Upgrade to WordPress 2.3 in the works

I’ll be upgrading this site to WP 2.3 in the next few days. I mention this because on Slashdot today, there appeared an incorrect and misleading article in which the writer claimed that this new version sends confidential information about registered users to WP developers.
Matt Mullenweg shot this down quickly, but I want to reiterate that WP 2.3 does not send any confidential information to anyone. You are safe to continue using this site.

Ahmadinejad: US, ‘big prison’

(cross posted from my blog)

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slams Washington’s domestic policy saying the US has turned into a big prison for the American nation.

He made the remarks at a meeting with the leaders of US Muslim community on Tuesday.

Ahmadinejad criticized the offensive remarks made by Columbia University’s President Lee Bollinger adding, “They insult the guest they’ve invited and echoed statements of a terrorist group in their remarks. They knew their words would not affect me and just tried to prevent the university students from listening to new words. “

Ahmadinejad said the Holocaust was a pretext to occupy Palestine and displace millions of peoples, therefore its aspects should be studied. “They displaced the Palestinian nation under the pretext of the massacre of the Jews; if it is revealed that the Holocaust has nothing to do with the issue of Palestine and the figures in this regard are exaggerated, they will have nothing to say.”

“Resolutions are no longer of any use to counter Israel’s crimes and the approved resolutions are not implemented either. I’m sure that Americans are against those crimes and consider Palestinians to be right. “

He described discord between Shias and Sunnis in Iraq as a plot hatched by the enemies, which can be thwarted by unity.

Ahmadinejad called on all Muslims to strive for justice in the world adding, “We believe all religions have the same origin. Christians, Jews and Muslims all believe in the savior. ”
——-
FYI – here is a comparison of worldwide incarceration rates:

Incarcerations per 100,000 population (sample):

1014____Texas (in 1999) (governor George W. Bush)
1013____Louisiana (2001)
715_____United States of America (2001)
584_____Russian Federation
554_____Belarus
487_____Cuba
416_____Ukraine
402_____South Africa
388_____Singapore
267_____Namibia
253_____Tunisia
248_____Taiwan
210_____Poland
204_____Chile
194_____Iran
189_____Hong Kong (China)
178_____Czech Republic
177_____Greenland (Denmark)
176_____Jamaica
174_____Israel
173_____Libya
169_____Brazil
169_____Mexico
161_____New Zealand
158_____El Salvador
146_____Lebanon
142_____United Kingdom: England & Wales
129_____Portugal
126_____Colombia
125_____Republic of (South) Korea
121_____Egypt
119_____China
116_____Canada

-In the USA, Blacks and Hispanics make up 62 percent of the incarcerated population, though comprising only 25 percent of the national population;

-Between ten and fifteen percent of black men are incarcerated in twelve states (Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming);

-Black women are incarcerated at rates between ten and thirty-five times greater than the rates of white women in fifteen states (Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming); and

-Hispanic youth are incarcerated at rates seven to seventeen times greater than those of whites in Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, while the incarceration rate for black youth is between twelve and twenty-five times greater than those of whites in Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, and New Jersey.

(See the World Incarceration Website for more details)

also,

In 2004 there were more than 800,000 full-time sworn law enforcement officers in the United States

Type of agency Number of agencies Number of full-time
sworn officers

Total   836,787  
All State and local 17,876 731,903  
Local police 12,766 446,974  
Sheriff 3,067 175,018  
Primary State 49 58,190  
Special jurisdiction 1,481 49,398  
Constable/Marshal 513 2,323  
Federal*   104,884  

Note: Special jurisdiction category includes both State-level and local-level agencies. Consolidated police-sheriffs are included under local police category. Agency counts exclude those operating on a part-time basis.
*Non-military federal officers authorized to carry firearms and make arrests.

(as far as I understand this does not include folks working in jails, prisons, penitentiaries, etc., though I am not sure about that)

All this adds up to a national rate of full-time law enforcement employees per 1,000 inhabitants of at 3.5 (in 2004) which also the highest in the world.

Lastly, remember the huge “security-intelligence complex” composed of the SIXTEEN official US intelligence and security agencies and the equally “huge private intelligence sector” and you really get a sense of how much a prison the USA has become.

Do you or your government seek the destruction of the state of Israel as a Jewish state?

(cross-posted from my blog)

Excerpt of the exchange between President Ahmadinejad and Mr Coatsworth at Columbia University:

MR. COATSWORTH: Mr. President, your statements here today and in the past have provoked many questions which I would like to pose to you on behalf of the students and faculty who have submitted them to me.
Let me begin with the question to which you just –
PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: (In English.) It is one by one, one by one.
MR. COATSWORTH: One by one, it is, yes. (Applause.)
The first question is: Do you or your government seek the destruction of the state of Israel as a Jewish state?
PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: We love all nations. We are friends with the Jewish people. There are many Jews in Iran living peacefully with security. You must understand that in our constitution, in our laws, in the parliamentary elections, for every 150,000 people we get one representative in the parliament. For the Jewish community, one-fifth of this number they still get one independent representative in the parliament. So our proposal to the Palestinian plight is a humanitarian and democratic proposal.
What we say is that to solve the 60-year problem we must allow the Palestinian people to decide about its future for itself. This is compatible with the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations and the fundamental principles enshrined in it. We must allow Jewish Palestinians, Muslim Palestinians and Christian Palestinians to determine their own fate themselves through a free referendum. Whatever they choose as a nation everybody should accept and respect. Nobody should interfere in the affairs of the Palestinian nation. Nobody should sow the seeds of discord. Nobody should spend tens of billions of dollars equipping and arming one group there.
We say allow the Palestinian nation to decide its own future, to have the right to self-determination for itself. This is what we are saying as the Iranian nation. (Applause.)
MR. COATSWORTH: Mr. President, I think many members of our audience would be — would like to hear a clearer answer to that question, that is — (interrupted by cheers, applause).
The question is: Do you or your government seek the destruction of the state of Israel as a Jewish state? And I think you could answer that question with a single word, either yes or no. (Cheers, applause.)
PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: And then you want the answer the way you want to hear it. Well, this isn’t really a free flow of information. I’m just telling you where I — what my position is. (Applause.)
I’m asking you, is the Palestinian issue not an international issue of prominence or not? Please tell me, yes or no. (Laughter, applause.)
There’s a plight of a people.
MR. COATSWORTH: The answer to your question is yes. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Well, thank you for your cooperation.
It is — we recognize there is a problem there that’s been going on for 60 years. Everybody provides a solution, and our solution is a free referendum. Let this referendum happen, and then you’ll see what the results are. Let the people of Palestine freely choose what they want for their future. And then what you want in your mind to happen, it will happen and will be realized. (Applause.)

A quite amazing exchange indeed.

Coatsworth is repeatedly clearly conflating two different questions:

  1. the existence of the state of Israel
  2. the nature of the state of Israel

These are two very different issues. Nobody has ever challenged the right of Germany, Russia or South Africa to exist as a state. However, that does not imply that a Nazi, Soviet Communist or Apartheid regime in these countries had a “right to exist”. Coatsworth calls Israel a “Jewish state” overlooking the fact that according to the 2006 CIA World Factbook, quoting 2004 data, Jews account for only 76.4% and non-Jews account for 23.6% (mostly Arab). Thus, as long as Israel will remain an officially “Jewish state” 23.6% of its citizens will have their basic civil rights denied.

Also, can you imagine Iran declaring itself an “Aryan state”! Just imagine the comparisons with Hitler if that happened!

If one thinks of “Jewish” as an ethnicity, any “Jewish state” is an officially racist state, and if one thinks of “Jewish” as a religion, then any “Jewish state” is a theocracy. Either way – it is not a democracy, much less so the ‘only democracy in the Middle-East’.

The solution proposed by Iran, the self-determination of *ALL* the peoples of Palestine regardless of the ethnicity or religion is, in fact, the only democratic one. The fact that this solution would entail the loss of the Jewish character of the state of Israel is only an inevitable consequence of the racist/theocratic foundation upon which this state was built and as long as this foundation will remain there shall be no peace in the Middle-East.

PS: please check out my commentary about the reception Ahmadinejad got at Columbia U. or how Mr Bollinder could learn some basic manner from Middle-Eastern camel herders