Saturday, July 30, 2005

Wahhabi War of the Worlds Comes to Seattle

"only the United States today has a Muslim community from which pluralism in leadership and theology is lacking. This is not an exaggeration or a joke. Every other Muslim community in the world is divided between jihadists and antijihadists. Apologists for religio-ideological aggression -- Islamofascism -- now enjoy predominance only in American Islam." The Saudi Wahabi form of Islam is extreme; ask any Moslem. There are non-Wahabi Muslims in the US, but they are dominated by the extremists. How is Seattle involved? Stephen Schwartz has the story on Tech Central Station
A microcosm of the Wahhabi War of the Worlds was seen in the Emerald City on July 23, when one of the preeminent Iraqi Shia clerics in America, Sayed Mustafa al-Qazwini, Imam of the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County, California, stopped for afternoon prayer at the Idriss Mosque, located at 1420 NE Northgate Way in Seattle. Idris in Arabic is the name of a Prophet, but considering the behavior that occurred there recently it might better be called Iblis or the Devil's Mosque. For when Sayed Mustafa al-Qazwini appeared at the sacred house to pray on American soil, he was rudely insulted and ordered to leave by two Wahhabi thugs, identified as an Algerian and Egyptian, who called him an "unbeliever" because he is a Shia Muslim!
He continues...
The abuse directed at Sayed Mustafa al-Qazwini embodies an irony, in that on July 28 the so-called Fiqh Council of North America, a section of the Wahhabi lobby concerned with Islamic legal doctrine, issued a widely-advertised fatwa against terror. The apparent purpose of the fatwa was to reassure non-Muslim Americans about the peaceful nature of Islam. The real aim was diversionary -- to provide cover for the Wahhabi lobby while it continues to accommodate the ideology that promotes extremism throughout the Sunni community.
So the peaceful members of "a religion of peace" are overrun and controlled by the violent Wahhabi Jihadi extremists. The article has much more. Update. Brag. The talk radio shows picked this up on Monday. You saw it here early Saturday afternoon.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Back from St. Louis

I just got back from a business trip to St. Louis, Missouri for a company technical conference. The Gateway Arch is great. It is an engineering marvel, completed in 1966. It is very impressive. For us Seattleites, compare it to the Space Needle. The top of the Arch is 630 feet high. The opening is 600 feet high, so the Space Needle would fit under it!! The Space Needle claims to be 600 feet high, but it's just a tiny tower on the top that reaches 600; the building is about 590. At its base is a small national park, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park. St. Louis has a single-line light rail. MetroLink -- MetroLink. And theirs actually goes to the airport. So many cities talk about serving their airport by rail, but few actually do it. St. Louis has a large, beautiful, in-city park. Forest Park Other major draws - the Mississippi River is the east border of the city and downtown. The confluence of the Missouri River is just out of town to the north. Barge traffic on the Mississippi is ever present. And it is a huge hub for rail traffic. They are very, very big on the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and the Rams football team. And, sad to say, gambling has a large presence at the focal point of the city - the riverfront. Editorial: gambling is a lie. Its premise is: You can be a winner, not a sucker. You can enjoy a life of leisure while other people work. The sucker will work while you, the winner, go from resort to resort. Our State of Washington takes out ads on radio and TV telling people not to work. This is especially stupid for the state to do. The State depends on people working and producing, but it takes out ads against its interest. Well, it has a short-term interest in people buying state lottery tickets. But success at selling lottery tickets injures the state in the long run.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Zimbabwe chooses China

Robert Mugabe kicked out the productive farmers because they were white. But he didn't give the land to farmers, but to his cronies. So Zimbabwe that used to export food, especially when it was Rhodesia under colonialism, is now starving. Western countries are willing to give aid, but they expect Mugabe to do things he can't do, like have elections or stop killing his own people. But Mugabe has found a country that likes him as he is - the Communists of China. This New York Times/International Herald-Tribune article is a lesson in avoiding the real issues. The reporter blandly covers the friendship of China and Mugabe without managing to mention the murderous actions of Mugabe. Rather than mention what Mugabe did, he is interested in the blue tiles on the roof of Mugabe's 25-bedroom $13,000,000 palace. To Michael Wines Mugabe is a "canny autocrat," not the known killer of his own people. Highlight: the people of Zimbabwe find the influx of China-made goods to be substandard. Their term for the problem: "zhong-zhong." For Mugabe the highlight is "... Atop the list is for China to train Zimbabweans in managing prisons.
"They have a fairly advanced prison system," Zimbabwe's minister of justice, Patrick Chinamasa said. "We would like to tap into their expertise."
Yes, China's prison system is world reknowned for imprisoning and torturing political opponents. Mugabe can learn from the Chinese Communists.

My Apple email is broken

I use Apple's .mac for email. But I haven't been able to receive mail since Friday. Apple's suppot is nonexistent. I use for web hosting at a very reasonable cost. If I have a problem with my account I send pair email and they respond. Apple has no way to handle an individual problem. Oh, they have help files that tell how to hook up to your server. But I am OK there. If you send me email you will get it thrown back at you with "mailbox is full." Yes, it had two 5 MB emails in it; it deleted them. But it is still broken. (I can view all my mail folders and send mail.) BTW, this is not a free account. I pay for my email account; I also get online backup and I can keep my address book and calendar online with automatic synchronizing. But I can stop paying Apple and just use if Apple won't support me. Another offline weekend. I might have to get my own access at our cabin. But it was beautiful weather.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Attack on Roberts

President Bush's nominee for Supreme Court Judge John Roberts is respected throughout the legal profession. He is the top star among attorneys who argued cases before the Supreme Court. When he was nominated for the 5th Circuit Court (Washington, DC) the vote in committee was 14 to 3 and on the floor it was unanimous - unanimous. So why would esteemed Senator Schumer oppose him? Because he is not an extreme liberal. On what basis could not-esteemed Senator Patrick Leahy oppose him? None. So they have to cook something up. Hugh Hewitt is my favorite source for the legal system - law prof and supreme talk radio host. He says they will (1)Ask question that they know he shouldn't ask, then oppose him for being nonresponsive. Clinton nominee Ruth Ginsberg didn't answer questions about court decisions and the Republicans didn't complain; most of them voted for her. But no, "this is different" - esteemed Ted Kennedy. (2) His dirty secret: he is a Catholic, like tens of millions of Americans. So he has "deeply held beliefs." They will oppose him for this? Yes, they have nothing else. (3) Get silly. Hewitt:
It is going to get ugly, and how ugly depends upon how desperate the left is, and it looks pretty desperate. Charmaine Yost's post here makes me think there is no bottom to the left's lows.
So don't get too worried. Watch what they do and remember that the people who know his work honor him without exception.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Race-based government for Hawaii gets closer

There is action this week in the Congress to establish a race-based government in Hawaii -- "the Akaka bill." Today it is being held by one senator, but action is expected. This bill breaks the agreements made at Hawaii's statehood and changes the law to treat native Hawaiians as Indians. Opponents say that in the statehood agreement the federal government gave Hawaii 2.5 million acres to give to/use for the Hawaii natives. But it was not to be another Indian reservation; the state had flexibility. But the state has done little with the land. And this would return the land to federal control. Strange. And it is race-based. It breaks out the people of Hawaii according to race and gives privileges only to those of one race. There are Hawaiians of other races with ancestors who were in Hawaii when Hawaii acceded to the US. Why don't the Caucasian and Japanese Americans get the same privileges? Race. As much as I love Hawaii, I wish I had studied this development more thoroughly. The Republican Governor Linda Lingle is working hard for it. But why? On principle? Or does she have higher ambitions?
Senator Kyl's (Arizona) objections Hawaii Reporter

Monday, July 18, 2005

Bio Future or Boondoggle?

There is unlimited energy bombarding earth from the Sun. It's just a matter of how we capture it and put it to use - hydroelectric from water running down; growing wood; solarvoltaic are available immediately. Coal, oil and natural gas take longer. We won't run out of energy until the Sun burns out in about 9 billion years. But we have to find new ways of converting that energy so we can use it. Seattle Biodiesel is a leader at making diesel fuel from plant oils, the Seattle Times reports. They sell to several wholesalers and the retailer Dr. Dan's Alternative Fuel Werks in Ballard (Seattle). SB produces 4,000 gallons per day and sells out every day.
Customers find it very "self-empowering" to reduce the impact on global warming and that "they don't have to support foreign oil," Freeman said. He claimed Seattle has more biodiesel customers per capita than any other city in the United States.
And the new owner software entrepreneur Martin Tobias says he is an addict.
"We have to deal with corrupt and horrible countries because of this heroin dependency on fuel that we have," he said. "Here we are a drug addict."
Does it make economic sense? It takes 7.3 pounds of soy beans to make one gallon of biodiesel. The soy costs 20 cents per pound, which makes it $1.46 of soy for one gallon. Diesel is now selling for $2.59. The costs of production and distribution make it unprofitable with the current economics. There is a federal subsidy as well. Tobias intends to bring costs down by scaling up.
"You can't do it on an economic basis without a government subsidy," said Bruce Finlayson, a chemical-engineering professor at the University of Washington. "That needs to be there if we're going to have biodiesel."
As well as reducing production costs Tobais hope to develop better plants - the ones that grow - that produce more oil for a better price. I hope he will succeed. Without the subsidies.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Wilson says Plame not covert

I sent this letter to the editor of the Seattle Times this morning:
From: Subject: Headline error on Wilson story Date: July 17, 2005 7:24:24 AM PDT To: Editor, Seattle Times, Valerie Plame was not a covert operative for the CIA when Bob Novak told Karl Rove his name. Your Friday headline is in error. The Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News on July 17 says that Wilson said so this week:
The icing on the cake was Wilson's own admission, made Thursday, that "My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity."
We have known for a long time that Plame was working a desk job, driving to the office every day. Now Wilson himself admitted it. Ron Hebron
First: The Seattle Times is still repeating the fiction that Karl Rove blew the cover of CIA agent Valerie Plame. They know it's not true. They seem to think that repeating it will make it so. Second: Rove didn't blow her cover. He heard her name from journalist Bob Novak. There are emails that establish this. Third: Bob Novak's publisher notified the CIA that he was going to publish Plame's name. The CIA did not object. If she were covert they would certainly have objected. What's the big deal about this? Only one thing: the Dems thought they could blow out Rove and "everyone knows" that Rove is Bush's brain and he can do nothing without Rove. There's no coon up the tree they barked at all night. And the Seattle Times is playing their part on the team. They are knowingly printing false headlines. Tip to Update. On Sunday the Seattle Times first downgrades their verbiage, then upgrades it, but doesn't correct their errors. Rove "was part of the conversations that outed a covert CIA official..." That's an improvement. Now the fall back. "Somebody else ought to be assessing Rove's ability to handle classified information." What? Bob Novak told Rove that Wilson's wife recommended Wilson for the Niger investigation. That's not handling classified information and it's not mishandling classified information. Classified information wasn't involved. But the charge is serious. We have seen when Demos make an unfounded charge against a political enemy it just matters that the charges are serious. Not that there is no evidence. Also. Now the Democrats care about the CIA? They have been trying to make it ineffective for 40 years. In the past year Senator Kerry has blown the cover of a covert agent. They don't care about our intelligence services.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Land ungrab in Wa, DC

President Bush proposes the federal government give land to the city of Washington, DC. 200 acres, mostly waterfront. This would produce tax revenues for the city. I support the resources being controlled by the people involved. Though in the case of DC there is a history of the city government being involved only in corruption. Still, the principle stands. Washington Post Will the Democrats oppose this opportunity to revitalize our capital? They seem to always oppose local control.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Ireland is the 2d richest in Europe

Ireland was one of the poorest countries in Europe, well known for the 19th Century potato famine and emigration to America, tragic poets and murderous civil wars. But Ireland made a change of direction starting in the lake 1960s. Thomas Friedman reports in the International Herald Tribune
... the government made secondary education free, enabling a lot more working-class kids to get a high school or technical degree. As a result, when Ireland joined the EU in 1973, it was able to draw on a much more educated work force.   By the mid-1980s, though, Ireland had reaped the initial benefits of EU membership - subsidies to build better infrastructure and a big market to sell into. But it still did not have enough competitive products to sell, because of years of protectionism and fiscal mismanagement. The country was going broke, and most college grads were emigrating.
They were still on the line.
"We went on a borrowing, spending and taxing spree, and that nearly drove us under," said Deputy Prime Minister Mary Harney. "It was because we nearly went under that we got the courage to change." And change Ireland did. In a quite unusual development, the government, the main trade unions, farmers and industrialists came together and agreed on a program of fiscal austerity, slashing corporate taxes to 12.5 percent, far below the rest of Europe, moderating wages and prices, and aggressively courting foreign investment. In 1996, Ireland made college education basically free, creating an even more educated work force.
The results have been phenomenal.
Today, 9 out of 10 of the world's top pharmaceutical companies have operations here, as do 16 of the top 20 medical device companies and 7 out of the top 10 software designers. Last year, Ireland got more foreign direct investment from America than from China. And overall government tax receipts are way up.   "We set up in Ireland in 1990," Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computer, explained to me via e-mail. "What attracted us? (A) well-educated work force - and good universities close by. (Also,) Ireland has an industrial and tax policy which is consistently very supportive of businesses, independent of which political party is in power. I believe this is because there are enough people who remember the very bad times to de-politicize economic development. (Ireland) also has very good transportation and logistics and a good location - easy to move products to major markets in Europe quickly."   Finally, added Dell, "they're competitive, want to succeed, hungry and know how to win.
An educated work force. Cooperation among owners, labor unions and farmers on economic policy that encourages foreign investment. Low taxes that are simple and transparent.
"It wasn't a miracle, we didn't find gold," said Mary Harney. "It was the right domestic policies and embracing globalization."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Reducing Washington's Health Care Costs

The State of Washington has high health care costs. Particularly because the State has many requirements on what health insurance plans must offer; each additional requirement narrows what health care providers can do and together they raise the costs. In 2003 President Bush signed legislation that creates a new alternative to health insurance - medical savings accounts. An MSA combines a tax-free account to pay for routine medical expenses with an insurance policy for catastrophic health expenses; the insurance is cheap because it has a high deductible, since the account pays for routine expenses. Liv S. Finne of Washington Policy Center authored The How-To Guide to Health Savings Accounts. The full policy brief is 20 pages. There is a 2-page policy note Read the 2-page version to get an overview of what we can do today and some changes that will save Washington State a bundle of money. If you find it valuable then get on their mailing list and send them a donation. WPC does excellent work.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Wilson disclosed his wife

Joseph Wilson disclosed his wife's identity. So she clearly was not a covert agent; she drove to work every day for an office job at the CIA like you and I do. Wilson's online biography disclosed his wife's name. John Podhoretz at the New York Post shows that Karl Rove's motivation was to bring Wilson down to his place, not to out his wife who was not covert anyway. But the LSM is after Rove's head and will continue to repeat the charge that we see disproven. They are irate at Rove because it is his fault that Bush got reelected by 3,000,000 votes over John Kerry. They will repeat it until everyone "knows" it is true.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Aid for Africa?

Offline again. Now the wifi signal shows, but the router must be off. So I had no access for the past four days at the beach. We used the one beautiful day to paint our old tool storage shed. That's OK; we had to get it done. "For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!" The Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati, 35, says that aid to Africa does more harm than good. An interview in Der Spiegel:
SPIEGEL: Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa... Shikwati: ... for God's sake, please just stop. SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty. Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor. SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox? Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.
So what can be done?
SPIEGEL: Even in a country like Kenya, people are starving to death each year. Someone has got to help them. Shikwati: But it has to be the Kenyans themselves who help these people. When there's a drought in a region of Kenya, our corrupt politicians reflexively cry out for more help. This call then reaches the United Nations World Food Program -- which is a massive agency of apparatchiks who are in the absurd situation of, on the one hand, being dedicated to the fight against hunger while, on the other hand, being faced with unemployment were hunger actually eliminated. It's only natural that they willingly accept the plea for more help. And it's not uncommon that they demand a little more money than the respective African government originally requested. They then forward that request to their headquarters, and before long, several thousands tons of corn are shipped to Africa ... SPIEGEL: ... corn that predominantly comes from highly-subsidized European and American farmers ... Shikwati: ... and at some point, this corn ends up in the harbor of Mombasa. A portion of the corn often goes directly into the hands of unscrupulous politicians who then pass it on to their own tribe to boost their next election campaign. Another portion of the shipment ends up on the black market where the corn is dumped at extremely low prices. Local farmers may as well put down their hoes right away; no one can compete with the UN's World Food Program. And because the farmers go under in the face of this pressure, Kenya would have no reserves to draw on if there actually were a famine next year. It's a simple but fatal cycle.
So the UN aid causes the local prices to drop to the point that Kenyan farmers cannot compete. The aid kills the indigenous agriculture. And the UN bureaucrats, as much as they care about the starving in Kenya - I am sure they do - the reward structure in the bureaucracy they are in rewards actions that cause more dependency, rather than building up local agriculture toward self sufficiency. Update. Scott Cummins pointed me to Blake Lambert of Kampala, Uganda's "Sub-Saharan African Blues" blog and the following:
Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of De Beers Group, explains why a hand up is much better than a handout. Here's the core of his argument: "Over the last 50 years, sub-Saharan Africa has received more than $1 trillion worth of aid, or more than $5000 dollars in today's terms for every man, woman and child on the continent. And yet today many African countries are poorer than they were 50 years ago. At the time of independence, many African states had a higher per capita income than much of Southeast Asia. Today, however, more than 300 million Africans are living on less than a dollar a day, while South Korea, to take one example, which was much poorer than many African countries around the time of their independence, is now 37 times richer."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Vacation - Dreams of Iron and Steel

I have been offline and will continue to be. We went north along Puget Sound first - Sunday through Wednesday. Passing through town today. Then we go south, also Puget Sound, until Sunday July 10. I quickly read Dreams of Iron and Steel by Deborah Cadbury.
From Booklist The lengthy subtitle tells the story of this fascinating look at technological triumphs in the nineteenth century. (The book complements a five-part television series scheduled to air in 2004 on the Learning Channel.) Cadbury begins with the story of the largest oceangoing vessel in the history of the world, the Great Eastern, which was envisioned by its creator as "a floating city, majestic by day and a brilliant mirage at night," a ship that would carry 4,000 passengers across the seas. It was a mammoth project with massively disappointing results, but the Great Eastern was indeed a wonder. Other nineteenth-century wonders, such as Hoover Dam, the Panama Canal, and the North American transcontinental railroad, proved more successful, but what all seven wonders have in common is this: they were born of big ideas. The nineteenth century, Cadbury emphasizes, was the dividing line between the old world and the new, between a world that hadn't changed much in centuries and one in which rapid change, especially in technology, would become a way of life. David Pitt Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
After the French spent a fortune trying to build a canal across Panama from the Atlantic to the Pacific - they tried a sea-level route - the Americans took it up. The French were first-class in their engineering and no slouches on management. But the key difference was that the Americans tackled yellow fever which was killing workers by the thousands. And they put in locks and built it about 85 feet above sea level. This is a fascinating book. Every project was incredible. And most still are.