Divisions among Muslims

Weird University Professors -- 9-11 was a US Government Conspiracy

I realize that this has gotten some attention, but this interview is sufficiently amusing that I thought that I would put up a link to it.

Fox News has an interesting interview with the University of Wisconsin lecturer who thinks that 9-11 was staged by the US government. When asked about his qualifications for teaching a class on Islam he points to his research on 9-11, but then he also claims that his class is not on the 9-11 attack. he rest of the interview is really weird. I didn't know this but apparently there were no hijackers on the planes that crashed. Who knew? It is interesting to listen to him explain away the witnesses, the video tapes, and the passangers' telephone calls.


How much weight to put on testosterone testing for Floyd Landis?

This is an interesting read.

Art DeVany has a nice discussion on the testosterone testing issues involving Floyd Landis, the Tour de France winner.

UPDATE: Landis failed the backup test, but the points raised by DeVany are even more important to read now. If Art is correct, the statements about Landis can only be viewed as a very cruel mistake.

UPDATE 2: Here is another take from the WSJ:
One evening nearly two decades ago, four Swedish men in their mid-thirties gathered to quaff about 10 alcoholic drinks over six hours. Two weeks ago, American cyclist Floyd Landis says he drank two beers and "at least" four shots of whiskey after the worst day of his professional career.

Besides a taste for the bottle, these five men have something in common: The day after drinking, their urine showed an elevated "T/E ratio" of testosterone to epitestosterone, hormones that occur naturally in the body.

For Mr. Landis, the test result was bad news: It may cost him the Tour de France title, as the elevated ratio is indicative of the use of banned performance-enhancing substances that raise testosterone levels. On the other hand, that Swedish night on the town -- part of a body of research on alcohol's effect on testosterone levels -- might help him clear his name.

Testosterone and epitestosterone generally are in balance in the body, but some athletes inject steroids or other substances to artificially raise their testosterone levels, which can help long-term muscle building. (Though it generally takes more than a single day for any muscle-building effect to appear.) The day after his drunken night, Mr. Landis's T/E ratio was found to be 11-to-1, well above the 4-to-1 limit set by international cycling. But athletes' testosterone levels vary widely; for example, a test1 of saliva in Canadian university students this year found an eight-fold range of the hormone. If Mr. Landis's T/E ratio is normally toward the high end, a night of drinking could have raised it dramatically, putting him above cycling's limit. . . .


Poll: Democrats moving away from Israel

The poll results suggested that the Middle East conflict could have domestic political consequences in the 2006 midterm elections and beyond, due in part to a growing partisan divide over Israel and its relationship with the United States. Republicans generally expressed stronger support for Israel, while Democrats tended to believe the United States should play a more neutral role in the region.

Overall, 50% of the survey's respondents said the United States should continue to align with Israel, compared with 44% who backed a more neutral posture. But the partisan gap was clear: Democrats supported neutrality over alignment, 54% to 39%, while Republicans supported alignment with the Jewish state 64% to 29%. . . .

More on the numbers: While 64% of Republicans view what Israel is doing in the war as justified and 17 erpcent do not, only 29% of Democrats view it as justified and 36% do not.

Obviously, I am in with the 64% of Republicans and the 29% of Democrats on this one. It would be nice if we lived in a world without violence, but given that we do, I am not sure what other alternatives that Israel has. Israel seems to have gone more than the extra mile in giving back land or proposing to give back land and the other side seems only to be happy with their destruction. The recent statements, even this past week, by Iran are very worrisome. A couple of nuclear bombs and there will be nothing left of Israel.

Analyzing the congressional record

Say what?: "National ACLU accuses black Mississippi mayor of racial profiling"

Here is a black mayor who won 88 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. Accusing him of racism seems beyond words to try explaining.

The national American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday accused the city's black mayor of civil rights violations including racial profiling in his crusade to stem crime in Mississippi's capital city.

The accusations against Mayor Frank Melton and police are based on complaints from people who say they were pulled over on the basis of their race and searched without probable cause, the ACLU's national racial profiling coordinator, King Downing, said at a news conference. . . . .

However, Melton said in an interview Tuesday that he wasn't interested in the ACLU's complaints against him or the police, and denied he had violated anyone's civil rights.

"We have 26 people that have been killed in Jackson this year. We have 300,000 people killed across America each year. The majority of them are African-American and it's time to do something different," Melton said. "I want to know what the ACLU wants to do besides criticize."

Melton took office last July after winning 88% of the vote on a tough-on-crime platform. . . . .

Will Lieberman Lose By More Than 20 Percent?

Lieberman is now down by thirteen points and the trend is strongly going the wrong way. Now comes even this bad news:

Facing a likely defeat, Lieberman has scrapped plans for a massive and costly get-out-the-vote operation on primary day, according to several Democratic sources. Instead, he will shift some of his resources into more television commercials designed to highlight his accomplishments for the state, in hopes of boosting his battered image. . . . .

What does it mean to say that a siting US Senator loses by more than 20 percent in his party's primary? That is really a massive blowout, and would be a really decisive rejection by the party that he has held public office for over the last 35 years. Would he really go on and run as an independent?

UPDATE: Statement from Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ):
"I frankly believe that if there is a significant margin of victory, if Mr. Lamont wins, I find it hard to believe that Joe Lieberman would challenge that, but it's his decision. I am going to support the Democratic candidate," Lautenberg said in an interview with National Public Radio.

Asked what sort of margin he would consider significant, the New Jersey senator answered: "I think if oh, let's say 20 percent of the people, or 10 percent of the people in the Democratic Party, and they're signed up as Democrats, don't want to give him a vote, I think he really has to take a look at what reality is."


Senate Vote on Minimum Wage Increase Tonight or Tomorrow

My new op-ed on the minimum wage increase going through congress is up:

Democrats are lacking in new ideas, so maybe that’s why Republicans are stealing their old ones. With some Republicans' poll numbers looking grim, early last Saturday morning House Republicans rushed through legislation raising the minimum wage. The Senate votes before shutting down for August recess, and will perhaps finish what is supposedly the process of stealing — or at least neutralizing — the centerpiece of the Democrats’ fall election agenda.

Chances for Senate passage are too close to call. Despite Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's support, many senators on both sides are unhappy. Democrats don't want to give up a campaign issue for the fall and complain that the bill also eliminates the inheritance tax for individual estates under $5 million; Republicans, meanwhile, take unseemly glee in getting Democrats to vote against a minimum-wage increase. But with control of Congress on the line, what is lost in the debate is how increasing the minimum wage harms the most vulnerable workers. . . . .

UPDATE: While the bill got a majority of 56-42, it failed to get the 60 votes required for cloture.

Diana Irey for Congress, Running Against John Murtha

Diana Irey is running against Congressman John Murtha. This race actually looks competitive and defeating Murtha would surely make a lot of news.

Additional info:

Rep. John Murtha, responding Wednesday to a defamation lawsuit filed by a Marine accused of killing Iraqi civilians in 2005, mistakenly said Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich had been "charged in the incident at Haditha." In fact, no charges have been filed against anybody.

Murtha quickly issued a new press release Wednesday deleting "charged" and describing Wuterich as leader of "the squad accused of killing two dozen civilians." The lawsuit accused Murtha of spreading "false and malicious lies" about the sergeant in his May 19 statement which said Marines "killed a number of civilians without anybody firing at them."

Although Murtha has carried his western Pennsylvania district by landslide margins and was unopposed in 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry won it with only 51 percent. Diana Irey, a Republican county commissioner, is waging a vigorous campaign, and last week accused Murtha of "regular and willful misstatements of key facts."

UPDATE: Here is an interview that Irey had on Hannity & Colmes

Accounting Government Style

For many decades this has been a serious problem (though some important reforms were adopted when the Republicans took over in 1995), but if the Republicans can finally get this reform through, it will have a major impact.

The set the government doesn't talk about is the audited financial statement produced by the government's accountants following standard accounting rules. It reports a more ominous financial picture: a $760 billion deficit for 2005. If Social Security and Medicare were included — as the board that sets accounting rules is considering — the federal deficit would have been $3.5 trillion.

Congress has written its own accounting rules — which would be illegal for a corporation to use because they ignore important costs such as the growing expense of retirement benefits for civil servants and military personnel. . . . . A growing number of Congress members and accounting experts say it's time for Congress to start using the audited financial statement when it makes budget decisions.

Bad Poll News for Senator Lieberman


The Inability to Use Guns Defensively in New Zealand

"He was threatening them with their lives. He said: 'Give me the guns or I'll kill you.' He kept repeating it... It happened in a matter of seconds. What would you do?" said Carvell snr of his son's actions.

Greg Carvell then did "the only thing he could do", Carvell snr said: he shot Beckham in the stomach at close range with a handgun. Beckham dropped the machete and staggered towards the door before he fell, and Carvell ran to give him first aid. Motley rang emergency services.

Carvell snr, who was not in the shop when the incident happened, said staff now believed they had seen Beckham in the shop before, perhaps "casing out the joint".

The ordeal has left Greg Carvell so worried for his family's safety that he had moved his 9-month-old daughter into his room to keep her close by, said Carvell snr.

Auckland University senior law lecturer Scott Optican said Beckham's alleged comments before the shooting bolstered Carvell's claim of self-defence. He said the words could be used in evidence if the defence was required. "The guy [allegedly] said 'I am going to kill'. If that is true, it makes his legitimate claim of self-defence even stronger. Why should he not take him at his word? As it is, I think he's got a very strong case... it looks like a classic paradigm case of self-defence." . . . .

The Carvell family is also angry at the police's handling of the incident, which they say has left them "feeling more like suspects than victims".

Detective Senior Sergeant Simon Scott said yesterday police had not yet spoken to Beckham, who last night remained under police guard in Auckland Hospital and was reported to be in a stable condition and able to talk.

"We're waiting for advice from the medical experts as to when we can do that," he said. "Over the next few days we should be able to speak to him and get his side of the story."

Scott said inquiries were continuing this weekend into the incident, and a decision on whether any charges would be laid was not expected until this week.

Speculation has centred on how Carvell was able to have access to a loaded handgun in such a short period of time. But Carvell snr said they had nothing to hide.

"The gun was not loaded in the technical sense [before Beckham entered the shop]. I'm not telling you where it was, but it was not on the desk loaded... A firearm can be loaded very quickly."

Carvell snr, a well-known gun lobbyist, also said he thought the rules around about people not having loaded guns to protect themselves were "crap" in any case.

"Why shouldn't everyone be able to arm themselves? The police don't help you any more." . . . .

Note: Please see thankgodforguns for a discussion on this article and it is through his link that I found this article.


"Gun Dealers Reach Settlement With NYC Mayor Bloomberg."

Starting to get concerned about midterm elections

I am starting to get pretty worried about the midterm elections. Here are some polls for Senate races: Missouri, Ohio, Minnesota, Washington, and Pennsylvania. All but one of these polls are for senate seats that the Republicans currently hold (the exception is Washington state).

If these were polls from September, I would really worried, but at this point I am concerned. My biggest concern is that the terrorists know that the war is hurting the Republicans (along with the press) and that the terrorists will do what they can to help get the Democrats elected. By itself, I would hope that would give voters a second thought.

UPDATE: On a modestly bright note for Republicans in Pennsylvania, the Green Party has filled for getting its Senate candidate on the ballot in Pennsylvania. As the Green Party notes in the link, the Democrats will fight strongly against this. The Democrats succeeded in removing the Green Party presidential candidate from the ballot in 2004.


Israel probably not responsible for Kana Deaths

With questions of whether the deaths of the children in the building at Kana represent a turning point in the war, this has gotten very little attention:

Senior IDF officers told reporters a short time ago that there is a contradiction in the timing of the bombing of the village of Kana and reports of the explosion that killed more than 50 civilians and set off world-wide condemnation of Israel. Air Force Commander Amir Eshel left open the possibility that Hizbullah terrorists blew up the building or that an unknown cause set off explosives which were stored in the structure.

He explained that recorded information shows that Israeli Air Force planes bombed the building between midnight and 1 a.m. and that the next attack at 7:30 a.m. was up to 500 yards away. He said reports of the killing of civilians came around 8 a.m. "It is not clear what happened" between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m., he said.

Brigadier General Ido Nehushtan pointed out that Hizbullah terrorists have fired more than 150 rockets from the village of Kana since the beginning of the war.

Israel's question: How to stop $500 rockets?

Even before fighting escalated this month between the Jewish state and Hezbollah , US contractors had been working to supply Israel with countermeasures against the kind of crude but deadly rockets that the Islamist militia has rained down on the north of the country. Ideas include low-cost interceptor missiles from Raytheon Co. , and a laser system from Northrop Grumman Corp. that the US Army has mothballed for lack of development funds.

The efforts reflect some limitations of the Israeli military, despite having Raytheon's Patriot missile in its arsenal. The Patriot, which can cost around $1 million apiece, is hardly a cost-effective way to knock down the $500 to $2,000 Katyusha rockets that Iran has been supplying to Hezbollah, said John E. Pike , director of GlobalSecurity.org, a defense research group in Alexandria, Va. . . . .