|BRUSSELS, March 9 — The European Union approved a compromise agreement on Friday that would make Europe the world’s leader in the fight against climate change but would also allow some of Europe’s most polluting countries to limit their environmental goals.|
Issuing a challenge to the United States, China and India to match European ambitions in the battle against global warming, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany called on the world to follow the European Union’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels by the year 2020. She said the bloc’s 27 members would commit to a 30 percent reduction if other nations followed suit.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
|A power company based in the north of Sweden is planning to generate heat from an unusual fuel: chickens.|
Umeå Energi is seeking permission to help egg producers get rid of their dead birds by burning 9,000 chickens a year at the Dåva power plant near Umeå .
The hens will be mixed with other, more combustible, waste products before they are put in the furnace, reported local newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren.
Henrik Bristav, who is responsible for environmental strategy at Umeå Energi, told the paper that the reason for the move is not that the power company is short of flammable fuel - rather that they are doing local egg producers a favour.
He did not rule out the possibility of taking carcasses from other sources in future.
"We can certainly try it out now and then," said Bristav.
"But not from any bigger animals. Chickens are just the right size."
So... cats wouldn't be out of the question as they get better at this process.
I kid, I kid
|Iranian officials last night demanded a timetable for US troop withdrawal from Iraq as they attended a rare meeting with American diplomats in Baghdad.|
Via Washington Post.
|A vote on the Democratic-sponsored Iraq resolution expected to hit the Senate floor next week will mark the first time Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has embraced a legislative deadline for withdrawing from the war-torn nation, a step she has consistently resisted to this point.|
The March 31, 2008, date in the text is described as a "goal," but Democratic leaders said the intent is clear: The war's combat phase should end by that date.
"We believe that this is a deadline, in a certain sense, that the vast majority of troops should leave," Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.
|The Conservatives are to unveil radical proposals for a series of new environmental taxes intended to curb airline travel.|
The measures, to be set out by shadow chancellor George Osborne, are designed to help secure the party's "green" credentials.
However the strategy risks alienating voters who have become accustomed to enjoying the benefits of cheap flights.
Measures under consideration include levying VAT or fuel duty - or both together - on domestic flights.
They also include scrapping air passenger duty and replacing it with a new "per flight" tax based more closely on a flight's carbon emissions.
Mr Osborne insisted the proposals were not intended to hit people enjoying their annual holiday abroad, but will be targeted at "frequent fliers".
But with increasing numbers of people taking multiple overseas breaks a year, it is likely to test public willingness to back Tory leader David Cameron in his determination to tackle climate change.
The dangers of the Tory strategy were underlined by an ICM poll for the Sunday Mirror showing strong public opposition to additional taxes on air travel.
It found 58% of voters thought there were already enough extra taxes on the airlines while just 38% thought it was a good idea.
The poll - conducted before details of the Tory plans emerged - showed little enthusiasm for the green plans of any of the main parties.
Two years after a successful Internet campaign against National Geographic by Iranian bloggers and Internet users, a new campaign has started with a polite and non-sensational ad to object to the movie 300. Iranian Internet users have been asked to include one line of HTML code in their blogs to increase the search rank of the campaign website. Source: Project 300
Looks like a google bomb in progress as some think this is preparing everyone for a war on Iran which even some Greek critics have become paranoid about that.
|A LEADING Muslim cleric has blamed the devastating drought, climate change and pollution on Australians' lack of faith in Allah.|
Radical sheik Mohammed Omran told followers at his Brunswick mosque that out-of-control secular scientific values had caused environmental disaster.
"The fear of Allah is not there. So we have now a polluted earth, a polluted water, a wasteland," he told a meeting this year.
"What are the people now crying for? The prophet told you hundreds of years ago, 'Look after the water'."
A Sunday Herald Sun investigation also found clerics railing against "evil" democracy, vilifying Jews and Christians and encouraging jihad and polygamy.
And in a popular DVD selling locally, a foreign sheik exhorts Muslims to take control of Australia by out-breeding non-believers.
British-based Sheik Abdul Raheem Green forbade Muslims from having fewer than four children so Australia would become an Islamic state.
Behind the closed doors of some Melbourne mosques and bookshops, sheiks push for Sharia law, declare Islam at war with the "sick" West and gloat that September 11 boosted Muslim numbers.
At a Muslim information centre in Coburg, extreme literature shares shelves with DVDs by firebrand sheiks from around the globe.
The centre, run by Abu Hamza, serves Muslims in the northern suburbs.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali hit on the having more babies plan in the WSJ.
|She says the West must begin to think long term about its relationship with Islam--because the Islamists are. Ms. Hirsi Ali notes Muslim birth rates are vastly outstripping those elsewhere (particularly in Western Europe) and believes this is a conscious attempt to extend the faith. Muslims, she says, treat women as "these baby-machines, these son-factories. . . . We need to compete with this," she goes on. "It is a totalitarian method. The Nazis tried it using women as incubators, literally to give birth to soldiers. Islam is now doing it. . . . It is a very effective and very frightening way of dealing with human beings."|
|NV Dems Say Ailes "Went Too Far"|
Did the Nevada Dems really scrap their debate with Fox because of what Roger Ailes said? On Thursday, Ailes made this joke during his acceptance speech: "It is true that Barack Obama is on the move. I don't know if it's true that President Bush called Musharraf and said, 'Why can't we catch this guy?'"
The WP reports: "Democrats said the comment, which referred to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, likened Obama, a senator from Illinois, to Osama bin Laden.Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Tom Collins, chairman of the Nevada Democratic Party, released a letter to the network that said Ailes 'went too far.' 'We cannot, as good Democrats, put our party in a position to defend such comments,' the two added."
If a Dem said this or a liberal like Jon Stewart said that line everyone would take it as a shot against President Bush "lack of intelligence." They got pressured by their new overlords at Kos/Moveon and needed an excuse to drop the debate.
|BOSTON -- As a candidate, Deval Patrick won over voters with a message of hope and renewed confidence in government.|
Now, eight turbulent weeks into his term, Massachusetts' governor is already pleading: "Don't give up on me."
First, the 50-year-old former chief of the Justice Department's civil rights division under the Clinton administration was criticized for using a state helicopter to zip from one end of the state to the other. Then he found himself defending his decision to upgrade his state car to a $1,166-a-month Cadillac.
Soon came news of pricey new drapes for the governor's office, a $72,000 appointments secretary for his wife and a call to Citigroup on behalf of a struggling lending company on whose board he once served - a move that prompted a call for an ethics investigation by the Republicans.
Patrick loyalists have portrayed the incidents as the kind of missteps made by someone who has never before held elective office. But they also fear that, taken together, the blunders could hurt the Democrat's populist appeal and erode his authority.
When he took office, "the canvas was blank. What we saw was a first portrait of a governor who was stumbling, rather than a governor moving forward," said Jeffrey Berry, a Tufts University political science professor. "There's a tone-deafness that continues to hamper the governor."
Various liberal members of the Boston Globe are angry such as Brian McGrory.
|All right, now I'm angry.|
I'm angry as I stand in the briefing room at the State House watching Deval Patrick do what we the people elected Deval Patrick to do, which is to be an articulate voice of reason, to show compassion, to take controversial stands on behalf of the neediest residents of Massachusetts.
That's what he was doing yesterday, blasting the federal government for flying the illegal immigrants from New Bedford down to Texas, even as the owners and managers of the sweat shop were already out on bail.
"They're back at work today, and I think there's something wrong with that," Patrick seethed.
Where has this governor been? I'll tell you where. He's been planning the most lavish inauguration in state history. He's been shopping for damask drapes. He's been leasing a Cadillac, hiring a taxpayer-funded aide for his wife, making calls on behalf of a sleazy mortgage company that regularly forecloses on predatory loans.
Which is what's so infuriating. Every now and again, when he butts heads with Homeland Security czar Michael Chertoff or strongarms local health insurance executives to reduce rates, you realize why it is the people elected him. He's smart, he's savvy, he's personable, and he's empathetic. This is the guy we bought in November.
But time and again, the guy we get is the one with fundamentally flawed judgment, the inexperienced prima donna who's incapable of getting out of his own way.
Which leads to the question: How many idiotic decisions can you make before you're certified an idiot? And is it possible to reboot a governorship, to press a button and start all over?
Deval Patrick needs to be saved. He needs to be saved from himself. He needs to be saved from the caricature that's already forming. He needs to be saved from a Legislature that can smell blood in the water and won't feel any need to change its anachronistic ways.
Deval tried to be the hero to the illegal aliens by being compassionate but as Howie Carr points out.
|"....Now Deval is trying to claw his way back into the game. He’s working “feverishly” to help the illegal aliens in New Bedford who were arrested for the terribly unfair and racist reason that they were breaking the law.|
Despite his feverish efforts, though, Deval had to admit that he “was informed” by the feds that they were going to raid the sweatshop. And he stood by. While the law was enforced. That can’t be a popular stand with his core constituency. Think Ben LaGuer.
Still, how can anyone be surprised by the fall of Deval? The only difference this time is that he’s worn out his welcome a lot faster than he did at Coke, Texaco or even the Clinton Justice Department."
The way to get back into favor... throws D's on that Cadillac! I keep saying it and he won't listen.
|Some American columnists and bloggers have criticized the trip as a display of American weakness. Suthers said the trip, which was paid for by the U.S. Department of State, was important to correct misunderstandings about the U.S. justice system.|
"I wasn't there to apologize, I wasn't there to defend so much as to straighten out," Suthers said.
He explained to the King and other Saudis that Al-Turki chose not to testify, that he was involved in other incidents of sexual contact and that he does have a right to an appeal.
An article in the English language Arab News explained why there was outrage in Saudi Arabia.
"How could anyone take the word of a mere female (and a maid at that!), over the word of a supposedly religious, male Saudi," the article said.
Anything else needs to be said?
Friday, March 9, 2007
|WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumers will see higher grocery bills this year thanks to a surge in wholesale corn prices, pushed higher by an ethanol fuel boom, that will be passed on by food manufacturers, the industry said on Wednesday.|
"It's inevitable. Everyone of our members is talking about this now," said Cal Dooley, head of The Grocery Manufacturers/Food Products Association, a trade group representing the food, beverage and consumer products industry. The group's members include Coca-Cola CO.
"You're beginning to see it, but you'll certainly see increased evidence of these (price increases) in another six months," he added.
The price increase will be felt across a large swatch of products -- from ketchup and beverages that depend on corn sweeteners to beef, poultry and pork where animals are fed corn.
Soaring U.S. demand for ethanol fuel made from corn has pushed the grain to its highest prices in a decade, which in turn is expected to reduce wheat and soybean plantings in the coming years, likely resulting in higher flour and meal prices.
"When it's across the board where every company is being faced by it, those prices will be passed on," said Dooley.
|NEW YORK -- During a class discussion on adolescence, a high school teacher recently asked her students whether they go on dates. We don't "date," the 12th graders reported. We "hook up."|
If you're in your 40s, "hooking up" might mean catching a friend downtown for lunch. But to people in their teens or 20s, the phrase often means a casual sexual encounter - anything from kissing onwards - with no strings attached.
Now a new book on this not-so-new subject is drawing fire in some quarters for its conclusion: That hookups can be damaging to young women, denying their emotional needs, putting them at risk of depression and even sexually transmitted disease, and making them ill-equipped for real relationships later on.
For that, Laura Sessions Stepp, author of "Unhooked" and a writer for The Washington Post, has been criticized as a throwback to an earlier, restrictive moral climate, an anti-feminist and a tut-tutting mother telling girls not to give the milk away when nobody's bought the cow.
The author "imagines the female body as a thing that can be tarnished by too much use," wrote reviewer Kathy Dobie in Stepp's own paper, and suggested that Stepp was, in one part, trying to "instill sexual shame." For Meghan O'Rourke, literary editor at Slate.com, Stepp is "buying into alarmism about women," and making sex "a bigger, scarier, and more dangerous thing than it already is."
Stepp argues these critics have misconstrued her ideas.
True, she regrets that "dating has gone completely by the boards," replaced by group outings that lead to casual encounters. True, she regrets that oral sex "isn't even considered sex anymore." But she isn't saying girls should not have sex; just that they should have it in the context of a meaningful connection: "I am saying that girls should have choices."
Pointed out before Kathy Dobie is really not the person to be the defender of unlimited sex, but thats another story. But the entire argument of hooking up and the "feminists" who champion it and decry those who want to drag women back to the evil traditional role is given by Robin Sawyer.
|At the University of Maryland, Robin Sawyer, who teaches a course on sexuality, finds Stepp's book pretty much on target.|
"Men have always hooked up," says Sawyer. "What you are seeing now is a desire of women to act in a masculine way, without being judged a whore." He also finds that the "hookup" vocabulary softens the impact of the behavior. "'I hooked up with someone' sounds a lot better than 'I had oral sex with someone whose name I don't even know,'" says Sawyer, who is mentioned in Stepp's book.
"Can you generalize from a few women? If you can find a criticism, it is probably that," Sawyer said. "But her thesis is pretty accurate. This is not your grandparents' generation."
Women can have the desire to be "equal" and be able to sleep around with being labeled a whore. But it will never happen.
You will be judged and treated by men the way you judge and treat yourself. I admit us men are pretty simple beings. If we get something cheap we treat it cheaply because we know it will be easy to replace like a 19 inch tv.
If we get a $4000 flat screen, we redo the room, get new furniture, new speaker system and we are proud to be seen with it. Pretty much the same deal with women. You act like a ho, you are treated like a ho.
|The striking brunette with sea-green eyes and pouting lips changed her name to Angelina and entered the Miss Israel beauty pageant hoping to be crowned queen, a title that comes with a cash prize, modelling contract and a car.|
Instead, Angelina — the first Druze to compete in the pageant — was threatened with death, allegedly by two uncles and other men from her village who accused her of disgracing the family name with promiscuous behaviour.
When police uncovered the apparent plot to kill her last week, Ms Fares disappeared into protective custody. When she emerged from hiding she announced that she was withdrawing from the competition, fearing for her life.
“My life is much more important than a contest, but it’s very difficult for me to give up my dream,” she said, sitting in the darkened living room of her family home in this small Galilean village. She is too frightened to answer her mobile phone or leave the house.
Ms Fares’s story has dominated the Israeli media as a high-profile example of a foiled “hon-our killing”, where a woman is murdered by members of her own family for supposed sexual offences that have somehow brought shame to the family.
Last year, seventeen Palestinian women were reported killed in honour crimes, twelve in the Gaza Strip and five in the occupied West Bank. In Israel, seven women were similarly killed for “crimes” ranging from having sex before marriage to being the victim of rape.
For Ms Fares the controversy began last November, when she decided to enter the Miss Israel contest. She chose the name “Angelina” in honour of her idol, the American actress Angelina Jolie, and spent hours watching Fashion Television to prepare for her audition.
The first phase of the competition was a bikini contest. Ms Fares knew that parading in her red two-piece could be considered controversial in the Druze community, whose religion is an offshoot of Islam.
She dropped out to save the rest of her family it seems because she is not going into a deep funk over it.
|Last week, police received a tip that a group of men in the village, including two of Ms Fares’s uncles, were plotting to kill her. Anwar and Hatem Fares allegedly hired two men to buy guns and a third man to murder their niece. She was taken into protective custody and all five men were jailed.|
But the sequence of events forced the Fares family to reconsider. “These are people who love me and I love them. I was shocked,” Ms Fares said. “I stepped out, out of respect for our religious leaders and dignitaries. Above all, it was out of respect for my family.”
The Fares family refused to press charges against the uncles, and they were released. But Colonel Ephy Fertouk, the local police investigator, said that the case is not closed.
Sheikh Tarif says that Angelina could face further problems: “We live in a democratic state and freedom prevails, but if a woman goes beyond the red lines, it will cause people to isolate this person or worse.”
But Ms Fares is determined to pursue her dream. She has hired an agent and a spokes-person and is to star in a documentary about her ordeal. And she will still be at the Miss Israel pageant — if only as a spectator: “I will definitely be there, you can count on it.”
|If 300, the new battle epic based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, had been made in Germany in the mid-1930s, it would be studied today alongside The Eternal Jew as a textbook example of how race-baiting fantasy and nationalist myth can serve as an incitement to total war.|
|But to cast 300 as a purely apolitical romp of an action film smacks of either disingenuousness or complete obliviousness. One of the few war movies I've seen in the past two decades that doesn't include at least some nod in the direction of antiwar sentiment, 300 is a mythic ode to righteous bellicosity. In at least one way, the film is true to the ethos of ancient Greece: It conflates moral excellence and physical beauty (which, in this movie, means being young, white, male, and fresh from the gyms of Brentwood).|
See, no anti-war sentiment jars liberal thinking which means its a bad movie.
|The noble and sexy Gorgo finally gives herself to Theron in exchange for a chance to persuade the council. "This will not be over quickly," the villain warns as he pins her against a temple pillar. "You will not enjoy this." It might have been Zack Snyder himself whispering in my ear, and he would have been right.|
There is the insensitive and totally uncalled for rape reference and here comes the current event portion.
|In a classic example of the epic understatement known as litotes, Variety's reviewer observes that the picture's vision of the West as a heroic contingent of sculpted badasses and the East as a cauldron perversion and iniquity "might be greeted with muted enthusiasm in the Middle East." Replace the words "muted enthusiasm" with "a roadside bomb," and you've got yourself a tagline for the Baghdad premiere.|
I was going to wait till the DVD, but I will make the effort this weekend based on this sorry excuse of a review which is clouded with the extreme bias of Stevens by her liberalism.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
|Some local Muslims are urging people to boycott advertisers of WBT's "Jeff Katz Show," saying the conservative radio talker insults their religion with "hate-filled" comments on the air.|
At a Wednesday news conference, Jibril Hough of the Charlotte-based Islamic Political Party of America charged that Katz speaks mockingly about Muslims and showcases only critics of Islam on his 3-6 p.m. show at 1110 AM.
"His agenda has been one of inciting fear, hatred and ignorance against Muslims," said Hough, who is also spokesman for the Islamic Center of Charlotte. "His type of rhetoric would not be allowed against any other minority community ..."
Asked for specifics, Hough said Katz sarcastically refers to Islam as "the religion of peace"; distorts passages in the Koran, the Muslims' sacred book; calls Muslims who disagree with him "apologists for terrorists"; and refuses to let Hough and other Muslims speak on his show.
Katz, who is among the leading ratings performers in afternoon drive, rejected the group's characterization of his comments as bigoted. The Philadelphia native said he has merely expressed his frustration that too few Muslims have spoken out against terrorism.
"I've been looking for the reasonable, moderate, sensible voice of Islam that says, `Stop killing in our name,' " said Katz, who came to Charlotte in August from San Francisco radio. "There are one billion Muslims in the world. I don't for a second think there are one billion terrorists ... But (radical Islamic) groups have cowed people -- including practicing Muslims -- into not speaking out."
|But that view is myopic. In some respects, Obama is far more experienced than other presidential candidates.|
His experience as an anti-poverty organizer in Chicago, for example, gives him a deep grasp of a crucial 21st century challenge -- poverty in America -- that almost all politicians lack. He says that grass-roots experience helps explain why he favors not only government spending programs, such as early childhood education, but also cultural initiatives, such as efforts to promote responsible fatherhood.
I know there has been billions and billions spent on the war on poverty with really no great results to show for it plus the fact organizations and the federal government also have been promoting responsible fatherhood for a while now. Obama is not doing anything new despite Kristof myopic view.
|In foreign policy as well, Obama would bring to the White House an important experience that most other candidates lack: He has actually lived abroad. He spent four years as a child in Indonesia and attended schools in the Indonesian language, which he still speaks.|
"I was a little Jakarta street kid," he said in a wide-ranging interview in his office (excerpts are on my blog, www.nytimes.com/ontheground). He once got in trouble for making faces during Quran study classes in his elementary school, but a president is less likely to stereotype Muslims as fanatics -- and more likely to be aware of their nationalism -- if he once studied the Quran with them.
Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated, Obama described the call to prayer as "one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset."
Obama 4 years as a child in Indonesia and the ability to recall the Adhan. I doubt his childhood years makes him a great foreign policy expert head and shoulders above the rest. The more disturbing implication by Kristof is that because Obama studied with Muslims, he is the only one who knows the difference between Islamists and moderate Muslims. That is BS, but it makes for a delightful elitist point of view. Nationalism is not the problem, it's radicalism.
|So how would an Obama administration differ from the Bill Clinton presidency in foreign policy? One way, he said, would be a much greater emphasis on promoting education, health care, and development in Africa and other poor regions -- not just for humanitarian reasons, but also with an eye to national security.|
"If we can't take what, relative to our military hardware and defense budgets, are a pittance, and put some resources into these areas, we will not be secure," he noted, adding: "The Marshall Plan was part of a security strategy; it wasn't simply charity."
Wonderful, he becomes President then he will spend like a drunken sailor on Africa and other poor regions with a Marshall Plan. But since he could understand their "nationalism" he would realize pushing a Marshall Plan with any sort of strings attached would be considered some sort of imperial design. Africa will get better from the inside out, not wasting billions of aid money on corrupt governments looking for a free handout.
This could be one of the worst Kristof pieces I have read ever. He is usually a pompous latte-sipping wannebe know it all, but this is like a schoolgirl crush note.
|Anne Schroeder: John Edwards "doesn't appear to have had a problem using Rupert Murdoch's airwaves in the past. As recently as January 23rd, the lady-killing former Senator from North Carolina appeared on FOX News Channel's Hannity and Colmes, one of 33 times Edwards has appeared on the network since August 2000...|
"The Caucus blog: "This kind of demand for an outright ban of a network from participation suggests that the candidates don't have minds of their own. They are still free to answer as only they know how, no matter what the question is. No matter the forum. No matter the sponsor..."
But I won't because I am not that type of person. But here is a couple of emails I got.
|"Sorry, its my fault and I should have been more careful when she was using me"|
signed A. Mirror
|" We are not the ones causing any side effects that makes Rosie act like a self-promoting bully on the show"|
signed Celexa, Effexor, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac,Remeron, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Zoloft and Zyban.
|NEWARK, March 7 — A Muslim student sued the Newark public schools on Wednesday, claiming that he was unable to attend his high school graduation last June because it was held in a church. The student, Bilal Shareef, 18, said it was against his beliefs to set foot in any building with symbols involving God. |
“The position I was put in was very, very uncomfortable,” said Mr. Shareef, who graduated from West Side High with a 4.0 grade-point average and is a student at Union County College in Cranford. He is seeking damages and an order to bar the use of churches for future graduations
Ed Barocas, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and the student’s lawyer, said that under the state’s Constitution, no person can be “compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his faith and judgment.”
“I think the New Jersey courts will recognize that the right to go to one’s graduation is essentially part of a student’s right to a public education,” he said. “The culmination of one’s school career is at graduation, and it is one of the most significant moments in a child’s life.”
No one is forced to go to their graduation to graduate nor is it a right. It is a choice, I think the term of "reasonable accommodation" needs to be fought over how far any society should bend to the will in this case of one malcontent.
|"Not all Muslim groups adhere to the prohibition against entering buildings with religious iconography. Louay Safi, the executive director of the Islamic Society of North America, which has 400 affiliated mosques, said “this is the first time I have heard of a student not wanting to just visit a church on that grounds.” |
The imam of the Islamic Cultural Center in Newark, where Mr. Shareef worships, could not be reached for comment about its stance. Mr. Shareef said, “I can’t speak for all Muslims; I know some that don’t mind and some that do.”
In this case, it would be wrong for the school district to cave.
|Toni Comer remembers nothing of the incident outside the Niche nightclub in Sheffield. She is an epileptic and thinks she had a fit. But the footage, which has been obtained by the Guardian, is now the centre of a police inquiry that will test whether the officers involved acted proportionately during the arrest, or with unnecessary force. The video, which can be seen on the Guardian Unlimited website, has already caused concern in Sheffield among those who have seen it.|
Ms Comer's lawyers are demanding that the Independent Police Complaints Commission launches an investigation to look properly at the inconsistencies they believe are found in a statement made by PC Anthony Mulhall. The officer has admitted he hit her but claimed he acted in self-defence and only after extreme provocation.
The struggle involving Ms Comer, now 20, from Sheffield, took place when she was arrested outside the club last July. She had earlier been ejected from the club and had then damaged a car belonging to a security guard in the club's car park.
Yesterday she pleaded guilty to criminal damage and was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £250 compensation to the car owner. Sheffield magistrates court was told by Danny Simpson, Ms Comer's lawyer, that the arrest had caused "a great deal of distress" and an officer "punched Ms Comer five or so times until she would say she was unconscious". He added that it was now the subject of a complaint to the police and "may in due course be the subject of civil proceedings".
By chance, the club's security cameras caught the arrest. The film shows Ms Comer and PC Mulhall at the top of a fire escape. During a struggle, they roll down the stairs until PC Mulhall lands on top of her. He can be seen striking her five times. Other police officers arrive, including a dog-handler and dog, and she is dragged to a police van with her trousers down.
Ms Comer admits she had been drinking brandy and had become aggressive in the club. She is convinced she had an epileptic fit and the officer has said he saw foam at her mouth. She has suffered more than 20 such fits, the first when she was pregnant with her two-year-old son.
She said she was unaware of what had happened during the arrest until shown the film. "I was shocked when I first saw the film. I didn't think they'd do something like that. I didn't want to go out of the house after seeing it."
She acknowledges the police would have been unaware of her medical condition and says that her father has told her that she can be aggressive during a fit. "But they should be aware of those types of illnesses. It's shocking what the police did to me - I wouldn't wish it on anyone."
Her father, Leroy Walcott, said yesterday that he had been shocked by the film. "To see that happening to your daughter is bad enough but the fact that police officers are involved makes it doubly worse."
In a statement after the arrest, PC Mulhall acknowledges he struck Ms Comer but said he only did so in self-defence and after extreme provocation. "She began to kick, spit and made attempts to bite me," he said in his statement. "As her hands became free she tried to grab handfuls of my genitals and knee and kick me in the same place. At this point, I struck her as hard as I was able with my right fist in an attempt to subdue her. There was no apparent effect so I did this twice more."
When she kept resisting, he said, he hit her again. Trying to put her in handcuffs, he states that "I now struck her as hard as I was physically able in an attempt to deaden her arm ... In the end I had to use brute force."
Ms Comer, who is 5ft 6in tall and weighs nine stone, has one previous conviction for handling when she was 14. She was given community service.
Ruggie Johnson, coordinator of The Monitoring Group North and editor of the local magazine Wha' a gwan, first obtained the footage. "I was absolutely shocked when I saw it. It's like something out of the Deep South." He said it reminded him of the Rodney King episode in Los Angeles when police officers were seen on camera making an arrest of a drunk driver.
Looking at the video, this is nothing like the Rodney King video in the least, I have seen tougher arrests on Cops than this. Combined with a fit and you have a situation that could have turned out much worse. No where have I seen anything about him hitting her in the face, just the arm to dead it.
Just got irritated by this jump from a force arrest to deep south lynchings and Rodney King. Some people trying to get paid.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
|Free and Comfortable in Her Own Skin [Peter Suderman]|
The Pussycat Dolls are all about ... feminism?
"....For the uninitiated, the Pussycat Dolls are a female singing group whose six members slither through their music videos dressed like Barbie’s nasty cousins. In their best known song they ask the musical question: “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?”
Dismiss immediately whatever pornographic inferences such a performance might bring to mind, said McG, the music producer and film director who is an executive producer of “Pussycat Dolls Present.” The Dolls, McG said, are simply making a heartfelt inquiry: “It’s just like saying, ‘Don’t you wish your girlfriend could be free and comfortable in her own skin and do her own thing, like me?’ ”
You have to be really stupid to believe this pap. "Freak" hasn't changed since Rick James into some female empowerment term. Not that I disapprove of this new Feminism = being a ho movement and if the Pussycat Dolls helps to separate the hoes from the good women, more power to them.
|"Like many Fayetteville night spots, Broadstreet has a strict dress code prohibiting guests from wearing the hip-hop styles seen on its screens.|
White T-shirts, athletic wear and baggy pants are all banned at several places in town.
Club managers say the rules are in place to set a tone for their clientele’s behavior — and many club-goers say they appreciate the codes for that reason.
Others fear the rules are in place to keep out blacks — or at least black culture.
Some whining about banning people wearing gold teeth and having to tuck in your shirts as being against black people which is just stupid. At least most understand why there is a dress code.
|The friends, all black men in their 20s, said they prefer clubs with dress codes and that they are willing to dress appropriately to go where they want to go.|
“When there’s a dress code, I feel safe,” Richburg said. “When there’s not, I’m worried. Because of the simple fact that when there’s a dress code, you have to make more of an effort and can’t just walk in.”
Marco Williams agreed. “It’s calmer at clubs with dress codes,” he said.
And, he added, there is a more important reason he likes clubs with dress codes.
“More girls are going to be at the ones where you have to dress up,” he said.
|On the March 6 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, executive producer Bernard McGuirk said that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) was "trying to sound black in front of a black audience" when she gave a speech on March 4 in Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" civil rights march. McGuirk added that Clinton "will have cornrows and gold teeth before this fight with [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL] is over." Earlier in the program, in reference to Clinton's speech, McGuirk had said, "Bitch is gonna be wearing cornrows." McGuirk also said that Clinton will be "giving Crips signs during speeches." The Crips are a Los Angeles-based street gang.|
Later, host Don Imus brought up McGuirk's prior impersonations of African-American poet Maya Angelou asking, "[W]ho was that woman you used to do, the poet? ... We used to get in all that trouble every time you'd do her." As McGuirk launched into the impersonation, Imus said, "I don't need any more columns. Come on." But Imus did not stop McGuirk, who delivered his impression in verse:
McGUIRK: Whitey plucked you from the jungle for too many years
Took away your pride, your dignity, and your spears
McGUIRK: With freedom came new woes
Into whitey's world you was rudely cast
So wake up now and go to work?
You can kiss my big black ass
|Millions of mobile subscribers without bank accounts can now make simple financial transactions from their phones.|
This follows Tuesday’s launch of M-Pesa, a low-cost money transfer system from Safaricom.
The revolutionary service promises to turn your mobile phone into a bank account, cash machine, debit card and money transfer vehicle.
In time, they will also be able to borrow money, pay for shopping or other bills, and even have their salaries paid to their phones.
"With its ability to store money as e-cash, this service will benefit more than 80 per cent of the Kenyan population who do not have bank accounts," says Mr Michael Joseph, Safaricom’s chief executive.
As exclusively reported in FS last October, M-Pesa is expected to shake up the microfinance banking landscape in Kenya and across the developing world. This is because of its potential as a general-purpose cash-replacement service.
"Digital money in action"
|Users can send amounts of between Sh100 and Sh35,000 to any phone at a cost of between Sh55 and Sh175. M-Pesa accounts can only hold a maximum of Sh50,000. Subscribers will have no contact with the banks involved and the banks will not even have subscriber details. The accounts will only attract transaction charges.|
"M-Pesa is a valuable case study of digital money in action," says Mr Paul Makin of Consult Hyperion, the British IT consultancy that worked on the product for Vodafone Plc.
"It involves replacing cash with electronic money, it is for the mass market, it radically reduces transaction costs (for the least well off), provides new functionality and, most of all, it provides an infrastructure that delivers capability and efficiency to the microfinance world."
|Gov. Deval Patrick said Tuesday he made a mistake by calling a top official at Citigroup on behalf of a struggling lending company on whose board he once served.|
Patrick issued the mea culpa in response to a Boston Globe story reporting he made the call on Feb. 20 to Citigroup’s Robert Rubin on behalf of ACC Capital Holdings while ACC sought an infusion of cash from Citigroup.
ACC is the parent company of Ameriquest, a mortgage company that has been accused of predatory lending practices. Patrick resigned from a $360,000-a-year position on ACC’s board of directors last May, saying he needed to focus his attention on his gubernatorial campaign.
Rubin and Patrick worked together in the Clinton presidential administration when Rubin was treasury secretary and Patrick was an assistant attorney general.
”As a former board member, I was asked by an officer of ACC Capital to serve as a reference for the company and agreed to do so,” Patrick said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon. ”I called Robert Rubin, a former colleague from the Clinton administration and an executive at Citigroup, to offer any insight they might want on the character of the current management. The conversation with Mr. Rubin lasted at most a couple of minutes.
”Even though I made this call solely as a former board member, and I believe that was clear to Mr. Rubin, I appreciate that I should not have made the call. I regret the mistake.”
A watchdog group had questioned why Patrick would call a corporation whose interests in Massachusetts are regulated by the state.
Even liberal backers like Joan Vennochi can't believe this sort of mistake.
|"....He is asked to make a phone call to Citigroup by Adam Bass, senior executive and legal counsel to ACC Capital Holdings. Patrick, who resigned last year from the ACC board, makes the call, offering himself as a personal reference on ACC Capital Holdings.|
Can Patrick really believe his personal identity is separate from his elected position? Does he really believe the recipient of that telephone call - former US Treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin, now a Citigroup executive - considered Patrick your average private citizen, and not governor of the Commonwealth, when he took it?
If Patrick does believe that, wow. He is not a new governor making rookie mistakes. He is a new governor who doesn't understand what it means to hold public office.
The phone call to Citigroup doesn't smack of political favoritism. It reeks of it.
|The recent standoff between Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) and his Longworth House Office Building neighbor, freshman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), has prompted Tancredo sympathizers — including Ellison constituents — to send Tancredo cigars.|
In the last two weeks, Tancredo has received 100 in total, three of which came from people in Ellison’s Minneapolis-area district. “We have cigars all over the joint!” Tancredo boasted last week.
Ellison’s press aide, Rick Jauert, recently called the Capitol Police on his boss’s behalf after he alleged smelling smoke and seeing it come through the walls from Tancredo’s office.
To be safe, Tancredo checked with the House ethics committee to find out whether he could keep the cigars. He said he contemplated giving them away. “If I have to donate them, who am I going to donate them to?” he asked. He has since been assured that he can keep them.
Tancredo, who has three air purifiers in his office, said he thought about sending Ellison “an air cleaner, but I think I’m going to send an exorcist,” he said, expressing doubt that smoke really traveled through Ellison’s walls.
At Friday’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Tancredo further remarked on the incident, saying, “I live in a place run by what I refer to as the lifestyle Nazis here in Washington, D.C., that don’t let you do things like smoke in public places, for God’s sake. I want to tell you in my office, anyway, you can smoke … even though my next-door neighbor doesn’t like it.”
Ellison’s office had no comment on the matter.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
|The "social journalism" that made Oprah Winfrey an international fairy godmother is the new rage in network and cable news, and it's expanding to other media.|
Increasingly, journalists and talk-show hosts want to "own" a niche issue or problem, find ways to solve it and be associated with making this world a better place, as Winfrey has done with obesity, literacy and, most recently, education by founding a girls school in South Africa.
Experts say the competitive landscape, the need to be different and to keep eyeballs returning, is driving this trend, along with a genuine desire from some anchors and reporters to do good.
In the process, some are becoming famous. And they're allowing news organizations to break away from the pack, as old and new media fight for viewers and readers, says Tom Rosenstiel of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
|Facts vs. 'agenda'|
But Brian Ross, who runs the investigative unit at ABC News, worries about the growth of this "agenda" reporting.
Though not singling out Dobbs or O'Reilly, Ross says the practice "clouds your vision and makes it sometimes difficult to see all sides. You want to be able to report and turn on a dime if the facts aren't exactly fitting your agenda."
There's nothing wrong with trying to own a story, Ross adds: "It's a great thing to find an area and report on it a lot. God knows I've done that with Teamsters, the Mafia, drug cartels and money and politics. I've done all that."
At NBC, Today news anchor Ann Curry has carved out a niche as a humanitarian reporter for her segments on starvation in Darfur, a region of the Sudan she has visited twice since March 2006.
"Does it mean something to me that people know about Darfur because of our efforts? Absolutely," Curry says. "The more you do of this work, the more you realize what needs to be done. Our job is to give voice to people who have no voice. I think we've forgotten that in recent years."
When it starts to veer from reporting to advocacy, it can easily move into propaganda which will turn people off from the subject no matter how pure the motive. People don't like to be preached too.
|Zapatero gave in to ETA's prisoner's blackmail: polls|
MADRID - Most Spaniards reject the decision to lighten the prison conditions of ETA terrorist Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos, according to two surveys.
The polls, published in El Mundo and ABC dailies, also found a majority of citizens feel the socialist government gave in to blackmail by the Basque terrorist group.
The El Mundo poll, carried out by the Sigma-2 firm, which conducted 800 telephone interviews, concluded that 62.9 percent of those surveyed felt that the government's decision to release De Juana was "bad" or "very bad."
De Juana, who was on a hunger strike for 115 days, abandoned his protest on Thursday after the government ameliorated his prison situation in a move that has received heavy and harsh criticism from many commentators.
Monday, March 5, 2007
|The sale of imitation samurai swords could be banned by the end of the year, the Home Office announced today.|
Importing or hiring the weapons could also be made illegal following a string of samurai sword attacks in recent years.
Breaching the ban, which is targeted at cheap imitation samurai swords rather than the more expensive genuine collectors' items made by licensed swordsmiths in Japan, would result in up to six months in jail and a £5,000 fine.
Collectors and martial arts enthusiasts owning or using genuine samurai swords would be exepmt from the ban
According to Home Office estimates, there have been at least 80 serious crimes involving the swords in England and Wales over the last four years.
One MP recently warned that they were being used by criminal gangs as the preferred weapon of choice after guns.
Last month, amphetamine addict Hugh Penrose was jailed for at least 19 years for hacking a 21-year-old woman with a samurai sword and then deliberately running her over.
So when is the ban on cars being made into law and I highly doubt the sword was the biggest problem with this nutcase.
|Vernon Coaker, the Home Office minister, said today: "Samurai sword crime is low in volume but high in profile and I recognise it can have a devastating impact.|
"Banning the sale, import and hire will take more dangerous weapons out of circulation, making our streets safer.
"We recognise it is the cheap, easily-available samurai swords which are being used in crime and not the genuine, more expensive samurai swords which are of interest to collectors and martial arts enthusiasts."
"It is already illegal to have a samurai sword in a public place but I want to restrict the number of dangerous weapons in circulation to enhance community safety."
How about skipping to the end and just banning everything that is pointy.
|He offered his life story as a legacy of the civil rights movement, asserting formative events in his life as touchstones of the movement's achievements: election to high office, the opportunity to study at prestigious Ivy League universities, and even his birth of a mixed-race marriage.|
"There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Ala., because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born," Obama said.
Obama was born in 1961, four years before the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. But spokesman Bill Burton said Obama was "speaking metaphorically about the civil rights movement as a whole."
Sunday, March 4, 2007
|"It is only the absurd idea—grounded in progressive identity politics—that conservatives (or in my case, classical liberals) so march in ideological and ethical lockstep that they are required, when one of their “own” steps out of line, to issue such ludicrous calls for “condemnation” and “distancing” in the first place.|
And, as anyone who reads my site regularly knows, I champion the primacy of the individual, and so I react to such posts as Shamanic’s—which are merely passive-aggressive attempts to police the kind of speech she finds offensive, while tethering it to a political position she finds unappealing—with what I believe to be an appropriate level of scorn.
In short—I don’t accept her premise, so I am under no obligation to play by her speech rules. And when Shamanic shows herself to be more interested in scoring ideological points than in accurately or fairly characterizing her opponents (she flatters some as a cover to condemn others), it is fair to question both her motives and his analyses. Because, gay woman or no, she has no inherent authority to define homophobia. It’s just that, as a progressive gay person, she believes she does. Because such is the elitist and soft-totalitarian nature of progressive identity politics.
What is so sad, I think is that many “conservatives” and classical liberals have already lost the battle simply for having accepted the terms of debate—something I made clear earlier when I wrote about both the Bill Bennett dustup and the Tony Snow “tar-baby” non-scandal.
March 4, 2007
BY NEIL STEINBERG Sun-Times Columnist
|Bill Clinton is Hillary's best bet to bridging her racial divide |
March 4, 2007
BY MARY MITCHELL Sun-Times Columnist
|Obama isn't the only one whose ancestors owned slaves |
March 4, 2007
BY MARK BROWN Sun-Times Columnist
Calm down, No one is going to hold it against your man Obama and what is with the last week and slaves?
First Al Sharpton, then Obama ancestor's owning slaves, the story about the black slave owner in Tennessee and the Cherokee nation kicking out slave decendants.
|NEW YORK - NAACP President Bruce S. Gordon is quitting the civil rights organization, leaving after just 19 months at the helm, he told The Associated Press on Sunday. |
Gordon cited growing strain with board members over the group's management style and future operations.
"I believe that any organization that's going to be effective will only be effective if the board and the CEO are aligned and I don't think we are aligned," Gordon said. "This compromises the ability of the board to be as effective as it can be."
....Gordon said that while the NAACP is an advocacy organization, it needs to be more focused on service and finding solutions.
"I'm used to a CEO running an organization, with the board approving strategy and policy," Gordon said. "But the NAACP board is very much involved."
|Gordon sounded weary as he boarded a flight home to New York City on Sunday.|
"I don't view this as I'm right and they're wrong. I view this as I see things one way and they see things a different way," he said. "That misalignment between the CEO and the board is unhealthy."
Asked about his plans after leaving the NAACP, Gordon said: "I'm going to catch my breath."
"What I've clearly learned in my tenure here is that all is not well in black America, that's for sure," he said. "I believe I have a lot to offer. I've got to find a way to be engaged that optimizes what it is I bring to the table. My intention is not to disengage, but to find a different way."
and what will the NAACP be missing now that he is gone?
|However, he smoothed strained relations between the NAACP and the White House, meeting with President Bush three times in less than a year. He used his corporate ties to lend quick assistance to black New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina. And he hired a number of key national employees whose reputations inspired staff members. |
Gordon "brought a level of competence that we hadn't had," Julian Bond, chairman of the board, said last year.
Bond also has acknowledged that, with 64 members, the NAACP's board of directors is large and sometimes unwieldy. But he has defended it, saying it allows a wide range of members voices to be heard.
Sorry, it is insane to have a board of directors with that many people with so much clout in an organization that should be quick on its feet and open to new ideas/methods in solving problems and encouraging progress in the black community.
|Norway's most important paper Aftenposten ran a story earlier this week saying that 65% of the rape crimes in Oslo were committed by foreigners, even though they only represent a mere 23% of the population in the Norwegian capital. The article was prompted by a call by the Rape Commission (Voldtektsutvalget) to the imams to put rapes and the attitude against women on the agenda.|
Foreigners are six times more likely to figure in crime statistics concerning rapes in Oslo. During the first two months of this year sixteen rapes and rape attempts have been committed, and the three men the police are looking for in connection with four of those cases have one thing in common: they all have a Muslim background. Especially Somalis and Iraqis seem to be well represented in the statistics.
Even though the article doesn't do much more than quote some simple basic facts, it was nevertheless a bit controversial. The social democratic minister Bjarne Håkon Hanssen reacted quickly to condemn the tone of the article since it made a link between rapes and Muslims. According to him, asking the imams for help is wrong, «because we don't ask Norwegian bishops for help either when a Norwegian rapes somebody». Apparently the minister had not noticed that the debate had started precisely because of the huge number of Muslims in the rape statistics. And I wouldn't even dare to suggest he could have another agenda than trying to reduce the number of rapes in the Norwegian capital.
Just yesterday, another rape claim appeared in the same paper.
|"....The rape and robbery occurred late last week, but has only now been reported to police. It took place just south of Sofienbergpark, in the Grünerløkka district, where three more attempted rapes were reported last weekend.|
It comes on top of a series of rapes and attempted rapes in Oslo during the past several months. Residents are alarmed, but it's unlikely that the most recently reported attack was committed by the same man or men behind the weekend attacks.
The victim from last Thursday night has seen police drawings of the suspect or suspects in those cases, and has told police her assailants didn't resemble them.
Rather, the men who attacked her as she was on her way home to her flat in Skjelderups Gate included one ethnic Norwegian man and one foreign man. The weekend suspects are believed to come from Somalia."