Archive for the ‘mnp is for the children’ Category

MY NINJA PLEASE! 7.3.08 : WorldsNest :: Habitat Universe

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I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again. DO NOT SLEEP ::: via WorldsNest

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Be a Man - Self Exam

Among the ridiculous things posted here over the years - this still stands out.

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I don’t really know how comfortable I am with this dude’s concern for my personal genitalia.

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Posted: June 27th, 2008
at 11:53am by Black Ock


Categories: myninjaplease,youtube,mnp is for the children,real life news

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Plymouth-Dakar Challenge

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Julian Nowill created the concept of the ‘Banger Challenge’ in 2002 to take the piss out of the real Dakar, showing that people on a limited budget can go where the big boys go. The idea is now copied by a large number of people, some with charitable objectives and some not. The original 3-week Banjul Challenge continues to the finishing line in Banjul, The Gambia, where the LHD cars are auctioned for charity. The year 2007 saw the launch of the Timbuktu Challenge where LHD and RHD cars are auctioned in Bamako, Mali - again for good causes. For 2008, there will be a new route to Baku on the Caspian …’The Silk Road Challenge’ again with a charity auction, while for those who cannot afford to give their cars away, there will be a ‘Morocco Offroad Trial’ with a roadbook written specifically for the teams by Sahara guru Chris Scott. Teams will spend as much time as they like in Morocco from 1 week upwards and the aim is to push 2WD and 4WD vehicles to the limit… within the security of a group of cars. This will suit off roaders who rightly are concerned with the risk of solo off piste driving in remote areas. plymouth-banjul

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Court gives detainees habeas rights

In a stunning blow to the Bush Administration in its war-on-terrorism policies, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign nationals held at Guantanamo Bay have a right to pursue habeas challenges to their detention. The Court, dividing 5-4, ruled that Congress had not validly taken away habeas rights. If Congress wishes to suspend habeas, it must do so only as the Constitution allows a€" when the country faces rebellion or invasion.

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The Court stressed that it was not ruling that the detainees are entitled to be released a€" that is, entitled to have writs issued to end their confinement. That issue, it said, is left to the District Court judges who will be hearing the challenges. The Court also said that a€oewe do not address whether the President has authority to detaina€A individuals during the war on terrorism, and hold them at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba; that, too, it said, is to be considered first by the District judges.

The Court also declared that detainees do not have to go through the special civilian court review process that Congress created in 2005, since that is not an adequate substitute for habeas rights. The Court refused to interpret the Detainee Treatment Act a€" as the Bush Administration had suggested a€" to include enough legal protection to make it an adequate replacement for habeas. Congress, it concluded, unconstitutionally suspended the writ in enacting that Act.

The Court also found serious defects in the process that the Pentagon set up in 2004 to decide which prisoners are to be designated as a€oeenemy combatantsa€A a€" the status that leads to their continued confinement. This process is the system of so-called Combatant Status Review Tribunals. The procedures used by CSRTs, the Court said, a€oefall well short of the procedures and adversarial mechanisms that would eliminate the need for habeas corpus review.a€A

Justice Anthony M. Kennedya€™s opinion for the majority in Boumediene v. Bush (06-1195) and Al Odah v. U.S. (06-1196) was an almost rhapsodic review of the history of the Great Writ. The Suspension Clause, he wrote, a€oeprotects the rights of the detained by a means consistent with the essential design of the Constitution. It ensures that, except during periods of formal suspension, the Judiciary will have a time-tested device, the writ, to maintain the a€delicate balance of governancea€™ that is itself the surest safeguard of liberty.a€A Those who wrote the Constitution, he added, a€oedeemed the writ to be an essential mechanism in the separation-of-powers scheme.a€A

Even though the two political branches a€" the President and Congress a€" had agreed to take away the detaineesa€™ habeas rights, Kennedy said those branches do not have a€oethe power to switch the Constitution on or off at will.a€A

In a second ruling on habeas, the Court decided unanimously that U.S. citizens held by U.S. military forces in Iraq have a right to file habeas cases, because it does extend to them, but it went on to rule that federal judges do not have any authority to bar the transfer of those individuals to Iraqi authorites to face prosecution or punishment for crimes committed in that country in violation of Iraqi laws.

via scotusblog

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Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech

VANCOUVER, British Columbia a€" A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The articlea€™s tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.

Things are different here. The magazine is on trial.

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Two members of the Canadian Islamic Congress say the magazine, Macleana€™s, Canadaa€™s leading newsweekly, violated a provincial hate speech law by stirring up hatred against Muslims. They say the magazine should be forbidden from saying similar things, forced to publish a rebuttal and made to compensate Muslims for injuring their a€oedignity, feelings and self-respect.a€A

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, which held five days of hearings on those questions here last week, will soon rule on whether Macleana€™s violated the law. As spectators lined up for the afternoon session last week, an argument broke out.

a€oeIta€™s hate speech!a€A yelled one man.

a€oeIta€™s free speech!a€A yelled another.

In the United States, that debate has been settled. Under the First Amendment, newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minorities and religions a€" even false, provocative or hateful things a€" without legal consequence.

The Macleana€™s article, a€oeThe Future Belongs to Islam,a€A was an excerpt from a book by Mark Steyn called a€oeAmerica Alonea€A (Regnery, 2006). The title was fitting: The United States, in its treatment of hate speech, as in so many other areas of the law, takes a distinctive legal path.

a€oeIn much of the developed world, one uses racial epithets at onea€™s legal peril, one displays Nazi regalia and the other trappings of ethnic hatred at significant legal risk, and one urges discrimination against religious minorities under threat of fine or imprisonment,a€A Frederick Schauer, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, wrote in a recent essay called a€oeThe Exceptional First Amendment.a€A

a€oeBut in the United States,a€A Professor Schauer continued, a€oeall such speech remains constitutionally protected.a€A

Canada, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and India all have laws or have signed international conventions banning hate speech. Israel and France forbid the sale of Nazi items like swastikas and flags. It is a crime to deny the Holocaust in Canada, Germany and France.

Earlier this month, the actress Brigitte Bardot, an animal rights activist, was fined $23,000 in France for provoking racial hatred by criticizing a Muslim ceremony involving the slaughter of sheep.

By contrast, American courts would not stop a planned march by the American Nazi Party in Skokie, Ill., in 1977, though a march would have been deeply distressing to the many Holocaust survivors there.

Six years later, a state court judge in New York dismissed a libel case brought by several Puerto Rican groups against a business executive who had called food stamps a€oebasically a Puerto Rican program.a€A The First Amendment, Justice Eve M. Preminger wrote, does not allow even false statements about racial or ethnic groups to be suppressed or punished just because they may increase a€oethe general level of prejudice.a€A

Some prominent legal scholars say the United States should reconsider its position on hate speech.

a€oeIt is not clear to me that the Europeans are mistaken,a€A Jeremy Waldron, a legal philosopher, wrote in The New York Review of Books last month, a€oewhen they say that a liberal democracy must take affirmative responsibility for protecting the atmosphere of mutual respect against certain forms of vicious attack.a€A

Professor Waldron was reviewing a€oeFreedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendmenta€A by Anthony Lewis, the former New York Times columnist. Mr. Lewis has been critical of efforts to use the law to limit hate speech.

But even Mr. Lewis, a liberal, wrote in his book that he was inclined to relax some of the most stringent First Amendment protections a€oein an age when words have inspired acts of mass murder and terrorism.a€A In particular, he called for a re-examination of the Supreme Courta€™s insistence that there is only one justification for making incitement a criminal offense: the likelihood of imminent violence.

The imminence requirement sets a high hurdle. Mere advocacy of violence, terrorism or the overthrow of the government is not enough; the words must be meant to and be likely to produce violence or lawlessness right away. A fiery speech urging an angry mob to immediately assault a black man in its midst probably qualifies as incitement under the First Amendment. A magazine article a€" or any publication a€" intended to stir up racial hatred surely does not.

Mr. Lewis wrote that there was a€oegenuinely dangerousa€A speech that did not meet the imminence requirement.

the remainder of this article can be found at nytimes

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The Danger of False Assumptions

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Today’s edition of the New York Times includes a column from its Public Editor Clark Hoyt regarding a recent Op-Ed published in the Times written by Edward Luttwak and titled "President Apostate?" In his original piece, Mr. Luttwak argued that under Islamic Shariah law "as it is universally understood,a€A were Barack Obama to be elected president, he would be spurned by countries in the Muslim world as an "apostate" who had converted to Christianity. Luttwak went as far as to argue that Obama’s act of apostasy would be considered by Muslims to be "the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit." He might, according to Luttwak, even face possible capital punishment were he to visit the Muslim world. In his reply, I believe the NYT’s Mr. Hoyt adroitly responded to the arguments raised by Luttwak. Hoyt interviewed at least five Islamic scholars before issuing his response, though I sincerely doubt that it takes an expert in Islam to realize Luttwak’s arguments are offensive and ridiculous.

Nor are Luttwak and the Times alone in wading into this regrettable issue. On May 19, the Christian Science Monitor posted a remarkably similar editorial by Shireen Burki. To her credit, Burki went even farther than Luttwak, rather grotesquely asserting that "Osama bin Laden must be chuckling in his safe house" because American voters were poised to "give Al Qaeda the ultimate propaganda tool: President Barack Hussein Obama, Muslim apostate… Obama is bin Laden’s dream candidate." In her piece, Burki failed to quote a single contemporary Muslim scholar, terrorist organization, or any other factual source. Perhaps that is because no-one of any consequence in the Muslim world would tend to agree with her.

Indeed, what is probably most depressing about those who are advancing these arguments is that they don’t appear to have ever bothered to speak with anyone in or associated with Al-Qaida-or any similar movement. They don’t seem to have conducted any form of original research to poll opinions or discussions in the Muslim world, or more narrowly in the extremist community. They are simply trumpeting their own misconceptions about the Islamic world, which reflect a very dim understanding of Islam and Muslims, nevermind Barack Obama. Those who are actually paying close attention to terrorist organizations know all too well that what Al-Qaida sympathizers are most angered at is not the prospect of an "apostate Muslim" being elected as the U.S. President. To the contrary, they are being re-energized by the hateful and Islamophobic attacks on Obama that they have seen broadcast in Western media and the blogosphere. Ironically, they could care less whether these attacks are about Obama or not-in their mind, they see them as thinly-veiled bigoted attacks on Islam and Muslims. On May 15, a user on the notorious Al-Hesbah extremist forum traded one such narrative, bitterly describing to other Islamic militants how other American politicians "stupidly" could not tell the difference between "Obama" and "Osama."

Thus, the real terrorism-related problem here is how to deal with the long-term political fallout stemming from the ignorant and highly-polarized American portrayals of Islam unleashed during the context of the U.S. election, which are now inevitably being manipulated by Al-Qaida as propaganda fodder to recruit new sympathizers and terrorists. Even setting aside its obvious partisan bias, this form of reckless and irresponsible "scholarship" has no rightful place in the Christian Science Monitor nor, as Clark Hoyt rightly noted, on the New York Times Op-Ed page. counterterrorismblog

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Posted: June 8th, 2008
at 12:05am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: myninjaplease,life,mnp is for the children,politricks,real life news

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The Ninja Gap

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David Weinberger somehow manages to find time to write books, write thoughtful blog posts, AND produce a periodic newsletter - Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization - thata€™s one of he best reads on the a€net. Ia€™m deeply flattered that the current issue features Davida€™s thoughts on some of the topics Ia€™m obsessed with: media attention, caring, international understanding. More generously, he gives me the chance to react to his essay within the essaya€¦

Davida€™s generosity isna€™t the main reason Ia€™m linking to his piece - ita€™s that hea€™s broken some important theoretical ground with his important new concept in media criticism: The Ninja Gap. It takes a moment or two to explain - bear with me.

Almost anyone whoa€™s heard me give a public talk has heard me observe that Japan and Nigeria have roughly the same populations, but vastly different media representation: youa€™re roughly 8-12 times more likely to find an article focused on Japan in an American newspaper than an article on Nigeria. There are a lot of possible explanations for this phenomenon, from racism to comparative economic power. David offers a new one: Japana€™s got ninjas, and Nigeria doesna€™t.

Ita€™s a brilliant observation because ita€™s funny, true and highly relevant to conversations about media attention. Johan Galtung, in his seminal a€oeThe Structure of Foreign Newsa€oe, draws a persuasive metaphor between a radio receivera€™s ability to tune in one of many radio stations, and a listenera€™s likelihood to a€oereceivea€A a piece of news:

F4: The more meaningful the signal, the more probable that it will be recorded as worth listening to.

F5: The more consonant the signal is with the mental image of what one expects to find, the more probable that it will be recorded as worth listening to.

F7: The more a signal has been tuned in to the more likely it will continue to be tuned in to as worth listening to.

Context matters, Galtung argues. If wea€™ve got a mental image of Africa as a backwards and technically retrograde place, wea€™re likely to miss stories about innovation in mobile commerce (see the lead story in issue 407a€¦) or success in venture capital. Galtunga€™s fifth maxim is closely linked to the idea of cognitive dissonance - ita€™s uncomfortable to attempt to resolve new information that conflicts with existing perceptions, beliefs and behaviors.

Context doesna€™t just come from hard news - we all consume far more entertainment and advertising content than we consume of hard news. This information helps shape our views of these countries, and likely helps us unconsciously decide what sort of information to accept or reject. These perceptions construct something over time that might be thought of as a a€oenation branda€A - as the man who coined that term,marketer Simon Anholt, observed, a€oeEthiopia is well branded to receive aid, but poorly branded as a tourism destination.a€A

In this context, Japan is a place branded in many of our minds as a place thata€™s innovative, high-tech, and more than a little strange. Whether or not wea€™ve been to Japan, wea€™ve encountered anime, monster movies, martial arts flicks, SONY tva€™s and Toyota trucks. Whether or not our ideas about Japan are well-founded, reflect the reality on the ground, are rich in stereotypes, etc., wea€™ve got preconceptions about Japan. On some level, the fact that we know that a€oeJapan = Ninjasa€A means that wea€™ve got receptivity for a story about Japan that we might not have for Nigeria.

And so, Nigeria needs ninja. Or as David explains:

One reason we care about Japan more than Nigeria (generally) is that Japan has a cool culture. Wea€™ve heard about that culture because some Westerners wrote bestselling books about ninjas, and then Hollywood made ninja movies. Love them ninjas! Nigeria undoubtedly has something as cool as ninjas. Ok, something almost as cool as ninjas. If we had some blockblusters about the Nigerian equivalent of ninjas, wea€™d start to be interested Nigeria.

In other words, wea€™re more inclined to pay attention to Japan because wea€™ve got some context - a weird, non-representative context, for sure - while we have almost no context for stories about Nigeria. The context we do have for Nigeria - 419 scams - tends to be pretty corrosive, and may make us likelier to pick up only the stories that portray Nigeria as wildly corrupt and criminal.

Davida€™s observation leads him to some concrete advice for those of us trying to inspire xenophilia: write better: a€oeGood writing can make anything interesting. We will read the story about the Nigerian peddler and his neighborhood if there is a writer able to tell that story in a compelling way.a€A

Thata€™s harder than it sounds. But ita€™s also one of the best pieces of constructive advice Ia€™ve seen on cultivating xenophilia: tell good stories in a compelling way. And it wouldna€™t hurt to throw a ninja or two in there while youa€™re at it.

This post originally ran on Ethan’s excellent personal blog, My Heart’s in Accra.

via worldchanging

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Nineteen Ninety-Now #5

Wow…

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You know you used to watch it.

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Posted: June 3rd, 2008
at 5:18am by Black Ock


Categories: youtube,robots,mnp is for the children

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Slick Rick The Ruler Pardoned by New Gov

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Posted: June 2nd, 2008
at 7:03am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: hood status,myninjaplease,music,celebrity,too good to be true,home,mnp is for the children,fo' real?,9th dan

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