Saturday, June 23, 2007

Nytimes/Wash Po slammed for Hamas editorials.

Media: Via the Jerusalem Post.

Several Jewish organizations expressed outrage following the publication of opinion pieces authored by a Hamas figure in two of the US's most prestigious newspapers on Wednesday.

Both The New York Times and The Washington Post ran op ed pieces by Ahmed Yousef, a senior political adviser to Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, one of two competing Palestinian Authority prime ministers.

The columns, which didn't note that Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States, sparked anger from many groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, which wrote to the Times the following day.

"Ahmed Yousef's preposterous picture of Hamas as a moderate, peace loving organization committed to a cease-fire with Israel has no basis in reality," wrote Glen S. Lewy, ADL national chairman.

"The chaos, violence and destruction in Gaza and the looting and dismantling of the security infrastructure and border control facilities that followed shows the real face of Hamas," he wrote.

Other media experts were also surprised to see two pieces by the same author in competing newspapers. Prof. Christopher Hanson, who teaches journalism ethics at the University of Maryland, said he had never seen two editorials by the same author appear in two newspapers on the same day. Hanson said editors should question whether Hamas was trying to use as many American newspapers at the same time as possible to spread its message. If so, he said, there was less justification to publish such editorials.

Some questioned whether the Times or the Washington Post would publish pieces written by other terrorist leaders, such as Osama Bin Ladin. Hansen said this was unlikely, because Hamas and al-Qaida were viewed quite differently in America.

"The United States regards itself as at war against al-Qaida because they directly attacked the United States, [whereas] the United States is trying to be a mediator with Hamas in the Palestinian issue," he said. When it came to printing an article by Bin Laden, he said, "It's hard to imagine a real circumstance under which it would be legitimate."

Oh yes they would, both places are filled with people who think posting an op-ed by Bin Laden would be courageous and correct to hear both sides of the story.

Britain: The pathetic nanny state.

Culture: Unfortunately, this type of attitude is being welcomed and encouraged by those too weak of mind and soul in this country. The end result would be sad examples of parasites demanding mommy government to be take care of them.

"....In its funny little way the news this week that the Advertising Standards Authority had banned reruns of the 1950s egg advertisements that featured Tony Hancock was more compelling evidence on the state of modern Britain than even Marr’s obiter dicta.

“Go to Work on an Egg” was unacceptable, we were told, because it encouraged an unhealthy lifestyle. I had no idea that we had a government body that still operated on Stalinist principles but there it is. How long will it be before it is not just the free speech of advertising that is curtailed but the evil practice it promotes, and we ban egg consumption along with smoking? Goodbye England. Welcome to Absurdistan.

At root of this nonsense is, of course, the sheer scale of government. The reason you can’t be allowed to eat an egg is that, because of the lack of real choice in healthcare provision, you’re no longer responsible for the financial consequences of your own actions. If you get heart disease from too much cholesterol, the State, collectively known as the NHS, will have to treat you; and that costs the State more and more money so the State will have to stop you from doing it in the first place.

This is the self-perpetuating logic behind the unstoppable momentum of the expanding State. The bigger it grows, the more it intrudes into our lives, and the more it intrudes into our lives, the more dependent we become on it. Education is the same. Our great universities are struggling to compete in a global market because they are hamstrung by the State. They are dependent on central government for their funding; but that funding is insufficient to meet the needs of global competition. But because they need government money for what they do, they cannot break free.

Leviathan is now so large that, outside London, half the population is dependent – either through public sector jobs or benefits – on taxes. Its power is so large that it has bent us all into submission. It has produced a culture in which no one needs to take responsibility for anything because someone else is always there to back us up.

That in the end, was what was behind another sorry spectacle of Britain’s decline this week – the Fulton inquiry into the capture of the Royal Marines and sailors in March by Iranians. It was of course, to outward appearances, magnificently Gilbertian – the first Sea Lord doing the honorable thing and shuffling off the blame on to anyone but himself. But its message was very modern.

Mistakes were made but no one made them.

It’s also this loss of any sense of personal responsibility and accountability that has created the conditions that have allowed Britain steadily to surrender meekly to the encroaching ambitions of European elites for the past 30 years. "

Obama goes to hardline liberal church to bash Christians

Politics: I could be wrong, but location and who is speaking too doesn't really give much weight to his message unless he is saying only liberal interpretations of religious teachings are the correct version.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Sen. Barack Obama told a church convention Saturday that some right- wing evangelical leaders have exploited and politicized religious beliefs in an effort to sow division.

"Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked," the Democratic presidential candidate said in remarks prepared for delivery before the national meeting of the United Church of Christ.

"Part of it's because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who've been all too eager to exploit what divides us," the Illinois senator said.

"At every opportunity, they've told evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage, school prayer and intelligent design," according to an advance copy of his speech.

Question! If there are issues that people disagree upon is Obama saying that it is better to ignore them and his party doesn't ridicule people of religion? Rather naive of him to say that.

Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ, a church of about 1.2 million members that is considered one the most liberal of the mainline Protestant groups.

In 1972, the church was the first to ordain an openly gay man. Two years ago, the church endorsed same-sex marriage, the largest Christian denomination to do so. Obama believes that states should decide whether to allow gay marriage, and he opposes a constitutional amendment against it.

Conservative Christian bloggers have linked Obama to what they call the "unbiblical" teachings of his church. Theological conservatives believe gay relationships violate Scripture, while more liberal Christians emphasize the Bible's social justice teachings.

Nice usage of the terms by AP writer Singer to try and boost up the liberal side to the regular teachings of the church.

Eddie Murphy is da Daddy!

Entertainment: HALF! MR. **** You MAN!

DNA tests revealed that actor Eddie Murphy, left, is indeed the father of Melanie Brown's child, according to People magazine. This comes after a bitter public feud, stemming from a comment Murphy made on Dutch TV. The actor said, "I don't know whose child that is until it comes out and has a blood test." Well, Murphy submitted to a DNA test on June 11, and the results now show that he is the father of Brown's 2-month-old child. Brown reportedly called her daughter "Baby Brown Spice" before giving her the name Angel Iris.

Cameron Diaz is too stupid to realize her mistake.

Entetainment: She is a Hollywood liberal, she saw the bag being worn somewhere as rebellious chic and took it with her. I don't think she could spell cat if you gave her the C and the A.

AGUAS CALIENTES, Peru - Actress Cameron Diaz appears to have committed a major fashion faux pas in Peru. The voice of Princess Fiona in the animated "Shrek" films may have inadvertently offended Peruvians who suffered decades of violence from a Maoist guerrilla insurgency by touring here Friday with a bag emblazoned with one of Mao Zedong's favorite political slogans.

While explored the Inca city of Machu Picchu high in Peru's Andes, Diaz wore over her shoulder an olive green messenger bag emblazoned with a red star and the words "Serve the People" printed in Chinese on the flap, perhaps Chinese Communist leader Mao's most famous political slogan.

While the bags are marketed as trendy fashion accessories in some world capitals, the phrase has particular resonance in Peru, where the Maoist Shining Path insurgency brought Peru to edge of chaos in the 1980s and early 1990s with a campaign of massacres, assassinations and bombings.

Nearly 70,000 people were killed during the insurgency.

Update# Cameron says sorry.

LIMA, Peru - Cameron Diaz apologized Sunday for wearing a bag with a political slogan that evoked painful memories in Peru.

The voice of Princess Fiona in the animated "Shrek" films visited the Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru's Andes on Friday wearing an olive green bag emblazoned with a red star and the words "Serve the People" printed in Chinese, perhaps Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong's most famous political slogan.

The bags are marketed as fashion accessories in some world capitals, but in Peru the slogan evokes memories of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency that fought the government in the 1980s and early 1990s in a bloody conflict that left nearly 70,000 people dead.

"I sincerely apologize to anyone I may have inadvertently offended. The bag was a purchase I made as a tourist in China and I did not realize the potentially hurtful nature of the slogan printed on it," Diaz said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press.

But doesn't she know the history of Communist China.. forget it. As I said she is just too stupid/naive to realize not everyone think communist slogans are chic.

Muslim peer compares Rushdie to 9/ll bombers

UK: I swear every week some prominent UK Muslim says something so stupid everyone else cringes.

Interviewed in Le Figaro newspaper in France, the Labour peer Lord Ahmed of Rotherham added fuel to the row when he hit out at Mr Rushdie.

"This honour is given in recognition of services rendered to Great Britain," he said. "Salman Rushdie lives in New York. He is controversial man who has insulted Muslim people, Christians and the British. He does not deserve the honour.

"Two weeks ago Tony Blair spoke about constructing bridges with Muslims. What hypocrisy.

"What would one say if the Saudi or Afghan governments honoured the martyrs of the September 11 attacks on the United States?"

His words follow that of the Pakistani religious affairs minister Ijaz ul-Haq who said the move to honour Mr Rushdie justified suicide bombings.

Friday, June 22, 2007

How did Wash Po and Nytimes gets Hamas op-eds

Media: and posting a terrorist group pleading on the same day in their papers. No big secret, they just gave it in and the papers didn't know it.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Shunned by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization, the Islamist group Hamas scored a publicity coup this week by defending its policies in Gaza with opinion pieces in two of the country's most influential newspapers on the same day.

The New York Times and The Washington Post gave space to Ahmed Yousef, a senior Hamas figure, on Wednesday to argue that the United States should not interfere in Gaza, where Hamas took control after six days of bloody fighting against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah fighters.

Yousef is senior political adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, who became Palestinian prime minister after elections last year. He is now contesting his dismissal by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who formed a new government in the West Bank after Hamas took over Gaza.

Hamas leaders rarely have access to major U.S. media to express their views unfiltered, and getting an opinion piece into the Times and the Post on the same day appeared unprecedented.

Both Fred Hiatt, the Post's editorial page editor and David Shipley, the Times' deputy editorial page editor, said they would not have carried the articles had they known of the other paper's publishing plans.

What coup? Any terrorist group can get printed in both papers these days just by writing in to give their case.

First Muslim MP stands down after death threats.

UK: Where is the police in all of this? This is why moderate Muslims are in short supply over there.

A Labour MP is stepping down after receiving death threats over his role in bringing three racist killers to justice.

Mohammad Sarwar, who became Britain's first Muslim MP in 1997, said he feared the lives of his family were also in jeopardy.

He was instrumental in arranging the extradition of Imran Shahid, Zeeshan Shahid and Mohammed Faisal Mushtaq after they fled to Pakistan.

The three were jailed for life last year for the abduction and racially aggravated murder of teenager Kriss Donald, who was kidnapped, tortured and killed in Glasgow in 2004.

Mr Sarwar, 54, told the Daily Record: "Life is not the same, to be honest with you, since I brought them back. I was subjected to threats.

"I was told they wanted to punish my family and make a horrible example of my son - they would do to him what they did to Kriss Donald. I received threats to my life, to murder my sons, to murder my grandchildren."

Senate Passes Pro-Renewables Energy Bill

Nation: Another in a line of feel good, sounds good bills with no basis in reality.

WASHINGTON -- The Senate passed an energy bill late Thursday that includes an increase in automobile fuel economy, new laws against energy price-gouging and a requirement for huge increases in the production of ethanol.

In an eleventh-hour compromise fashioned after two days of closed-door meetings, an agreement was reached to increase average fuel economy by 40 percent to 35 miles per gallon for cars, SUVs and pickup trucks by 2020.

...Supporters said the new requirement would save 2.5 million barrels of oil a day by 2025, when large numbers of the more fuel-stingy cars will be on the road.

Republicans complained that the energy bill is tilted too much toward renewables and fuel efficiency and does nothing to boost domestic oil or natural gas production.

But its supporters said it reflects a shift to a new energy priorities, away from promoting fossil fuels to supporting other energy sources such wind and biomass to make electricity and ethanol to power cars and trucks.

The legislation provides a bonanza to farmers and the ethanol industry. It requires ethanol production to grow to at least 36 billion gallon a year by 2022, a sevenfold increase of the amount of ethanol processed last year.

Get ready for higher prices for food, manufactured products across the board if this bill becomes law. But at least the ethanol lobby is happy.

Even cheese for pizza has gone up.

The biggest reason for the cost increase is a sharp rise in the cost of feed grain, primarily corn. Fueled by the growing popularity of ethanol, corn prices have risen to about $4 a bushel, roughly double the price from a year ago.


Mexican Farmers Nix Tequila Plant For Corn
Ethanol Demand Has Doubled Corn Prices, Making It More Profitable Than Agave

Audience doesn't miss Rosie that much.

Entertainment: The View ratings are still up without Rosie.

Maybe they don’t miss Rosie so much after all.

The ratings boost that Rosie O’Donnell had helped to give “The View” during her nine months as a co-host has not subsided in her absence, at least not thus far.

During the weeks of June 4 and June 11 — the first full weeks since Ms. O’Donnell left the morning talk show on ABC — it drew an average of 3.4 million viewers a day, an increase of about 16 percent, or nearly a half-million viewers, over the comparable two weeks a year ago, according to estimates provided yesterday by Nielsen Media Research. From September until late April, when Ms. O’Donnell announced her intention to leave, the show’s ratings were up about 17 percent when compared with the same period a year earlier.

Aussies stood down Iranian gunboats in 2004

Australia: Broken by BBC reporter Frank Gardner, this will bring up questions on why the Brits got caught.

Zimbabwe in currency meltdown

Africa: I still have faith in South Africa's soft diplomacy to make things better...

Zimbabwe's beleaguered currency has lost half its value in three days, black market dealers said last night, prompting predictions that the country was plunging into an economic meltdown that its veteran leader Robert Mugabe would not survive.

According to the government in Harare, one US dollar is worth 250 Zimbabwean dollars. But the free market rate yesterday reached more than Z$300,000 to one US dollar.

"It's gone crazy," said one illegal trader. "People are holding out for the highest bidder and mentioning as much as 400,000-1, which could be tomorrow's price. It's changing by the hour. Rates have doubled since the start of the week."

While Mr Mugabe's demise has been predicted time and again over the years, analysts believe that the financial crisis now threatens his hold even on the loyalists who have kept him in power for so long.

Obama trying to have it both ways and failing.

Politics: The days of trying to remain above it all while your staff, some who were hired because of certain reputations do the dirty work as you can play the saint are long over. No one is going to give him that sort of leeway.

Despite often-lofty rhetoric that he plans to bring the nation a "new kind of politics," Sen. Barack Obama has surrounded himself with operatives skilled in the old-school art of the political back stab.

Yet when Obama was criticized this week for opposition research memos critical of Sen. Hillary Clinton's ties to India and Indian-Americans, he was quick to blame his staff.

"It was a screw-up on the part of our research team," he told editors and reporters with The Des Moines Register. "It wasn't anything I had seen or my senior staff had seen."

That is starting to sound familiar. It was at least the third time since February the Illinois Democrat has blamed his staff for a glitch.

When Obama assembled his crew early this year, he brought together a team with a long track record for the sort of caustic rhetoric he has pledged to avoid, just as other presidential candidates have done by hiring people similarly talented in the art of opposition research and attack. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) even hired some of the very people that trashed his 2000 presidential bid.

....In making his apologies for the flap, Obama sought to reassert one of his strongest selling points: that he is an agent of change who is capable of changing the tone of the nation's political debate. But as Obama and his handlers well know, it is a tricky balance between staying above the fray and proving to Democratic activists that you are tough enough to take on the Republican nominee.

"There are times where I find myself slipping into the sort of caustic tit-for-tat politics I think is typical," Obama told Iowa's largest newspaper. "The environment pushes you in that direction oftentimes."

Such statements have created a higher standard for Obama, one that does not always jibe with the group of political operatives who encircle him.

Man gets sick benefits for heavy metal addiction

Sweden: Bless the sweds for coming up with more ways to waste taxpayer's money on a person like this.

A Swedish heavy metal fan has had his musical preferences officially classified as a disability. The results of a psychological analysis enable the metal lover to supplement his income with state benefits.

Roger Tullgren, 42, from Hässleholm in southern Sweden has just started working part time as a dishwasher at a local restaurant.
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Because heavy metal dominates so many aspects of his life, the Employment Service has agreed to pay part of Tullgren's salary. His new boss meanwhile has given him a special dispensation to play loud music at work.

"I have been trying for ten years to get this classified as a handicap," Tullgren told The Local.

"I spoke to three psychologists and they finally agreed that I needed this to avoid being discriminated against."

I'm addicted to a lot of things but this is not that type of blog to air it in public.

Entertainment tidbits.

Entertainment: Variety review of Transformers.

If it's true that there's an 8-year-old boy inside every man, "Transformers" is just the ticket to bring the kid out. Big, loud and full of testosterone-fueled car fantasies, Michael Bay's actioner hits a new peak for CGI work, showcasing spectacular chases and animated transformation sequences seamlessly blended into live-action surroundings. There's no longer any question whether special effects can be made more realistic: The issue is whether disposable actors can be trained to play better with bluescreens. Paramount/DreamWorks' summer tentpole is certain to do gangbusters biz, while the sequel-screaming ending and the usual spinoffs should send ancillary through the roof.

"Big, loud and full of testosterone-fueled car fantasies" buzzwords to take to heart.

Samuel L. Jackson to play Nick Fury in Ironman movie coming out next year. This is not unexpected given Ultimate Nick Fury is based on Jackson.

Wizard Magazine has pics from the New York Licensing Show of various comic book figures. Batbike looks asskickery.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Journalists doling out money to mostly Democrats.

Media: That comes as no surprise that journalists are giving close to 9 to 1 to the Dems. What is amazing and outrageous is reading some of the answers given to Bill Dedman. Some are defensive, don't care or livid like one time MTV smug presenter Gideon Yago. Others like, Rachel Schwanewede, senior editor

(D), Rachel Schwanewede, senior editor,, $461.30 to America Coming Together in October 2004. She was among the more than 20 journalists who bought tickets to the "Vote for Change" series of concerts to raise money to defeat President Bush in 2004. is not naming the others, but in the interest of transparency we are naming our own.

Schwanewede said she purchased the tickets for her husband's birthday for a Springsteen concert.

"There's no intention of mine to donate to any political campaign." policy requires permission of the editor in chief for any political activity.

and Alix Kendall of KMSP sound just plain stupid or ignorant of how election donations work and why it would bother people.

I do agree with Brian Montopoli of CBS Public Eye that some of the people are no brainers especially if they are working for Salon or New Yorker. It would be best to have researched those in places that are seen community/nationwide such as newspapers, television stations, radio networks and the employees that work there.

I'm more concerned seeing Dow Jones,Bloomberg and other news people on the list, most who refused to explain themselves because they work for companies that put out pieces that are distributed worldwide. The excuse of the donations don't matter because I can separate bias from his/her reports is a flat out lie.

It would make for interesting research if bloggers and others research their own hometown or region media entities and see if that 9 to 1 ratio holds.

Update# Fallout from the report as Randy Cohen’s “The Ethicist” column gets dropped before even running in the Spokesman Review.

The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer(Warcraft)

Gaming: Via NYTIMES Magazine, very long article but informative on the "careers" of Gold farmers.

Liberals demand government shutdown of talk radio.

Media: Typical, they can't get ratings or run a coherent radio network(Air America) so it is time for the government to force fairness on their terms.

MSNBC's new slogan by Chris Matthews.

Entertainment: Hilarious but it is MSNBC so it fits.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hamas apologists and sycophants are all over the place.

Middle East: NYtimes posting an op-ed piece by Ahmed Yousef an adviser to Ismail Haniya.

"...We reject attempts to divide Palestine into two parts and to pass Hamas off as an extreme and dangerous force. We continue to believe that there is still a chance to establish a long-term truce. But this will not happen unless the international community fully engages with Hamas.

Any further attempts to marginalize us, starve our people into submission or attack us militarily will prove that the United States and Israeli governments are not genuinely interested in seeing an end to the violence. Dispassionate observers over the next few weeks will be able to make up their own minds as to each side’s true intentions."

At least they know their audience, the urban liberal know nothings of the NYTIMES op-ed pages. I think we are way pass any doubts about Hamas being passed off as an extreme and dangerous force given pass violence and the last couple of weeks. LGF finds Ahmed Yousef taking the zionists are behind 9/11opinion.

Jimmy Carter who has never met a dictator or terrorist group he wouldn't suck up too says deal with Hamas.

A Guardian CiFer demands everyone deal with Hamas, why? The Palestinians elected them so there.

If Israelis want peace, they have to talk to the people the Palestinians want, not those anointed and armed by Israel and the US.

One of the points about democracy is that sometimes the "wrong" people win. Many Americans and British looking at their present leaders can ruefully relate to that. Indeed, Ehud Olmert has popularity ratings within a statistical range of zero. Nonetheless, other governments and the political institutions inside their own countries continue to talk to them and recognize them. The rest of the world continued talking to, indeed pandering to Israel, even while the butcher of Sabra and Shatila was its prime minister. That's democracy.

The purpose of the Palestinian elections was to elect a government the Palestinians wanted, not one that Israel liked. Hamas won, fair and square, and did so against a background of Fatah incompetence and corruption that had been connived at, and indeed tacitly encouraged by the west and Israel, in return for Yasser Arafat's pliability at the negotiating table.

Now as a born-again atheist, whose last book was an ode to rum, Hamas would be very low down in my list of preferences for voting - indeed somewhere alongside a teetotal born-again Christian from Texas for US president in my ranking order.

Even so, Hamas has been demonized by Israel, the US, and the EU, which should give pause for thought. A rule of thumb suggests that Washington and its allies may not be entirely accurate in their depiction of events.

I need my memory refreshed, but just because they got into power doesn't mean the West should continue on talking to them. The Palestianians went from a worst choice to an even worse choice in Hamas. They did it of their own free will and everyone else is free to not engage with a terrorist group like Hamas or send money which will just be used to attack Israel.

Until Hamas rejects violence, changes its charter and act like a real party instead of a terrorist organization only then should they be engaged. I don't remember this much pleading to deal with an unsavory group of people when Haider's party got elected 6-8 years back. That lead to the EU, Euro governments and even America to try and boycott Austria of all places. Hamas has to change first, then everyone talks.

Unions giddy about open voting.

Bidness: Then they can figure out who to ground and pound to make their point that unions are a good thing for workers.

The bill, already approved by the House but facing the threat of a veto by the Bush administration, would give employees at a workplace the right to unionize as soon as a majority signed cards saying they wanted to do so. Under current law, an employer can insist on a secret-ballot election, even after a majority sign.

Union leaders see enactment of the bill as the single most important step toward reversing labor’s long-term loss of membership and might. Virtually all Democrats in Congress are backing the legislation, partly because they recognize that a stronger labor movement, providing campaign contributions and volunteers, could translate into a stronger Democratic Party.

Footbaths at UM-Dearborn a trojan horse?

Culture: I'm beginning to think some very slick BSing was created by the Muslim Student Association with the footbaths and now we learn of a "reflection" room. When you can't get you goal in a direct way then you figure out an end-around. Article in the Michigan Journal with some interesting facts.

The university and proponents of the new structures claim that the stations are necessary for the Muslim students on campus who must wash their feet and hands before praying - something they do five times daily. Previously, Muslim students were seen in bathrooms propping up their feet into bathroom sinks to perform the ritual, though others simply wiped their feet with wet paper towels.

"[The administration] realized that students were more or less abusing bathroom facilities," explained student Nadia Bazzy. Two years ago, when the issue first came on the school's radar, Bazzy chaired the Muslim Accommodation Task Force, a sub-group of UM-D's Muslim Student Association. According to Bazzy, it was the administration that brought up the issue of installing foot-washing stations after noticing that sinks in the library were coming off of the walls, presumably due to Muslim students washing their feet in them.

"It was just an issue of logistics and maintenance," said Bazzy, "as opposed to this huge religious accommodation."

But it was put in because of the religious practices of Muslims to "maybe" save on logistics and maintenance which is a nice built in excuse to get around the obvious fact. Here is where I am seeing a very slick end-around championed by either very guillible people or flat out liars.

The discussion came on the heels of talks about the "reflection" room, which can now be seen on the second floor of the school's University Center. The push for both constructions was spearheaded by MSA and discussed with members of administration and facilities planning.

.....The biggest argument against the stations about the separation of church and state is still being hotly debated. A similar argument has come up in regard to the UC's reflection room, which many believe is intended solely for Muslim students. Bazzy, along with the administration, is adamant that it is not an issue of favoring one religion over another. "Everything the Muslim Accommodation Task Force has done has been for all students," Bazzy said. "There's not an exclusive sign over anything." For example, she said, non-Muslim students could use the foot-washing stations if their feet became muddy from walking outside on a rainy day.

Ahh....You think that could fool a Corleone? This is George Mason redux as the Muslim Students of America took over a mediation room meant for all students and got foot baths which started out for everybody to use.

It's very simple. If the reflection room is for all students just like the GW mediation room was for all students but you have one set of students who pray five times a day, what do you think is going to happen over a couple of months? Perception is that it is a Muslim room only, I wouldn't be shocked a couple of months from now you get complaints of Islamic paraphernalia are being left or stored in the room which would make others uncomfortable.

If everything comes up kosher, I will admit I am wrong. But I not getting that big of a doubting feeling that the scenario I put out there is wrong.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Unnamed buyer orders Airbus A380 as private jet

Culture: Stylin and profilin all night long.

LE BOURGET, France, June 19, 2007 (AFP) - Attention hip hop stars and billionaires: the world's biggest airliner, the 73-metre-long (239-feet) Airbus A380 superjumbo, has been ordered by a mysterious buyer for private use.

The order could be seen as setting new heights in the private jet sector, leaving the Learjet, which used to be the ultimate symbol of ostentatious air travel, in second class.

The doubledecker A380, which enters service later this year, is capable of carrying 840 passengers, has 900 square metres (10,000 square feet) of cabin space and towers over its biggest rival, the Boeing 747.

Airbus sales director John Leahy declined to say when or to where the jet would be delivered, but fitting the plane to the specification demanded from the buyer is expected to take more than a year.

"It will be for personal use for him and his entourage," Leahy told AFP on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show.

"I can't tell you who it is but he's not from Europe or the United States."

The buyer is likely to have paid over 300 million dollars (224 million euros) for the standard plane, according to the latest Airbus catalogue prices, but will then have costs for customisation.

Aage Duenhaupt, communications director for Lufthansa Technik, which converts large commercial aircraft into private jets, said most of the company's clients came from the Middle East.

Lufthansa Technik has some mockups for the A380 interior, so sweet.

News Corp looking to swap MySpace for Yahoo stake.

Bidness: Interesting deal that may be in the works despite the change in leadership.

News Corporation has discussed swapping MySpace, its internet social networking unit, with Yahoo! in return for a 25 per cent stake in the enlarged group.

The discussions remain tentative and could collapse after the departure of Terry Semel as Yahoo!’s chief executive and his replacement by Jerry Yang this week. Mr Yang, co-founder of Yahoo! and incoming chief executive, yesterday pledged to “dig in” to his new role, and acknowledged the difficult task he faces to arrest the decline in the internet portal’s shares.

News Corp, the parent company of The Times, is interested in a deal even if it means losing some control of MySpace because it would give the media group exposure to a far larger internet-based business.

Other News Corp digital assets, including the games network IGN, bought in 2005 for $650 million (£326 million), are also thought to have been offered to Yahoo!.

A deal would demonstrate a remarkably swift return on News Corp’s investment in MySpace, which it acquired for $580 million in summer 2005.

Yesterday Yahoo! was worth $37 billion. A quarter stake in an enlarged company would be worth $12.3 billion.

Tim Palmer of Mediawatch seems bit of a tool.

Media: Also does horrendous fact checking on his show in Australia.

It's not just newspaper and online editors who're prepared to tolerate cyber-racism in the name of free speech.

There are the bloggers.

Tim Blair, who edits The Daily Telegraph's opinion pages, also runs a blog.

He allowed this vicious discussion about Muslim taxi drivers supposedly knocking back passengers with guide dogs.

According to this article there is no supposed about it.

TAXI drivers regularly refuse to carry blind passengers with guide dogs - including Australia's Human Rights Commissioner - with many citing religious reasons, or other excuses like allergies.

Human Rights and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes, who is blind and reliant on his guide dog Jordie, is a regular Sydney cab user and said he was refused service on average once a month, including twice in two days recently.

He has been told on a number of occasions that it would be against a driver's religion to allow a dog in the cab.

Mr Innes has also been refused by drivers claiming to be allergic to dogs - or afraid of them - and was even left clutching at air on busy Market St by one belligerent driver who told him he had to take the non-existent cab in front.

Mr Innes yesterday received the backing of Vision Australia (VA), which said taxi drivers refusing to carry blind passengers with guide dogs happened with "too much regularity".

I would hate to think this Palmer fellow is using a show on media to try and censor people's blogs and paper's comment section because they offend his leftist sensibilities. That would be an abuse of power. But his last comment seems to suggest that is his goal.

Perhaps some online papers and blog sites are giving people too much rope.

Everyone has the right to express their views and those offended have the right to complain.

But has the responsibility to filter out the worst and most divisive comments - observed in print - disappeared in the new electronic media?

Tip: Tim Blair

Wash Post/MSNBC employees at leftist conference.

Media: I approve of this by Washington Post and Msnbc employees, that whole objective media people with no agenda was a drag. Come on out.

Froomkin Watch
No column tomorrow -- I'm appearing on a panel about mainstream media political coverage at the Take Back America 2007 conference.

I can only guess how this media panel on the MSM is going to go.

Session: The Mainstream Media: Fair and Balanced

Jon Elliot Cenk Uyger Richard Wolffe Dan Froomkin Marisa Treviño David Shuster Keith Boykin Craig Crawford Duncan Black

Dems going to label conservative radio as hate crime?

Media: If they can't get the fairness doctrine back, this would be the way to get rid of all that evil conservative radio shows and other broadcasts that offend liberal's feelings. They are going after conservative media.

While NTIA, which is the Bush administration's telecommunications policy advisory arm, already produced a study on the topic under the first president Bush back in 1992, Reps. John Dingell and Ed Markey urged it to update the study given the rise in the Internet since them. But, according to a release from the commitee issued Monday, they also said they are also "particularly" interested in studying "uses by broadcast facilites licensed on behalf of the public by the FCC, and whether such uses convey messages of bigotry or hatred, creating a climate of fear and inciting individuals to commit hate crimes."

A committee source would not say what had engendered that particular concern about broadcasters' conveying "messages of bigotry and hatred," adding that it was a general query rather than targeted at any one group. But some Democrats and media activist groups have been highly critical of conservative talk radio, labeling it hate speech.

No hugging, touching in Virginia school

Culture: This is idiotic in so many ways.

All touching -- not only fighting or inappropriate touching -- is against the rules at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna. Hand-holding, handshakes and high-fives? Banned. The rule has been conveyed to students this way: "NO PHYSICAL CONTACT!!!!!"

School officials say the rule helps keep crowded hallways and lunchrooms safe and orderly, and ensures that all students are comfortable. But Hal, 13, and his parents think the school's hands-off approach goes too far, and they are lobbying for a change.

"I think hugging is a good thing," said Hal, a seventh-grader, a few days before the end of the school year. "I put my arm around her. It was like for 15 seconds. I didn't think it would be a big deal."

A Fairfax schools spokesman said there is no countywide ban like the one at Kilmer, but many middle schools and some elementary schools have similar "keep your hands to yourself" rules. Officials in Arlington, Loudoun and Prince George's counties said schools in those systems prohibit inappropriate touching and disruptive behavior but don't forbid all contact.

Deborah Hernandez, Kilmer's principal, said the rule makes sense in a school that was built for 850 students but houses 1,100. She said that students should have their personal space protected and that many lack the maturity to understand what is acceptable or welcome.

"You get into shades of gray," Hernandez said. "The kids say, 'If he can high-five, then I can do this.' "

She has seen a poke escalate into a fight and a handshake that is a gang sign. Some students -- and these are friends -- play "bloody knuckles," which involves slamming their knuckles together as hard as they can. Counselors have heard from girls who are uncomfortable hugging boys but embarrassed to tell anyone. And in a culturally diverse school, officials say, families might have different views of what is appropriate.

Human beings were not meant not to touch each other. This looks like the school going to the extreme so they don't have to make decisions that would get some irate parent complaining about an incident involving their kid. All this is doing is creating socially inept children who will be scared to do anything because they think they will get into trouble.

School is one of the most important places where kids develop their social kids that will carry them on in life. You start pulling stunts like this and you are going to get an ugly society.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Muslim world inflamed by Rushdie knighthood

Religion: Not exactly, just some idiots in Pakistan and Iran making the required fuss along with the required death threat.

Sir Salman Rushdie celebrates his 60th birthday today in familiar circumstances: he is once again the subject of death threats across the Islamic world.

Eighteen years after the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling on Muslims to kill him, a government minister in Pakistan said yesterday that Rushdie’s recent knighthood justified suicide bombing.

The question of blasphemy in The Satanic Verses, Rushdie’s 1988 tale of a prophet misled by the devil, remains a deeply sensitive issue in much of the Muslim world and the author’s inclusion in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last week has inflamed anti-British sentiment.

Gerald Butt, editor of the authoritative Middle East Economic Survey, told The Times: “It will be interpreted as an action calculated to goad Muslims at a time when the atmosphere is already very tense and Britain’s standing in the region is very low because of its involvement in Iraq and its lack of action in tackling the Palestine issue.”

The Muslim Council of Britain weighs in as UK Muslims once again are an embarrassment to Western Muslims.

The Muslim Council of Britain, while condemning any threats to Rushdie's life, also attacked the decision to grant him a knighthood. "Salman Rushdie earned notoriety among Muslims for the highly insulting and blasphemous manner in which he portrayed early Islamic figures much-loved and honoured by them," Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said. "The insensitive decision to grant Rushdie a knighthood can therefore only do harm to the image of our country in the eyes of hundreds of millions of Muslims across the world," he added. "Many will interpret the knighthood as a final contemptuous parting gift from Tony Blair to the Muslim world."

Labour peer Lord Ahmed said: "It's hypocrisy by Tony Blair who two weeks ago was talking about building bridges to mainstream Muslims, and then he's honouring a man who has insulted the British public and been divisive in community relations."

If building bridges to "mainstream" Muslims in this case is to deny or shy away from Rushdie its not going to be well received by the rest of the public. UK starts to do things in earnest so as not to offend Muslims on every single thing will worsen the situation and pour scorn on Muslims instead.

ACLU endorses Muslim footbaths at UM-Dearborn.

Culture: We finally found a religion that the ACLU won't go after as long as they can BS their way out of it.

DEARBORN -- Muslim leaders in Metro Detroit have decided not to raise private money to pay for two footbaths at a local college campus now that the American Civil Liberties Union has said the plan doesn't pose constitutional problems.

The University of Michigan-Dearborn's plan to spend $25,000 on the footbaths was criticized on conservative blogs and radio shows this month. Critics said using public money for the project would violate the First Amendment, which says governments can't favor or subsidize religions.

Muslims are required to wash body parts, including feet, up to five times daily before prayers.

University officials say the floor-level wash basins are needed because some students at the 8,600-student campus wash their feet in the sinks.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said his group was concerned a public outcry would cause the university to back down from the project.

"If the ACLU had decided to take legal action against the UM-Dearborn, we probably would have called for the university to raise the funds privately, just so that the UM-Dearborn wouldn't have to go through the trouble of having to defend its position against the ACLU," Walid said.

Kary Moss, director of the Detroit branch of the ACLU, said its review concluded the plan is a "reasonable accommodation" to resolve "safety and cleanliness issues" that arose when Muslims used public sinks for foot cleaning before prayers, which often spilled water on bathroom floors.

"We view it as an attempt to deal with a problem, not an attempt to make it easier for Muslims to pray," said Moss, who likened the plan to paying for added police during religious events with huge turnouts.

"There's no intent to promote religion."

But without the footbaths it would be harder to pray and they are being put their by Muslim groups with public money for a specific religious reason.

"I am both Muslim and Christian"

Religion: I hate to bag on the Episcopal church and this story is more about one person than the church, it always seem to me the American Episcopal church just embraces everything and anything that comes along not to make waves or take a stand. When you stand for everything, you stand for nothing. How can you just go "oh okay, she is Muslim and Christian..carry on."

Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.

On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest.

She does both, she says, because she's Christian and Muslim.

Redding, who until recently was director of faith formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, has been a priest for more than 20 years. Now she's ready to tell people that, for the last 15 months, she's also been a Muslim — drawn to the faith after an introduction to Islamic prayers left her profoundly moved.

Her announcement has provoked surprise and bewilderment in many, raising an obvious question: How can someone be both a Christian and a Muslim?
Redding seems to be embrace the notion of feel or sound good then its a-okay.

Redding, who will begin teaching the New Testament as a visiting assistant professor at Seattle University this fall, has a different analogy: "I am both Muslim and Christian, just like I'm both an American of African descent and a woman. I'm 100 percent both."

Redding doesn't feel she has to resolve all the contradictions. People within one religion can't even agree on all the details, she said. "So why would I spend time to try to reconcile all of Christian belief with all of Islam?

"At the most basic level, I understand the two religions to be compatible. That's all I need."

....Redding knows there are many Christians and Muslims who will not accept her as both.

"I don't care," she says. "They can't take away my baptism." And as she understands it, once she's made her profession of faith to become a Muslim, no one can say she isn't that, either.

While she doesn't rule out that one day she may choose one or the other, it's more likely "that I'm going to be 100 percent Christian and 100 percent Muslim when I die."

Read the article as she gets a bit torn apart by others, but in summary.

PM Helen Clark says meh to Dalai Lama.

New Zealand: It seems China got their own little New Zealand concubine.

Wellington, June 18 (AP): New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark today ruled out a formal meeting with the Dalai Lama when he is in the capital, Wellington, tomorrow - after meeting with him last week at an airport in Australia.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters will meet the revered Buddhist icon, but only in his private capacity as leader of the New Zealand First Party.

"The Dalai Lama is not a head of government, I don't meet every visitor to New Zealand," Clark said.

"He is no ordinary spiritual or religious leader either, you can see that by the way in which controversy surrounds these visits," Clark told TV One's Breakfast programme.

China, which rules Tibet, objects when any government representative meets the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader. New Zealand currently is negotiating a free trade agreement with China, expected to be the first China will sign with a western-style economy.

She meets him in Australia how brave. At least be honest and say you don't want to damage your trade agreement and meeting China's needs is a 24/7 job.

Hurricane blows Hispanic workers back to New Orleans

Nation: AFP about 2 years late on this story and thats their headline, I couldn't improve on it.

Brass bands and jazz, crawfish po-boys and gumbo still rule in the French Quarter, where tourists flock in search of New Orleans cultural icons.

But venture outside the city's historic center, into neighborhoods being rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, and the music of choice is more likely to have a Latin beat, while lunch is a stuffed tortilla.

An influx of Latino workers from Mexico and Central America is radically altering the demographics of New Orleans, a place that fiercely guards its traditions and often seems impervious to change.

The trend began shortly after Katrina ravaged the city in August 2005, precipitating a mass evacuation and destroying tens of thousands of homes.

Workers from Latin America poured into the region to help with the massive cleanup, and almost two years later thousands have stayed on.

Their presence is evident all over the city.

Groups of day laborers gather at intersections and outside home improvement stores looking for work on painting and construction crews.

Several Mexican restaurants have opened, and Latino families congregate Sunday afternoons in neighborhood parks that were once largely unused.

"Prior to Katrina, we had a very stable, well-established (Hispanic) community here, but it wasn't growing, unlike other cities in the US," said Martin Gutierrez, director of the Hispanic Apostolate, a Catholic organization.

"All of that changed after the hurricane."

Spanish radio stations and newspapers have expanded. The daily New Orleans Times-Picayune now runs an employment supplement in both Spanish and English.

And a section of eastern New Orleans that was once almost exclusively Vietnamese now sports grocery stores and other businesses catering to a growing Latino market.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Senate Democrats going to drive oil prices even higher.

Bidness: This scheme is going to backfire just like Jimmy Carter's windfall tax on oil companies just made America more dependent on foreign oil. But it is the typical Dem thinking, it sounds and feels good to stick it to the evil oil industry so lets go for it.
Senate Democrats are seeking a major reversal of energy tax policies that would take billions of dollars in tax breaks and other benefits from the oil industry to underwrite renewable fuels.

The tax increases would reverse incentives passed as recently as three years ago to increase domestic exploration and production of oil and gas. The change reflects a shift from the Republican focus on expanding oil production to the Democratic concern about reducing global warming.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee will take up a bill that would raise about $14 billion from oil companies over 10 years and would give about the same amount of money on new incentives for solar power, wind power, cellulosic ethanol and numerous other renewable energy sources. The bill is one of the signature issues this year for Democrats, along with immigration and the war in Iraq, and one in which they hope to clearly distinguish themselves from the Republicans.

I think they forgot they are not Hugo Chavez and the oil companies are not under government control. You tax the oil companies higher, they cut back on production because it becomes too expensive to run their business. That leads to less money coming in while demand for oil is going to go up which means you find foreign suppliers.

In addition to higher taxes for oil companies, House and Senate Democrats are hitting at the oil industry in other ways. The Senate bill would give the federal government more power to prosecute companies that engage in “price gouging” on gasoline prices, which is broadly defined in the bill as charging “unconscionably excessive” prices that reflect “unfair leverage.” A similar measure is moving through the House.

Separately, the House Natural Resources Committee passed a bill last week that would, among other things, crack down on companies that cheat on royalties they pay for oil and gas pumped on publicly owned land.

In effect, the various bills would transfer billions of dollars from oil companies to producers of renewable fuels.

Those companies are big Dem contributors considering this next bit of information.

Privately, some Democrats say it is payback time: the oil industry’s political contributions have overwhelmingly gone to Republican lawmakers and President Bush, and many Democrats say they have little sympathy for the industry now.

It is unclear whether Republicans or Mr. Bush plan to protect the industry.

In stinging criticism earlier this month, the White House Office of Management and Budget said the proposed price-gouging measure amounted to price regulation that would jeopardize investment in oil production and ultimately hurt consumers.

But it sounds good to the consumers so the plan is sound..right?

Oil industry scales back refinery plans

Nation: Good news everyone.

WASHINGTON - A push from Congress and the White House for huge increases in biofuels, such as ethanol, is prompting the oil industry to scale back its plans for refinery expansions. That could keep gasoline prices high, possibly for years to come.

With President Bush calling for a 20 percent drop in gasoline use and the Senate now debating legislation for huge increases in ethanol production, oil companies see growing uncertainty about future gasoline demand and little need to expand refineries or build new ones.

Oil industry executives no longer believe there will be the demand for gasoline over the next decade to warrant the billions of dollars in refinery expansions — as much as 10 percent increase in new refining capacity — they anticipated as recently as a year ago.

Biofuels such as ethanol and efforts to get automakers to build more fuel-efficient cars and SUVs have been portrayed as key to countering high gasoline prices, but they are likely to do little to curb costs at the pump today, or in the years ahead as refiners reduce gasoline production.

I am shocked...SHOCKED! that the oil companies would cut back on building refineries because of this biofuel, ethanol craze. Who would have thought a business would make a business decision? The logical thing would have been to make transition plans to help drive down oil prices while moving to expand and diverse energy supplies. That would have been the mature thing to do, instead we have politicians and idiot enviro nuts screaming about the evil oil industry and making things worse.

This is not even covering the fact that ethanol and biofuels are driving up prices on commodities and hurting the environment.

Ethanol mania!

Food, meanwhile, is rising, too, because more corn is being used to produce ethanol, the magic elixir that, with enough government subsidies, is supposed to solve our energy woes.

Corn, along with its derivatives such as sweeteners, is among the most pervasive ingredient in the American diet. It's in soft drinks, it's in dog food, it's in breakfast cereal, salad dressing and cans of baked beans.

It's fed to steers and pigs and chickens and cows, which drives up the price of meat, eggs and milk.

Ethanol may not be doing much to quench our thirst for oil, but it's giving us quite a hangover at the supermarket checkout.

Blame California for even higher prices.

FRESNO, Calif. - Gasoline sold in the Golden State will include up to 10 percent ethanol, California air managers decided Thursday, a move the renewable fuels industry says will shift the burgeoning ethanol market into high gear.

All California refineries making gas sold in the state will have to blend 10 percent ethanol into their gas to meet new fuel standards set by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger starting Dec. 31, 2009, under the resolution adopted by the California Air Resources Board.

Industry groups said the ruling will almost double demand for the biofuel in California, which last year used about 1 billion gallons of ethanol, or nearly one-fifth of the total consumed nationwide.

NBC to be become liberal agenda television?

Entertainment: As some would say "what? even more than now?" Nikki Finke on the new programming chief Ben Silverman.

EXCLUSIVE: I've been looking deeper at Ben Silverman and seeing that huge questions are now swirling around Jeff Zucker's handpicked NBC Universal's TV entertainment chief: Why does he want to inject his liberal politics into primetime programming? Why is he already making plans to leave the network? Why are his heroes Normal Lear and Horatio Alger and Cheech and Chong? Why doesn't he care if his employees smoke dope on the weekends? Why hasn't he yet taken his company-mandated drug test? Silverman, the co-chair of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, is already showing himself to be the most off-the-hook network executive that Hollywood has ever seen.

On the other hand, bringing the network from fourth place up to first place may require not just out-of-the-box thinking but also out-of-the-box behavior. As Silverman himself told someone recently in a moment of self-analysis, "I hate the fact that I'm unapologetic about who I am."

The ultimate issue is how this plays out with his conservative corporate parent GE and his immediate boss Zucker. Right now, I'm told by an insider, "At this point in time, Ben has the complete backing and confidence of this company, both NBC and GE." But Silverman was not included among the GE/NBC Universal executives who spoke before Wall Steet analysts for four hours yesterday.

Even after getting his NBC Universal TV gig, Silverman in conversations with people isn't trying to hide his politics: he is open about being "fed up" with the current White House administration and "totally liberal ... I'm as liberal as Norman Lear was." Silverman likes to describe himself as "a Kennedy sort of guy", fiscally conservative and socially liberal. This kind of ideological frankness is applauded in Hollywood. But it also tends to make network parent companies nervous since it opens them up to criticism that showbiz injects political messages into programming. I've written extensively about how the Big Media companies are conservative in their politics. It'll be fascinating to see GE react to Silverman fulfilling his promise to put more progressive politics into his programming as an NBC suit. "I'm sure it makes me a target," he already has acknowledged to people.

He hero-worships All In The Family creator Norman Lear, the outspoken supporter of First Amendment and progressive causes. "I'm a huge fan and friend," Silverman has said. "I value his counsel." So much that Silverman wants to program "big bold TV shows" like Lear used to put on the tube. Ben has said he believes, for instance, that the continuing immigration storyline on his ABC show Ugly Betty is important because it can influence American attitudes towards illegal aliens and "shift the tidal wave."

At the same time, he likes to describe himself as a "big capitalist" who "celebrates self-determination, which is a conservative thought" and likens himself to Horatio Alger. Silverman doesn't see his political activism conflicting with his role at NBC Universal. He has said the network "has been a bastion of high-minded intellectual programming" using The Cosby Show and St. Elsewhere as past examples, and that what he wants to do is "layer issues with a point of view and create a dialogue."