Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 23% disagree. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans say they are following the NSA story somewhat or very closely. Just 26% believe President Bush is the first to authorize a program like the one currently in the news. Forty-eight percent (48%) say he is not while 26% are not sure.
I love it when the American people are smarter than half the Senate.
Munich mastermind spurns Spielberg’s peace appeal
The Palestinian mastermind of the Munich Olympics attack in which 11 Israeli athletes died said on Tuesday he had no regrets and that Steven Spielberg’s new film about the incident would not deliver reconciliation.
The Hollywood director has called “Munich,” which dramatizes the 1972 raid and Israel’s reprisals against members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), his “prayer for peace.” …
“If he really wanted to make it a prayer for peace he should have listened to both sides of the story and reflected reality, rather than serving the Zionist side alone,” Daoud told Reuters by telephone from the Syrian capital, Damascus.
So Spielberg makes a movie that engages in rampant moral equivalency in an attempt to move the dream of peace in TLCKAI (The Land Currently Known As Israel) forward. Someone asks a prominent Palestinian terrorist what he thinks about this. The terrorist calls Spielberg a Zionist and says he should have portrayed both sides.
Is anyone still wondering why this conflict hasn’t been solved yet? I’m just throwing out ideas here, but maybe it’s because one side won’t be happy until the other side is wiped off the face of the planet. Could be…
Six injured during CD release party
Three men were stabbed and three were shot during the New York release party for slain rapper Notorious B.I.G.’s CD, “Duets: The Final Chapter.” The stabbings happened early Wednesday in the VIP room of the nightclub Exit while the shootings occurred in a parking garage across the street, the New York Post reported Thursday.
No, there’s nothing inherently violent or dangerous about hip-hop culture. How intolerant of you… The amazing thing is that they were two separate incidents. I could understand if there was one big fight at a party, but people were stabbed in one place, then more people were shot in another place at a different time during the same event.
You notice nothing like this ever happens at raves.
I’m not quite sure what to make of the recent news that the Bush administration (with the advise and consent of members of Congress, the Department of Justice, and the FISA court) authorized warrantless wiretapping of phone and email conversations between persons in the United States and known terrorists. Such information is obviously useful in the defense of the nation, but why were warrants not needed or acquirable? The FISA court that authorizes secret warrants for such intelligence activities almost always grants those requests. Why didn’t the president just secure warrants instead of creating a program to do such intelligence gathering without them? There is a large piece of this story missing, and I don’t think anyone can formulate a fully rational opinion either way until all the information is in. At this point it looks like POTUS has done something illegal for entirely justifiable reasons, but the jury is still out on this one. [12/19/05]
UPDATE: It has become more clear exactly what President Bush’s secret wiretapping program that bypassed FISA was doing. Apparently the NSA was monitoring phone conversations to and from certain al Qaeda telephone numbers and persons (some citizens) in the United States. The reason no warrants were acquired (or acquirable) is that there was not a specific known person in the country that was being wiretapped. They were getting information on calls relayed from international numbers to any number of people domestically. So it was more like fishing than deer hunting.
In this case, I have zero problem with this program whether it is determined to be legal or not. Whine all you want, utopians. The president is doing his job.
Careful Where You Put That Tree
Forget planting trees to negate your SUV’s contribution to global warming — according to Stanford University atmospheric scientist Ken Caldeira, forests in the wrong location can actually make the Earth hotter.
Plants absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, so scientists and policy makers have long assumed new forest growth helps combat global warming. At an American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco earlier this month, however, Caldeira rolled out a provocative new finding: Trees may be good at capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but their dark leaves are also very efficient at soaking up sunlight, which is later released as heat. At certain latitudes, the net effect of these two processes is warming, rather than cooling.
Another nail in the coffin of the envirofascists. Next thing you know, someone will discover that carbon dioxide actually is better for breathing than oxygen. Good times.
Feb. 2009 Could Be End Of Analog TV
House lawmakers approved legislation early Monday that would complete the transition to all-digital television broadcasts by Feb. 17, 2009. The measure also would allocate up to $1.5 billion to help consumers with older, analog TV sets purchase converter boxes so they would continue to get service in the digital era. The date for all-digital and the subsidy were included in a broader deficit-cutting bill that the Senate could take up later Monday.
Well this is one of the most offensive things Congress has pulled out of its ass recently, and that’s saying something.
Why is it any business of the federal government what kind of signals are broadcast by television networks? Why is it any business of the federal government what kind of television signals I can receive in my home? Why is it the responsibility of the federal government to provide new technologies to people who otherwise could not afford it? Why is it the responsibility of the federal government and not the free market to determine what technologies succeed or fail, and who gets to use them?
Answer: IT ISN’T.
The most offensive part of this story is that this program is being setup within the scope of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. Congress is actually creating a $1.5 billion program to buy people digital converter boxes while trying to convince us that they’re actually concerned about the budget. This is such a joke.
A vote of no confidence isn’t looking so bad these days…
Louisiana Releases Details on Deaths From Hurricane Katrina and Later Flooding
Of the 905 bodies examined at the central morgue set up by federal officials, 511 have been released for burial. Half of those were black, and almost all of the rest were white, according to State Health Department statistics. The latest breakdown, conducted when 488 victims had been released, showed that 248 were men and 240 were women. Most of the deaths, 360, were in New Orleans.
Based on this story and the official numbers so far (PDF), there were just as many non-blacks in Southeast Louisiana killed in and after Katrina than blacks. Of the 690 bodies identified, 48% were black, 42% white, and 10% were something else or undetermined.
Even more interesting, is that these numbers are not even representative of the actual population of New Orleans. According to 2000 Census numbers, the city was 67% black, 28% white, and 5% something else. So not only did just as many non-blacks as blacks die, but proportionally more white people and others died than blacks, in fact by twice as much for “others.”
This is obviously preliminary information and not an exact comparison as we only have general Louisiana numbers compared to the specific population of New Orleans, but most of the deaths were in New Orleans, so there is still plenty of information to draw some tentative conclusion. Once we get an exact count of New Orleans residents and compare that to the city’s population, we will know for sure what the ratio was.
But in the mean time, someone get Kanye West on the phone…