Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

March 17, 2005

Kasparov retires

Filed under: — Different River @ 8:14 pm

Garry Kasparov, the undisputed greatest chess player in the world, is retiring from chess — perhaps to go into politics.

(Hat tip: Pejman Yousefzadeh.)

Syria Agents Abandon HQ in Lebanon

Filed under: — Different River @ 8:06 pm

This reminds me of the fall of the Berlin Wall:

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) – Syrian intelligence agents ended their 18-year presence in Beirut on Wednesday, and emboldened residents of the capital came forward to celebrate. Some kissed the ground and others wept, wandering the basement cellblock at the headquarters and describing torture there.

Joumana Tabbara, a woman who lives across the street, waved from her balcony as she watched the agents pack up and go.

After they left, she went to the basement jail, holding a picture of slain former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the icon of the anti-Syrian opposition. She leaned against the doorway of a cell and started crying. She refused to say why.

Others were forthright. “It’s a feast and great joy for me today because they’re gone. I consider that Lebanon was born today with its liberation from Syrian forces,” said Imad Seifeddine, a 47-year-old blacksmith.

“Former Muslim Tapped as Dean of Falwell’s Seminary”

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:44 pm

I’m sure there are important conclusions to be drawn from this announcement, but I’m not sure what they are and I’m not going to speculate.

“Former Muslim Tapped as Dean of Falwell’s Seminary”

Falwell announced the Feb. 4 appointment of Ergun Caner [as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary] … .

Caner, a converted Sunni Muslim whose father was an Islamic scholar, is best known for a 2002 book he co-wrote with his brother, Emir, Unveiling Islam: An Insider’s Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs.

Speaking at the same gathering this past June, Caner said Islamic terrorists around the world don’t have a hard time recruiting suicide bombers, because millions of Muslims believe dying a martyr’s death in a holy war assures them of going to heaven.

Caner said Jesus’ atoning death relieved him of the pressure to tilt “the scales” so his own righteousness would outweigh his unrighteousness at the end of his life. “Jesus strapped a cross on his back so I wouldn’t have to strap a bomb on mine,” Caner said.

(Hat tip: Shawn Landres.)

Habeas Corpus for Terri Schiavo? (3)

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:31 pm

Updating this post.

The bill (H.R. 1151) giving habeas corpus rights to incapacitated persons seems to have disappeared into the House committee system, but a related bill — the Protection of Incapacitated Persons Act (H.R. 1332) was introduced in the House by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) yesterday, and passed on a voice vote late last night. This bill would grant “an incapacitated person, or the next friend of an incapacitated person” (defined as “an individual who has some significant relationship with the real party in interest, and includes a parent”) the right to remove to federal court any case in which a “State court authorizes or directs the withholding or withdrawal of food or fluids or medical treatment necessary to sustain the incapacitated person’s life,” without that person having executed, while capable, a written advance directive clearly authorizing such withholding.

In other words, if a state court tries to kill a disabled person, a relative or agent of the disabled person can seek review in federal court. The federal court then “shall only consider” whether such withholding “constitutes a deprivation of any right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”

I’m not a lawyer, but it seems that only obvious right in the Constitution that comes to my mind is that in the Fifth Amendment not to “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” But nobody really knows what “due process of law” means, as evidenced by the fact taht there are thousands of books, law review articles, and judicial opinions written trying to define it. Which may turn out to mean it means whatever the judge in a particular case wants it to mean.

Or perhaps there is some provision in federal law of which I am not aware that secures a right of disables persons to food and water under the relevant curcumstances. I certainly hope there is. (If anyone knows, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail.)

I think this bill is not quite as good as Rep. Dave Weldon’s bill, but this is no time to let the best be the enemy of the good. Instead, it’s time to call your Senators.

Black Hole in the Lab?

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:17 pm

Physicist Horatiu Nastase of Brown University, working at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory has created something in the lab that might be a miniature black hole. A teaser for the article forthcoming in New Scientist is here.

I wonder what the OSHA regulations on this are going to look like. ;-)

(Hat tip: Slashdot.)

Can MoveOn Move On?

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:01 am

MoveOn.org started out as a left-wing group campaigning to “move on” from then-President Clinton’s past indiscretions get back to the nation’s business. Their first project was an online petition to “Censure President Clinton and Move On to Pressing Issues Facing the Nation.” They resurfaced around 2002 or so as an anti-war and general-purpose anti-Bush group, but by far their biggest projects have been supporting Howard Dean (in his time) and opposing the Iraq war.

From which, it seems, MoveOn can’t move on. I received an e-mail from them yesterday, with this little gem:

March 19th, 2005 will mark 2 full years since the bombs started falling in Iraq. As of yesterday, 1,516 American troops have been killed in combat, and over 11,220 have been seriously injured. Uncounted tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died, and millions are without electricity or running water. The Bush administration is in the middle of an optimism campaign on Iraq, and wants us to believe that a stable peace is around the corner. But most realists see years of chaos and violence ahead. The two-year anniversary of the invasion is an important time to come together in
response.

Let’s see, a vigil to stop an invasion to topple a regime that was toppled almost two years ago. To restore electricity to a country that now has more electricity than it did before the war started. And — what, undo the effects of the war? Do they want to nullify the Iraqi election, and take Saddam out of jail and restore him to power? (What happened to “count every vote”?) Can’t they just forget the war and “move on”? Or is “moving on” something they demand only of their political opponents?

It is some sort of poetic irony that they sent this e-mail out on the same day the first elected Iraqi National Assembly in over 50 years was meeting for the first time.

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