Friday, May 4, 2007

Obama's criticism of black America

Politics: Nothing new in terms of the criticism that you haven't heard from the likes of Crouch, Cosby and others over the last couple of years. I don't know whats more amusing, the surprising tone of the writer.

As he travels around the country in his effort to become the nation's first black president, Obama has engaged in an intense competition for black voters -- a crucial Democratic Party constituency that accounts for as much as half the electorate in some key primary states such as South Carolina. But the first-term senator, who has sought to present himself as an agent of change eager to challenge political convention, has taken the unusual route of publicly criticizing his own community.


or the fact his aides are saying enough publicly to make people think Obama is trying a softer Sister Souljah.

Obama has been criticized for hypocrisy on the issue because he met in his Chicago office last year with the rapper Ludacris, who has been in a public feud over his lyrics with one of Obama's biggest boosters, Oprah Winfrey.

Obama aides acknowledge their eagerness to appeal to older black leaders. "It's very important because of who votes," said one Obama adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "The generation that is of the civil rights era are pretty reliable voters."

But the concerns Obama is addressing are not just the province of older African Americans.

"I consider myself a hip-hop child, but I think his criticism is right on," said Jared Roebuck, 21, a black student at City College of New York who attended one of Obama's speeches and wrote about it on his blog.

....And there is a more general concern that Obama is saying these things as political positioning. Lacewell likened them to a speech Bill Clinton gave in 1992 when he criticized hip-hop artist Sister Souljah, who had said after riots in Los Angeles, "If black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people."

That speech was largely seen as an effort to allow Clinton to distance himself from parts of the black community in a bid to win over white centrist voters. Aides said that is not the case with Obama's recent rhetoric, pointing to a 2006 speech he gave at a Chicago church after a pair of shootings in a black neighborhood and before his presidential candidacy.

Belgians making money off of rich Americans.

Culture: How does this work?

BRUSSELS - According to the daily 'De Morgen', Belgians are investing millions buying up rich Americans' health insurance policies. More and more Belgians are making big bucks buying US life insurance policies and cashing them in at a big profit once the policy holder dies.

US Army considers reporters to be a security threat.

Media: Via Romenesko.

US Army considers reporters to be a national security threat
CJR Daily
The Army, with its new operational security guidelines (OPSEC), "has figuratively and literally put the media in the same box as Al Qaeda, warlords, and drug cartels," writes Paul McLeary. "While snake oil salesmen like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh would surely rank the American press up there with Bin Laden and his homicidal ilk, for the Army to do so is shocking, displaying a deep ignorance ...over just what the media's role in a democracy is."
Posted at 3:06:02 PM


Well, in defense of the media overall regarding coverage.....I mean...Okay I got nothing. The slides are here. The Army did reverse itself on its blog restrictions.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Biopic of Sputnik Monroe, unlikely civil rights champion.

Entertainment: HBO Films producing it, Here is the wikipedia entry and a nice write up last year after he died by the Washington Times.

Sputnik Monroe was a professional wrestler who declared to all who would listen that he was "235 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal with a body that women loved and men feared." He also was a rebel, but not in the traditional Southern good old boy way. He rebelled against the racism that ruled in Memphis, Tenn., and other places throughout the south in the 1960s.

Monroe was a wrestling star in the south and the biggest draw in Memphis at a time when public events there were still segregated. Traditionally, black fans sat in their restricted section for wrestling matches, until Monroe embraced those fans and demanded they be allowed to sit wherever they wanted.

"He was a hero to the black community in Memphis," said Jim Ogle, former director of operations at the Rock 'n' Soul Museum, where there is an exhibit honoring Monroe featuring his gold wrestling jacket, flowered trunks and wrestling shoes. The accompanying plaque reads: "Sputnik Monroe played a major part in destroying the color lines in Memphis entertainment venues."


Monroe became a Beale Street fixture, particularly in the black clubs, and he gained a huge following in the black community. But black fans were limited to a handful of seats in the highest balcony of Ellis Auditorium. Monroe constantly battled the local promoters, who feared retribution if they did not limit the number of blacks attending such a public event along with white fans. But Monroe threatened to leave the promoter if he didn't allow more black fans in.

"There used to be a couple of thousand blacks outside wanting in," Monroe said. "So I would tell management I'd be cutting out if they don't let my black friends in. I had the power because I'm selling out the place, the first guy that ever did, and they sure wanted the revenue."

There were so many black fans that the promoter had little choice but to integrate the seating -- something that wasn't done at any other public events in Memphis.

Monroe said he became so popular that city officials feared his influence and tried to get him to leave town.

"I used to get arrested for vagrancy for hanging out on Beale Street," he said. "I got a black lawyer and went to court. I told them this was the United States of America, and I could go wherever I ... pleased. They fined me $25, but after about a half-dozen arrests, they gave up."

Later in his career, he had a black tag-team partner, Norvell Austin, and they had an act that started after they defeated an opponent, who usually was white. Monroe would dump a can of black paint on the guy and yell into the ring microphone, "Black is beautiful." Austin would yell, "White is beautiful," and then the two of them would yell, "Black and white together is beautiful."

In places like Birmingham, Ala., and Macon, Ga., that would infuriate fans, which only encouraged Monroe.

It was racist anger that led to him getting the nickname Sputnik. Driving to a show in Greenwood, Miss., one night, he picked up a black hitchhiker.

"We got to the television station in Greenwood for the match, and I brought him in with me. I had my arm around him when we went into the place, and there was nearly a riot in the place," Monroe said. "This one old lady was cursing at me like a sailor in the arena. There was a curtain we were behind, and I heard this woman screaming. So I opened up the curtain and kissed this guy on the cheek. She went nuts but had already been warned by security to stop cursing. So she said, 'You're nothing but a ... Sputnik.'"

Sputnik, of course, was the Soviet satellite that had just been launched into space at the height of the Cold War, so there were few things worse than a communist.
"I was Sputnik Monroe after that," he said.

GOP debate roundup.

Politics: Instapundit and Jim Geraghty from NRO has the roundup, I watched first 5 mins, remembered Chris Matthews godawful performance during the Florida Governor's debate and turned it. If anyone complains about the questions, tone or alleged bias.

Its Chris Matthews/Keith Olbermann and MSNBC, what did you expect?

Obama and his myspace/Saddam quote.

Politics: Obama's team could have at least done a good faith effort to pay the guy something for all his work. Well within his rights and smart move to gain control of the page, but it just looks tacky not giving the guy something.

The speech on the MotherJones blog is a bit more disturbing because it looks like he implies he would never gone to war at any point with Iraq given what was known and said at the time. That makes him the American version of Zapatero, thats not good.

Islamists in Spain funding attacks in North Africa.

Spain: and all the hot spots in the world. What are the Spanish authorities doing about it?

MADRID - Islamic radicals in Spain are funding terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda-linked groups in North Africa, it was reported.

El Pais newspaper, citing sources in the Spanish judiciary, said the money to carry out the massacres in North Africa, the latest of which took 30 lives in Algeria on April 11, comes from "sleeper cells" based in Spain.

The funds, which are gathered from common crime, also have been used to commit attacks in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Pakistan, said the daily, adding that a case involving money laundering and terrorist financing has shown for the first time that Al Qaeda is hiding money in the Bahamas.

The news comes amid the trial in Madrid of 29 mainly Middle Eastern men for the worst terrorist attack in Spain's history: the March 11, 2004, train-bombings that left 191 dead and more than 1,800 injured in this capital.

El Pais reported that Spain and France are the main European "fishing grounds" for the terrorist network inspired by Osama bin Laden and its expansion into North Africa, not only for recruiting militants and sending them to Iraq but also for collecting money with which to support its members and carry out attacks.


Read it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Update on wash basins at Kansas Airport.

Nation: Couple of days ago, Worldnetdaily posted a piece about foot wash basins being put in for Muslims. The airport says not so.

A wash area at Kansas City International Airport’s taxi center was not built for any specific religious use, despite a widely distributed Web report, an airport spokesman said Tuesday.

“As constructed, nothing was built for the exclusive use of any ethnic group or culture,” said Joe McBride, KCI’s spokesman.

McBride said the Web report, which sparked heated public responses to airport officials, was inaccurate. The report, which appeared on another Web site, states that KCI had built several foot-washing basins in restrooms after Muslim cab drivers requested them to prepare for their daily Islamic prayers.

Die Hard 4 is PG-13 and Rush Hour 3 with Roman Polanski.

Entertainment: Nikkie Finke has a nice summary of the big summer movies, but some disturbing news is popping up.

Die Hard 4 is PG-13.

"In June's VANITY FAIR, it states that Bruce Willis was initially
disappointed that his fourth DIE HARD film will likely be cut to get a PG-13
rating rather than an R. 'I really wanted this one to live up to the promise
of the first one, which I always thought was the only really good one.' And
he's not happy about it.

'That's a studio decision that is becoming more and
more common, because they're trying to reach a broader audience. It seems
almost a courageous move to give a picture an R rating these days. But we
still made a pretty hardcore, smashmouth film.'"

What idiot decided to take a movie franchise that made its cash being kick ass R rated fun for adults and pussify it? I knew as I saw the Mac guy in the preview something was going to go wrong. Die Hard is not a PG-13 movie and it will hurt it at the box office.

As for Rush Hour 3, the trailer is here and I see Roman Polanski is in it. I won't be paying to see RH3. I just have a thing about spending money on a product that has a child rapist who should be in jail all this time.

May day rallies a big ole bust.

Immigration: The backlash from last year carried over.

Immigration rallies held nationwide Tuesday produced only a fraction of the million-plus protesters who turned out last year, as fear about raids and frustration that the marches haven't pushed Congress to pass reform kept many people at home.

In Los Angeles, where several hundred thousand turned out last year, about 25,000 attended a downtown rally, said police Capt. Andrew Smith, an incident commander. In Chicago, where more than 400,000 swarmed the streets a year earlier, police officials put initial estimates at about 150,000.

World Muslim body backs Thai policy on south

Terrorism: Considering the beheadings, burnings, shootings that have gone up since the coup government, this is telling advice.

The head of the world's largest body of Islamic nations urged Thailand on Monday to stick to its soft approach to resolving a bloody insurgency in the Muslim-majority far south.

"We are encouraged by the new government's policy toward the Muslim population," Ekmeleddin Insanoglu, secretary general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), told reporters.

"We support the measures taken by the government and we hope to cooperate for a better future," he said after talks with Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram on unrest in which more than 2,100 people have been killed since January 2004.

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont shed the hardline policies of his predecessor, Thaksin Shinawatra, who had accused the OIC in 2005 of violating Thai sovereignty by criticising his government's response to the unrest.

After taking office following the bloodless coup that ousted Thaksin in September, Surayud apologised for abuses by security forces in the mainly Malay-speaking region. He also pushed for dialogue and greater recognition of Malay culture and language.

But the gun and bomb attacks on both Muslims and Buddhists have intensified despite the presence of 30,000 soldiers and paramilitary rangers in the region bordering Malaysia.

In the latest attack, suspected Muslim militants beheaded a 30-year-old Buddhist man, shot dead his 14-year-old nephew and set both bodies on fire in a Muslim village in Pattani, one of three provinces hit by violence.


But the Thai government has a plan.

The army has said it needs another 10,000 troops in the region, an independent sultanate until annexed by largely Buddhist Thailand a century ago, but the government said it would prefer to give villagers military training and guns.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Saving Darfur is officially the new hotness.

Africa: Great, lots of heated talk by stars doing artsy protests, some protests showing "resolve" to end the fighting, lots of divestment talk, college students protesting for the cause(see Gen Y post below) and you know what is going to happen? Not a damn thing. This is all show and no substance. When I start seeing governments, especially Arab governments coming down hard on Sudan, then I will pay more attention and say okay something is happening. But for now, this is just a bunch of feel good about yourself junk that has been going on for the last couple of years.

Pelosi's trip to Syria yields results.

Politics: The results being people are getting scared and locked up all over the place because the Syrians seen her trip as a victory for them.

Three weeks have passed, so it's fair to ask: Has there been any positive change in Syrian behavior -- any return gesture of goodwill, however slight?

Mr. al-Bunni might offer the best answer -- if he could. On Tuesday, one of Mr. Assad's judges sentenced him to five years in prison. His "crimes" were to speak out about the torture and persecution of regime opponents, to found the Syrian Human Rights Association and to sign the "Damascus Declaration," a pro-democracy manifesto.

By condemning Mr. al-Bunni to prison, Mr. Assad was delivering a distinct message to Syria's would-be liberal reformers and those who support them: There will be no change on his watch. The same message came in the parliamentary "elections" that the regime staged on Sunday and Monday. No independent candidates were permitted; a predetermined number of winners from the official party ensured that the parliament will remain a rubber stamp.

What of the other items on the U.S. congressional agenda? Well, there has been a major surge in suicide bombings in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq this month, in what U.S. commanders describe as an attempt by al-Qaeda to defeat the new security operation in the capital. According to U.S. and Iraqi officials, almost all suicide bombers in Iraq are foreigners, and some 80 percent of them pass through Syria. The border remains as porous as ever.

Meanwhile the military wing of Hamas, whose headquarters is in Damascus, launched a barrage of rockets and mortar rounds at Israel from Gaza on Tuesday. Israeli officials said the attack appeared aimed at creating a diversion that would allow Hamas to capture more Israeli soldiers. If so, the operation failed -- but none of the hostages Ms. Pelosi said she spoke to Mr. Assad about have been released.

To recount this dismal record is not to endorse President Bush's refusal to engage in high-level bilateral contacts with Mr. Assad's regime. In certain contexts it may be worth trying to talk to Syria -- for example, when negotiations are directed at particular ends, such as securing Iraq's borders, and coupled with forceful diplomatic and economic steps to raise the pressure on the dictatorship. The danger of offering "friendship" and "hope" to a ruler such as Mr. Assad is that it will be interpreted as acquiescence by the United States to the policies of dictatorship. Ms. Pelosi's courting of Mr. Assad didn't cause Mr. al-Bunni's prison sentence this week -- but it certainly did not discourage it.


Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey puts the blame on Pelosi for the arrests.

SANDMONKEY: Let me tell you something. I was in Turkey a couple of weeks ago and I met a couple of Syrian activists. They one thing they told me that was really funny about the Pelosi visit. After Pelosi came to Syria two things happened. People on Syrian TV were saying, “We forced the Americans to knock on the Damascus gate!” Sort of like an admission that we messed things up in Iraq so much that America had to come and beg for their help.

But the day after Pelosi’s visits there were immediate arrests of Syrian activists. That was the fruit she yielded. “Oh the Americans came over and they said they have a different foreign policy and they’re more interested in placating Bashar’s ego.” And he went out and got [arrested] everyone he wanted because he knew he had an ally in Washington that wouldn’t pressure him as much.

ATLAS: We have to educate the American people. You think the American people know this?

SANDMONKEY: No, but do they even care at this point? I don’t think they are interested in the discussion any more. There are people that have made up their mind, they think we need to placate the dictators because America is wrong and everyone else is always right. That’s how they operate.

NBC Universal to split from GE?

Entertainment: Analysts are starting to chatter, even a Google reference thrown in to make people drool.

Since 1985, when it joined refrigerators and jet engines as assets of General Electric, NBC has faced questions of a spinoff or sale. The notion has been raised more frequently since 2003, when NBC Universal was formed, given that rivals like Viacom and Time Warner have shed significant parts.
The latest call for a breakup comes from Citigroup analyst Jeffrey Sprague. In a report released Friday, he pointed out that the company's stock "has basically gone sideways for five years despite solid underlying execution. ... We believe GE's size and complexity is working against investor interest in the stock and has contributed to further valuation erosion."

Once freed of the diversified mega-conglom's shackles, NBC U could be better able to explore a deal with another media conglom, Sprague argued.

Some other analysts have suggested that Google could acquire NBC U, which accounted for about 10% of GE's $163 billion in 2006 revenue, but the companies won't address the speculation.

On the news Friday, shares rose 3% but closed flat Monday at $36.86.


It has begun.

Anyone investigating University of Maryland?

Politics: The whole Palfrey sex scandal is ongoing, but as pointed out on NRO corner, this little section on the Uni of Maryland should cause some to do a double take.

Instead, after 18 months in state prison, Palfrey started Pamela Martin. The firm recruited escorts through the University of Maryland student newspaper and Washington City Paper. It advertised in the Yellow Pages and on Web sites, touting itself as "undoubtedly the best adult agency around."


We may have the makings of a sex scandal on campus!

Told you this Generation Y are bunch of idiots.

Culture: Another fine example of the rampant stupidity of this next generation of kids who already known to be self-centered twits.

Last night Julia Cordray ’09 publicly acknowledged that she hung dozens of “Happy Birthday Hitler” posters on students’ doors last Friday. The posters, which featured an image of a marijuana leaf, a picture of Adolf Hitler and the word “REMEMBER,” were intended as a satire of last week’s similarly designed Holocaust Remembrance Day posters. Cordray expressed no remorse for her actions.

“These were meant to be a parody, and parody doesn’t work unless it shocks someone,” Cordray said.

Cordray made her identity public by posting an explanatory letter she submitted to assistant dean Charles Toomajin and a link to an essay written by a non-student friend on the Web site Ephblog.com. The letter detailed Cordray’s motives in distributing the posters: “The fliers were not intended to threaten anyone or take any position for or against marijuana or Hitler … but were a parody of fliers posted on every dorm door just a few days earlier.” The essay, titled “Students shocked, offended by ideas,” addressed the campus’s reaction to the posters. “A few were so outraged that someone dared to express an idea they disliked that they demanded censorship as a response,” wrote the friend. “They’ll serve the corporate world well one day as they crush anything they dislike.”

....Cordray had the idea to make mock remembrance fliers after encountering the Holocaust Remembrance Day posters that members of the Williams College Jewish Association (WCJA) posted on students’ doors April 15. Cordray said she regarded the sign as an invasion of her personal space. “I felt afraid to take it off,” she said. “Some friends and I were talking about it, wondering if we were allowed to recycle this dead Jewish person someone put on our door.”


Its freaking Hitler! What sort of classes or history lessons did she get in her grade 1-12 and her freshman year? Someone puts a poster on her door and she busts out the Nazi card because its edgy! This is why I fear the generation that came after me, just seem to be a collection of the dumb sons of bitches sucking up air for no reason. Seriously I fear anyone under the age of 30 and I just barely passed that age a couple of years ago.

(illegal) Immigration rallies going on for May Day.

Immigration: The rallies are going to be much smaller, but CNN looks to be on the sympathetic side of the issue.

Five men convicted of Bomb Plot in the UK.

Terrorism: Now that conviction has people wanting MI5 to explain how they didn't pick up two of the 7/7 bombers who were being watched along with these five men.

The full extent of the missed opportunities that allowed the July 7 London bombers to slip through the net can be disclosed for the first time today after five of their associates were jailed for life.
Two of the suicide bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, were under surveillance by the security service, MI5, almost 18 months before the four simultaneous attacks that claimed 52 lives.

MI5 officers followed the pair as they drove hundreds of miles around the UK, photographed them and recorded their voices. They followed Sidique Khan to his mother-in-law's home, made inquiries about his telephone, and listened to bugged conversations in which he talked about waging jihad.

Yet they failed to identify either man, and cut short their investigations into the pair after deciding that they did not pose as high a risk to the country as other suspects under investigation.

The revelations led to calls for a public inquiry from bereaved families and opposition parties, and provoked MI5 into an unprecedented public defence of its role.


More here.

How MI5 missed July 7 links
MI5 stopped watching two bombers
Victims join calls for public inquiry
Briefing: Richard Norton-Taylor
Leader: A clear and present danger
Full text: MI5 answers its critics

Sunday, April 29, 2007

How bad a weekend has it been for Miami sport fans.

Sports:

Dolphins pick Ted Ginn in the first round, he still has a broken foot and the fans are ticked.
Heat get swept out of the first round.
Marlins get beat by the Phillies on Sunday.
Randy Moss is getting paid only $3 million by the Pats which means Belichick is a damn witch doctor or something. Try to pay Moss that little in Madden and the game would laugh at you.

Monday morning hangover has come early.

Suntimes: Obama flubs first debate.

Politics: Even one of Obama's cheerleader papers knows Obama messed up.
Obama failed to cast himself as a forceful commander in chief.

Obama was asked how he would "change the U.S. military stance overseas" if two U.S. cities were attacked by al-Qaida. After a reference to the botched response to Hurricane Katrina, he said "review how we operate in the event of not only a natural disaster, but also a terrorist attack."

Contrast that with the reply from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) -- her best during the 90-minute debate. "Retaliate," she said. "Focus on those who have attacked us and do everything we can to destroy them."

Obama knew he blew it because a few minutes later he added "enemies" of the U.S. "have to be hunted down."


Asked at the debate to name America's three most important allies, Obama said the European Union, NATO and Japan. He added Israel at Williams' prodding, a lapse that could hurt him with Jewish voters.


No Australia or the UK? not good.

Carbon credits is a sale of indulgences.

Enviro: On the heels of the Financial Times articles that exposed carbon credit programs for the most part are just bunk. NYTIMES comes out with an article skeptical about carbon credits.

But is the carbon-neutral movement just a gimmick?

On this, environmentalists aren’t neutral, and they don’t agree. Some believe it helps build support, but others argue that these purchases don’t accomplish anything meaningful — other than giving someone a slightly better feeling (or greener reputation) after buying a 6,000-square-foot house or passing the million-mile mark in a frequent-flier program. In fact, to many environmentalists, the carbon-neutral campaign is a sign of the times — easy on the sacrifice and big on the consumerism.

As long as the use of fossil fuels keeps climbing — which is happening relentlessly around the world — the emission of greenhouse gases will keep rising. The average American, by several estimates, generates more than 20 tons of carbon dioxide or related gases a year; the average resident of the planet about 4.5 tons.

At this rate, environmentalists say, buying someone else’s squelched emissions is all but insignificant.

“The worst of the carbon-offset programs resemble the Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences back before the Reformation,” said Denis Hayes, the president of the Bullitt Foundation, an environmental grant-making group. “Instead of reducing their carbon footprints, people take private jets and stretch limos, and then think they can buy an indulgence to forgive their sins.”

“This whole game is badly in need of a modern Martin Luther,” Mr. Hayes added.


The obvious fear from greenies is that it becomes yet another give some at the office charity.

“Consumers are always going to gravitate toward a more parsimonious solution that requires less behavioral change,” he said. “We know that new products or ideas are more likely to be adopted if they don’t require us to alter our routines very much.”

But he said there was danger ahead, “if we become trained to substitute dollars for deeds — kind of an ‘I gave at the office’ prescription for the environment.”

Charles Komanoff, an energy economist in New York, said the commercial market in climate neutrality could have even more harmful effects.

It could, by suggesting there’s an easy way out, blunt public support for what will really be needed in the long run, he said: a binding limit on emissions or a tax on the fuels that generate greenhouse gases.


Thats the big fear among the greenies who want to change how people are living to conform to their idea of a perfect green society. I get the feeling any system or advancement of technology that allow cutting back on emissions but let people live as they normally would is seen as a disaster to the cause.

Via Instapundit.