournal

Now all you livejournalers can add me as a friend. Someone (my guess is AudioScrobbler friend AdmiralMemo) set up Heroes from the Past's syndicated feed on LiveJournal as a user, and you can check it out right here.

Friday, November 26, 2004

The Great Chicago Fire Sale

So now Chicago is reduced to having a huge garage sale over eBay. Some cool stuff, but the actual auctions don't open for another couple days. I'll check back then.

But I did notice:

Posted by Hello


Hmm. Does that explain this?

Oh, yeah: hat tip ABC 7.

NO!! ONE MORE BAND BREAKUP

The Orange County Supertones are breaking up. Not immediately, but they're saying that 2005 will be their last year.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Google Scholar!

Now this is excellent. Google has just released a new search engine which focuses on "schoarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research." Should be good for college students, peronal study, online arguments, and maybe even commercial research.

Nice work, Google!

Another Good Blog

Check out Digital Branch. Looks like he and I have the same opinion on a lot of things, but he's a thinker and I'm a linker, as evidenced by this post. And check out this celestial simulator, which is linked to in one of Digital Branch's recent posts. Sounds really cool, tho I haven't tested it yet.

UPDATE: Forgot to add in some of the links :P.

Monday, November 15, 2004

The Next Step In The Slippery Slope?


Last month, The UK's High Court ruled that doctors have the right to deny a terminally-ill baby lifesaving (temporarily) treatment. That child, Luke Winston-Jones, died on Friday after doctors, with mother Ruth begging them on bended knee to save his life, refused to give him an adrenaline shot which would have done so.

Please pray for Ruth, as well as the rest of Europe.

Hat tips Roger L. Simon, Barcepundit.

Four More Cabinet Resignations

Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Education Secretary Rod Paige and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham have all submitted resignations from their posts, but the big one is Colin Powell. Story here.

I'd hoped he would stay on -- although I disagree with him on many issues, I think he often played an important role in the Bush adminitration as the principled dissenter. Or maybe my opinion is colored by the media's portrayal of the Cabinet -- I must admit, I haven't really studied Powell's role in the Cabinet, but I'm mainly working off of what I've read while investigating other issues.

THHGTTG:TM

That's right. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is appearing in theaters in MAY! Here's IMDB's and Yahoo!'s pages for the movie.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Sphere of Jihadist Influence World Map


This is a map of the countries in which jihadist activity/presence has been rliably reported. These countries are marked in red. The map was made by the guys over at Jihad Watch through the World66 travel site, and the original post is here. Hat tip LGF.

Nazi 2008

The Nazis are planning to run for President in 08 (hat tip Instapundit). I may vehemently disagree with Democrats, but they're light-years better than some of the possibilities.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Link Roundup

LOCAL

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that casino plans in the Chicago area are hitting a snag: the horse-racing industry wants a piece of the action.

Mayor Daley, having privatized the Skyway, now looks toward privatizing O'Hare and Midway airports. Privatization of a means of transportation seems wierd to me, but my rule of thumb is that taking something out of the public sector is good. Anyone have some good analysis on this?

Chicago cops are finding grenades all over the place.

The Chicago Cubs tap Bob Brenly, former Diamondbacks manager, as color analyst. At least, I believe he'll be doing color; does anyone know whether it'll be color or play-by-play?


NATIONAL

President Bush selects an old Texas friend to replace John Ashcroft as attorney general.

The ACLU is defending street preachers in Sin City.

Christopher Hitchens, a hardcore fire-breathing atheist, defends Bush's secularist policies and condemns the left's defense of religious fanaticism.

Airlines are submitting to random testing of water quality on domestic and internatonal flights.


INTERNATIONAL

Thinklings offers a Christian slant on blogger oppression in Iran.

A senior Iranian official admits to state sponsorship of terrorists.

Don't ever say France's armed forces never did anything useful.

Terrorist Siege in the Hague

Check out Zacht Ei for coverage of what seems to be a police siege of a terrorist safehouse in the Hague.

Fallujah

Check out the Belmont Club for some analysis of the battle of Fallujah.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Resignations from Bush's cabinet

Ashcroft (Attorney General) and Evans (Commerce) so far. Yahoo! has the story here.

Monday, November 08, 2004

New Blog

Hey, all! Go check out my new blog, You've Lost. No, it's not a smug Republican blog bragging about Bush's re-election. It's an attempt to showcases instances where politicians and other figures resort to ad hominem attacks rather than make a reasoned argument.

Friday, November 05, 2004

9/11 vs 11/3

Bunny Diehl comes across an interesting poll on Democratic Underground. Details here, and check the comments for an uncensored look at some angry liberals.

UPDATE: Hat tip to The Thinklings.

Europe is Gone

Europe may be an Islamist state within the next ten years. I've read many bloggers make this claim, but I couldn't believe it until following the Theo van Gogh story, primarily via LGF and Zacht Ei.

Since I'm a linker, not a thinker, rather than typing out a history of the events, I'm doing some googling and some LGF archive-checking to give you a simple chronology of the van Gogh story.

van Gogh's IMDB page

Pim Fortuyn killed

The Dutch right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn has been shot dead.

Fortuyn, 54, was attacked as he left a radio studio in the central Dutch city of Hilversum. He was shot six times and suffered multiple wounds in the head, chest and neck, and died shortly afterwards.

Police said they had arrested a white Dutch man in relation to the killing, but no motive has yet been established.

...

Fortuyn has provoked public indignation by calling for the Netherlands' borders to be closed to immigrants and by describing Islam as a 'backward' religion.


Fortuyn's obituary

The death of Pim Fortuyn comes just nine days before Dutch national elections in which polls had predicted he would win enough seats to lead one of the country's largest parties.

The 54-year-old sociology professor was a flamboyant character who combined custom-made Italian suits and a flashy lifestyle with hard-hitting anti-immigrant views.

Professor Pim, as he liked to be called, shocked the Dutch establishment in February with a call for the repeal of the first article of the constitution which forbids discrimination.

...

The shaven-headed former academic and columnist was openly gay, distinguishing him from the bulk of Europe's far-right, traditionalist politicians.

...

He used his sexuality as fuel for his fire against Islam, which - like many other religions - does not accept homosexuality.

He slammed Islam as a "backward culture" - a view which he expounded at length in a book called Against The Islamisation Of Our Culture.

Born in 1948 to a conservative Catholic family in a small town in the north-west of the country, Fortuyn went to Amsterdam in the 1970s to study sociology and later became a professor at the University of Groningen.

Over the last 10 years he made his name as a columnist and commentator, producing a number of articles and books on society and politics.

Fortuyn's anti-Muslim views, calls for an end to all immigration and pledges to come down hard on crime struck a chord with voters despite the country's celebrated reputation for liberalism and religious tolerance.


BTW, Fortuyn was killed by an animal-rights activist, not an Islamist.

Details about van Gogh's fight against Islam

As a columnist [Theo van Gogh] was a ruthless agitator who couldn't resist insulting people. For example, he dubbed the head of the European Arab League, Dyab Abou JahJah, "a pimp of the prophet", and dismissed the notion of a multicultural society as "a farce".

He verbally assaulted the "leftwing, politically correct mafia and politicians" whom he held responsible for "demonising" Pim Fortuyn, the anti-establishment and anti-immigrant politician who was assassinated two years ago. "The Netherlands is beyond hope and beyond reason," was his conclusion.

The columnist and filmmaker in Theo van Gogh merged in his most recent productions. This past summer, he produced a short film with Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali - a rising star in Dutch politics and equally outspoken - about a Muslim woman forced into an arranged marriage and abused by her husband.

Van Gogh describes "Submission" as a pamphlet against violence against women in Islamic societies. In it, four women - their scarred bodies visible through a transparent gown and with Koranic verses daubed on them – tell their gruesome stories. The film sparked widespread commotion among Holland's large Muslim community and led to a series of death threats. Ayaan Hirsi Ali was given round-the-clock protection from the Dutch security services. Van Gogh rejected police protection.

Van Gogh's last production will be aired on the Internet in December and shown in the cinemas from January. Titled '0605', it deals with the assassination of Pim Fortuyn on 6 May, 2002, and was meant as homage to the populist leader who shook the Dutch political establishment.


IMDB's 06-05 page

Plot Outline: A fictional version of the events that led to the assassination of the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn on May 6, 2002. The movie is based upon the book "The sixth of May" by Thomas Ross.


van Gogh murdered

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - A Dutch filmmaker who had received death threats after releasing a movie criticizing the treatment of women under Islam was slain in Amsterdam on Tuesday, police said.

A suspect, a 26-year-old man with dual Dutch-Moroccan nationality, was arrested after a shootout with officers that left him wounded, police said.
Filmmaker Theo van Gogh had been threatened after the August airing of the movie "Submission," which he made with a right-wing Dutch politician who had renounced the Islamic faith of her birth. Van Gogh had received police protection after its release.

Dutch national broadcaster NOS and other media reported that Van Gogh's killer shot and stabbed his victim and left a note on his body. NOS said witnesses described the attacker as having an "Arab appearance."

A witness who lives in the neighborhood heard six shots, and saw the man concealing a gun. She said he walked away slowly, spoke to someone at the edge of the park, and then ran.

"He was walking slowly, like he was trying to be cool," she said, describing him as wearing a long beard and Islamic garb. "He was either an Arabic man or someone disguised as a Muslim," she said.


English Translation of note left by assassin

Suspect Arrested in Murder of van Gogh

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Dutch police have arrested eight suspected Islamic radicals as part of the investigation into the brutal slaying of outspoken filmmaker Theo van Gogh, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The suspects were detained in the 24 hours following Van Gogh's killing while he bicycled on an Amsterdam street, prosecution spokeswoman Dop Kruimel told The Associated Press.

Six detainees are of Moroccan origin, one is Algerian and the other has dual Spanish-Moroccan nationality, she said.

The suspect in the killing — a 26-year-old suspected Muslim extremist with dual Moroccan-Dutch citizenship — was arrested Tuesday after a shootout with police. The unidentified suspect was wounded in the leg.

Kruimel said the suspects, whose identities were not released, were detained and released during an October 2003 investigation into a potential terrorist threat.

...

Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner said the suspect "acted out of radical Islamic fundamentalist convictions" and added that he had contacts with a group that was under surveillance by the Dutch secret service.

The suspect allegedly is friends with Samir Azzouz, an 18-year-old Muslim of Moroccan origin awaiting trial on charges of planning a terrorist attack targeting a nuclear reactor and Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, NOS Dutch television reported.

Azzouz was among those arrested in October 2003 but released for lack of evidence. He was re-arrested in June.


Portestors Arrested

Police in the Hague, seat of the Dutch government, arrested several people who had been shouting anti-immigrant slogans.

...

"In this country, nobody can be killed because of what he says, that is not what we want," Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk told the crowd.


"Nobody can be killed", but arrest is just fine . . .

"Suspected Islamist Killing Tests Dutch Tolerance"

AMSTERDAM, Nov 3 (Reuters) - The killing of a filmmaker critical of Islam puts new strains on Dutch traditions of tolerance and will fuel demands for tougher treatment of immigrants, analysts and commentators said on Wednesday.

Theo van Gogh, who angered Muslims with a film that said Islam encouraged violence against women, was shot dead on Tuesday. A man with Dutch and Moroccan nationality was arrested for the killing, and suspected of Islamic extremist motives.

Commentators said the murder showed attempts to integrate immigrants had failed and threatened to make race relations worse in a country where 10 percent of the population is defined as "non-Western" foreigners -- many Muslim Moroccans and Turks.

"This event shows what kind of climate we have allowed to develop. What kind of people we have allowed in and just allowed to go their own way. How we have much too long just let things go to seed," sociologist Herman Vuijsje told the Volkskrant daily.

A country built on trade, with a reputation for openness and liberal policies on issues from drug use to gay marriage, the Netherlands has seen a rise in hostility towards foreigners since the rise in 2002 of taboo-busting populist Pim Fortuyn.

Tapping into a wave of fear after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities, the openly gay Fortuyn said the Netherlands could not absorb more foreigners, demanded tougher integration policies and criticised Muslim views on homosexuality and women.

Noting that Fortuyn's murder and that of Van Gogh came 911 days apart -- a reference to the U.S. abbreviation for Sept. 11 -- De Telegraaf newspaper said lenient immigration policies had turned an open society into a "resentful and intolerant" one.

"Afraid of being called racist, we have been so tolerant with regard to these religious fascists that they have been allowed to merrily undermine the roots of our freedom," it said.

A group of far-right protesters shouting "Islamists, parasites" were arrested in The Hague on Tuesday after the killing and a right-wing group of Fortuyn supporters were due to hold a demonstration in Amsterdam later on Wednesday.

"I don't rule out unrest. The climate is seriously hardened," said Interior Minister Johan Remkes.

Mat Herben, a Fortuyn supporter, said Van Gogh's death had shown that the country was embroiled in a clash of cultures:

"Society is threatened by extremists who reject our culture. They are the fifth column and Theo saw that more than anybody."


BUT . . .

The Economist weighs in

An outspoken and provocative film director, Theo van Gogh, was murdered in Amsterdam on the morning of November 2nd. A 26-year-old Dutch Moroccan apparently emptied a magazine of bullets into his victim, knifed him as he lay dying and left a note stabbed into his body. He was arrested after a shoot-out with police. Ironically, Mr Van Gogh was killed as he was cycling to the studio to finish editing a film about the previous political murder, of the flamboyant anti-immigrant populist Pim Fortuyn in May 2002. Fortuyn, whom Mr Van Gogh admired, was killed by an animal-rights activist of ethnic-Dutch origin. At the time the fact that the killer was neither Muslim nor an immigrant was greeted with relief by politicians and public alike.

No such relief this time. The victim was an outspoken and often offensive critic of Islam, who once called radical Islamist immigrants “a fifth column of goatfuckers”. His killer was a jallaba-clad Muslim immigrant and associate of a radical group that Dutch intelligence has been watching. Police arrested eight more Islamist suspects the next day. The justice minister said the murder stemmed from “radical Islamic beliefs”. Mr Van Gogh was killed a few months after the screening on television of his film “Submission”. The film, based on a screenplay by a Dutch parliamentarian, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, features a Muslim woman in a see-through burqa telling a story of abuse within her marriage; she has text from the Koran condoning family violence written on to her naked body.



Moroccan teens spit on Van Gogh portrait

AMSTERDAM — Moroccan teenagers have allegedly spat on a large portrait of murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam, it was reported Thursday.

Shortly after Van Gogh's murder on Tuesday, spray can and graffiti artist Donovan Spaanstra, 33, painted a portrait of the Dutch television celebrity and columnist on the fa├žade of a building in the Warmoesstraat.

"For an artist, from an artist. Van Gogh has walked past here thousands of times," Spaanstra told newspaper De Telegraaf.
Initially greeted by applause for painting the portrait, Spaanstra claimed some Moroccan teens then hassled him, screaming "Hamas, Hamas". He claimed they even spat on the portrait and did not want to discuss the killing.


28% of all Dutch want to leave the country

"Thou Shalt Not Kill" = racist (with pic and video)

In the Netherlands, artist Chris Ripke reacted to the murder on Theo Van Gogh by an islamic fundamentalist by painting a mural with the text "Gij zult niet doden" ("Thou Shalt Not Kill"), one of the ten commandments of the Christian religion.

But because the head of the nearby mosque complained to the police that this was 'offensive' and 'racist', the cops came and sent in city workers to sandblast the mural. A local journalist, Wim Nottroth, who wanted to protest against this by standing in front of the mural was arrested.


Dutch Princess Maxima calls for more dialogue

On a positive note, Dutch vice prime minister Gerrit Zalm (also chairman of the EU) has declared war on terrorism.

The number one thing that hits me with this story is all the intolerance, coming from all sides of the issue. Europeans accuse Americans of bigotry and intolerance, but it seems like there's a lot going around here. The militant Islamists are obviously intolerant of other ways of life, but there's more to it than that. There seems to be a segment of the Dutch population that want to end immigration and forcibly assimilate Muslims into Dutch culture as a whole; I think that's both impractical and offensive. And then there's the Dutch government, which is actively stifling free speech, as evidenced by the arrest of protestors and the sandblasting of the "Thou Shalt Not Kill" mural.

We may have intolerance problems here in America, but most of us take it for granted that everyone has a right to free speech. It's spelled out in our Constitution and defended by our court system, and it's alive and well in the public arena, certain exceptions notwithstanding. Rather than use violence or government intervention to silence a voice, most attempts rely on influencing public opinion -- getting the public as a whole to decide that it would be impolite, offensive, unfair, deceitful, politically incorrect or stupid to voice a certain idea. See here for an example of this (imperfect, I know, since it's the U.K. instead of the U.S.).

Anyways, my time is up, and I've rambled way too much. Here's my attempt at a cohesive conclusion: The Netherlands, and in fact the whole of Europe, is (are?) threatened by an influx of Muslims, many of whom are radical Islamists. Instead of targeting the radical Islamists, however, governments are (1) dealing with crimes by Islamists on a case-by-case basis, (2) attempting to establish more dialogue with Muslims, (3) talking about forcibly integrating all Dutch Muslims into Dutch culture, (4) stifling free speech by citizens of all stripes whose actions may be perceived as anti-Muslim. The approach seems to me to be confusing at best, and more likely incoherent. And they criticize us for our approach to the War on Terror?

UPDATE: I don't think this is the right way to deal with the problem:

Muslim School In Netherlands Bombed

Now I'm Really Looking Forward To Flying

Dave Barry had some interesting information sent to him by a Northwest Airlines flight attendant. Details here.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Daily Mirror Loses



Per my post on political civility:

For me, it's not so much the yelling, the anger, the passion. If you can get passionate about this country's electoral process, that's a lot better than being apathetic about it :). What does bother me a lot -- and I come across it both online and in person, although luckily most of my friends are good about it -- is when someone can't understand the brute fact that the person on the other side of the political spectrum may be as intelligent and well-informed as you are. The next time I hear "They're too stupid to be allowed the right to vote", "You simply haven't looked into all the facts", "He just isn't old enough yet to have the right perspective on things", "Bush is a moron", "Kerry is an empty suit", the conversation is over. Done. And you've lost, no matter whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with me.


UPDATE: I initially decided against linking directly to The Mirror because I'm really offended by their message, but I've changed my mind about linkage. Clicking on the picture should now take you to the Mirror's Front Pages page.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Monday, November 01, 2004

Chuck's House of Magic Burns Down

The largest magic/costume store in the south suburbs burns to the ground on Halloween. Story here. My guess is that an arson investigation is already underway; it's too much of a coincidence. I think somebody decided to try to pull an untoppable trick; maybe it just got out of hand, or maybe this was the intended result.