Archive for April 11th, 2009

‘Europe to Obama: You Can Keep the Terrorists’ — Weekly Standard

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Weekly Standard:

The Obama administration’s attempts to get various European nations to take dozens of Guantanamo detainees continue to be met with uneven results. Austria has now joined several other European nations, including the Czech Republic, in declining to take any Guantanamo detainees at all. “If the detainees are no longer dangerous, why don’t they stay in the U.S.,” Interior Minister Maria Fekter said during a meeting of European nations today. “For Austria, I cannot accept Guantanamo inmates.”

On the other hand, France, Spain and Portugal are on the record as saying they will take Gitmo detainees. In a meeting with President Obama last week, French President Sarkozy said that his nation would be willing to take one Algerian detainee with ties to France. The specific detainee has not been named, but press reports indicate that Lakhdar Boumediene and Sabir Mahfouz Lahmar are the two Algerians being considered.

New Zealand telco denies hiring botnet operator arrested in FBI-led operation: Computerworld

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Computerworld:

March 26, 2009 (Computerworld) One of New Zealand’s largest telecommunications companies is downplaying reports that it hired as a security consultant a teenager who was arrested in 2007 after an FBI-led investigation fingered him as the operator of a massive international botnet operation.

Chris Mirams, a spokesman for Auckland-based TelstraClear Ltd., yesterday said the company had asked Owen Walker to be a speaker at two customer seminars last October and November. Walker’s image was also used in a targeted advertising campaign for TelstraClear’s DMZ Global security unit, Mirams said.

But apart from that contract, which lasted “approximately two months,” TelstraClear has not engaged Walker in any other capacity, Mirams said. “He was contracted for those duties only and was not, and is not, a full-time employee,” Mirams said in an e-mail.

Facebook nears 200 million users

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Financial Times:

The trend is seeing the social network Facebook emerge as the world’s biggest gaming platform. It is closing on 200m active members and its most popular application installed by users is a game – Texas Hold ‘em poker – played by 11m people. (more…)

The Ninth Circuit Outdoes Itself: NRO

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Bench Memos:

Once again, the Supreme Court has unanimously reversed the Ninth Circuit.  Once again, it has done so in a case in which the Ninth Circuit granted habeas relief.  But what may be unique (and must surely be rare) about today’s ruling in Knowles v. Mirzayance is that the Supreme Court had already previously vacated the Ninth Circuit’s earlier grant of habeas relief and that the Ninth Circuit panel nonetheless issued an unpublished opinion reaching the same result.  It’s also worth noting that the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that habeas relief was improper even under a de novo standard of review (that is, even apart from the very deferential review of state-court decisions that a federal statute-AEDPA-ordinarily commands).

The judicial culprits this time are Carter appointee Procter Hug and Clinton appointee Kim McLane Wardlaw.  (Wardlaw is sometimes mentioned as a Supreme Court candidate, primarily because she is half Mexican-American.)  The third member of the panel-a district judge sitting by designation-dissented.

Boston Globe: Times co. threatens to shut down Globe

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

The Globe:

The New York Times Co. has threatened to shut the Boston Globe unless the newspaper’s unions swiftly agree to $20 million in concessions, union leaders said.

Executives from the Times Co. and Globe made the demands Thursday morning in an approximately 90- minute meeting with leaders of the newspaper’s 13 unions, union officials said. The possible concessions include pay cuts, the end of pension contributions by the company and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees now enjoyed by some veteran employees, said Daniel Totten, president of the Boston Newspaper Guild, the Globe’s biggest union, which represents more than 700 editorial, advertising and business office employees.

NRO: Vouching for D.C.

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Matthew Ladner:

On March 10, Pres. Barack Obama gave a major education speech before the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In that speech, he declared that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan “will use only one test when deciding what ideas to support with your precious tax dollars: It’s not whether an idea is liberal or conservative, but whether it works.”

How sad, then, to see the shameful behavior of Duncan’s department in sitting on, burying, and spinning the third-year evaluation of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Established in 2003 by Congress and the District of Columbia’s mayor, Anthony Williams, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program gives 1,700 low-income students the chance to attend a private school of their choice. Two of Malia and Sasha Obama’s classmates at the elite Sidwell Friends private school attend with the assistance of Opportunity Scholarships.

On March 13, Senate majority whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) wrote of the D.C. scholarship program in the Chicago Tribune:

Allowing the program to continue through end of next school year (2009-2010) will give Congress a chance to examine all the evidence to determine whether or not this program works.

U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the authorizing committee, has promised a timely hearing on reauthorization of this program.

Many benefiting from this program want no questions asked about its efficacy. I think the taxpayers deserve better.

Senator Durbin, the results are in: The program works.

‘Multiculturalism’ and “social justice’: Eagle Forum

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

The Education Reporter:

When local school boards send teachers to professional conferences, they no doubt expect the teachers will gain new knowledge and skills to take back to their classrooms to help their students learn. In many cases, there is hopefully a positive return for their investment of time and resources. But boards would be wise to look much more carefully at the advocacy being urged upon their teachers at certain conferences, notably those that purport to promote “multiculturalism” and so-called “teaching for social justice.”

Certainly, there are different and sometimes competing philosophies of teaching. Some schools of thought emphasize the teacher transmitting basic information and knowledge to children. Others stress the value of student discovery. Of course, these approaches are not necessarily in conflict; excellent teachers blend methods. But whatever techniques come into play, few parents send their children to school believing teaching should be about ideological indoctrination.

Good teachers encourage students to think for themselves. The object is to make them independent learners and thinkers, not to do the thinking for them. Mind control is not what education is all about.