Arena: Fighting the Good Fight

Saturday, June 07, 2003

The times, they are a changin':

Bands come and go from record labels in a revolving door of euphoria and dejection, so when the news came out that Pearl Jam had fulfilled its contract and was leaving Epic after 12 years, many in the industry shrugged and went back to their Mocha Malt Frappucinos. But this is more than just another band leaving just another label.

... If Pearl Jam — now touring the United States to wildly enthusiastic crowds — is able to create a successful business model mobilizing its fans via the Internet and engaging in such “crazy” stunts as releasing live double albums of every show it performs, this could be the beginning of a stampede away from the lumbering dinosaurs that the major labels have become.

...Can Pearl Jam manage these on its own?

“We are very excited about our freedom,” band manager Curtis told me. “New technology and the Internet have made it possible to try all kinds of new things, and that’s what we’re going to do.” Their Tenclub provides a “direct link between the band and its fan base, 50,000 strong,” according to club manager Tim Bierman.

The failure of all of the dot-coms in the last few years is truly amazing when it is clear to everyone that the Internet is becoming more and more influential every day. The ideas were there, but the implementation and planning were just so out screwed up that they all ran out of money before they could really get going. Rock on PJ! See you in Omaha next Friday!


So much for all of that looting:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 7 — Almost all of the priceless items feared stolen from the Baghdad Museum when it was ransacked by looters have been found safe in a secret vault, the U.S.-led administration for Iraq said on Saturday.

A SPECIAL TEAM of U.S. investigators working at the museum to check the extent of the looting has concluded that around 3,000 items were still lost or stolen, compared with initial estimates of up to 170,000. Most of the missing items were used for research, rather than exhibition.

Remember all of the people screaming at the US because of all of the looting that we were supposedly allowing to happen? Whenever you have a military conflict, it is just going to be difficult to know what is really going on. I remember at least two stories that I saw that claimed that we had found WMD. These things require a little bit of time to sort out. As my mother always told me, "Patience is a virtue."


Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Our friends, the Saudis (via LGF):

Saudi Arabia’s leading executioner Muhammad Saad Al-Beshi will behead up to seven people in a day.

“It doesn’t matter to me: Two, four, 10 — As long as I’m doing God’s will, it doesn’t matter how many people I execute,” he told Okaz newspaper in an interview.

...However, he does reveal that a sword will cost something in the region of SR20,000. “It’s a gift from the government. I look after it and sharpen it once in a while, and I make sure to clean it of bloodstains.

“It’s very sharp. People are amazed how fast it can separate the head from the body.”

...He has executed numerous women without hesitation, he explains. “Despite the fact that I hate violence against women, when it comes to God’s will, I have to carry it out.”

...An executioner’s life, of course, is not all killing. Sometimes it can be amputation of hands and legs. “I use a special sharp knife, not a sword,” he explains. “When I cut off a hand I cut it from the joint. If it is a leg the authorities specify where it is to be taken off, so I follow that.”

Sick. Sick. Sick. Yeah, sometimes we execute people here in the U.S, but we don't do it very often, and we definitely do not amputate the appendages of people who commit crimes. Look at your hand. Now imagine if you didn't have it because the religious authority deemed that you had done something so bad that you didn't deserve to have it anymore.


Why is there so much Palestinian hatred toward Israel? Well, the Israelis have certainly treated them pretty badly at times in the past. But then there's this:

"My heart has turned into a sad block of pain. One day I will buy a weapon and I will blow away the fetters. I will propel my living-dead body into your arms, my father, and you will gather me into your hands."

The rantings of a criminal psychopath or Mideast terrorist? No, it's from a prize-winning letter by seventh-grader Mahmoud Naji Chalilah, entered in a national children's letter-writing contest among Palestinians.

As the world watches Palestinian, Israeli and U.S. leaders trying to negotiate a difficult peace today – after Arab nations reportedly agreed yesterday to condemn all terrorism for any reason – Palestinian authorities meanwhile are rewarding children for embracing violence and hate by honoring letters extolling those very themes in a recent youth writing contest, according to Palestinian Media Watch, which monitors the Palestinian press.

Read the whole thing. It's pretty nasty. Realize that these letters are praised and the children who wrote them are patted on the back. Can you imagine what would happen if a child here in the U.S. wrote something like that? The Palestinian children are trained at a young age to hate the Isrealis. Don't believe me? Look at the video on this page.

Question: “Is children’s participation in Shahada-Seeking missions permitted?”

Al Bitawi: “The sages say: ’They should go [on Jihad], the men and the women, and even the children’. In the time of the Prophet [Muhammad] it was shown that children, who had not reached maturity, participated in Jihad… We in Palestine have a great love of Jihad and Shahada, and that makes many children compete among themselves in carrying out Jihad and Shahada-seeking missions.”

I won't be surprised if there is another suicide bombing in Israel within a week. The roadmap looks to be going somewhat smoothly right now, and it has always been the agenda of groups such as Hamas to ensure that anything related to peace does not go smoothly.


Tuesday, June 03, 2003

I've been pretty critical of the Islamic community lately primarily because its leaders refuse to take a hardline stance against the supposed "extremists" who are killing people, mainly the Jews, in the name of Allah. I was probably a little too cynical. Here are some Muslims denouncing terrorism:

American Muslims and Scholars denounce Terrorism

Washington, DC (September 9, 2002) — Several prominent American Muslims, organizations, and scholars issued the following statement denouncing violence and terrorism, especially in the name of Islam, a religion of peace and justice.

The statement was issued on the eve of the first anniversary of the tragedy of Sept. 11, and has been signed by 199 prominent American Muslims, and scholars of Islam from all over the world.

As American Muslims and scholars of Islam, we wish to restate our conviction that peace and justice constitute the basic principles of the Muslim faith. We wish again to state unequivocally that neither the al-Qaeda organization nor Usama bin Laden represents Islam or reflects Muslim beliefs and practice. Rather, groups like al-Qaeda have misused and abused Islam in order to fit their own radical and indeed anti-Islamic agenda. Usama bin Laden and al-Qaeda's actions are criminal, misguided and counter to the true teachings of Islam. We call on people of all faiths not to judge Islam by the actions of a few.

We believe in justice and peace for both Israelis and Palestinians. We are convinced that security for Israel can only be achieved by justice for Palestinians. Today, a modicum of justice requires the establishment of an independent Palestinian state through the exercise of Palestinian self-determination. We believe that the continued occupation of Palestinian territories, and Israel's repeated disregard of international law, have made life in the occupied territories unbearable. We say most clearly, however, that the killing of innocent civilians, whether Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, is always wrong and is forbidden in Islamic law and ethics. Illegitimate means can never be justified by a desirable or noble goal.

On this first anniversary of the tragedy of September 11, we call on all people of conscience to denounce violence and to work peacefully for the creation of a better world. We also urge our government leaders to work for peace, justice, liberty, and democracy around the globe.

There are quite a few signatures that follow. There needs to be more of this, and it needs to happen in the mosques.


Darwin Award:

MEDFORD, Ore. — A man running late for his flight to Phoenix called in a phony bomb threat Monday in hopes that the plane would be delayed long enough for him to get on board, police said.

America West clerks at the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport became suspicious and notified police after the man came to their desk asking about Flight 6262, which by then was on its way back to the airport because of the threat, said Medford Police Lt. Mike Moran.

Well, I don't know why he was so worried because I'm sure he could have found a spot on this airline.


Ahhhhh, Vegas:

Forget Annika Sorenstam teeing it up with the boys. Forget Funny Cide's gallop toward the thoroughbred Triple Crown.

If you're searching for the sweetest Cinderella story, look no further than Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.

The biggest and most improbable triumph in poker tourney history took place Saturday morning at Binion's Horseshoe, when a 27-year-old amateur from Tennessee captured poker's top event, parlaying a $40 investment in an online poker tournament into the $2.5 million top spot in the World Series of Poker's championship contest.

Hollywood producers would scoff at the implausibility of the story, but Spring Hill, Tenn., accountant Chris Moneymaker -- his real name -- wasn't following a script.

Lady Luck, she can be kind, even though she was a real bitch to me last time I was there.


Monday, June 02, 2003

Bet you didn't see this one comin':

May 31, 2003 -- LAST Sunday saw a remarka ble event in Washington - one that defied stereotypes about Muslims and the Bush administration's "hard-liners": Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, widely identified (and denounced) as the main architect of America's Iraq intervention, won multiple standing ovations from an audience of hundreds of Muslims
He praised the coalition's use of force to remove evil, and he hailed the new reality in Iraq. For the first time in 26 years, he said, Shia Muslims had freedom to observe their Arbaeen festival in Iraq. The room exploded in applause.

The venue: the first-ever national convention of Shia Muslims from the United States and Canada.

Wolfowitz is said to be the hardest of neoconservative hardliners. The Shias have a reputation as the most extreme, anti-Western, ultraradical Muslims. Yet they came together through the ideal of freedom, and the principle of liberation through the exercise of U.S. military power.

...Others, including non-Muslims, who attended the event were struck by the enthusiasm shown to Paul Wolfowitz. But Jafri put the emphasis in the right place: "The convention inaugurated a new period in the history of American Muslims, of heightened awareness of our responsibilities to the country we live in and hope for the future flourishing of Islam and democracy. At our convention next year, we would like to have President Bush as a guest."

And why did a story like this go unreported in the rest of our media?

But I thought it was all about OOOOOOOOOIIIIIIIILLLLLLL and American Imperialism 2.0 and the evil neocon Jewish cabal taking over America 1984 style.


Sunday, June 01, 2003

History repeats itself:

Ruthless, unconventional foes are not new to the United States of America. More than two hundred years ago the newly established United States made its first attempt to fight an overseas battle to protect its private citizens by building an international coalition against an unconventional enemy. Then the enemies were pirates and piracy. The focus of the United States and a proposed international coalition was the Barbary Pirates of North Africa.

...Thomas Jefferson, United States minister to France, opposed the payment of tribute, as he later testified in words that have a particular resonance today. In his autobiography Jefferson wrote that in 1785 and 1786 he unsuccessfully "endeavored to form an association of the powers subject to habitual depredation from them. I accordingly prepared, and proposed to their ministers at Paris, for consultation with their governments, articles of a special confederation." Jefferson argued that "The object of the convention shall be to compel the piratical States to perpetual peace."

...Paying the ransom would only lead to further demands, Jefferson argued in letters to future presidents John Adams, then America's minister to Great Britain, and James Monroe, then a member of Congress. As Jefferson wrote to Adams in a July 11, 1786, letter, "I acknolege [sic] I very early thought it would be best to effect a peace thro' the medium of war." Paying tribute will merely invite more demands, and even if a coalition proves workable, the only solution is a strong navy that can reach the pirates, Jefferson argued in an August 18, 1786, letter to James Monroe...

...Jefferson's plan for an international coalition foundered on the shoals of indifference and a belief that it was cheaper to pay the tribute than fight a war.

...The American show of force quickly awed Tunis and Algiers into breaking their alliance with Tripoli. The humiliating loss of the frigate Philadelphia and the capture of her captain and crew in Tripoli in 1803, criticism from his political opponents, and even opposition within his own cabinet did not deter Jefferson from his chosen course during four years of war.

Just in case you didn't know, we won.


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