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September 2005
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November 2005

Economic Might

An incredible stat:

... the US economy has NEVER [*] had a streak of more than 7 quarters of 3.0% or greater annualized growth at any other time in the 58 years that quarterly GDP statistics have been kept!

BizzyBlog:

QUESTION: When is this economy going to [get] some respect?

ANSWER: When there's a Democrat in the White House.

Update 01:35 AM ET, NOV. 01
* I should have mentioned the proper context. Tom Blumer cited three instances in total (including the present economic boom) where the US economy has had a streak of more than 7 quarters of 3.0%+ GDP growth. Thanks for the comment, Tom.

Though, it would be nice, in a few quarters, to have that statement be true without the asterisk.


Preposterous

Uri Avnery is an Israeli peace activist who has served three terms in the Israeli parliament (Knesset), and is the founder of Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc). Do keep that in mind when you read what he wrote:

Carefully concealing his anger, Sharon shook hands with Abbas in Aqaba, in the presence of Bush. He saw, with growing concern, how the Palestinian leader was received in the White House and heard Bush praise the democratic elections held by the Palestinians. There was a growing danger that the Americans would realise an old nightmare of Israeli governments: an “imposed peace” that would compel Israel to return more or less to the pre-1967 border.

Therefore, Sharon adopted a cautious tactic: gain time, wait for a change of circumstances, and in the meantime be content with sticking needles into Abbas’ effigy. It was impossible to launch a demonisation campaign against him, as had been done to Arafat, with participation of the world Jewish media. But a daily message was planted: Abbas is a wet rag, Abbas is not worth anything, Abbas cannot destroy the “terror infrastructure”, it’s useless talking to him.

How did this raving antisemite, and useful infidel, get elected to the Knesset?


Controlling Access

Internet costs were raised by 50% in Yemen.

In Saudi Arabia, I would buy internet cards which provided the info to connect on the net. For example, a 50-riyal (US$13.33) card provided the data for 50 hours of internet access. So, a US dollar would get us approximately 4 hours of internet access. And this was on a miserable 56kbps connection. You can imagine how easy it would be to raise the price of the internet in such a situation.

I wouldn't be surprised if the internet setup and censorship in Yemen is similar to Saudi Arabia. For example, I read the Jewish World Review and once, in Saudi Arabia, I entered their URL into the address bar and upon pressing enter got a message which basically stated: For the protection of you and your family, this site can't be accessed. I quickly learned that any URL with the word JEW in it is banned in the Magic Kingdom.


Day of Dhoni

How many ODI matches do you know of where a score of 138 has been completely eclipsed? Today, we got that contest. KC Sangakkara, the SL opener scored a cool 138 runs not out to take Sri Lanka to 298.

Enter Dhoni, the Indian wicketkeeper, who then annihilated the SL bowlers with his 183 not out. He smashed 10 (!) sixes. It's funny to look at the scorecard here. Take a look at Dhoni's stats in the match. The column for 6s was only made to handle 6s in the single digits. Since Dhoni hit 10 sixes, the entire row has shifted to the left and is no longer aligned properly. I'll call this the Dhoni Effect.

Truly a magnificent day for ODI cricket.


Alito to the Rescue

President Bush has picked a solid conservative judge for the Supreme Court. Just last night, Alito made a good showing in the RWN poll. And if Althouse says he's "a stronger choice than John Roberts", then I'm happy!

Jayson at Polipundit brings us the delicious meltdown on the left. Lots more about Alito at Polipundit, just scroll down.

Patterico wrote an excellent post regarding Alito yesterday.

Pejman calls Alito the anti-Miers.

Hunh.

Update 04:40 PM ET
Michelle Malkin is pro-Alito. She provides lots and lots of links. And yes, Schumer is utterly shameless.


Nominees for SCOTUS

RWN polled bloggers on the right for their most desired and least desired lists of SCOTUS nominees. Take a look at the results. Five of my six most desired nominees made the list. In fact, I completely agree with the top three picks! Whereas only four of my six least desired nominees made the other list.

Here are my picks for your interest.
MOST DESIRED
Janice Rogers Brown
Alex Kozinski
J. Michael Luttig
Michael McConnell
Richard Posner
Eugene Volokh

LEAST DESIRED
Alice Batchelder
Edith Clement
Emilio Garza
Alberto Gonzales
Theodore B. Olson
Priscilla Owen

Again, I'd love to see the President nominate Brown. If he does so, then the right-of-center blogosphere will celebrate and the left-of-center will go nuts. It'll certainly make for an entertaining episode following the Miers fiasco.


The Arab Superiority (Insecurity, to be honest)

Hugh Fitzgerald:

Within Islam, the [Arab] supremacist ideology is expressed first, and perhaps most importantly, in linguistic and cultural imperialism. The Qur'an is written in Arabic, and was delivered to, given to, revealed to, the Arabs, that best of people. That best of men, Muhammad, was an Arab, and so were the Companions. The Qur'an itself should ideally not be read in any language other than Arabic (the Arabic in which it was written, not in any simplified or updated version). Qur'anic recitation is in Arabic. The students in Pakistan or Indonesia or elsewhere who pass their young lives memorizing Qur'anic passages are essentially memorizing Arabic, a language that they do not know at all, and understand most imperfectly. Yet it is 7th century Arabs, real or imaginary, who must serve as a guide to existence. Was Muhammad against sculptures? Against music? Against painting of living creatures? Very well then. For all time, and in all places, good Muslims will emulate Muhammad. For he is central to Islam, far more significant than Jesus is in Christianity. Yes, it is true that "Allah knows best" but so to does Muhammad – see Qur’an 33:21. They both know best.

[Emphasis mine]

I still remember the time when one of my cousins, in Pakistan, was being "taught" the Quran by his mother. She held a stick and told him to repeatedly recite, and thus memorize, the Quranic verses. She would provide him "a gift" and correct him for each instance he made an error. He, very likely, had no clue about the meaning of what he was cramming in his head. Though, other relatives were gushing in their praise towards my cousin. I, however, was horrified. Thankfully, I didn't go through with this brutal ritual.

In Saudi Arabia there is apartheid: the signs "Muslim" and "Non-Muslim" are everywhere, both physically and in the minds of men. But "Muslims" are further divided into Arab (first class) and non-Arab (second class). This has not escaped the attention of the many Muslim non-Arabs who live in Saudi Arabia -- or at least not the attention of all of them.

Speaking as one who lived in Saudi Arabia as a Muslim non-Arab, that's quite right. Non-Muslims live in their own compounds or mini-cities, cut off from the rest of Arabia. And that's non-Jewish non-Muslims since Jews are not allowed entry in Saudi Arabia (how's that for rabid antisemitism).

When it comes to non-Arab Muslims, they're, indeed, treated as second class. For example, I went to a Pakistani school in Saudi Arabia, and never mingled with any Arabs. My dad got paid around half the salary of his Arab colleagues. And in virtually any confrontation between an Arab and a non-Arab, the so-called legal system favored the Arab. This had the effect of young Arabs bullying the non-Arabs, knowing full well that a non-Arab would risk a heavy fine / jail time / deportation if he, in any way, reacted physically.

I heard this story from a non-Arab friend who lived in the UAE. A non-Arab Muslim he knew was at the receiving end of Arab bullies in the UAE. This guy couldn't take the verbal abuse and got into a tussle. Of course, he was deported for starting a fight with the passive Arab. He was taken to the airport by security personnel and along the way they stopped to peacefully sodomize him. Don't you know? Some Muslims are more equal than others.

VoiceOfSkippy in the comments at Dhimmi Watch:

We are not encouraged to wear sandals, become carpenters, do the "Jesus shuffle" if he had a particular walk, eat Jesus' favorite foods, etc. Also, I have little experience of Jesus having thousands of tiny and insignificant rules and rituals, when to pray, how to pray, how often, fasting (at least the Protestants), the role of women, superior camel grooming techniques, etc. The Catholics invented lots of rituals, but did not demand adherence to them on the threat of punishment.

All the mini rituals, of any cult, are mostly there to drum into your head the sense of utter subservience.

In contrast, there is no aspect of Muhammad's life that is not to be utterly duplicated, grand or obscure. Imagine transplanting a zealous 7th century arab warrior to London, or Philadelphia, to integrate and grow.

I can imagine that. Integrate...grow...raise a brain-dead army of the Ummah...kill all the infidels except the pretty girls and women who'll be kept as sex slaves for the honorable Ummah.

Update 04:30 PM ET, OCT. 31
Open post at Basil's Blog.


Kashmiri Minutemen

Yahoo news:

The United States recently warned its citizens of a possible terrorist attack on U.S. interests in Delhi and elsewhere, and Indian authorities are hunting a suspected al Qaeda operative. The city's American Embassy School canceled classes on Monday.

"We saw bodies terribly charred, limbs missing. It was a horrible sight, a terrible sight," one British tourist told NDTV television. "Don't let the terrorists win."

Gateway Pundit:

Update 3: (Sunday AM) A Kashmiri islamic militant group claimed responsibility fot the blasts. Analysts said it was probably a front for a larger Pakistan-based group. The death toll has risen to 61.


Perpetual Victimhood

Melanie Phillips comments on the Ahmadinejad speech:

Of course, the fact that the Jews did not come from ‘far away’ but were a nation in Israel long before Islam was even invented, and retained an unbroken link with and residency in that country through waves of successive invasions and colonisations — notably by the aggressive Islamic world — is utterly denied. The fact that Israel palpably has only ever wanted its own self to exist and has never had aggressive designs on any other country is also denied. Instead, the mad logic of fanatical victim complex means that Israel must be destroyed, and the jihadi tells himself that the destruction of the west in turn is likewise an act of self-defence.

[Emphasis mine]

She hits the nail on the head with that one. Every Islamic country cultivates that victim complex to some degree. The end result is of most Muslims hating and loathing the West instead of emulating it.

Now, you might think, "but by reading a little history, we can easily see that Muslims are not the victims of the West." True. However, you forget that Muslim nations don't teach real history. The times when Muslims ruled members of other religions with ruthlessness -- for example, the Mughals atrocities in the Asian subcontinent -- are simply airbrushed.

When members of other religions were the true victims of evil -- the Armenians in Turkey during 1915-18 and the Jews under the Nazis -- the history is simply ignored. In Islamic countries, the point of history is not to acquire knowledge or learn from the past but to pervertedly show that Muslims and only Muslims are the victims in this world.

Even in Saudi Arabia, the simple case of the First Gulf War is twisted into a war with which the US, and by extension the West, almost bankrupted the gullible Saudis (by charging them for the falsely heavy costs of the war). The conspiracy theory is basically that the US made money from both sides during the Gulf War by selling Saddam all his weapons and then leaving Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with the bill for fighting Saddam. So, a clear-cut case of helping Arabs is turned into a scheme for taking advantage of the Muslims.

Melanie is right to call this complex "fanatical."


The Largest Democracy Under Attack

MSNBC:

A series of explosions shook New Delhi on Saturday, tearing through markets jammed with shoppers ahead of an upcoming Hindu festival and killing at least 49 people, officials said.

It doesn't seem like it was fireworks.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged people to remain calm and said in a statement that “India will win the battle against terrorism.” The statement was read on CNN by one of his top advisers, Sanjaya Baru, who said the explosions were the work of terrorists, but did not say who the government thought was behind them.


Typepad Crisis

This is a part of the Typepad email I got less than an hour ago:

For over a year we have been growing the TypePad service and adding capacity as needed. This growth has been extraordinary, and we are now serving ten times the traffic we were serving a year ago. About three months ago we learned that the data center we were in had no more available power, with no option to obtain more. After some evaluation of options we decided that we needed to go through the process of physically moving out of that data center. And while we would need to grow capacity, we had to stay within the limits of the power available in our current facility.

At this point a race began to procure a new data center, buy more equipment and move data, and then servers, to the new facility.

We did a search for a facility that had the capacity for us to avoid getting into this situation again. We then leased space, numerous new servers and other equipment, added ten times the bandwidth of the old facility, got a dedicated data connection between the old and new facility and began to build out new cabinets to house the servers. Two weeks ago we began the move. Due to even more rapid growth than expected in the use of TypePad, we needed the capacity a week earlier than that. So basically we lost the race to move, and the excess load on the servers in the old data center started to cause failures in systems that have created poor service for you and, unfortunately, further slowed the move.

[Emphasis mine]

Yeah, basically. I complained about the atrocious service on Wednesday. I have been leaving messages on the "help ticket" and nobody mentions the sad fact that there is actually a problem at Typepad itself and it's more than just the trackbacks.

Here are the error messages I got today upon publishing the posts.

Friday, Oct 28, 06:53 a.m.
Gateway Timeout
The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.

Reference #1.60e5fcc.1130496721.d645f92
----

Friday, Oct 28, 08:26 a.m.
Gateway Timeout
The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.

Reference #1.50e5fcc.1130502278.1f5fe5e
----

Friday, Oct 28, 08:46 a.m.
Gateway Timeout
The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.

Reference #1.60e5fcc.1130503582.d7c801a
----

Friday, Oct 28, 11:03 a.m.
Gateway Timeout
The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.

Reference #1.30e5fcc.1130511687.aa7ebae
----

Friday, Oct 28, 11:13 a.m.
Gateway Timeout
The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.

Reference #1.60e5fcc.1130512202.1f63ed
----

Friday, Oct 28, 11:21 a.m.
Gateway Timeout
The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.

Reference #1.60e5fcc.1130512725.29a150
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Friday, Oct 28, 11:48 a.m.
Gateway Timeout
The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.

Reference #1.50e5fcc.1130514434.28445a9
----

Friday, Oct 28, 12:09 p.m.
Gateway Timeout
The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.

Reference #1.50e5fcc.1130515621.29bdb2c
----

Friday, Oct 28, 12:21 p.m.
Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, support@sixapart.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
----

Friday, Oct 28, 03:14 p.m.
Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, support@sixapart.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
----
I got an error message for every post published today. The last two times, the post changes were NOT published. I had to go back and rewrite / edit the post again. It seems I spend more time praying and waiting for a post to be published than writing the bloody post.

Damn it Typepad! Fix the service. And stop offering sign up deals and discounts when you don't have the bandwidth to handle the extra load.


Hell on Earth

The Religious Policeman:

An example of technology's power is Farah's camera phone. She shone it on a corner in King Saud University in Riyadh. The corner in question is a faculty bulletin board. And it contains guidance to female students on the correct way to dress in public.

Yes, indeed, even a tent comes in many variations. Some of the add-ons and tweaks are simply haraam and, not to mention, so uncouth!


No Contest for India

Sri Lanka lost the previous match by a massive 152 runs. Today, Dravid opted to field and the Sri Lankans crumbled for 122 runs. Now, Sehwag and Tendulkar are tearing apart their bowlers. Both of the Indian openers have a strike rate well above 100.

Sehwag is out! India are now at 80/1 in under 10 overs. The Indian team is too much for the Sri Lankans. Just look at Muralitharan. His two overs have been smashed for 16 runs.

Update 11:00 AM ET
India won by 8 wickets. Their best win against Sri Lanka when batting second. Tendulkar scored a comfortable 67 not out. The Lankans are facing a crushing series defeat at this rate.


Free Market, Please

Iraq the Model:

The government made a decision to cut back on subsidizing fuel for the domestic consumption. According to the announced plan, super gasoline price will rise from 50 to 150 dinars/liter, regular gasoline will rise from 20 to 50/liter also and kerosene will rise from 5 to 10 dinars/liter while the cost of refilling a propane canister usually used at homes for cooking and heating will increase from 250 to 500 dinars.

Although the prices will be at least doubled, this will not be enough to discourage smuggling activities that cost the economy billions of dollars a year.
The price of one liter of gasoline in neighboring countries will still be twice-five times as much as in Iraq and this will still encourage smugglers to continue their activities unless further decisions to increase the prices are made in future steps.

[Emphasis mine]

Why is the Iraqi government subsidising, and thus artificially inflating the demand of, oil in their country? This is a terrible policy. Americans in Iraq have to import fuel and often there are electricity shortages in that nation. Yet, the simple, and efficient, method of a free floating price is not allowed to work. I agree with Omar; the Iraqi government has to move forward and change this policy and explain the situation to their countrymen.


Miers is History

October 3, 2005:

I genuinely thought that the news of this pick was some sort of a joke. President Bush completely ignored the brilliant legal minds and enraged his loyal base. What the hell was he thinking?

October 7, 2005:

I think it's possible with this consistent pressure from his [Bush's] base, Miers might withdraw herself. We still have a few more weeks for this entire furious episode to play out.

And a few weeks later:

Under withering attack from conservatives, Harriet Miers on Thursday withdrew her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a statement, President Bush said he “reluctantly accepted” her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down.

Nominate a brilliant mind, won't you?

Pejman has got some suggestions:

... let us hope that this sorry episode will not be repeated. Let us hope that there is some actual vetting of the next nominee. And let us hope that the next nominee is one we can brag on and brag about as possessing the talent, the temperament and the necessary views of jurisprudence that would merit a lifetime tenure on the Supreme Court. "Justice McConnell," "Justice Luttig" and "Justice Brown" would be examples of very good picks. Perhaps we could take those ideas for a spin and see what happens.

[Emphasis mine]

Part of me wants the President to nominate Brown, just for the pyrotechnics on the right side and the meltdown on the left.

Update 06:02 PM ET
Praise for the Corner pours in. As I've said, I am impressed with the conservatives who didn't give the President a pass on a mediocre pick.


Attitude Problem

MSNBC has an article up about unemployment in New Orleans:

At a town hall meeting Wednesday afternoon, some confronted the mayor about the inequity of it all.

“Is slavery over or what?” one asked. “Are we going to make money or what? I got skills.”

Wow. Not making the money one thinks they should be making = slavery. It's not as though the place is completely devoid of jobs.

McDonalds is offering a $50 hiring bonus.

“So we can hire today,” explains McDonalds’ manager Linda Dunton, “and you can work today.”

Burger King has upped the ante to $6,000 for those who commit for a year.

Whatever one might say about these jobs, they aren't equivalent to slavery. They are low-paying temporary jobs. Accept one or two for now and get a better paying job in a few weeks or months. Don't trivialize slavery.


Nikah and Talaq

The Times of India:

Making prostitution a reality for many girls here are fly-by night grooms — Arab sheikhs — who come here for a few days and flee the city. The girls simply wait for yet another sheikh to marry them and hope that the money their parents make from this marriage would also fund weddings of their siblings. Many of these girls have been married for four to ten times, each wedding lasting for not more than a fortnight, say activists.

That's marriage and divorce, Islamic style. Why bother with Jihad when you got the money for 72 virgins?

Link via FFI.


A Sad Day

I had the same reaction after reading this story. Going to Bahrain from Saudi Arabia is not that suspicious. One usually goes there for a bit of fun, booze (alcohol possession is punished by head chopping in Saudi Arabia), and other questionable activities. So, the security is relatively lax between Saudi and Bahrain. It was still a gamble and Rania got a lucky hand. Going from Bahrain to Dubai is, indeed, going the other way from Europe.

The whole drama seems fishy and the last sentence just might be the reason why. This is, in my opinion, the most efficient method of keeping most Muslims enslaved. The regime, or its local cronies, don't need to threaten you if you misbehave. They can go after your younger brother or older sister or mother or father or cousin or uncle or... You basically put your extended family at risk when you say or do something the regime doesn't approve of. Often, it's the family members who tell you to shut up before someone gets hurt. This way the few rebels are kept quiet. It's a curse for family-centered or clan-based societies.


A Letter to Typepad

Dear Typepad,
I am quite pissed because of your service. Four reasons:

  1. TROUBLE WITH LOADING THE MAIN PAGE. Loading the main page of my weblog sometimes takes an eternity. Over the past few days, on three occasions, the blog eventually loaded without loading / accessing the CSS. The last time was yesterday night. Note: I check tons of blogs during the week, probably over a hundred, and none had that problem.
  2. TROUBLE WITH LOADING THE 'EDIT POST' PAGE. Often the edit post page loads without the toolbar (the one right under the 'Compose Post' tab). So, I am stuck in a situation where I can't write or edit anything. I have to reload the page which is not snappy as it used to be.
  3. TROUBLE WITH PUBLISHING A POST. After I'm done editing one of my masterpieces (read: posts), I now always save a draft and then publish. Usually I've to wait around 5+ minutes for the verdict: post published or gateway error. The gateway error is a funny creature because it means that my post either did or did not get published. From my experience, with a gateway error, there's a 33% chance that my post did not get published. How do I check that? I reload my weblog which takes its own sweet time. Every single post that I've published today got a gateway error. The last post didn't get published at the first try. I had to save it again:

    Wednesday, Oct 26, 03:36 p.m.
    Gateway Timeout
    The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.

    Reference #1.10707ecf.1130355239.30ca24
    ----
    Wednesday, Oct 26, 03:51 p.m.
    Gateway Timeout
    The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.

    Reference #1.b7e4843.1130356138.3b03b3
    ----
    Wednesday, Oct 26, 04:45 p.m.
    Gateway Timeout
    The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.

    Reference #1.40e5fcc.1130359459.b688e0
    ----
    Wednesday, Oct 26, 05:11 p.m.
    Gateway Timeout
    The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.

    Reference #1.30e5fcc.1130361028.504940b
    ----
    I bet that this post will also get a gateway error. (It didn't!)
  4. TROUBLE WITH TRACKBACKS: What he said.

All the components of Typepad are slowly deteriorating. Here it is in chronological order.
1st the trackbacks; annoying.
2nd the main page; irritating.
3rd the new post page; vexing.
4th the publish post; why am I paying for this asininity and what's going to be next?

Oh, I remembered another thing. Last week, on Oct. 19, someone wanted to post in the comments here and couldn't. She tried twice. Later, she just emailed me the comment.

What the hell has happened to Typepad?

Your sad and frustrated customer,
Isaac S.


The Deceptive Dragon

Is China fudging the numbers? Considering the fact that the economic numbers are provided by a dictatorial regime, then, of course, yes. The important question is by how much?

One of the things that ought to bother everyone is a Chinese recession. China has had an explosive economy since 1978. The Chinese who're 30 and younger don't even know what a recession is. When a downfall occurs, and eventually it will, the people unemployed as a result will likely be in the tens of millions. In the West, folks (rightly or wrongly) take out their anger on the government by voting it out. Where will all the Chinese angst be channelled?

Update 01:48 AM ET, OCT. 26
Check out the last graph that KipEsquire offers.