Patterico's Pontifications


Mumbai Terrorism Update

Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 12:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Indian government claims that up to 7 of the Mumbai terrorists were British-born Pakistanis from the same area as the 7/7 attackers:

“British-born Pakistanis were among the Mumbai terrorists, Indian government sources claimed today, as the death toll rose to at least 155.

As many as seven of the terrorists may have British connections and some could be from Leeds and Bradford where London’s July 7 bombers lived, one source said.

Two Britons were among eight gunmen being held, according to Mumbai’s chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. At least nine others are reportedly dead.”

British PM Gordon Brown urged caution while the reports are investigated.

Meanwhile, there are continued reports of explosions in Mumbai and of a resumption of gunfire at the Taj Mahal Hotel where “officers were still locked in combat with up to six militants believed to be holed up in the ballroom.” (Other reports say there may be a lone gunman.) There are also stories of heroism by the hotel staff who put their own lives at risk to save innocent guests.

Sadly, there was tragic news from a Mumbai Jewish Center where 5 Jewish hostages were killed including Brooklyn NY Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah. Their 2-year-old son Moshe survived.

It’s too early to know with certainty but it appears terrorists came ashore from boats and moved to pre-designated targets where they used small arms and explosives to terrorize the city. It reminds me of a terrorist version of the Luby’s shooting in Killeen, Texas. If so, it could happen anywhere.

UPDATE: The terror is over after 60 hours and it appears there may have only been 10 terrorists, most or all of whom were from Pakistan. The sole surviving terror suspect (photo at this link) claims they were trying to recreate 9/11 in India.

One photographer claims the police were ineffective at killing or capturing the terrorists. If this is true, I don’t think it would happen in the U.S.


Federal Judge Wrote That Software Disabled by Kozinski Was “Integral Part” of Court’s “Security Apparatus”

Filed under: General,Kozinski — Patterico @ 12:07 pm

In 2002, a federal judge chairing a committee on information technology wrote that software disabled by Judge Alex Kozinski was an “integral part” of the “security apparatus” of the federal courts’ data communication network, and that its disabling caused considerable “security risks” to court computer security.

For those of you who are interested the recent ethics complaint against Judge Kozinski, accusing him of disabling court security software in 2001, Howard Bashman has posted the complaint online here. The complaint was filed by L. Ralph Mecham, former head of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

In connection with that complaint, Cyrus Sanai passes along to me a letter that he says was sent to him by Mecham. The letter is dated May 10, 2002. It is from the late Edwin Nelson, a federal judge who was the chair of a 14-judge committee called the “Committee on Information Technology.” The letter is addressed to U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, then the chairman of a House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property.

The most interesting part of the letter is at page 4, regarding Kozinski’s disabling of the intrusion detection system for the judicial branch’s Data Communications Network (DCN):

Note that Judge Nelson says the disabling was authorized by the “Executive Committee of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council.” Exactly who was on that Executive Committee is not clear.

I’m not aware of this letter having been published before.

Are Watches in Advertising Photos Always Set to the Same Time?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:33 am

The answer is yes — for traditional watches in particular (somewhat less so for digital watches). Check out these Amazon watches for examples.

What do you think the time is, and why?

This New York Times article explains.

New York Daily News the Latest Paper Suckered by Greg Packer

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:01 am

The Daily News article is headlined Revelers pack city as Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade delights young and old:

“It brings out the kid in all of us,” said Greg Packer, 44, of Huntington, L.I. “It’s that sense of togetherness that keeps me coming back.”

That — and the incessant need to be quoted in newspapers.

Don’t feel bad, New York Daily News. Even the New York Times recently fell for Packer’s cheerful brand of obsessive media whoring. You’re not alone.


Happy Thanksgiving

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

Happy Thanksgiving.

I like to treat Thanksgiving as a time to take to heart the concept of not taking things for granted. Calling it “Don’t Take Things for Granted Day” would be awkward, but it conveys the concept.

In a post I wrote in December 2006, I shared with readers a little trick I taught myself, which truly brings the concept home. I’d like to remind you about it now — or introduce you to the trick, if you weren’t reading me in 2006.

The rest of that evening, I pictured myself as having been sent into my body from the future, to relive the moments I was experiencing. And I saw everything differently. I sat on the couch and watched television with my arm around my wife — all the while imagining myself as an old man, transported back in time to relive that moment. And all of a sudden, what otherwise might have seemed like a mundane moment seemed like a privilege. I felt like the luckiest guy in the world, just sitting there with my wife.

I’ve tried the trick all weekend, and it really changes your outlook. Just sitting around with a sleepy child in your arms is great any way you look at it. But if you picture yourself as someone whose child has grown up — if you imagine yourself as an older man, who would give the world to be back in that chair with that child in his arms — it makes you realize how important the moment is. And you appreciate it more.

As I said in that post: “Some day, you’ll miss almost everything about your life the way it is right now.” My wife said that her dad once expressed the same concept to her by saying (I’m paraphrasing): “Can you be nostalgic for things that are happening right now?”

I think you can, if you take a second to think about it. And then you’ll appreciate even more the fact that you’re in that nostalgic time right now.

I said in that post: “Like any epiphany, I know that this will pass, to be remembered only from time to time.”

But try it today. Picture yourself twenty years in the future, thinking back to today — this very day. Think how fondly you would remember these moments. Then realize that you’re getting to experience them, right now.

And then get the hell off the computer and go appreciate them.

Go. Right now.

I’ll see you tomorrow.


The Perfect Christmas Gift

Filed under: Abortion — DRJ @ 9:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Gift certificates are good gifts when you aren’t sure what to buy that special woman in your life who puts everyone else first:

“Why not buy a loved one a gift this holiday season that they really need,” [Planned Parenthood of Indiana president and CEO Betty] Cockrum says in a press release obtained. “The gift certificates are also a wonderful idea for that person in your life who puts everyone else first.”

“Please join Planned Parenthood of Indiana and give the gift of health this holiday season,” she adds.

According to Chrystal Struben-Hall, PPIN’s vice president, buyers of gift certificates can give the gift of death, too.

She confirmed to WISH-TV that they can be used for abortions, even though that’s not the intended purpose.

“They really are intended for preventative healthcare. We decided not to put restrictions on the gift certificates so it’s for whatever people feel they need the services for most,” she said.”

After all, what better way to celebrate the birth of a babe than to give the gift of an abortion?


Is LifeNews like The Onion? This must be a joke.


“Blogger Given Yet Another Excuse to Drink”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:28 pm

That’s the headline on a recent Hot Air Headlines item:

The link goes to a New York Times article about the health benefits of alcohol.

But it got me thinking: wouldn’t this headline apply to 90% of the posts I write around here?

I mean, I could easily make this a daily feature.

New Ethics Complaint Filed Against Kozinski

Filed under: General,Kozinski — Patterico @ 7:06 pm

But it relates to an old allegation:

A retired federal court executive alleged Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco, broke into a judicial computer security system to restore access to pornographic Web sites, according to a filed complaint.

Ralph Mecham, who headed the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington for 21 years until retiring in 2006, made the allegations in a complaint yesterday to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. . . . Mecham said U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist became “enraged” because a committee of federal judges disobeyed his recommendation to discipline Kozinski after he disabled computer filter software meant to block sexually explicit Web sites in 2001, according to the complaint.

“Tell Kozinski to watch pornography at home and not in his own court,” Rehnquist told Mecham, according to his complaint. Mecham said he wants Kozinski to resign or be impeached by Congress because he allegedly destroyed government property and bragged about it.

I have been fascinated by this complaint since June, when I first read Mecham’s letter regarding the incident. To me, the issue comes down to this: was Kozinski merely disabling a filtering system? or the court’s security system?

If he was merely disabling a filter that prevented judges and court employees from downloading porn, as Kozinski has claimed, then he’s a libertarian hero. Judges and their employees need to be able to access all kinds of material to do their jobs.

Analogously, my office flirted with blocking MySpace access, but ultimately reversed its decision — and that’s a good thing. I don’t screw around on MySpace for fun at work, but I have used MySpace to pull pictures of gang member defendants throwing gang signs — thus strengthening gang allegations in shooting cases.

If court employees are abusing their access to porn or other inappropriate materials, that’s a problem and should be dealt with — but filtering is not the answer.

If, by contrast, Kozinski was disabling the security firewall, as Mecham claims, then Kozinski’s actions were incredibly reckless and merit discipline. Courts deal with some of the most sensitive national security secrets that the government possesses. It is paramount to have unbreachable security for court computers.

I’ve never been able to figure out which is true. Did he disable a filtering system, or the security firewall?

I know it’s an old allegation, but I still hope it gets investigated and resolved. It’s that important.

Law and the Internet

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 3:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Allahpundit at Hot Air calls her the most hated woman on the internet and says she got off with a wrist slap.

What to do?

We could consider new laws, wait for the law and/or juries to catch up with modern technology, leave cases like this to civil law remedies, or be satisfied with this result.

I’m not sure there is an optimal solution but the fact that this defendant may have avoided serious criminal penalties is not a free pass. Criminal charges and legal proceedings are onerous to deal with and take their toll in time, money and stress. Further, the fact of an acquittal doesn’t mean a defendant will be considered innocent by society (for example: O. J. Simpson).

I don’t advocate the use of criminal charges to punish people who do immoral but legal acts. It’s important that prosecutors allege and prove a crime occurred, that juries believe a crime has been committed, and that the punishment fits the crime … but sometimes the effort alone has benefits.


Terror Attacks in India

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 2:08 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

More on this breaking story over at The Jury Talks Back.

Scott Jacobs is updating with the most recent news.


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