Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beauty Queen Stoned To Death For Being In Pageant

Another murder in the name of sharia, this time in the Ukraine. From the UK Mail:
A teenage Muslim girl was stoned to death under 'Sharia law' after taking part in a beauty contest in Ukraine.

Katya Koren, 19, was found dead in a village in the Crimea region near her home.

Friends said she liked wearing fashionable clothes and had come seventh in a beauty contest. Her battered body was buried in a forest and was found a week after she disappeared.

Police have opened a murder probe and are investigating claims that three Muslim youths killed her claiming her death was justified under Islam.

One of the three - named as 16-year-old Bihal Gaziev - is under arrest and told police she had 'violated the laws of Sharia'.

Gaziev said he had no regrets about her death because she had violated the laws of Islam.
As Jihad Watch notes, this kind of violence has its origins in the Koran's Sura 4:34, which tells that it's legitimate to employ violence against "disobedient" women.

For a sharp contrast, look at this case in Gedera (via Failed Messiah) where the principal of a religious school expelled a Jewish teenage girl for taking part in a beauty contest. While I think that was a stupid thing the principal did, making a mountain out of a molehill over exaggerated religious beliefs, neither he nor anybody else ever turned savage about it, and the girl is getting some help in countering the expulsion from the school.

Gadhafi Not About to Leave Libya

Posted on May 31, 2011

AP / Libyan state television via APTN
South African President Jacob Zuma, second from left, with Moammar Gadhafi in Tripoli on Monday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently joined the chorus of outsiders urging Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to give up, but that suggestion isn’t hitting home with Gadhafi, according to yet another head of state, Jacob Zuma. The South African president returned from a visit to Tripoli with the news that Gadhafi isn’t planning to go anywhere anytime soon.  —KA
The Telegraph:
“(Col Gaddafi) expressed his anger at the Nato bombings, which have claimed the lives of his son and grandchildren and continue to cause a destruction of property and disruption of life,” the statement said.
“He emphasised that he was not prepared to leave his country, despite the difficulties.”
Mr Zuma became the first outsider to see Col Gaddafi in person since May 11, meeting him in his home and seeing the bombed building where the regime says his son Saif al-Arab and three grandchildren were killed in April.

Stopping Obama’s Dictatorship

By Howard Rich
The fact that Barack Obama is working “under the radar” to strip Americans of their Second Amendment rights is truly disconcerting.

But is it really all that surprising?

Obama — who successfully rammed socialized medicine, bureaucratic bailouts and a Wall Street takeover through Congress during his first two years in the White House — is employing a new strategy now that America’s elected leaders have cooled to his radical agenda.

It works like this: When Congress doesn’t bend to his will — Obama simply appropriates its power unto himself. That’s why as anti-American as it is — it should come as no surprise that Obama’s Justice Department is currently looking at ways to bypass Congress and restrict gun ownership through executive orders.

Like a spoiled monarch, totalitarian fascist or petty third world dictator, Obama has reacted to the public’s rebuke of his socialist overreaching by actively seeking to subvert their will. This trend was evident even before last fall’s decisive Democratic defeat — which was fueled by freedom-loving Tea Party members and fiscal independents frustrated by Washington’s non-stop avalanche of deficit spending.

When Congress refused to pass the president’s energy tax hike (disguised as a “cap and trade” marketplace on carbon emissions), Obama simply ordered his Environmental Protection Agency to start regulating carbon under the Clean Air Act. As a result, American power plants and refineries are now being hit with new environmental mandates that Congress has explicitly rejected.

Get full story here.

The Week Ahead: Obama's Budget Failure and Analysis of His ‘Accomplishments’

Video by Frank McCaffrey
Get permalink here.

Has Obama Lost the College Crowd?

By Rebecca Difede
When Barack Obama first hit the political scene for his Presidential campaign in 2008, he received an outpouring of support from college students. Campus communities began to overflow with banners, flyers, t-shirts — all advertising the Obama/Biden platform. These eager, fledgling voters came out in flocks, rallying support for the young, hip Senator.

Obama’s emergence as a technological candidate also helped to give him an edge with the college crowd — having posed for several photos while checking his Smartphone, as well as his incessant presence on his Twitter account — as this generation is irrevocably intertwined with all forms of social media and the gadgets that go with them.

As fervor for the Obama campaign continued to grow on campuses across the nation, it became apparent that he was more than just a candidate to this new political population, he was a god. His speeches began to be quoted in Facebook statuses, whole clubs began to emerge just for the purpose of loving and supporting Obama, while his likeness was more commonly seen than the Nike ® symbol.

It was more than posters and screen-print t-shirts, Obama’s face was on Iphone covers, computer cases, shot glasses, gloves; his face was even emblazoned in rhinestones on sweatshirts and sweatpants. The man had ceased to be solely a participant in the political arena and became a celebrity, managing to steal the spotlight from such 2008 media magnets as The Dark Knight and the Twilight series.
Get full story here.

Let Republican Voters Pick Their Nominee

By David Bozeman

While nothing here is intended as a diatribe against open primaries (where voters of any or no affiliation are allowed to vote in the party's primary of their choice), I do submit that in 2012 Republican voters alone should pick their own nominee for president.

Supporters of Ron Paul are counting, in part, on anti-war Democrats to secure the GOP nomination. At least seventeen contests, including the delegate-rich states of Michigan and Texas, and the all-important South Carolina, provide some sort of open-primary option for voters (Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts and Tennessee are among the others).

While crossing over to stir chaos and help nominate the weakest candidate on the other side has been employed by both major parties, as well as third parties, the fact remains that any Democrat who wants to vote in my party's primary does not have our best interests at heart. In 2000, Democrats and independents elevated John McCain over the perceived more conservative George W. Bush, arguably costing resources that could have been banked for the general election.

Sadly, also, name recognition factors too highly in any party's nominating process, though Democrats seem more likely to choose an up-and-comer (Carter, Clinton, Obama). Republicans, notoriously, pick the 'next in line' (namely Bob Dole and John McCain).

Get full story here.

Ex-Atty. Gen. Ashcroft Dodges Bullet; Supreme Court Tosses Lawsuit Against Him

John Ashcroft/doj photo
By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Ex-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft is off the hook.
In an 8-0 ruling, the Supreme Court tossed out a lawsuit against Ashcroft. It overturned a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, saying the former Attorney General under President Bush  enjoyed “qualified immunity” from a lawsuit filed by Abdullah al Kidd, a former University of Idaho football player who converted to Islam.

The court ruled that Ashcroft did not clearly violate the 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

FBI agents arrested Kidd in 2003 at Dulles Airport and detained him for 16 days in three different states as a material witness supposedly for a pending case. He was never charged and never called as a witness.
Kidd claimed Ashcroft abused his power by detaining him as a material witness. He also alleged the arrest was part of a bigger plan by the Bush administration to round up Muslims, regardless if whether they had ties to terrorism.

But the Supreme Court, in a ruling written by Justice Antonin Scalia, wrote: “The affidavit accompanying the warrant application (as al-Kidd concedes) gave individualized reasons to believe that he was a material witness and that he would soon disappear.”

“Qualified immunity gives government officials breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions. When properly applied, it protects ‘all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law’,” the court wrote.

”We hold that an objectively reasonable arrest and detention of a material witness pursuant to a validly obtained warrant cannot be challenged as unconstitutional on the basis of allegations that the arresting authority had an improper motive. Because Ashcroft did not violate clearly established law, we need not address the more difficult question whether he enjoys absolute immunity.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor voted to overturn the lower court ruling, but conceded that the law in this area is not completely clear. Justice Elena Kagan did not participate.

Read Opinion

The World Health Organization, cell phones, and cancer—what's actually going on

Today, I was surprised to see posts popping up on Twitter implying that the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research into Cancer had declared radiation from cell phones to be a cancer risk. As you've read here before, and as sources like the National Cancer Institute have reported, the evidence linking cell phone use and cancer risk is actually pretty slim. So I was waiting to hear about some new study or analysis. Instead, it looks like this is really a story about context.

If you don't have the context, it's easy to look at the headlines and assume that the WHO just told you to stop using your cell phone. But, add context, and the news looks very different. In fact, with context in place, it appears the WHO isn't saying cell phones are dangerous, and isn't saying anything you haven't heard before.

Science blogger Ed Yong works for Cancer Research UK. He wrote up a very nice explanation of what the WHO announcement really means.
It means that there is some evidence linking mobile phones to cancer, but it is too weak to make any strong conclusions. Specifically, IARC's panel said that the evidence that mobile phones pose a health risk was "limited" for two types of brain tumours - glioma and acoustic neuroma - and "inadequate" when it comes to other types of cancer.
The Chairman of the group, Dr Jonathan Samet, said, "The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk."
IARC classifies different things according to whether they are likely to cause cancer, from tobacco to viruses to certain jobs. They are the gold standard for this sort of thing. They have five possible categories of risk:
Group 1 is the highest, reserved for things like smoking, asbestos, alcohol and so on. It means that there's extremely strong evidence that the thing in question causes cancer.
Group 2A includes things that are "probably carcinogenic to humans". Here, the evidence is "limited" in humans, but "sufficient" from animal studies.
Group 2B - this is the one that mobile phones now fall under - means something is "possibly carcinogenic to humans". It means there is "limited evidence" that something causes cancer in people, and even the evidence from animal studies is "less than sufficient". Group 2B means that there is some evidence for a risk but it's not that convincing. This group ends up being a bit of a catch-all category, and includes everything from carpentry to chloroform.
Basically, this is where we start talking about semantics, and the difference between official, bureaucratic categories and how people actually talk about risk in everyday life. When you hear someone say, "Using your cell phone probably won't give you cancer. The evidence supporting that idea is very weak," they are, more or less, saying the same thing that the World Health Organization is saying. Only the WHO has also added the (very reasonable) assertion that more research is needed if we want to say anything definitive about cell phones and cancer.

Dr. King’s Daughter Says She’s Leaving Eddie Long’s Church

Your Black World Reports.

The Rev. Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., announced that she is going to step down as one of the elders at the church headed by the Bishop Eddie Long.  King made the announcement that she is leaving New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on a radio show, but claims that her decision has nothing to do with the sexual misconduct suits filed against Bishop Long.

King has stood with Long as he has marched against gay marriage in the past.  She is leaving with Bishop Long’s blessing, and says she’d been planning to move for a couple of years.

During his first sermon after settling the lawsuit against him, Bishop Long made no mention of the case, and focused the congregation on the importance of moving forward.  According to the suit, four men accused Long of coercing them into having sexual relations by using his power, trips and gifts to convince the young men to engage in sexual relations.

Bishop Eddie Long’s Church Leaders Rush to Move Past the Scandal

The crowd still cheered for Bishop Eddie Long as he took the pulpit Sunday, but gone was the air of defiance that defined his appearance eight months ago when he rallied his congregation to battle amid lawsuits accusing the megachurch pastor of sexual misconduct.

Just days after settling the lawsuits filed by four young men who used to attend New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, the message was one of progress and prosperity to the several hundred gathered. The choir opened the two-hour 8 a.m. service with the gospel hymn “Moving Forward,” which began: “I’m not going back, I’m moving ahead. Here to declare to you my past is over.”

Long addressed a far smaller group than the one gathered back in September, when he compared himself to the Bible’s ultimate underdog and vowed to fight like David versus Goliath against accusations that he abused his spiritual authority and coerced four young men into sexual relationships with gifts including cars, cash and travel. Then, thousands of supporters and observers packed the 10,000-seat sanctuary, which took on the atmosphere of an arena.

After Sunday’s opening hymn, the service was decidedly focused on the church, not its controversial leader. For months, the scandal tainted Long’s reputation as an influential spiritual leader who transformed his suburban Atlanta congregation of 150 into a following of 25,000 members and an international televangelist empire that included athletes, entertainers and politicians.

Long did not address the allegations or the settlement from the pulpit. Details of the resolution have not been disclosed.

Michele Bachmann on Sarah Palin: She’s a Friend, But Would Still Run Against Her

ABC News, by George Stephanopoulos Posted By: Pluperfect- Tue, 31 May 2011 14:41:52 GMT It's all systems go for Rep. Michele Bachmann. Her last daughter leaves the nest this week and she scheduled an announcement next month in Iowa. Well be making it in the city where I was born, conveniently enough in Waterloo, Iowa. So Im looking forward to that, she told me. As I said on "GMA" I don't think you go to Waterloo to say you're not running for president. And Sarah Palin's not going to stop her either. The Minnesota Republican insisted there was enough room for two Tea Party favorites in the 2012 race.

Pentagon: cyber-attacks an act of war

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that the Pentagon will say that cyberattacks from foreign countries are acts of war.  As someone in the business I have a few questions.

First, with botnets being widespread within the United States, how will the Pentagon determine with sufficient reliability that an attack will have been originated from outside the U.S?

How will they determine that the attack would have been originated by a foreign government?  This is a difficult distinction to make.  By way of example, some time ago, Cambridge researchers uncovered an attack originating from China on The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in California.  Was the government of China responsible?  Maybe.  Is it not more likely we would see asymmetric attacks?

Just because you believe a government has committed an act of war, does it mean one goes to war?  In the U.S. that power is reserved.  Only Congress can declare war.  However, in practice, it is the president who initially engages in armed conflict.

Once at war, how would we respond?  Clausewitz and Sun Tsu tell us that one only goes to war to effect a change, and with the confidence to win.  Would we therefore bomb to the stone age attackers?

I would like to believe that before we make any firm statements that we have clear answers to the above questions, lest a cyber Casus Belli lead to a repeat of Viet Nam or Iraq.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey Nominated By President Obama For Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs

Obama Nominates Dempsey as Chairman, Winnefeld as Vice Chairman -- US Department of Defense

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2011 – President Barack Obama announced his choices as chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during a Rose Garden ceremony today.

Obama intends to nominate Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey as chairman and Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld as vice chairman. Dempsey is currently the Army chief of staff and Winnefeld is the commander of U.S. Northern Command.

Read more ....

Tupac, Biggie Alive According To PBS Hackers

image from www.citymag.nl The PBS.org website was hacked by group calling itself LulzSec on Sunday night. Their actions included cracking the PBS server, posting a false news story that Rappers Tupac & Biggle Small were alive and hiding in a small New Zealand town, what appeared to be thousands of passwords.

LulzSec claims they are not affiliated with "Anonymous", and that they took action in retribution for a recent PBS "Wikisecrets" episode on Wikileaks, which supporters believed to be unfair to Wikileaks. LulzSec has reportedly hit other media entities in recent weeks including Fox News Network and tv show X-Factor.
According to the hacker's post:
"Prominent rapper Tupac has been found alive and well in a small resort in New Zealand, locals report. The small town - unnamed due to security risks - allegedly housed Tupac and Biggie Smalls (another rapper) for several years. One local, David File, recently passed away, leaving evidence and reports of Tupac's visit in a diary, which he requested be shipped to his family in the United States."

"We were amazed to see what David left behind," said one of sisters, Jasmine, aged 31. "We thought it best to let the world know as we feel this doesn't deserve to be kept secret.".
View a full screen shot of the hack site here.


Biometric ID and The Cashless Society On One Chip: "Single Tap" Subservience

With integrated near field communication (NFC) technology, a secure processor and biometric capabilities all on one chip, the new SoCs isolate user authentication from the host computing system through a multi-factor, multi-choice authentication and data protection process. The cost-effective security platform can be leveraged across product families and form-factors, allowing IT managers to have a consistent security platform throughout the organization. NFC is poised to become ubiquitous in smartphones and consumer electronic devices over the next few years and can be utilized in PCs and tablets for user authentication, payment, virtual currency transactions, ticketing, advertising, and location-based services and applications. With the rise in enterprise network security breaches and increasing concerns related to social media sites and data stored in the cloud, security experts, suppliers and service providers alike see the need to improve network security. With this in mind, Broadcom developed Credential Vault, a feature at the core of the SoC where user and device keys and credentials are securely stored. The hardware-based authentication provided by the SoC can be directly linked to data access on self-encrypting hard drives (SED), thus offering an additional layer of security for critical user data. Technologies such as cloud computing may also require repeated authentication throughout the work day. Broadcom's secure SoCs ease the use of cloud computing applications by eliminating the need for repeated log in and authentication through enterprise-class single sign-on applications. Read Full Story

Homeland-Security Business Still Booming Ten Years Later

Homeland-Security Business Still Booming Ten Years Later
News Link  •  Homeland Security

05-30-2011  •  CNBC 
Read Full Story

A decade after the 9/11 terror attacks, homeland security is still a growth business.
The niche—that includes James Bond-like tools such as infrared cameras, explosive detectors and body scanners—is expected to grow 12 percent annually through 2013, according to Morgan Keegan.

Reported by Jack Gregson

A Rude Awakening: You Have 9 Seconds To Submit

A Rude Awakening: You Have 9 Seconds To Submit

05-30-2011  •  LewRockwell.com 
Read Full Story
"Why, why did you kill him?" a traumatized Vanessa Guerena begged to know as she was interrogated in a makeshift "command center" by detectives from the same Sheriff's Office that had just slaughtered her husband Jose. Her questioners, eager to exploit her trauma to extract information, initially refused to give her a straightforward answer. Jose, who had finished a graveyard shift at the Asarco copper mine, was sleeping when a SWAT team from the Pima County Sheriff's Office laid siege to his home on the morning of May 5. Vanessa was doing laundry, and the couple's four-year-old son Joel was watching Transformers, when the SWAT raiders pulled up in a Bear Cat armored vehicle. The siren sounded for less than ten seconds; just a few seconds later, the order to "breach" the door was given because, as on-scene commander Deputy Bob Krygier later explained, nobody inside the house had "submitted to our authority." Vanessa initially thought that there was an emergency "somewhere in the neighborhood," and called the police. When she saw armed intruders on her property, Vanessa screamed for her husband to wake up. Jose told Vanessa to take their younger son (whose older brother, Jose, Jr., was in school) and hide in the closet, while he went to confront the invaders.  

Enabling a Future American Dictator By Ron Paul

These are truly troubling days for liberty in the United States.

Last week the 60 day deadline for the president to gain congressional approval for our military engagement in Libya under the War Powers Resolution came and went. The media scarcely noticed.  The bombings continued.  We had a hearing on Capitol Hill on the subject, but the administration refuses to bother with the legality of its new war.  It is unclear if Mr. Obama will ever obtain congressional consent, and astonishingly it is being argued that he doesn't need it.
Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution begs to differ.  It clearly states that the power to declare war rests within the legislative branch - the branch closest to the people.  The founders were a war-weary people, and the requirement that it would take an act of Congress to go to war was intentional.  They believed war was not to be entered into lightly, so they resisted granting such decision making authority to one person. They objected to absolute warmaking power granted to Kings. It would be incredibly na├»ve to think a dictator could not or would not wrest power in this country. 

Our Presidents can now, on their own: order assassinations, including American citizens; operate secret military tribunals; engage in torture; enforce indefinite imprisonment without due process; order searches and seizures without proper warrants, gutting the 4th Amendment; ignore the 60 day rule for reporting to the Congress the nature of any military operations as required by the War Power Resolution; continue the Patriot Act abuses without oversight; wage war at will; and treat all Americans as suspected terrorists at airports with TSA groping and nude x-rays.

Americans who are not alarmed by all of this are either not paying close attention, or are too trusting of current government officials to be concerned.  Those in power right now might be trustworthy, upstanding people.  But what of the leaders of the future?  They will inherit all the additional powers we cede to the current position holders.  Can we trust that they will not take advantage?  Today's best intentions create loopholes and opportunities for tomorrow's tyrants.

Perhaps the most troubling power grab of late is the mission creep associated with the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Initiated as targeted strikes against the perpetrators of 9/11, a decade later we are still at war.  With whom?  Last week Congress passed a Defense Authorization bill with some very disturbing language that explicitly extends the president's war powers to just about anybody.  Section 1034 of that bill states that we are at war with the Taliban, al Qaeda, and associated forces.  Who are the associated forces?  It also includes anyone who has supported hostilities in aid of an organization that substantially supports these associated forces.  This authorization is not limited by geography, and it has no sunset provision.  It doesn't matter if these associated forces are American citizens.  Your constitutional rights no longer apply when the United States is "at war" with you.  Would it be so hard for someone in the government to target a political enemy and connect them to al Qaeda, however tenuously, and have them declared an associated force?
My colleague Congressman Justin Amash spearheaded an effort to have this troubling language removed, but unfortunately it failed by a vote of 234 to 187.  It is unfortunate indeed, that so many in Congress accept unlimited warmaking authority in the hands of the executive branch.