Archive for February, 2006

New template, hopefully improving

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Due to problems with the old template, I’m experimenting with the new format.

I thank you for your patience!

More to come. . .

Update I’m pretty satisfied with the overall look. Now I’m waiting to hear from the Pajamas Media ad code, and hopefully it’ll be all done!

Feedback is appreciated.

Update 2 The finished product looks nice!
(sigh of relief)

Update 3 How about a darker font?

Latin America: Successful liberal solutions

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Latin America: Successful liberal solutions would be the literal translation of the book Políticas Liberales Exitosas. Soluciones pensando en la gente but a more accurate title would be Successful free market policies: solutions with people in mind, which deals with the opening of free markets in developing economies. The book was published in Spanish by Red Liberal de América Latina, the Fundación Friedrich Naumann and the Fundación Atlas 1853, with a vision on improving Latin America through public policies that lead to growth and prosperity, as Carmelo Jordá Jordá of Hispalibertas accurately states. You can download Políticas Liberales Exitosas for free (pdf file) at the Red Liberal de América Latina site.

I am greatly encouraged by the number of books being published in Latin America on the subject of free markets. It is certainly an encouraging trend: Colombia has signed a free trade pact with the USA this week.

By contrast, in Venezuela, the Christian Science Monitor has an article on Venezuela’s unrealized revolution

“[Chávez] is transferring responsibility for Venezuela’s problems to Bush,” says Luis Petrosini, an economics professor at the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello, who has voted for Chávez twice.

In November, cardiologist Juan Carlos De Gouveia resigned from Miguel Perez Carreño hospital, one of Venezuela’s largest public hospitals. Dr. De Gouveia was raised in a poor Caracas neighborhood and spent decades serving poor Venezuelans. In his resignation letter, he described interminable battles with hospital administrators to obtain basic supplies such as sterilization equipment.

At another Caracas hospital four patients died in one night last August after its oxygen supplies ran out. This month the Venezuelan Medical Society suspended all elective procedures there, saying conditions had still not improved.

Meanwhile, the government here announced recently that it will help over 50 African countries combat malaria, even though the number of malaria cases in Venezuela in 2004 was the second highest since 1937 and twice that of when Chávez took office.
. . .
Venezuela also faces a public housing shortage. According to figures from the Venezuela Chamber of Housing, less than 30,000 homes were built in 2005 out of the 120,000 promised by Chávez.

Many of Venezuela’s roads are also deteriorating. Last month the highway connecting the capital Caracas with its international airport and second largest port was closed indefinitely due to a collapsing bridge. The closure of this major artery impacts 35 percent of the country’s commerce according to Veneconomia, a leading business research publication.

Venezuela News and Views keeps track of Chavismo tricky numbers: unemployment, now you see it, now you don’t!:

from December 2005 to January 2006 unemployment has grown by a stupendous 4%

With all these problems, Hugo’s spending money like a drunken sailor: Venezuela and Iran agreed on Wednesday to set up a joint fund of 200 million U.S. dollars for social projects, businesses and trade, where each country will contribute at least 15.5 million dollars in their first deposit within 15 days and build up the fund gradually afterward. In their spare time, Iran and Venezuela Plan War on Israel, according to that article.

While the infrastructure crumbles and Hugo makes deals with Iran, there’s plenty of money for sponsoring a samba school at the Rio carnival.

As Alvaro Vargas Llosa was saying last week, the Left should cringe at the mention of Hugo Chavez.

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Today’s articles

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Don’t miss Michael Fumento‘s article When “science” plays politics

Yet published studies at least are subject to debunking. Try reading between lines that don’t exist because journals refuse to publish them.

Such was the case this month when Science killed a paper at the very last minute by respected British scientist Peter Lawrence. It criticized “the cult of political correctness” that insists men and women are born thinking alike. Editor-in-chief Donald Kennedy explained it didn’t “lead to a clear strategy about how to deal with the gender issue” — as if Science hasn’t published countless papers on global warming with no strategy on how to deal with it.

In fact, of the hundreds of global-warming articles in Science and its British counterpart, Nature, just try finding one that doesn’t take the doomsayer party line.

I higfhly recommend Fumento’s books; these are his most recent:

He also wrote Science Under Siege: Balancing Technology and the Environment, and The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS

At the blogs:
Philomathean has a nice post on Darren McGavin.
Jay posts that ACLU: Refusal To Be Investigated Is Evidence Of Guilt

Articles from Maria
On the Halimi murder: The grisly murder of Ilan Halimi should concern the entire Jewish world; not only the entire Jewish world, but the entire world.

Ralph Peters is reporting from Iraq. Today’s article is titled Faith, blood, and bombs

Our effort to help Iraqis build a rule-of-law democracy may yet fail. But it remains a better bet that Iraq will become the most equitably governed major Arab state and that a democracy, however imperfect, will stand where a monstrous regime fell.

Read the rest.

Russian Style: Dying Young — by design

Pinpointing Chest Pain

Steyn on the Halimi murder

Monday, February 27th, 2006

A friend who prefers to remain anonymous sent this article by Mark Steyn, Needing to wake up, West just closes its eyes (emphasis mine)

. . .simply as a matter of fact, every year more and more of the world lives under Islamic law: Pakistan adopted Islamic law in 1977, Iran in 1979, Sudan in 1984. Four decades ago, Nigeria lived under English common law; now, half of it’s in the grip of sharia, and the other half’s feeling the squeeze, as the death toll from the cartoon jihad indicates. But just as telling is how swiftly the developed world has internalized an essentially Islamic perspective. In their pitiful coverage of the low-level intifada that’s been going on in France for five years, the European press has been barely any less loopy than the Middle Eastern media.

What, in the end, are all these supposedly unconnected matters from Danish cartoons to the murder of a Dutch filmmaker to gender-segregated swimming sessions in French municipal pools about? Answer: sovereignty. Islam claims universal jurisdiction and always has. The only difference is that they’re now acting upon it. The signature act of the new age was the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran: Even hostile states generally respect the convention that diplomatic missions are the sovereign territory of their respective countries. Tehran then advanced to claiming jurisdiction over the citizens of sovereign states and killing them — as it did to Salman Rushdie’s translators and publishers. Now in the cartoon jihad and other episodes, the restraints of Islamic law are being extended piecemeal to the advanced world, by intimidation and violence but also by the usual cooing promotion of a spurious multicultural “respect” by Bill Clinton, the United Church of Canada, European foreign ministers, etc.

The I’d-like-to-teach-the-world-to-sing-in-perfect-harmonee crowd have always spoken favorably of one-worldism. From the op-ed pages of Jutland newspapers to les banlieues of Paris, the Pan-Islamists are getting on with it.

WARNING: PHOTOS OF GRAPHIC VIOLENCE And getting away with this.(via SC&A)

And now for an apparent non-sequitur:
Via ¡No Pasarán!, this Le Monde article explains how Jews have been disguising themselves to not be recognized as such, out of fear, for good reason (both articles in French).
Across the pond, Yale U has its first Taliban undergrad. A little more than the usual cooing promotion of a spurious multicultural “respect”, if you ask me.

Join Amcha‘s memorial protest for Ilan Halimi this coming Sunday, March 5th, noon, at the French Consulate,
Fifth Avenue & 74th Street, Manhattan
, led by Rabbi Avi Weiss.

Update, March 1
Via Mystical Paths, a Video Memorial.

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Today’s articles, the Carnivals, and Tevye does Tokio

Monday, February 27th, 2006

I’m recovering from what I thought was a very bad cold but turned out to be bronchitis, and now I seem to be able to read my email but can’t answer it — your patience is appreciated.

Centripetal Force: The case for staying in Iraq (also available here).

From Art, a NYT editorial, A Judicial Green Light for Torture about a very troubling story of a Syrian-born Canadian, Maher Arar, who was jailed for several months and then sent to Syria where he was tortured. In addition to the civil rights abuse, the story raises many questions, including why Syria, which under no definition of the word would qualify as an ally on the war on terror.

From Mary, US will fund Hamas Authority after all. Israel warns humanitarian aid will reach terrorists

After adamantly vowing to deny American funding to the Hamas terrorist organization, Washington at the weekend backtracked by saying it will not halt aid to the Palestinian Authority, but will merely attempt to redirect it to humanitarian works.

The EU’s doing practically the same thing:

Europe has stepped in to save the Palestinian Authority from imminent financial collapse with an offer of 120m euros ($140m; £83m) emergency aid.
The European Commission says the money is for “basic needs” and will keep the authority running for about two months.

Maria’s articles
Cricket World Cup 2007 Prepares For Muslim Terror Threat – But Anti-U.S. Bias Weakens Security Effort

Dr. Krauthammer writes about the Dubai ports issue in Harbour exit, while Matt Towery looks for Good conservatives. Maria also sent The facts about the ports deal

New York pans skyscraper escape pods because the bureaucrats thought “the project was unworthy of the necessary building permits.”

The carnivals
Northern New Jersey Real Estate Bubble hosts the Carnival of New Jersey Bloggers #41


Carnival of the Insanities

And there’s an upcoming Carnival of Bauer, too.

On a lighter vein, Tevye does Tokio. Enjoy!

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The Vatican: "Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It’s our duty to protect ourselves,"

Friday, February 24th, 2006

A Reuters article titled Vatican to Muslims: practice what you preach states,

Pope Benedict signaled his concern on Monday when he told the new Moroccan ambassador to the Vatican that peace can only be assured by “respect for the religious convictions and practices of others, in a reciprocal way in all societies”.

As The Sheep’s Crib put it,

I wish our leaders spoke with the same semblance of authority that we see from Benedict XVI

Christian Churches in Iraq are being Subjected to Synchronized Terrorism (link via SC&A)

In a synchronized act of terrorism on January 29, 2006, seven churches were attacked – six by car bombs and a seventh, St. Joseph, in the banking district of Baghdad, by explosives which caused no damage. Five of the churches are located at various parts of Baghdad and the other two in Kirkuk, northern Iraq. There were a number of casualties among Christians and passer-by Muslims.

The Reuters article also explains,

As often happens at the Vatican, lower-level officials have been more outspoken than the Pope and his main aides.

“Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It’s our duty to protect ourselves,” Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican’s supreme court, thundered in the daily La Stampa. Jesus told his followers to “turn the other cheek” when struck.

“The West has had relations with the Arab countries for half a century, mostly for oil, and has not been able to get the slightest concession on human rights,” he said.

Bishop Rino Fisichella, head of one of the Roman universities that train young priests from around the world, told Corriere della Sera the Vatican should speak out more.

“Let’s drop this diplomatic silence,” said the rector of the Pontifical Lateran University. “We should put pressure on international organizations to make the societies and states in majority Muslim countries face up to their responsibilities.

It’s not only the Roman Catholics standing up: (via Dhimmi Watch, emphasis mine) the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, The Most Revd Peter Akinola has issued the following statement:

a. From all indications, it is very clear now that the sacrifices of the Christians in this country for peaceful co-existence with people of other faiths has been sadly misunderstood to be weakness
b. We have for a long time now watched helplessly the killing, maiming and destruction of Christians and their property by Muslim fanatics and fundamentalists at the slightest or no provocation at all. We are not unaware of the fact that these religious extremists have the full backup and support of some influential Muslims who are yet to appreciate the value of peaceful co-existence.
c. That an incident in far away Denmark which does not claim to be representing Christianity could elicit such an unfortunate reaction here in Nigeria, leading to the destruction of Christian Churches, is not only embarrassing, but also disturbing and unfortunate.
d. It is no longer a hidden fact that a long standing agenda to make this Nigeria an Islamic nation is being surreptitiously pursued. The willingness of Muslim Youth to descend with violence on the innocent Christians from time to time is from all intents and purposes a design to actualize their dream.

a. It is sad to note that all acts of hostility meted against Christians by Muslims in the past have remained unaddressed with nobody paying compensations or the culprits brought to justice.
b. We do appreciate the fact that at this stage of our national development, peace is absolutely necessary for realizing our dreams and aspirations. It is in view of this that Christians in Nigeria agreed to participate in the forthcoming National Census as sacrifice for the peace and progress of this nation, in spite of our protest over the non-inclusion of Religion and Ethnicity as necessary demographic data.
c. May we at this stage remind our Muslim brothers that they do not have the monopoly of violence in this nation. Nigeria belongs to all of us – Christians, Muslims and members of other faiths. No amount of intimidation can Change this time-honoured arrangement in this nation. C.A.N. may no longer be able to contain our restive youths should this ugly trend continue.

I concur with Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, and applaud Reverend Akinola. Unlike the Church of England, whose Synod has decided to to disinvest from companies whose products are used by the Israeli government in the territories, some Catholics will stand for their values and inalianable rights.

Gateway Pundit posts on Christians Strike Back in Southern Nigeria

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More on the Halimi murder

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Via Solomonia, Nidra Poller’s WSJ article The Murder of Ilan Halimi,

…In initial statements to the press, Public Prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin and various police officials stuck to their hypothesis that money was the motive for the crime, not anti-Semitism. They noted that Ilan Halimi had been tortured as if the gang were following “a known scenario.” Photos of Ilan, naked, with a sack on his head and a gun pointed at his temple were emailed to family members suggesting, according to the police, “scenes of torture at Abu Ghraib.” As it turns out, the beheading of Daniel Pearl or Iraqi snuff films are the better comparison. An anonymous police detective quoted in Monday’s edition of Libération said: “It’s simply that, for those criminals, Jew equals money.”

Later that same day, investigating magistrate Corinne Goetzmann detained seven of the suspects on charges of kidnapping, sequestration, torture, acts of barbarism and premeditated murder in an organized gang. They will also be charged with targeting the victim on the basis of his religion, French for hate crime, which carries a stiffer penalty. Justice Minister Pascal Clément explained that the charge of anti-Semitism was based on the fact that one of the suspects had declared to the judge that they picked a Jew because Jews are supposed to be rich. But, according to reports in the French press, some of the suspects in police custody said that they tortured Ilan with particular cruelty simply because he was Jewish.

No longer able to deny or play down the racial motive, the investigation is entering a new phase. One of the most troubling aspects of this affair is the probable involvement of relatives and neighbors, beyond the immediate circle of the gang, who were told about the Jewish hostage and dropped in to participate in the torture.

Ilan’s uncle Rafi Halimi told reporters that the gang phoned the family on several occasions and made them listen to the recitation of verses from the Quran, while Ilan’s tortured screams could be heard in the background. The family has publicly criticized the police for deliberately ignoring the explicit anti-Semitic motives, which were repeatedly expressed and should have dictated an entirely different approach to the case from the start. Police searches have now revealed the presence of Islamist literature in the home of at least one of the gang members.

The torture lasted for three weeks.

Three weeks.

Contrary to protestations that this was the first time in sixty years that a Jewish person had been killed for being Jewish,

The murder of Ilan Halimi invites comparison with the November 2003 killing of a Jewish disc jockey, Sébastien Selam. His Muslim neighbor, Adel, slit his throat, nearly decapitating him, and gouged out his eyes with a carving fork in his building’s underground parking garage. Adel came upstairs with bloodied hands and told his mother, “I killed my Jew, I will go to paradise.” In the two years before his murder, the Selam family was repeatedly harassed for being Jewish. The Selam case has not been opened by the magistrate. The murderer, who admits his guilt, was placed in a psychiatric hospital, and may be released soon.

Chirac, We Reap What You’ve Sown.
Gateway Pundit has more.

Prior posts Feb. 23, Feb. 22

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Halimi murder suspect detained

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

Effective July 11, 2006, Fausta’s blog moved to Please update your bookmark and your blogroll.

Leader of gang behind brutal killing of French Jew arrested in Ivory Coast, handed over to French investigators
Youssouf Fofana, who is suspected of leading the gang that abducted, tortured and murdered French Jew Ilan Halimi, was detained Thursday morning in the Ivory Coast.

French authorities initially denied but later admitted anti-Semitism played a role in the shocking murder.

Gangleader in French anti-semitic murder arrested in Ivory Coast. The Ivorian president stated Fofana will be extradited to France (link in French. You can also watch a video Arrestation de Fofana).

As I posted in an update to yesterday’s post, France2, BBC, Reuters fail to see antisemitic murder for what it is, government-owned France2 news last night finally declared the murder an anti-Semitic crime. CNN, however, uses scare quotes: Arrest in French ‘anti-Semitic’ death, along with the Beeb: French ‘anti-Jew gang chief’ held. The NYT couches the terms partially French Officials Now Say Killing of Jew Was in Part a Hate Crime. French Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy is certain: Sarkozy says religion made slain Jew a target.

As reported by M&C News, French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin were expected to attend a memorial service for Halimi later today in Paris’ main synagogue in a sign of support for the shocked French Jewish community, the largest in Western Europe.

As Hitchens says, “only a moral cretin thinks that anti-Semitism is a threat only to Jews“.

Philomathean has further comment. Gateway Pundit also has a post.

Reuters stays on the kidnapped-for-ransom slant, avoiding the anti-Semitic issue:

Policemen prevent people from approaching a Paris synagogue as the room is already overcrowded, February 23, 2006. French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin attended a ceremony in memory of Jewish man Ilan Halimi, 23. Halimi was found tortured and burnt south of Paris after being held for three weeks by a gang demanding a large ransom. He died of his injuries shortly afterwards.

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Support Denmark:

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

Rally with Hitchens at the Embassy of Denmark, 3200 Whitehaven Street (off Massachusetts Avenue) between noon and 1 p.m. this Friday, Feb. 24
Stand up for Denmark! Why are we not defending our ally?

Border security, crazy first ladies, and today’s articles

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

Gringo Unleashed translates an article in which Manuel Gutiérrez Fierro equates Bush = Hitler, U.S. = Israel, Mexicans = Palestinians. Gutiérrez doesn’t stop at being ridiculous, he rolls right along into hysteria.

Lost Budgie and Dumb Ox post about how Hospital Staff Executed Patients To Facilitate Hurricane Katrina Staff Evacuation. Shameful, and I hope all those involved are prosecuted.

One article from Art
U.S. Reclassifies Many Documents in Secret Review

Maria’s articles
I still have a heavy cold, but Maria recommended Zicam and I’m felling well enough to make a round-up of the articles she sent. I highly recommend Zicam.

On dhimmitude
Needed: Mature, Moderate Muslims: The cartoon rage is infantile
Oslo under the rule of Sharia

Crazy first ladies
Maria’s favorite columnist, Bert Preluski, writes about Voices from the left

However, if there’s anything worse than having to listen to these shnooks screaming to the choir, it’s having to listen to the ladies on the left. I refer to the sisterhood that includes the likes of Susan Estrich, Teresa Heinz-Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Allred, Barbara Boxer, Cindy Sheehan and, of course, Hillary Clinton. Each and every one of them has a voice that sounds like fingernails raking a blackboard.

I don’t want to suggest that their voices are all alike, aside from the fact that each has the power to make your ears bleed. Some, after all, are whinier than others, some are harsher, while a few are so nasal you’d think that Estrich, for instance, must have adenoids the size of grapefruits.

Last Sunday the NYT had an article about the character Jean Smart plays in 24, The First Lady Is Seriously Off Her Rocker, where

Howard Gordon, one of three executive producers of “24,” freely admits that the original model for Ms. Smart’s character was Martha Mitchell, the volatile wife of Richard M. Nixon’s attorney general, John N. Mitchell, known for her late-night calls to reporters outlining outrageous theories about conspiracy in the Nixon White House, a number of which turned out to be true. The Nixon administration response — just as in the fictional Logan administration — was to label Martha Mitchell as “unstable.”

My memories of Martha Mitchell aren’t all that recent (and yes, if memory serves me, she was an unstable woman), but Mr. Gordon could also seek inspiration in the persent from watching Hillary’s tirades, or Nancy Pelosi’s rantings.

On the Dubai port controversy
Look at the airports. Why would terrorists bother with seaports?
So, 3 Muslims walk into a port …
White House: Tone deaf or brain dead?
NRO Symposium: Port Insecurity? On the Dubai port deal
The Bush Isle of Thanatos
They are all profilers now

Other articles
California postpones execution indefinitely

Wrong Answer
Deny this!
U.S.-German Flare-Up Over Vast Nazi Camp Archives

Tempers are flaring over a United States demand to open to scholars and researchers a huge repository of information about the Holocaust contained in the files of the International Tracing Service at Bad Arolsen, Germany.

Based in part on documents gathered by Allied forces as they liberated Nazi concentration camps, the stock of files held by the organization stretches for about 15.5 miles, and holds information on 17.5 million people. It amounts to one of the largest closed archives anywhere.

The most likely victim of a hate crime in the U.S. is a poor, young, white, single urban dweller

Don’t holler out ‘Remember Chappaquiddick!’ while Ted Kennedy is present.