Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Morning Blog

Wow... Qaddafi is like a horribly evil Scrooge Mcduck. Turns out he may have rooms and rooms packed to the walls with cash that he's been squirreling away in the event of a rainy day involving mass murder.

How big is a billion dollars anyways? This big.

Which naturally leads me to an interesting personal musing that has nothing whatsoever to do with anything in Libya:

It strikes me that you could probably end quite a bit of crime (or at least make it very difficult to commit), if you did away with cash entirely. If credit cards had sufficient biometric security measures in place it'd be largely pointless to ever steal them. At the same time, the proceeds from criminality would be much easier to uncover. I'm wondering how large, criminal transactions could even be managed under that sort of situation. Maybe some sort of barter system? I dunno. I haven't had my coffee yet. Maybe you should ignore this paragraph.

No matter how things turn out in Libya, Qaddafi might consider cleaning up his reputation.

The Dalai Lama has announced that he will remove himself from his political duties in favor of an elected successor. He will continue his role as Tibet's spiritual leader. My take? About damn time. Look, I know that the Tibetan Buddhists are a special, spiritual people that chant a lot and can probably talk to whales and space aliens. But it cannot be ignored that under the Dalai Lama, Tibet was a theocracy! I'm not saying that that's necessarily worse than being under the fist of an autocratic communist regime, I'm just saying that I have a hard time imagining that it's significantly better.

The Telegraph takes the whole Dalai Lama thing a bit further than I would but...

Tibetan people languish under a kind of double-whammy assault on their democratic rights. The Chinese governors of Tibet deny them basic freedoms to march, organise, speak and think as they see fit. And the rest of the world implicitly treats them as a wide-eyed, infantile people who require a wise old man to speak on their behalf, whether at trendy get-togethers in Seattle, parties in Hollywood, or in the pages of Vogue.

...seems apt. The point is that the Tibetan people deserve to make their own choices. They can't do that under a authoritarian or theocratic regime.

Though doubtlessly al Qaeda has already seized on the witch hunt of terrorist sympathizer Peter King as a propaganda coup (and frankly, were you in their shoes, wouldn't you?) I would like to reiterate that he does not speak for America. And to my fellow citizens who happen to be Muslims, on behalf of the rest of us, I'm really, really sorry about this guys. Oh! And thanks by the way:

Although King may believe otherwise, the Muslim community in the United States has cooperated and partnered with law enforcement for years. Tips from Muslim Americans have led directly to the foiling of a number of murderous plots. According to the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Muslim communities have helped U.S. security officials prevent more than 40 percent of al Qaeda plots threatening the United States since the 9/11 attacks. In the past year, that number spiked to three-quarters of all such plots.

Potential terrorist attacks that have been foiled with Muslim help include the arrest of five Northern Virginia men accused of attempting to join the Taliban and the May 2010 Times Square bomb plot, which was foiled when a Muslim vendor notified police of a suspicious-looking vehicle. These examples highlight the importance of community-oriented policing by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Good looking out!

Live blog on the hearings here.

More on the hearings here. It strikes me that a significant argument for looking into the Muslim community is that they don't spend enough time each day denouncing the tiny percentage of Muslims that actively participate in terrorism. And I will grant that the vast majority of terrorists currently appear to be Muslim. That said, I would also point out that the vast, vast majority of serial killers are white, American men. Before congress starts investigating me for not saying forcefully enough that serial killing is wrong (something I previously considered too obvious to bear mention), I'd like to say that I denounce serial killing. It's a bad thing. Now please don't haul me in for a hearing.

Speaking of serial killers...

And tying in nicely: Illinois has joined a growing number of states in abolishing the death penalty. Good. Frankly, I don't think that the government is competent enough to make life or death decisions. Furthermore, I'm quite certain that prosecutors have very strong professional pressures to pursue convictions, particularly in cases that are especially horrific. Sometimes seeking a conviction can trump seeking justice. I accept that some crimes simply are too horrible. And I realize that no system will ever be perfect. But in capital cases, it better be damn close! For profiles of people that were exonerated post-conviction, click here.

Oh my... How do you say 'awkward' in Afghan?

Good for the Egyptians: Protesters have stormed the state security headquarters in order to preserve files kept by the secret police that they feared were being systematically destroyed as part of a cover up. I look at it as a much, much more direct form of Wikileaks. Well done, guys!

Dumb Criminal Watch: If you're going to steal, you probably shouldn't do it from people you're friends with on Facebook.

Dumb Crimnal Watch II: Next time, try chewing tobacco.

Aguilera's bound to screw this up too.


Hello! Sadly, no one considered the coming deluge of telemarketers.

Kacee Bait: DIY Gadget Edition.

Sue Bait: Because everything is better with a little bit of Stan "The Man" Lee.

Ten Observations on Newt Gingrich's assertion that he loved his country deeply, desperately and straight into the arms of his mistress.

Yikes...Let's hear it for evolution!

Let us never consider that again...

In the meantime: Pies.

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