Saturday, March 17, 2007

Indian Muslim body demands writer be beheaded.

India: This is just lovely for the Muslim image in India.

LUCKNOW, India - An Indian Muslim group has offered a 500,000 rupee (11,319 dollar) bounty for the beheading of controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen.

The president of the All India Ibtehad Council said on Friday he had declared the reward for anyone who carried out the “quatal” or ”extermination” of the “notorious woman.”

“Taslima has put Muslims to shame in her writing. She should be killed and beheaded and anyone who does this will get a reward from the council,” Taqi Raza Khan said in a statement received in the northern city of Lucknow.

The council, based in Bareilly town also in Uttar Pradesh state, is a splinter group of the influential All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

Khan said the only way the bounty would be lifted was if Nasreen ”apologises, burns her books and leaves.”

Nasreen has incensed conservative Muslims for writing a novel ”Lajja” or “Shame” depicting the life of a Hindu family facing the ire of Muslims in Bangladesh. The book is banned in Muslim-majority Bangladesh along with her autobiographical works on grounds of being anti-Islamic.

Last stand for Mugabe or brief flareup?

Africa: Considering he is now blasting his own officials as being traitors, if the opposition can keep it together it might be his last stand.

President Robert Mugabe looked increasingly isolated this evening, as he accused members of his own party of plotting with the West, while the once divided opposition united behind leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mr Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, warned against any "monkey games" by those he called the stooges of his Western critics, whom he accused of funding Mr Tsvangirai's MDC party to replace him through "violent terrorist acts".

The 83-year-old said imperialists were taking advantage of the ruling ZANU-PF party succession debate to re-assert themselves.

"There has been an insidious dimension where ambitious leaders have been cutting deals with the British and Americans," Mr Mugabe told a meeting of ZANU-PF's youth league in Harare.

Desmond Tutu rips into African leaders for being silence.

Renowned South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu Friday condemned African leaders for failing to denounce what is happening in Zimbabwe.

"We Africans should hang our heads in shame. How can what is happening in Zimbabwe elicit hardly a word of concern let alone condemnation from us leaders of Africa. Just when one thought that the news out of Zimbabwe could not get worse, sure as anything it does.

"After the horrible things done to hapless people in Harare, has come the recent crackdown on members of the opposition. What more has to happen before we who are leaders, religious and political, of our Mother Africa are moved to cry out 'enough is enough'," Tutu said in a statement issued by his office.

"What an awful blot on our copy book. Do we really care about human rights, do we care that people of flesh and blood, fellow Africans, are being treated like rubbish, almost worse than they were ever treated by rabid racists?"

Segolene Royal slammed as a glory hunter.

France: Hell hath no fury than a pissed former advisor.

PARIS, March 16, 2007 (AFP) - Segolene Royal, socialist challenger for the French presidency, is described as a glory-hunting populist in a damning new book by the Socialist Party's former economics chief, who resigned last month in a row over her campaign.

"In all conscience I do not think that Segolene Royal should become president of the Republic. I do not wish it for my country. I fear it for my children," Besson writes in "Who knows Madame Royal?" which goes on sale next week.

Extracts have been published in the press and on the Internet.

"I shall not vote for her in either the first or the second round of the election -- unless of course she is facing (far-right leader) Jean-Marie Le Pen. If she wins, France will be on a dangerous slope," Besson writes.

MIddle class parents to be penalized by UK admissions.

UK: In a twit of a move, children trying to get into their university of choice could be pushed aside because they came from a better background.

Middle-class pupils face losing out on university places under plans to take parents' occupations and educational background into account during the selection process.

The University and Colleges Admissions Service, or Ucas, has revealed it will for the first time question applicants about their family status in order to raise the number of students from poorer backgrounds.

The announcement comes two months after the Daily Mail reported that undergraduate hopefuls will be asked whether their parents went to university.

Ucas confirmed this yesterday and went one step further by confirming it will ask students about the occupations and ethnicity of their parents too. It will also ask whether the applicant has ever been in local authority care.

Yesterday, Ucas said the changes - which are supported by the Government - were specifically designed to 'support the continuing efforts of universities and colleges to widen participation'.

But critics claim the move smacks of social engineering and would be an unfair barrier to many of those from middle class backgrounds.

Top universities are not down with the plan

But there were warnings that it will now be harder for pupils with a family tradition of higher study to win places.

Many middle-class students could be doubly penalised if they also attended a private school because Ministers want more state-educated pupils to attend university.

The Government's "fair access" watchdogs will monitor whether universities are increasing their intake of working-class students - and can strip colleges of the right to charge tuition fees of up to £3,000 a year if they are not doing enough.

It means that universities will be under pressure to sideline deserving candidates with good grades in favour of less-qualified rivals whose parents are not graduates.

But several said they would defy pressure to adhere to the new rules. Mike Nicholson, director of admissions at Oxford, said: "We haven't any evidence to suggest that this type of information has any valid relevance to the decisions we have to make.

"It would be far more useful to know whether a candidate predicted to get good grades goes to a school where few pupils expect to do well."

Of the 20-strong Russell Group of leading research universities, the moves were condemned or questioned by Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Imperial College London, Nottingham and University College London.

Social engineering at its worst. How about trying to expand the choices within the schools so you don't have to discriminate?

Muslim cashiers moved from handling pork.

Culture: Good move by Target though the whines of its not fair and the implied adapt to us too is given in the article. But there is also a very good reason to nip this in the bud.

In the wake of community criticism, Target Corp. is reassigning its Muslim cashiers who refuse to ring up pork products for religious reasons to other jobs at the stores.
Target received a wave of criticism earlier this week after the Star Tribune reported in a front-page article that some Muslim cashiers at Target declined to scan bacon and other pork products. They would call over another cashier to ring up the products, or in some cases, ask customers to do it themselves.

Some customers called and wrote Target to complain about the practice; a few called for a general boycott of Target on the Star Tribune's community blog,

The whiners

The move is an effort by Target to balance the religious rights of its employees with customer demands for prompt service. However, some Somali Muslims in the Twin Cities said that the retailer is overreacting to public pressure and that stores should be able to accommodate Muslim cashiers without disrupting service.

"This is being blown way out of proportion," said Abdi Sheikhosman, a professor of Islamic law at the University of Minnesota Law School. "Pork products represent a very small percentage of Target's overall products. ... Accommodations could have been made."

and why this needed to be nipped in the bud quick.

Many Muslims believe the pig is an unclean animal and consider it a sin to eat pork. The Qur'an has multiple passages in which Allah instructs believers to avoid eating pig flesh. It is so core to their beliefs that some consider it sinful to sell the meat, because that encourages others to participate in a sinful act.

In the Muslim world, there is even a stronger taboo against pork than alcohol, said Owais Bayunus, an imam at the Abu Khudra Mosque in Columbia Heights. Wearing gloves will not solve the issue, he said. "There is a school of thought within the Muslim community that if you sell pork or alcohol to someone, then you are contributing to the propagation of a sinful activity," he said. "Many Muslims do not want to see non-Muslims involved in a sinful product."

Imagine if this kept going on and someone told a customer this is sinful and you shouldn't eat it. All hell would break loose.

The practice seemed to work well for Robla. She said she needed help scanning pork products only "about two or three times a day." In other cases, customers would volunteer to swipe the items themselves.

Occasionally, however, Robla said, people would get annoyed when she told them it was because of her religion. "Some people would say, 'If you won't scan it, then I don't want this thing,' " she said. "I don't understand it. Some people don't even want to wait a few seconds."

Mohamed Muse, who also works at the St. Louis Park store but not as a cashier, has no problems with the new policy. "If someone is trying to buy pork, you can't just say, 'Wait here,' " he said. "You can't put a hold on the work system."

Exactly, making reasonable accommodations are fine, but if you are in retail, the customer comes first no matter your religion.

Update# Lookie here, AP did find someone who told a customer.

Muse Dahir told the AP this past week he quit his job at the Sam's Club in Bloomington after he was transferred from another position to cashiering and was ordered to ring up pork purchases.

Several times on his first day as a cashier, Dahir said, said customers brought pork products to his register. He asked them to take their goods to another register, and a customer complained to management.

"They told me, you have to check this," Dahir said. "I told them, I can't do this. You want me to do something that's against my religion."

Dahir said a manager told him that was part of the job, so "I just put down my uniform and I left."

He said it doesn't matter if the pork product is packaged. "Even if you just sell it to someone, you break a promise to Allah," he said.

Not true, but this is a prime example of why this should be nipped in the bud fast.

Friday, March 16, 2007

China, Russia, Arab/Muslim states object to Darfur report

Africa: I do not want to hear anything about America is not doing enough to be more multilateral when this pops up.

GENEVA, Switzerland (Reuters) -- China and Russia joined with Arab and Muslim states on Friday in urging the U.N.'s human rights watchdog to ignore a report from a mission to Darfur that blamed Sudan for continuing war crimes against civilians there.

The two permanent Security Council members argued the mission, led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams, last month failed to gain access to the vast western region of Sudan and had not fulfilled its mandate.

Despite warnings from Western and some African states that failure to act would undermine the credibility of the newly formed rights Human Rights Council, Muslim and Arab states and their allies backed Sudan's line that the report had no legal basis.

"The so-called mission failed to make an onsite visit. The report cannot be considered objective ... and has no legal basis," China said in a statement to the 47-state Council, which was echoed by Russia.

After initially agreeing to the mission, the government of Sudan refused to grant visas to the five-strong team because it opposed one of the members, who it said had previously spoken of genocide in Darfur and could not be objective.

The U.N. investigators, asked by the Council in December to examine reports of massive abuse in Darfur, were forced to conduct their work from neighboring Chad and in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, headquarters of the African Union.

What now George Clooney?

Minneapolis Muslim pork fallout continues

Culture: As expected the Minneapolis Red-Star Tribune runs an article blaming the customers for being outraged that Muslim cashiers refuse to handle pork products.

Some posters were made uncomfortable by the implicit disapproval of their purchases by the cashiers.

The scale of the reaction reflects continuing trauma from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said psychologists, religious scholars and workplace consultants. This group also chalked up many of the responses to something as simple as modern impatience and as complicated as human prejudice.

....Some of this sounds like prejudice masquerading as customer-service outrage, said Jack Glaser, an assistant public policy professor at the University of California in Berkeley, who studies stereotyping and hate crimes.

"People these days don't really like to see themselves as prejudiced," Glaser said. "This way they can say, 'It's not that I don't like Muslims, but these people are being inconsiderate and I take umbrage at that.' "

Yep, its all about everyone else being a bigot.

In even worse news for Muslims in minny, CAIR decided to reopen their local office and some groups are not pleased.

"...Reaction from other groups to the CAIR Minnesota revival was less than enthusiastic.

Steve Hunegs of the Jewish Community Relations Council said he hopes the local group will not push the same agenda as CAIR's national office.

"National CAIR has given a platform to the academics who accuse our pro-Israel community of subverting and distorting American foreign policy, which is simply not true," he said. "These accusations are an attempt to intimidate the pro-Israel community into not exercising its constitutional rights to lobby Congress and the executive branch."

Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in St. Paul, said he was dismayed by the news.

"CAIR pushes issues from the Mideast under the guise that it's an umbrella organization for all Muslims," he said. "But it does nothing for Somali Muslims."

Many Somali Muslims are new immigrants who do not have the advanced language skills and education of those here longer, "so they are vulnerable to being influenced by CAIR and MAS [the Muslim American Society], which walk hand in hand," Jamal said.

"You watch, they'll come in here and start fundraising and it'll all go toward pro-Middle East causes," he said. "The individuals involved here may be moderate and want to do good, but overall, the organization wants to push its own points of view."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Keith Olbermann and use of the term house boy.

Politics: Now according to Olbermann watch on his show last night came this lovely segment.

#4: "Man on Fan" Olbermann continued to flog this "scandal" [Ding!] by exploring the "curious friendship" between the President and Gonzales. This time the impartial, nonpartisan expert was James Moore, the Bush's Brain guy, there to explain the most burning question on Olby's agenda: how did Gonzales get "Mister" Bush out of jury duty back in Texas? JM explained how Bush had some sort of need to find minorities so he latched on to Gonzales, who became his "legal house boy".

Stop the tivo! Calling a Hispanic attorney a house boy? Hey, you can get away with that on OlbyPlanet, as long as you serve Herr Olbermann's propaganda needs. Not taken aback for one second, Krazy Keith liked that slur so much he repeated it. Twice. Needless to say, Moore got Great Thanksed for his "insight" and "perspective".

I wonder if the term house boy is seen as derogatory even racial insult?

Speech by Barack Obama from Selma, Alabama: "....And I tried to explain, you don't understand. You see, my Grandfather was a cook to the British in Kenya. Grew up in a small village and all his life, that's all he was -- a cook and a house boy. And that's what they called him, even when he was 60 years old. They called him a house boy. They wouldn't call him by his last name.

Sound familiar? "

Yes.. yes it does

Barack Obama, Muslim or not a Muslim?

Politics: or not a "practicing" Muslim? Here is the problem with Obama denying this LATIMES story. Its not even a hit job on Obama, its a suckup on how the great Obama was so cool in two worlds yadda yadda yadda but trying to evade the question is going to invite more scrutiny

Having a personal background in both Christianity and Islam might seem useful for an aspiring U.S. president in an age when Islamic nations and radical groups are key national security and foreign policy issues. But a connection with Islam is untrod territory for presidential politics.

Obama's four years as a child in Indonesia underscore how dramatically his background differs from that of past presidential hopefuls, most of whom spent little, if any, time in other countries. No one knows how voters will react to a candidate with an early exposure to Islam, a religion that remains foreign to many Americans.

Obama's campaign aides have emphasized his strong Christian beliefs and downplayed any Islamic connection. The candidate was raised "in a secular household in Indonesia by his stepfather and mother," his chief spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said in a statement in January after false reports began circulating that Obama had attended a radical madrasa, or Koranic school, as a child.

"To be clear, Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago," Gibbs' Jan. 24 statement said. In a statement to The Times on Wednesday, the campaign offered slightly different wording, saying: "Obama has never been a practicing Muslim." The statement added that as a child, Obama had spent time in the neighborhood's Islamic center.

later in the story

The childhood friends say Obama sometimes went to Friday prayers at the local mosque. "We prayed but not really seriously, just following actions done by older people in the mosque. But as kids, we loved to meet our friends and went to the mosque together and played," said Zulfin Adi, who describes himself as among Obama's closest childhood friends.

The campaign's national press secretary, Bill Burton, said Wednesday that the friends were recalling events "that are 40 years old and subject to four decades of other information." Obama's younger sister, Maya Soetoro, said in a statement released by the campaign that the family attended the mosque only "for big communal events," not every Friday.

Basically calling the people liars. ON USATODAY blog, they got an email stating

Campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in his e-mail to reporters that:

Barack Obama Is Not and Has Never Been a Muslim. Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ.

He goes on to quote Obama's sister and a family friend, who both challenge the Times' story.

Given the fact Obama can bust out the Adhan( call to prayer) flawlessly according to Kristof, I find it hard to believe he never prayed in a mosque or only went there for big family occasions. There is also the article from the UK accusing him of trying to hide his father's past to make a political gain out of it that he better nip in the bud.

"Yet an investigation by The Mail on Sunday has revealed that, for all Mr Obama's reputation for straight talking and the compelling narrative of his recollections, they are largely myth.

We have discovered that his father was not just a deeply flawed individual but an abusive bigamist and an egomaniac, whose life was ruined not by racism or corruption but his own weaknesses.

And, devastatingly, the testimony has come from Mr Obama's own relatives and family friends. "

Guardian's Comment is free one year party.

Media: If you haven't yet check out the CIF one year celebration going on, it is a complete riot to read. They told their writers to write what they hoped would happen one year from today. The answers are just classic laugh out loud euro leftist anti-Americanism, anti-capitalist, anti everything that is to the right of Stalin.

Some American writers join in the fun but they are so weak the talent level between them and the rest is embarrassing. The difference between Huffington Post leftists and Guardian leftists is the same as a crack infested ghetto area and a upper class community with gated security. One of the best so far is by this Euro latte sipper with the pinky in the air Paul MacInnes on his wish that all cars should be taken away and people forced on public transport.

QUESTION: What is the one thing you would most like to see happen by this time next year?

In 12 months' time I would like to see a draconian system of road pricing.
My original wish was for the internment of all car drivers and, though I realised there was little practical chance of my goal being achieved in 12 months, its spirit still informs my new aim.

This spirit suggests that the most dangerous, dirtiest thing you can do - for your soul, your wallet, your relations with other human beings - is to use a car.

That having your own portable bubble encourages you to imagine yourself solely as an individual, not a member of a society with shared interests.

That by owning a vehicle, a Honda Civic say, you encourage the worship of speed - a desire to go faster which is not only banal, but belligerent.

That without the family car or two, Ikea would not exist.

That while people are convinced driving a car is an inalienable right akin to trial by jury (oh, hang on), public transport will continue to be an ugly stepsister.
Oh, and that without journeys by passenger car we'd get rid of 13% of the UK's carbon emissions.

You can tell he has no clue right away based on the fact he put Honda Civic and speed in the same article. But his worldview is so myopic it makes the whole thing hilarious. Check out the section for more fun.

Flying Imans want to sue passengers.

Nation: Disturbing as this looks like a full push to sue everyone into silence.

"....But the most alarming aspect of the imams' suit is buried in paragraph 21 of their complaint. It describes "John Doe" defendants whose identity the imams' attorneys are still investigating. It reads: "Defendants 'John Does' were passengers ... who contacted U.S. Airways to report the alleged 'suspicious' behavior of Plaintiffs' performing their prayer at the airport terminal."

Paragraph 22 adds: "Plaintiffs will seek leave to amend this Complaint to allege true names, capacities, and circumstances supporting [these defendants'] liability ... at such time as Plaintiffs ascertain the same."

In plain English, the imams plan to sue the "John Does," too.

Who are these unnamed culprits? The complaint describes them as "an older couple who was sitting [near the imams] and purposely turn[ed] around to watch" as they prayed. "The gentleman ('John Doe') in the couple ... picked up his cellular phone and made a phone call while watching the Plaintiffs pray," then "moved to a corner" and "kept talking into his cellular phone."

In retribution for this action, the unnamed couple probably will be dragged into court soon and face the prospect of hiring a lawyer, enduring hostile questioning and paying huge legal bills. The same fate could await other as-yet-unnamed passengers on the US Airways flight who came forward as witnesses.

The imams' attempt to bully ordinary passengers marks an alarming new front in the war on airline security. Average folks, "John Does" like you and me, initially observed and reported the imams' suspicious behavior on Nov. 20. Such people are our "first responders" against terrorism. But the imams' suit may frighten such individuals into silence, as they seek to avoid the nightmare of being labeled bigots and named as defendants. "

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Small riots in Holland over shooting in Utrecht.

EU: If you went by nearly all the mainstream reporting on this incident, you would say the riots were caused just by an accidental shooting. But it seems we have a Dutch Cronulla setup that led to the riots. Via Brussels Journal.

Ondiep, a working class neighbourhood in the Dutch town of Utrecht, is in turmoil. After the death last Sunday of Rinie Mulder, a 54-year old indigenous Dutchman who was shot by a police officer, non-immigrant citizens went on a rampage, burning cars, looting shops and arsoning a community centre in “inverted Paris style riots.” According to our sources the police officer who killed Mulder is a woman of Moroccan origin.

The Ondiep residents have been complaining for months about harassment and intimidation by immigrant youths of Moroccan origin. The Dutch mainstream media do not go into much detail about what is going on. Most of them do not mention the ethnicity of the victim and the police officer, though the riots clearly have an ethnic nature.

Apparently Mulder intervened when Muslim youths harassed a pregnant native Dutch woman. He was able to grab the knife of one of the youths. When the police arrived Mulder was shot because he had raised the knife. Witnesses say Mulder was indicating to the police that he had called for them.

Locals claim the police has failed to protect them for years. They say the authorities are afraid of the immigrants and tolerate their criminal behaviour. After the death of Mulder the indigenous Dutch decided they had had enough and started riots which went on for two continuous nights. The police made 130 arrests: 60 of them are Ondiep residents.

According to the mainstream media the others are mainly “football hooligans” from other parts of the country. Annie Brouwer-Korf, the Socialist mayor of Utrecht, has ordered Ondiep to be sealed off from the rest of town to keep non-residents out. She expressed some sympathy for the frustrated Ondiep residents. “I understand that residents are sometimes upset about the nuisance around their own house and neighbourhood. That does you no good whatsoever.”

Muslim militants execute nine Thai bus passengers

Terrorism: When even the Guardian realizes what a crap policy the military led Thailand government has you know its bad.

In today's attack, three men and six women, including two girls aged 14 and 15, were shot in the head at point blank range after their vehicle was held up in daylight.

Logs had been used to block the road, and when the bus slowed down five gunmen opened fire on the vehicle, which ran off the road and crashed into a ditch. The Muslim driver, the only survivor, was shot in the face before the militants wrenched open the side door to shoot those inside.

"When the bus slowed down, they opened fire," said army spokesman Colonel Acar Tiproach. "The bus veered off the road. Then the militants shot the passengers in the head at point blank range."

A small bomb was also detonated by the militants near the scene of the attack to hamper the police and army operation to reach the victims.

Officers discovered the victims - described as Buddhist villagers, traders, teachers and school students and a soldier - slumped in their seats. One passenger was still alive, but they died on the way to hospital.

Heightened alert

Security forces were already on heightened alert over fears that one of the main separatist groups, Barisan Revolusi Nasional or the National Revolutionary Front, would seek to mark today's anniversary of its founding.

The failure of the government's "softly-softly" policy is a dramatic reversal. It took the unprecedented step of offering an apology for the excesses of the Thaksin government, provided compensation for victims and released prisoners.

"There was a genuine attempt to reach out to the ethnic Malay Muslims initially, but it fell flat in the implementation," said Sunai Phasuk, a consultant for Human Rights Watch in Thailand. "Now the insurgents' clear message is that they don't want dialogue with the government and will not compromise to achieve independence for the south."

Welcome to the party pal. I have been saying this for months that this stupid policy would do more harm than good.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Iranian backlash over 300 escalates

Entertainment: Now with online petitions!

Warner Bros.' "300" is being greeted in Iran with about as much warmth as a U.N. weapons inspector.

While U.S. auds see the film as a comicbook come to life -- replete with hyperstylized action and broadly drawn heroes and villains -- it has a deeper resonance in the Mideast, where it's seen as a distorted view of very real events.

"Hollywood declares war on Iranians," exclaimed a headline in Iranian daily Ayandeh-No.

Javad Shangari, a cultural adviser to Iranian prexy Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, attacked the film as being "part of a comprehensive U.S. psychological warfare aimed at Iranian culture."

While the pic is unlikely to be released theatrically in Iran, pirated DVDs already are circulating on the black market.

"Everyone is starting to react. The DVD is already very available, and people are quite angry," one Tehran-based producer said.

An online petition addressed to Warner has tallied 35,000 signatures. The petition, set up by Canada-based archaeologist Hamed Vahdati Nasab, protests Warner's "irresponsible, unethical and unscientific actions ... while announcing our disgust at such a heresy, we demand an immediate historical review and quick apology from the responsible people."

Director Zack Snyder and the film's producers have emphasized that the film is based on the Frank Miller graphic novel and was never intended to be an accurate historical representation.

But that's done little to assuage concerns by those who see the film's archetypes as Western stereotypes.

Nasab told Daily Variety, "What would people say if they made a film about Martin Luther King (Jr.), showed him as a monster, and tried to defend it as a fiction? You can't do that. It's unethical. This is a national matter for all Iranians."

Actually you can do that, hell Iran hosted a holocaust denial conference and had a zionist cartoon competition. MLK as a monster? Knock yourselves out.

Flying Imans lawsuit not winning over people.

Nation: Poll on the Minny Red-Star Tribune is running overwhelmingly against the Imans and one Iman in Arizona thinks they Six Imans were acting up on purpose.

A Valley Muslim leader is upset about a lawsuit filed against US Airways by imams.

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, director of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, said it wasn't necessary for the imams to act the way they did on the plane.

Six imams returning from a religious conference in November were taken off a plane in Minneapolis, handcuffed, and questioned. They prayed on their prayer rugs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport before the flight, and after they boarded, a passenger passed a note to a flight attendant. When the men returned to the airport the next day, they said, the airline refunded their fare and refused to sell them another ticket.

Jasser said most Muslims disagree with the imams. "Their actions don't speak for the majority of Muslims who understand that the gates and the airline are on the front line of the war on terror, understand that flying is a privilege and that there may be times where we are inconvenienced."

"Religiously, when you're traveling, you can pray at home. You can combine prayers. You don't have to pray exactly on time and even if you want to pray on time, you can pray at the comfort of the chair. You don't always have to do the movements if the circumstances don't allow."

He is going to get a stern letter from CAIR and their minions, but he is correct. The Imans went about this to stir up trouble.

Some Muslim workers at Target refuse to handle pork

Culture: Minneapolis is getting ridiculous if its not the flying imans, its the minny taxi drivers refusing to carry alcohol and now this nonsense.

I'm a reporter who covers Target for the Star Tribune and the other day, I got a call from someone who said that an employee at the Target store downtown refused to run his bacon through a scanning machine. He was mighty upset, arguing that the cashier had "no right to work as a cashier at Target" if she wasn't prepared to swipe his groceries.

But he was a little vague on the details, so I decided to check it out myself. At the Target store on E. Lake Street, a cashier wearing a hijab looked uncomfortable when I showed up at the cash register with a frozen pepperoni pizza. She immediately called for help, and another employee rang up the pizza and placed it in the basket.

I asked her if it was because she was Muslim, and she nodded her head. "I can't even touch it," she said.

The E. Lake store has only has a few aisles of food. How do Muslim workers adapt in Super Targets where there are full-fledged grocery sections? And is anyone other than this caller bothered by this? Are there some Muslim workers at Target who feel they have to suppress their beliefs to avoid conflicts?

I suggest the cashier and others who are taking this stance get another damn job. The term reasonable accommodation applies here and they are going to cause Target stores some bad PR.

Update# Minny Red-Star Tribune comes out with the eye-rolling story to give out excuses for this behavior.

In the latest example of religious beliefs creating tension in the workplace, some Muslims in the Twin Cities are adhering to a strict interpretation of the Qur'an that prohibits the handling of pork products.

Instead of swiping the items themselves, they are asking non-Muslim employees or shoppers to do it for them.

It has set off a firestorm of comments -- more than 400, as of Tuesday evening -- on the Star Tribune's community blog, People called the newspaper from as far as Tokyo to voice their opinion.

It remains unclear how many Muslim cashiers in the Twin Cities are declining to ring up pork sales.

Immigrants help fuel debate

The Twin Cities area has become a hotbed for such conflicts because of its burgeoning population of Somali immigrants, many of whom are orthodox Muslims. Last year, Somali cabdrivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport attracted national attention when some refused to carry passengers toting alcohol.

Dr. Shah Khan, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Minnesota in Fridley, said the Somali Muslim community is divided between those who believe it is wrong only to eat pork and more orthodox Muslims who believe the prohibition extends to selling, touching or handling the meat.

He urged people to remember the extraordinary adjustments many Somalis have made in coming to the Twin Cities. "Many of these people are refugees. They may have been tortured. And they came here having never held a book in English," he said. "They're already adapting to our society. We need to adapt to them, too."

Reasonable accommodation. They come here and have to adapt to our society does not mean we have to "adapt" to customs and beliefs that go against the norms of this nation. This is supposed to be a melting pot, not a damn mosaic.

Al Qaeda threatens Spain again over troops.

Terrorism: This time the number they have in Afghanistian

ABU DHABI - Al-Qaeda threatened Spain directly in a video which was issued on Monday.

A hooded man said the presence of Spanish troops in Afghanistan "exposes Spain again to threats" according to the video which was shown on a web page.

Germany and Austria were also threatened in the video, unless they withdraw their troops from Afghanistan.

The figure says: "The Spanish people have been tricked by a socialist government which withdrew troops from Iraq and sent 600 to Afghanistan."

"Islamic nations are the same nation" - a reference of Spanish troops in Afghanistan as part of the peacekeeping force.

Gerard Butler to play Snake Plissken?

Entertainment: Butler is going to get paid.

Hot off the socko bow of "300" this past weekend, star Gerard Butler is at the center of a package that CAA began shopping Monday for a remake of John Carpenter's 1981 actioner "Escape From New York."
Neal Moritz is attached to produce, with "Black Hawk Down" scribe Ken Nolan penning the screenplay.

Several studios are battling for the pic, mostly because the $70 million launch of "300" signaled the arrival of an emerging action star in Butler. A deal is expected to be made this week.

Butler would play Snake Plissken, the one-eyed convict who's charged with heading into the inescapable maximum security prison formerly known as Manhattan to liberate the U.S. president.

Kurt Russell originated the role and reprised it in the 1996 sequel "Escape to L.A."

Butler would make a bad-ass Snake Plissken and Escape to LA never happened.

Immigration tidbits.

Immigration: Just throw three stories out. In Minnesota.

Should Minnesota's Constitution be amended to allow people who are permanent residents -- but not U.S. citizens -- to vote in local elections?
That's the question Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, and some fellow DFLers want to submit to Minnesotans in the 2008 election.

Kahn said the amendment would allow local units of government to decide whether they would authorize permanent residents to vote in local elections, including for mayor and school board. It would not include state or federal races.

Under the measure, people who are at least 18 and have resided in the precinct for 30 days could vote in local elections if they are a permanent U.S. resident.

Permanent residents, who often hold "green cards," are defined as those who have permission to stay in the United States, though they are not citizens.

The law would not allow illegal immigrants to vote, Kahn stressed.

GUATEMALA CITY, March 12 — President Bush came to this struggling Central American nation on Tuesday bearing a message that free trade with the United States would improve conditions for even the poorest Latin Americans.

But he was also confronted with an angry, outside-in perspective on the immigration debate raging at home, with even his otherwise friendly host, President Óscar Berger, using a ceremonial welcome to criticize the arrest of several hundred illegal workers, many of them Guatemalans, in Massachusetts last week.

MÉRIDA, Mexico, March 12 — Just a few days before President Bush was scheduled to land here on Monday for bilateral talks, the Mexican Foreign Ministry sent an angry diplomatic note to the United States.

The note complained that United States Border Patrol agents had crossed the border and ventured a couple of dozen feet into Mexico to put out a rapidly spreading brush fire. “Even in emergency situations, the Mexican authorities must be notified immediately, without exception,” the note said.

The incident illustrates just how touchy relations have become between the United States and Mexico during Mr. Bush’s presidency and hints at the difficulty the American president faces as he tries on this state visit to revive what many Mexicans see as a moribund partnership.

In large measure, the relationship has stagnated in recent years as Mr. Bush has failed to deliver on a promise of changing immigration laws to allow more guest workers, while conservatives in his party have pushed through tougher measures to control the border, among them a giant wall.

I've pretty much had it with Latin America thinking America has to bend over backwards at every turn to cover their own flaws and corruption that has contribute to people coming here illegally. I have had with idiot lawmakers thinking everyone and their mother should have a vote despite their legal status in America. Go get your citizenship and you get a vote, just because you got the privilege of a green card doesn't give you rights you sure as hell do not deserve yet.

Tories air travel tax gets slammed.

UK: It is astonishing this was once the party of Thatcher coming up with one of the worst tax schemes I have seen from any party left or right. It basically tells you can only fly once a year and then you pay more if you fly more. Not a plan to encourage cleaner engines/planes, a plan telling you when you can move like a slave.

The Conservatives provoked a storm of protest last night after unveiling plans to use "green" taxes on air travel to target frequent fliers and the most-polluting aircraft.

With the environment to be a vital battleground at the next election, George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, said the plans would help cut greenhouse emissions and allow the party to fund tax cuts for families.

advertisementBut his proposals were denounced by the airline industry, which said they would make air travel the preserve of the rich and jeopardise thousands of jobs.

Tour operators voiced concern, as did Kenneth Clarke, the Tory former Chancellor, who said that the growth in air travel had been a "very important social revolution".

....Paul Charles, the communications director at Virgin Atlantic, said: "Taxing passengers more would damage the UK economy as it would make UK airlines less competitive and shift jobs to other countries in Europe."

British Airways said taxes were an ineffective way to tackle the growth in air travel. "Taxation is an extremely blunt instrument in terms of reducing carbon emissions," said a spokesman.

Budget airline Flybe said the plans were a "full-frontal attack on ordinary travellers".

The Association of British Travel Agents said the proposals would hit families and make the travel industry less competitive.

Papers were less than impressed.

A series of puns are used to report the reaction to Conservative proposals for new green taxes on air travel.

The Times says the plans failed to take off, while the Daily Mail says they ran into turbulence.

Meanwhile, the Sun dismisses the plans as pie in the sky and the Daily Mirror says the idea crashed on take-off.

The Daily Telegraph, which calls the proposals an act of symbolism, says the Tories are meant to be hard-headed pragmatists and should do better.

Mugabe cracks down and South Africa stays a coward.

Africa: Mugabe cracked down on the opposition and at the same time the cowardly silence of South Africa comes in loud and clear.

Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, was so severely beaten by police after his arrest on Sunday morning he lost consciousness three times, his spokesman said yesterday.

Eyewitnesses said Mr Tsvangirai was lucky to be alive and described seeing the police taking it in turns to smash his head against a concrete wall.

"Describing what he suffered as mere assault is a huge understatement. It's attempted murder," said one witness in a statement recorded by Luke Tamborinyoka, the spokesman for Mr Tsvangirai's party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Mr Tsvangirai's lawyer, Innocent Changonda, said the opposition leader was in "very bad shape" and could hardly eat or speak. "You can't easily distinguish between his face and head due to the swelling," said Mr Chagonda, who visited Mr Tsvangirai with his wife, Susan, yesterday morning.

Mr Tsvangirai's offence was to try to attend a prayer meeting organised by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, a coalition of civic and opposition groups that was created recently to co-ordinate the fight for democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe.

Witnesses said he was abused first in front of other jailed opposition supporters because the police, according to one witness, wanted to demonstrate "what they can do to the rest of us if they can easily inflict such harm to our leader".

Other opposition politicians were also attacked or arrested by the police on Sunday.

So far I have seen nothing of substance from the South African government, nothing from that freckless leader Thabo Mbeki.

The activists wanted to stage the prayer meeting despite a ban imposed by Mr Mugabe on the holding of all opposition rallies and meetings last month.

South Africa, the regional powerhouse, with the most leverage over Mr Mugabe,has remained silent on Zimbabwe. South Africa's main opposition leader, Tony Leon, led condemnations of the South African government's inaction, saying President Thabo Mbeki's failure to condemn the beating of the opposition leaders was an "extraordinary derogation of duty".
In Zimbabwe, opposition analysts said the weekend's events demonstrated Mr Mugabe's increasing desperation amidst an economic meltdown. Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate, at 1,700 per cent, unemployment of more than 80 per cent, widespread poverty and shortages of basic commodities.

South Africa should be the shining light for the rest of Africa to follow but time and time again they show they do not have the courage to do what is right while being enablers to a monster of a man. Where is Nelson Mandela? Where is Desmond Tutu? Cat got your tongues?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Deval "Cadillac" Patrick in trouble again

Politics: This time its campaign contributions

BOSTON --Gov. Deval Patrick received more than $12,500 in campaign contributions last year from employees of two firms working on the development of a mammoth Cambridge project that would benefit from a bill recently filed by the governor.

Among the 17 lawyers and senior staff at law firm DLA Piper who contributed to the Democrat's gubernatorial campaign was Greg Bialecki, who donated $1,000 and was later named a top aide to Patrick involved in real estate permitting.

Another donor was Daniel O'Connell, who now serves as Patrick's secretary of housing and development.

DLA Piper is working with the developers of NorthPoint, a construction project underway in Cambridge billed as a "modern corporate community" and consisting of 2.2 million square feet of office space, a new retail district, 2,700 housing units and 10 acres of green space.

The developer is Jones Lang LaSalle, a global real estate firm that acquired Spaulding and Slye. Officials at Spaulding and Slye gave about $2,500 to the Democratic candidate. Among the Spaulding and Slye donors was O'Connell, the housing secretary. He contributed $1,000 to the Patrick campaign.

Staff at DLA Piper, including Bialecki, gave a total of $10,175, according to the review of campaign finance reports by The Associated Press.

Patrick is lucky he is not a white and/or Republican because instead of fawning booty licking pieces like this in the Boston Globe.

A defining momentBoston Globe, MA - 21 hours agoBy Adrian Walker, Globe Columnist March 12, 2007. Late last week, Governor Deval Patrick looked more in charge than he had in a while, ...

Patrick endures rough week Boston Globe, MA - Mar 10, 2007Governor Deval Patrick's announcement Saturday evening that he was going to take a lighter schedule for the next few weeks to care for his wife, Diane, ...
They would be leading the charge for a recall or getting him kicked out some other way.

Sharpton Rips Obama, Keeps Endorsement On Hold

Politics: Oh snuggly wuggly! Obama will learn to respect his elders or else!

With the race for the Democratic presidential nomination already in high gear, the Reverend Al Sharpton jumped into the fray today with some tough criticism for Senator Barack Obama. The outspoken reverend offered the harsh comments to Obama just as he looked to build support for his candidacy in the black community.

"Why shouldn't the black community ask questions? Are we now being told, 'You all just shut up?'" Sharpton told CBS 2's Marcia Kramer Monday. "Senator Obama and I agree that the war is wrong, but then I want to know why he went to Connecticut and helped [Sen. Joseph] Lieberman, the biggest supporter of the war."

Sharpton also questioned why Obama supports "tort reform, which hurts police brutality victims."

What set Sharpton off was a published report that he is trying to hurt Obama's campaign because he's jealous. Sharpton says that claim is untrue, charging the story came from the Obama camp to pressure him into an early endorsement.

"I'm not going to be cajoled or intimidated by any candidate not for my support," Sharpton said.

Political pundits say Obama is anxious for Sharpton's support because it could hurt Hillary Clinton and help Obama raise money. "At this stage of the game, it's all about the money and I think you're going to see the candidates with the biggest fund raising making it through the end of the year," Political Consultant Joseph Mercurio said.

Dennis Ryerson is a condescending twit of an editor.

Media: People wonder why I rail against W.C.Ls(white condescending liberals) is because of incredibly stupidity like this where they feel they must protect us poor minorities from the evils of the world. It becomes more aggravating when its someone from a newpaper in this case the editor and vice president of The Indianapolis Star.

Couple of weeks ago, a young woman was a victim of carjacking/robbery and rape in a downtown parking ramp, the police gives out a description, the editors of the Indy star decided not to publish it. The reason ticks me off.

MARCH 4: Last week we faced one of the more challenging decisions editors ever face, and we didn't handle it well.

It involved the carjacking/robbery/rape of a young woman after she entered her car in a Downtown parking ramp. Police said the assailant was a black male in his late teens, small thin build, approximately 5 foot 8 with medium complexion and short hair. He was wearing a blue polo shirt with thin yellow and white stripes, and blue pants.
We didn't publish that description. Why?

Lacking, to my surprise, a written approach for dealing with such matters we operated under the common newspaper standard to be wary of all such descriptions because they most often are so vague as to be meaningless.

Does it really help to know that an assailant was, say, a 6-foot-2 blond, upper middle-age white male? Not really. Those guys are everywhere. I'm one of them. But at least when somebody of that description is mentioned, every one of the huge selection of men in my universe isn't thought of as a potential criminal.
Now substitute a black male with black hair. All of a sudden all black men of that description are considered suspect.

That's an injustice from my perspective and from the perspective of most other editors. Most Americans, when they think of crime, fall victim to a racial stereotype.

Let's be honest. When black men commit crimes there is an unfair tendency to blame all black men. Not so with whites.

Here's another truth: When The Star doesn't print a description of a black suspect alleged to have been involved in a crime, my phone will ring and my e-mails will pile up with messages that angrily accuse us of bowing to the evil forces of political correctness.

When the authorities seek a white suspect and we don't print the description, I don't hear a peep. That speaks volumes, don't you think?

I don't give a damn about your own warped racial projections on the readers of the paper or you get calls or not. Go back and read that description the police gave out and tell me especially in a downtown area that wouldn't have been a big help in getting more information. It wasn't just " A black man" and end of the description, there is more than enough details that should have run to solve this crime faster.

But what you see here is a typical white condescending liberal(WCL) who and other editors decided instead of doing the newspaper primary function which is recording events and being a help for the public good. He pulls a political correct call to save us poor negroes from being battered by those evil crackers all around the city over this horrible crime. Oh thank you Mr.Ryerson, go pick up your NAACP award for civil rights.

All newspapers should print whatever official information they are given when it comes to crime. Who the hell are you to decide what goes or not based not on hard facts or evidence but your own personal bias which in this case could hamper getting information about a rape? So a week passes and he does a 180 after getting ripped by Indy Star readers. To show the new policy off he points out an article about a homicide.

A footnote: Our old, unwritten rule did not allow for exceptions. I wanted a new policy that did. I think it worked on Friday morning when Tom Leyden on our Web staff brought me a story about a homicide on the Northeastside of town.
Should we use the description of two individuals the police were looking for in connection with the crime?

After conferring with Managing Editor Pam Fine and reviewing our new policy, I found the answer to be an easy call. Police said they were seeking a black man with a gray beard in his 50s, a black woman also in her 50s, thin and with long, straight hair, both seen leaving the crime scene in a ragged, light blue van.

The combination was sufficient enough to allow its use.

Thanks for your comments, and for reading The Indianapolis Star.

That description except for the van is even weaker than the first one which they nixed even though his "gut instinct" told him to run it. He and the other fools who screwed up royally on this should be fired for their dereliction of duty being a source of information for the public.

Flying Imans to file discrimination suit against US Airways.

Culture: Via LGF who has the PR points.

Update# AP Writeup with passengers disputing the Imans saying they were trying to make a scene.

Passenger accounts differ

Pauline Klemmer, a passenger on the flight that day, said Monday that the imams' account of what happened is "a total untruth."

Klemmer said she believes the men deliberately acted out as part of a "repeated attempt" to weaken security and intimidate airline employees.

"They weren't the victim," Klemmer said. "If we had been afraid of them because of their race, or them loudly praying prior to them getting on the plane, we would not have gotten on the plane, and we did. They chose to make an obvious big scene."

Rita Snelson, of Maplewood, who also was on the flight and sitting near several of the imams, agreed.

"I can't explain it, but it was like they were definitely trying to raise suspicion," she said. "The pilot did what he had to do, and we're very honored by that. I told the airline afterward, 'Thank you for watching over us.' "

House Republicans tell CAIR to get out of capitol.

Culture: Once again, Hooper allows CAIR to look like a fool in his response.

WASHINGTON – House Republicans said Monday that Democrats should retract an offer to let the nation's largest Islamic civil liberties organization use a Capitol conference room for a seminar.

The House Republican Conference referred to the Council on American-Islamic Relations as “terrorist apologists” and called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to cancel the forum scheduled for Tuesday.

“Democrats arrange official meeting with pro-Hamas, pro-Hezbollah group in U.S. Capitol,” headlined a Conference press release carrying a Washington Times article on the planned meeting.

“It's really disappointing,” said CAIR national communications director Ibrahim Hooper, that whenever there's an attack from elective officials “we don't even ask any more which party it is. It should be a concern to ordinary Republicans that the party is being viewed as a reservoir of anti-Muslim hate.”

The whole Dubai port deal and Barbara Boxer taking back an award from a CAIR official seems to have slipped his mind. Notice he doesn't respond to the accusations something that was raise a couple of years ago by Senator Chuck Schumer(D)

CAIR is trying to copy the Muslim Council of Britain talking style thought, give them some credit.

Citizens Who Lack Papers Lose Medicaid

Nation: Via the NYTIMES we get this heartbreaking story.

WASHINGTON, March 11 — A new federal rule intended to keep illegal immigrants from receiving Medicaid has instead shut out tens of thousands of United States citizens who have had difficulty complying with requirements to show birth certificates and other documents proving their citizenship, state officials say.

Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio and Virginia have all reported declines in enrollment and traced them to the new federal requirement, which comes just as state officials around the country are striving to expand coverage through Medicaid and other means.

Under a 2006 federal law, the Deficit Reduction Act, most people who say they are United States citizens and want Medicaid must provide “satisfactory documentary evidence of citizenship,” which could include a passport or the combination of a birth certificate and a driver’s license.

....The numbers alone do not prove that the decline in enrollment was caused by the new federal policy. But state officials see a cause-and-effect relationship. They say the decline began soon after they started enforcing the new rule. Moreover, they say, they have not seen a decline in enrollment among people who are exempt from the documentation requirement — for example, people who have qualified for Medicare and are also eligible for Medicaid.

My solution, go get your papers to be eligible for Medicaid. Very few people can go thru life especially in the younger age groups doing anything without having some form of ID They can also figure out how to get copies from the various agencies that would have passports, drivers licenses, birth certificates, citizenship papers. At worse the government can rewrite the law to help pay for your copies if you can't afford it.

New movie villians: Us.

Entertainment: O joy, now I get to hear Hollywood types stuff their movie with enviro nonsense.

LOS ANGELES, March 11 — Tired of abuse by mankind, the earth is angry. Worse, the planet is out to even the score.

Audiences can expect a story along those lines when M. Night Shyamalan’s film “The Happening” reaches screens in the next year. The project, to which 20th Century Fox signed on last week, imagines a planet that is starting to act like the vigilante Travis Bickle from “Taxi Driver.”

“The Happening” will not be the only big-budget studio film to test a new kind of villainy, in which the real victim is the environment, and, whatever the plot variations, the enemy is all of us. Beginning this summer and for months after, movies as diverse as the “The Simpsons Movie,” “Transformers,” a remake of “Creature From the Black Lagoon,” and James Cameron’s “Avatar” will take on environmental themes.

Dumping Hollywood villains of the past — drug lords, aliens, North Korean dictators, even the news media — for an environmental bête noire carries risks for studios that don’t mind frightening viewers, as long as it’s all in fun. But it also hints at the possibility of more sophisticated entertainment, and perhaps even the kind of impact that “The China Syndrome,” with Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas, exerted on the nuclear power industry when it came out in 1979.

Problem is I don't see any of these people being able to handle it without it being as subtle as a nuke bomb.

If Mr. Cameron and Mr. Shyamalan succeed, they may help extinguish a growing fear among Hollywood’s film writers that the best villains are all used up. Even killer plants have had their day, in “Little Shop of Horrors,” and they figure again as the jungle bites back in a planned DreamWorks film based on Scott Smith’s novel “The Ruins.”

“Good villains are very complex, but movies are afraid” of them, said Lucy Stille, who has long represented writers and other filmmakers for the Paradigm agency. Ms. Stille said that she would welcome any change from the tradition of pawning off wrongdoing on some rogue individual from any group, whether big business, the police or a Middle Eastern country.

The last good complex villian I can think of was Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. Its not that best villians are used up, its that Hollywood either refuses because of fear or it doesn't fit their leftist agenda. Then you are stuck with this narrow band of villains that gets boring to the audience.

Look at 300, its a shock it was even made because the roles are reversed(white heroes, minority villians, fighting for honor and home) Liberal reviewers are horrified by it. So there are great villains out there to be used and stories to be written, but when you have one leftist worldview, the talent to do it is not there.

Weekly check-in at Thailand terrorist appeasement program.

Terrorism: Last couple of months the violence in southern Thailand has gone up as Muslim insurgents have not responded to the Thailand coup led government led by a Muslim general seeking to end the violence. What is the latest update?

YALA, Thailand (AFP) - Five Buddhists have been killed in shootings throughout Thailand's Muslim-majority south, where Islamic separatists have battled the government for three years, police said Sunday.

A Buddhist couple was killed late Saturday in a drive-by shooting as they returned home from market in Yala province, police said.

A brother and a sister, both rubber tappers, were also killed early Sunday in Yala as they headed home from morning work on a rubber plantation, police said.

Another rubber tapper, a 60-year-old man was also killed early Sunday after suspected militants shot him five times as he rode to a plantation in Narathiwat province.

Some 2,000 people have been killed in restive south since the violence erupted in 2004 along this mainly Buddhist country's southern border with Malaysia.

Violence has recently escalated in the region despite a raft of peace-building measures proposed by Thailand's military-backed government.

Its going as well as you thought an appeasement program would in this situation.

Gay rights group trying to get to Tony Dungy.

Culture: He is being awarded by Indiana Family Institute for his pro-family activities. The group is a conservative Christian group and some gay groups are not happy with Dungy.

Colts coach Tony Dungy's acceptance of an invitation to speak to a conservative Christian group should not be construed as an endorsement of the group's opposition to same-sex marriage, the head of the Indiana Family Institute said.

Some local and national gay rights groups have questioned Dungy's decision to appear at a fundraising banquet this month for the institute, which has been a leading supporter of a proposed state constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between one man and one woman.

Institute president Curt Smith said the invitation was based on Dungy's pro-family activities.

"We're very pleased coach Dungy is coming, and I don't pretend to know his views on some of the public policy issues we work on," Smith said.

The institute, which is affiliated with Focus on the Family, plans to honor Dungy on March 20 with its "Friend of the Family" award. Previous recipients include Focus on the Family co-founder Shirley Dobson; U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and former federal independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

Kathy Sarris, president of the Indiana Equality Education Fund, a gay rights advocacy group, told The Indianapolis Star: "I am a little disappointed in that I would think he would want to stay out of the political arena, and the Family Institute is a political organization."

Telephone messages seeking comment were left by The Associated Press on March 10 for Dungy and for Sarris. The Colts, who won the Super Bowl on Feb. 4, said they were unaware of any specific goals of the institute.

"Coach Dungy's feelings on the importance of marriage and family are well known," the team statement said. "He, of course, is free to speak to any group he wishes. The club does not take positions in political issues in which it is not directly involved. The Colts do not endorse any political or religious position taken by any group that any Colts employee decides to speak or lend his or her name to."

I am getting annoyed with various groups trying to dictate what groups are alright for public people to associate with based on their own agenda. You want to complain fine, but subtle threat route is not going to win over people especially against someone like Tony Dungy.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Oprah Winfrey's school more like a max prison?

Edumacation: I understand having rules but even if half of this is true it seems a bit much.

Johannesburg - The rules at Oprah Winfrey's ultra-posh school at Henley-on-Klip near Johannesburg are apparently so strict they make a reformatory look like a holiday resort.

That's the word from upset parents, who say the school rules make it difficult for them to keep contact with their children.

They would have aired their concerns during a satellite link-up with the chat show queen a week ago, but that was cancelled at short notice by the school's management body.

Meanwhile the school seems to have made the rules even stricter. Until now, the girls could receive visitors every fortnight, but parents can now only visit them once a month.

Frances Mans, foster mother of Gweneth Mulder, said last week she would take her daughter out of the school if the rules were not changed.

No treats, cellphones, email, phones are restricted.

John Samuels, the executive head of the school, confirmed that only one visit a month would be allowed in future.

This means that if a girl has five siblings, she will only be able to see all of them over a period of three months.

Samuels says he sees nothing wrong with the system.

"We have the security and well-being of the girls at heart, in every respect. They are our priority. If there's too much movement on the premises at the weekend, it disturbs the school spirit."

School spirit? Its more like you are breaking their spirit given how happy they looked during the special. I don't have a problem with restrictions and limits on the emails and phones or even encouraging proper foods, but this is ridiculous. I would argue having the siblings stop by every weekend and seeing how well their sister is doing in school would be an inspiration.

Iran official upset at 300 for insulting Persian civilization.

Entertainment: Not only that but its part of a U.S. psychological war!

An Iranian official on Sunday lashed out at the Hollywood movie "300" for insulting the Persian civilization, local Fars News Agency reported.

Javad Shamqadri, an art advisor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, accused the new movie of being "part of a comprehensive U.S. psychological war aimed at Iranian culture", said the report.

Shamqadri was quoted as saying "following the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Hollywood and cultural authorities in the U.S. initiated studies to figure out how to attack Iranian culture," adding "certainly, the recent movie is a product of such studies."

The movie's effort wound be fruitless, because "values in Iranian culture and the Islamic Revolution are too strongly seated to be damaged by such plans", said the Iranin official.

Shamqadri, who is also a filmmaker, said that production of more domestic and artistic films which portray Iranian achievements is a proper response to movies like "300".

Update# More reaction from other people in this Variety story.

Salt Lake Tribune lies about Ken Sah deportation case?

Media: Did reporter Christopher Smart of the Salt Lake Tribune deliberately leave out important information regarding the asylum denial of Ken and Sarita Sah? It reads as a kleenex box moment about 13-year-old Kunal Sah who will be heading for the national spelling bee because his parents were deported last year.

GREEN RIVER - How do you spell "perseverance?"
When 13-year-old Kunal Sah stands before television cameras May 30-31 to represent Utah - for the second time - at the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., his parents won't be there with him.

Ken and Sarita Sah were deported back to India last July after 16 years residing legally in this country. They ultimately lost their battle to remain under tough U.S. immigration regulations in the post-9/11 atmosphere.

Kunal was born in the United States and, as such, is a citizen. He moved with his folks to this central Utah town 10 years ago when they bought the Budget Inn motel here. With hard work, Ken and Sarita in 2001 then built the 46-room Ramada Inn nearby.

In Kunal's bedroom at the Ramada, decorated with trophies from other spelling bees and a huge Webster's dictionary, he finds New Delhi on a globe. It's almost exactly halfway around the world, he explains.

"If I knew when they would be able to come back, I would be relieved. But . . .."
The fact is, nobody knows when his parents will be allowed back in the United States - even for a visit.
According to the Sahs' Salt Lake City immigration attorney, Steven Laurence, it's all quite uncertain.

Although Sen. Orrin Hatch's office helped the Sahs navigate the complexities of immigration regulations, the senator stopped short of sponsoring legislation that would circumvent those legalities.

Even the case summary at the bottom is heartbreaking.

Ken and Sarita Sah were deported back to India last July after 16 years residing legally in this country. Ken Sah came to the country as a student, and later applied for asylum because the region of India from which he came was experiencing religious violence. Then Sah waited for an asylum hearing for nearly 10 years.

Had 10 years passed without a hearing, Sah would have been granted automatic asylum. But three weeks shy of that 10-year window, he got a hearing, and was denied asylum. He appealed until he ran out of appeals last year. Tougher immigration laws after 9/11 made his request for asylum more difficult. He and his wife ultimately lost their battle to remain in the country

Heartbreaking story till Ted Frank at Overlawyered points out why Ken Sah was denied asylum Via the tenth circuit court of appeals.

Mr. Sah was born in India in 1964 and came to the United States in 1990. He is Hindu.(1) Shortly before his entry visa expired in 1991, Sah applied for asylum, alleging that he would be targeted by Muslims in his home province, located in the southeastern part of India.

When Sah lived in India, he was active in a group called Vishwa Hindu Parishad (Vishwa). Vishwa, according to Sah, is an organization committed to Hindu nationalism. In his 1991 asylum application, Sah stated that Vishwa was "fighting to demolish Babri Mosque," a mosque in southern India, because "[t]his mosque is built on our sacred land." R. 148. In fact, in 1992, after Sah had already come to the United States, Hindu extremists rioted and destroyed the mosque. In his asylum application, Sah noted that he "took a very active part in organizing and conducting [anti-mosque] meeting[s]" and that he "actively participated in the riots to [attempt to] demolish the Babri Mosque." Id.

I can see why he was denied people tend to frown on that sort of thing. I would have denied him with the absurd claim that as a Hindu he can't find a safe place in all of India to live.

But I come back to why information of the case was not included in the story by Smart or any of the editors saw fit to ask why not put the details to give a complete picture. What I am seeing is a reporter and paper with an agenda, not a good thing.

Via Malkin.

Twin Cities: "center of fanaticism and extremism."

Nation: All this coming from the Minneapolis airport controversy where Somalian Muslim taxi drivers are refusing to take people carrying alcohol. Why is this not happening anywhere else and is this an enderound to political power there and in Somalia?

Muslim taxi drivers serve airports throughout the country. Yet a dispute about cabbies refusing on religious grounds to take passengers with alcohol has flared only in the Twin Cities.

Some Muslim leaders said the alcohol controversy is part of a larger ideological clash within Minnesota's growing Somali community, which they said helps explain why the issue erupted here without spreading to other cities.

"There is a group of orthodox Islamic groups who are using the Somali community," said Martin Mohamed, head of the Immigrant Credit Education and Financial Counseling Agency in Minneapolis. "We have seen this all the time. They want to make their own political agenda here, using the Somali cabdrivers."

Other community leaders said the alcohol matter is a legitimate issue of faith, one in which committed Muslims are standing up for their religion.

"It's not for radical purposes," said Abdirahman Omar Ahmed, the imam, or prayer leader, at the Abuubakar Islamic Center in South Minneapolis. "They are talking about their faith, nothing else."

But some Somalis suspect there's more to the taxi dispute than religion.

"The Twin Cities has become — more than any other city — the center of fanaticism and extremism as far as Somalis are concerned," said Omar Jamal of the Somali Peace and Justice Center in St. Paul.

Carrying alcohol in cabs "is not an issue at all for most of the Somali community, but (leaders) use that as a political platform."

Jamal said he believes the goal is to raise money and gain influence on the political situation in Somalia.

Long article, but the end result must be telling the cab drivers no to their request.