Tuesday, February 28, 2006

BYU to retire Cosic's jersey

Kresimir ("Kresh-i-meer") Cosic ("Choe-sich"), All-American Yugoslav basketball player, was "Kresho" -- part of our family. Back in the early 70's, he came over one night at my dad's request for a Family Home Evening to tell us his conversion story to the LDS Church. It was simple: "I read the Book of Mormon. I prayed. It's true." So he joined.

We lived close to BYU's Marriott Center, so he began coming over after home basketball games. The place seats 23,000. The current men's team draws about half that on a good night. When Kresho was playing, the place was packed.

He played carefree, unorthodox. He had a patented knees-up, two-handed scoop layup with which he'd finish off a fast break (which he led as a 6' 11" "point guard").

As the Church's presiding elder in then-Yugoslavia, he had a similar reckless abandon in following the Spirit. He was fearless in following promptings.

When our families both lived in the D.C. area (and he was serving as deputy ambassador for Croatia to the United States), he called me one fast Sunday morning and asked if we would fast for him. He said, "I've been to doctor and he tells me I'm going on a trip, and where I'm going I don't need to pack a suitcase."

He had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He endured a bone marrow transplant. (He later told me that if he'd known what it was going to be like, he would rather have died). But he died of complications related to the cure: with the cancer gone, but his immune system suppressed, a herpes virus (like mouth cankers) filled up his internal organs and he wasted away. The last time I saw him, in the hospital, he couldn't speak. He was emaciated. Because of atrophy, his arms and huge hands were contracted near his face. He managed a smile, winked and gave me a thumbs up. As I left, and turned around one last time, he did it again. The big guy was at peace with his passing and trying to encourage me.

After my mission to Germany in 1978, he comandeered our family back to Yugoslavia where we spent a week of "Pentacost": cottage meetings around the country with Church members -- an extension of my mission.

He would swoop in early morning singing, "Here is coach coming in, hurry, hurry" (a play on words -- the song was from the movie "Paint Your Wagon" and referred to a stagecoach, but Kresho was referring to himself -- as basketball coach). He called my father "Boss" (pronounced "Boce") and my mother "Sister Ann" (pronounced "Seester"). He was an incessant tease.

We shared amazing spiritual outpourings when he would ask my dad or me for a priesthood blessing before returning from Utah to Yugoslavia. He always said, "Now that the windows are open, shouldn't we all have blessings?"

When we visited basketball practices with his teams in Bologna, Italy or his home town of Zadar, Yugoslavia all the players proudly wore "BYU" shirts -- because they were gifts from Kresho. He must have given away dozens.

He was drafted by the NBA's Boston Celtics, but he returned to Europe and his homeland to continue his efforts to build up the Church there.

He had an incredible wit, a hugely sensitive spirit, and a giant intellect. He was not a big, dumb jock. He was a spiritual giant who has left a huge legacy. It's about time BYU honored him. Saturday night they'll retire his jersey and hang it from the Marriott Center rafters.

Kresho was too good for this world. God has taken him home. Thanks be to God who, through the gift of His Son, has made the reunion with Kresho possible.

UPDATE: Sportswriter Dick Harmon's tribute.

Kudos to BYU's Dave Rose

From ESPN's Doug Gottlieb:

Major props, respect and "shugs" (half handshake, half hug) to Dave Rose at Brigham Young. BYU was 9-21 last year, and Steve Cleveland left to take the Fresno State job. Rose, a long time juco head coach at Dixie State and an assistant at BYU prior to taking over, has only one senior on his roster but has run off eight of nine in the MWC. BYU was picked dead last by the media and in the coaches' polls, but will finish (if the Cougars can beat Colorado State and New Mexico, both at home) tied for second place, with 20 wins overall.

Freshman Trent Plaisted has 11 consecutive double-digit scoring games, but maybe more impressive was Rose's early-season decision to bring Austin Ainge off the bench. As the son the of the greatest player in the history of BYU (Danny Ainge), Ainge came in with a lot of hype, but after realizing he was a role player, Rose made the gutsy move to do what was right, even if it was not that popular early on.

Ports deal

So Bush was "tone deaf". And the public outcry manifests Mohammed cartoon outrage blowback.

Still, maybe reasonable minds can prevail.

It's all about politics, but perhaps rewarding an Arab ally in the Global War on Terror is the political reason that will win the day.


A colleague's father passed away over the weekend. A hardworking, meticulous, and precise machinist who came up with multiple inventions. And a quiet smiling man, a lover of quiet time, long drives, and reading for 10 hours on the beach. It was all about his family.

My friend doesn't believe in a resurrection. But his dad's legacy will live in his children who cherish his memory. RIP.

Apple: the innovation continues

Apple introduces iPod Hi-Fi and a new Intel Core Duo Mac Mini. (At $349, the Hi-Fi seems a little pricey -- I guess performance will tell the story).

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Failure of the press

William Bennett and Alan Dershowitz agree in a WaPo piece that the press has been cowed by Islamic extremism. Money quote:
When we were attacked on Sept. 11, we knew the main reason for the attack was that Islamists hated our way of life, our virtues, our freedoms. What we never imagined was that the free press -- an institution at the heart of those virtues and freedoms -- would be among the first to surrender.

Monday, February 20, 2006

New questions on Saddam, WMD

The Washington Times has some.

The Blogfather and the VP kerfluffle

Glenn Reynolds examines the continued high pitch of Bush-haters and the media (or are the two one?) in a piece in the Guardian: "An Instinct for the Capillary".

Sunday, February 19, 2006

And justice for all

Won a hardfought trial Friday: the case of the disinherited convict.

His mother died without a will while he was in prison. His three sisters claimed our client orally disclaimed his share of the real property in his mother's estate. The probate code statute of frauds requires (like any transaction involving real property) that an heir's disclaimer of such an interest be in writing. There was no written disclaimer. But his sisters claimed the defenses of laches, equitable estoppel and partial performance.

The key fact was that he purportedly made his oral disclaimer the month his mother died, but a year later his sister (the personal representative), who was represented by counsel in administration of the estate, listed him as an heir and got a written waiver of notice of probate proceedings from him (while he was still in prison) but no written disclaimer of his interest in the real property. We argued that was strong evidence that there was no oral disclaimer.

We also argued that it was implausible that our client, in prison for most of his adult life as a result of property offenses (burglary, theft, shoplifting) would unilaterally give up his interest in properly valued over $100,000.

It was gratifying that our only fact witness was our client, in prison uniform and shackles. The judge heard his testimony and the testimony of his three sisters (all churchgoing, and one of whom works in the courthouse). And he believed our client. Ironic that the value of the property taken by our "black sheep" client during his criminal career pales in comparison with what his "good" sisters stole from him.

The judge awarded specific performance (transfer of his share of the real property and water rights), or, if the transfer is not made within 60 days, a money judgment. Interesting, too, that the judge at trial had been the prosecutor who last put our client in prison.

But prison this time around has saved his life. His wife and children told him when he went back in that it was his choice: either freedom and family or drugs and prison. He chose his family and it's changed his life. He's gotten his high school diploma, his associate's degree in sociology, and he's a junior working on a BS in psychology (full-time through Utah State University's distance learning program, with a 3.7 GPA). He's also overcome his heroin addiction (the admitted reason for his crimes) by completing a prison drug therapy program called Conquest, and is now a mentor in that program helping other inmates overcome their addictions. He's had 150 urinalysis tests in the past 5 years in prison, and he's been clean on all of them. He's been a model prisoner.

He told us this week as we went over his testimony that all he wanted was justice. He's been on both ends of the justice system. And both ends have served him well. One of the more gratifying cases in my legal career.

Steyn hits the nail on the head

Mark Steyn opines on a week of newsworthy contrasts.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Dr. Jones redux

Dr. Steven E. Jones, a BYU physics professor, has postulated that prepositioned explosives, not commercial airliners, brought down the Twin Towers. (See Y. professor thinks bombs, not planes, toppled WTC).

Now he's calling for a special federal prosecutor to investigate (Sept. 11 theorizing professor speaks out).

My take (still):
Jones' paper does not attempt to address three central common-sense questions it raises: Who? How? and Why? Who "carefully placed" the "prepositioned explosives"? How did they do so without being detected? And why: why bother to fly airliners into the buildings if prepositioned explosives were going to destroy them anyway?
Some more Jones links:

Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse? (The (now-updated) paper that started it all)

Dr. Jones' CV.

Questions remain from 9/11 report, professor says

Scholars for 9/11 Truth website

No conclusion yet on 9/11 (Dr. Jones' letter to the editor)

BYU professor's group accuses U.S. officials of lying about 9/11

Wikipedia article on Steven E. Jones

Cartoon madness continues

Muslim cleric offers $1M bounty on Danish cartoonists. Islamofascism's culture of death ups the ante. How to stop the madness?

The Veep and Birdshot: much ado about nothing

Krauthhammer on "Quelling Quailgate".

Saturday, February 11, 2006

More on the cartoon furor

Like many others in the Western world, I have been following the Cartoon Riots of 2006 with a combination of puzzlement and horror, and trying in vain to figure out what makes those people tick. Perhaps I will never understand it, but here and there I do manage to pick up bits and pieces of insight, some on my own, and some through the prism of another person's mind.

Yesterday morning I sent an e-mail to my young Iranian friend. I don't remember now what the subject was, but the message was typical of the sort of correspondence that has passed back and forth between us for several months now, during which she has earned my respect and affection. She is kind, decent, thoughtful, highly intelligent, well-read, and sensitive. She is obviously deeply religious, but without appearing fanatical in any way. And of course, she is a Muslim, and from what I see, I believe she represents her faith as well as I hope I do mine. I would like to think that she, rather than the mullahs and crazies such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, typifies what Iran and its people are all about. If she does, there is abundant reason for long-term optimism where the future of that country is concerned. She is the latest of a number of Muslims I have met or known over the years, all of whom have left me with favorable impressions, whether because of their dignity, or intelligence, or spiritual sensitivity, or some combination of all of these things. How, then, does one explain the contrast between the nobler side of Islam, as typified by my Iranian friend and others like her, and the ringleaders and participants in the cartoon riots, who torch buildings, take hostages, and advocate beheadings and worse, all in the name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful?

I was thinking about that as I sent off my e-mail, and less than 10 minutes later, I received some sudden insight as I read this piece in Jewish World Review. It occurred to me then that of the Muslims who over the years had left me with such favorable impressions of their faith, every single one had been female. I know there are exceptions to this, of course, including the recently-elected member of the Palestinian parliament, who, having already given the world one suicide bomber, publicly announced that she wanted her 17-year-old son to sacrifice himself in yet another suicide bombing and take a few innocent Israelis with him. But still, there appear to be far more angry young men in the Islamic world than angry young women.

There are some things I am simply never going to understand, and this will be one of them. But while I ponder this mystery, there is not a day that goes by that I don't wish I could give just one thing to my Iranian friend:


UPDATE: Thanks, Garry, for the thoughts and the link. Angry young men. Money quote from Terrell's article:
one thing is eminently clear. The peoples in such a rage over Danish cartoonists are a deeply troubled people. They are incapable of reason or even of governing themselves. They are the enemy of civilization, whether it be Western civilization or some civilized order that might emerge in the Middle East. I hope the Europeans who have been so critical of our military action in Iraq and Afghanistan take note. The Islamofascists are as great a danger as was Hitler, who left Europe in the kind of desolate chaos that the Islamofascists adumbrate.

And now for something completely different...

OK GO in the backyard dancing ("A Million Ways to be Cruel").

Critic Carter allowed surveillance in 1977

Life is full of irony. From the Washington Times:
Former President Jimmy Carter, who publicly rebuked President Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program this week during the funeral of Coretta Scott King and at a campaign event, used similar surveillance against suspected spies.

"Under the Bush administration, there's been a disgraceful and illegal decision -- we're not going to the let the judges or the Congress or anyone else know that we're spying on the American people," Mr. Carter said Monday in Nevada when his son Jack announced his Senate campaign.

"And no one knows how many innocent Americans have had their privacy violated under this secret act," he said.

The next day at Mrs. King's high-profile funeral, Mr. Carter evoked a comparison to the Bush policy when referring to the "secret government wiretapping" of civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

But in 1977, Mr. Carter and his attorney general, Griffin B. Bell, authorized warrantless electronic surveillance used in the conviction of two men for spying on behalf of Vietnam.

The men, Truong Dinh Hung and Ronald Louis Humphrey, challenged their espionage convictions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which unanimously ruled that the warrantless searches did not violate the men's rights.

In its opinion, the court said the executive branch has the "inherent authority" to wiretap enemies such as terror plotters and is excused from obtaining warrants when surveillance is "conducted 'primarily' for foreign intelligence reasons."

That description, some Republicans say, perfectly fits the Bush administration's program to monitor calls from terror-linked people to the U.S.

The Truong case, however, involved surveillance that began in 1977, before the enactment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which established a secret court for granting foreign intelligence warrants.

Democrats and some Republicans in Congress say FISA guidelines, approved in 1978 when Mr. Carter was president, are the only way the president may conduct surveillance on U.S. soil.

Administration officials say the president has constitutional authority to conduct surveillance without warrants in the name of national security. The only way Congress could legitimately curtail that authority, they argue, is through an amendment to the Constitution.

The administration's view has been shared by previous Democrat administrations, including Mr. Carter's.

When Mr. Bell testified in favor of FISA, he told Congress that while the measure doesn't explicitly acknowledge the "inherent power of the president to conduct electronic surveillance," it "does not take away the power of the president under the Constitution."

Jamie S. Gorelick, deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, agreed. In 1994 testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Miss Gorelick said case law supports the presidential authority to conduct warrantless searches and electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes.

Earlier this week, however, Mr. Carter said it was "ridiculous" for Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to say the spying is justified by Article II of the Constitution.

Republicans say they welcome such criticism because it proves Democrats can't be trusted with national security.

"Just when you thought that the Democrats' image of being soft on defense issues couldn't get any worse, enter the sage wisdom of President Jimmy Carter to save the day," said Brian Nick, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Calculating the martyrdom menace

In Policy Review, Tony Corn parses the threat:
The challenge for the West can hardly be overestimated: Even if only 1 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims were to end up being seduced by the global jihad, the West and moderate Muslim regimes would still have to deal with some 12 million jihadists spread across more than 60 countries. And if only 1 percent of these 12 million were to opt for “martyrdom operations,” the West would still have to deal, for a generation at least, with some 120,000 suicide bombers.
(It's in section I of a very looong article).

SD card with a USB port -- ingenious!

An expansion SD card for a PDA, and a jumpdrive for a USB 2.0 port. Smart.

Wi-fi iPod this year?

AppleInsider has the faith-promoting rumor.

A week is forever in politics, but...

Hillary starts out where Kerry ended on Election Day. Power Line has the story about the Rasmussen poll numbers and they aren't pretty.

Cartoon aftermath: talking nice in Europe

Wretchard over at Belmont Club has the story on a proposed EU press code so as not to antagonize terrorists.

Count on our European allies to take a fuzzy (as opposed to hard) line.

Iran's president: martyrdom-seeking only way to salvation

Hat tip to Donald Sensing for link to this story about the Iranian president's theology of death.

Iran's president: apocalyptic vision

Arnaud de Borchgrave says it's later than we think.

Open source challenger to iTunes?

Introducing Songbird.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Terrorist World Tour

Get the T-shirt.

(I'd prefer it said "Cancelled - courtesy the Red, White and Blue". Hat tip to colleague Matt Howell for the link).

Muhammad cartoons were published in Egypt...in October

Instapundit links to the Pajamas Media site which has the story -- and photographs of the newspaper.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Top terrorist lived in ... Utah

KSL TV is reporting that Shawqi Omar, a close associate of Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, lived in Salt Lake City and attended Utah State University.

UPDATE: More details here.

Super Bowl ads

View them or snag them for your iPod here.

Offensive cartoons mean never having to say you're sorry, but...

Some moderate Muslims apologize to Denmark and Norway for the actions of a few (thousand).

"We are all Danes now"

Jeff Jacoby weighs in on the hysteria over the Mohamed cartoons published recently in Denmark.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Plan for peace: become homicidal maniacs

Frank J. at IMAO has a "realistic" plan for world peace: "excessive acts of seemingly mindless violence". Excerpt:
Warmongering pacifists want us to act all nice such that countries think we’re rational and won’t kill everyone with a blind fury, thus making it possible they might actually attack us and draw us into a war. But, if America follows my idea and lashes out at the slightest provocation with unmeasured vengeance, there can be peace.
All tongue in cheek.

Except that crazy violence seems to be the express policy of our islamofascist enemies.

Pure, unadulterated evil, anyone?

The black shroud completes the effect. This looks like a political cartoon. A caricature.

Except it's real.

Darth Vader unmasked.

Except it's real.

How does one deal with these people?

That's the question I asked when I watched the Twin Towers burning on 9/11. When I first heard a plane had slammed into the Pentagon.

Democracy may be a way to save their children and grandchildren. But these people seem beyond redemption.

Is it really the choice between destroy or be destroyed?

Saints alive

A friend says she heard a woman who survived Hurricane Katrina say on TV that she and the members of her community wouldn't have been able to make it without the help of two churches who came to their aid: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Mormon Church.

(For those of you who don't know, "Mormon" is the nickname for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

Nice tribute to members who are trying to live their religion.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Palestinian "national" will = moral depravity

Krauthammer talks about Hamas in power in a Middle East with no illusions.

So few friends

After God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, a Jewish story has Abraham asking God, "Why do you treat me this way?" God replies, "This is how I treat all my friends." To which Abraham wryly replies, "Perhaps that's why you have so few friends."

Friend Garry Wilmore links to a rabbi's answer to why life is so difficult. The link from Garry's blog is here.

More on the cartoon protests

I am filing herewith my concurrence with Barney's views on the uproar over the Mohammed cartoons. In connection with this topic, today I also found this image on Flickr, which, as photos will often do, speaks volumes.

Angry Muslim Terrorists Protest Cartoon Stereotypes of Angry Muslim Terrorists

Life is full of irony. Palestinian gunmen threw a bomb at a French cultural center in Gaza City on Friday to protest publication of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad as a bomb-headed terrorist.

The Danish cartoon that started it all:

Armed Islamic militants in Gaza protested the cartoon by briefly closing a European Union Center in Gaza City:

Islamic terrorists apparently can't take a joke. Their armed demonstrations make clear that Islamic terrorism is no laughing matter.
Hmm. They're right:

So ... in all seriousness: "Death to terrorists":

(And have a nice day!)

UPDATE: My first Instalanche (thanks, Glenn)! Welcome Instapundit readers! Check out the rest of the site!

UPDATE: Quoted on all-encompassingly:

Muslim outrage huh? OK … let’s do a little historical review. Just some lowlights:
Muslims fly commercial airliners into buildings in New York City. No Muslim outrage.
Muslim officials block the exit where school girls are trying to escape a burning building because their faces were exposed. No Muslim outrage.
Muslims cut off the heads of three teenaged girls on their way to school in Indonesia. A Christian school. No Muslim outrage.
Muslims murder teachers trying to teach Muslim children in Iraq. No Muslim outrage.
Muslims murder over 80 tourists with car bombs outside cafes and hotels in Egypt. No Muslim outrage.
A Muslim attacks a missionary children’s school in India. Kills six. No Muslim outrage.
Muslims slaughter hundreds of children and teachers in Beslan, Russia. Muslims shoot children in the back. No Muslim outrage.
Let’s go way back. Muslims kidnap and kill athletes at the Munich Summer Olympics. No Muslim outrage.
Muslims fire rocket-propelled grenades into schools full of children in Israel. No Muslim outrage.
Muslims murder more than 50 commuters in attacks on London subways and busses. Over 700 are injured. No Muslim outrage.
Muslims massacre dozens of innocents at a Passover Seder. No Muslim outrage.
Muslims murder innocent vacationers in Bali. No Muslim outrage.
Muslim newspapers publish anti-Semitic cartoons. No Muslim outrage
Muslims are involved, on one side or the other, in almost every one of the 125+ shooting wars around the world. No Muslim outrage.
Muslims beat the charred bodies of Western civilians with their shoes, then hang them from a bridge. No Muslim outrage.
Newspapers in Denmark and Norway publish cartoons depicting Mohammed. Muslims are outraged.
Dead children. Dead tourists. Dead teachers. Dead doctors and nurses. Death, destruction and mayhem around the world at the hands of Muslims .. no Muslim outrage … but publish a cartoon depicting Mohammed with a bomb in his turban and all hell breaks loose.
Come on, is this really about cartoons? They’re rampaging and burning flags. They’re looking for Europeans to kidnap. They’re threatening innkeepers and generally raising holy Muslim hell not because of any outrage over a cartoon. They’re outraged because it is part of the Islamic jihadist culture to be outraged. You don’t really need a reason. You just need an excuse. Wandering around, destroying property, murdering children, firing guns into the air and feigning outrage over the slightest perceived insult is to a jihadist what tailgating is to a Steeler’s fan.
I know and understand that these bloodthirsty murderers do not represent the majority of the world’s Muslims. When, though, do they become outraged? When do they take to the streets to express their outrage at the radicals who are making their religion the object of worldwide hatred and ridicule? Islamic writer Salman Rushdie wrote of these silent Muslims in a New York Times article three years ago. “As their ancient, deeply civilized culture of love, art and philosophical reflection is hijacked by paranoiacs, racists, liars, male supremacists, tyrants, fanatics and violence junkies, why are they not screaming?”
Indeed. Why not?

UPDATE: More death threats for cartoons: South Park and "Bleeping Muhammad."

UPDATE: Celebrate May 20th - "Everybody Draw Mohammad Day"!

UPDATE: NYT Oped column on South Park and broader censorship issues.

UPDATE: Mohammed Image Archive.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Orson Scott Card on Iraq

During the noon hour today, I came across this piece by Orson Scott Card about the current situation in Iraq. Although lengthy, it is a worthwhile read.

Thanks are in order to Julie D. of Happy Catholic, for bringing this to my attention.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

My latest gadget(s)

My wife bought me a Treo 650 smartphone for Christmas.
With a 1 GB SD expansion card.
And a Bluetooth handsfree headset.

I'm in heaven. I downloaded Ringo Pro (a program to personalize ringtones). I've got the theme from "Law and Order" when the office calls, "Danger Zone" (from "Top Gun") when my Air Force Office calls, Dooley Wilson singing "As Time Goes By" when my wife calls (we got engaged the night we saw "Casablanca"), etc. Too fun.

Facing up

This week Noonan and Steyn both opine on standing up for something.

The Dems refused to stand during most of the State of the Union address (although they oddly stood and cheered when the President lamented that Congress had failed to pass his initiative to save Social Security -- clever cynicism is what the Dems have to offer as "policy" these days). Noonan's cute quote:
We don't know where to stand or what to stand for, and in fact we're not good at standing for anything anyway, but at least we know we can't stand Republicans.
Steyn credits an LA Times columnist for saying out loud that he doesn't "support the troops", and the Palestinians for voting Hamas to power -- reflecting their disdain for Fatah's corruption and their overt desire for the destruction of the Jewish state (and we're surprised after nearly 40 years of Arab-Israeli conflict?).

Both urge us to get over our illusions. And suggest that we stand for something.

It's Groundhog Day...again

We celebrated, again, by watching Groundhog Day. Possible moral of the story: kindness gets you out of the grind and lands you in a sunny day. Happy Groundhog Day.