Since the Baron is out of town, his news “feed” is fasting. It’s in hibernation.
Here’s the thing: News Feed 1.0 was a contraption I could manage. Then came the 1.5 version and things got a little tricky. By now the Baron must be on the 3.0, which is way above my pay grade. In fact, it would take another programmer a while to figure out how the darn thing worked.
So the lovely monument to the daily doings of the world has been mothballed awaiting the Baron’s return. What follows will simply be random gleanings from the emails. I wish I could say there’s a method to my choices but really, it’s the eenie, meenie, minee, moe (can we say that anymore?) methodology. Kind of like Drudge, but without his great layout. Here you just get linear and lean and opinionated…
Here’s one that belongs in the Personal Liberty category. Do we have such a pigeonhole on the News Feed? If not, perhaps we ought to build one into the Contraption:
This is going to be a fight between Big Pharma and American parents, with Big Government entering its usual unholy alliance with BP. Don’t count the parents out too soon, though. BG tried to muscle those parents who chose to opt out of public schools and it didn’t work. Don’t come between a momma and what she perceives to be the best option for her child’s health.
From Croatia, C. Cantoni sends a link and translation of a story dated September 29th:
Ideological Battle on Croatian History
The Croatian daily newspaper, Jutarnji List, published an open letter to Cardinal Bozanic from the former head of the Jewish community in Zagreb, Slavko Goldstein. The letter contained praise for the cardinal’s recent memorial visit to the Jasenovac concentration camp, which operated under the collaborationist Ustashe government of independent Croatia during WWII: Goldstein stated that this gesture “is perhaps the best way to counterbalance the indifference of the church towards the victims of Jasenovac that has lasted for too many decades.” However, Goldstein objected to references in the cardinal’s sermon to the equality of “victimhood” due to those soldiers of the pro-fascist forces killed at the end of the war (namely at Bleiburg) insisting on the fundamental difference between state-backed genocide and war crimes of revenge: “With that I would like to say that among the victims of Bleiburg and ‘the way of the cross’ [round up and march of pro-fascist forces across Yugoslavia by Tito’s partisans at the end of WW II] there were not many innocent people.” His comments highlight the continuing polemic in Croatian society between the political left and right and the ideological battle to write the definitive version of Croatia’s recent history. It comes at a time when President Mesic has been involved in heavy public criticism of the role of the church in Croatian politics, which has in turn provoked angry reaction from some quarters of the local clergy.
And the beat goes on. The idea of people arguing still about the political and religious divisions from the last century? Hey, around here we’re arguing about who gets to say what and when and how regarding issues that date back to our Founding.
Conflicts never die. They may change shape and color, but in the final analysis it’s always about scarcity and whose story will live on as the “true” version, the canonical edition of history. It’s just another way of fending off Brother Death using history as your weapon of choice.
New Threat for the Flying Public: Body Bombs
French anti-terrorism experts have warned that suicide bombers carrying explosives inside their bodies pose a new threat to air traffic, French newspaperLe Figaro reported on Monday.
Standard metal detectors at airports can’t detect in-body explosives and full X-ray screening would be needed to spot them — a costly measure that would entail health risks for frequent flyers. The fear is that terrorists could detonate explosives on board a pressurized plane, when only a small explosion would suffice to bring it down.
The method was first used in an al-Qaida attack on the Saudi anti-terrorism chief, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, in late August. The 23-year-old terrorist, Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri, got through security checks with explosives in his rectum and detonated them during a meeting with the prince. A mobile phone was used to trigger the bomb. The prince was only slightly injured because al-Asiri’s body absorbed most of the detonation and was ripped apart.
The explosive is believed to have been triggered by a mobile phone text message, but the source of the message is not known. The attack has led to fears that al-Qaida is testing a new strategy of in-body bombs that would make air travel vulnerable.
“Our aviation controls are equipped with metal detectors, but in the case of the Saudi suicide bomber only an X-ray control would have detected the explosive,” a French police official told /Le Figaro/.
The newspaper cited a senior Interior Ministry official as saying X-raying every passenger would be unthinkable given how frequently some people fly. “The health risks would be too high,” he said.
There’s more story at the link, plus a picture of a security guard with a machine gun at the air terminal. I’m not sure how this would protect him or anyone else from a “body bomber”, though. Maybe the gun is simply a reaction to fear?
Somebody call the Israelis. They’ll create a work-around for this new evil…as they have for so many other problems…
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TERRORISM: LEBANON, AL QAIDA MEMBER TO BE EXTRADITED TO IRAQ
Lebanon has approved the extradition to Iraq of a suspected Kuwaiti al Qaida leader, accused of being the mastermind behind “terrorist attacks” carried out on Iraqi territory. Daily ‘al Hayat’, edited in London, affirmed today that the Lebanese president Michel Suleiman signed the decree allowing for the extradition of Muhammad al Dawsari who was arrested at the airport in Beirut last June coming from Greece. The newspaper pointed out that Sawsari was arrested together with the Syrian Samir Hijazi and the Tajik Muhammad Tiyarov, both accused along with Dawsari by Lebanese justice of “having created an illegal group connected to al Qaida”. The cell, maintain sources quoted by ‘al Hayat’, met repeatedly in Syria and in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ayn al-Helwe near the southern Lebanese port of Sidon with other local extremist groups “to collect funds, weapons and prepare terrorist attacks in Lebanon and against the Syrian regime”. The paper affirmed that “an Iraqi security unit will soon arrive in Beirut to take the Kuwaiti into custody and transfer him to Iraq”.
Hmm…a few more al Qaida “extremists” are caught. Don’t you wonder why Lebanon is sending them back to Iraq to begin with?
File this one from Jas under, “So Now We Know Why They Wanted Ireland to Vote ‘Yes’“
The European Union has drawn up secret plans to establish itself as a global power in its own right with the authority to sign international agreements on behalf of member states.
Confidential negotiations on how to implement the Lisbon Treaty have produced proposals to allow the EU to negotiate treaties and even open embassies across the world.
A letter conferring a full “legal personality” for the Union has been drafted in order for a new European diplomatic service to be recognised as fully fledged negotiators by international bodies and all non-EU countries.
According to one confidential paper, the first pilot “embassies” are planned in New York, Kabul and Addis Ababa.
The move is highly symbolic in Britain as it formally scraps the “European Community”, the organisation in which Britons originally voted to remain in the country’s only referendum on Europe 34 years ago.
Mark Francois, Conservative spokesman on Europe, said that the deal showed why the British should have been given a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
“As we have long warned, the Lisbon Treaty increases the EU’s power at the expense of the countries of Europe,” he said. “The new power a single legal personality would give the EU is a classic example.
“It illustrates why it is wrong for Labour to try to deny the British people any say on this Treaty at all.”
That’s not all this grand plan illustrates. At least we know it will be a nuclear power, what with France pulling the strings behind the curtains. Man, don’t they realize this is a lousy time to be a “world power”? Do these people not read the news feed?
From the indefatigable Diana West:
Banned: Swiss People’s Party Poster Opposing Minaret Construction in Switzerland
Last year, more than 100,000 Swiss citizens signed a petition sponsored by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) approving a national referendum on the question, yes or no, of whether the construction of more minarets, the towering symbol of political Islam, should be banned in Switzerland. And yes, they should be banned. Minarets, indeed, mosques, are not seen by the movers and shakers of Islam as belltowers and churches are seen within Christianity. As Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said of mosque construction in Europe, “The minarets are our lances, the mosques our helmets, and the believers our army.”
The Swiss People’s Party wants the Swiss people to vote on this aspect of Islamization. That extremely important vote, yes or no on the ban, will finally take place on November 29.
Today, however, the Swiss federal commission against racism condemned the SVP’s political poster (see her website), saying it could threaten public peace. (How does a drawing threaten public peace, and where have I heard this all before?) Meanwhile, the cities of Lausanne and Basel have banned the poster altogether.
More to come on this story, I’m sure. I may even try to answer the question, Which came first — the spread of Islam or the end of free speech?
Diana is an incisive thinker. Read the rest of this post here.
Mahmoud Abbas Does Rome
It is a battered Mahmoud Abbas who arrives in Italy, hounded by a series of worries from the challenge of Hamas at home, to the uncertain prospects for the resumption of peace talks with Israel, to the fresh wave of tensions in East Jerusalem.
The 71-year-old moderate leader of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is expected in Rome and at the Vatican for high-level meetings, where he will have a chance to discuss the uncertainties which still hover in the ever-troubled air above the Middle East, and where he will be able to take a deep breath and receive renewed international legitimisation.
This will not however be enough to wipe out the concerns he leaves at the door of the bunker in the Muqata, headquarters of the Palestinian Presidency in Ramallah (West Bank). The congress to relaunch his party (Al-Fatah, secular) which consolidated his position in summer now seems far away. Prospects for a real resumption of negotiations between Israel and Palestine seem just as far away, since the first steps taken by American President Barack Obama.
And in the absence of tangible results, especially the failure to freeze building in the Jewish settlements, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) finds himself grappling with agitation and protests. A widespread feeling of discontent forms the background to the fresh wave of tensions which has spread through Jerusalem in recent days. The scene of continuous disturbances and head-to-heads between police and Palestinian demonstrators, outraged by plans by Jewish nationalists to go into the Temple Mount — the disputed site of the ‘holy city’ for Arabs — during the Jewish celebrations of Kippur and Sukkot. Disturbances which the Israeli authorities have blamed on “troublemakers” and which the Islamic Movement confirmed with their megaphones.
Disturbances which give the Right in the PNA an opportunity to accuse the Israeli government of “provocative” behaviour, to condemn the plans for the “Jewification of the whole of Jerusalem” ascribed to Premier Benyamin Netanyahu and even to suggest the spectre of a general revolt: a “third intifada”…
Weather or Not:
Australia Does It Right
Australia’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 per cent for the month of September in a surprise development that helps vindicate the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision this week to raise interest rates.
It is the first central bank in a G20 nation to lift rates in more than a year.
The strength of the labour market immediately saw the Australian dollar punch through US$0.90 on Thursday as economists predicted the RBA would push interest rates higher again in November, up from 3.25 per cent this week to 3.5 or even 3.75 per cent. The RBA became the first central bank in a G20 nation to lift rates in more than a year.
The jobless figures also highlight the resilience of the Australian economy during the global downturn
I wish Oz would send us a real Reserve Bank Director. Or at least a do-it-yourself assembly kit so we can build one like theirs. Ours is broke.
A Japanese airline has started asking passengers to go to the toilet before boarding in a bid to reduce carbon emissions…
And maybe leave all your false teeth and wooden legs at home to save on tonnage? The sky is the limit on this wonderful environmental idea.
Irish children told to bring loo roll to school to save costs
Pupils at a St John’s girls’ national school, in Carrigaline, in the southern county of Cork, were asked to bring their own supplies in one of the starkest examples yet of the death of Ireland’s “Celtic Tiger” economy.
Catherine O’Neill, the school’s principal, said, in a letter to parents: “From time to time we will request your daughter to bring in a toilet roll to her class teacher. These rolls will be specifically for your daughter’s class and will be dispensed by the class teacher.”
Study Reveals the Obvious:
The stigma that once went with claiming benefits rather than working for a living has been lost, a study has claimed.
The work ethic that inspired successive generations has ebbed away in the face of the welfare state.
Over the past decades each generation has seen more and more people milking the benefit system, which has sapped their will to work, the research from the Centre for Economic Performance said.
The findings come at a time when both major parties have committed themselves to cutting numbers who live on incapacity benefit.
There are 2.6million adults who claim the handout meant for the sick and incapable, with around 20 per cent thought to be fully able — but unwilling — to work.
The report said: ‘It has long been recognised that generous unemployment benefits create moral hazard — workers are partly protected against the consequences of being unemployed, so they are less likely to search for jobs with the same intensity.
Well, forced union work does the same thing here. And nothing kills “the will to work” like working for the government. Unfortunately, the politicians have chosen a poor time to notice the effect of the dole. In which jobs precisely are they going to stash these people they’re putting back to work?
Politicians are idjits.