Friday, November 1, 2002


In an astonishing display of chutzpah, the European Union filed another lawsuit (the third in two years) against RJ Reynolds, this time accusing them of sponsoring terrorism and attempting to link them to the Hussein regime by selling cigarettes in Iraq.

Ten of the fifteen countries in the EU supported the head office; the dissenting nations were Britain, Ireland, Austria, Sweden, and Denmark. The EU has claimed that big tobacco companies are flooding Eastern Europe with cigarettes, some of which end up in EU countries via black market sales. They claim that black market sales deprive them of billions of dollars in lost tax revenues. The last lawsuit filed in the US byt he EU was dismissed by a judge who stated that US courts had no jurisdiction over foreign tax issues. The new tack appears to be aimed at currying support by linking the companies to unpopular regimes and organizations. (I will leave the interpretation of the last statement to the reader.)

posted at 05:07 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Laugh of the Day

From Opinion Journal's Best of the Web:

'Perhaps the Strongest Objections'
Last month we noted a dilemma for the politically correct: Muslims were objecting to the Terrence McNally play "Corpus Christi," which depicts Jesus Christ as a homosexual. How are multicultural folks supposed to react to this, since homosexuals and Muslims are both oppressed classes? Well, here's the Minneapolis Star Tribune's answer, in a story by Graydon Royce:
In London, a Muslim group called "The Defenders of the Messenger Jesus" issued a fatwa—or death sentence—on McNally. Indiana legislators sued unsuccessfully to stop a production at a state college. Religious groups routinely have staged boycotts.
Perhaps the strongest objections have come from the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights issued a statement in conjunction with the Indiana case, charging that McNally wrote the play as an attack on Christianity—purposefully to offend.
Of course! Why didn't we think of that? All you have to do is say that criticism from the Catholic League is a "stronger objection" than a death sentence from a Muslim group. And after all, those Muslims are always sentencing people to death anyway, so it's really not that big a deal.
posted at 05:41 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Bush's Judicial Plan

I deplore the Democratic Party's politicizing of judicial hearings, but this is not the way to fix the problem.

President Bush yesterday laid out an accelerated method for getting the judges he wants onto the federal bench, brushing aside longstanding traditions by trying to fill vacancies before they occur and demanding that the full Senate vote on all nominees.

The scary thing about this dispute is that I share the same opinion as Ralph Neas, commisar president of the uber-liberal People For the American Way. Of course, my reasons are not the same as his:

Requiring the full Senate to vote on all nominees "is contrary to about 220 years of Senate history and Senate precedent," he said.

What about the blather about the Consitution being a "living document"? I thought PFAW was "progressive", yet here he is defending hidebound traditions...

My opposition is because it violates the balance of power between the various branches of government, as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. It is similar to the objection voiced by Neas, but it is (in my opinion) a bit more grounded than Neas' babbling.

posted at 05:05 PM | permalink | Comments (2)

My understanding of the plan is sketchy, but my understanding is that it RESTORES the balance intended by the founders. It was always intended that "the Senate", not a committee thereof, would advise and consent.

Do you have more information on the plan?

posted by Spoons on October 31, 2002 09:45 PM

I don't have a lot of info on the plan, only what I read in the article. However, it *does* fly in the face of the way things have been done in the past.

As I think about it, however, I think I might be coming around. After all, anything that Ralph Neas opposes can't be too bad... (grin)

The "filling vacancies before they are vacant" is what clears my sinuses, however, and suggests a potential for abuse. By requiring judges to announce their retirement ahead of time, the potential for mischief by an outgoing congress (or president, or both) has to be considered. All it would take is one rushed confirmation hearing to start a series of lawsuits.

posted by timekeeper on November 3, 2002 04:11 PM

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Taking back my sniveling

A few days ago, I was griping about the lousy weather here; after reading this CNN story about the storm that plowed through Europe, I changed my mind. Nobody DIED in this area; 34 people across Europe were killed by storms with 160 k/mph winds and severe rains. Thousands are still without electricity, and mass transit was hit hard, with airports cancelling dozens of flights and trains halted due to debris on the tracks. I had no idea the storm was so bad until I read Stars and Stripes (The US military-produced paper) this morning.

Of course, the pic I sent Susanna Cornett (posted on Cut on the Bias) doesn't bolster my griping about the weather, but it was nice (albeit cold) last month. (grin)

posted at 06:54 PM | permalink | Comments (2)

Greetings from Virginia where the weather is wonderfully, miserably wet after a record-breaking drought all summer long.

Did you get lucky or claim skill or coated lenses or the like in the fact that you got a nice flare without GLARE in the image facing straight into the sun?

Lovely image. Lighting is everything.

Susanna is on a roll. She posted an image from our place a few days ago. Is she becoming a PhotoBlogger?

posted by fredf on October 30, 2002 01:05 PM

It was pure, blind luck. I used a little 1.3 megapixel digital camera (a Christmas gift from friends), and somehow managed to get a spectacular shot.

posted by timekeeper on November 1, 2002 09:09 AM

Monday, October 28, 2002

Lockstepping Gun-Grabbers

You can name virtually any issue, and I can predict with almost perfect accuracy how the letter-writers in Seattle will feel about the issue; all I need to know is how the PC enviro-nuts will vote, and that will be Seattle's dominant view.

The sniper shootings in Maryland have put the spotlight on the gun-grabber's new issue du jour: ballistic fingerprinting. Today's Seattle Times letter page has four letters on the issue, the first three of which are all in favor of ballistic fingerprinting (and the first one is obviously an anti-gun extremist). I won't bother to rebut the first two, but the third needs a brief reply.

The NRA argument against ballistic fingerprinting is only a half to one-quarter truth. To say that a gun's cartridge and bullet will be altered by usage and cleaning, and not be useful in tracing, is like saying that we shouldn't use human fingerprints to solve crimes because they can be altered by deep scarring or burning, or be disguised with latex ("Shootings jump-start interest in gun control," News, Oct. 16).
If you alter the rifling on a gun barrel significantly, the gun will loose[sic] accuracy. Cleaning will only take some of the characteristics of a ballistic fingerprint away, but the overall fingerprint will still be there.
Most law-enforcement people are in favor of ballistic fingerprinting and most common-sense people don't think this is an infringement on their Second Amendment rights.
The NRA should stick to teaching gun-safety classes and educating their members about gun laws, and leave law enforcement to the people who have to deal with too many gun-violence crimes on a daily basis.

Since the writer brought up the link between ballistic fingerprinting and human fingerprinting, I assume that he would be all in favor of having a registry of everyone's fingerprints on file, since that is what the advocates of ballistic fingerprinting are pushing. Now, I might be wrong, but somehow I doubt that this is a view that any self-respecting lefty (or anyone with a shred of common sense) would espouse.

As to the swipe against the NRA, prehaps he should look at the obverse: the VPC and Brady campaign should stick to teaching anti-gun safety classes and educating their members about gun-control laws, and leave law-enforcement to the people who have to deal with too many gun-violence crimes on a daily basis. Again, I doubt that he'd buy into that view.

I'd love to see Kim DuToit rip this yo-yo a new one, but I don't believe that he'd waste his time on such a hopeless case.

posted at 08:15 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Australia—Leading by example

Many of the world's poorest countries struggle to increase their standard of living by exporting their goods to the richer nations of Western Europe and North America. However, they often find their entry into these markets blocked by tariffs and other protectionist measures (such as quotas), politically popular but economically unsound. Australia has decided that it will back up its rhetoric with action, as imports from the 50 poorest countries (as well as East Timor, which has not been added to the UN list as of yet) will all be quota and tariff free. It would be nice to see the US and the EU follow suit; the politically powerful textile and farmer's groups will be displeased by the action, but both the consumers of the nation and the poor countries that produce the merchandise will benefit.

A link to the press release from the Prime Minister's Office can be found here.

(Link courtesy of Jim Miller.)

posted at 04:44 PM | permalink | Comments (1)

That is truly exceptional.
Good for them, and would that we had the political will!

posted by Toren on October 28, 2002 04:57 PM

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Just so you know...

It has rained every day for the past 10 days, and we are currently currently experiencing wind gusts of up to 50 mph. It's cold, it's rainy, and it's windy.

All the leaves are brown / and the sky is grey...

Except that all the leaves have been blown away by the damn wind. California dreaming, indeed.

posted at 06:02 PM | permalink | Comments (4)

Is this where we say, we appreciate your sacrifice?

Or, you were the one who wanted to travel?

I'll settle for, "sorry it sucks over there right now. *hug*"

posted by susanna on October 27, 2002 09:04 PM

Ahhh... The joys of being "am Arsch der Welt"...

My commiserations and best wishes.

posted by Emperor Misha I on October 28, 2002 05:20 AM

Wow, tough crowd. (grin)

I'm allowed to snivel myself now and then. I *do* try to not make it a habit, however.

posted by timekeeper on October 28, 2002 07:12 AM

Here's your weekly per diem reminder, timekeeper...

wishing I was TAD/TDY right now.

posted by Wind Rider on October 29, 2002 05:25 AM

More from Diana Abu-Jaber

She's baaa-ack!

Last seen castigating the Bush administration's "war script" in the pages of the Seattle Times (link and commentary here), she has jumpted to the other Washington, to pen this long snivel in the Washington Post about how the voices of dissent are being squashed by a complacent media and a one-dimensional congress.

William Sjostrom at AtlanticBlog dismisses her argument with a few facts (and provides an alternate link to the Seattle Times article, now posted at uber-lefty site Common Dreams), and Glenn Reynolds adds a few pointed comments of his own (and a few relevant links).

(UPDATE: AtlanticBlog is hosted on Blogspot, which is broken as usual. Use the front page as a link, and scroll down.)

posted at 05:05 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Whither, Lincoln Chafee?

Robert Novak had an interesting column last week on Lincoln Chafee, the Rhode Island senator that may hold the balance of power in the senate, should the GOP pick up exactly one seat in the upcoming election. He has dismissed such reprts, but always in a coy manner that hints that he is not averse to the idea, if he sees a personal gain (or perhaps for his constituents).

The column also mentions Zell Miller, the Georgia Democrat who is Chafee's mirror image. Miller often works with the Republicans, just as Chafee often works with the Democrats. However, Miller is not willing, at his age to change.

Nevertheless, Miller at age 70 speculates that he might cross the aisle if he were 20 years younger.

The article is an interesting (albeit rather flattering) article about someone who seems to relish the interest both parties are investing in him. Check it out.

posted at 04:39 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Bin Laden's will?

CNN reports that London-based Arabic newsmagazine Al Majalla ran a four-page document on Saturday that the magazine claims to be Osama bin Laden's will.

The will is dated December 14, 2001, and has a few interesting tidbits, if it is true.

"Even amongst the students of religion, only few stood their ground and fought, and the rest either surrendered or fled," the document says, referring to the Taliban, according to a translation for CNN.
Despite the setbacks, the purported will says, "We will be victorious against the U.S. and the infidel West even if it takes tens of years."
"My last advice is to the mujahedeen everywhere," the document says. "Take a breather and put aside for the time being, fighting the Jews and the Crusades, and instead devote your efforts to purifying your groups from the agents and the cowards and those impostors who claim to be scholars amongst you."
"As for you, my sons, forgive me if I failed to devote more of my time to you since I answered the call to Jihad," the document says.
It continues: "I have carried the burden of Muslims and their causes, and have chosen a dangerous path and endured hardship, disappointment and betrayal. If it wasn't for betrayal, things would be different today."
The writer advises his sons, "This is the most precious advice I can give you. I also want you to stay away from al Qaeda," asking them "not to follow in his path and seek leadership."
Because of the message to his children, Nakshabandi said he believes there will be dramatic upheaval in al Qaeda leadership, and his magazine plans another article in the next week or so based on correspondence among the group's leaders.
To his wives, the author of the document says, "May God reward you generously. You have been very supportive to me. You recognized right at the start that the path will be paved with land mines and other obstacles."
"Don't consider marrying again, and devote yourselves to your children and guide them to the right path."
The purported will, signed "Your brother Abu Abdullah Osama Muhammad Bin Laden," could not be independently authenticated.

Well, that is certainly an interesting little docuument. I'd be interested to see how bin Laden's assets (those that remain) are to be divided. The article makes no mention of bin Laden's personal fortune, which I have seen quoted elsewhere to be estimated at 350 Million dollars.

posted at 04:21 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

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