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October 2003 Archives

October 31, 2003

It's Not a 'Schtick,' Kevin

By Armed Liberal at 21:52
Calpundit challenges Roger Simon for saying:
...here's why I think they're dangerous—they're acting like we're still in Vietnam when we're in a real war of civilizations.
and says in reply:
Look, guys: if you think we ought to use military force to fight terrorism, I'm with you. But if you think we ought to use that same military force as part of a war of civilizations, count me out. Way, way out. That's not any kind of liberalism I'm familiar with.
First, Kevin (and Matt) it's not a schtick, it's a movement. And the fact that the Democratic leadership, like you, doesn't see that is why I won't be booking big bets against Bush in 04. That's not the only place where Kevin and I part company. I don't think we are in a war of civilizations...yet. I don't doubt that the other side thinks and hopes that we are, and that our response to them, over the last few decades, has been mistaken on a number of fronts. A real war of civilizations, as I have pointed out over and over again, only has one result. We'll be here, they won't. I believe there is still time to avert that war, through a balance of force, diplomacy, self-sacrifice in a number of arenas, and careful consideration of our relationships with the Islamic and Arab world.
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  • M. Simon: SusAno, We can pay for the war by growing the read more
  • SusAno: Cato the Youngest wrote: "A major effort at nation-building in read more
  • gmoke: On the second point, our dependence on Mid-East oil, this read more
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Women & Progress

By Tarek Heggy at 07:34
Following a tour of Britian to promote his new book, Winds of Change.NET Cairo correspondent Tarek Heggy (see his article archive) is back with a new article. It was originally published in Arabic in Egypt's Al-Ahram on Aug. 15, 2003. The tour was apparently quite a success, and I heartily endorse his book "Culture, Civilization and Humanity". I was also more than pleased to hook him up with the Oxblog crew, who promptly featured him at a special Oct. 16th Oxford Democracy Forum event. Thanks, Josh! Women & Progress by Tarek Heggy (published in Arabic in Egypt's Al-Ahram, Aug. 15, 2003) Although my writings have covered a wide range of subjects since my first book was published in 1978, the central theme that links them all together is the issue of progress. The seemingly unrelated topics to which I have devoted numerous articles in various publications and entire chapters in my books, ranging from educational development, to the need to adopt modern management techniques in all fields, to defects in our thought processes, are all tributaries of a single river flowing in the same direction: towards defining the elements of progress and removing the obstacles impeding its achievement. One of the most important indicators of a society's progress is the status it accords to women and how they are perceived in the prevailing cultural climate...
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  • Camelia Hamdy: Tarek Heggy is one of the few sane voices left read more

MT-Blacklist 1.5 Released

By Joe Katzman at 07:12
Jay Allen has released v1.5 of MT-Blacklist, his plug-in for blocking comment spam on Movable Type blogs. It no longer creates server load issues, and as a bonus he has upgraded many features since v1.0. Including an interface that lets you scan back through your last #n comments to find and kill comment spam. Installation is relatively easy - if you're having a problem, just use the comments section to let us know and we'll step you through it.
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  • JFarr: Joe, This is to let you know that Winds is read more
  • Joe Katzman: Not unless you include a URL somewhere from a site read more
  • BigFire: Hum, lets see if this still block me. read more

October 30, 2003

Dan's Iraq Briefing: 2003-10-30

By Dan Darling at 12:13
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Our "Winds of War" coverage of the global War on Terror is a separate briefing today, and both are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. Top Topics * Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, former Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, may well be leading the Baathist fighters in Iraq. And that's not all he's doing - captured Ansar al-Islam members say that al-Douri is is working with al-Qaeda (probably meaning Zarqawi) to fight the US. * Another suicide bombing has occurred in Iraq, this time in Fallujah. * The 4 simultaneous suicide car bombings in Baghdad that killed 40 on Monday are said to be the work of al-Qaeda, possibly with help from neighboring states. Zeyad over at Healing Iraq concurs - and he's pissed. * Baghdad deputy mayor Faris Abdul al-Assam has been assassinated. Other Topics Today Include: Iraqi police may have had a warning about Monday's attack; Syrian suicide bomber captured; Abu Fares dead; an al-Qaeda company involved in Iraqi reconstruction; Red Cross mulls over pulling out of Iraq; Daniel Drezner on progress in Iraq; Bangladesh and Portugal won't send troops; Calpundit crunches the numbers and wonders why the media can't; Kesher Talk gives a troop round-up; General Clapper on Iraqi WMDs; and Salon on the anti-war movement.
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  • Porphyrogenitus: Dan wrote: "Calpundit crunches the numbers and wonders why the read more
  • Catfish N. Cod: Followup on the al-Sadr movement... http://catfishncod.blogspot.com/2003_10_01_catfishncod_archive.html#106761862234738966 read more
  • Glenn: SCIRI Representative Bayati claims that there was a link between read more

Dan's Winds of War: 2003-10-30

By Dan Darling at 11:24
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. In addition, we also have our in-depth Iraq Report. Today's briefings are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. Top Topics * Most readers of my Winds of War by now are quite familiar with the antics of a certain Jordanian Palestinian named Ahmed al-Khalayeh, the real name of an al-Qaeda leader far better known as Abu Musab Zarqawi. Rewards for Justice has now placed a $25,000,000 reward, putting him in the same category as al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri, unemployed potenate former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and al-Qaeda military commander Saif al-Adel. * As my colleague Andrew Olmstead noted in his own Winds of War on Monday, suicide bombers in Baghdad celebrated the beginning of Ramadan with four simultaneous attacks on three Iraqi police stations and the headquarters of the International Red Cross. The death toll from those bombings now stands at 40, with 200 wounded. See more on this in today's Iraq Briefing. Other Topics Today Include: Iran Reports; USA Homeland Security Briefing; al-Qaeda bases in the Sahara; GSPC plot against the US Embassy in Mali; Jemaah Islamiyyah training camps in Indonesia; a fresh round of violence in Sulawesi; Willie Brigitte Virgile's resume and arrest; Australia on alert; Bimbo's arrest in General Santos; US/Afghan troops vs. the Taliban in Afghanistan; support for the Taliban in northern Pakistan; the Saudi airline threat; Hizb-ut-Tahrir's global sha'riah plans; Mugabe has a stroke; and a Turkish brothel on wheels!
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  • Omar: Hizb ut-Tahrir is not affiliated with al-Qaeda, and never has read more
  • Luther: Our problem was with Afghanistan and Al-Queada, not the whole read more

Luskin v. Atrios: WTF??

By Armed Liberal at 00:14
Calpundit links over to Atrios - who has received a lawyer-letter from an attorney representing Donald Luskin. The claim is that by claiming that Luskin 'stalked' Krugman, and by allowing commenters who then spun off of that theme, that Mr. Luskin was libeled. God knows, I'm not a fan of Atrios, who I think is part of the Jackie Goldberg/ suicidal-lemming wing of the Democratic Party. But this is just embarrassing.
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  • klaatu: Luskin: what a f-in botsie! read more
  • Zev Sero: Don Williams asks:If someone wrote a Letter to the Editor read more
  • Zev Sero: Sym: others, did Krugman ever clearly announce that Luskin was read more

October 29, 2003

Thresholds

By Armed Liberal at 19:28
Joe talks about nuclear proliferation in the context of mathematical progression below, and expresses his anxiety that we aren't solving the problem fast enough. I want to suggest something slightly different, and that is the notion of a 'threshold'. Sadly, it will make him even more anxious - but hey, why should I be here by myself? I took his post to suggest that the odds of a Nuclear Bad Thing happening increase in parallel with the dispersion of nuclear capability. Actually, it's worse than that. There's a threshold - probably a low one - past which it really doesn't matter much. I'll use the example of drinking water. Water that is 10-6 parts sewage is drinking water. Water that is 10 -5 parts sewage is sewage (note that these are rhetorical rather than exact concentrations, etc.).
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  • Nortius Maximus: AL: Just by the way, I wish I'd written this read more
  • Nortius Maximus: toc: Your comments have both a mom-and-apple-pie and a fortune-cookie read more
  • toc: BTW, Fear tends to cloud one's judgment. read more

Islam 2003: "It's the Hate, Stupid!"

By Joe Katzman at 07:19
(Originally posted Oct 29, 2003; updated Nov 2, 2005) Daniel Drezner recently looked at the current state of Islam in light of Mahathir's speech, and the widespread agreement it generated from all Muslim leaders present. As Robi Sen notes, Mahathir's speech made quite an impression. I'll grant that it was certainly attention-getting. In truth, however, it was neither new nor surprising. At best, it was a clarifying moment within the current situation. If you're interested in my personal view of that situation, it goes something like this. To paraphrase Clinton's election strategist James Carville:
"It's the hate, stupid!"

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  • Jill Henry: The topic should read, "It's the Jewish supremacism, stupid." Are read more
  • M. Faisal Jawed: Hi Friends, What the Mahathir says is now a days read more
  • David Blue: PS: Dody Gunawinata, "'Since our crusading ancestors did fight hard read more

Robi's South Asia Briefing: 2003-10-29

By Robi Sen & Nitin Pai at 00:00
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on South Asia, courtesy of Robi Sen. TOP TOPIC * Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad touched off a firestorm with a speech to the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Malaysia that made numerous disturbing comments about Jews ruling the world, etc. He also exhortated Islamic world to arm itself. We have a roundup of blogosphere reactions to Mahathir's comments inside... * JK: Are Pakistan's actions making nuclear proliferation unstoppable? "Fibonacci's Nukes" offers a sobering analysis of the current situation. Other Topics Today Include: More on Mahathir; Our problematic allies; Philippines reports; Indonesia; Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in a nukes deal; Pakistan's mixed record; G.W. Bush's success in Asia; is South Asia cyber terrorism central; and more.
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  • Robin Roberts: It is not a "movement of peace", Faisal. Its a read more
  • M. Faisal Jawed: Hi Friends, What the Mahathir says is now a days read more
  • Joe Katzman: Testing and new measures complete. Confirming that comments work again... read more

October 28, 2003

Flypaper, Indeed

By Armed Liberal at 15:28
Somehow this has been briefly commented on, but not given a lot of play in the blogs I've seen. This story about the suicide bomber who was foiled yesterday is on page A6 of this morning's L.A. Times (requires registration, use 'laexaminer'/'laexaminer') - which itself is positive news. And if true, suggests that the war in Iraq is in fact a lot more complex than those who suggest that it is the "natural resistance" of the Iraqi population to foreign invaders. Here's the story:
The suicide bomber had packed his 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser well in preparation for his journey Monday to martyrdom. He had taken out the back seat and piled explosives and rockets from floor to roof. He lined the door panels with dynamite. Police would later say his lethal load weighed more than 2 tons - enough to blow up the police station, the primary school next door, the crowded outdoor market on the corner and most of the neighborhood as well.

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  • Rob Lyman: Olaf, WTF? We have here a story about an Iraqi read more
  • Olaf, glad and big: this is why you should think long and hard before read more
  • Michael Lonie: P.J. O'Rourke made a great comment about fascism. He wrote read more

Randinho's Latin America Briefing: 2003-10-28

By Beautiful Horizons at 12:06
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Latin America, courtesy of Randy Paul. TOP TOPIC * Is Bolivia out of the woods now that President Gonzálo Sánchez de Lozada has resigned? Hardly. Cocaine growers on one side, and an unsupportive USA on the other, makes for a tough row to hoe. * JK: Cuban physician Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet sends a message to his country from the Provincial Prison of Pinar del Río. This civic leader is serving a 25-year sentence in inhumane prison conditions for defending The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Hat Tp: Jay Nordlinger) Other Topics Include: More on Bolivia; The embargo against Cuba; Colombia and Guatemala reports; Venezuela's Chávez threatens referendum petitioners; The best major media source in the USA for information on Latin America.
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October 27, 2003

L.A: Red Sun Rising

By Armed Liberal at 16:36
I get up early, and the windows in our dining room face almost due East, and this morning the sun rose slowly, shrouded in haze, and an angry red. Our neighborhood cars are covered in fine white ash, and while the smell of smoke isn't as strong as it was yesterday afternoon, it's still strong. I live nowhere near the fires; the closest one is probably 60 miles upwind from me, across the entire urbanized Los Angeles basin. But it's a reminder that Los Angeles, like almost all cities, is a made place (Doty in his great poem "Two Cities" talks about the "made world's angled assault on heaven"), dependent on managing Nature as best we can to allow us to live here.
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Andrew's Winds of War: 2003-10-27

By Andrew Olmsted at 04:39
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com. TOP TOPICS * The death toll from a series of suicide bombings in Baghdad has risen above 30 as of 8:30 this morning (EST), the first day of Ramadan. The dead include two American soldiers, an Iraqi policeman, and many members of the Red Cross. * JK: Phil Carter has some great stuff on global terrorist financing from the United States to the Middle East. Other Topic Include: Iraq's missing nuclear program; Report from the 82nd Airborne; Congresswoman's Iraq blog; How the $87 billion may be used; Iraqi crime, thank goodness; Iran in Britain; More nuke stalling; 9/11 inquiry; Rumsfeld's memo; 'Antiwar' mask slips again; Canadian jihadis; Israel's crippled Left; Arrests in Pakistan; Algeria; Looking away in North Korea; Sudan's disappearing penises.
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Fibonacci's Nukes: Is Proliferation Unstoppable?

By Joe Katzman at 03:40
Fibonacci Spiral
A Fibonacci Spiral
A pair of rabbits are put in a field and, if rabbits take a month to become mature and then produce a new pair every month after that, how many pairs will there be in twelve months time?

Somewhere around 1200 A.D. an Italian mathematician who went by the pen-name Fibonacci pondered this very problem, a task made a bit easier by his pioneering adoption of the Hindu-Arabic numeric system. The 1,1,2,3,5,8... sequence which resulted is known as the Fibonacci Sequence, and it's connected to both the critical artistic concept of the "golden section" and the "propagating spiral."

Hmmm. Breeding like rabbits, Hindi-Arabic enablement, propagating spirals, game theory. These days, the concepts remind us of nukes, not numbers. Fundamentalist regimes in Iran and North Korea are entering the final phases of their race to atomic weapons, while reports surface of Pakistani exchanges with North Korea and now a weapons program in collusion with Saudi Arabia.


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  • Larry Ice: I recently came back to this post and had the read more
  • Eye Opener: Certainly we have the chance to do this right. We read more

October 26, 2003

Marlins in 6!

By Joe Katzman at 05:11
Oct. 17, 2003: "Marlins in 6." Ooooo-rah! (Insert Church Lady Dance of Superiority). I guess Allah (ith) wasn't watching these games. Either that, or he finally decided to take my advice, bring his jinx, and set up that skybox in Dar-al-Harb Stadium after all. How about it, Big Guy? Did you enjoy the view? Good rundown & analysis over at Aaron's Blog. Congratulations to Series MVP Josh Beckett, deserving runner up Brad Penny, and the whole Marlins team... with the exception of scum-sucking team owner Jeffrey Loria, may the fleas from 1,000 camels infest his sensitive areas.
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A.L.'s Favorite Movies

By Armed Liberal at 01:29
Well, Roger Simon started it, and while he actually knows something about movies, lack of subject-matter knowledge has never stopped bloggers in the past. So here are my 20-or-so favorites.
  1. Providence (Alain Resnais). John Gielgud, Dirk Bogarde, and Ellyn Burstein in the best move ever made about writing and artistic imagination. A fevered night in the imagination of a novelist, and a bright morning in his life.
  2. Samurai Trilogy (Kurosawa Inagaki). The story of Miyamoto Musashi - essentially the Japanese version of 'Gone With The Wind', with Mifune in the title role of the samurai, philosopher, and artist.
  3. Decalog (Kieslowski). Ten loosely liked stories set in a Polish apartment block and based on the Commandments. Episodes 1 and 2 are so powerful that I can't watch them too often, and yet have to.

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  • Mike: With the corporate stucturing of studios taking over and the read more
  • Armed Liberal: Oh, definitely - mostly bad. I have friends who are read more
  • linden: Are there any more films in the last ten years read more

October 25, 2003

Sufi Wisdom: Tradition

By Joe Katzman at 04:05
As militant Islam does its level best to discredit the religion, it's important to remember that there are other voices within the faith. One such is the Sufis, a branch of Islamic mystics who live islam [submission], iman [faith] and ishan [awareness of G-d, "to act beautifully"]. Every Saturday, therefore, we spend some time with the Sufis and their 'crazy wisdom'. This week's entry comes via wahiduddin.net. Muhammed Ibn 'Ali Ibn 'Arabi (1165 - 1240 AD) was born into the Moorish culture of Andalusian Spain and traveled widely throughout the Islamic countries. He wrote:
"All that is left to us by tradition is mere words. It is up to us to find out what they mean." -- ibn al-'Arabi, Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, in The Mystics of Islam, translated by Reynold A Nicholson

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Loss & Hope: The Farmers of Zambia

By Joe Katzman at 03:41
Zambia has become an agricultural success almost overnight. Its farmers have produced a record maize crop of well over 1.2 million tonnes this year. Elizabeth Phiri, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, said: "That's double the quantity Zambia produced the previous year." How did they do it? The Scotsman explains that one impetus for this renaissance is a group of persecuted Scottish farmers who migrated in from Zimbabwe. It's a great story of loss, persistence, and hope. There may even be cause for long-term optimism. Peter MacSporran: bq. "At long last the Zambians have decided to make farming the driving force in the economy. We've been told that we are more than welcome. We did not create the Zambian success story but we are proud to be part of it. Even though many of us are living very humbly in Zambia, we have hope in our hearts once again." Speaking as a citizen of a country built largely by persecuted Scots, this definitely looks like a wise move for the Zambians. Best of all, maize is a staple crop. The current abundance will make a difference in many thousands of lives, as prices drop and the staples of life become more affordable for all. Chris Thorne, 55, one of MacSporran's new neighbours, says: "We want to be part of a new African success story." Let's hope he gets his wish.
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O Cap'n, My Cap'n

By Joe Katzman at 03:27
LaughingWolf remembers an excellent teacher from his past. Gotta say, this approach to teaching history certainly works for me!
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Zen Wisdom: Dokuan's Nothingness

By Joe Katzman at 03:05
Another good one from Court at Miniluv:
"Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. He called upon Dokuon of Shokoku. Desiring to show his attainment, he said: "The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no realization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received."
Read the rest of Court's post to find out what happened next...
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October 24, 2003

Hey, Atrios

By Armed Liberal at 15:04
Hey, dude - a quick primer. Ugly domestic politics != (geek for Does Not Equal) Gulags. The fact that you think they do - and that for much of the radical left they do - is the core of the moral blindness that's going to keep you out of power for the next decade, and hand the keys to the country to the Right. Unless people like Michael Totten and Marc Brazeau can manage to take control of the Democratic Party. JK: What Duranty covered up wasn't just Gulags - it was Stalin's genocide of 4-10 million people. For more on real Gulgas today, meanwhile, see P.'s North Korea post. Oddly, Atrios doesn't seem too worked up about that. Or about Duranty, for that matter. I'm sure his link to a Communist magazine as his preferred source today is just a coincidence....
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  • AJ: The truth doesn't mean anything to the radical left. The read more
  • JFT: He might not be in power any time soon, but read more

Stuff I Should Have Blogged

By Armed Liberal at 06:54
I'm bidding three new projects (rates are almost back to where they were in 1997!!), and neck-deep in a charity project (fun, because it's going to work out and I've managed to rope some Really Big People in to help bail the boat), which means that blogging has been kinda ad hoc. But there are 3 things in the blog queue that refer to other people's blogs, and I don't want these excellent posts from Porphy, Blogonaut, and Demosophia to go stale(er). So here we go...
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Nathan's Central Asia "-Stans Summary": 2003-10-24

By Nathan at 05:25
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Central Asia, courtesy of Nathan Hamm of The Argus. TOP TOPIC * Azerbaijan has a new President, the son of the old one. In an election likely full of massive fraud, Ilham Aliyev has been declared the winner with approximately 3/4 of all votes. * Baku has been rocked by unrest amidst protests by opposition parties, including the Musavat Party of self-proclaimed winner Isa Gambar. Exit polls by the Turan Information Agency indicate that Gambar received a plurality of the votes. Two opposition leaders and hundreds of protesters have been arrested in a police crack-down, while 73 journalists were attacked during and immediately after the election. * Meanwhile, the OSCE is "concerned," while Russia and France are reportedly pleased with the outcome. The U.S. reaction is mixed, recognizing the results of the election while independent monitors sent by the Bush administration heap scorn on its conduct. Other Topics Today Include: Georgia's Parliamentary Elections; Russian Business Leader Seeks Empire; Is Kazakstan Moving Towards Dynasty?; Positive Political and Economic Developments in Uzbekistan; The Ferghana Valley and Islamic Extremism; Afghanistan's New Constitution; The US Military Footprint in Central Asia; The Taliban Pours Into Afghanistan; Russia Moves to Join the Islamic World; and, a Peace Corps Volunteer Fights a Small Battle Against Uzbek Agricultural Policy.
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Blog Comments Update

By Joe Katzman at 05:09
As many of you may have noticed, comments are disabled again. We're doing some more software testing on this end, and upping our security measures in the wake of the past week's activities. I miss our readers' thoughts and feedback terribly, but this is for the good of all. Once we're ready to rock again, I'll let you know.
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The Memo & The Reaction

By Armed Liberal at 01:24
I briefly commented earlier on the Rumsfeld memo, and the related Parameters article attempting to evaluate the intellectual and philosophical grounding of the leadership of our military. As was predictable, certain folks have seized on this as one that "emphasizes how the grim picture painted in it is at odds with Rumsfeld's public 'Shiny Happy Iraqi People' public pronouncements." Daschle said:
"Secretary Rumsfeld's comments are an illustration of the concern that they have about the failure of their policies in Iraq so far. There can be no other description of those words than that."
Personally, I was damn happy to see it.
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October 23, 2003

Medal of Honor: SFC Paul Ray Smith

By Joe Katzman at 17:33
Trent Telenko emails me with a heads-up concerning Sgt. First Class Paul Ray Smith, a soldier in Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003. He's about to become the first serviceman to receive the Medal of Honor since MSG(Master Sgt.) Gary Gordon and SFC(Sgt. First Class) Randall Shughart's "Blackhawk Down" heroics in 1993. SFC Smith was the key player in a firefight at the Baghdad Airport that saw 15 to 20 engineers, mortarmen and medics defeat 50-100 soldiers of Iraq's Special Republican Guard. In an act that brings to mind Private Audie Murphy's heroics in WWII, Smith's determined defense held off the Iraqi assault almost singlehandedly. Unlike Audie Murphy, however, Paul Smith did not survive. His posthumous medal will be left in the keeping of his wife, son and daughter. See the the StrategyPage article for the whole story. It notes:
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  • Kerstin: Paul's wife Birgit will be given the medal of honor read more
  • David Long: He was the greatest Platoon seagernt a soldier could read more

Dan's Iraq Report: 2003-10-23

By Dan Darling at 14:25
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's Iraq Report and Winds of War coverage of the global War on Terror are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. TOP TOPICS * As my esteemed colleague Andrew Olmsted noted in his last Iraq Briefing, suicide bombers have struck Baghdad yet again, this time in Sadr City, leaving 8 dead. At the same time, Spanish diplomat Jose Antonio Bernal Gomez was gunned down outside his Baghdad home. * Sgt. Stryker has a number of interesting thoughts and articles on Iraq that you have to read for yourself. Other Topics Today Include: Al-Sadr's latest antics; arrests in Tikrit; #3 in Ansar al-Islam captured; thwarted assassination on Iraqi oil minister; new Iraqi blogger; the first Iraqi Burger King; free media in Tikrit; US troops learning the ropes of Iraqi society; Governing Council elections in 2004; $36 billion needed for Iraqi reconstruction; Shi'ite in-fighting in Karbala; 71% of Baghdadis want the US to stay; no timetable on Iraq; US-Turkish cooperation; South Korean to send troops; Iraqi newspaper says Saddam Hussein trained al-Qaeda; and Saddam's slush fund in Syria.
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  • ASDF: correction: here's the link. read more

Dan's Winds of War: 2003-10-23

By Dan Darling at 14:24
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" and Iraq Report are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. Top Topics * Osama bin Laden, or someone who sounds like him, has released an audiotape to al-Jazeera in which he issues his latest round of threats. You can read my point-by-point analysis as well as speculation on what it may mean here and here. In addition to propaganda, it seems that the message may have far more sinister undertones to it. * Hosting Matters, which hosts a number of prominent warbloggers, recently experienced DoS attacks from what Powerline says was supporters of al-Qaeda. For more discussion on this topic, go here. If Powerline is accurate, bloggers should expect more of these DOS attacks in the future. * I recently made a number of predictions regarding al-Qaeda's next course of action and its implications for the War on Terror. Now, 2 weeks later, we'll see how some of those predictions have panned out. Other Topics Today Include: Iran Reports; USA Homeland Security Briefing; Jemaah Islamiyyah second-in-command free in Malaysia; Hugo Chavez and al-Qaeda; the People's War in India; Abu Abdul Najdi rants and raves online; al-Qaeda lying low in the Philippines; Hassan Hattab deposed as GSPC leader; more Taliban and coalition clashes in Afghanistan; border battles in Pakistan; Ahmed Khadr's great escape; Dawood Ibrahim a global terrorist; Jemaah Islamiyyah summit; 60 rebels captured in Chechnya; anti-Western attacks in East Africa; and one hell of a leap of faith.
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Competence & Rumsfeld's Memo

By Armed Liberal at 06:58
Just in time for Rumsfeld's famous memo to hit the press, Parameters, the magazine of the US Army War college, publishes this article - "Strategic Leader Readiness and Competencies for Asymmetric Warfare." (pdf, requires free Acrobat reader) I'm still absorbing it, but let me toss out a few quotes to get the discussion started:
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  • bluebloodletter: This is a really sick thing that he did, I read more
  • lucklucky: I hope Rumsfeld in State Department after next presidential election read more
  • Reform Blog: It is pretty hard to agree with anything Rumsfield has read more

Instapundit, Oral Sex, and Legitimacy

By Armed Liberal at 04:33
It's immensely annoying to have to write approving things about Instapundit (particularly right after you get Instalanched) - it makes me worry that people will think I'm blog-rolling and whoring for traffic (comments and emails yes, traffic no - it costs money!!). But he blogged something near and dear to my heart today over at MSNBC, and I think that each of you ought to go over and read it now.
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  • Andrew Ian Dodge: Lol, you are like pop stars who whinge about all read more
  • Scott: Sam: As a conservative, I think you confuse conservative with read more
  • Scott: A.L.: Actually, Scott, I'll disagree - I don't want smarter read more

Special Analysis: Predictions Revisited...

By Dan Darling at 03:53
About 2 weeks ago I made a number of specific predictions on the future direction of the war on terrorism that I thought might be useful guides to what the enemy will do next. You can access those predictions here. Today I'm going to go through each of those predictions one by one to see how close on track I was and what that means for the future ...
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October 22, 2003

Email Attacks Too?

By Joe Katzman at 20:31
Commenter and Guest Blogger Robin Burke brought us some disturbing news today:
"Also, watch your own email. An email account I've used for posting comments here and at related blogs has sustained multiple virus attacks with Islamic slogans in the last few days. Anyone else having similar attacks? It would be interesting to know if the email address was harvested with a script (in which case others were probably attacked too) or by hand in response to someone who took exception to an opinion I wrote." [Posted by rkb at October 22, 2003 08:22 PM]
If she's not alone, this is important. Use the comments below to let us know... but don't use your real email address!
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  • Anthony Phillips: Hi Too mush nonsense is made of these threats by read more
  • David Blue: Hi. I got one of those Vodkapundit things too. I read more
  • Greg Hill: I got an odd email from someone who thought I read more

Cyber-Attack Target Needs Your Help!

By Joe Katzman at 19:48
As noted in yesterday's features concerning the DoS cyber-attacks and their likely perpetrators, the top target of the on-line crackers who took so many blogs offline yesterday was a site called Internet Haganah (trans: "Internet Defense"). They maintain a database of al-Qaeda affiliated sites around the net, and also work to get them shut down. Unfortunately, the recent attacks have stressed their resources, and they need your help:
"For Internet Haganah to have a fighting chance of surviving such attacks we need to mirror our site at multiple locations, on different backbones, in different datacenters. This costs money, money we don't have. Contributions to Internet Haganah at this time will go towards securing additional servers, domain names, DNS services and other expenses related to making our presence on the internet more resistant to future attacks."
You can see As-Sahwah's official gloating here. That's all the explanation you need for why this is a worthy cause, and contributing helps us all by giving us a template and testbed for better blog defenses. As our reader 'Paul' noted: bq. "I think when he finally gets back up we should all send Aaron 25 bucks so he can mirror his sites. He is doing his part to keep our sorry butts from being blown up by terrorists." Yes, he is. Jonathan Galt of the Yahoo! Terror Web group chimes in with the donation links:
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  • Tom Holsinger: Trent, I disagree. Collateral damage is an issue when the read more
  • Trent Telenko: When you are dealing with irrational opponents, as we are read more
  • Tom Holsinger: Dan, That's my point. The attack comes from the web read more

California Recall: Looking Backwards

By Armed Liberal at 18:38
My quote on the recall:
Electing him will be a slap to the face of the political class, which it badly needs.
From the SJ Mercury News (probably the best paper in California, by the way) today:
Some prominent Democrats read the election as a rebellion against partisan gridlock in general, not a repudiation of their party. The recall election was a "hell of a wake-up call" for all political leaders across the state, Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson said Tuesday.

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  • Porphyrogenitus: Yah; I was only nitpicking the use of the word read more
  • Skeej: AL, good site, thanks for the information and education. But, read more
  • Armed Liberal: Jeanne - Sure (although most folks find A.L. to be read more

October 21, 2003

Blog Wars: Who's Behind the Attacks?

By Joe Katzman at 22:34
The event isn't even over, and team member Dan Darling has already emailed me an intel briefing on who may be behind the recent anti-warblogger cyber-attacks. Unfortunately, he also echoes the analysis in my last post that there's more to come. Please take his advice seriously. Incidentally, Dan will be captaining Thursday's Winds of War and Iraq Report briefings from the global War on Terror. Stuff like this is why you don't want to miss him! Take it away, Dan Darling...
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  • Reform Blog: I think many people are missing the big picture. First read more
  • Dan Darling: On another note, I've been browsing through some of read more
  • Dan Darling: From a recent reply of mine over at VodkaPundit: read more

Special Report: Cyber-Attack on Warbloggers

By Joe Katzman at 20:18
This update from reader Ken Barnes checks out... there appears to be another round of DoS cyber-attacks in progress against a number of prominent warblogs. I suppose it surprises no-one here that Hesiod at Counterspin posts to approve. Idiot. The Attack Instapundit is was down (but Instabackup is up and working!), ditto Citizen Smash (backup site here), LGF, Tim Blair, The Command Post, and Iran's blogfather Hossein Derakhshan. UPDATE: Seems to be resolved now in some cases. At one point, it involved almost everyone at Hosting Matters... our blogson, LaughingWolf (backup site here), Daniel Drezner (backup), Jeff Jarvis, Vodkapundit, Pejman (Pejmanbackup), DailyPundit, Emperor Misha I (thoughts | future backup blog), etc. On the Left, team member and Latin America specialist Randy Paul of Beautiful Horizons points out that Calpundit, Talkleft, Matthew Yglesias, et. al. were also taken down. Am I glad we recently moved to Bloghosts.com? Yup. The Whole Story As usual, one of our readers offers a complete briefing in the comments section, and Winds of Change.NET strongly encourages donations to help one of the main targets recover. If you want a good intel briefing re: who might be behind all this, then of course Dan Darling is your man. Great job, again... can the CIA just hire him already? The Future Dan and I agree: expect more of the same in future. There are many countries in which politically-motivated cyberattacks like this one will elicit indifference from the authorities and local network owners - or even attract active support. This isn't just an al-Qaeda vs. bloggers scenario, either. The government of Indonesia has used DDoS attacks in the past, for instance, to take down East Timor's entire Internet domain space. Does anyone really think they'll be the last ones to try something like that? Unfortunately options like router-level IP block filtering and similar measures would support the freedom-haters in those societies, by cutting their people off from the support and ideas the Internet can bring. Paradoxically, our best offense is a good defense. Arm Yourselves As a service to the blogosphere, therefore, here are a few resources that can help you and your hosting providers understand the problem better and put some defenses in place: * "What is a Denial of Service (DoS) attack? And a quick roundup of the different types of DoS attacks one must defend against. * Here's a very complete set of resources on Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks and how to combat them. * SANS has a step by step guide to basic measures that everyone should have in place, in order to prevent DoS attack launches from within one's network. They also have a roadmap to defeating DDoS attacks. * Network Magazine has a basic article covering Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) defense and some links that can get you started. If you run Cisco equipment, this advisory is also recommended. * Black Belt defenders should visit U. Washington Professor Dave Dittrich's DDoS page. Dave also has a very cool home page, and seems to have lots of useful stuff on cyber-security. * Finally, on a lighter note, apparently blog servers were not the only machines targeted today by jihadists. And that information comes direct from The Source.... Further resources & recommendations gratefully accepted. Just use the comments section!
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  • jaybird: You never know how much it means until you right read more
  • Harold: Two techinical notes: Malaysia may not be the real source read more
  • axiom: Internet Haganah was the primary target. Whomever the attackers are read more

Focus on Iran: 2003-10-21

By Joe Katzman at 19:14
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Iran, courtesy of D.J. Persia of Project: FREE-IRAN! A NUCLEAR WEEKEND (A European Vacation In Tehran) * The last few days have culminated in what looks to be a big win for allies. Yes that's right, from the looks of latest reports such as these, it appears that the alliance of Britian, France, Germany, The Islamic Regime in Iran, and the State Department may all be getting what they had hoped to achieve (but will they really?) in their latest discussions with the unelected regime. A regime that imprisons, tortures, rapes and murders in an effort to maintain order and hold on to power. Other Topics Today Include: A temporary halt to uranium enrichment; Reporters Without Borders ranks Iran 160 out of 166; history of British abuse of Iranian citizens; Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) personnel for parliamentary office; Iran may withdraw from OPEC.
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  • DJ Persia: Not a pretty site, and definitely not one that the read more
  • Macker: I sure hope the Iranian people can do it on read more
  • DJ Persia: We can begin our defense by making the crime's of read more

U.S. Military Supports Gun Control

By Joe Katzman at 05:34
Armed Liberal has written about ex-Delta Force commander and now U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker before. When he was promoted, everyone understood this appointment to mean that military transformation was going to be a serious priority. Here's a very important aspect of transformation that won't get a lot of attention, because it isn't flashy. But it matters - a lot. Schoomaker has declared that whether they reside in front-line battalions or support companies, all U.S. soldiers must consider themselves riflemen and be trained accordingly. Donald Sensing has the details, and a good summary of the rationale: When battlefronts are fluid and urban operations etc. more common, being able to control your weapon and consistently hit what you aim at makes a huge difference to discipline, confidence, and small-unit effectiveness. This fits in well with a heads-up that Armed Liberal sent me a while back, linking in to a discussion on a U.S. Army Infantry Forum message board about the state of marksmanship and the difficulties encountered by low-level officers who wanted to improve the situation. I think their efforts just got a lot easier. And that's a very good thing.
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  • Jerm: "Every Marine a Riflemen" This has worked for hundreds of read more
  • Robin Roberts: I heard a radio news item that today an engineering read more
  • Armed Liberal: Harold - Steyr or Savage? Drop me an email to read more

A Father With Three Sons Thinks About Kobe Bryant

By Armed Liberal at 03:51
Most of you (who have televisions) know more than I do about the Kobe Bryant case. What I pay attention to and know is brief; there was a sexual encounter, it devolved into the "he said/she said" of consensual sex versus rape, with what little physical evidence has made it to the media that gets my attention decidedly ambivalent. I have all kinds of responses to this: The come from three places - from my own life as a pretty sexually active young man in high school, college, and afterwards; from a painful pair of experiences I had back then; and most important of all, as a man with three sons who do talk to me and who I am responsible for equipping to navigate the treacherous world. And finally, there is an issue that comes up under this that transcends the issue of sexual politics and comes out in areas that I feel are broadly important - which is really why I want to write about this.
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  • Dlink: rape stories read more
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Magnae Clunes, alright...

By Armed Liberal at 01:13
I gather that Biggest Guy has taken up studying Latin back in Virginia. He IM'ed me this link, to quislibet's blog over on Live Journal, where he offers this translation:
magnae clunes mihi placent, nec possum de hac re mentiri. (Large buttocks are pleasing to me, nor am I able to lie concerning this matter.) quis enim, consortes mei, non fateatur, (For who, colleagues, would not admit,) cum puella incedit minore medio corpore (Whenever a girl comes by with a rather small middle part of the body) sub quo manifestus globus, inflammare animos (Beneath which is an obvious spherical mass, that it inflames the spirits) virtute praestare ut velitis, notantes bracas eius (So that you want to be conspicuous for manly virtue, noticing her breeches) clunibus profunde fartas(*1) esse (Have been deeply stuffed with buttock?) a! captus sum, nec desinere intueri possum. (Alas! I am captured, nor am I able to desist from gazing.)
Some people prefer the original Sir Mix-A-Lot version...
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  • Johno: We've forgotten the daddy of them all, the Kings of read more
  • Johno: It's so nice to see that some wonderful things are read more
  • Macker: LATIN RAP! I love it! Joe's right, I hope that read more

October 20, 2003

Security or Conquest?

By Armed Liberal at 20:08
I commented a while ago (note that the map isn't fixed, sadly demonstrating the powerlessness ofthe Blogoverse) about my negative reaction to Israel's newly announced plan to build 600 new homes in the occupied West Bank. My reaction was in large part triggered by the announcement, but then I read this editorial in the NY Times (looked but couldn't find the original Haaretz article online Mich at Tonecluster just forwarded the url of the article in a comment below), and my feelings were even stronger:
The newspaper said it had given a team of reporters three months to interview officials, pore over ministry budgets and make calculations. The exercise was filled with frustration, but the conclusion drawn is that since 1967, Israel has spent roughly $10 billion on the settlements. Currently, the annual amount spent on settlements' civilian needs is more than $500 million.

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  • David Blue: Hi. Sam Barnes said: "Ultimately, unless you are talking about read more
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Carnival of the Capitalists #2 is Up

By Joe Katzman at 16:21
Jay Solo has Carnival of the Capitalists, vol 2 up, for coverage of business and economics-related topics of all kinds from around the bologsphere.
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No Winds of War Today

By Joe Katzman at 09:13
I'm snowed under with things that must be done, so there won't be a Winds of War briefing today. Occam's Toothbrush has some good stuff, Blog Iran! has some good Iran-related updates, and Whaledog thinks something big is brewing in Gaza. In addition, Venomous Kate has found that the demands on her time are taking away from blogging generally, and so she has resigned her role on our briefing team. I greatly appreciate the role she played, and while we'll miss her there are simply some things more important than blogging. Dan Darling, Andrew Olmsted, and myself remain in our roles. Applicants interested in filling Kate's spot and becoming part of our Winds of War and/or Iraq Report briefing team are invited to explain why you'd be good at it in email to joe, at windsofchange.net.
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October 19, 2003

Be Vewwy Quiet... We're Hunting Poachers

By Joe Katzman at 17:56
We're hunting poachers in Cambodia. Welcome to the wildlifde wars. Thanks, WildAid! A Thought: It occurs to me that the nature of the professional poacher problem is very similar to classic Special Forces Green Beret tasks: training and liaison with locals, using foreign language skills, aid distribution, building a local infrastructure of support and intelligence in a situation of uncertain loyalties, plus a few sharp small-unit engagements. Special Operations Forces training takes almost 2 years. Imagine that we were looking for a capstone experience that closely mirrored the SOF template, with opportunities to hone language skills in an immersion environment, the ability to create relationships with people on the ground in foreign countries, and real armed opponents who are nonetheless much weaker than full guerilla groups. We'd also want reduced political controversy attached to SOF being there. That experience might look a lot like a 2-3 month stint working with the Cambodian Rangers or their counterparts around the world.
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  • Warren: Good morning, I keep reading about the pointless murder of read more

October 18, 2003

Lift Your Glass

By Armed Liberal at 17:24
Blogging is light for a few days, as TG and I are in the mountains above Santa Cruz, attending Dave Trowbridge and Deborah Ross' wedding today. It's shaping up to be a fun event and couldn't be happening to nicer people. To Dave and Deborah, a public lifting of the glass.
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Shabbat Spirit Blogging: Oct 18/03

By Joe Katzman at 08:35
I thought I'd use this entry to draw attention to some of the other folks around the Blogopshere who have also been blogging about good things, sharing wisdom and stories of achievement. I hope they enhance your Saturday as much as they've enhanced mine: * A dash of Canadiana: Dave Pollard excerpts an out-of-print account by Canadian writer Farley Mowat of his time during the 1940s in the Arctic with the Innuit. * Court at Miniluv finds something to respect in a political opponent, and pays tribute to Carol Mosley-Braun. * Miniluv is also a great source of Zen stories. This one is about the kindest remembrance of all. * LaughingWolf has some remembrances of his own, as he faces the task of going through his parents' estate:
"It is time to set aside the life that was, to face the fact that a new life should be built, and that I am now in the role my parents found themselves in when they met and married. It is time to face the fact that they are indeed gone, and that I can no longer call and talk, and get sage advice. Yet, that is not completely true...." * He also offered a poetic thought on life as part of last week's "Food for Thought Saturday." * Inspiranote offers a post of quotes from five spiritual lineages.
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Sufi Wisdom: The Sunrise Ruby

By Joe Katzman at 05:32
As militant Islam does its level best to discredit the religion, it's important to remember that there are other voices within the faith. One such is the Sufis, a branch of Islamic mystics who live islam [submission], iman [faith] and ishan [awareness of G-d, "to act beautifully"]. Every Saturday, therefore, we spend some time with the Sufis and their 'crazy wisdom'. Last Saturday, we covered the Sufi martyr Mansur al-Hallaj, a early advocate of mystical union with the divine who was brutally killed for proclaiming "ana'l –Haqq" ("I am Truth"). Junaid's response at the end of last week's post remains one of the all-time classic comebacks. For an even more illuminating look at what Hallaj meant, we turn this week to a very famous fan of his: Jelaluddin Rumi [1207-1273], a very important figure in Sufi Islam who's still going strong as the best selling poet in America...
The Sunrise Ruby In the early morning hour, just before dawn, lover and beloved wake and take a drink of water. She asks, "Do you love me or yourself more? Really, tell the absolute truth."

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  • Joe: Remember that in Sufi poetry, "the beloved" is often a read more

The Open-Source Opportunity

By Joe Katzman at 05:09
Open source whatzit? Why does this matter to me? It matters because the methods and practices of open source development have leaped out of their geek box, spreading fast. We've noted before that this phenomenon matters, citing the potentially dangerous SCO case, open source biology, and Lessig's Creative Commons as important bellwethers. Now WIRED Magazine's "Open Source Everywhere" article explains why it really matters to us all: bq. "...software is just the beginning. Open source has spread to other disciplines, from the hard sciences to the liberal arts. Biologists have embraced open source methods.... NASA has adopted open source principles as part of its Mars mission.... There are library efforts like Project Gutenberg, which has already digitized more than 6,000 books... Shakespeare to Stendhal... There are open source projects in law and religion. In 2003, the method is proving to be as broadly effective - and, yes, as revolutionary - a means of production as the assembly line was a century ago." So, what other kinds of problems can open-source design solve? How about cholera outbreaks...
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  • triticale: In a somewhat related story the SARS virus genome was read more
  • Snoot: bellwether read more

October 17, 2003

Bottling the Genie: The Net's Future

By Joe Katzman at 06:06
From John Paczkowski's Good Morning Silicon Valley, Oct. 17, 2003:
"The combination of the personal computer and the Internet is the ultimate in empowerment for the masses, right? The technology defies borders, routes around censorship, and allows the voices of individuals to be heard on the same stage as the rich and powerful, right? That's what John Walker, founder of Autodesk, used to think too. Now he's not so sure, and in a sobering mongraph titled "The Digital Imprimatur: How big brother and big media can put the Internet genie back in the bottle," he explains why...

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  • Richard Cook: After reading the article a series of thoughts came to read more
  • Richard Meixner: Great post (both links), Joe! It will take some time read more
  • willy Wonkum: Thats some heavy reading and,---oh oh the FBI is at read more

Dear Allah...

By Joe Katzman at 05:37
Dear Allah (ith), You may indeed be an expert on born losers, but we Jews are experts on being Chosen. On behalf of Cubs and Red Sox fans everywhere, therefore, I ask of you the same question that many of us have asked Adonai Elohim in our manifold times of distress: bq. "Isn't it about time you chose somebody else?" Like maybe the Yankees, for instance. Seriously, O Greatest and Most Radiant One, perhaps it is time you simply took the f---ing hint. Somehow, going after New York and the Jews always seems like a good idea at the time. Somehow, it always ends in naqba. Give it up, pull up a skybox seat in Dar-al-Harb Stadium, and turn the radiant face of your impeccable record on a franchise more deserving of the kind of support bestowed this year on teams under the favour of your divine countenance. Trust me when I say that this couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Marlins in 6.
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  • Jay Manifold: "Manifold times of distress." I've had a few of those read more
  • Sorge: Finally, another blogger who wants the Marlins to win. (Or read more
  • Joe Katzman: Dear Allah, Lots of things in New York are against read more

October 16, 2003

Welcome Back, Dailypundit

By Joe Katzman at 22:09
William Quick, a.k.a. DailyPundit, has returned from his blogging hiatus. Welcome back to the blogosphere, Bill!
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Strategy & e-Business

By Joe Katzman at 18:51
Light blogging from me today. Dealing with weblog technical issues here (comments have been re-enabled!), plus client stuff. No rest for the weary, as Fordcast plays Alice in Chains singing "Ain't found a way to kill me yet..." Also preparing for a class I teach at University of Toronto on Strategy & e-Business. Which has a blog, of course.
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9-6. 9-6. 96...

By Joe Katzman at 01:19
I was wondering when my blogging compatriot would get off his divine duff and start delivering some critical games. Allahu Akbar in the Dar-al-Harb! Now it's Marlins 3-0 - but a homer to Kerry Wood! And now Alou! 5-3, Cubs lead! What? The fridge? Wait, Big A, come back! Come baaaaack! I said, we need you to... no, not that kind of... Aiieeeeeee!!!! 9-6. 9-6. 2004-1908 = 96. Damn.
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  • Armed Liberal: Well, TG is a Cubbies fan, and she was concewrned read more

October 15, 2003

Gweilo's China Briefing: 2003-10-15

By Gweilo Diaries at 06:33
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on China, courtesy of Conrad of The Gweilo Diaries. TOP TOPIC * VodkaPundit and Glenn Reynolds cover China's first manned space flight, while The Gweilo Diaries reveals that China may have already put a man in space... during the Ming dynasty! Other Topics Today Include: Taiwan's separatist moves; AIDS in Henan; Disturbing trends in Hong Kong; Selfishness in Chinese society; Chinese virginity; Blogging celebrity in Asia; Hemlock's diaries.
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MT-Blacklist: Technical Difficulties

By Joe Katzman at 06:03
Since installing MT-Blacklist plugin to stop comment spam, Winds of Change.NET has begun experiencing technical difficulties. Rebuilds have been hanging, server CPU usage has spiked into the stratosphere, and the server was even brought to its knees for a brief period. MT-Blacklist has now been disabled as part of an ongoing investigation into the exact cause. Without it, comments are disabled too. Like you, we look forward to getting Winds of Change.NET fully operational again, with the team and our platform wired together and going full-tilt boogie for freedom and justice. UPDATE: Re: the exact cause(s). We've done some checking:
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  • AFox: head and its heart wired together for some full-tilt boogie read more

Sox Socked, Cubs Clubbed

By Joe Katzman at 05:22
Allah may be great, but his favourite sports teams the Boston Red Sox (L, 4-2) and Chicago Cubs (L, 8-3) added new chapters to their long and tragic history last night. The difference, in both games: the ability to capitalize on key opportunities and get the big hit. Boston hasn't been able to all series, while Florida found a way last night. Now the Red Sox are depending on John Burkett to get them past Game 6, and given his history against the Yankees it ain't betting odds. The Cubs? They can still win today's decisive game, but it's a coin flip now - and they'll have a less than ideal pitching setup if they do make it to their first World Series since 1945. UPDATE: 'The Big A' has some thoughts of his own: "Let us not discuss yesterday's events, kufr. Allah is immortal, but if he were not then he would have a gun in his mouth this morning. What is worse, he senses that today shall be another naqba..."
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Arnold 2003: Stewart vs. Carroll

By Armed Liberal at 01:34
Updates: Jill Stewart's original 'New Times' column is here. My analysis of the Times' coverage is here. Until we get comments back up here, feel free to comment at Armed Liberal. Original Post: Jill Stewart has a column up responding to John Carroll's slam of her recent criticism of the L.A. Times (around the issues blogged in the SkyBox Davis expose, and The Art of the Knife). She's also got an (anonymous) interview with a Times staffer which, if true, just blows the hell out of any pretense of impartiality or fairness on Carroll's part during the recent California recall. In case you need to be titillated...
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October 14, 2003

Blogspam Defense: MT-Blacklist v1.0

By Joe Katzman at 08:01

Jay Allen's MT-Blacklist v1.0 is ready and released! This is a must-install plugin for anyone affected by or concerned about blog comment spam on their Movable Type blogs. Despite Jay's marathon sleepless programming session, the documentation is pretty clear and installation is simple for anyone with FTP and a browser. If you have trouble, Jay is asleep but email joe, at windsofchange.net and I'll do my best to help.

We have a few tests to run on our install and one more antispam measure to nail down, and then comments will re-open again. Meanwhile, if you have a Moveable Type blog, get this plugin!

For other measures you can take on Movable Type blogs and beyond, see our (updated & expanded) Sunday post: "Dealing With Comment Spammer Infestations."


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A Map

By Armed Liberal at 06:23
I'd started a post criticizing the Israelis for building 600 new homes in the West Bank (Can someone give me some rational justification for the civilian - as opposed to the entirely justified military - occupation? Some basis on which the fiscal, human, and moral cost can be justified?). Instead, I tripped over this. Go click over to the official U.S. State Department map of Saudi Arabia. Go ahead, I'll wait, it'll open in a new window. Look at all the countries around Saudi Arabia. Look at their names. See anything missing? Folks, this isn't fricking Mercedes Benz or BMW, as Charles says over at LGF (his tip on this, by the way... and see how easy it is to fix). This is the United-Goddamn-States State Department, and I think we all ought to click over to this page and ask them exactly who they think they work for. Be polite. JK: Instapundit has the classic quip in response to this.
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  • klaatu: [long silence] I thought so. read more
  • klaatu: And, Joe, if your so certain as to what you read more
  • klaatu: First, Joe, I didn't say that the Israelis living in read more

Eyes On Korea: 2003-10-14

By The Marmot's Hole at 03:10
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Korea, courtesy of Robert Koehler of The Marmot's Hole. Top Topics ALSO ON TAP TODAY: Total Recall in South Korea; Wider regional role for USFK; NK Developments; Nukes updates; What to do about NK; Lifestyles of the Rich and Stalinist; the ROK forces to Iraq debate; Food aid to NK; NK's economy; Professor Song Du-yul: Traitor?; Security guarantees and human rights; Kim's one-finger salutes in Beantown, and so much more!
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October 13, 2003

The L.A. Times and Grope-gate

By Armed Liberal at 18:32
Updates: Jill Stewart's original 'New Times' column is here. Her response to John Carroll's L.A. Times column is here. Original Post: Thanks to Calpundit, I read John Carroll's column justifying the LA Times' Thursday hit on Arnold on Saturday night. I've seen Kevin Roderick's piece on it, and been waiting to hear from the principal actor in the drama, Jill Stewart, who can talk about it from an more-informed position than mine. A lot of this is about the mechanics and minutiae of journalism, I thought. Then I went to Brian's party, and met a journalist (sadly didn't get his name or affiliation).
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  • Gropers' den: We shoud kill all gropers. read more

Carnival of the Capitalists

By Joe Katzman at 17:20
The Carnival Opens its Doors | Future Itinerary & FAQ
A new Carnival joins the blogosphere! Modeled after the Carnival of the Vanities, this weekly roundup is intended to be a "Best Of the Blogosphere" for posts covering business, economics, stocks, accounting, taxes, business law, and related topics.
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Comments Disabled

By Joe Katzman at 06:51
I'm sorry folks, but I've disabled comments until we can get anti-spam measures working. See this post for an explanation of why. I hope to return this capability to our blog shortly.
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Andrew's Winds of War: 2003-10-13

By Andrew Olmsted at 04:24
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. In addition, we also have our in-depth Iraq Report. Today's briefings are brought to you by Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com. TOP TOPICS * Israel may be planning to strike Iran's nuclear plants; Charles Johnson takes a look at the reports. Daily Kos has a good roundup of the issues, although his conclusion is rather pat. A diplomatic solution always *sounds* great, but getting there is there real trick, and Kos doesn't offer an answer for that. * Donald Sensing examines a Dan Darling post, discussing where al Qaeda stands right now, and what the U.S. needs to do to keep them down. * One year ago, Islamofascists murdered 202 people in Bali for the crime of being Westerners, or too close to Westerners. Bali marked that anniversary this weekend with a reading of the victims' names and a speech from Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Australia remembers her dead, and the war goes on. Other Topics Today Include: a worthy Nobel; China launching a taikonaut; NK military options & consequences; Bird Dog's NK solution; U.S. State Dept: bought and paid for; Syria & Israel; Another PA PM bites the dust; Phalcons to India; Got Ghozi?
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  • latinopundit: It just floors me about Israel and nuclear weapons. Ya', read more

Andrew's Iraq Report: 2003-10-13

By Andrew Olmsted at 04:23
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's Iraq Report and Winds of War coverage of the wider conflict are brought to you by Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com. TOP TOPICS * Suicide bombers continue to strike at soft targets in Baghdad, detonating two car bombs that killed six on a commercial street. The silver lining, such as it is, was that guards prevented the bombers from reaching a crowded hotel, indicating good security, but it's next to impossible to prevent the bombers from detonating their devices somewhere. * JK: With everything that's going on in Iraq, it's natural to try and fit it all together. Dan Drezner suggests that it doesn't necessarily all go together: why it's hard to get a clear story out of Iraq and bad news vs. good news. Other Topics Today Include: a U.S. reservist points out what real genocide means; Citizen Smash wraps up good news from Iraq; an Iraq 'slush fund;' Ralph Peters accuses George Bush of betraying the Kurds and the WMD search goes on; Which 'cards' do we have; How to support the troops.
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Crimson Jihad at Fenway

By Joe Katzman at 03:23
Allah In The House has been mysteriously silent this weekend concerning the fate of his beloved Boston Red Sox, who lost Game 2 and then lived up to their Crimson Jihad moniker over the weekend. At least Pedro managed to successfully defend himself against the 72 year old idiot-savant taking a swing at him, which only goes to show that Allah (ith) is recruiting a more comptent batch of followers these days. We trust the Flight 93 mujahid were taking notes up there. Even so, the member of Boston's groundskeeping crew admitted to hospital with cleat-marks in his back after a fight with some Yankee pitchers (who trained him, The Saddam Fedayeen?) clearly makes 'The Big A' 1-1... 1-2, actually, since The Crimson Jihad also lost Game 3 to Roger Clemens. This is not a great record for The Divine One, but then I'm sure he's getting used to having his teams given "the 72 virgins treatment" by a Texan. Parting thought: today's rainout was a nice touch, O Merciful One, but unless it gets John Burkett out of a starting pitcher's role entirely, I fear it only postpones the inevitable. Now, if you could have Burkett start and win Game 4... that would be a miracle. UPDATE: Never underestimate The Divine Blogger's ability to kick it up another notch. Allah (ith) has a few things to say, complete with photo gallery and captions.
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  • Allah: After 55 years, Allah knows only too well that his read more
  • Joe Katzman: Actually, the Mercy of Allah In The House is more read more
  • Howard Owens: Look, the whole Pedro-Zimmer thing is just the sort of read more

Special Analysis: Iraq, al-Qaeda & Unit 999

By Dan Darling at 02:00
In previous analyses, I have noted the various ties between al-Qaeda and the former Iraqi government. However, I also periodically review my material to see if I can draw any new conclusions from the evidence at hand. As such, when I came across this news story dealing with Iraqi ties to al-Qaeda, I noticed this paragraph in particular:
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  • Mark: After rereading the Duelfer report and the Iraqi Perspectives Project read more
  • Larko +358415614749: FREE WC-PAPER in the EU!.. HURRY UP!.. Thousands of pages read more
  • Fred: A.L. Why, really, are you so being so hard on read more

October 12, 2003

Liberal without the 'ista'

By Armed Liberal at 21:38
Ann Salisbury sends me a link to a list of questions by Dennis Prager designed to help you decide if you're a liberal or not. The questions are definitely of the "Have you stopped beating your wife?" class; a few examples:
1. Standards for admissions to universities, fire departments, etc. should be lowered for people of color. 8. It is good that trial lawyers and teachers unions are the two biggest contributors to the Democratic Party. 9. Marriage should be redefined from male-female to any two people.
...you get the flavor. My first response on reading it was to suggest a mirror-image 'conservative' test, equally BS-laden, that involved 'maintaining Jim Crow, supporting corporate looting, pollution', etc. but that seemed cheap even for me. And it occurred to me at Brian Linse's party - when Howard Owens busted me yet again for agreeing with him on so damn many issues - that I ought to set out some foundational issues that I believe define me as a liberal.
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Freedom for the Iraqi Generals!

By Joe Katzman at 00:45
Wow, the good news just keeps on rolling in. Many of you have read our previous posts about an honourable set of Iraqi generals, and our efforts to get them freed. Well (Hat Tip to Samuel Tai)... bq. "Guess what happened today? It has finally happened!! The generals have been released. I can't believe it, it is such a good feeling to hear that they were released. After countless hours spent over the past 5 months and the involvement of numerous high-ranking officers, including 5 different US generals, and the prayers and efforts of all of you, eleven of the generals were released to return to their homes and the rest are due to be released in the next few days. This is a great day...." Yes, it is. You should also read the rest. Looks like The Chief et. al. are working on some big things, and that his work sifting through sources is paying off. Meanwhile, with respect to the "Toys for Iraq" hangups, I'm doing a few things on my end and working with Dean Esmay & co. to find some alternatives. Stay tuned.
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  • Rob: Congradulations to the Chief, WoC and everyone whose hearts and read more
  • Plunge: If Joe would get his phone messages he would know read more

Dealing With Comment Spammer Infestations

By Armed Liberal at 00:12
(Oct. 14th Update: MT-Blacklist has arrived!) ...our comments are being porn-spammed (at Armed Liberal as well, and I'll be emailing some other blogs to see if they've been hit as well). We're cleaning it up as fast as we can, but we've been hit by a series of spams from a Russian porn site. The last one appears to have left several hundred comments, and additional mutations are possible. So far we've seen "Lolita," Preteen," and "Underage". Teresa Nielsen Hayden has more info. on the spammers, Scriptygoddess has a slew of admin. options for you, and Burningbird has a fairly simple way to make it harder for spammers next time (Hat Tip: David Janes). JK: It's an organized effort... was highly ranked at Blogdex.net a couple days ago, but I think they've put in filters. We may do the same soon, and meanwhile I've disabled all comments. We've also got a Swedish neo-nazi group that hangs out here and occasionally posts long rants. If you want to see an example, do a search for "Conspiracy and Truth Week" because I delete it everywhere else. Re: the comment spams... why does this matter? And what can be done?
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October 11, 2003

Sufi Wisdom: Mansur al-Hallaj

By Joe Katzman at 09:24
As militant Islam does its level best to discredit the religion, it's important to remember that there are other voices within the faith. One such is the Sufis, a branch of Islamic mystics who live islam [submission], iman [faith] and ishan [awareness of G-d, "to act beautifully"]. Every Saturday, therefore, we spend some time with the Sufis and their 'crazy wisdom'. The 2003 Nobel Peace Prize brought to mind a name mentioned to me by Kaveh last time we met: Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj. Born in 858 A.D., al-Hallaj was a Persian Sufi master who inspired many subsequent Sufi mystics, including the famed poet Rumi. His burning desire for complete oneness with the essence of Allah, and growing understanding of that experience, shaped his work and his life: bq. "I do not cease swimming in the seas of love, rising with the wave, then descending; now the wave sustains me, and then I sink beneath it; love bears me away where there is no longer any shore." (Diwan al-Hallaj, M. 34) It also shaped his death....
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Here's Some Good News for Democrats

By Armed Liberal at 09:20
I haven't been a fan of the DLC in a long time, but their response to the recall was something I'd have been proud to write. The money graf, in my view:
Democrats also need to tend to their own garden and take very seriously the decision of California voters -- who still decisively tilt Democratic in party identification and overall policy views -- to support what began as a nutty right-wing crusade and ended as a popular movement. They need to regain their centrist, problem-solving reputation, and must absolutely reverse the recent perception that they don't give a damn about anybody who doesn't belong to a reliable Democratic constituency group.
Good for them.
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  • Michael Lonie: Good luck. The Democrats have snobbishly despised the voters and read more
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  • Francis W. Porretto: Of course, for half of forever, that "centrist, problem-solving reputation" read more

Positive Blogging Week Wrapup

By Joe Katzman at 09:02
Court at Miniluv regularly makes an effort to post positive news to their group blog. As you might guess given today's format, it's something I really appreciate. This past week the call went out from Miniluv - and many bloggers (myself included) joined in to contribute positive posts. Court's Positive Blogging Week Roundup will give you a taste, though it misses some of Alex Knapp's good work uncovering things like a new approach to treating Alzheimer's disease, and a Homecoming King with Down's Syndrome. I'd also throw in our posts covering the Cubs first playoff series win in 95 years (they won a heart-stopper tonight, too), Bsurot's "Good News Israel" compilation guest blog, and the story of how Professor Trampusch saved people during The Holocaust. Not to mention our recognition of 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi. So, there's lots of good news in the world, if only we decide to look for it. As Court explains: bq. "So why did I do this? Why focus on the good when I insist that the middle is where we should be? Because, I believe, that the media, which shapes so much of our world, focuses too heavily on the negative. Anyone who participated can understand what I mean. It was difficult to find the good news out there. It is still out there, but it is overshadowed by the negative. Which is why we did this. To shine some light on the good that is out there." Shine on, shine on.
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  • Court: Thanks for joining us this week, Joe. I was very read more

Zen Wisdom: Wonhyo's Awakening

By Joe Katzman at 08:35
This one's for my Buddhist blogging colleague in Korea, Big Hairy Hominid. Buddhism entered Korea in the 4th century C.E., and Wonhyo's syncretic Popsong ("Dharma Nature") school became one of the most influential in Korean Zen. While on his way to China to find a teacher and learn more about Buddhism, Wonhyo had a dramatic awakening. Resting one evening at the end of a gruelling day, the monk-aspirant was consumed with thirst. As he groped around on the ground, however, he found a bowl. Miraculously, it contained fresh, thirst-quenching water. The next morning he awoke... and saw that he had slept in an old tomb. His "bowl" had been a shattered skull filled with stagnant water. Shock led to realization, as Wonhyo grasped: bq. "...thinking makes good and bad, life and death. and without thinking there is no universe, no Buddha, no dharma. All is one, and this one is empty. There is no need now to find a master." There was not. Enlightment attained, he returned to Korea. (From Martine Batchelor's "Way of Zen")
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October 10, 2003

Iranian Shirin Ebadi Wins Nobel!

By Joe Katzman at 21:45
Team member Iraniangirl was pulling for Iranian dissident Hashem Aghajeri, but I figured it was a longshot against the Pope. As it turns out, the winner was even more of a dark horse - and an even better choice (Hat Tip: Allah Is In The House):
"Oct. 10Shirin Ebadi became the first Muslim woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize today, in recognition of her work promoting the rights of women and children in Iran over the past three decades. In awarding the prize to Ms. Ebadi, the Nobel committee said it wished to prod the Muslim world into recognizing that Islam and human rights, particularly those of women and children, can go hand in hand. The committee also said it hoped to advance a moderate, nonviolent path toward reform in Islamic countries, one in which religious and cultural differences are rewarded rather than punished during this time of turbulence and upheaval."
What's the matter - did the Nobel Committee run out of terrorists and poseurs with availability on awards night? Whatever the reason for this fluke of good judgment, my sincere congratulations go out to Shirin Ebadi - and to the cause she fights for. You can find more information over at Freethoughts.org. I'll leave the last word to team member Iraniangirl, in Tehran: bq. "I don't know what this regime is going to do with this one.... Now she is the lawyer of all of us, & has the duty to fight for our rights, more than before...I'm so happy, it’s the first time I feel so proud of being an Iranian girl."
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  • Jonathan Edelstein: Shirin Ebadi has been a hero of mine for a read more
  • Iraniangirl: :D....yeah I undrestand. Thanks for the explanation. Thank you all, read more
  • Joe Katzman: In case it's not clear to native Farsi speakers: "you read more

New Blog: Good News Israel

By Joe Katzman at 12:57
Daniel Moore: B'surot Tovot translates as "good news" in Hebrew, and that's what our new blog is about. We hear about attacks, and tragedy - but how often do we hear about the good news and achievements that make Israeli society so remarkable? Bsurot.com is a blog dedicated to doing just that, and Joe has graciously agreed to give us a guest blog here on Winds of Change.NET to demonstrate. Todah rabah, Yosef! * Many patients can avoid the pain and risk of surgical biopsies used to diagnose solid malignant tumors, thanks to the cost-effective 3TP diagnostic imaging technique developed by a Weizmann Institute of Science research team. 3TP was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for detecting breast and prostate cancer. * Watermelons are good for you and taste great, but oy, the calories! Israeli scientists went to work, and recently developed a watermelon with all the sweetness, but fewer calories. Summertime dieters, rejoice. Tastes Great! Less Filling!
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  • Sparkey: I fixed the link. Thanks Joe! read more

Hidden Kindness

By Joe Katzman at 08:22
The true story of two Jewish sisters who were hidden during the Holocaust and saved by an unsung hero. This post is part of miniluv's Positive Blogging Week initiative.
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Leave Allah Alone!

By Joe Katzman at 06:19
See! See what you kufr have done! Now leave Allah alone during Red Sox games, and let peace be upon Him already. Last warning. At least the Crimson Jihad have left the Dar-ul-Harb, and are returning home to Fenway...
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Democracies & Wars

By Joe Katzman at 00:35
Frequent Winds commenter Christopher Luebcke has a blog! One of his entries addresses the question of why democracies don't seem to fight each other very often.
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  • Christopher Luebcke: Thanks, Joe. Much obliged. read more

October 9, 2003

Allah's Fields of Dreams

By Joe Katzman at 20:54
Allah was certainly with the Red Sox (a.k.a. "Crimson Jihad") and Cubs last night. But be warned - Allah has a blog, and he is wroth. Attention, mortals: Do not bother Allah during Cubs games! Especially do not bother Allah when Sammy Sosa is at bat! Allah would also appreciate it if you did not whine at Allah during Red Sox games. You have been warned. In other news, Jesus would like to pass on a message of his own to people who play sports and need a win. He asks in all love and grace that you get off your ass and practice harder next time, instead of beseeching him to fix the damned game. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.
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We Are the BEAR Flag State...

By Armed Liberal at 15:25
I talked about the astounding, blind, arrogance of the California nomenklatura below. Then last night, over at Dan Weintraub's 'California Insider' I read an interview with Sheila Kuehl (State Senator from Beverly Hills and Santa Monica) that sets a new high-water mark for it. You've got to read this one... and my bear story too:
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Dan's Winds of War: 2003-10-09

By Dan Darling at 07:01
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" and Iraq Report are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. TOP TOPICS * JK: Dan Darling has a Special Analysis up that covers the reorganization of al-Qaeda: new players, new developments, and their implications. Read it. * Time Magazine is reporting that Hanbali has cracked and is spilling the beans on Jemaah Islamiyyah's ties to al-Qaeda and MILF, as well as other al-Qaeda plots in Southeast Asia. * Mullah Abdul Razzaq Nafees, one of ten members of the new Taliban ruling council, has been killed by US and Afghan forces in Uruzgan province. Nine more to go ... Other Topics Today Include: Iran Reports; U.S.A. Homeland Security Briefing; GSPC HQ under seige; Australian intervention in the Solomon Islands; Chechen president poisoned; an aid worker assassinated in Somalia; videos of bin Laden circulating the UK; 211 dead terrorists in Kashmir; factional fighting in Afghanistan; Taliban fighters massing in Baluchistan; and Khan a Klingon!?!
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Dan's Iraq Report: 2003-10-09

By Dan Darling at 05:25
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's Iraq Report and Winds of War coverage of the wider conflict are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. Top Topics: * The BBC is reporting that the US and Turkey have reached an agreement to move against the Kurdish PKK. * Anyone out there with FedEx or other international shipping contacts? Toys for Iraq needs your help very badly. There's a great sponsorship opportunity here for someone. If you can help email joe, at windsofchange.net Other Topics Include: Foreign fighters captured; Saddam sighting in Kirkuk; executioner captured; guerrilla sophistication increasing; 112 guerrillas busted at al-Qaim; Iraqi press clippings; a new religious school for Iraqis; a drug/crime wave in Baghdad; Baghdad nightlife back on track; Turkey okays sending troops; Iraqi scientists killed; Scud and anthrax hunt.
Free The Chief's Generals Iraqi Toy Drive Free The Chief's Generals
 
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Special Analysis: Al-Qaeda Reorganizing

By Dan Darling at 05:19
2003 has not been a good year so far by al-Qaeda. In the course of less than six months, key members of their military committee have been captured or killed as a result of the US-led campaign against terrorism. Their two biggest losses so far this year include that of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the head of their military committee, and Hanbali, the operations chief of Jemaah Islamiyyah. The network's terror theoretician, Yusuf al-Ayyeri, was killed in a gunfight in Saudi authorities. Ali Abd al-Ghamdi has been captured and over 600 members of the Salafi Jihad have been arrested in Morocco. In addition, any number of senior commanders and mid-level leaders have been arrested worldwide since the beginning of the year, many of them since the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq. The capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed likely served as the catalyst to spur this reorganization of the terror network....
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The Future of Japan

By Joe Katzman at 01:52
Vodkapundit takes a look at a quiet but important player on the world stage: Japan.
"Fareed Zakaria thinks the sleeping Japanese giant might finally be stirring after a decade-long slumber: "Many economists look at Japan and remain cautious. The economy is growing and the stock market is up, but in the last decade there have been many such false starts. More important, Japan’s reformist prime minister has not tackled the big economic problems the country faces—writing off bad loans, reforming the tax code and finding the right economic stimulus. In short, there has been no economic revolution. But in the last month Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has launched something more important—a political revolution." There's more, and I suggest you read the whole thing to catch all of Zakaria's argument -- but I ain't buying...."
Read why not, and get the link to Zakaria's piece while you're at it. Gweilo Diaries takes Vodkapundit's analysis to the next level, giving more details about the obstacles while believing that reform is possible. Probable? Well, that remains to be seen. As for those bad loans, you might be wise to ponder the wider implications of the term "yakuza recession." Meanwhile, I highly recommend picking up some thoughts from the futurists and scenario-planning gurus at Global Business Network - esp. the Economist excerpt from their "Scenarios for the Future of Japan" with Tadashi Nakama.
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October 8, 2003

Bill Whittle: Power

By Joe Katzman at 07:15
Bill Whittle writes an essay about America facing up to its power in the world. He's on his game again, which means it rocks. I figured that most of you have read it already, but if not then what are you waiting for? bq. "I've been thinking about Power. Thinking about what real power entails, and more importantly, wondering if there is a way to defeat that ancient and highly reliable adage and perhaps find a way for a nation – mine -- to wield power, enormous power, without being corrupted -- enormously." Good luck on your speaking tour, Bill!
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  • Joe Katzman: Read Bill Whittle. Then, if you still feel inclined, come read more
  • nick foresta: Joe, I read this piece and I have to say, read more
  • Cap'n SPIN: Joe! KUDOS for posting the link here and on ComPo. read more

AfricaPundit's Regional Briefing: 2003-10-08

By AfricaPundit at 06:22
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Africa, courtesy of AfricaPundit. TOP TOPICS Other Topics Today Include: WTO roundup; GM foods; Liberia update; Nigerian yellowcake; Amina Lawal & Islamism; Nigerians in space; $$A LUCRATIVE OPPORTUNITY$$; France's quagmire; South African Nobel laureate; Uganda's dictator; Somalia remembered.
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Post-Recall Kudos

By Joe Katzman at 06:20
First of all, don't look at me. I supported Cruz Bustamante. Yes, I know that leaves our blog's resident liberal voting for Arnold, while its lead conservative pulled for Bustamante. Here's my excuse. And here's his. What else would you expect in this crazy election? (How about policy positions from Arnold's movies) Second, kudos where kudos are due. #1: The Jews of Graz speak well of Arnold, and kudos to Kesher Talk for dispelling those baseless Nazi slanders for good. #2: I've read a lot of blogosphere posts about the California recall, but from Day One no-one, and I mean no-one has touched the outstanding coverage by Robert Tagorda of Boomshock. Even Armed Liberal's expose of Davis can't beat Boomshock's consistent insights. Robert, take a well-deserved bow.
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The Nomenklatura Reacts

By Armed Liberal at 04:49
Listening to Mickey Kaus and Marty Kaplan (USC Annenberg associate dean and Norman Lear Center director) on Warren Olney's "Which Way LA"; Kaplan is a man without a clue - he explains that Arnold won because the people were voting for a movie version of reality, in which they could have "candy and ice cream and not gain any weight," instead of (implicitly) supporting someone who had the experience and knowledge to "deserve" the win. What an arrogant ass, to mince my words. A while ago, I challenged a co-blogger who suggested that I wasn't qualified to opine on an issue of diplomacy. I replied:
They're missing a few things when they suggest that. The most important thing is actually the simplest, which is that the genius of the American system is that there certainly are experts on game theory, diplomatic history, and policy who have substantive and valuable expertise in these areas. And they all work for guys like me. Our Congress and our President are typically business men and women, lawyers, rank amateurs when it comes to the hard games that they study so diligently at ENA (Ecole Nationale d'Administration). And that's a good thing, in fact, it's a damn good thing. It is a good thing because the unique power of the United States comes from our willingness to diffuse power down into the ranks - to act in ways outside what a small cadre of mandarins sitting at a capital can envision.

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  • Dean: Rob, Sigh. My examples were ALL intended as exaggerations. As read more
  • Rob Lyman: Actually, Joe, I'm prepared to accept the "fire all the read more

It's Done

By Armed Liberal at 04:30
Wow. The numbers are solid enough that all the wires are predicting the race - fifteen minutes after the polls closed. Given Roger Simon's and my support how could he lose?? Congratulations to Gov. Arnold and his team, and condolences to those who ran serious races and lost. Now, we need to watch what Gray is doing with the shredders he ordered... Seriously, it will be interesting to see if the core Jackie Goldberg wing of the Democratic party can rev itself up for the threatened Repeat Recall; I'd bet a lot that it will fail miserably (the numbers look like 59%+ "YES" and Arnold brushing 50%) and that just might be the event that marches the lemmings off the cliff and lets the rest of us work to build an effective Democratic party that actually delivers to the working people of the state. Roger nails it:
What we are witnessing is the beginning—the early movement--in the death of the two-party system as we know it. This is a revolt of the pragmatic center. And that is a good thing for the American people because those parties and the media that feed on them have indeed become a form of nomenklatura. They depend on each other. They are the mutual gate keepers of an old and sclerotic bureaucracy from which their jobs flow in a system of patronage as elaborate as the Czar's. No wonder watching CNN tonight I felt as if I were watching a wake. They are threatened by what is going on—as they should be.

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  • Sam Barnes: So do you agree with A.L.'s take, or was it read more
  • Roger L. Simon: Hey, Sam, you're right. I am on crack. And it's read more
  • Sam Barnes: A.L., I dunno. I don't see any room in American read more

October 7, 2003

Ah-nold's Policy Positions

By Joe Katzman at 22:05
Everything we need to know about Arnold Schwarzenegger's policies, we learned from his movies. Bobby Bryant matches the film quotes with the issues. Very, very funny. (Hat Tip: Heretical Ideas)
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Voting

By Armed Liberal at 17:07
Went and voted in the California recall election at 7:15am in the Littlest Guy's elementary school cafeteria. Not to crowd on Lileks turf, but there is just something so cool about standing in line with your neighbors waiting to vote. We chatted with the people next to us in line; everyone was upbeat but serious at the same time, and somehow it was kind of perspective-shaping to be walking into an elementary school cafeteria, complete with kindergarten collages of jack-o-lanterns, and deciding on the fate of one of the most powerful people in the country. I think that's how it ought to be done; neighbors waking up, walking along with their coffee cups and chatting about inconsequential things, deciding important matters while standing under a crude cutout of a pumpkin. The line was way out the door; we left our coffee and tea on the table, figuring we'd be back in ten minutes, and it took over thirty. Our local polling places had been combined; where there were three, now there's one. But in ten years of living here, I've never been more than two or three people away from the signin table; I think that in our (relatively conservative) district, we're going to see exceptional turnout today - which is obviously good for Arnold and the recall. We'll see. One of the interesting problems with not having TV is that we need to find someplace to go tonight to watch the results...or else we can just stay home and listen to them on the radio and make believe it's the 1930's...
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  • jak: I agree with the local feeling. I don't chit chat, read more
  • Ann: Well, you could meet TG at the Biltmore and watch read more
  • Kris Hasson-Jones: It's not even an option here (Oregon), where we have read more

Langewiesche on The Columbia

By Armed Liberal at 06:46
I was home today when the mail came, went out to chat with the carrier, and got a handful of election materials, a couple of bills, and this month's copy of The Atlantic. The lead article, by Langewiesche is about the STS-107 Columbia disaster, and what caused it. He's doubtless working on a new book, and I'll get my order into Amazon now; he's becoming the John McPhee of this era. The story is sad, since we know how it ends, and depressing, and enraging. Because Langewiesche personalizes all his stories, we get a hero, and a villain - or a villainess, in this case:
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  • Joe Katzman: I assume you mean "unlikely," David. And that's one heck read more
  • David Foster: OK...maybe it will work this time. I'm certainly not arguing read more
  • Yehudit: Don;t miss his book on "Unbuilding the World Trade Center" read more

D's Kabul Diaries

By Joe Katzman at 06:44
Bruce Rolston of Flit is in the Canadian Forces reserves, and his friend "D." in Afghanistan has been keeping him up to date with emailed reports from the Canadian contingent in Kabul. D's latest report covers a broad range of topics, and I strongly urge you to read it. For our excerpt, I thought I'd focus in on his opinion of the media...
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  • Macker: Believe it or not, I'd much prefer Peter Mansbridge over read more
  • Joe Katzman: Sean, you're right. Fixed now. read more
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Cowboy Up!

By Joe Katzman at 05:18
Two teams. Two jinxes. One series - and finally, one winner. Daniel Drezner and the Red Sox faithful thought this may be the year the Boston Red Sox break "The Curse of the Bambino." Until Ramon Hernandez did something the A's never do, and won Game 1 with a bunt in the 11th inning. The Sox were speechless. I was speechless. Oakland then rolled over the Red Sox 5-1 in Game 2, to take a 2-0 lead in the Best of 5 Series. If the Sox wanted to avoid humiliation, they needed to "Cowboy Up," and fast. Maybe "Rally Karaoke Guy" (see RealPlayer video clip) would help. Maybe their fans' faith would pull them through - but then, that faith had failed them before.
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  • Joe Katzman: I thought being a Red Sox fan meant never having read more
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Recall

By Armed Liberal at 00:06
I've been perplexed about what to do in the recall tomorrow. For those of you who don't live in California, stick around and I'll explain why this matters to you. Originally, I was hopeful that Arnold would run a real populist campaign, as opposed to an Astroturf one. But he did the - conservative - and probably smart thing, and surrounded himself with seasoned pros. Sadly, he didn't pick an All-Star Team, but he picked one that had played well together, and his key operatives come from the mainstream - not the looney right - of the California GOP. A week ago, I was drifting toward "No" on the recall. Davis is mortally wounded politically, and the next three years would be a kind of 'caretaker' administration with the second-tier Democratic figures - Angelides and Lockyer, maybe Shelley - would really run the state. I wasn't happy with that decision, but Arnie hadn't measured up, and there was just no way I could support the idea of the pander-bear Cruz in office. Then came Friday.
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  • lade: lol that makes three people (including myself) I know who read more
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  • Andrew X: (from a recent email I sent to a friend) The read more

Holy Cow! Cubs Win NLDS!

By Joe Katzman at 00:04
Back on September 28, I predicted... bq. "Now all Chicago has to do is beat the #1 team in the National League: the Atlanta Braves. I'm giving the Cubs decent odds to do just that in Round 1. They have a pitching staff nobody wants to face in the post-season, and an opponent whose record of post-season chokes is long and distinguished (11 division titles in a row over the last 11 years... just 1 championship)." As it happens, Atlanta did not choke. The series went a full 5 games, with the deciding game being played on Kol Nidre night. My Rabbi, a Chicago native, says that being a Cubs fan is like being a Jew. The long periods of suffering, the eternal hope, the redemption that never comes... It still hasn't come - but it has just come closer, as the Chicago Cubs won a postseason series for the first time in 95 years. Pejman has the pictures, and MLB.com has the series recap.
"So, Rabbi," I asked, "what if the Boston Red Sox also win, and face the Cubs in the World Series?" -- "Moshiach will come, history will end, and neither team will win."
I'm not entirely sure he was joking. Let's just say that now would not be a good time for Syria or Iran to do anything provocative. (Part of miniluv's Positive Blogging Week)
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October 6, 2003

For What It's Worth

By Armed Liberal at 17:36
"There's something happening here What it is ain't exactly clear There's a man with a gun over there Telling me I got to beware I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down There's battle lines being drawn Nobody's right if everybody's wrong Young people speaking their minds Getting so much resistance from behind I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down What a field-day for the heat A thousand people in the street Singing songs and carrying signs Mostly say, hooray for our side It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down." - "For What It's Worth", Buffalo Springfield, 1967 (written by Stephen Stills, emphasis mine)
i·con·o·clast (n.) One who attacks and seeks to overthrow traditional or popular ideas or institutions; One who destroys sacred religious images. After we got back from the trip, I buried myself in finishing up the latest project, and only got time to spend wandering the blogs this weekend. And today, I find myself, in the jargon of 1967, kinda bummed. I've met "Calpundit" Kevin Drum and his lovely (and tolerant - blogger's partner has to be) wife, and I've corresponded with "Instapundit" Glenn Reynolds, who strikes me as an interesting and more than smart fella; sometimes I've agreed and sometimes not with each of them. But this weekend I went back and looked at the last few week's posts from each of them, and my heart fell a little bit. And then in the gym this morning (I'm rehabbing an injured shoulder so I can go back to martial arts), they played the Buffalo Springfield song above (one of the hits from my high school years). And something hit me. I want to outline what I saw, and toss the question out there as to whether it's an artifact of my own impressions and memory, or something that other people see as well.
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  • Anticipatory Retaliation: GG - "My capacity for self-deception is limited." Umm... but read more
  • Gabriel Gonzalez: Sam, I have no special beef with Bush's policies, personality read more
  • Sam Barnes: Gabriel, Most of the Plame/Wilson story seems like inside baseball--I'm read more

Andrew's Winds of War: 2003-10-06

By Andrew Olmsted at 04:49
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Andrew Olmsted. TOP TOPICS * Israel takes the fight to Syria with an airstrike against an Islamic Jihad training camp near Damascus. Assuming the Israeli intelligence was good, this could be a valuable move for Israel by making Syria pay a price for sponsoring terrorism. * Robin Cook's claim that Tony Blair privately conceded Iraq probably didn't have rapidly deployable WMDs could pose a major threat to his government, as they based their participation in the Iraq war on just such a belief. Cook's own bias, of course, means his claims may be lies designed to bolster his position, but look for them to touch off another firestorm in the British press. * North Korea claims it has solved all technical problems in using plutonium in nuclear weapons, further elevating the crisis atmosphere they've been working to maintain for the past year. Will this be sufficient to force US concessions...or will it force America's hand militarily? Other Topics Today Include: WMD roundup; Bugets and pre-war planning; Iraqi counterfeiting ring busted; Did the French sell missiles to Iraq earlier this year; US-Iran peace talks; Homeland security bureaucracy watch; Root causes; North Korean famine; Warnings over Afghanistan.
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  • xavier: Andrew: Thanks for the clarification. Robi: The new version must read more
  • rkb: re: the "axis of evil" charge, Kay's testimony to Congress read more
  • rkb: The comment that "Iraq had not WMD programs" is simply read more

October 5, 2003

More on The Imprisoned Iraqi Generals

By Joe Katzman at 06:09
Despite a new security strategy that supposedly seeks to speed up the formation of a New Iraqi Army by recruiting former Iraqi officers, there has been no progress on the fate of the imprisoned Iraqi generals whose release we are advocating. Note that we do not seek the freedom of all imprisoned Iraqi generals - just a specific, deserving subset. To recap, these are Iraqi brigadier generals and generals who surrendered honourably with their units to American forces during the war, were never Republican Guard, have committed no crimes against the Iraqi people and were not strongly connected with the Iraqi regime (to the satisfaction of their American interrogators). Many are willing to assist with a reconstruction task that is both urgent and difficult. Their continued imprisonment makes no sense, and does a disservice to both American interests and fundamental justice. It's driven by simple CYA(Cover Your Ass) bureaucracy, and won't change unless people like you step up and help. (N.B. The Generals were freed on Oct. 10th. Thanks so much to all who helped!)
Free The Chief's Iraqi Generals Free The Chief's Iraqi Generals Free The Chief's Iraqi Generals
As it happens, I've been doing more digging. These Iraqis come under military authority, and the commander in Iraq is Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez. My military and ex-military sources also say the brass are likely to defer to the commander on the ground, so he's probably da man. I've verified that this address will reach him. Postage should be $0.80-$1.55 for a simple air mail letter to Iraq, see this USPS calculator: General Sanchez CPA Baghdad, Iraq Want some help re: what to say? No, problem, we have your key points right here. That link also has a collection of advocacy buttons and their HTML code for your blog. Finally, you may also wish to read: * General's Daughter's Appeal * Generals, Sick, Demonstrations, Beliefs
(Sept. 07/03, the best summary of why The Chief advocates their release, and his qualifications for doing so). * Joy, Grateful For, Miracles
(July 6/03, shows the good and bad) ADDENDUM: At least The Chief's "Toys for Iraq" drive is going well.
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  • Joe Katzman: Good news: that seems to be happening. Which doesn't explain read more
  • Mike: Joe, You know more than I, but don't you think read more

October 4, 2003

A Holiday Shabbat Shalom

By Joe Katzman at 23:54
As many of you know, our Saturday posts to this blog will always be "good news". We will share Sufi wisdom, highlight the acts of good and decent people, laugh at humourous events, and point to amazing discoveries that could benefit humanity. My Muslim, Christian, and non-religious colleagues have graciously agreed to respect and work within this Winds of Change.NET tradition. This weekend continues the Jewish Holidays, and so several of the posts this weekend will address that theme.
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  • Samuel Tai: More good news: Chief Wiggle's daily box count is rapidly read more
  • nick foresta: Joe, Shabbot Shalom. Have an easy fast on Monday.... Nick read more

Why Bad Things Happen: Moses & G-d Discuss

By Joe Katzman at 16:26
Exodus 22: 18-23 bq. Moses then said [to God]: "Please grant me a vision of Your Glory." He [God] said, "I will cause all My goodness to pass before you and will proclaim the name of the Lord in your presence. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will be compassionate to whom I will be compassionate." And He said, "You cannot see My Presence and live." And the Lord said, "Behold there is a place alongside Me, and you shall set yourself on the rock. When My Glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My Hand until I pass by. Then I will remove My Hand and you will see My Back, but My Face shall not be seen." Rabbi Benjamin Blech responds:
"Most people who are reading this literally assume that Moses is asking to know what God looks like, and, in answer, God won't show His face, but lets Moses take a peek at His mighty shoulder blades. That is, of course, absurd.... It is very significant that this passage appears right after God's absolution of the Israelites for the terrible sin of the Golden Calf. God had led the Israelites out of the slavery of Egypt; He had performed astonishing miracles before their eyes; He had spoken to them at Mount Sinai; and then, when Moses went up the mountain, the Israelites repaid all this goodness by rejecting God and building an idol. Yet when they atoned for this great sin, He had not only forgiven them, but also responded by describing His essence as being one of complete mercy and compassion. That is when Moses chose to make his request, as if to say, "If that is true, then will You explain how Your glory is reflected in the suffering of children and in the gloating of the wicked? Can you give me the gift of seeing how that makes sense?" In short, Moses wanted to know why bad things happen to good people. God's answer contains what Moses, as well as all of us reading these words thousands of years later, have the right to know. So let us look very carefully, point by point, at what God is telling us....
Rev. Donald Sensing also spent one of his sermons to talking about this issue from a Christian perspective, using Luke 13:1-9 in The New Testament as his jumping off point: "Stuff Happens, In Grace." It's actually quite complementary to the Rabbi's discourse above, and makes an important High Holidays point. If you really want to graple with these questions, I recommend reading them both and giving it some thought.
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  • Kevin Kim: I'm no longer a believer in a literal, anthropomorphic God, read more
  • cris: when our lives are new, when we have just become read more

Hasidic Wisdom: Train Rider

By Joe Katzman at 16:18
Dina Coopersmith asks a good question at Aish.com, before answering with a story and a longer explanation. First the question: bq. "Why does Rosh Hashana, the Day of Judgment, come before Yom Kippur, the Day of Forgiveness? Shouldn't we first be forgiven for all the past sins, repent, become a new person on Yom Kippur, and then have a better chance on Rosh Hashana of getting a good judgment and a sweet year?" Now, the story... bq. "The Rabbi of Novardok told a story of the man who was riding a train. Someone mentioned to him that the train was headed in the completely opposite direction from his destination. The man, unperturbed, got up and changed to a seat facing in the opposite direction. Now he was facing his destination!" To understand the relevance of the story to the question, you'll want to read the full article.
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October 3, 2003

Iraq and Odious Debts

By Joe Katzman at 07:56
If you wait for something long enough, they say, the Internet will provide it. Winds of Change.NET has mentioned the concept of "odious debts" that should not be honoured - "Repayment... Non!" gives some background, and notes the delicious irony that that whole concept of odious debt was established by a French lawyer working on a case involving Cuba. We've also cited a recent piece that suggested the USA was backing away from this concept in Iraq. In the name of fairness, justice and hope for the Iraqi people, Iraq's new government needs to hold firm on this issue - and the USA should back them all the way. The French already gave us one Versailles policy disaster last century. We do not need a second from them in this one. So, where can you go to find all the resources you need on this topic? How about JubileeIraq.com (Hat Tip: Marten Barck's WATCH/), which has financial figures, legal definitions, a summary of media coverage to date, and more. Their motto? "The Iraqi people should not have to pay Saddam's bills." Quite. UPDATES: · Travelling Shoes asks: Where's Bono? · Jubileeiraq.com author Justin Alexander points out that he's also blogging from Baghdad, and says thanks.
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  • Robin Roberts: The latter was the case, jeanne. read more
  • jeanne a e devoto: David, the only thing that ever comes out of your read more
  • Gabriel Gonzalez: FDL, Those are all good points. I think a couple read more

Kay's WMD Report: Aftermath

By Joe Katzman at 07:31
Andrew Sullivan points us back to the source, an increasingly necessary function in a world where the press are often the last people you can trust to get you the news. Naturally, it's titled "Read The Report." What a concept: bq. "If you think that David Kay's report on Iraqi WMDs can be adequately summarized by idiotic headlines such as: "No Illicit Arms Found in Iraq," then you need to read this report. If you believe the following "news analysis" by David Sanger in today's New York Times summarizes the findings of David Kay, then you need to read this report." He follows this up with more as one scrolls down, of course, including "The Money Quotes," more on the bio-warfare angle, the importance of the ability to compare what we find in a liberated Iraq with what we thought we knew (which then allows "walking back the cat" to improve future assessments - lord knows we could use that), and Kay's conclusions based on his work to date. If you're at all serious about issues like WMD, proliferation, and the craft of intelligence, this is stuff you should read. UPDATE: Respected regular Samuel Tai notes that the entire report can be viewed here (PDF format).
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  • Werner Dieter Thomas, Vancouver, BC, Canada: That was easy Mr. Katzman. While I have never stated read more
  • Joe Katzman: No, Werner, I was thinking about another poll. Yes, a read more
  • Joe Katzman: Sam, have a look at the link to Flit's coverage, read more

SkyBox Davis

By Armed Liberal at 02:32
Update: My post on Jill Stewart's response to John Carroll is here. My post reviewing the L.A. Times' columnists is here. Original Post: When I did the post below, I couldn't find the Jill Stewart article referenced due to the corrupt, anticompetitive buyout of the New Times LA by the LA Weekly/Village Voice chain. But Sebastien, of the Sadly, No! blog came to the rescue with an electronic copy. I'll apologize in advance for whatever copyright violation I may be committing, but my lawyer is out of town until next week and so I'll just go on ahead and offer the column up. I think that this is a story that needs to be told to allow undecided voters, like myself, to balance the news that Arnold acts like a boob and grabs asses. It appears that Gray kicks them. From the November 27, 1997 issue of New Times LA, a column on Gray Davis by Jill Stewart.
Closet Wacko Vs. Mega-Fibber Jill Stewart I have this file, labeled Gray Davis, that for the last few years I've been stuffing with all the bizarre little tales that are quietly shared among journalists and political insiders about the man who, though probably viewed as a blandly pleasant talking head by most Californians, is in fact one of the strangest ducks ever elected to statewide office. Long protected by editors at the Los Angeles Times--who have nixed every story Times reporters have ever tried to develop about Davis's storied history of physical violence, unhinged hysteria and gross profanity--the baby-faced, dual personality Davis has been allowed to hold high public office with impunity.

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  • Hogan Ganschow: I agree with none of you and all of you. read more
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Guest Blog: Winds of Energy

By Guest Author at 00:23
by M. Simon The state of wind energy in the world is changing. Wind is beginning to be a significant factor in electrical production in many parts of the world. Rational thinking on the subject is beginning to be the norm rather than the exception. Wind is no longer in the realm of the true believers and is now moving to the realm of accountants. A welcome move. One development is that the Federal Government of the US of A is reducing the amount of money it spends on wind energy research. The amount is small, about $40 million total or 5% of the budget spent on wind. By Federal standards, it's small potatoes. So why is this good news?
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  • M. Simon: Jay, Excellent point about geothermal. It also serves as a read more
  • M. Simon: cris, Radiation is a good idea. Unfortunately the energy is read more
  • M. Simon: pseudoDub, Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. read more

October 2, 2003

The Art of the Knife

By Armed Liberal at 18:42
This week, we get to sit back and watch several political knife fights; one in Washington, and one here in Los Angeles. One is, obviously, the issues around Novak's column outing Valerie Plame, and the other is the L.A. Times' Kaus-predicted hit piece on Arnold. It happens that my nominal team, the Democrats, are behind both; but there's a long and equally despicable history of equally bloodthirsty work by the other side. Here's the issue. As many have noted, politics has become a team sport; what we - as 'consumers' - get is message after message in which each side probes, searching for a weakness, some vulnerability, some message that will get traction in the media and with the public, and when it finds it, tries to get the knife in. That's politics. It's supposed to be partisan, and my own (and others') protestations that it ought to be better aside, it probably hasn't been for a long time. But... [UPDATE: Susan Estrich, a professor of law and politics at USC, has an op-ed (buried below the fold) in today's L.A. Times (intrusive registration etc., use 'laexaminer'/'laexaminer') that makes my point far more eloquently than I did:
What this story accomplishes is less an attack on Schwarzenegger than a smear on the press. It reaffirms everything that's wrong with the political process. Anonymous charges from years ago made in the closing days of a campaign undermine fair politics. Facing these charges, a candidate has two choices. If he denies them, the story keeps building and overshadows everything else he does. Schwarzenegger's bold apology is a gamble to make the story go away. It may or may not work. But here's my prediction, as a Californian: It's too late for the Los Angeles Times' charges to have much impact. People have made up their minds. This attack, coming as late as it does, from a newspaper that has been acting more like a cheerleader for Gray Davis than an objective source of information, will be dismissed by most people as more Davis-like dirty politics. Is this the worst they could come up with? Ho-hum. After what we've been through?
Read the whole thing. Back to the article...]
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  • nick foresta: To Tomanbeg, Wishing won't make it so. Keep in mind read more
  • Sandy P.: FBI's starting to talk to reporters. read more
  • Tomanbeg: Both issues just show how desperate the Demorats are getting. read more

Kate's Winds of War: 2003-10-02

By Venomous Kate at 08:01
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Venomous Kate of Electric Venom. TOP TOPICS * Have the Kuwaitis found the missing Iraqi WMDs or not? At this point, the rumors are flying. What fun. Trent Telenko notes that the common source appears to be an AP report, which in turn came from a story at Kuwait News Agency. Trent says it was on the front page - where it has gone since, who knows. Other Topics Today Include: Free markets in Iraq; the latest Saddam sighting; Iran's impending nuclearization; Iranian teachers fomenting Iraqi unrest; List of Iranians blogging in English; Los Alamos security woes; More Guantanamo; CAIR's comeuppance; Al-Qaeda's new Gulf leader; Hezbollah thinks they're winning; Bill Clinton's ties to 9/11; and what Tony Blair would tell the Brits if he could speak his mind.
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  • robi: I was able to find other links to it on read more
  • Armed Liberal: I'd be wary of the Kuwaiti WMD story. From Instapundit: read more
  • Joe Katzman: That is an AWESOME speech. Would have been even better read more

The Rabbit Can Write

By Armed Liberal at 05:56
First, read this. Then read this. If your eyes are dry, go sign up now for a heart transplant. And if you wonder why the cops you know are so emotionally scarred, realize that it's one of them who would have gone in five weeks later when someone complained about the smell.
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  • cris: and why didn't the father go to the apartment sooner read more
  • inkgrrl: It is still, at least in California and sadly, the read more
  • Jean-Pierre: In Canada, the man is automatically brought to prison on read more

Walking Back the Cat

By Joe Katzman at 04:59
bq. "Walk back the cat" is spy slang for retracing the train of evidence and assumptions until the double agent, the false source or the analytic error is identified. The cat unraveled the ball of string. Rewind the twisted yarn to find the flaw." As Donald Sensing points out, the issue of missing WMD in Iraq raises issues that are far more significant than the trivial political "Bush Lied" b-s. Austin Bay sums it up as follows:
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  • button: I always heard this expression differently. Like this: "Walking the read more
  • Gabriel Gonzalez: Some people will always be convinced that sixteen words about read more
  • robi: Looks like they may have found some WMD http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_399454,00050004.htm read more

War and Police

By Joe Katzman at 03:47
Geitner Simmons has an essay that describes how "governments and activists are attempting to constrict the assertion of U.S. military power by erecting legal restrictions that equate warmaking in fundamental ways with mere police work... without any regard for their military consequences." The article he cites, by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, certainly does a fine job of listing the inehrent problems with this approach. I'm glad it does, because the blurring and deliberate misunderstanding of war vs. policing has become a staple of "dialogue" with the political left, and a firm feature of the transnational progressivist agenda. As Geitner noted: bq. "Judging from the rhetoric of Amnesty International," Rivkin and Casey write, "any use of force whatsoever would necessarily be deemed illegal under Protocol I." As dishonest and foolish as it is predictable. This is a good and appropriate follow-up to my article on Iran's hellishly dangerous idiocy, so obviously unconstrained by such things. As I replied to Geitner in an email: bq. "That, indeed, is part of the long-term concern as international law is pushed in this direction. But then, that is the exact intent behind these changes. Deeply immersed in their decadence and sheltered in their cocoons, Europe and the tranzies believe they are criminalizing all war, as opposed to just criminalizing self-defense by democracies." And criminalizing self-defense by democracies wouldn't exactly trouble many of them, either.
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Playoff Discoveries: Oct 1/03

By Joe Katzman at 03:20
Last night we discovered... * That the SF Giants can be as baffled by their ballpark as the opposition usually is. * That the Braves' Mike Hampton and Oakland's Tim Hudson are total warriors. We knew about Pedro Martinez already (130 pitches?!?). * That the Chicago Cubs pitchers are everything we were promised, but slots 7-9 in their batting order are where rallies go to die. * That Boston's Todd Walker may be small, but put a bat in his hands and he's a killer (4 hits, 2HR, 3 RBI). * That my prediction about Boston's bullpen being the key to the series turned out to be true. And what the hell was that?
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October 1, 2003

Iran: Playing With Nuclear Fire

By Joe Katzman at 06:16
"Iran's Atomic Dilemma" writes Amir Taheri. "Stopping Iran's Atomic Quest" writes Canada's National Post in an editorial. Meanwhile, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists says the window during which Iran could still be stopped is closing; some believe it may be as short as 6-9 months, and anecdotal evidence strengthens that suspicion. This should be worrying, and not just to the folks in the White House. It should be profoundly worrying to the people of Iran. Tyler Cowan explains "The Game Theory of Nuclear Proliferation," and why it's so dangerous. In addition to upping the risks of war with the USA, Iran's efforts also up the risk of catastrophe as a result of miscalculation between other nuclear powers - like Israel and Iran, for instance. I've made this point before... but Iranians need to understand the full implications. A regime that owns nuclear weapons directly threatens the personal safety of every Iranian in a way that simply hasn't been true before.
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Robi's South Asia Briefing: 2003-10-01

By Robi Sen & Nitin Pai at 05:30

Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on South Asia, courtesy of Robi Sen.

TOP TOPIC

Pakistan has for several decades been treated as a valuable ally of the United States yet many people have started to question if Pakistan really is. At the same time Pakistan has helped the U.S. apprehend numerous terrorist and now Al-Queda is calling for President Mushraf’s removal which Pakistan is taking as a serious threat.

Topics Today Include: Commentary on the Israeli and Indian alliance; India gains influence in Washington; Australia sees U.S. as necessary ally in stabilizing South Asia Islamic terrorism throughout SE Asia; and Tech Central Stations new Asia/Pacific site.


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  • robi: Great points and Pakistan is helping. I have in a read more
  • blaster: Actually, Pakistan was on the outs after the military coup read more

Guest Blog: A Reply to Foresta's Saudi Rx

By Robin Burk at 05:18
Robin Burk is a visiting instructor in computer science / information technology at West Point this year, wife of a retired military officer, & a software & engineering professional by trade. Once she responded to Tony's Friday Guest Blog post in our comments section, I knew we had found the right Guest Blogger to complete the point-counterpoint cycle and move the discussion forward. Needless to say, these are only her own opinions and have nothing to do with nor do they reflect any official position of the U.S. Army, DoD or the U.S. Military Academy. The Long, Strange Trip Ahead: Confronting Jihad by Robin Burk Thanks, Joe, for the opportunity to guest blog in response to Tony Foresta's column. What follows below is a combination of both of my comments to that post, reworked to be a bit more readable as a single article. Tony, I'm not sure what your personal experience of the Middle East is, if any. I did a limited amount of business there in the 1980s, both with Israel and indirectly with the Saudis. I did not come back with a liking for either country or culture, frankly, but one thing I did gain was an appreciation for some of the approaches that do and do not work there. I'd like to address two different dimensions to your article and comments posts: first, about your analysis and then, your proposal for action.
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