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November 2007
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January 2008

The True King, Yaar

George Will via Pejman:

McDonald's has 14,000 restaurants in America and an additional 17,000 in 117 other countries. The company will add 1,000 others in 2008, more than 90 percent of them abroad. Such is the power of the McDonald's brand, 48 percent of the people of India were aware of McDonald's before it opened its first restaurant on the subcontinent.

Why am I hungry all of a sudden?

The Reasons for Battle

Mark Daily:

Why I Joined:

This question has been asked of me so many times in so many different contexts that I thought it would be best if I wrote my reasons for joining the Army on my page for all to see.  First, the more accurate question is why I volunteered to go to Iraq.  After all, I joined the Army a week after we declared war on Saddam's government with the intention of going to Iraq.  Now, after years of training and preparation, I am finally here. 

Read the rest.

Link via Paul.

Interesting Morals

The Sudanese Thinker:

A few nights ago I was at a party and networking function for social entrepreneurs. The MC’s accent sounded American to my ears and so during the break, I approached, curious to know which part of the United States she was from. Stupid move. The reply was very defensive.

“I am not American. Not American. I am not from the United States. I’m Canadian.”

Damn. I would have taken it as a compliment.

The second story is even crazier.

Stupid Liars

Dear Iranian Mullahs! While our satirical website and your Propaganda Directorate deal in the same trade of making up facts and exaggerating reality, we are different in that we can recognize a spoof - but you apparently can't. On Dec. 27, 2007 you used our spoof image on your propaganda website to illustrate a "true" statement that Jews are welcome in Iran and that Western reports about mass emigration of Iranian Jews are "lies spread by the Zionist hegemony."


The Killing of Logic

Ummah Pulse: Body Counts for Two Holocausts.

General Franks was also the person who led the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and since then the body count has reached over a million and continues to rise. As far as the average innocent civilian is concerned in this so called war on terror, it is nothing less than a "live holocaust" in the making.

Of course. The Nazis embraced industrial-scale annihilation of a people. The US is arming and protecting an infant democracy and its citizens from death at the hands of Islamists. Ergo, Nazism = modern America.

So quickly does Husain Al-Qadi label America as the absolute evil that he doesn't even stop and think: Who is targeting and murdering the Iraqi civilians? Somehow the mere presence of American troops in Iraq makes them guilty of the death and carnage in the nation.

All We Need is an Audit

Ali Eteraz is being serious, I think:

An independent panel will likely conclude that it was the terrorists that killed Ms. Bhutto and not any elements associated with Musharraf himself. By doing so, Musharraf will be able to clear the cloud of suspicion hanging over his head, and might, in the process, be able to use the international community to identify how much the pro-Taliban elements have infiltrated Pakistan’s government. By severing itself from Musharraf and calling for an objective international panel, the US might also be able to see the extent of Musharraf’s complicity with the Islamists, if any.

In other words, Ms. Bhutto’s killing is a perfect opportunity for a long overdue audit of Pakistan, not merely so that the world can see who is killing innocent Pakistanis, but so that Pakistanis can see all the elements that have been involved in killing their leaders, neighbors, and families.

If the U.S. can create the conditions for such a public demonstration of the history and extent of jihadist killing and infiltration, it would arm the people of Pakistan with unerring proof about who is their real enemy. It would be a boost to their sense of survival. It would demonstrate that the US is looking out for them. They would be able to take these feelings to the polls.

Robert Spencer offers perspective:

So that's all it will take: if the U.S. abandons Musharraf and sponsors an independent investigation into Bhutto's death, the Pakistani jihad will melt away. The 46% who registered approval for bin Laden as recently as September will vanish, and the the 9% who said they had a favorable view of George W. Bush will skyrocket. The 74% who said they opposed "U.S. military action against al Qaeda and the Taliban inside Pakistan" will begin, presumably, to change their minds.

Morton Doodslag is blunt. An excerpt:

Sorry for laughing at your [Eteraz's] idea, but it's high time we stop listening to Muslim expats who devise all kinds of crazy schemes requiring America to take responsibility to fix their derelict nations of origin. Muslims hate us because we're not Muslim. It's part of their religion to hate the "infidel". They'd never accept some kind of ludicrous American sponsored "audit" any more than they'll ever truly accept the separation of mosque and state, or Western notions of human rights.

Pakistani Future

Winds of Change:

Well, it looks like Pakistan's Taliban insurgency has claimed another target in that country's ongoing civil war. Bhutto was shot by an attacker after a campaign rally; the attacker then blew himself up, killing at least 20 others. The attack was well timed: her own party will find it difficult to replace her before the January 8/07 elections, and of course Nawaz Sharif's Muslim League-N held up their end of the operation by "suddenly" deciding that they'd boycott the election, while calling for Musharraf's ouster. Hmm, wonder who might rise to power in that kind of vacuum...

08-01-08 will be an immense day for Pakistan.

Pakistani Equilibrium

Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founder of the Pakistan People's Party, was overthrown in a coup by General Zia-ul-Haq in 1977.

Bhutto was tried and executed in 1979.

In 1988, Bhutto's daughter, Benazir Bhutto became the first woman to be elected as head of an Islamic state.

Today, she was assassinated.

Metroblogging Lahore:

I personally have never supported Ms Benazir and her party (the PPP). But this, by all means, goes beyond the immediate politics of pretty much everything. It goes without saying that no one, and I mean no one -- even for a moment -- deserves to go this way, to die in such an unnatural manner and for such obnoxiously stupid reasons. Fate, as we already should know, is not without a sense of irony; Benazir has died (primarily) due to gunfire wounds while leaving a political gathering at Liaquat Gardens; Liaquat Gardens is not only named after, but is also the same place where the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Khan Liaquat Ali Khan was murdered with a bullet.

All Things Pakistan:

At a human level this is a tragedy like no other. Only a few days ago I was mentioning to someone that the single most tragic person in all of Pakistan - maybe all the world - is Nusrat Bhutto. Benazir’s mother. Think about it. Her husband, killed. One son poisoned. Another son assasinated. One daughter dead possibly of drug overdose. Another daughter rises to be Prime Minister twice, but jailed, exiled, and finally gunned down.

Vinod at Sepia Mutiny offers his thoughts on Bhutto and Musharraf.

Why Blu?

A reader asks:

Can you expand on this a little? I'm interested to know why you prefer Blu-ray.


In one word: Capacity.

Currently dual-layer HD-DVDs top out at 30 GB whereas dual-layer Blu-ray discs can store 50 GB. This leads to two, likely, advantages for Blu-ray.

1. Better Quality for Movies

Blu-ray can use a higher data rate for video and audio on its discs which should theoretically result in better quality. Of course, most people might not be able to tell the difference because (a) they don't have the top-notch video and audio setup (b) it's just tough to judge the quality at that level.

Even if Blu-ray manufacturers decide to use the exact same data rate as HD-DVD, they then have space left over for more extras: a DTS-HD track in addition to the Dolby Digital already present, a foreign language audio track, more interviews, documentaries, etc.

So far for every two HD-DVD movies sold, the Blu-ray camp has cashed on three.

2. Excellent for Data Storage

The information that I've gathered over the years -- school documents, photos, music, movie trailers, ebooks, numerous software programs (all free and legal, I think) -- can fit on a single 50 GB Blu-ray disc. I can backup and transport my "core system" in just one disc!

News from less than three months ago:

Hitachi has developed a prototype four layer Blu-Ray disc capable of holding 100GB of data.

Hitachi is claiming that current Blu-ray players need only a firmware update to play these monsters. With such an advance Blu-ray movies can be packed with even more goodies.

It's a win-win.

One might ask: Why are some companies even bothering with HD-DVD?

The production cost for HD-DVD players and the discs themselves is lower than the Blu-ray side. The cheapest HD-DVD player goes for under $100 whereas the least pricey Blu-ray player is still around $300.

I think that Blu-ray is a better format than HD-DVD. Though, I'll be content if any one of them loses and dies out by summer 2009. I want to buy one optical drive for my computer setup then and I want it to be reasonably future-proof.

Merry Christmas

For the first time, someone has invited me to their house for Christmas. On previous occasions I was either alone in Canada or brooding in the land of Saud.

I got a gift for the friend. It took me ages to wrap it. Mental note: Don't throw away the nice cube-shaped box the item came in!

The last, and the first, time I gave someone a wrapped gift from myself was about 14 years ago! My parents and my extended family doesn't really celebrate birthdays, so I've never received a gift from them nor have I given them any. It's odd looking at the West and noticing the sheer frequency of gift-giving throughout the year. It seems that Arabia is colder than Canada.

The wife of my friend had her mother visiting the family. After lunch the lady was enjoying the tasty dessert when she stopped, looked up at me and asked, "You don't go home?"

Earlier I had talked about coming to Canada in the late 90s. That's why she asked. I just shook my head.

"You don't miss it?"

"Actually I like it here," I replied.

"Oh, that's good. No point being in a place that you don't like, ay?"

I nodded and thought, "So very true."

It was a good day.

Slamming Islam

Paul knocks down the wretched house of cards:

Islam belongs on the set of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, not anywhere even remotely within modern liberal society. It is chauvinistic to such a stunning degree that even 1400 years ago it was considered extreme by many local cultures; it teaches murder for trivialities; it teaches the abuse, murder, and subjugation of non-Muslims; it specifically targets Christians and Jews for hatred; it teaches the murder of apostates; it teaches the murder of homosexuals; and it teaches absolute and complete adherence to Muhammad’s example.

So brutal and true.

Willing Warriors

Richard S. Lowry:

This Christmas, America’s sons and daughters are still at war. They stand as sentinels against the few who live in a world of hate and terror. George Orwell put it best. “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Many years ago, I stood as a sentinel with my shipmates aboard a Poseidon nuclear submarine. We spent months at a time isolated from our world, hiding in the ocean’s depths. We stood guard against the evil of our day. We provided a credible deterrent. In so doing, we gave half our life to the sea. We had no communication with the outside world for months on end.

As it remains today, protecting America was a full-time job. It is a 24/7/365 endeavor. I remember the feelings I had those many years ago while on patrol at Christmas. I remember the sense of isolation I had even though my shipmates were all around. I remember the helpless feeling of not really knowing how my family was doing. I remember the deep sadness of knowing that I would not be home for Christmas. Yet, I was proud that my sacrifices were helping to provide Peace on Earth.

Read it all.

A Taste of Desi Weddings

Jabberwock: Attending a north Indian wedding (as a baraati).

You now have to find ways to pass the time until someone you know arrives. One way is to do the disgruntled-loner thing – sip tomato soup, brood and wish you had gone to a nice warm indoor restaurant instead. Another, more entertaining way is to pretend to talk into your cellphone within earshot of the bride’s relatives: speak sentences like “Yes, it looks like the dowry won’t be enough after all" and "Don’t worry, we’ll let the groom out of the warehouse after all the negotiations have taken place."

That's just mean.

Link via Desipundit.

Merry Christmas Rich Americans


My current effective income tax rate in Ontario is approx. 20% and that's just after one year of employment. By comparison the fourth 20% in the US has an effective rate of 17.4% on all federal taxes.

What's worse is that I've to pay a 14% sales tax on most items. Let's say I start with a pre-tax income of $2000 a month. The federal tax takes away $400. Then, since not all products have the sales tax applied, let's say the effective sales tax is 10%.

I go from $1600 to $1440. Thus, my overall combined tax rate on all income comes out to 28%. That is so not cool.

Different in What Matters


Why, why, WHY is it that whenever someone who is Muslim, or has a Muslim-sounding name, does something… it’s automatically blamed on Islam? Every time I’m expected to condemn something done by a Muslim, I want to demand in turn that all Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Wiccans, Communists, Germans (on behalf of the Nazis), and Caucasians apologize and condemn every single crime committed by those who belong to their religious or ethnic group.

Isn't that an elaborate strawman?

I urge you to read more about Islam and Muslims (this website is a good start!), and better yet, to get to know Muslims personally. Discover for yourself how Muslims in Canada aren’t all that different from you. Yes, we may have some beliefs and practices that differ from yours, but in general we share many of the same values. Those “Judeo-Christian” values, based on the Ten Commandments, that I’m constantly told Canada was founded upon - guess what? Muslims believe in each and every one of the Ten Commandments too. Food for thought, eh?

These Islamic values are compatible with Canadian traditions to such a degree that just a couple of years ago the Ontario government allowed the use of the sharia regulations for family matters.

Oops, my bad.

What could be possibly wrong with a subset of laws that result in

  1. The death of 15 girls for not wearing the hijab.
  2. The bloody beatings of Iranian women for uppity behavior.
  3. The restriction of women's rights in matters of divorce.
  4. These lovely outcomes.

Perhaps Islamic values aren't shared by Canadians, eh?

Eid Mubarak!

From last year: A Bloody Faith.

I woke up in the morning. In the usual groggy mode I walked to the bathroom, turned on the light and picked up my toothbrush.

I sensed that something was amiss. I was not alone. I turned to my left--never have I gone from a state of being half-awake to full alertness more quickly.

A goat was standing there, staring at me. I politely yielded and tiptoed out of the bathroom. I went to my dad and uttered a statement that I hope to never say again.

"There's a goat in the bathroom!"

Read the rest.

How Islam Made a Difference

Robert Spencer writes:

Aqsa Parvez was sixteen years old; her father has been charged with strangling her to death because she refused to wear the hijab. Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Association, declared: “The strangulation death of Ms. Parvez was the result of domestic violence, a problem that cuts across Canadian society and is blind to colour or creed.” Sheikh Alaa El-Sayyed, imam of the Islamic Society of North America in Mississauga, Ontario, agreed: “The bottom line is, it’s a domestic violence issue.” Nor was this denial limited only to Muslims. Lorne Gunter said in the Edmonton Journal: “I see nothing uniquely Muslim in her death. If, indeed, her father killed her, her death is his doing, not Islam’s.”

Gus Van Horn:

To see a bunch of Moslems and multiculturalists so eager to comply with Western law is rather odd -- until one realizes that by doing so, they hope to stop the investigation of a murder before it becomes apparent that in the sense I just indicated, Islam is one of the killers, and multiculturalism an accomplice.

Quite right. I focused on the Islamic aspect here.

The Supreme Monarch

The New York Times via Pejman:

Long live the Queen, indeed. Just past teatime in London today (or about 10 a.m. Eastern time), Elizabeth II will become the oldest monarch in Britain’s history, surpassing Victoria, who was 81 years, 7 months and 29 days old when she died in 1901.

Queen Elizabeth II is more than three times older than me! And there have been, so far, eleven different Prime Ministers of the UK during her reign!

Welcome To The Dark Side

The Saint from Pakistan writes about his apostasy:

Islam is your identity; Islam is the best religion in the world and following its moral code is the only way to be a good human; offer your prayers and keep fasts, but stay away from complex theology, because then you’ll become a fundamentalist tableeghi, which is bad, but don’t question your faith as well, because then you’ll become a dehria [apostate], which is worse. I think of it as a sort of ‘calculated ignorance’.

It wasn't blissful for the author.

Through participating in dialogues and conversations on various online communities and foums, I slowly became aware of different objectionable questions of Islam, like why are apostates to be killed? Why if Islam is a religion of peace did Muslim caliphate wage wars on other nations? Why is music haram? Why is beard compulsory? Why should atheists and non-muslims be sent into hell? Why the hand of a thief is is to cut off, because it is such a barbaric act? Why are husbands allowed to beat their wives? Etc etc. Such questions continuously tormented at that time. I tried to find answers, but I couldn’t find them, and I became more and more restless. The answers given by different religious scholars didn’t satisfy me. I was, at that time, not bold enough to question the assumptions of religion. They were too sacred. Touching them would be the worst sin. Years of poison of religious tales and mythologies which parents and teachers had poured in me prevented me from thinking clearly. And hence, I suffered from a frustration and uncertainty.

In the end, The Saint found the way.

Intel In No Hurry

DigiTimes via Hardocp:

Intel has recently adjusted its product strategy and will postpone three 45nm quad-core CPUs that were originally scheduled to launch in January next year, according to sources at motherboard makers.

Why the delay?

Launching the CPUs now will not benefit Intel much in its battle with AMD, while they could cause damage to Intel's 65nm quad-core CPUs, therefore the company has decided it is in no rush to release new products until AMD is able to present more of a threat.

Intel basically said, "Hey, we're making loads of cash and AMD is in the gutter. Why compete with ourselves by releasing better products quickly?"

End result: Intel wins, AMD gets humiliated, the consumer loses.