NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nearly 70 percent of Americans believe traditional journalism is out of touch, and nearly half are turning to the Internet to get their news, according to a new survey.When outfits like the New York Times have to resort to tabloid tactics to get attention and nobody cares, that's a sign that there's a problem. You become irrelevant at your own risk, fellas.
While most people think journalism is important to the quality of life, 64 percent are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism in their communities, a We Media/Zogby Interactive online poll showed.
'That's a really encouraging reflection of people who care A) about journalism and B) understand that it makes a difference to their lives,' said Andrew Nachison, of iFOCOS, a Virginia-based think tank which organized a forum in Miami where the findings were presented.
Nearly half of the 1,979 people who responded to the survey said their primary source of news and information is the Internet, up from 40 percent just a year ago. Less than one third use television to get their news, while 11 percent turn to radio and 10 percent to newspapers.
Friday, February 29, 2008
This should come as a surprise to nobody.
You had to expect this was coming:
Prince Harry has been warned that serving in Afghanistan made him a prime target for terrorists.Considering that the Prince was apparently kicking Taliban butt while he was over there, I imagine he'll take the necessary precautions but won't be overly concerned about these thugs. Job well done, your Highness.
Muslim extremists say the young royal is a 'legitimate target' after ten weeks secretly fighting the Taliban.
Two Al Qaeda-affiliated websites are calling on jihadists to 'slaughter' the third in line to the throne.
There will now be an urgent review of his security and the prince may have to curb his fondness for nightclubs. Many UK Muslims have praised his sense of duty, however, even while condemning the war.
I've heard of embellishing, but this is ridiculous.
BOSTON — Almost nothing Misha Defonseca wrote about herself or her horrific childhood during the Holocaust was true.It's bad enough when you have Ima Dinnerjacket and other nutjobs saying that the Holocaust didn't happen. Why did this person have to make stuff up?
She didn't live with a pack of wolves to escape the Nazis. She didn't trek 1,900 miles across Europe in search of her deported parents, nor kill a German soldier in self-defense. She's not even Jewish.
Defonseca, a Belgian writer now living in Massachusetts, admitted through her lawyers this week that her best-selling book, 'Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years,' was an elaborate fantasy she kept repeating, even as the book was translated into 18 languages and made into a feature film in France.
'This story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of surviving,' Defonseca said in a statement given by her lawyers to The Associated Press.
'I ask forgiveness to all who felt betrayed. I beg you to put yourself in my place, of a 4-year-old girl who was very lost,' the statement said.
Defonseca, 71, has an unlisted number in Dudley, about 50 miles southwest of Boston. Her husband, Maurice, told The Boston Globe on Thursday that she would not comment.
Obama's not the only one who's done it:
WASHINGTON (AP) - A White House aide accused of plagiarism was chastised Friday and his actions were criticized as unacceptable.Heck, if this guy was original, would he have been working for the Bush administration?
Timothy Goeglein, who has worked for President Bush since 2001, was accused of lifting material from an essay that appeared in a Dartmouth College publication and presenting it as his own work in a column about education for The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind.
'His behavior is not acceptable and we are disappointed in Tim's actions,' White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said. 'He is offering no excuses and he agrees it was wrong.'
Asked if he would keep his job, she said, 'At this point we have nothing more for you on that.'
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Now this is reaching:
WASHINGTON — The question has nagged at the parents of Americans born outside the continental United States for generations: Dare their children aspire to grow up and become president? In the case of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the issue is becoming more than a matter of parental daydreaming.They couldn't smear him with a non-scandal, so they're trying to make him a non-person. Sorry, guys; even P.T. Barnum couldn't sucker anyone with this.
Mr. McCain’s likely nomination as the Republican candidate for president and the happenstance of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 are reviving a musty debate that has surfaced periodically since the founders first set quill to parchment and declared that only a “natural-born citizen” can hold the nation’s highest office.
Almost since those words were written in 1787 with scant explanation, their precise meaning has been the stuff of confusion, law school review articles, whisper campaigns and civics class debates over whether only those delivered on American soil can be truly natural born. To date, no American to take the presidential oath has had an official birthplace outside the 50 states.
“There are powerful arguments that Senator McCain or anyone else in this position is constitutionally qualified, but there is certainly no precedent,” said Sarah H. Duggin, an associate professor of law at Catholic University who has studied the issue extensively. “It is not a slam-dunk situation.”
Pity the poor woman who wants to rule the world:
In an interview with ABC News' Cynthia McFadden to air on this evening's 'Nightline,' Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., says it's tougher for her to run as a woman than it is for her male opponent.But remember, she doesn't expect any sympathy-only pity. How far feminism has come.
Asked why she thinks so many women may be feeling sorry for her, Clinton said, 'I think a lot of women project their own feelings and their lives onto me, and they see how hard this is. It's hard. It's hard being a woman out there. It is obviously challenging with some of the things that are said that are not even personal to me so much as they are about women.
'And I think women just sort of shake their head,' Clinton continued. 'My friends do. They say, 'Oh, my gosh, this is so hard.' Well, it's supposed to be hard. I'm running for the hardest job in the world. No one has ever done this. No woman has ever won a presidential primary before I won New Hampshire. This is hard. And I don't expect any sympathy, I don't expect any kind of, you know, allowances or special privileges, because I knew what I was getting myself into.
'Every so often I just wish that it were a little more of an even playing field,' she said, 'but, you know, I play on whatever field is out there.'
From the eternal baby boom to the eternal bust?
BEIJING (Reuters) - China, worried about an ageing population, is studying scrapping its controversial one-child policy but will not do away with family-planning policies altogether, a senior official said on Thursday.In their drive to be the world's next major power, the Chinese seem to have forgotten the one thing they need to make it work-people. Good to see they're picking up the slack and catching up with the rest of us running dog capitalists.
With the world's biggest population straining scarce land, water and energy resources, China has enforced rules to restrict family size since the 1970s. Rules vary but usually limit families to one child, or two in the countryside.
'We want incrementally to have this change,' Vice Minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission Zhao Baige told reporters in Beijing.
'I cannot answer at what time or how, but this has become a big issue among decision makers,' Zhao added. 'The attitude is to do the studies, to consider it responsibly and to set it up systematically.'
Everything's just fine!
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Thursday the country is not recession-bound and, despite expressing concern about slowing economic growth, rejected for now any additional stimulus efforts. 'We acted robustly,' he said.I know it's his job to try and pump up the economy, but when Bush says stuff like this and sounds eternally optimistic in the face of some real worry signs, isn't it self-defeating?
'We'll see the effects of this pro-growth package,' Bush told reporters at a White House news conference, acknowledging that some lawmakers already are talking about a second stimulus package. 'Why don't we let stimulus package 1, which seemed like a good idea at the time, have a chance to kick in?'
Bush's view of the economy was decidedly rosier than that of many economists, who say the country is nearing recession territory or may already be there. 'I'm concerned about the economy,' he said. 'I don't think we're headed to recession. But no question, we're in a slowdown.'
Well, good for him.
LONDON: Prince Harry has been deployed to fight Taliban forces in one of Afghanistan's most lawless and barren provinces, Britain's Ministry of Defense said Thursday.It's high time the Royals produced an heir with some testicular fortitude. Godspeed, Your Majesty.
His tour is arguably the most dangerous undertaken by any royal in recent times.
British military officials had hoped to keep the 23-year-old's deployment secret until he had returned safely. But following a leak on the U.S. Web site the Drudge Report, video and interviews recorded with the young royal in Afghanistan's restive Helmand Province and in Britain before his departure were released.
The planned deployment had been disclosed to reporters, with no specific date, and was not reported previously under a pool agreement between the Ministry of Defense and all major news organizations operating in Britain, including The Associated Press. The news blackout was intended to reduce the risk to the prince and his regiment.
'I got here on Christmas Eve and going from bullet magnet to anti-bullet magnet, most of the guys were pretty bummed that I was here because nothing was happening for the first few days that I was here but things are picking up again now because it's obviously quite boring when nothing is happening,' Harry said after he arrived in Afghanistan.
There must not be a whole lot of crime these days:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI has opened an investigation into whether baseball great Roger Clemens lied to Congress when he denied taking steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.Well, we all know that when the Senate says you've broken the law, it's realy serious, isn't it? Sheesh.
Law enforcement officials say the inquiry will focus on whether Clemens or his former personal trainer Brian McNamee (MAC-nah-mee) lied when they testified under oath about the use of steroids.
In testimony Feb 13 , Clemens told Congress he never used either drug. McNamee testified that he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with steroids and human growth hormone at least 16 times from 1998 to 2001.
The FBI inquiry was prompted by a request Thursday from the House Oversight Committee, which singled out statements by Clemens as possibly false.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Meet the new boss, not the same as the old boss?
The monthlong presidential campaign in Russia has become a season of unstated contrasts. The outcome on March 2, when voters will cast ballots, is already known. Barring something extraordinary and unforeseen, Medvedev, a young and unprepossessing bureaucrat who has never held an elected office, will win by a landslide and become the Kremlin's new leader. He has said he will appoint Putin as his prime minister.Time will tell if Mr. Medvedev is really a breath of fresh air or just Putin Lite. We'll see how many opponents die under mysterious circumstances when he takes office.
But Medvedev, 42, is a protégé for a former spy who lacks his sponsor's imposing KGB resumé. As he has become the country's second most-watched man, he has implicitly presented himself as both a Putin loyalist and president-in-waiting who will wield power in a manner more gentle than what the world has seen under Putin's brand of rule.
Medvedev, in commentary outside of official Russian circles, has been cast as a puppet - a president who will labor according to Putin's command. But he has made unanticipated moves.
In a speech Feb. 15, he publicly embraced personal freedom, saying that liberty is necessary for the state to have legitimacy among its citizens. He has laid out domestic policy goals that seem to speak to Russia's expanding consumer class.
Medvedev has also struck a campy pose - hamming it up with Deep Purple, the British band whose music was popular in Soviet times - that suggested a dormitory-life playfulness decidedly un-Putinesque.
I'm sure they were just keeping Amurka safe from other American citizens.
LOS ANGELES — A wrongly deported U.S. citizen who was missing for months in Mexico sued the Department of Homeland Security and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday.Now let this be a lesson to all-citizenship does not guarantee protection against government stupidity.
Pedro Guzman, 30, who is mentally disabled, was deported last May after he was arrested and jailed on a misdemeanor trespassing charge. For nearly three months, his family searched for him in shelters, jails and morgues in Tijuana, Mexico, and the surrounding area.
During that time, he rummaged for food in garbage cans, washed himself in rivers and walked as far south as Ensenada — more than 60 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the lawsuit.
Guzman tried to return to the United States several times, but was turned away. He was found near the Calexico border crossing in August and reunited with his family.
'I will never forget what Peter looked like when he finally returned to the U.S. — exhausted and in terrible shape,' said Guzman's brother, Michael. 'Peter's life is forever changed by what his government did to him.'
His lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, was filed in federal court in Los Angeles by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Guzman.
If it comes down to Terminators vs. Cylons, I think I'd prefer the latter. At least they have hot chicks.
Increasingly autonomous, gun-totting robots developed for warfare could easily fall into the hands of terrorists and may one day unleash a robot arms race, a top expert on artificial intelligence told AFP.Of course, they could also overthrow us and trap us all in a huge virtual reality simulation. Time will tell.
'They pose a threat to humanity,' said University of Sheffield professor Noel Sharkey ahead of a keynote address Wednesday before Britain's Royal United Services Institute.
Intelligent machines deployed on battlefields around the world -- from mobile grenade launchers to rocket-firing drones -- can already identify and lock onto targets without human help.
There are more than 4,000 US military robots on the ground in Iraq, as well as unmanned aircraft that have clocked hundreds of thousands of flight hours.
The founding father of intellectual conservatism has left us.
Some commentators dubbed Buckley a 'libertarian conservative,' and in the broadest sense, I guess that was true. Though he seldom let National Review deviate from his own Catholic social issues positions (especially on banning abortion), Buckley courageously took a stance against drug prohibition, making common cause on that issue with Friedman and other libertarians. And that enlightened view seemed to survive Buckley's retirement as the magazine's editor in chief (as one hopes it will survive his demise).Buckley showed that conservatives could be smart, and agree to disagree, far more so than many liberals can. His vision of conservatism for the thinking man kept the basic philosophy intellectually viable, even as the movement itself threatened to become moribund under big-spending Republicans, neocon nation-builders, and "Security first, freedom second" big-government types. I'm sure he was distressed to see the level of discourse sink to that of the Ann Coulters of the world. He was one of the giants who walked among us, and he will be missed. R.I.P.
And despite those Catholic social views, Buckley was always far more cosmopolitan and sophisticated about sex, drinking, dining, and other human pleasures than his fellow-travelers among today's religious right. That helped make Buckley-style intellectual conservatism more acceptable in salons, boardrooms, and the corridors of power. And the fact that William Buckley could maintain genuine friendships with people such as socialist John Kenneth Galbraith and gay anti-communist activist Marvin Liebman says a lot about his open-mindedness and tolerance.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Well, this will throw a wrench into the Apocalypse Soon crowd's plans:
Scientist have nailed down how and when the Earth will cease to exist.But-but-you can't trust them durn scientists! They're the ones what are filling our kids' heads with blasphemy about how the Earth ain't really six thousand years old! And we know when the world ends, 'cause that's when Baby Jesus comes back an' defeats the Antichrist, the U.N., them godless Muslims and sends alla th' queers t' Hell! It's all there in th' Good Book!
The sun will slowly expand into a red giant, pushing the Earth farther out into space, but not far enough.
Our home planet will be snagged by the sun's outer atmosphere, gradually plunging to its doom inside the fiery stellar furnace
'The drag caused by this low-density gas is enough to cause the Earth to drift inwards, and finally to be captured and vaporized by the sun,' explains astronomer Robert Smith of the University of Sussex in southern England.
Previous projections had all figured that the Earth would avoid falling into the sun, even during our star's red-giant phase.
The good news: This won't happen for another 7.6 billion years.
The bad news: Life on Earth will end long before then.
In fact, we've only got a billion years left before the slowly expanding sun boils off the oceans and reduces our planet to an uninhabitable cinder, says Smith.
Sarkozy shows his countrymen what the opposite of surrender looks like:
PARIS (Reuters) - France may send hundreds of ground troops to east Afghanistan where NATO-led forces are fighting al Qaeda-backed insurgents, Le Monde newspaper reported on Tuesday.The French are going through a real identity crisis with Sarkozy. No wonder they're so confused by him.
It said the move would be part of a new Afghan policy being worked out by President Nicolas Sarkozy and his advisers.
France has about 1,900 soldiers under NATO's Afghan command, most of them based in relatively calm Kabul, and Le Monde said the fresh troops would be deployed outside the capital.
'Their destination would be zones of potentially fierce fighting, preferably the eastern region of Afghanistan close to the tribal areas of Pakistan,' it said.
Even an evil thug can have a soft spot for Uncle Walt:
OSLO, Norway, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The head of a museum in Norway claims to have drawings of Walt Disney characters drawn by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.It's kind of sad how young Adolph went from being a failed artist to being a failed tyrant. Maybe his love of cartoon characters is why he kept Hermann Goering around.
William Hakvaag, who runs a war museum in Norway, said the drawings were found hidden in a painting signed 'A. Hitler,' leading him to suspect Hitler may have created them, The Daily Telegraph said Saturday.
Hakvaag, who purchased the painting at a German auction, said Hitler was a noted Disney fan.
'Hitler had a copy of 'Snow White,'' the museum head said. 'He thought this was one of the best movies ever made.'
Hakvaag said the signature on the painting matches other recognized copies of Hitler's handwriting.
Here we go again.
KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — A long-shot Senate candidate wants to have President Bush arrested if he sets foot in this coastal town where his parents have a summer home.What is it with these Northeastern towns? I know small towns can be boring, but come on.
Laurie Dobson, an anti-war activist who lives in Kennebunkport, went to Town Hall on Tuesday to hand over copies of a 'writ of indictment' that she said could lead to the arrests of both the president and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Standing on the front steps, Dobson maintained there's nothing to prevent townspeople from prosecuting Bush and Cheney for war crimes.
'Nothing says that towns cannot file ordinances about war criminals. Traditionally this is not done by towns but by grand juries. However, tradition is not the only way in which to conceive to do this,' she said.
Dobson said her initiative is modeled after a measure in Brattleboro, Vt., that the Select Board voted to put on the ballot at next month's town meeting. Kurt Daims of Brattleboro, who submitted that town's petitions, joined Dobson on Tuesday.
Dobson, who hopes her petition will be taken up at the town meeting in June, shrugged off potential consequences, including the unlikely scenario of a showdown between Kennebunkport police and the president's Secret Service detail. 'We can dare to do this,' she insisted.
In Kennebunkport, where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats 1,080 to 674, officials expressed skepticism about Dobson's effort.
'The town doesn't have the power to indict anybody. That's beyond our scope of authority,' said Town Manager Larry Mead, who suggested that Dobson may be trying to generate interest in her Senate campaign.
The smart ones are leaving.
Britain is experiencing the worst 'brain drain' of any country as highly qualified professionals settle abroad, an authoritative international study showed yesterday.The Brits are just doing the skilled jobs that Americans won't do.
Record numbers of Britons are leaving - many of them doctors, teachers and engineers - in the biggest exodus for almost 50 years.
Over a quarter of qualified professionals who have moved abroad had health or education qualifications
There are now 3.247 million British-born people living abroad, of whom more than 1.1 million are highly-skilled university graduates, say the researchers.
More than three quarters of these professionals have settled abroad for more than 10 years, according to the study by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
No other nation is losing so many qualified people, it points out. Britain has now lost more than one in 10 of its most skilled citizens, while overall only Mexico has had more people emigrate.
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush predicted Monday that voters will replace him with a Republican president who will 'keep up the fight' in Iraq. 'I'm confident we'll hold the White House in 2008,' Bush told donors at the Republican Governors Association annual dinner, which raised a record $10.6 million for GOP gubernatorial candidates.Of course, I seem to recall him saying the same thing about 2006. We'll see.
'And I don't want the next Republican president to be lonely,' Bush said. 'And that is why we got to take the House, retake the Senate, and make sure our states are governed by Republican governors.'
The pep talk came in the midst of a presidential campaign that largely has overshadowed Bush's final year in office. Bush has promised to be an active fundraiser, and he had no trouble slipping into enthusiastic campaign mode Monday evening.
He said Republicans still offer the bedrock positions that voters embrace: strong defense, low taxes and personal freedoms.
'When I say I'm confident, I am so because I understand the mentality of the American people,' Bush said. 'And I understand the mentality of our candidates. And there's no question in my mind, with your help, 2008 is going to be a great year.'
Monday, February 25, 2008
Hillary Clinton, er, Musharraf, isn't quitting.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — President Pervez Musharraf's spokesman on Monday dismissed a suggestion from three U.S. senators that the embattled leader make a 'graceful exit' from power his opponents' victory in Pakistan's elections.I don't know what it is about people who think power should just be handed to them without question. It must be the uniforms.
Musharraf was elected to a new five-year presidential term last year by Pakistani lawmakers, 'not by any senator from the United States,' his spokesman Rashid Qureshi told Dawn News television.
'So I don't think he needs to respond to anything that is said by these people,' he said.
The three U.S. senators met Musharraf shortly after last week's parliamentary vote in which his political allies were routed. Some Pakistani political leaders have also called for him to resign.
Leave it to Democrats to start a civil war:
FEBRUARY 25--Meet Jose Antonio Ortiz. The Pennsylvania man allegedly stabbed his brother-in-law in the stomach after the pair quarreled about their respective support of Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. According to cops, Ortiz, 28, stabbed Sean Shurelds last Thursday night in the kitchen of an Upper Providence Township home. According to a criminal complaint, a copy of which you'll find here, the 41-year-old Shurelds, an Obama supporter, told Ortiz that the Illinois senator was 'trashing' Clinton (apparently in regard to recent primary and caucus results). Ortiz, a Clinton supporter, replied that 'Obama was not a realist.' While not exactly fighting words, the verbal political tiff led to some mutual choking and punching. And, allegedly, a stabbing in the abdomen.I can't wait to see what the Democratic Convention is going to be like if this keeps up.
Oh, I see. It's our fault they're not talking. Got it.
VIENNA, Austria — A senior Iranian official blamed the U.S. Sunday for Tehran's refusal to respond to accusations it tried to make nuclear weapons, saying information provided by Washington was not only fake but came three years too late.This is like a drug dealer blaming the cops for the fact that he got caught selling meth. I've heard of circular logic, but the Iranians can twist logic into pretzels from here to next Sunday and back again. It still doesn't make them any less conniving.
Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran's chief delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency, also acknowledged that his country's uranium enrichment program -- under sanctions by the U.N. Security Council -- was experiencing 'ups and downs.' The comment appeared to be the first instance of Tehran acknowledging that its enrichment activities were running into some difficulties.
The United States rejected the notion that it was at fault. Gregory L. Schulte, Soltanieh's American counterpart, said 'Iran did not need to wait for information to answer' the accusations coming at it from all sides that it was trying to make nuclear arms.
'Iranian authorities could have started explaining these activities years ago, if only they had made the decision to come fully clean about their program.'
"Welcome to El Cheapo Airlines, where we leave the dying to you!"
NEW YORK (AP) - An American Airlines passenger died after a flight attendant told her he couldn't give her any oxygen and then tried to help her with faulty equipment, including an empty oxygen tank, a relative said.It sounds like a preview of Hillarycare '08. Just wow.
The airline confirmed the flight death and said medical professionals had tried to save the passenger, Carine Desir, who was returning home to Brooklyn from Haiti.
Desir, who had heart disease, died of natural causes, medical examiner's office spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said Sunday.
Desir had complained of not feeling well and being very thirsty on the Friday flight from Port-au-Prince after she ate a meal, according to Antonio Oliver, a cousin who was traveling with her and her brother Joel Desir. A flight attendant gave her water, he said.
A few minutes later, Desir said she was having trouble breathing and asked for oxygen, but a flight attendant twice refused her request, Oliver said Sunday in a telephone interview.
After the flight attendant refused to administer oxygen to Desir, she became distressed, pleading, "Don't let me die," Oliver recalled.
Other passengers aboard Flight 896 became agitated over the situation, he said, and the flight attendant, apparently after phone consultation with the cockpit, tried to administer oxygen from a portable tank and mask, but the tank was empty.
Two doctors and two nurses were aboard and tried to administer oxygen from a second tank, which also was empty, Oliver said.
Desir was put on the floor, and a nurse tried CPR, to no avail, Oliver said. A "box," possibly a defibrillator, also was applied but didn't function effectively, he said.
"I cannot believe what is happening on the plane," he said, sobbing. "She cannot get up, and nothing on the plane works."
CHICAGO (AP) - In his first major public address since a cancer crisis, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan said Sunday that presidential candidate Barack Obama is the 'hope of the entire world' that the U.S. will change for the better.Obama really does stand at the cusp of a historical moment. I hope that moment won't be ruined by accepting an endorsement by Phonykahn.
The 74-year-old Farrakhan, addressing an estimated crowd of 20,000 people at the annual Saviours' Day celebration, never outrightly endorsed Obama but spent most of the nearly two-hour speech praising the Illinois senator.
'This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better,' he said. 'This young man is capturing audiences of black and brown and red and yellow. If you look at Barack Obama's audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being transformed.'
One of our "Close allies" shows how much they really respect free speech.
Pakistan's government has banned access to the video-sharing Web site YouTube because of anti-Islamic movies that users have posted on the site, an official said Sunday.What are they really afraid of? Anti-Muslim bigotry, or those who are willing to show the dark side of the Religion of Peace? (Which, contrary to what some might have you believe, are not one and the same).
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority told the country's 70 Internet service providers Friday that the popular Web site would be blocked until further notice.
The authority did not specify what the offensive material was, but a PTA official said the ban concerned a movie trailer for an upcoming film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who has said he plans to release an anti-Koran movie portraying the religion as fascist and prone to inciting violence against women and homosexuals.
The PTA official, who asked not to be identified because he was not an official spokesman, said the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority also blocks Web sites that show controversial drawings of the Prophet Muhammad. The drawings were originally printed in European newspapers in 2006 and were reprinted by some papers last week.
The PTA urged Web users to write to YouTube and request the removal of the objectionable movies, saying authorities would stop blocking the site once that happened.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
He's a uniter, not a divider!
Out on the campaign trail Sunday, the candidates addressed the big buzz caused by Ralph Nader’s decision to enter the race. The famed consumer advocate announced he will again run for president — his third effort, one that is sure to anger Democrats who are still miffed over his role in the 2000 race that many believe cost Al Gore the election against George W. Bush.I do believe this is going to be Ralph's last stand. I also believe this is the best thing that could happen to John McCain. Sometimes I wonder whose side Ralph is really on.
Nader said Sunday he’s not the reason Gore lost the election and blamed everything from voter fraud in Miami to the Supreme Court. In any case, he said, that’s no reason why he shouldn’t run.
“The political bigotry that’s involved here is that we shouldn’t enter the electoral arena? We — all of us who think that the country needs an infusion of freedom, democracy, choice, dissent — should just sit on the sidelines and watch the two parties own all the voters and turn the government over to big business?” he asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he announced his candidacy.
Asked about the possible impact, Obama and Clinton both downplayed it while also criticizing Nader.
“Mr. Nader is somebody who if [you] don’t listen and adopt all of his policies, [he] thinks you’re not substantive. He seems to have a pretty high opinion of his own work,” Obama said. “Historically, he is a singular figure in American politics and has done as much as just about anybody on behalf of consumers, so in many ways, he is a heroic figure and I don’t mean to diminish him, but I do think there’s a sense now that, you know, if somebody’s not hewing to the Ralph Nader agenda then you must be lacking in some way.”
Clinton was also less than enthusiastic.
“Obviously, it’s not helpful to whoever our Democratic nominee is. But it’s a free country. I don’t know what party he’ll run on. Where did he run on last time? Does anybody remember? Was it on the Green Party? Well, you know, his being on the Green Party prevented Al Gore from being the greenest president we could have had and I think that’s really unfortunate. I think we paid a big price for it,” she said.
Now I feel old.
Pop legend Prince is having a secret HIP REPLACEMENT at the age of just 49—after being crippled by years of sexy dancing.I remember when this guy was on Saturday Night Live way back when. Now I'm catching up to him. I feel your pain, Prince.
The pint-sized US star would develop a severe limp and have to use a WALKING STICK without surgery.
So he is booking himself into a private hospital. Aides are keeping his diary clear for two months to recover—but they're not letting on why he cannot work in that time.
During the two-hour op—more common for OAPs—the Purple Rain singer will have the ball and socket of his damaged hip taken out and titanium replacements cemented in.
A source said: 'For months Prince has complained of pain every time he moves.
'He is totally crushed as he knows he will never be the same again.'
Saturday, February 23, 2008
While we remain fixiated on what has admittedly been a fascinating race at home, in Russia they do things a bit differently.
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia: Shortly before parliamentary elections in December, foremen fanned out across the sprawling GAZ vehicle factory here, pulling aside assembly-line workers and giving them an order: vote for President Vladimir Putin's party or else. They were instructed to phone in after they left their polling places. Names would be tallied, defiance punished.No wonder Hillary is so upset these days. She's dreamed of having this kind of power, and is jealous that Putin is beating her to it.
The city's children, too, were pressed into service. At schools, teachers gave them pamphlets promoting 'Putin's Plan' and told them to lobby their parents. Some were threatened with bad grades if they failed to attend 'Children's Referendums' at polling places, a ploy to ensure that their parents would show up and vote for the ruling party.
Around the same time, volunteers for an opposition party here, the Union of Right Forces, received hundreds of calls at all hours, warning them to stop working for their candidates. Otherwise, you will be hurt, the callers said, along with the rest of your family.
Over the past eight years, in the name of reviving Russia after the tumult of the 1990s, Putin has waged an unforgiving campaign to clamp down on democracy and extend control over the government and large swaths of the economy. He has suppressed the independent news media, nationalized important industries, smothered the political opposition and readily deployed the security services to carry out the Kremlin's wishes.
A look at what it's like to be on the losing side:
Morale is low. After 13 months of dawn-to-dark seven-day weeks, the staff is exhausted. Some have taken to going home early — 9 p.m. — turning off their BlackBerrys, and polishing off bottles of wine, several senior staff members said.Much of Mrs. Clinton's generation has been acting like spoiled kids. This election is shaping up to be their commupance. Expect more temper tantrums and heavier drinking to follow if this keeps up.
Some advisers have been heard yelling at close friends and colleagues. In a much-reported incident, Mr. Penn and the campaign advertising chief, Mandy Grunwald, had a screaming match over strategy recently that prompted another senior aide, Guy Cecil, to leave the room. “I have work to do — you’re acting like kids,” Mr. Cecil said, according to three people in the room.
Others have taken several days off, despite it being crunch time. Some have grown depressed, be it over Mr. Obama’s momentum, the attacks on the campaign’s management from outside critics or their view that the news media has been much rougher on Mrs. Clinton than on Mr. Obama.
Meet the last defender of capitalism.
DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Corp Vice Chairman Bob Lutz has defended remarks he made dismissing global warming as a 'total crock of s---,' saying his views had no bearing on GM's commitment to build environmentally friendly vehicles.The free market will decide if people want hybird or electric cars or not, not Al Gore and his doomsday brigade. That Adam Smith fellow knew what he was talking about.
Lutz, GM's outspoken product development chief, has been under fire from Internet bloggers since last month when he was quoted as making the remark to reporters in Texas.
In a posting on his GM blog on Thursday, Lutz said those 'spewing virtual vitriol' at him for minimizing the threat of climate change were 'missing the big picture.'
'What they should be doing in earnest is forming opinions, not about me but about GM and what this company is doing that is ... hugely beneficial to the causes they so enthusiastically claim to support,' he said in a posting titled, 'Talk About a Crock.'
One thing I won't miss when Bush leaves office is stuff like this.
NEW YORK (Billboard) - Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Peal Jam have contributed tunes to the anti-war soundtrack for a documentary about a U.S. soldier paralyzed in Iraq.One has to wonder where all the anti-Bush anger will go once these peoples' favorite punching bag is gone. As much as I might not be able to stand Bush myself at times, I will welcome the enormous silence that will come with either an Obama or McCain administration, even as I rail against these ageing rockers' hypocrisy when they start keeping their mouths shut.
The 30-song, two-disc album 'Body of War: Songs That Inspired an Iraq War Veteran' will be released March 18 via Warner Music's Sire Records label. All proceeds from the sale of the album will benefit Iraq Veterans Against the War.
'Body of War' focuses on Tomas Young, an Army soldier paralyzed upon arriving in Iraq. It will open on March 13 in Austin, Texas, and expand nationally in subsequent months. Talk show veteran Phil Donahue directed the film with Elaine Spiro.
Those who can't do, drink.
PALM CITY — The leader of a Treasure Coast-wide agency established to provide classes for people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs was suspended from her job Wednesday in the wake of her DUI arrest Monday.Well, maybe she was just showing them how not to behave? Yeah, that makes sense...
The Comprehensive Offender Rehabilitation and Education program will continue to operate normally despite the arrest and suspension of its executive director, Margot 'Peggy' Cioffi, 59, of Palm City, program officials said.
The nonprofit agency serves about 5,000 clients per year in Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties, providing educational services to people on probation for DUI and other misdemeanors, among other programs.
If I were Obama, I think I'd be worried about this:
WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Secret Service Friday denied reports that security measures at a recent Barack Obama rally in Texas were relaxed or deviated from established plans.I would hope not. If Hillary is this election's Hubert Humphrey and Obama is RFK, I wouldn't want to see history repeat itself.
Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren said there was no order from the Secret Service to stop screening people going to the Obama rally Wednesday at Dallas's Reunion Arena. He said that the event's security plans didn't involve having each participant pass through a magnetometer, as may be the case at other events.
The Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported that some police at the event expressed concern about people not passing through metal detectors.
'Any allegations to the fact that we had suspended screening or deviated from the original security plan would be entirely inaccurate,' Zahren said.
Obama, D-Ill., spoke before some 17,000 supporters at the rally ahead of the March 4 primary election in Texas. There were no security-related incidents.
Well, what do the authorities there expect in a country that has practically banned all male/female contact as we know it?
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi Arabia began interrogating 57 men Saturday who were arrested after allegedly flirting with women in front of a shopping mall in the holy city of Mecca, a local newspaper reported.Tell me again-what is the difference between these people and Iran?
The country's religious police arrested the men Thursday night, alleging behavior that included dancing to pop music blaring from their cars and wearing improper clothing, according to the Okaz newspaper, which is deemed close to the government.
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice runs the religious police, who are charged with enforcing Saudi Arabia's strict Islamic lifestyle.
Its members patrol public places to make sure women are covered and not wearing make up, the sexes don't mingle, shops close five times a day for Muslim prayers and men go to the mosque and worship.
The African version of Hugo Chavez is sticking around.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says he is confident his ruling Zanu-PF party will win next month's elections.I guess when you've either scared off or starved most of your opponents, a landslide is virtually guaranteed.
He was speaking at a rally to launch his campaign for a sixth term in power and celebrate his 84th birthday.
Thousands gathered at the rally in the town of Beitbridge on the border with South Africa.
Launching his manifesto in the eastern town of Mutare, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, said Zimbabwe was bleeding under 'dictatorship'.
The presidential, legislative, senate and local council polls are scheduled for 29 March.
The Old Guard discovers that it's not a good idea to tick off the New Guard:
The New York Times is learning about unintended consequences. Having run a shoddy piece about John McCain’s supposedly questionable judgment, the paper now finds itself having to defend its own integrity.I think that what's happening here is that old-line Democrats-mostly Baby Boomers who have been running the show since Clinton the First got elected-are finding out how truly independent the next generation can be. Not only are the younger crowd apparently more fair-minded, they're tired of the "Support the party line" attitude they've been hearing from their older bretheren. In his own way, McCain represents a break from the Party Line, which is why the young independent turks like him, and why they don't like the Times' snobbery or arrogance. This could be the start of an anti-MSM rebellion-from the Young Left, which would really cause Clinton Democrats' heads to spin. It would be just one more group that they could no longer control.
In response to overwhelming reader disapproval, Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote:
I was surprised by how lopsided the opinion was against our decision, with readers who described themselves as independents and Democrats joining Republicans in defending Mr. McCain from what they saw as a cheap shot.
The boomerang effect of this non-scandal and the way it has redistributed sympathies recalls another recent phenomenon that unfolded this primary season: the Clintons’ failed exploitation of identity Democrats. Hillary decided that winning the Democratic nomination was a crude matter of mathematics. Getting all of the white vote and most of the Hispanic vote would do the trick, and playing on those groups’ prejudices would secure their support. She and Bill intentionally isolated the white vote, pandering to a section of the electorate they thought would somehow fear Obama’s nomination. Not only did she begin to lose support amongst blacks (which presumably, she thought she could survive), but whites and Hispanics saw the effort for what it was and were repelled. In two months time, the Clintons gave Obama heaping chunks of every demographic group.
Friday, February 22, 2008
That's funny, he never let his own people go anywhere.
HAVANA, Feb. 22 (AP) - (Kyodo)—Fidel Castro said Friday he is relieved to be stepping down as Cuba's president, complaining that the process of selecting Cuba's next government 'had left me exhausted,' the Associated Press reported.Well, I don't know, Fidel. Does Hell allow vacations?
After nearly a half-century in power, Castro announced Tuesday that he would not accept another term when parliament selects a new government on Sunday.
'The night before, I slept better than ever,' Castro reportedly wrote in a newspaper column. 'My conscience was clear and I promised myself a vacation.'
Well, the Huckster's not going without a fight.
In an interview with 1200 WOAI news during his swing through Texas, longshot Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee outlined a strategy which has him not winning the GOP nomination outright, but pushing the nomination to the September Republican National Convention, which he says will turn to him as the most ‘conservative alternative.’He's turning into the Republican Hillary. This is an alternative?
The ‘brokered convention’ plan is in stark contrast to Huckabee’s previous sunny predictions of a sweep to victory in the primaries and caucuses on the shoulders of adoring family values conservatives.
Huckabee said his ‘brokered convention’ strategy is predicated on a victory in Texas, the country’s largest Republican state. “We think Texas is an important state,” Huckabee told me. “We know how important it is to win Texas.” Huckabee says with an upset win in Texas, and a win in the Ohio Republican primary the same day, Huckabee could deny front runner John McCain the nomination in the primaries.
“If we win Texas, I think it changes the dynamics of this race. It could well go all the way to the convention. If the convention delegates pick the president, chances are they would pick the most conservative. I would be the one they would end up picking, if that’s the criteria.”
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Even some of their fellow journalists are unhappy with the New York Times' smear job, er, investigative reporting.
The New York Times is in the crosshairs after publishing a lengthy and critical profile of John McCain Thursday that suggests — but does not outright say — that McCain had a romantic relationship with a female lobbyist and did favors for her clients from his position as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.Wow. You'd think the Times was being staffed with ovegrown college interns posing as reporters-oh, wait.
The New Republic published a long article Thursday afternoon on its Web site detailing the story behind the story and claiming, “What’s most remarkable about the article is that it appeared in the paper at all.”
The New Republic lambasted The New York Times for giving the green light, claiming the piece was “filled with awkward journalistic moves” and that it stepped around the suggested trysts with lobbyist Vicki Iseman by focusing on the debate in the McCain campaign itself about the relationship.
We said we could do it, and we did.
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday the United States is prepared to share with China some of the information it has about the U.S. shootdown of a spy satellite.Twenty-five years ago, people scoffed at "Star Wars." Not so long ago, people on the left were saying this wouldn't work. The more things change...
His comments came hours after Beijing complained the missile strike Wednesday could cause harm to security in outer space and some countries.
'We provided a lot of information ... before it took place,' Gates told reporters during a visit to Hawaii.
But, the secretary also said that he is determined to be open about the U.S. operation and 'we are prepared to share whatever appropriately we can.'
Debris from the obliterated satellite was being tracked over the Pacific and Atlantic oceans but appeared to be too small to cause damage on Earth, Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had said earlier Thursday.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Jesse wants both sides to kiss and make up.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, the civil rights leader and two-time presidential candidate, warned Wednesday that Democrats “could hurt themselves substantially, perhaps irreparably, in November” if fallout from the clash between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is not addressed quickly.This from a guy who made his career out of exploiting racial tensions. Yeah, right.
Jackson, who has endorsed Obama but who maintains good relations with both Hillary and Bill Clinton, listed three rifts among Democrats that could allow Republicans to win in the general election:
“First, we must not allow people to exacerbate black-Hispanic tensions,” Jackson said in a lengthy phone interview from New York. “I think the differences there are exaggerated. You just can’t characterize things as Hispanics for Hillary and blacks for Obama.”
Fidel can phone in his acceptance speech from the afterlife.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - 'Sicko' director Michael Moore jokes that Fidel Castro would be a 'ratings grabber' at Sunday night's Academy Awards show. Moore's Oscar-nominated documentary on the health-care industry concludes with a trip to Cuba, where he seeks care for a group of 9/11 responders who have experienced health problems.Maybe Mikey, Fidel and Hugo Chavez could do a number: "Two Thugs And A Tub Of Lard."
They are greeted with open arms at a Havana hospital and given what appears to be top-notch care that they could not get in the United States.
Castro, who is 81 and in poor health, announced his retirement as president of Cuba this week, ending a half-century of autocratic rule.
'I got some great news today because I was trying to figure out how I was going to get Castro into the Oscars and for me he resigns today so he can come to L.A. and go as my guest and perhaps give the acceptance speech,' Moore told AP Television on Tuesday night.
'As long as he keeps it under five hours. I'm telling you, that's got to be a ratings grabber. Can you imagine him? Showing up? If I could talk to (Oscar producer) Gil Cates and maybe get Castro in a dance number at the beginning of the show? Great.'
Seriously, what is up with a country that is afraid of both women and dogs?
A 70-year-old Iranian man was arrested and sentenced to four months in jail and 30 lashes for walking his dog, Adnkronos.com reported Tuesday. Police caught the man on the street with his dog in Shahr Rey, a suburb of Tehran.I think Iran has some serious inferiority issues going on. That must be why they like to brag so much about the "Size" of their nuke program.
Owners of domestic animals are forbidden from taking them on the streets of the city because Islam considers dogs to be impure. An Islamic judge later charged the man for 'disturbing the public order,” Adnkronos.com reported.
Despite repeated warnings by the police, dog owners continue to defy authorities by taking their dogs outside their homes. Typical punishment for people caught with dogs outside is a fine or the 'detention' of their animals in a pound, Adnkronos.com reported.
...In at least some parts of the world.
SYDNEY, Australia — Two dozen cities around the world plan to turn their lights off for one hour later this year in a worldwide campaign to raise awareness about global warming, organizers said Wednesday.Heck, the North Koreans have been doing this for decades now. They must save a ton of money on their power bills.
Last March, Sydney dimmed its skyline when residents, businesses and the local government took part in the first 'Earth Hour' event that asked people to think about cutting their energy use. The event was a hit and the World Wildlife Fund, the event's organizer, said it would try to make the campaign global.
Organizers estimated that 2.2 million people and 2,100 businesses in Sydney turned off their lights, reducing the city's energy consumption by 10.2 percent for one hour, or the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off the road for that time.
So far, 24 cities have agreed to take part in this year's event, scheduled for March 29, the environmental group said.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Well, why not?
YBOR CITY, Fla. -- A Florida church issued a challenge for its married members on Sunday: Have sex every day.Well, if something "Goes wrong" in bed, the guy could always claim his love of God got in the way...
Relevant Church head pastor Paul Wirth said the 50 percent divorce rate was the catalyst for The 30-Day Sex Challenge.
The church set up a Web site concerning the challenge, Local 6 reported.
'And that's no different for people who attend church,' Wirth said. 'Sometimes life gets in the way. Our jobs get in the way.'
In case anyone missed it, Obama's done it again.
WASHINGTON - Barack Obama cruised past a fading Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Wisconsin primary Tuesday night, gaining the upper hand in a Democratic presidential race for the ages. It was Obama's ninth straight victory over the past three weeks, and left the former first lady in desperate need of a comeback in a race she long commanded as front-runner.The fact that he gave his victory speech in Houston says a lot about where Billary's campaign is right now. Quite frankly, I don't think it's so much Obama's charisma (which he has loads of) or his soaring speeches that have made the difference as it is the Clinton camp's own mind-boggling incompetence and arrogance. That and the fact that she is one of the most unlikeable people on the planet. But so far, Obama has been kicking her butt wherever he goes, and the Clinton meltdown has been fun to watch.
'The change we seek is still months and miles away,' Obama told a boisterous crowd in Houston.
He cut deeply into Clinton's political bedrock in Wisconsin, splitting the support of white women in Wisconsin almost evenly with the former first lady and running well among working class voters in the blue collar battleground, according to polling place interviews.
And now we face the terrible threat of overweight extremism.
Obesity needs to be tackled in the same way as climate change, a top nutritional scientist has said.Well, if his science is as accurate as that surrounding global warming, Al Gore could make a movie about it and win another Oscar. And the rest of us would take it about as seriously.
The chairman of the International Obesity Taskforce wants world leaders to agree a global pact to ensure that everyone is fed healthy food.
Professor Philip James said the challenge of obesity was so great that action was needed now, even without clear evidence of the best options.
He also called for stricter rules on marketing and food labelling.
Sir Geldof gets it.
Mr. Geldof praised Mr. Bush for his work in delivering billions to fight disease and poverty in Africa, and blasted the U.S. press for ignoring the achievement.Well, that's not entirely true. They would only care about Africa if Americans were getting killed there, and then they'd blame Bush.
Mr. Bush, said Mr. Geldof, 'has done more than any other president so far.'
'This is the triumph of American policy really,' he said. 'It was probably unexpected of the man. It was expected of the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion.'
'What's in it for [Mr. Bush]? Absolutely nothing,' Mr. Geldof said.
Mr. Geldof said that the president has failed 'to articulate this to Americans' but said he is also 'pissed off' at the press for their failure to report on this good news story.
'You guys didn't pay attention,' Geldof said to a group of reporters from all the major newspapers.
Speaking of dictators, Fidel Castro is headed off to the Old Tyrants' Home.
HAVANA (AP) - Ailing leader Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba's president early Tuesday after nearly a half-century in power, saying in a letter published in online official media that he would not accept a new term when the newly elected parliament meets on Sunday.But I'm sure he'll continue to haunt his country for many years to come, just as he's been doing these past several months.
'I will not aspire nor accept—I repeat I will not aspire or accept—the post of President of the Council of State and Commander in Chief,' read the letter signed by Castro and published quietly overnight without advance warning in the online edition of the Communist Party daily Granma.
The new National Assembly is meeting Sunday for first time since January elections to pick the governing Council of State, including the presidency Castro holds. There had been wide speculation about whether he would accept a nomination for re-election to that post or retire.
It's a bad week to be a dictator.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The chairman of Pakistan's ruling party conceded defeat Tuesday after opposition parities scored wins in parliamentary elections that could threaten the rule of President Pervez Musharraf — America's close ally in the war on terror.Call me crazy, but that might have been part of the problem for our "Close ally" right there.
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, told AP Television News that 'we accept the results with an open heart' and 'will sit on opposition benches' in the new parliament.'
Final results were not expected before Tuesday evening, but the election's outcome appeared to be a stinging public verdict on Musharraf, whose popularity plummeted following his decisions late last year to impose emergency rule, purge the judiciary, jail political opponents and curtail press freedoms.
Monday, February 18, 2008
The building's not talking:
UNITED NATIONS — A woman who worked for the United Nations died Sunday after falling from the 19th floor of the U.N.'s Secretariat Building, authorities said.Considering how many people have died from U.N. incompetence in the past, this is an improvement.
Police and U.N. security officers at the scene, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, said the woman was in her 40s and had jumped from a window after showing up to work early in the morning.
'A U.N. agency staff member died after falling from the 19th floor of the U.N. Secretariat Building,' U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said. 'At this time there is no suspicion of foul play.'
A friendly warning to John McCain: Don't make promises you can't keep.
Republican John McCain says there will be no new taxes during his administration if he is elected president.There are reasons to like McCain, and I'm all for fiscal responsibility and letting the people have as much of their own money as they can, but there's a difference between getting Bush Senior's endorsement and emulating him.
'No new taxes,' the likely GOP presidential nominee said during a taped interview broadcast Sunday.
McCain told ABC's 'This Week' that under no circumstances would he increase taxes, and added that he could 'see an argument, if our economy continues to deteriorate, for lower interest rates, lower tax rates, and certainly decreasing corporate tax rates,' as well as giving people the ability to write off depreciation and eliminating the alternative minimum tax.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
It's not quite the same as the American Revolution, but I wish them luck nevertheless.
Kosovo's parliament has unanimously endorsed a declaration of independence from Serbia, in a historic session.As far as I'm concerned, helping to rid the world of Slobodan Milosevic was one of the few things Clinton got right. When I hear some people on the far right denounce Clinton's "Illegal war" in Kosovo, they sound suspiciously like those afflicted with Bush Derangement Syndrome.
Celebrations went on into the night after Prime Minister Hashim Thaci promised a democracy that respected the rights of all ethnic communities.
Serbia's PM denounced the US for helping create a 'false state'.
And a split later emerged at the UN Security Council when Russia said there was no basis for changing a 1999 UN resolution on Kosovo's status.
Seven Western countries said it was quite clear the situation had moved on.
But I thought Bush was hated everywhere!
MONROVIA, Liberia: In a humid rehearsal studio, Liberia's pop queen is practicing her newest single — a song called 'Thank you' to be released on the occasion of U.S. President George W. Bush's visit to this African capital next week.As much as I might disagree with the way Bush has handled the war in Iraq, when it comes to Africa I think he's gotten it right. Credit where credit is due, which is something you'll never hear from liberals.
Her head tilted back, her face wet with sweat, Juli Endee pulls the microphone close and belts out, 'Thank you George Bush.'
'Thank you for democracy,' she croons over the electric guitar, shaking her hips wrapped in yellow cloth. 'Thank you for the rule of law,' she sings. 'Thank you for debt relief.'
President Bush, who is scheduled to head to Africa Friday, returns to one of the only parts of the globe where people still have a favorable view of America. A recent Pew poll of 47 African nations found that America's popularity is sky high on the continent, with some holding America in higher regard than America views itself.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
And thus it begins.
Representatives for Australian Aborigines confirmed plans Friday to launch the first compensation lawsuits since a landmark government apology earlier this week for past abuses.There you go, Mr. Rudd. Aren't you happy you apologized now?
The cases, details of which were not released because they had not yet been filed, would be the first since Parliament formally apologized Wednesday to tens of thousands of Aborigines who were taken from their families as children under now discredited assimilation policies.
An activist and a lawyer representing some members of the so-called 'Stolen Generations' of Aborigines said Friday as many as 40 compensation claims were being prepared in Victoria state.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has ruled out setting up a compensation fund for victims of the policies, which lasted from 1910 until the 1970s, and legal experts say the apology does not strengthen chances of compensation being won through the courts.
Several cases have been filed in the past but most have failed. Lawyers say proving the harm inflicted by the policies in a legal sense is extremely difficult.
"The legal landscape is no different to what it was yesterday or will be tomorrow," said Hugh Macken, president of the New South Wales state Law Society, said in response to Wednesday's apology.
Better late than never, I guess.
HOUSTON — A newly ordained youth minister decided he could no longer keep his secret, confessing to authorities he was 16 years old when he fatally stabbed a convenience store clerk in 1994.I can see how that might have been embarrassing, especially if one of his kids wanted to be a chef and worked with cutlery...
For his forthrightness, Calvin Wayne Inman found himself jailed Saturday, charged with capital murder.
The lead pastor of the 800-member Elim Church said he persuaded Inman to surrender to police after learning about the case several weeks ago.
"It was a situation that was on his conscience," said Ron Nissen, pastor of the Pentecostal church, told the Houston Chronicle in Saturday editions. "He knows it's the right thing to do. His desire is to help other kids not make the same mistakes he did."
Nissen called Inman, now 29, a fine man who got involved with drugs at a young age.
With guys like this in charge, I feel so much safer now.
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia — A U.S. Foreign Service officer stationed in Brazil and Congo used his status to pressure female visa applicants for sex, according to federal charges.But hey, he was just helping to keep Amurka safe from ugly terrists.
Gons G. Nachman, 42, is charged in U.S. District Court with misuse of his diplomatic passport, making false statements and possessing child pornography. The charges were unsealed Friday.
Nachman was ordered jailed pending a detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday. Court records reflect that a defense lawyer has not yet been appointed.
According to the affidavit, Nachman made a habit of pressuring and pursuing sexual relationships with attractive female visa applicants while stationed in Rio de Janeiro.
Two applicants interviewed by federal agents said Nachman "persistently pursued these female applicants despite his position as U.S. Vice Consul who was personally handling these still pending immigration visa cases."
Personally, I think it would have been a good deal:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Amid a discussion of trade in 1973, Chinese leader Mao Zedong made what U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger called a novel proposition: sending tens of thousands, even 10 million, Chinese women to the United States.Yeah, but the problem with getting a Chinese woman is that an hour later you'd want another one...
Chinese leader Mao Zedong, here depicted in an Andy Warhol painting, offered women to the U.S.
"You know, China is a very poor country," Mao said, according to a document released by the State Department's historian office.
"We don't have much. What we have in excess is women. So if you want them we can give a few of those to you, some tens of thousands."
A few minutes later, Mao circled back to the offer. "Do you want our Chinese women?" he asked. "We can give you 10 million."
Friday, February 15, 2008
"Welcome to the UK. May I see your smoking permit, please?"
Smokers could be forced to pay £10 for a permit to buy tobacco if a government health advisory body gets its way.Of course it would. Nanny always needs to get paid, after all.
No one would be able to buy cigarettes without the permit, under the idea proposed by Health England.
Its chairman, Professor Julian Le Grand, told BBC Radio 5 Live the scheme would make a big difference to the number of people giving up smoking.
But smokers' rights group Forest described the idea as 'outrageous', given how much tax smokers already pay.
Professor Le Grand, a former adviser to ex-PM Tony Blair, said cash raised by the proposed scheme would go to the NHS.
The head of the Bush clan is backing that durn librul McCain:
(CNN) — CNN has learned that John McCain will travel to Texas, most likely next week, to accept the endorsement of former President George H. W. Bush.Bush Senior had his flaws, but I have come to respect and admire him more as time passes and the flaws of his son have become glaringly apparent. That sound you hear is of more "Real conservative" heads popping like balloons, and I hope it continues.
The campaign is working on the scheduling with the former president's office but the goal is for an event in Texas next week, accordoing to two Republican sources familiar with the discussions.
The endorsement is part of the Republican rally around McCain nationally. But it is also aimed especially at Texas, where voters will weigh in March 4.
Obama's people skills aren't just talk. (Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)
After Obama was elected to the Illinois state Senate in 1996, he defended individual rights in a way that might have marginalized him: He joined only two other senators in voting against a bill to forbid convicts on probation from having contact with street gangs, and he voted against a bill to expand the death penalty to gang-related murders. But Obama nevertheless won the respect of police and prosecutors in Chicago by building those 'alliances of consent.'If Obama hasn't forgotten how to do this and wins the nomination, he stands a good chance of being the next President. Some people may be afraid of him being another Jimmy Carter. But the difference between Carter and Obama is, Obama can play well with others whereas Jimmah was so stubborn his own party wanted to dump him at one point.
One of his greatest legislative triumphs was a bill to require the videotaping of all confessions and interrogations in capital cases. Initially, police, state prosecutors, and the newly elected Democratic governor were strongly opposed, some death-penalty abolitionists viewed the bill as too moderate, and legislators were afraid of being soft on crime. But Obama led daily negotiations (without reporters) during which he emphasized his opponents' common values. At the end, the bill had the support of all parties, passed unanimously, and today has been adopted as a model by four states and the District of Columbia.
Call it Mini-Sol.
Astronomers say they have found a miniature version of our own solar system 5,000 light years across the galaxy — the first planetary system that really looks like our own, with outer giant planets and room for smaller inner planets.I wonder if they have a mini-Earth with mini-bloggers, making snarky comments about mini-liberals?
The discovery, they said, means that our solar system might be more typical of planetary systems across the universe than had been thought.
“It looks like a scale model of our solar system,” said Scott Gaudi of Ohio State University. He led an international team of 69 professional and amateur astronomers, who announced the discovery in a news conference with reporters on Wednesday. Their results are being published Friday in the journal Science.
In the newly discovered system, a planet about two-thirds of the mass of Jupiter and another about 90 percent of the mass of Saturn are orbiting a reddish star about half the mass of the Sun, at about half the distances that Jupiter and Saturn circle our own Sun.
Neither of the two giant planets is a likely abode for life as we know it, but, as Dr. Gaudi pointed out, warm, rocky planets — suitable for life — could exist undetected in the inner parts of the system. “This could be a true solar system analogue,” he said.
You gots to show her husband some respect, dawg!
DETROIT -- An aide to Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick filed a police report Thursday claiming Monica Conyers, the short-tempered City Council president pro tem and wife of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, threatened to get a gun and shoot him at a city pension board meeting.Yeah, her homeboys in the Democratic Party got her back, yo!
But a spokesman for Conyers says she was the real victim in the hubbub.
According to the police report filed Thursday by DeDan Milton, an assistant to Kilpatrick, Conyers 'threatened to shoot (Milton) with her gun' and made 'several aggressive movements' toward Milton 'in a threatening manner.'
Milton also reported to police that Conyers said she would 'have my brothers (mess) you up.'
David Clark, chair of Detroit's General Retirement System, backed up Milton's account.
'She ran at him,' Clark told The Detroit News. 'She told him she would get a gun if she had to and that she has four brothers and they would whup his a-- if she asked them.'
Oh, the perils of being SINOs (Socialists In Name Only):
China watchers are predicting a drop in the GNP growth rate this year and for the foreseeable future. Most are attributing the expected fall off this year — from last year’s official 11.4 percent, the fifth year in a row of double digit expansion — to the expected downturn in the U.S. and the world economy in general.China has been wanting to have it both ways for several years now. But they can't have their capitalist dictatorship and eat it, too.
Even the 2007 growth rate wasn’t that high when compared with the peaks of the 1980s and 1990s, when GDP growth in some years surpassed 15 percent, coming out of the stagnation and even losses at the end of the Maoist era.
The downturn is going to be welcomed in some Chinese leadership quarters because of the fear of runaway inflation from an overheated economy — now fed by food shortages and the impact of the worst winter in 50 years.
I guess even Boulder has its limits when it comes to left-wing buffoonery:
A move to draft a Boulder City Council resolution supporting the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney likely won't get enough support to get off the ground Tuesday.So, um, what makes this more than a symbolic act, then?
A canvass of the City Council shows there aren't likely to be the five votes required to draft, debate and eventually hold a vote on the measure as activists have requested.
City Councilman Macon Cowles last week told his colleagues that he plans to ask for a vote Tuesday on whether to move forward with an impeachment resolution. For the past several weeks, supporters of such a move have been speaking at City Council meetings and handing out 'Impeach' pins.
Cowles said the activists deserve to know whether the council will act on their resolution. But Cowles said he won't support it, although he agrees with the sentiments it expresses.
'It's a straight-up impeachment resolution, much like Congress can and probably should have begun investigating several years ago,' he said. 'I am not interested in engaging in purely symbolic acts. ... We obviously lack the power to act on any of the constitutional violations of the current administration.'
If Mike Huckabee wants to rock the house, he'll have to do it without one of the kings of arena rock's blessing.
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The chief songwriter and founder of the band Boston has more than a feeling that he's being ripped off by Mike Huckabee.I'm no fan of Huckabee, but considering how often "More Than A Feeling" is played on classic rock radio, I wouldn't complain about Mike sounding like a broken record.
In a letter to the Republican presidential hopeful, Tom Scholz complains that Huckabee is using his 1970s smash hit song 'More Than a Feeling' without his permission. A former member of the band, Barry Goudreau, has appeared with Huckabee at campaign events, and they have played the song with Huckabee's band, Capitol Offense.
Scholz, who said Goudreau left the band more than 25 years ago after a three-year stint, objects to the implication that the band and one of its members has endorsed Huckabee's candidacy.
'Boston has never endorsed a political candidate, and with all due respect, would not start by endorsing a candidate who is the polar opposite of most everything Boston stands for,' wrote Scholz, adding that he is supporting Democratic Sen. Barack Obama. 'By using my song, and my band's name Boston, you have taken something of mine and used it to promote ideas to which I am opposed. In other words, I think I've been ripped off, dude!'
Well, you had to figure it was something like this.
Toward the end of September, Kazmierczak withdrew from Carter-Black's course to take a job in the prison system and became a part-time student. In January 2008, Kazmierczak returned to full-time status. Carter-Black didn't know the name or location of the prison.Why is it these types are never noticed when they stop taking their meds until they become mass murderers?
Despite advising him on his courses on mental health issues, Carter-Black said that she never noticed anything out of the ordinary about Kazmierczak and said that he 'looked like all the other students.'
Earlier reports by NIU campus Police Chief Donald Grady indicated that Kazmierczak's behavior had become erratic in the past few weeks, and it is believed he had stopped taking his medication. The chief declined to specify the type of medication the gunman was on.
Carter-Black said she had no knowledge of Kazmierczak's medical history or treatment.
For once I agree with Putin:
When Hillary Clinton said, way back in New Hampshire, that Vladimir Putin 'doesn't have a soul,' I figured that would be the sort of thing the Russian wouldn't be pleased about. But when I called the foreign ministry the next day for comment, it was Orthodox Christmas, and I let it slide.Well, it's not that Hillary doesn't have a head on her shoulders. It's just swelled out of all proportion to the rest of her.
He was asked about the remark at his press conference yesterday, however, and indeed wasn't pleased.
The former KGB lieutenant colonel appeared to lash out at U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton — a leading Democratic candidate for president — when one reporter quoted her as saying that former KGB officers have no soul:
'At a minimum, a head of state should have a head,' Putin said.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Isn't this what we're supposed to be fighting against?
Since his last combat deployment in Iraq, Jeremy Hall has had a rough time, getting shoved and threatened by his fellow soldiers. The trouble started there when he would not pray in the mess hall.Religious nuts with high-tech weapons. Oh, wait. These are our religious nuts, so I guess that makes it OK.
'A senior ranking staff sergeant told me to leave and sit somewhere else because I refused to pray,' Hall, a 23-year-old US army specialist, told AFP.
Later, Hall was confronted by a major for holding an authorized meeting of 'atheists and freethinkers' on his base. The officer threatened to discipline him and block his re-enlistment.
'He said: 'You guys are being a problem and problems can be removed,'' Hall said. 'He was yelling at us and stuff and at the very end he says, 'I really love you guys, I want you to see the light.''
Now Hall is suing the major and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, accusing them of breaching his constitutional rights. A campaign group, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, is waiting for the Pentagon to respond to a lawsuit filed in a Kansas federal court on Hall's behalf.
It alleges a 'pernicious pattern and practice' of infringement of religious liberties in the military.
The group's founder, former Air Force lawyer Mikey Weinstein, said he has documented 6,800 testimonies by military personnel -- nearly all of them Christians -- of sometimes punitive or humiliating attempts to make them accept a fundamentalist evangelical interpretation of Christianity.
'I am at war with those people who would create a fundamentalist Christian theocracy in the technologically most lethal organization ever created by our species, which is the United States armed forces,' he said.
The Bear apparently likes to go armed.
A former NASA engineer is calling for a weapons-free International Space Station.What are the Cosmonauts afraid of-running into anti-Putin aliens?
Right now Russian Cosmonauts carry a gun on their Soyuz space capsule, which is attached to the space station.
Every spacecraft carries survival gear for crash landings, and the Russian Soyuz has a kit that includes the gun.
A photo of a recent space tourist using one version of the weapon is posted on his Web site.
Although the gun has been there for as long as the space station has been in orbit, its existence is kept quiet.
NASA and Russian officials won't talk publicly about it.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The "It's Our Fault" crowd was back in session today.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Envoys from India, China and other developing nations offered Wednesday to hold the line on their greenhouse gas emissions, but only as measured against the per-capita pollution produced by the United States and other richer nations.No, the reality is that developed countries are actually working to provide clean fuel burning technology through their evil capitalist markets, while countries like China, which belch out far more greenhouse gases than the U.S. ever will, keep getting a pass.
The U.S. emits about 7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases a year. China, with 1.3 billion people, has pulled roughly even with that amount, but its emissions per person are roughly one-fourth that in the U.S., which is home to 300 million.
A recurring theme during the U.N. General Assembly's debate this week on climate change was that the United States and other wealthy nations bear a greater responsibility for adding more gases to the atmosphere that contribute to global warming by trapping heat.
'The reality is that developed countries are responsible for the bulk of current and historical greenhouse gas emissions,' said Vanu Gopala Menon, Singapore's ambassador to the U.N. 'So clearly, they have an obligation to take the lead in reducing emissions.'
More closet homosexuals agree: Bathroom stalls are bad for business.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate Ethics Committee said Wednesday that Idaho Sen. Larry Craig acted improperly in connection with a men's room sex sting last year and had brought discredit on the Senate.I understand that afterwards, the members of the Committee all went into the men's room for a "Private consultation."
In a letter to the Republican senator, the ethics panel said Craig's attempt to withdraw his guilty plea after his arrest at a Minneapolis airport was an effort to evade legal consequences of his own actions.
The six members of the committee—three Democrats and three Republicans—told Craig they believed he 'committed the offense to which you pled guilty' and that 'you entered your plea knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently.'
The panel also admonished Craig for showing the arresting officer a business card that identified him as a U.S. senator. Craig has been reported to have told the officer at the time, 'What do you think about that?'
I think this falls under the category of "We should have seen this one coming."
NEW YORK (CBS) ― Residents on the Upper East Side are trying to cope with the shocking news of Tuesday night's horrific and fatal attack of 56-year-old psychologist Kathryn Faughey, who police say was hacked to death with a meat cleaver inside an office building on E. 79th Street and York Avenue shortly after 9 p.m.When the going gets weird, the weird turn to cutlery...
The killer is still at large.
At NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly's noon news conference on Wednesday, the department released the latest sketch of the suspect. He is described as a 5-foot-9 white male, believed to be in his 40s, with blondish brown hair. He was seen wearing a three-quarter green coat, a baseball cap and sneakers.
Is this another case of Putincide, or just an unhappy coincidence?
The sudden death of an exiled Georgian billionaire may have been another "Alexander Litvinenko-style" murder, it is feared.Well, it may have been natural causes-but that's a pretty rare occurance whenever Putin is involved.
Badri PatarkatsishviliA major crime squad is investigating the death of 52-year-old Badri Patarkatsishvili, whose body was found at his country mansion in Surrey at about 11pm last night.
His family said he suffered a heart attack - but Surrey Police have launched an investigation to confirm the exact cause of death after reports of a plot to kill him.
However, officers say there is no suggestion any radioactive substance were involved in his death.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
It's been a big night for two former underdogs.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain Tuesday won triple presidential primaries taking Virginia, Maryland and Washingto DC, US media said.For the Clintons, this was a decisive defeat, one that they won't soon forget or forgive; expect them to keep fighting until the Democratic Convention. For the Republicans, it means that the era of fundamentalist crazies deciding the Party's course may be coming to an end. One can only hope.
Obama's win delivered a huge blow to rival Hillary Clinton's White House hopes after he also won a slew of weekend primaries.
McCain swept the trio of presidential primaries beating rival Mike Huckabee despite a spirited fight by the ordained Baptist minister.
How desperate are Clinton supporters getting? They've brought back the race card.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Ed Rendell, one of Hillary Rodham Clinton's most visible supporters, said some white Pennsylvanians are likely to vote against her rival Barack Obama because he is black.But remember, only those eeevil conservatives are supposed to be racists.
"You've got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate," Rendell told the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in remarks that appeared in Tuesday's paper.
To buttress his point, Rendell cited his 2006 re-election campaign, in which he defeated Republican challenger Lynn Swann, the former Pittsburgh Steelers star, by a margin of more than 60 percent to less than 40 percent.
"I believe, looking at the returns in my election, that had Lynn Swann been the identical candidate that he was — well-spoken, charismatic, good-looking — but white instead of black, instead of winning by 22 points, I would have won by 17 or so," he said. "And that (attitude) exists. But on the other hand, that is counterbalanced by Obama's ability to bring new voters into the electoral pool."
Rendell, chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2000 and previously Philadelphia's mayor, endorsed Clinton on Jan. 23.
Is Britain finally recognizing that assimilation isn't necessarily a bad thing for immigrants to learn?
Up to 17,000 women in Britain are being subjected to 'honour' related violence, including murder, every year, according to police chiefs.Now, let's see if they can do this without turning Britain into even more of a nanny state.
And official figures on forced marriages are the tip of the iceberg, says the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
It warns that the number of girls falling victim to forced marriages, kidnappings, sexual assaults, beatings and even murder by relatives intent on upholding the "honour" of their family is up to 35 times higher than official figures suggest.
The crisis, with children as young as 11 having been sent abroad to be married, has prompted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to call on British consular staff in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan to take more action to identify and help British citizens believed to be the victims of forced marriages in recent years.
The Home Office is drawing up an action plan to tackle honour-based violence which "aims to improve the response of police and other agencies" and "ensure that victims are encouraged to come forward with the knowledge that they will receive the help and support they need". And a Civil Protection Bill coming into effect later this year will give courts greater guidance on dealing with forced marriages.
The phone companies can keep listening in.
WASHINGTON — After more than a year of heated political wrangling, the Senate handed the White House a major victory Tuesday by voting to broaden the government’s spy powers after giving legal protection to phone companies that cooperated in President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program.Understand, I've never had a problem with the surveillance itself. The problem I've had is with the Bush administration's sneaky, underhanded way of getting this stuff approved. That and the large number of elected officials on both sides who seem to have no problem helping them do it.
The Senate rejected a series of amendments that would have restricted the government’s surveillance powers and eliminated immunity for the phone carriers, and it voted in convincing fashion — 69 to 29 — to end debate and bring the issue to a final vote. That vote on the overall billwas an almost identical 68 to 29.
The House has already rejected the idea of immunity for the phone companies, and Democratic leaders reacted angrily to the Senate vote. But Congressional officials said it appeared that the House would ultimately be forced to accept some sort of legal protection for the phone carriers in negotiations between the two chambers this week.
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