Saturday, May 19, 2007

The logic of censorship via liberal thinking.

Media: Liberals like when viewpoints/person gets canned off the air they don't like, until the realizations they are in the crosshairs as well. Conor Clarke from the left fall Guardian brings up his "fear" in dealing with Imus.

The logic of censorship
Good riddance to US shock jock Don Imus. But the hunt for more of his ilk is now putting free speech at risk.

.....As someone who has no interest in listening to shock radio, that doesn't, by itself, cause me to lose any sleep. But I have a very good, very unoriginal and very selfish reason for wanting to keep regulation to a minimum: the disc jockey's freedom to say stupid things on the air protects my freedom to write stupid things about politics. I don't have a problem with Don Imus being fired, but I do have a problem with that firing reshaping the private consumption habits of millions of people. Speech is about balance. But somewhere along the line the balancing test transformed into a slippery slope.

Welcome to reality, stay a while. The idiotic notion that there is a fine line( approved by liberals) would be observed after the Imus firing is insane. Once they pushed Imus off, it was open season on everyone else in broadcasting, media or everyone else who presents an opinion in a public forum. There has never been any sort of line where everyone agrees this is acceptable and this is not unless the entire society has the same sort of thinking, ideas, concept of decency..etc..etc.

Now everyone is on the lookout for someone saying something "disagreeable" and I guarantee its not just those who liberals like Conor dislike will be caught.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

South Africa braced for big Zimbabwe influx

Africa: See, soft diplomacy is working so well. Imagine if South Africa actually acted like a leader instead of Mugabe's yes men. They wouldn't have the joy of trying to fit in 3 million refugees.

South African President Thabo Mbeki has said his country will "have to live with" an influx of illegal immigrants from neighbouring Zimbabwe.
Up to three million are thought to have fled to South Africa, amid a worsening economic and political crisis.

There is high unemployment, and fuel and food shortages across Zimbabwe.

Addressing parliament, Mr Mbeki said it was not possible to put "a Great Wall of China" between the two countries and stop people walking across the border.

The South African authorities regularly deport Zimbabwean illegal immigrants, but many make repeated attempts to enter South Africa, in the hope of finding refuge and employment.


The annual rate of inflation in Zimbabwe has soared to 3,731.9%, driven by higher energy and food costs, and amplified by a drop in its currency, official figures show.

President Mbeki has been appointed by Southern African leaders to mediate between Zimbabwe's governing Zanu PF party, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in the hope that free and fair elections can be held next year.

Mr Mbeki said on Thursday the discussions were going "very well" but he gave no details.

It is understood however that the government and the opposition in Zimbabwe have yet to hold a face-to-face meeting.

Mbeki! Man of some action.

Zimbabwe inflation surges to record 3,714%

Africa: I believe that is a bit too high, not to worry because South Africa's soft diplomacy will fix this matter of a coming failed state.

Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate surged to an unprecedented 3,714 percent at the end of April, the official state newspaper reported Thursday, as the government set up a new commission to try to bring price hikes down to single digit levels.

Prices more than doubled last month as shown by a 100.7 percent increase — the highest on record — in the consumer price index calculated by the state Central Statistical Office, the Herald newspaper said. In the past year they increased 36-fold.

The Herald said that President Robert Mugabe on Monday signed into law new regulations to enforce wage and price controls through "comprehensive price surveys and inspections," with a penalty of up to five years in jail for violators. The ultimate aim would be to bring inflation into single digits.

In recent years, the government has tried to freeze prices for corn meal, bread, cooking oil, meat, school fees and transport costs with little success. Socialist-style controls have driven a thriving black market in scarce commodities.

....The independent Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries estimates most factories across the country are running at around 30 percent capacity or less, and countless businesses have shut down, fueling record unemployment of about 80 percent.

Down with Bush/Kennedy Amnesty, up with Sarkozy!

Immigration: Yes, the Amnesty plan is final for the Senate and the uproar is as it should be, this is a complete sellout of America. Hell, they could have least ripped off parts of Sarkozy's plans on immigration.

NPR : Immigration Proposal Inflames French Campaign
France's leading conservative presidential candidate, Nicholas Sarkozy, proposes a ministry of immigration and national identity.

BBC NEWS Europe Sarkozy alters tack on immigration
Interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy says France should welcome immigrants - so long as they bring new skills.

BBC NEWS Europe France reviews immigration rules
The proposals, drawn up by French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, ... families to a long-term residence permit after living 10 years in France. ...

Sweden's freeze dried corpses coming soon?

Culture: I got problems with this method.

Sweden is considering allowing freeze-drying as a new method to bury the dead instead of traditional burials and cremations, Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth told the Swedish church's weekly paper on Wednesday.

"I would like to push for the issue of freeze-drying. I think it is interesting and based on what I have heard I have a positive view of the method," Adelsohn Liljeroth, whose brief covers burial laws, told Kyrkans Tidning.

The freeze-drying method offers an environmentally friendly burial transforming corpses into organic compost. Traditional burials and cremations hurt the environment by polluting air and water, as a corpse buried in a coffin will take many years to decompose completely.

Under the new method, the corpse is taken to a temperature of minus 196 degrees Celsius in a liquid nitrogen bath and the body is broken down into a rough powder through mechanical vibrations.

The remains are then dehydrated and cleared of any metal, reducing a body weighing 75 kilograms (165 pounds) in life to 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of pink-beige powder, plus the remains of the coffin.

The whole process takes place in a facility resembling a crematorium and lasts for about two hours.

Couple of things out of the way right now if I die and some fool family member has access to this process.

1) I will not be used as compost to grow your veggies, respect damn it! Coffin in a temple made of gold will suffice.

2) If this method is used, I will come back to haunt said family member and extended relatives. I am not talking about Casper friendly ghost, I'm talking about blood coming out the walls and possessing you into embarrassing situations that involved the police and/or hookers.

Rosie the 9/11 truther hits the

Terrorism: Since people are anticipating the upcoming truther freak show on the View, The Lede takes a couple of shots at Rosie pointing out where she may be getting her information.

Rosie O’Donnell smells a cover-up, and has been using her seat on her morning talk show, “The View,” to raise questions. Before leaving as a full-time host, she plans to tackle the issue in a special segment.

If her reading list is any guide, the soon-to-be-ex-talk show host is inspired by the prevailing sources for 9/11 conspiracy. Alex Jones, a Texas radio talk-show host who The Times’s Alan Feuer called the William Jennings Bryan of the movement, covered all of them in a 2006 speech. Mr. Feuer summarized it thusly:

Mr. Jones set forth the central tenets of 9/11 Truth: that the military command that monitors aircraft “stood down” on the day of the attacks; that President Bush addressed children in a Florida classroom instead of being whisked off to the White House; that the hijackers, despite what the authorities say, were trained at American military bases; and that the towers did not collapse because of burning fuel and weakened steel but because of a “controlled demolition” caused by pre-set bombs.

A nice piece of snark, read it.

Sarkozy hits his stride already as President.

France: Via NYTIMES.

PARIS, May 16 — Nicolas Sarkozy is proud of his reputation as an impatient politician driven by big ambitions and limitless energy, and on his first day as president of France, it was not enough to step back and savor the moment.

He gave two speeches instead of one and furiously shook hands with well-wishers on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées before flying to Berlin to do business over dinner with his German counterpart, Chancellor Angela Merkel.

His Socialist pick for foreign minister seems to be a hit with at least one conservative.

Mr. Sarkozy already has shaken up the French political world in other ways, by apparently offering cabinet posts to members of the opposition Socialists, most notably the job of foreign minister to Bernard Kouchner, a co-founder of the Nobel-prize-winning Médecins Sans Frontières and an icon of leftist politics in France.

Mr. Kouchner has told confidants that he is ready to accept the job.

The decision has been sharply criticized as political betrayal by Mr. Kouchner’s fellow Socialists and by members of Mr. Sarkozy’s party, the conservative Union for a Popular Movement.

NRO's Michael Ledeen:

Sarkozy has named Bernard Kouchner as his foreign minister. Wow! Kouchner is a Socialist who is the French equivalent of Natan Sharansky, a tireless campaigner for human rights, a man who has advocated the right of democratic countries to intervene against tyrannical regimes in the name of freedom.

A Socialist mugged by reality, we might say.

Gaza civil war to have Jordan and Egypt involved?

Middle East: Fatah and Hamas won't be at peace until one side is almost dead. They can't work together, so the idea of two caretaker government at this point seems the best plan.

“If the unity Government falls, the Palestinian Authority will dissolve,” said Mustafa Barghouti, the Palestinian Information Minister.

He said Mr Abbas had told his Cabinet on Monday night: “This is my Government and if it falls, I will fall with it.” Such a scenario would strip the occupied territories of official Palestinian rule. Israel, as the occupying power, would then be forced to resume full control of the West Bank and Gaza.

Mr Abbas’s resignation would effectively sever ties between the Palestinians and the West, which refuses to deal with the militant Hamas movement.

Some Palestinian analysts predict that a collapse of the Palestinian Authority would pave the way for Jordanian custodial rule in the West Bank and a similar arrangement for Egypt in Gaza.

“The message is the Palestinians cannot rule themselves. This fighting will only end if a third party takes over,” said Ibrahim Abrash, a political analyst in Gaza.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How to make a prosecutor panic.

Crime: This is not what you want to hear if you are trying to put away terrorists.

LONDON (Reuters) - A British judge admitted on Wednesday he was struggling to cope with basic terms like "Web site" in the trial of three men accused of inciting terrorism via the Internet.

Judge Peter Openshaw broke into the questioning of a witness about a Web forum used by alleged Islamist radicals.

"The trouble is I don't understand the language. I don't really understand what a Web site is," he told a London court during the trial of three men charged under anti-terrorism laws.

Prosecutor Mark Ellison briefly set aside his questioning to explain the terms "Web site" and "forum." An exchange followed in which the 59-year-old judge acknowledged: "I haven't quite grasped the concepts."

Violent Islamist material posted on the Internet, including beheadings of Western hostages, is central to the case.

Why I hate Scoop Jackson and so should you.

Media: This is why Whitlock ripped into him as a clown and why that quote on the right fits.

Roger Clemens is without question the most selfish athlete of our time.

Either that, or he's the most celebrated pimp in professional sports.

Now, I like Roger Clemens, a lot. Always have. I'll root for him whenever he's on the mound, as long as he's not facing Pedro Martinez. I respect his "gangster." It's not him I have the issue with. If he can continue getting away with what he's doing, more power to him. Play the game, don't ever let it play you. Ball Player Rule No. 4080.

....He's a self-absorbed, beyond-arrogant, bigger-than-the-game, I-have-no-respect-or-honor-for-the-concept-of-team, I-only-pitch-when-I-feel-like-it, any-team-should-feel-blessed-to-have-me, Randy-Johnson-will-never-be-on-my-level, the-world-revolves-around-me, kiss-the-ground-I walk-on, worship-who-I-am-because-I-am-the-me-myself-and-I-in-MLB pimp.

But again, my problem is not with Roger, it's with us. The media cowards. Because all of us, for too long now, have looked past all of this and validated what I've said my whole life: "Pimpin' ain't easy, the media is just scared."

I guess there was a column somewhere in there about Roger Clemens, but I got hit over the head with a style better suited for all hip-hop forums than a sports column going into Stuart" I'm hip too" Scott mode. A depressing example of a lack of talent.

Democrat refusing to support John Doe law.

Politics: Bennie Thompson doesn't care too much for reporting suspicious activities.

We've all seen this phrase in block letters: "REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY," followed by a 1-800 number. But if a House Democrat manages to kill a tipster-immunity measure under consideration in Congress this month, people who report suspicious behavior could be sued in civil court if the accused are not charged with a crime. November's frightened U.S. Airways "John Doe" passengers in Minneapolis are already in the crosshairs.

The lawmaker in question is Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He thinks that granting tipsters immunity amounts to racial and religious profiling. Yes, that's the Democrats' "homeland security" pointman in the House speaking.

For two months, Mr. Thompson has deployed the profiling argument against this measure, tucked into the House transportation-security bill. The good news is that a bipartisan House majority already passed it 304-121 seven weeks ago. But sadly, Mr. Thompson is expected to strip it from the bill. He is expected to be the lead House negotiator in the coming weeks when the bill reaches conference committee, and if he is, he will have considerable sway over the final product.

Mr. Thompson would stand alone among key homeland-security players, all of whom support immunity, if he blocks it. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut Democrat who chairs the Senate committee and ranking Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, both support it. So does Rep. Peter King, New York Republican, the ranking member in the House homeland-security committee.

How damaging it would be to leave tipsters on the hook; there could be few better ways to staunch the flow of information. Think of last week's Fort Dix tipster and ask yourself whether you would report suspicious behavior in a similar position.

Somali Muslim quits Swift plant over lack of prayer time.

Culture: Somali Muslims are once again in the news and this is not asking for reasonable accomodations, this is outright blackmail.

Grand Island, Neb. - Nearly 100 Muslim workers have quit their jobs at a Swift & Co. meatpacking plant because their prayer times weren't accommodated.

"They kind of issued the company an ultimatum," said Dan Hoppes, president of Local 22 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

"They went in before the shift started (Monday) and said that they'd go unless they could pray when they needed to," Hoppes said today.

Sean McHugh, a spokesman for Swift at its Greeley headquarters, said breaks are governed by a labor contract and that all employees are told about them during orientation for all new workers.

"The company has a history of making reasonable accommodations for legitimate religious practices," he said Monday. "Swift has experienced no issues related to religious accommodations in recent years.

Hoppes said he believes the workers, who he said were Somali immigrants, had been offered jobs at a Kansas plant that would give them time off for prayer and make other accommodations for their religion. He didn't know the name of the company.

Hoppes said the union contract contained no provisions for prayer, which for many Muslims is a minimum of five times a day.

Any learned Muslim knows you can "make up" prayer time, its not fixed schedule, especially when it interferes with a work schedule. Somalis seem to be practicing a stricter version considering in many months you have heard about the taxi cabs in Minneapolis and cashiers refusing to handle pork products at Target. This is going to give them and Muslims a bad reputation.

Here comes the Senate Amnesty bill for illegals.

Immigration: Read the details in all of its depressing glory.

Negotiators led by conservative Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and liberal Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., were scrambling to piece together a compromise that could command broad support, melding the GOP's preference for get-tough enforcement measures and limits on future immigration with Democrats' desire for a more welcoming approach.

The proposed agreement would allow illegal immigrants to come forward and obtain a probationary "Z visa" and _ after paying fees and fines of up to $5,000 and returning to their home countries _ ultimately try for permanent residency, which could take between eight and 13 years. The process couldn't begin until border security improvements and a high-tech worker identification program were completed.

A new temporary guest worker program would also have to wait until those so-called "triggers" had been activated. And all but the highest-skilled temporary workers would have to return home after work stints of two or three years, with barely any opportunity to apply for permanent legal status or ever become U.S. citizens.

Only 10,000 green cards annually would be available for guest workers, and they would be awarded on a so-called "points system" that favors higher-skilled and better-educated immigrants.

"We're trying to make sure that people who are temporary workers don't melt into society and put down roots. Temporary means temporary," Graham said.

Negotiators were still weighing the particulars of the guest worker program, including the length of the visas and whether to allow workers to renew them multiple times.

In perhaps its most contentious change, the proposed plan would radically shift the entire immigration system from one heavily weighted toward family ties toward one with preferences for those with advanced degrees and sophisticated skills. Family connections alone would no longer be enough to qualify for a green card, although senators were still haggling over how heavily points for family ties would be weighed.

U.S. citizens would see their ability to bring foreign-born parents to the U.S. limited. Temporary workers could not bring family members at all unless they accepted a shorter-term visa and could show they would not become primarily dependent on government benefits.

Oh yeah, illegals get a perk not even legal or citizens of other states can get.

Reid also said there had been progress in some important areas. The two sides have agreed on the Dream Act, a provision that would allow young illegal immigrants to attend college at in-state tuition rates and eventually gain citizenship. Democrats and Republicans have also agreed on a jobs program for the agriculture industry and on access to courts for legal immigrants.

Look, this bill even if agreed upon will be watered down especially in terms of border security and illegal crackdowns. Anything else the illegal alien support lobby doesn't like will be tried in court. The Dream act is a slap in the face of every legal resident and citizen because its a reward for breaking the law.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bobby Brown Sues Whitney

Entertainment: How is he going to go to court and plead this with a straight face.

Don't be cruel! Bobby Brown filed a lawsuit against ex-wife Whitney Houston to change the terms of custody of their teen daughter, Bobbi Kristina.

In court documents filed in Orange County yesterday, Brown explains that he was just too screwed up after the breakup to properly handle a custody battle. "After Whitney and I separated, I had nowhere to go and very little money to live on. I was, for all intents and purposes, homeless." That's why he failed to respond to Whitney's petition for custody in time, and why she was ultimately deemed the primary parent.

In Brown's court filings yesterday, he begged the courts to reconsider, saying that, "I believe I have a wonderful relationship with my daughter Bobbi Kris -- a relationship that I would like to see strengthen and grow." That's his prerogative!

I got a feeling that excuse is not going to fly.

Rising Exports Putting Dent in Trade Gap

Bidness: From the NYTIMES no less as a weak dollar is helping American companies overseas.

American companies have been doing business abroad for a long time, but never before has it been so important. This year, for the first time, Standard & Poor’s expects the 500 companies in its benchmark stock index to generate more than half of their sales in foreign countries.

Even as companies in the United States are gaining ground overseas, they are also sending more American-made products abroad. A weaker dollar is adding to their good fortunes, helping to make American goods and services more competitive in foreign markets.

As a result, it now looks as if the huge trade deficit, which swelled to a record $765.3 billion last year, could gradually decrease. The trade gap widened in March, mostly because of higher prices for imported oil, but the vast disparity between what Americans import and export is expected to narrow, which would allow trade to contribute to economic growth in the United States for the first time in more than a decade.

The shift to a more export-driven economy, if it continues, could add more jobs at home and help the United States bounce back from its slowest economic expansion in four years.

When the trade deficit shrinks, “home-grown demand is being fed by home-grown production instead of foreign production,” said Chris Varvares, the president of Macroeconomic Advisers, an economic research firm in St. Louis. “That requires more domestic employment, and that’s better for the domestic economy.”

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Gaza truce didn't last long.

Middle East: As Hamas and Fatah still fight on to see who is the alpha male.

Teamsters union eager to follow alcohol fatwa.

Culture: Are the local Teamsters union in Minneapolis so desperate for members they are willing to side with a small segment of the Somali Muslim drivers that wish to impose their religious interpretation on a public service they signed up too.

"...Despite the anger at the parking lot where cabbies awaited assignment Friday, there was at least one happy group: Local 120 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which spent the afternoon trying to persuade taxi drivers to organize.

"Any time that we can get involved with workers that need representation, we're happy to do so," said Rhys Ledger, the strategic campaigns director of Teamsters Local 120.

The union said it had a fairly simple solution to the problem: Designate certain cabs for alcohol, the same way that some cabs now are set aside for use by smokers or large groups.

"It's a very simple solution to an issue that's been made unduly complex," Ledger said Friday afternoon.

Many drivers waiting for fares at the airport Friday agreed with the idea, noting that it wouldn't add much inconvenience.

"I don't like to carry alcohol," said Rasheed Garaad, a driver for about six years. "You have special smoking cabs, so what's the difference?"

Hogan said the MAC considered the idea but in the end decided it would be too unwieldy to have separate cabs designated as alcohol-friendly. "With cigarettes, it's a safety issue with secondhand smoke," Hogan said. "With alcohol, it's not a safety issue."

Also, he said, the airport heard from several people who said they would stop using the taxi service at the airport if forced to use special cabs to carry alcohol."

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