Sunday, February 19, 2006

Paul Hackett

Interesting story from Mother Jones on Paul Hackett. You remember Paul Hackett, don't you? Last year, he barely lost a Congressional race and seemed to be a Democrat's wet dream: a former soldier who served in the Iraq War. This year, he was forced out of a Senate primary race in favor of a candidate preferred by insiders (including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid). After being smacked around by Republicans last year and Democrats this year, Hackett is now out of politics. - P

More on the Muslim cartoons

More on the Muslim cartoons from editor Flemming Rose of Jyllands-Posten:
At the end of September, a Danish standup comedian said in an interview with Jyllands-Posten that he had no problem urinating on the Bible in front of a camera, but he dared not do the same thing with the Koran...

We have a tradition of satire when dealing with the royal family and other public figures, and that was reflected in the cartoons. The cartoonists treated Islam the same way they treat Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions. And by treating Muslims in Denmark as equals they made a point: We are integrating you into the Danish tradition of satire because you are part of our society, not strangers. The cartoons are including, rather than excluding, Muslims...

Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn't intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy...

As a former correspondent in the Soviet Union, I am sensitive about calls for censorship on the grounds of insult. This is a popular trick of totalitarian movements: Label any critique or call for debate as an insult and punish the offenders...

The lesson from the Cold War is: If you give in to totalitarian impulses once, new demands follow. The West prevailed in the Cold War because we stood by our fundamental values and did not appease totalitarian tyrants.

Worldwide violence by protestors soon followed (including this from Nigeria yesterday):
An Associated Press reporter saw mobs of Muslim protesters swarm through the city center with machetes, sticks and iron rods. One group threw a tire around a man, poured gas on him and set him ablaze.
In addition, Christian churches were torched. This comes on the heels of riots in Pakistan, where gangs burned American restaurants such as KFC ("Good work son, but cousin Iqbal no longer has his job because he worked night shift there.")

We are at the point where Muslims would kill and gladly die because their prophet was depicted in an unflattering light in cartoons (in some quarters, because he was depicted at all)...but there is no worldwide protest (or apology) when Muslims behead Westerners, line up and shoot Iraqi troops, and kill and maim Iraqi children with IEDs.

Something to think about....


Monday, February 13, 2006

Katrina, FEMA, and the fingers keep pointing


Tidbit 1:
Thousands of additional dollars appear to have been squandered on hotel rooms for evacuees that were paid at retail rather than the contractor’'s lower estimated cost. They included $438 rooms in New York City and beachfront condominiums in Panama City, Fla., at $375 a night, according to the audits.
Tidbit 2:
FEMA may have bought too many temporary homes: 24,967 manufactured homes obtained for $857.8 million and 1,295 modular homes at $40 million, resulting in 10,777 such homes sitting empty in Hope, Ark., in sinking mud without proper storage. “It was unclear how the decision was made,” the Homeland Security audit stated.
Tidbit 3:
The $2,000 debit cards issued to hurricane evacuees for emergency supplies were often used for purchases unrelated to disaster aid, including: adult entertainment, gambling, a $450 tattoo, a .45-caliber handgun for $1,300 and a diamond engagement ring for $1,100.
Tidbit 4: homes prepared last September in Riverside, Calif., were among the 26,000 ordered by FEMA for Hurricane Katrina victims but which cannot be used because FEMA's own rules ban them in flood plains.

And now the "hurricane homeless" will be paying for their own rooms directly, also courtesy of MSNBC.
A judge denied a last-minute request Monday that would have forced the federal government to continue paying directly for hotel rooms for 12,000 families made homeless by last year's hurricanes.

FEMA has promised the evacuees from hurricanes Katrina and Rita that they will still receive federal assistance that they can use toward hotel stays or fixing their ruined homes, although FEMA will no longer pay for the hotels directly after Monday.

Two things to ponder:

I hope those FEMA checks don't bounce.

I know where they can get some modular homes and trailers, cheap.

Cheney: I'm the NRA

Remember kids: even if you wear a bright orange vest while hunting, you can still be shot by the Vice President unless you announce your location. Jon Stewart:
“Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt ... making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting veep since Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, of course, [was] shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering. Whittington? Mistaken for a bird.”

Toons , Free Expression and Islam

"I think it's problematic when a religion tries to impose its taboos and rules on the larger society," he said. "When they ask me not to run those cartoons, they are not asking for my respect. They're asking for my submission…. To me, those cartoons are saying that some individuals have hijacked, kidnapped and taken hostage the religion of Islam to commit terrorism."
- Flemming Rose, cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times.

The chief editor of Jyllands-Posten, Carsten Juste, said he hadn't realized the explosive nature of the caricatures and apologized for offending Muslims. Pardon the expression.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Away for a while

No posts for a while since the computer is being fixed. Back later with comments on Danish cartoons, Super Sunday and more.