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The Times Was Right to Worry About Obama’s Drone Program: “The precedents now being set will be carried on by successors who may have far lower standards.”

Live Tweeting the Bin Laden Assassination: “ReallyVirtual” is a witty guy, and happened to accidentally describe the helicopters and general scene before, during, and after the action by U.S. forces.

Does Serbian Culture Celebrate Genocide?: Karadzic lives and acts very much in a tradition expressed in Serbian epic poetry, that quite unambiguously celebrates genocide.

Should the President Kill with Impunity?: An editorial in the New York Times raises troubling questions about the President’s expansion of the anti-terrorism assassination program.

Why the Muslims Misjudged Us

An insightful and unsparing article by the military historian Victor Davis Hanson published in the Wall Street Journal in February, 2002.

Machine-gun Packing Robots Headed for Iraq

A modified version of an Army robot designed to deal with IEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq is on display at the 2006 Auto Show at the Washington, DC Convention Center. Terrorists in Iraq likely will soon confront robots that can fight back, according to a Sgt Mero, who works for the U.S. Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. The robot can be fitted with several types of machine-gun as well as rockets, 40 mm grenade launchers, and the M-16 rifle. Terrorists will likely think twice before engaging machine-gun-packing robots, Mero predicted. "You're not going to try to sneak up on it," the Sgt said, "and if you shoot at it, it's going to know right where you are." I think I might check out the auto show this year.

Who Killed Daniel Pearl?

On WAMU, a DC area NPR station, Kojo Nnamdi interviewed Bernard-Henri Levy, the French philosopher and Journalist, last Tuesday (Sept. 23, 2003). Fortunately, WAMU makes these interviews available on their website (Realaudio streaming, but better than nothing): go to This is a fascinating and shocking interview mainly about Mr Levy's recent book, Who Killed Daniel Pearl. He implicates high-ranking members of the Pakistani government in the support of terrorism, including the September 11 attacks on the United States; these connections were being investigated by Mr Pearl, and it is believed by many that members of the Pakistani government were responsible for his murder. See also a critical review of the book and a reprint of another interesting interview.


Guess the Religion: ... and no cheating by using Google.

The Family Research Council Does a 180: Now they want separation between church and state.

Greece has a Blasphemy Law: This violation of human rights is not limited to India, Ireland and Afghanistan.

German Politicians Fight for Circumcision: They seem determined to push back against the court decision banning superstition-based genital mutilation of infants.

India is not a Democracy: Not as long as freedom of speech takes a back seat to religion.

Beard Privilege: More special treatment for the faithful.

Where has Moshe Averick Been?: Rabbi Averick falsely claims that circumcision rituals are always safe, while falsely accusing Christopher Hitchens of committing an “outright lie.”

Burkas for Babies: A Saudi cleric has issued a fatwa calling for female babies to wear burkas, in order to protect them from sexual abuse.

Embarrassing pond name to be changed: Probably a good idea.

Turkey Fines TV Broadcaster for Simpsons Episode: A $30,000 fine was imposed by the authoritarian regime for the blasphemy of showing the devil asking God to make him a coffee.

Brazil's Condom Independence: Having achieved independence from foreign oil, Brazil is now exploring independence from foreign condoms.

Muslim Censorship of YouTube: Google’s appeasement of censors affects content and search results within the US, sometimes even when those censors are foreign governments.

Some props for capital punishment in the U.S.: ‘“In your laws there is the death penalty, so we are hopeful,” Mullah Qayoom said.

Israel Pediatric Association Condemns Rabbinical Penis-Sucking: They now officially oppose the revolting and potentially deadly ritual.

Hitchens Was Right: People lie when surveyed about churchgoing.

Saudi police ‘stopped’ fire rescue

Saudi Arabia's religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress [....] One witness said he saw three policemen ‘beating young girls to prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing the abaya’.”

Religiosity Correlates with Societal Ills

From the Journal of Religion and Society; the article is by Gregory S. Paul and is called “Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies”.


DC’s insane gun laws: The DC government cares about you.

Confusing article on gun statistics: It’s not clear what the graphs are supposed to mean.

Lying About Richard Dawkins: It’s getting tiresome and predictable.

Explaining Trump Supporters: I’ll take my journalism where I can get it.

Two Letters of the Law: Virginia was under the impression that it had a law requiring drivers to stop at a stopped school bus.

The Nuclear Threat from Pakistan: An alarming analysis identifies a twofold risk.

Why Did the Most Important Story of the Campaign Slip Under the Radar?: Timing, presentation, and the distraction of “grab them by the pussy.”

#TrumpBookReports: I’m impressed by the inventiveness unleashed by the hashtag that’s become a phenomenon.

Osaka, Japan Mayor in Hot Water Over Extreme Comments: Toru Hashimoto’s comments have created domestic embarrassment and international outrage.

You Are Still Crying Wolf: Overstatement of the racist component of Trump’s support does real harm. An excellent article making a strong case that Trump is not so much racist as simply weird, random, and incoherent; but glosses over his very racist behavior as a landlord.

“Hitler” Clothing Store: The establishment in the Indian state of Gujarat creates a bit of controversy.

Arrested for Possessing Information: A citizen of the UK has been jailed for possessing a recipe for the production of ricin, an extremely dangerous poison made from castor beans. He has not been accused of actually doing or having anything besides information.

Gapminder World Chart for 2006: This beautiful chart compares the world’s territories by income and infant mortality.

TheWashington PostReports on a Shooting: Its reporting is deceptive and blatantly political.

Groklaw: Timely discussion of legal news, with reader comments and an RSS feed.

School Teaching in Chinese Is a Lure for Black Children:

“while most are children of Chinese immigrants, almost 10 percent of the students are black, and many of them come from the outer reaches of the city, enduring long trips for the chance to attend a school that has developed a reputation for excellence.”

Secret “Analogue Hole” Bill

The author of the Freedom to Tinker weblog wanted to find out what was going into the Sensenbrenner/Conyers analog hole bill. So he emailed the company that sells VEIL, one of the technologies that the bill's authors propose be required by almost all analog video devices. The company's conditions for revealing the spec: a nondisclosure agreement and a fee of $10,000. The author asks some good questions: “Are the members of Congress themselves, and their staffers, allowed to see the spec and talk about it openly? Are they allowed to consult experts for advice? Or are the full contents of this bill secret even from the lawmakers who are considering it?”

Bus firm takes car sharers to court

A “group of French cleaning ladies who organised a car-sharing scheme to get to work are being taken to court by a coach company which accuses them of “an act of unfair and parasitical competition”.

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