Saturday, December 31, 2005


Things are getting a little out of control here at the Pastorius Manshion.

Happy New Year Everybody.

Dr. Moreau

We've all, probably, heard of Genetically Modified Foods:

What are Genetically Modified (GM) Foods?Although "biotechnology" and "genetic modification" commonly are used interchangeably, GM is a special set of technologies that alter the genetic makeup of such living organisms as animals, plants, or bacteria. Biotechnology, a more general term, refers to using living organisms or their components, such as enzymes, to make products that include wine, cheese, beer, and yogurt.

Combining genes from different organisms is known as recombinant DNA technology, and the resulting organism is said to be "genetically modified," "genetically engineered," or "transgenic." GM products (current or in the pipeline) include medicines and vaccines, foods and food ingredients, feeds, and fibers.

Ok, so what happens when we start using Recombinant DNA Technology on animals? Or, have we already?:

Two firms seeking a patent on an embryo cloning process have denied accusations by Greenpeace that they are creating "human-pig'' hybrid embryos, as the debate over 'therapeutic cloning' continues.

Reuters reports that according to Greenpeace Germany, the European Patent Office in Munich has received a patent application (No: WO99/21415) from US-based BioTransplant Inc. and Australian firm Stem Cell Sciences which allows for the production of human/animal embryos.

"The application shows that the firms have already transferred cell nuclei from human fetuses to egg cells from pigs and cultivated the resulting embryos for around a week in the laboratory," Greenpeace said in a statement.

"Society should not reward these Frankenstein scientists with patents," it added.

Chief executive officer of Melbourne-based Stem Cell Sciences, Peter Mountford told Reuters that his company had indeed put a human cell nucleus into a pig's egg. This nuclear transfer method involves scraping the nucleus out of an egg cell and replacing it with the nucleus, which contains most of the genetic material, from another cell. The process, if done correctly, re-programs the nucleus and it starts to divide as if it were a fertilised egg. In effect, it regresses back to the very first stages of life.

These cell masses could be a source of embryonic stem cells, which have the power to become any type of cell in the body at all, including nerve cells, blood cells or organ cells. Stem Cell Sciences said it had shown last month that this could be done, using mice.

The same technique was used to create Dolly the sheep, the first cloned adult mammal however in this latest case, Stem Cell Sciences, working with a team at Monash University, has used a pig's egg cell and the nucleus from a human cell.

After the nuclear transfer the cells divided, 4 or 5 times, to create a mass of either 16 or 32 cells. Mountford said the experiment proved that human and animal cells could be fused for the purpose of therapeutic cloning.

The researchers expressed aim is to find alternatives to organ donation, however as to the whether they are making human/pig hybrid embryos, it seems to be a matter of semantics.

"The application clearly asks for permission to patent a process enabling the transfer of a nucleus from one species into another species and the production of a transgenic embryo, , and there does not appear to be any restriction on whether the donor or recipient cell is human," science legal expert Dr Dianne Nicol from the University of Tasmania told ABC Science Online.

"It depends on what you define as a human embryo."

It depends on what the definition of "is," is. Such will be the questions of the future. How will we define what it is to be human? Who is human and who is not? How do we treat one who is only part-human? Less than half-human?

And, is not a "person" who contains the remnant of humanity in his behavior more human than a fully human being who behaves like an animal?

This post is, admittedly, alarmist in nature. I write it this way not because I expect our moral challenges to be drawn in such crude terms, but because the big black lines around the cartoon drawings of a comic book sometimes serve to express futuristic ideas better than discussion about nuances that have yet to be established.

The truth is, ever more subtle shades of "is-ness" will define what it is to be a human being. Questions of semantics will become more important in helping us retain what we will stand on the precipice of losing.

In the end, words may be all that will remain of our humaness. The words that tell our story, and nothing else.

Thanks to Eyes All Around for sending me the article on the human/pig embryo.

We Hold
To Be
Sharia Is
The Opposite
Of Freedom

65% of Palestinians support terror attacks against the United States and 80% want Sharia law instituted in their land. Ok, it's time to shut down their hopes and dreams, my friends. Such ideas should not be allowed to turn themselves into an official state:

A poll carried out in the Palestinian Authority shows 65% support for Al Qaeda terror attacks on the United States and European countries - the biggest donors to the PA. The poll comes at a time when US and European funding of the Palestinian Authority is at an all-time high.

With elections due to be held next month and the Hamas terror group gaining significantly in municipal elections and polls, the survey further illustrates the desire of a majority of PA Arabs to establish an Islamic state, similar to Iran. A whopping 79.9% of Palestinians would like the PA to follow Shari’a - Islamic religious law. Included in the figure are 11.3% of the respondents, who would like to see Shari’a supplemented by the laws of a PA Legislature.

“What is striking is the willingness of Palestinians to turn against even the Western countries upon whom they are so totally dependent in order to progress,” said Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) Director Itamar Marcus.

“The poll underscores what PMW has been documenting for years - the profoundly negative impact hate education has had on PA society ... Palestinians are not in direct conflict with the US, and certainly have counted on the Europeans as active allies. And yet an overwhelming majority desire to see Europeans and Americans killed by a religion-based terror organization.”

If we were to allow such ideas to become the foundation of a new state, it would mean we do not believe in our own Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Friday, December 30, 2005

A Bridge
The Coldness

We had friends over tonight for a New Years Party. Everyone brought an object of some sort which was supposed to symbolize their year. I didn't bring anything, because I forgot. But, somehow, that was the right thing. Because, in a lot of ways, I'd rather forget this year.

I haven't brought it up, but I have been suffering a freaking ridiculous back injury, and a lot of pain. On top of that, there were business setbacks. For the first time in my life, I failed at something in the business world.

So anyway, I found myself telling my friends my sad story, only to realize that within the past few months, everything has been turning up rosy for me. My back is better (I'm actually able to go to the gym again), my business has picked up, I've got my big writing opportunity, and my family is, as always, extremely supportive of me.

And yet, the truth is, I did experience the year I experienced, and it was confidence-shaking, and it did come when I'm in my early-40's, and I am beginning to feel the autumn-cold of a midlife crisis coming on.

All these changes assailing me. It's life and life only.

Ah, who cares? Just gotta press on. Don't let your victories go to your head, and don't let the losses go to your heart.

Just take the bridge through the coldness, and wait for the spring, and the New Life to reveal itself, as it always will, even in the midst of a midlife crisis.

She Could
Who Could
Blame Her?

Dymphna at Gates of Vienna recounts the story of Nour Miyati, a Filipino woman who went to Saudi Arabia to work as a maid. She was basically used a sexual and laboring slave, until her owner's wife found out about the arrangement, at which point she was savagely beaten and then dumped in front of a hospital.

When word leaked out about this crime, the Saudi Arabian governmentn acted as if they were going to do something about it. But, that hasn't happened.

There is more to the story, and you should go read it here, but I just wanted to post Dymphna's concluding remarks, because I think they are an excellent example of righteous anger, and they should serve as a challenge to any of us who are tempted to look the other way when evil is done, so that we can go on benefiting in the practical, everyday world:

And let me tell you something, President George Bush. If you ever hold hands with one of these degenerates again…then I pity you. You, sir, know better than anyone — since you are privy to information not available to the rest of us — what horrors these Saudi princes are. If you do not speak out before you leave office, then God have mercy on your soul. It would take an immensity only God possesses to forgive you for colluding with them in the name of whatever policy you have in place.

The Melding
Of Computer
And Brain

In the future brain and computer will meld. Our brains will be wired directly to the internet via wireless, or satellite. The speed of computing, and of the servers at the gateways to the internet will increase exponentially, so everyone will be able to retrieve and send information at incredibly fast speeds. Human beings will achieve a kind of omniscience.

Let's look at some of the technology, already being developed and used, which will eventually bring about such a world.

From the BBC comes the story of a paralyzed U.S. man who is being given the ability to manipulate objects around him by thinking. How? A chip implanted in his brain, reads his thoughts, and sends messages to his household appliances:

A paralysed man in the US has become the first person to benefit from a brain chip that reads his mind.

Matthew Nagle, 25, was left paralysed from the neck down and confined to a wheelchair after a knife attack in 2001.

The pioneering surgery at New England Sinai Hospital, Massachusetts, last summer means he can now control everyday objects by thought alone.

The brain chip reads his mind and sends the thoughts to a computer to decipher.
Mind over matter

He can think his TV on and off, change channels and alter the volume thanks to the technology and software linked to devices in his home.

Scientists have been working for some time to devise a way to enable paralysed people to control devices with the brain.

Studies have shown that monkeys can control a computer with electrodes implanted into their brain.

Recently four people, two of them partly paralysed wheelchair users, were able to move a computer cursor while wearing a cap with 64 electrodes that pick up brain waves.

Mr Nagle's device, called BrainGate, consists of nearly 100 hair-thin electrodes implanted a millimetre deep into part of the motor cortex of his brain that controls movement.

Wires feed the information from the electrodes into a computer which analyses the brain signals.

The signals are interpreted and translated into cursor movements, offering the user an alternative way to control devices such as a computer with thought.

Professor John Donoghue, an expert on neuroscience at Brown University, Rhode Island, is the scientist behind the device produced by Cyberkinetics.

Mr Nagle has also been able to use thought to move a prosthetic hand and robotic arm to grab sweets from one person's hand and place them into another.

Professor Donoghue hopes that ultimately implants such as this will allow people with paralysis to regain the use of their limbs.

The long term aim is to design a package the size of a mobile phone that will run on batteries, and to electrically stimulate the patient's own muscles.

So, we can see the melding of brain is already happening here at outset of the 21st century. Currently, we can download information directly from the brain to computer. Can we go in the other direction? Can information be fed into the brain from a computer in a way which the brain can understand?

Yes, apparently, we can:

US and German scientists have designed a bionic eye to allow blind people to see again.

It comprises a computer chip that sits in the back of the individual's eye, linked up to a mini video camera built into glasses that they wear.

Images captured by the camera are beamed to the chip, which translates them into impulses that the brain can interpret.

So, we can see, human beings are already able to translate information from and to the brain.

What will it be like for individual human beings to have access to all available knowledge? What will a human do with practical omniscience?

State of

A Palestinian youth is seen through an Islamic green flag that reads: ' No God but God and Mohammed is the Prophet of Allah.'

Policemen storm border? Huh? Well, they did. And, for once, no one is even attempting to blame this one on the Jews. At least, not so far. Read all about it:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Palestinian policemen angry over the killing of a fellow officer stormed the Gaza-Egypt border crossing Friday, firing in the air and forcing European monitors to flee and close the crossing for several hours, officials said.

About 100 policemen stormed the Rafah compound and took up positions alongside border patrol officers at the customs section of the crossing, Palestinian security officials and witnesses said.

Hours after the European observers — responsible for monitoring the crossing and ensuring the terms of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement are upheld — fled, Julio De La Guardia, spokesman for the monitors, said the situation had been brought under control and the border would be reopened later Friday.

It was not immediately clear how the incident was resolved.

The policemen who stormed the border crossing were friends and family of an officer killed Thursday in a family feud in Gaza, Palestinian security officials said. They said no Palestinian officials would be allowed to leave Gaza until the gunman responsible was executed, according to officials.

The policemen shut the border's main gate and fired in the air when a car carrying an unidentified Palestinian official tried to enter the compound. The chief Palestinian security officer at the crossing asked the policemen to leave, but they refused.

The border had been closed because according to the Israeli-Palestinian agreement the crossing cannot operate if the European contingent is not present, said De La Guardia.

Palestinians are frustrated over the increasing lawlessness in Gaza and the West Bank, which could force Abbas to confront militias behind much of the violence, especially as he heads toward a January parliamentary election. The Hamas militant group poses a serious challenge to Abbas' ruling Fatah movement in the vote.

Of course, Abbas was supposed to have "confronted" the militias behind the violence long ago, as part of his obligations under the Road Map for Peace. But, if it takes lawlessness within his own society to accomplish a good thing, then fine.

Do something, Mahmoud. Jeez.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


The EU and the UN are calling Denmark to account for why they would have the nerve to publish cartoons making fun of Mohammed:

The Danish cartoon case is becoming a never-ending story, which shows that freedom of speech no longer exists in Europe. After the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the United Nations and the Council of Europe, the European Union is now the fourth multinational organisation to lash out at the Danish government for not calling a Danish newspaper to account for publishing caricatures of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

Franco Frattini, the vice-President of the European Commission, called the publication of the twelve cartoons [see them here] “thoughtless and inappropriate” in a time when animosity towards Islam is on the rise. According to Frattini, the EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom, and Security, the cartoons foment hostility against Islam and foreigners:

“Honestly, these kinds of drawings can add to the growing Islamophobia in Europe. I fully respect the freedom of speech, but, excuse me, one should avoid making any statement like this, which only arouses and incites to the growing radicalisation.”

According to the author Robert Spencer the EU reaction shows that the EU recommends dhimmitude:

“Instead of praising Rasmussen for his defense of Western values of free speech, the EU is demanding that he stand down and adopt their policy of appeasement.” What the whole affair has so far proved is that Denmark is one of the last Western countries where freedom of speech still exists.

“I am a Catholic myself, and if anyone had created a drawing of a holy Christian symbol with a bomb and a message about death, I would personally take it as an insult,” Frattini said. Does he really? Frattini became European commissioner last year because the European Union vetoed the Catholic Rocco Buttiglione because as a Catholic the latter disapproved of homosexuality and abortion.

Meanwhile, the UN has taken its action against Denmark a step further by asking the Danish Prime Minister for “an official explanation.”

U.S. Teen
Runs Off
To Iraq By

Meet 16 year old Fariss Hassan, a Junior at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Farris' parents were born in Iraq, but he grew up here in the U.S. His interests? Democracy and Immersion Journalism.

They must be passionate interests, because the kid ran off to Iraq by himself to report on what's going on:

Given his heritage, Hassan could almost pass as Iraqi. His father's background helped him secure an entry visa, and native Arabs would see in his face Iraqi features and a familiar skin tone. His wispy beard was meant to help him blend in.

But underneath that Mideast veneer was full-blooded American teen, a born-and-bred Floridian sporting white Nike tennis shoes and trendy jeans. And as soon as the lanky, 6-foot teenager opened his mouth — he speaks no Arabic — his true nationality would have betrayed him.

Traveling on his own in a land where insurgents and jihadists have kidnapped more than 400 foreigners, killing at least 39 of them, Hassan walked straight into a death zone. On Monday, his first full day in Iraq, six vehicle bombs exploded in Baghdad, killing five people and wounding more than 40.

The State Department strongly advises U.S. citizens against traveling to Iraq, saying it "remains very dangerous." Forty American citizens have been kidnapped since the war started in March 2003, of which 10 have been killed, a U.S. official said. About 15 remain missing.

Hassan's extra-mile attitude took him east through eight time zones, from Fort Lauderdale to Kuwait City. His plan was to take a taxi across the border and ultimately to Baghdad — an unconventional, expensive and utterly dangerous route.

It was in Kuwait City that he first called his parents to tell them of his plans — and that he was now in the Middle East.

His mother, Shatha Atiya, a psychologist, said she was "shocked and terrified." She had told him she would take him to Iraq, but only after the country stabilizes.

"He thinks he can be an ambassador for democracy around the world. It's admirable but also agony for a parent," Atiya said.

Attempting to get into Iraq, Hassan took a taxi from Kuwait City to the border 55 miles away. He spoke English at the border and was soon surrounded by about 15 men, a scene he wanted no part of. On the drive back to Kuwait City, a taxi driver almost punched him when he balked at the fee.

"In one day I probably spent like $250 on taxis," he said. "And they're so evil too, because they ripped me off, and when I wouldn't pay the ripped-off price they started threatening me. It was bad."

It could have been worse — the border could have been open.

As luck would have it, the teenager found himself at the Iraq-Kuwait line sometime on Dec. 13, and the border security was extra tight because of Iraq's Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. The timing saved him from a dangerous trip.

"If they'd let me in from Kuwait, I probably would have died," he acknowledged. "That would have been a bad idea."

He again called his father, who told him to come home. But the teen insisted on going to Baghdad. His father advised him to stay with family friends in Beirut, Lebanon, so he flew there, spending 10 days before flying to Baghdad on Christmas.

His ride at Baghdad International Airport, arranged by the family friends in Lebanon, dropped him off at an international hotel where Americans were staying.

He says he only strayed far from that hotel once, in search of food. He walked into a nearby shop and asked for a menu. When no menu appeared, he pulled out his Arabic phrase book, and after fumbling around found the word "menu." The stand didn't have one. Then a worker tried to read some of the English phrases.

"And I'm like, 'Well, I should probably be going.' It was not a safe place. The way they were looking at me kind of freaked me out," he said.

It was mid-afternoon Tuesday, after his second night in Baghdad, that he sought out editors at The Associated Press and announced he was in Iraq to do research and humanitarian work. AP staffers had never seen an unaccompanied teenage American walk into their war zone office. ("I would have been less surprised if little green men had walked in," said editor Patrick Quinn.)

Wearing a blue long-sleeve shirt in addition to his jeans and sneakers, Hassan appeared eager and outgoing but slightly sheepish about his situation.

The AP quickly called the U.S. embassy.

Embassy officials had been on the lookout for Hassan, at the request of his parents, who still weren't sure exactly where he was. The 101st Airborne lieutenant who picked him up from the hotel said it was the wildest story he'd ever heard.

Hassan accepted being turned over to authorities as the safest thing to do, but seemed to accept the idea more readily over time.

Most of Hassan's wild tale could not be corroborated, but his larger story arc was in line with details provided by friends and family members back home.

Dangerous and dramatic, Hassan's trip has also been educational. He had tea with Kuwaitis under a tent in the middle of a desert. He says he interviewed Christians in south Lebanon. And he said he spoke with U.S. soldiers guarding his Baghdad hotel who told him they are treated better by Sunni Arabs — the minority population that enjoyed a high standing under Saddam Hussein and are now thought to fuel the insurgency — than by the majority Shiites.

His father, Redha Hassan, a doctor, said his son is an idealist, principled and moral. Aside from the research he wanted to accomplish, he also wrote in an essay saying he wanted to volunteer in Iraq.

He said he wrote half the essay while in the United States, half in Kuwait, and e-mailed it to his teachers Dec. 15 while in the Kuwait City airport.

"There is a struggle in Iraq between good and evil, between those striving for freedom and liberty and those striving for death and destruction," he wrote.

"Those terrorists are not human but pure evil. For their goals to be thwarted, decent individuals must answer justice's call for help. Unfortunately altruism is always in short supply. Not enough are willing to set aside the material ambitions of this transient world, put morality first, and risk their lives for the cause of humanity. So I will."

U.S. To

Troops will be reduced from the current level of 160,000 to approximately 138,000 by March. The troops who will be leaving will be those whose services are no longer needed having been replaced by Iraqi security forces.

Hmm, wasn't that the plan all along? Yes, reading back over the past couple years of news, I'd say, yes, that was the plan.

Do you think the Democrats are going to fall all over themselves taking credit for this?

Heh. You can bet your ass they will. In fact, Associated Press makes an opening salvo in the battle for historical revision in this very article:

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - The U.S. will carry out planned withdrawals of American troops in Iraq only from regions where Iraqi forces can maintain security against the insurgents, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said Thursday.

Gen. Peter Pace said the current force of 160,000 would drop to below 138,000 by March, then U.S. commanders on the ground would work with the Iraqi government to determine the pace of future pullbacks in areas that have been secured by local security forces.

"The bottom line will be that the Iraqi army and the Iraqi police will gain in competence, that they will be able to take on more and more of the territory, whether or not there are still insurgents in that area," he said in an interview with a small group of reporters, including The Associated Press, aboard a military plane en route to the United Arab Emirates.

Amid congressional pressure and growing public opposition to the war, the Bush administration last week announced plans to reduce U.S. combat troops in Iraq to below the 138,000 level that prevailed most of this year.

(Pastorius note: Nice try, AP.)

The number of American forces in Iraq was raised to about 160,000 to provide extra security during the October referendum and December parliamentary elections, and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said those extra troops would be leaving soon.

The exact size of the additional troops cuts has not been announced, but senior Pentagon officials have said the number of American troops in Iraq could drop to about 100,000 by next fall.

With the handy-dandy calculator my Father-in-Law just gave me for Christmas (CUANAS is slowly, but surely moving into the 21st century, folks), I can calculate that this is a 14% reduction in troops.

Now, the question becomes, what the heck are we going to do about Iran?


The future is coming at us so fast we need to make decisions about how to handle it right now before it slams into us and knocks us completely unconcious:

Scientists have pieced together part of the genetic recipe of the extinct woolly mammoth.

The 5,000 DNA letters spell out a large chunk of the genetic code of its mitochondria, the structures in the cell that generate energy.

The research, published in the online edition of Nature, gives an insight into the elephant family tree.

It shows that the mammoth was most closely related to the Asian rather than the African elephant.

The three groups split from a common ancestor about six million years ago, with Asian elephants and mammoths diverging about half a million years later.

Mammoths lived in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America between about 1.6 million years ago and 10,000 years ago during the Pleistocene epoch.

The woolly mammoth, Mammuthus primigenius, with its covering of shaggy hair, was adapted to the extremes of the ice ages.

The DNA of several extinct ice age mammals, preserved in permafrost, has been analysed before, but not in such detail.

"It is the longest stretch of DNA [decoded to date] from any Pleistocene species," said Professor Hofreiter.

Maternal line

The team of researchers - from Germany, the UK, and the US - extracted and analysed mammoth DNA using a new technique that works on even the tiny quantities of fossilised bone - in this case 200 milligrams.

Some 46 chunks of DNA sequence were matched up and arranged in order, giving a complete record of the mammoth's mitochondrial DNA - the circular scrap of genetic material found outside the cell's nucleus.

It is passed down the maternal line with small but regular changes, giving scientists a window into the past.

Although the bulk of an animal's genetic information is found in the nucleus, mitochondrial DNA is particularly useful for studying the evolutionary relationships between different species.

The complete mitochondrial DNA of an extinct animal has been sequenced before but only for the flightless bird, the moa, which died out about 500 years ago.

Dan Bradley, an expert in ancient DNA at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, said the research was "a bit of a landmark".

"Most ancient mitochondrial DNA projects use just small parts of the mitochondria," he said.
Alternative view

In a separate piece of research, published in the journal Science, a team reports sequencing some of the nuclear DNA from 27,000-year-old Siberian mammoth remains.

Again, novel techniques were used to get at this genetic material which is normally less prevalent than mitochondrial DNA.

Hendrik Poinar, from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues took their sample from an animal's jawbone.

In contrast to the Nature paper, the Science team says its work shows the ice age beast to have been more closely related to the African elephant; its genetic material was 98.5% identical to nuclear DNA from an African elephant, the group said.

Note that "novel techniques were used" in both cases to extract and decode the DNA. More novel techniques will be developed in the future. We will accelerate in our ability to perform such miracles.

Jurassic Park, here we come.

What will we do?

A Vacation
In Libya?

Thanks to Papa Ray for sending this article over to me. It's written by Michael Totten for the LA Weekly. The LA Weekly, for those of you who don't live here, is one of those anti-American freebies that you find in incense stores, and coffee shops near colleges. It's actually a well-written and informative magazine, but let's face it, they hate the hand that feeds them, so it's a pleasant surprise to see them publishing something by Totten:

When you visit another country, it’s hard to get a feel for what it’s actually like until you leave your hotel room, go for a walk, take a look around, and hang out while soaking it in. Not so in Libya. All you have to do there is show up. It will impose itself on you at once.

My Air Afriquiya flight touched down on the runway next to a junkyard of filthy, gutted and broken-down Soviet aircraft in an airport otherwise empty of planes. When I stepped out of the hatch into the jetway, I came face to face with three uniformed military goons who scrutinized me and everyone else from behind reflective oversize sunglasses.

Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, mastermind of the 1969 Al-Fateh Revolution (a euphemism for his military coup), Brother Leader of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, greeted arrivals in the passport-control room from a menacing, almost snarling, gold-gilded portrait. A translated overhead sign (rare in Libya) said “Partners Not Wage Earners.” In other words: Don’t expect to be paid.

A bored official glanced at my visa, rubbed his face, stamped my passport and pointed me toward my first Libyan checkpoint. A man in an untucked button-up shirt, with a cigarette jutting out the side of his mouth, waved me toward a metal detector. He hadn’t shaved in two days. I walked through. The alarm screamed and I braced for a pat-down. He just stood there, took a long drag on his cigarette and stared bleary-eyed into space over my shoulder. I guessed that meant I could go. So I did.

There were no other planes coming or going, so it was easy to find my ride. His name was Abdul. He wore a snazzy black-leather jacket and a Western-style goatee.

“Welcome to Libya!” he said as he led me into a parking lot the size of an Applebee’s. “We’re really busy right now. This is Libya’s high season.” They must shut down the airport entirely during the low season.

Read the rest.

The Idiot

In Europe, Arnold Schwarzeneggar is a joke. How do I know? Because, my very intelligent, yet incredibly stupid European family members revile him, and pour all kinds of sarcasm on him on a constant basis.

But, let's see now, if I recall correctly, when Schwarzeneggar took office about 18 months ago, he was saddled with a deficit of $30 billion; larger than the budgets of many states.

And, what is the deficit now?

Wait, there is no deficit?


But, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but ...

How could that be? He 's an idiot.

God, who is the idiot?

I remember telling my ever so intelligent European relatives, "Don't be so quick to heap ridicule on the guy. Everything he has ever touched has turned to gold."

And, they laughed at me.

I'm sure I will never hear an apology.


In the Christian world, we sacrifice for our families. In the world of the Jihadinazis, they sacrifice their families:

MULTAN, Pakistan - Nazir Ahmed appears calm and unrepentant as he recounts how he slit the throats of his three young daughters and their 25-year old stepsister to salvage his family’s “honor” — a crime that shocked Pakistan.

The 40-year old laborer, speaking to The Associated Press in police detention as he was being shifted to prison, confessed to just one regret — that he didn’t murder the stepsister’s alleged lover too.

Hundreds of girls and women are murdered by male relatives each year in this conservative Islamic nation, and rights groups said Wednesday such “honor killings” will only stop when authorities get serious about punishing perpetrators.

The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that in more than half of such cases that make it to court, most end with cash settlements paid by relatives to the victims’ families, although under a law passed last year, the minimum penalty is 10 years, the maximum death by hanging.

Ahmed’s killing spree — witnessed by his wife Rehmat Bibi as she cradled their 3 month-old baby son — happened Friday night at their home in the cotton-growing village of Gago Mandi in eastern Punjab province.

It is the latest of more than 260 such honor killings documented by the rights commission, mostly from media reports, during the first 11 months of 2005.

Bibi recounted how she was woken by a shriek as Ahmed put his hand to the mouth of his stepdaughter Muqadas and cut her throat with a machete. Bibi looked helplessly on from the corner of the room as he then killed the three girls — Bano, 8, Sumaira, 7, and Humaira, 4 — pausing between the slayings to brandish the bloodstained knife at his wife, warning her not to intervene or raise alarm.

“I was shivering with fear. I did not know how to save my daughters,” Bibi, sobbing, told AP by phone from the village. “I begged my husband to spare my daughters but he said, ‘If you make a noise, I will kill you.’”

“The whole night the bodies of my daughters lay in front of me,” she said.

Uh, Did I
Wake Up
In Another

The "Quartet" of international supporters of the Road Map to Peace have come out in support of good vs. evil:

The four international supporters of the Middle East peace process said Wednesday that the next Palestinian Cabinet should not include members of Hamas or other militant groups committed to violence.

The statement by the so-called quartet did not name Hamas, but said a future Palestinian Cabinet "should include no member who has not committed to the principles of Israel's right to exist in peace and security and an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism."

The quartet, which has drafted a Middle East peace plan known as the road map, includes the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.

Hamas is participating in parliamentary elections for the first time and its popularity among Palestinians has grown considerably. Opinion polls in the West Bank and Gaza show it is ahead of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' ruling Fatah party ahead of the Jan. 25 election.

Fatah appeared to improve its prospects Wednesday by overcoming a split within the organization and submitting a unified list of candidates.

Israel wants to keep Hamas out of the election process since it has carried out suicide bombings. Israel has warned it will not negotiate with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas.

In its statement, the quartet said there is a "fundamental contradiction" between militia activities and building a democratic state.

There must have been steps leading up to this declaration by the Quartet, but I am so stunned that I can't think of what they may be. Let's see;

  • John Bolton
  • Democratic Elections in Iraq
  • The discrediting of Kofi Annan and the UN paradigm because of the Oil-For-Food Scandal
  • The Gaza pullout and the revelation that a Palestinian State, as is presently consituted is a recipe for disaster
  • The prospect of Hamas members sitting cloaked and with weapons displayed in the halls of the UN

I don't know. This is stunning. After so many years of hearing, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter," I just can't help but be surpised. Joyful, but surprised.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Part II

Back on November 14th, I made the following announcement:

A big opportunity has presented itself, which means I am going to have to cut back on blogging for awhile. For the next few months posting will be light; usually, just one or two posts per day.

Well, I'm happy to say that, while I did not end up cutting back on posting (I'm actually in the throes of a serious blog addiction), I did actually finish the work I needed to do, in order to take advantage of the big opportunity.

So, what is the big opportunity? An agent, with very good connections, liked something I wrote, and asked me to expand it into a larger project. Cool, huh? It's a fictional work, and it has nothing to do with what I write about here on CUANAS.

And, by the way, let's all face facts here, I am not the greatest writer in the world. Someone is going to have to clean up my shit big time, but I have a pretty good idea, and that's why I've actually stumbled upon this cool opportunity.

When I originally made the announcement, I hadn't wanted to talk about what I was going to be doing, because I know how easy it is as a writer to talk about the brilliant thing you are going to write, only to never actually log a chapter, or verse. I wanted to be a doer on this, not a talker.

Well, now I'm done with the hard part. It's really up to other people at this point. Either they like it, or they don't. We shall see.


Check 'em out.

The Pre-Future

I'm going to start a new topic here on CUANAS, and I will revisit it often from now on. What is it? The future. Actually, this is not a wholly new topic for me. Many of you may have read my posts on Pre-Futurism.

To put it simply, I believe we are on the verge of a major change in what it means to be human. The technologies we are currently developing, and which we will soon develop, based upon the research being done, will present us with physical and ethical challenges unlike any we have ever encountered in the past.

One of the problems we will encounter is the acceleration of change which is the result of the exponential growth brought on by the reality of Moore's Law. New technologies will be coming at us so quickly that we will not be able to think through the physical and ethical implications until well after the technologies have changed our everyday lives.

This is why I have proposed the idea that we are no longer living in the Postmodern Age, but have instead moved into what I call the Pre-Future Age. The issues we are dealing with, or that we need to deal with, are the ethical and physical realities that will soon be slapping us in the face.

In the article below, Ray Kurzweil discusses the Exponential Growth of Change, and what it will be bringing our way in the near future. From

"In considering the genesis of Moore's Law, I put 49 famous computing devices over the past century on an exponential graph. From this exercise, it became apparent that the acceleration of computing power did not start with integrated circuits, but has continued through multiple paradigm shifts(electromechanical calculators, relays, vacuum tubes, transistors, and finally integrated circuits).

"Moore's Law was not the first, but the fifth paradigm, to provide exponential growth in computing. The next paradigm, which will involve computing in three dimensions rather than the two manifested in today's flat chips, will lead to computing at the molecular, and ultimately the subatomic level. We can be confident that the acceleration of computing will survive the well-anticipated demise of Moore' s Law.

"There are comparable exponential trends underlying a wide variety of other technologies: communications (both wired and wireless), brain scanning speeds and resolutions, genome scanning, and miniaturization (we are currently shrinking technology at a rate of 5.6 per linear dimension per decade). Even the rate of technological progress is speeding up, now doubling each decade. The mathematical models I've developed over the past couple of decades to describe these trends, which I call the law of accelerating returns, has proven predictive of the developments we've seen during the 1990s. From these models, I believe we can be confident of continued exponential growth in these and other technologies for the foreseeable future.

"By 2009, computers will disappear. Displays will be written directly onto our retinas by devices in our eyeglasses and contact lenses. In addition to virtual high-resolution displays, these intimate displays will provide full immersion visual virtual reality. We will have ubiquitous, very-high-bandwidth wireless connection to the Internet at all times.

"Going to a web site" will mean entering a virtual reality environment -- at least for the visual and auditory sense -- where we will meet other real people. There will be simulated people as well, but the virtual personalities will not be up to human standards, at least not by 2009. The electronics for all of this will be so small that it will be invisibly embedded in our glasses and clothing.

"By 2029, as a result of continuing trends in miniaturization, computation, and communication, we will have billions of nanobots -- intelligent robots the size of blood cells or smaller -- traveling through the capillaries of our brain communicating directly with our biological neurons. By taking up positions next to every nerve fiber coming from all of our senses, the nanobots will provide full-immersion virtual reality involving all five of the senses. So we will enter virtual reality environments (via the web, of course) of our choice and meet people, both real and virtual, only now the difference won't be so clear.

"Just as people today beam their images from little web cams out onto the Internet for others to share, many people in 2029 will beam the full stream of signals coming directly from their senses onto the web. We will then be able to experience what other people are experiencing, à la John Malkovich. Of course, the everyday lives of many such experience beamers may not be all that compelling, so there will be plenty of prerecorded experiences we can plug into. Beyond just the five senses, these shared experiences will include emotional responses, sexual pleasure, and other mental reactions.

"Brain implants based on these distributed intelligent nanobots will extend our brains in every conceivable way, massively expanding our memory and otherwise vastly improving all of our sensory, pattern-recognition and cognitive abilities.

"Oh, and one more thing: we'll live a long time too. The expanding human life span is another one of those exponential trends. In the eighteenth century, we added a few days every year to human longevity; during the nineteenth century we added a couple of weeks each year; and now we're adding almost a half a year every year. With the revolutions in rational drug design, genomics, therapeutic cloning of our own organs and tissues, and related developments in bio-information sciences, we will be adding more than a year every year within ten years. So take care of yourself the old-fashioned way for just a little while longer, and you may actually get to experience the remarkable century ahead."

Well, what do you think of that? The natural human response is to reject these ideas as preposterous. Many Christians, and people of other religious traditions, will reject what Ray Kurzweil says here because because such realities will invade the sector of godhood.

Yes, that's true.

However, in the Judeo-Christian tradition we, supposedly, believe we were created in the Image of God, meaning we were created to be rational, creative beings, like God. I think we must decide, do we really believe God created us in His Image, or don't we? And, what does it mean, if not that we have tremendous creative ability?

If you look at human history you will see that the evidence is that man can do just about anything he sets his mind to. There are limitations of time and space, meaning everything takes time, and we can not create something from nothing (for matter is the essence of space), as God can. However, I believe, it is the height of foolishness to think that man will not achieve many of the things Kurzweil discusses here in this article, and more.

We have to get ready. These powers that are coming our way present extreme moral challenges. There have been many Christians lamenting the fact that Chrsitianity has not been at the forefront of societal change for several centuries now. The reason for that is too often Christians have rejected change, and have instead immersed themselves in tradition. I say we Christians, as well as brothers in Abraham, need to start thinking seriously about the future so that we can help our brothers and sisters of the human race deal with changes coming our way.

Yes, we need to help them, as well as ourselves.

You Don't
Issue A Fatwa
On Me,
I Issue
A Fatwa
On You

I don't know why my man, Elmer's Brother, isn't posting this stuff over at IBA, but oh well. Anyway, check out his post on Fatwas:

I guess there is a Fatwa Management and Research System for all your fatwa needs. This system must employ a lot of people. Sometimes fatwa's are issued for what seem like mundane matters. There is Fatwa Online for the computer literate or when you open a bank you might want to consult the The Fatwa & Shari'ah Supervision Board. If you don't like what an author says you can do what Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini did:

"I inform the proud Muslim people of the world that the author of the Satanic Verses book which is against Islam, the Prophet and the Koran, and all involved in its publication who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death."

FATWA issued February, 1989against Salman RushdieThe moderate Muslims are trying to change who has control over the issuing of fatwas. You know what I say "fatwa chance" of that happening.It's becoming known as the war of the fatwas: the dizzying exchange of proclamations between Islamic moderates and militants on what it means to be Muslim.

The duels have been waged everywhere from pamphlets to cyberspace. (more)For those of you who don't know:

fatwa (Arabic): Legally binding, religious ruling/proclamation or

A fatwa (Arabic: فتوى) plural fatāwa (Arabic: فتاوى) , is a legal pronouncement in Islam, issued by a religious law specialist on a specific issue. Usually a fatwa is issued at the request of an individual or a judge to settle a question where ’’fiqh,’’ Islamic jurisprudence, is unclear.

A scholar capable of issuing fatwas is known as a Mufti.

Because Islam has no centralized priestly hierarchy, there is no uniform method to determine who can issue a valid fatwa and who cannot. Some Islamic scholars complain that too many people feel qualified to issue fatwas.

Different Islamic clerics can issue contradictory fatwas. The effect depends upon whether or not this takes place in a nation where Islamic law (sharia) is the basis of civil law.

Go read the rest.

Thanks to Always on Watch for sending that over to me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Over 100
Cars Burn
In Paris
Christmas Eve

The rioting in France has continued unabated. Especially in the City of Lights, on Christmas Eve. From the International Herald, via Pedestrian Infidel:

Cars have continued to burn every night since the riots ended, including more than 100 across France on Christmas Eve.

For Strikes
On Iran?

The German newspaper, Der Spiegel, is reporting that Porter Goss, the head of the CIA, was recently in Turkey requesting assistance, and warning the Turkish government to be prepared for attacks on Iran, and Syria:

During his recent visit to Ankara, CIA Director Porter Goss reportedly brought three dossiers on Iran to Ankara. Goss is said to have asked for Turkey’s support for Washington’s policy against Iran’s nuclear activities, charging that Tehran had supported terrorism and taken part in activities against Turkey.

Goss also asked Ankara to be ready for a possible US air operation against Iran and Syria.

Goss, who came to Ankara just after FBI Director Robert Mueller’s visit, brought up Iran’s alleged attempts to develop nuclear weapons. It was said that Goss first told Ankara that Iran has nuclear weapons and this situation was creating a huge threat for both Turkey and other states in the region.

Diplomatic sources say that Washington wants Turkey to coordinate with its Iran policies.

The second dossier is about Iran’s stance on terrorism. The CIA argued that Iran was supporting terrorism, the PKK and al-Qaeda.

The third had to do with Iran’s alleged stance against Ankara. Goss said that Tehran sees Turkey as an enemy and would try to “export its regime.”

Security Watchtower, the source of this information, says to take this report with a grain of salt. It seems to me the idea that Iran already has nuclear weapons is inconsistent with America's stated opinion on the matter. However, America's stated opinion could be the smokescreen.

Whatever the truth is, Iran faces an attack from either America, or Israel, imminently.

And, as the Astute Blogger points out, American political emissaries have been spending an undue amount of time in Turkey lately.

Give Gaza
Back To Egypt

Felix from Red was kind enough to leave me a link to an article he wrote which proposes a solution to the Middle East Conflict; Give Gaza Back to Egypt:

Now that Israel has disengaged from Gaza, what next for this strip of land on the Mediterranean Sea where more than million Palestinian Arabs live? The plan, which is chiseled in stone and accepted as the only way to proceed by UN Security Council, the EU, and the US., is that Gaza will become part of the new Palestinian State. That state will also someday include whatever parts of the west bank Israel eventually disengages from. A new Palestinian State--make that County--will be started. Israel has a State--a Country--ergo the Palestinians must have one.

I think I know the recent history of Gaza, but do feel free to correct me. The land area we now call Gaza was, prior to 1948, part of Egypt. The people living there were Moslems, spoke Arabic, and had many of the same customs and traditions as other Egyptians. During the 1st Israel/Arab war in 1948, some of the Arabs living in the area that was to become Israel left for Gaza and joined the existing Gaza Arab population.

Depending on one's reading of history, the Arabs either fled from Israel in fear because of the war or left Israel upon the urging of Arab leaders (the idea being for them to return after the Arabs won the war). In the 1948 war, Israel could have taken over Gaza, but chose not to.

Then in 1967, when Israel swept into the Sinai Dessert, it also took Gaza. In the early 1980s, when Israel was giving the Sinai back to Egypt, as part of its Peace Agreement, Israel offered to give Gaza back to Egypt but Anwar Sadat said no.

At the risk of sounding not-with-the-program, I think the best outcome is for Gaza to become a demilitarized part of Egypt, like it was before. The new Palestinian State will be a perpetually unhappy place, always defined by its grievance with Israel. It will be divided into two parts from day one, with the in-between area being their former and current enemy--Israel. The Palestinian leadership is either the corrupt and ineffectual PLO or Islamofascist groups such as Hamas of Islamic Jihad. It will likely become more lawless than it is now.

If I were a current resident of Gaza, and was given a choice between being a citizen of the new PLO State or Egypt, I would opt to be a citizen of Eqypt. Part of a "normal" or "real" country. Give me my Eqyptian passport and let's get on with life. I understand that Egypt has to be persuaded to take the area.

There may be historical instances of solving border disputes between two countries (which is what I think this is) by creating a 3rd country in the disputed area, but I can`t see that improving the situation in the case of Gaza. Since we are all for promoting Arab democracy at this time, how about a referendum for the people of Gaza?

Question: Do you want to join Epypt? Let's see what happens.

Well? The first thing that comes to my mind is, Egypt doesn't want Gaza for good reason. When Israel vacated the Gaza Strip, as I understand it, there was some negotiation before Egypt would even agree to take control of the border.

Unfortunately, no one wants to govern the Palestinians, and they don't seem to want to govern themselves.

Math Problem

From Associated Press:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia is being recognized for solving a math problem that had stumped his peers for more than 40 years.

Hofmann became curious about the problem as an undergraduate when a professor introduced him to it.

The professor was unable to solve the problem. Hofmann, 47, would have more success when the problem began to take over his life in 1996. Until he solved it in 2000, it was the last thing he thought about before he went to bed and the first thing he thought about when he woke. He spent two to eight hours each day on the problem, working periodically with several colleagues.

"I could be out for a bike ride, and I would be thinking about it," Hofmann told The Kansas City Star. "Sometimes I would be doing something, get an idea and have to stop ... and write it down."

The problem, known as Kato's Conjecture, applies to the theory of waves moving through different media, such as seismic waves traveling through different types of rock. It bears the name of Tosio Kato, a now-deceased mathematician at the University of California-Berkeley, who posed the problem in research papers first written in 1953 and again in 1961.

Part of the problem, called the one-dimensional version, was solved about 20 years ago. Though it was a breakthrough, work remained. Hofmann solved the problem in all its dimensions in a 120-word paper that he wrote with several colleagues — Pascal Auscher, Michael Lacey, John Lewis, Alan McIntosh and Philippe Tchamitchian.

"Philosophically, the reason research in math matters is that by pursuing math ideas that are deep and interesting for their own sake, you will get real-world applications in the future," Hofmann said.

"It is like making investments."

Theodore Slaman, chairman of the Department of Mathematics at the University of California-Berkeley, said solving a problem as old as Kato's Conjecture "is like finding the Holy Grail."

"Once you have solved it, people believe you have an understanding of an entirely new area. The longer a problem has been around, the more cachet associated with solving it."

It would be nice to think that one of us, who spends his or her time wracking our brains thinking about the Middle East conflict, might someday come up with the answer to that decades-old problem.

It seems to be the most difficult equation in the history of mankind.

The Impaler,
Part II

Over at the Infidel Blog Alliance.

Munich Terrorist
Rebuffs Spielberg's
"Prayer for Peace"

Little Steven is trying so earnestly to make the world a better place, but those gosh darn terrorists are making it awfully hard:

GAZA (Reuters) - 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 dramatises the 1972 raid and Israel’s reprisals against members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), his “prayer for peace.”

Mohammed Daoud planned the Munich attack on behalf of PLO splinter group Black September, but did not take part and does not feature in the film. He voiced outrage at not being consulted for the thriller and accused Spielberg of pandering to the Jewish state.

“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.

Daoud said he had not seen the film, which will only reach most screens outside the United States next month. But he noted that Spielberg arranged previews in Israel, where some have accused “Munich” of lacking historical accuracy.

“Spielberg showed the movie to widows of the Israeli victims, but he neglected the families of Palestinian victims,” said Daoud. “How many Palestinian civilians were killed before and after Munich?” ...

“We did not target Israeli civilians,” he said. “Some of them (the athletes) had taken part in wars and killed many Palestinians. Whether a pianist or an athlete, any Israeli is a soldier.” ...

“When I chose a long time ago to be a revolutionary fighter I prepared to be a martyr. I am not afraid, because people’s souls are in God’s hands, not Israel’s,” he said.

Ah, the cold, hard slap of reality. Think it will knock some sense into him?

Not a frickin' chance.


The Germans were ever so angry at Arnold Schwarzeneggar for signing the execution orders of "Tookie" Williams. Check out their response. From No Pasaran:

A poll by the local newspaper found that over 70 percent of the public opposed removing Mr. Schwarzenegger's name from the stadium.

... (his) name was removed from the arena in a sort of uncontested divorce between the California governor and the town council, which had been horrified that he rejected pleas to spare the life of Stanley Tookie Williams, former leader of the Crips gang, who was executed by the state of California two weeks ago.

The Schwarzenegger name has, as it were, been erased. The new name is now simply Stadion Graz-Liebenau (a district of Graz), though there were other proposals. One was to name the stadium after the Crips, the gang that Mr. Williams founded ...

Seventy percent of the population opposed the idea, but the government went ahead with the elimination of Schwarzeneggar's name anyway. Now, that's what you call a nuanced Democracy.

And, don't you just love the intelligent Euro idea of naming the stadium after the Crips?

You see, the Euros have a very sophisticated culture. If ever you don't understand their behavior, it's because you are just a stupid American.

Why Israel
Must Exist

In the leadup to the Holocaust, even America rejected the Jews. From the Jerusalem Post:

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad isn't the first bloody-minded tyrant to propose that Jews just go away, elsewhere, even to Alaska.

In his day Hitler tauntingly invited the world's democracies to take his Jews, if they were so concerned about them. He knew that for all their high-minded rhetoric, these countries wouldn't accept his provocative challenge. After 1938's Anschluss, their representatives met in Evian-les-Bains, on Lake Geneva's French shore, to decide what to do with Nazism's desperate victims, pounding on their gates in search of asylum. They never even called them Jews, lest they incur the Fuehrer's wrath.

It turned into a great Jew-rejection fest. Britain bristled at any suggestion of allowing Jews into Eretz Yisrael, mandated to it to administer as the Jewish National Home. Forerunners of today's Palestinian terrorists made sure endangered Jews wouldn't be sheltered here and His Majesty's government appeasingly acquiesced. The vast empty spaces of Canada, Australia and New Zealand were likewise off-limits. American humanitarianism consisted of tossing the undesirable hot potato into the international arena, because the Jews weren't wanted in the Land of the Free either, Indeed FDR toyed with the notion of shipping German Jews to Ethiopia or Central Africa. The UK favored the jungles of Venezuela or Central America.

The competition was on: who'll suggest a more remote and less hospitable exile in which to dump those whom the British Foreign Office labeled "unwanted Jews." The motivation wasn't much more beneficent than Hitler's initial choice of Madagascar.

Mussolini was the one who changed direction northwards. Instead of exposing Berlin's urbane Jews to the rigors of the tropics, he opined that the Siberian Arctic might be a preferable hardship. Coincidentally or not, Washington soon thereafter launched plans to deposit Jews in Siberia's adjacent neighbor, Alaska - then an American territory. The fact that Alaska wasn't a state theoretically offered a technicality via which to circumvent immigration quotas for 10,000 refugees who'd be put to work in wilderness-development projects.

Some decried this as a glorified penal colony - perhaps something along the lines Ahmadinejad had in mind when he recently expanded on his earlier relocation promotions. Beyond initial German and Austrian real estate, Ahmadinejad now adds the compelling attractions of Alaska.

Again, now as then, Alaska is proposed as a dumping ground. Ahmadinejad may not give a hoot about the first attempt to unload Jews in Alaska, but for the record it ought to be noted that the well-intentioned bill, sponsored by Utah Senator William King and California Congressman Frank Havenner in March 1940, failed to save a single Jew.

It was vehemently opposed by Alaska's only (non-voting) delegate to Congress Anthony Dimond on the grounds that "foreigners cannot be assimilated in Alaska and will constitute a threat to our American civilization."

Read the rest.

Thanks to J, from Justify This, for sending this over to me.