Saturday, July 28, 2007

JK Rowling makes too much money.. QQ QQ

Culture: Yet another whiny piece by someone who tries to hide his envy and jealously under the guise of "social justice."

Nevertheless, Rowling's runaway success illustrates a worrying trend regarding the global marketplace's apparent ability to magnify both economic success and failure.

English-speaking celebrities in particular have been riding a wave of previously undreamt-of opulence. In fact, their affluence is almost effluent in its odour. Between them, the 100 highest-paid celebrities earned more than $3.1bn, in the 12 months to June 2007, with African-American talk show queen Oprah Winfrey ruling the roost.

David Beckham, who has moved his royal court of Beckingham palace to the LA hills, is believed to be raking in half a million quid a week at LA Galaxy. To put that into context, it would take the average Brit nearly three decades to earn as much as Beckham does in seven days. Some stars can even earn millions for what is effectively a day's work.

Together, the world's 946 billionaires are worth a staggering $3.5 trillion - which sits between the annual GDP of Japan and Germany - with converted philanthropist Bill Gates still top of the heap with $56bn. Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helú saw his net worth skyrocket by a dizzying $19bn this year (equivalent to the GDP of Yemen). Over the last 12 months, he earned as much as over 26.5 million people - of the estimated 3 billion - people subsisting on $2 a day or less.

One reason why this kind of gap appears is that while most of us depend on our labour to earn our daily bread, the superrich have the magnifying effects of capital - and other people - bolstering their fortunes. And such concentrations of capital interfere with the efficient running of the economy and promote social inequality and tension.

To my mind, given the astronomical earnings of "A list" celebrities, top boardroom executives and business tycoons, there is a strong case to be made for the introduction of a cap on earning, or a "maximum wage". This would complement the minimum wage to ensure a fairer distribution of wealth in society, particularly as income inequalities, both between societies and within societies, are approaching, or at, all-time highs.

The world is not meant to be fair, no one deserves a damn thing, those who can will and those who can't bitch. Good for Rowling making a product in a business where it is dependent on many people buying the product to enjoy. Most people will never have that kind of talent/luck/dedication to do so.

A fairer distribution of wealth in society means the productive members have to cap their talent because the lesser talented people must be coddle and subsidized because that is what they feel they deserver. The result is a mediocre society which I want no part of thank you very much.

7-Year-Old boy swallows his "grill"

Culture: Let me educate on how many things are wrong with this story.

SANFORD, Fla. -- The family of a 7-year-old boy in Sanford who was rushed to an emergency room after he accidentally swallowed his "grill" -- or decorative metal mouth piece -- is concerned because the apparatus remains in his stomach. PHOTOS: X-Ray Images Bobby Tedesco placed the grill over the teeth after his mother purchased it for $10 at a flea market.

Bobby said the grill fell out off his teeth and he started choking on it. His mother, Dawn Tedesco, attempted to clear his throat, but he swallowed the grill.

An X-ray taken three days after incident showed the grill in Bobby's stomach.
Doctors said there is only one way for the grill to exit.

"Once they X-rayed it, they said they saw it in his stomach (and) that it should pass in one to three days. But now we're going on the third day and still no grill, so I'm a little concerned about what's going to happen," Dawn Tedesco said.

Bobby's mother said she regrets purchasing the grill and warned other parents to beware of the hazard they can present.

"I think everybody should know (not to) buy them. Don't do it," Dawn Tedesco said.

The grill did come with a warning, advising parents to supervise children under the age of 12 who wear the apparatuses.

The American Dental Association does not recommend the wearing of grills, saying they can store bacteria.

1) 7 year old with a grill.
2) Mom dumb enough to buy said grill
3) Mom dumb enough to buy said grill at flea market for $10.
4) 7 year old with a grill.

She probably has plastic spinners on her car as well. I am coming around to the idea of licensing people to have children though.

Tavis Smiley pushing out lies about Judge Southwick.

Nation: As much as I like the Tom Joyner show for entertainment value, they are all pretty much to the left of Mao on the show. When Smiley who is reminding me of a 2007 version of Langston Hughes at times has whining about the nomination of Judge Leslie Southwick to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals based on a ruling where he claims Southwick is a racist based on one case. I figured being Smiley he at worst was being dishonest about the circumstances. Via Powerline Blog and NRO, I find out Smiley is lying out of his ass.

But then the Left launched its scurrilous attack on Southwick. In early May, the Human Rights Campaign and People for the American Way sent a joint letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that charged that two opinions that Southwick joined — out of some 7000 in his judicial career — were “highly disturbing” and “strongly suggest that Southwick may lack … commitment to social justice progress.”

In the first case, wildly misrepresented by HRC and PFAW, Southwick joined an en banc majority decision by the Mississippi court of appeals that, under its “limited scope of review,” affirmed an administrative ruling that an ugly racial slur — the n-word — by a public employee did not justify the sanction of termination of her employment. Far from condoning the racial slur, the opinion that Southwick joined clearly stated that the “unwarranted use by a state employee of any inflammatory or derogatory term when referring to or directly addressing a co-worker is an action that cannot be justified by any argument.”

The opinion did reject “an arbitrary, across-the-board rule” that use of the n-word (or of any other racial epithet) is always “so inflammatory or disruptive that it warrants the ultimate sanction of loss of employment.” But is that really a rule that the Left would favor? If popular culture is any indication, such a rule would seem likely to have a sharply disparate negative impact on black employees.

The HRC-PFAW letter claims that the “ruling that Southwick joined was unanimously reversed by the Supreme Court of Mississippi.” (Emphasis in original.) But, in fact, the majority ruling of the Mississippi supreme court agreed with Southwick’s court that termination was not an appropriate remedy: “Under the particular circumstances of this case, Bonnie Richmond’s use of a racial slur on a single occasion does not rise to level of creating a hostile work environment, and therefore does not warrant dismissal of her from employment with DHS.”

(The Mississippi supreme court somewhat altered the judgment that Southwick’s court had reached, as it remanded the case to the administrative agency “for the imposition of a lesser penalty, or to make detailed findings on the record why no penalty should be imposed.” The ultimate result on remand was that a written reprimand was placed in the employee’s personnel file and she was reinstated with an award of back wages and benefits.)

On the basis of this routine administrative-law ruling, HRC and PFAW viciously insinuate that Southwick is a racist.

Just like the immigration debate when the supporters have to attack opponents by saying they are racists, people like HRC, PFAW and Smiley have misrepresented the judge so they can put on someone who is more for "social justice" than the rule of law. I doubt Tom Joyner who is attached at the hip with Smiley will question if he has been lied too on his show all this time.

Quran in toilet now a hate crime? Insane.

Nation: This is an unbelievably bad precedent to set. I don't like hate crime charges to begin with because it criminalizes thought. But to charge the student with a hate crime is Pace University and NYPD bowing down to political correctness.

A 23-year-old man was arrested Friday on hate-crime charges after he threw a Quran in a toilet at Pace University on two separate occasions, police said.

Stanislav Shmulevich of Brooklyn was arrested on charges of criminal mischief and aggravated harassment, both hate crimes, police said. It was unclear if he was a student at the school. A message left at the Shmulevich home was not immediately returned.

The Islamic holy book was found in a toilet at Pace's lower Manhattan campus by a teacher on Oct. 13. A student discovered another book in a toilet on Nov. 21, police said.

Muslim activists had called on Pace University to crack down on hate crimes after the incidents. As a result, the university said it would offer sensitivity training to its students.

The school was accused by Muslim students of not taking the incident seriously enough at first. Pace classified the first desecration of the holy book as an act of vandalism, but university officials later reversed themselves and referred the incident to the New York Police Department's hate crimes unit.

Harassment charge of the Quran is ridiculous, it is diluting the meaning of the word to coddle Muslim students on campus. NYPD should be ashamed of themselves. I doubt the ACLU will come down to help the guy unless it was the Bible. Then the ACLU would argue it is art.

TV Critics hate Comic-con and they hate you.

Entertainment: The "geeks" that Lisa De Moraes of the Washington Post thinks are just yes people. This is a more detailed version of the near riot when Lost came up and the head of ABC basically told the critics to go screw.

"Wednesday's melee started innocently enough when a TV critic -- that nice Susan Young of the Oakland Tribune -- said she'd heard "major" announcements about "Lost" would be made at the Comic-Con gathering in San Diego on Thursday. "Would you like to tell us today what that might be?" she asked nicely.

"Yeah, let me give those announcements now -- of course I don't," McPherson said, dripping sarcasm.

"Oh, come on," she said, nicely.

"They do have some announcements that they are going to be making that I think everyone will be pretty excited about," said McPherson, twisting the knife, which, in retrospect, may not have been a good call.

"Can you tell us?" she pursued.

"No," he said.

Pop! Pop! Pop! went critics' heads.

"Do you want us to go to Comic-Con tomorrow instead of the [ABC] sessions?" she pursued.

"Let's go now. Do you want to go? . . . You and me, we'll just go on a little road trip down to Comic-Con," McPherson said, now bathing in sarcasm.

Hundreds of years ago, Comic-Con was a sweet little comic book convention. But it's been totally co-opted by the studios, and now, for four days each year, it's the center of the cultural world.

This year Comic-Con expects about 120,000 blogging geeks, who will rake in whatever the studios shovel out about upcoming movies and TV series.

On the TV side, pilot episodes of "Bionic Woman" and "Chuck" (NBC), "Pushing Daisies" (ABC) and "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (Fox) will be screened for the geeks who -- you can bank on it -- are going to fill the blogosphere with rave reviews.

Comic-Con is irksome to the TV critics at the press tour.

"I don't think my editor is going to be very happy when she reads on a blog later this afternoon that Steve McPherson promised that the biggest news regarding one of the highest-rated shows on the network would be coming at a fan convention the next day," said one critic.

"Hear, hear!" others chimed in, which is something we didn't think happened except in crunchy-gravel BBC adaptations of novels.

"Not to be a crybaby . . . what's the point of having 150 reporters with access to millions of readers sitting here?" asked another critic, joining the pile-on. "You have the announcements. You can give them out. Instead you are going to hold them to give to people who have to pay to get into a convention."

Friday, July 27, 2007

John Edwards plays the VRWC card.

Politics: Posted on Politico is this message touched on a post below about "They are trying to shut me up" by John Edwards. Its not an impromptu moment, but staged to gain some sort of buzz. It comes off as him being silly and his followers are dumb enough to think that "They" are doing evil stuff to their man. $400 haircuts out of campaign funds....stuff like that.

He warns, in the video segment posted by his campaign, that if we don't beat back these unnamed oligarchs, "They're going to control the media. They're going to control what's being said."

He doesn't go into detail about who "they" are, other than a reference to people who make $100 million a year, and compares them to the (actual well-funded, conservative) operation that put the Swift Boat ads on air. He also doesn't explain exactly how this corporate-media collaboration works, but his audience seems to be rapt.

Here's from his remarks:

This stuff's not an accident. Nobody in this room should think this is an accident. You know, I'm out there speaking up for universal healthcare, ending this war in Iraq, speaking up for the poor. They want to shut me up. That's what this is about. "Let's distract from people who don't have health care coverage. Let's distract from people who can't feed their children.... Let's talk about this silly frivolous nothing stuff so that America won't pay attention."

They will never silence me. Never.If we don't stand up to these people, if we don't fight em, if we don't beat them, they're going to continue to control this country. Thye're going to control the media. They're going to control what's being said. They do not want to hear us talking about health care for everybody.

*UPDATE: The person who posted the video to MyDD, Tracy Joan Russo, is actually an Edwards staffer who does blogger outreach. So the campaign must think this is a winning message. Also: A reader points out that there's a boom microphone in the shot; again, this is a message being delivered, not an inadvertently-captured departure.

What does it says about his supporters that his campaign thinks this is a winning message?

School Stops Class Time For Muslim Prayer.

Culture: But they are still moving around the schedule specifically to allow prayer in school, its not illegal but iffy ethical.

A San Diego school that drew international attention for setting aside time for Muslim students to pray in the classroom will no longer do so, it was reported Friday.

Instead, Carver Elementary's schedule will be reconfigured so students can say their required midday prayers during lunch. Courts have long upheld students' rights to pray on their own during lunch or recess, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

When the new school year begins, Carver will have two lunch periods, including one that will fall when Muslims typically say their midday prayer -- between 1 and 2 p.m., the newspaper reported.

Another controversial element of Carver's educational program geared toward Muslim students -- single-gender classes -- will be eliminated, the Union-Tribune reported.

Superintendent Carl Cohn stressed in a July 18 memo that single-gender education is legal under federal law, but at Carver it "has become a serious distraction from learning rather than a vehicle to promote learning," according to the newspaper.

Carver added the single-gender classes and a daily 15-minute in-class break for voluntary prayers last September after it absorbed a failed Arabic language charter school that served primarily Somali Muslims.

Variety details movies on Iraq coming soon.

Entertainment: An update on this NYTIMES story about the batch of Hollywood movies on Iraq coming out by Variety.

Within the next few months, Hollywood studios will launch several movies that take a sober and thoughtful look at the war in Iraq and the war on terror.

So Hollywood presumably will have done its civic duty. But two key questions: Is the audience ready to embrace these films? And how should the studios go about selling them?

Three smaller war-related pics will also vie for attention: Paul Haggis' Warner Independent pic "In the Valley of Elah," starring Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron; "Grace Is Gone," a Weinstein Co. drama starring John Cusack as a soldier who must tell his kids their mom died on duty in Iraq; and "The Kite Runner," a Paramount Vantage adaptation of the bestseller about an emigre's return to Afghanistan. "In the Valley of Elah" is about a soldier who disappears after returning from Iraq.

UA, meanwhile, is bullish on Robert Redford's "Lions for Lambs," a $35 million movie starring Redford as an anti-war professor whose students end up fighting in Afghanistan. The pic also stars Tom Cruise as a pro-Iraq war senator who tries to convince journo Meryl Streep to support his views.

Pretty much what you expected to be turned out by Hollywood, anti-war, anti-American, soldiers are evil, stupid, dumb,naive narrative. I have no objections on an objective look at the war in Iraq that doesn't fall into Hollywood liberal cliches but there hasn't been one and it looks like they won't be ever.

Liberals going after Fox News.

Media: They do know that people who aren't liberals shop at places and can boycott as well right?

Liberal activists are stepping up their campaign against Fox News Channel by pressuring advertisers not to patronize the network., the Campaign for America's Future and liberal blogs like are asking thousands of supporters to monitor who is advertising on the network. Once a database is gathered, an organized phone-calling campaign will begin, said Jim Gilliam, vice president of media strategy for Brave New Films, a company that has made anti-Fox videos.

The groups have successfully pressured Democratic presidential candidates not to appear at any debate sponsored by Fox, and are also trying to get Home Depot Inc. to stop advertising there.

At least 5,000 people nationwide have signed up to compile logs on who is running commercials on Fox, Gilliam said. The groups want to first concentrate on businesses running local ads, as opposed to national commercials.

"It's a lot more effective for Sam's Diner to get calls from 10 people in his town than going to the consumer complaint department of some pharmaceutical company," Gilliam said.

Some of videos produced by Gilliam's company compile statements made by Fox anchors and guests that the activists consider misleading, such as those that question global warming.

Ah, the liberal high moral always right card being played rather poorly.

Democrats: We dumb, gullible victims

Politics: Not really helping to get rid of the whiny wussy image.

There's an interesting meme of Democratic victimology developing here…

In addition to former Sen. John Edwards, D-NC, saying that media attention on his hair stems from powerful interests who "want to shut me up", it should be noted that Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, is also wading a bit into the waters of victimology…

After being the first one to really amp up her disagreement with Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, from Monday night's debate -- her campaign sent out the video of their respective answers before the debate was even over, and she was the first one to personally use perjorative adjectives against Obama -- she's now trying to raise money claiming he "attacked" her.

"Last week, one of the leading Republican candidates equated Hillary with Karl Marx. Yesterday, one of the leading Democratic candidates called her 'Bush-Cheney lite,'" wrote Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle in the e-mail. "Hillary is under attack from opponents on all sides. When you're attacked, you expect your family and friends to stand with you…"

Chuck dislikes the fact that the new judges aren't ruling in a liberal way.

New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, said Friday the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush “except in extraordinary circumstances.”

“We should reverse the presumption of confirmation,” Schumer told the American Constitution Society convention in Washington. “The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.”

Schumer said there were four lessons to be learned from Alito and Roberts: Confirmation hearings are meaningless, a nominee’s record should be weighed more heavily than rhetoric, “ideology matters” and “take the president at his word.”

Via AP:

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito "duped" the U.S. Senate into confirming them, a top Democratic lawmaker charged on Friday, days after a key Republican questioned if they had lived up to their promises.

Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, a member of the Judiciary Committee that held hearings on the two, said they staked out moderate positions in congressional testimony but became part of a conservative bloc that issued restrictive rulings on issues from free speech to civil rights.

Schumer, in a speech to the American Constitution Society, talked about the confirmation of Roberts and Alito in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

"Were we duped?" he asked.

"Were we too easily impressed by the charm of nominee Roberts and the erudition of nominee Alito?" Schumer asked. "Did we mistakenly vote our hopes when our fears were more than justified by the ultraconservative records of these two men?"

"Yes," he said.

Amsterdam authorities to prosecute woman who killed purse snatcher

Crime: This seems to be a multicultural motivated case. If you do a crime there is always a chance your victim turns on you. Not feeling a lot of sympathy.

Authorities said Friday they will prosecute a woman who crushed a teenager to death with her car after he snatched her purse.

The incident assumed national importance partly because it happened in early 2005, at a time when ethnic tensions were inflamed. The 19-year-old came from a Moroccan family and the filmmaker Theo van Gogh had been murdered by a Muslim radical just two months earlier.

Many people were sympathetic to the driver, believing she was justified in chasing the thieves and that the death was an accident.

But many in Amsterdam's Moroccan community felt the incident reflected the disdain with which they are often treated, and criticized the media for callousness toward a young man who paid for a misdemeanor with his life.

The story was complicated by the youth's previous criminal behavior, by the driver's record of reckless driving, and by the fact that she herself came from an immigrant family from the former Dutch colony of Suriname.

Prosecutors said they took more than two years to investigate "because of the seriousness of the case and the social interest."

ABC's Cavemen all about black people. Surprise!

Entertainment: Not really, but this description makes it sound like the white liberal view of blacks in America in the worst possible manner.

Cavemen isn't as bad as many people anticipated. It's worse, much worse.

The ABC comedy adapted from a Geico commercial is so pathetic that the pilot episode sent to critics will not be the premiere. It will be about episode 5, according to ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson. The characters need to be developed more than they were in what was intended to be the introductory show, McPherson said.

One theory is episode five was thrown out because ABC doesn't expect the series to get that far and thus everyone concerned will be spared the embarrassment of having it air.

It is clear the producers don't have a clue how to transition from a cute 30-second ad to a half-hour show every week. The intended pilot is a ham-fisted attempt to make the series an allegory for the discrimination endured by blacks. However, it so lacks subtlety it is more insulting than enlightening.

The three cavemen at the center of the series bemoan how often TV news throws up cavemen's faces in crime reports. They are depicted as flashier dances than whites. They also are better at sports. One of the cavemen is in love with a blue-eyed blond, whose friends say she is involved with him only to tick off her father. Her best friend wonders if it's true what they say about cavemen in bed. When some money is missing at a party, everyone looks immediately at the cavemen. There's more and this is only in the first 20 minutes shot.

What about cavewomen, who do not exist in the sample episode, the producers were asked? "There are cavewomen," executive producer Bill Martin said. "You'll meet them in about episode five." (Are you noticing a pattern?)

The producers protested they do not intend to make the show merely a racial allegory although when pressed to describe other episodes, this is exactly what they sounded like. If this isn't going to be what the show is, what do they intend to do, they were asked.

They stammered, hemmed and hawed and passed the buck to each other without coming up with anything resembling a meaningful response.

ABC has belatedly ordered another season of According to Jim, which had been given up for dead. That there's a connection to Cavemen is not a stretch. It will not be the surprise of the season if Cavemen never makes it to the air.

The other side to this is how is Geico going to deal with the negative consequences if the show is really this bad? It could kill off a successful marketing campaign.

Senate approves more money for border control

Immigration: Not as hard a policy as I would like but its a start.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly voted to provide an additional $3 billion in emergency spending to beef up border security after lawmakers failed earlier this month to enact broader immigration reforms.

The Senate voted 89-1 to add the money to a homeland security spending bill for next year currently being debated. Republican sponsors said the money could help lay the groundwork for a broader immigration overhaul that could address the status of an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States.

"It will make it easier to go to the next step," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican.

But I am wary that amnesty supporters are cheering this on like Graham. Just waiting for the other shoe to fall.

Tory panic over David Cameron's image

Politics: Duh? I said this a while back that Cameron was coming off a lightweight and when you seem to stand for everything while spitting on traditional conservative supporters who think you stand for nothing. It was easy for Brown to come in and pummel him.

But today's figures are more evidence that it is not is the case - and everyone knows it. The Tories realise they underestimated Mr Brown, thinking he would bore the public rigid when in fact he has struck a serious chord that many voters seem to find reassuring after 10 years of Tony Blair.

The Tories know also that they have been wrong-footed and are unable to match Mr Brown as he reels off a series of announcements.

The reason is that they cannot pre-empt their policy reviews that report over the coming weeks.

Daily, the Cameron camp is riled as the Prime Minister secures favourable headlines by marching on to Tory territory, stealing Tory policies on plans for a border police force and 24-hour drinking, while outflanking them from the Right on anti-terrorism.

Zimbabwean police beat up on mothers.

Africa: When the Elders get together to fix Zimbabwe, then I will give a damn what they have to say.

A group of nursing mothers were ordered to put down their babies by Zimbabwean police before being beaten for hours.

The six women were among 160 people rounded up at the offices of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), an organisation dedicated to constitutional reform, after activists tried to hold a demonstration.

They were taken to Harare central police station and told to leave their babies in the corner of a hall and join other adults lying on their stomachs.

For the next four or five hours, witnesses say, the infants screamed as police lashed their mothers and the other adults continuously with metre-long, heavy rubber sticks.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dedication to education, Nujiang kids.

Edumacation: I used to complain about getting the bus 6 in the morning.

In the Nujiang Great Canyon, children as young as 7 go to school by "flying" across a river -- sliding on overhead cables that span the river. The cables are tied to trees on either side of the river and to cross, one is suspended from a rope loop attached to a harness worn around the waist.

Without any safety measures for kids crossing the river, the local villagers biggest wish is to have a bridge that would enable their children go to school and return home safely, as they do not have the means to construct a bridge.

Dutch and immigrants news tidbits.

EU: I am really going to have to subscribe to NIS one of these days. Too many stories locked down of interest.

Doctors up in Arms against 'Discrimination by Muslims'
THE HAGUE, 27/07/07 - Immigrants are increasingly often refusing to allow male doctors to treat female patients. Doctors appear to be ...

Father Acquitted of Contract Murder of Daughter's Lover
THE HAGUE, 27/07/07 - The appeal court in The Hague yesterday acquitted a 45 year old Turkish man of involvement in the murder of the ...

Turkish Police Interpreters Arrested for Manipulating Evidence
THE HAGUE, 27/07/07 - Three police interpreters have been arrested on suspicion of manipulation of translations of tapped telephone ...

John Edwards and his tangerines

Politics: Surprised that Edward's global warming idiocy was pointed out in the NYTIMES.

John Edwards has a plan to cap carbon emissions, while allowing businesses to buy the right to go over their quotas. Many people regard this as the most efficient and politically salable way to reduce greenhouse gases. But they usually acknowledge that it would make some products - like small orange fruits that have to be transported a long way to get to market - more expensive.
"I live in North Carolina; I'll probably never eat a tangerine again," Elizabeth said.

To be utterly honest, the first reaction to this on the part of many listeners was that the Edwards family could afford to continue eating tangerines even if they became more costly than a two-family house in Des Moines. But we digress.

Was Mr. Edwards prepared to admit that the public might have to give up tangerines in order to keep the polar bears from drowning in the Arctic?

"I'd have to think about it," he said during a press conference later that day. This was actually his second answer, the first being a short, utterly unrelated disquisition on food safety inspections. The Edwards campaign has devoted immense effort to beating back the image of their candidate as The Man With the Expensive Haircut. They don't want to make August the month for The Man Who Would Take Away America's Citrus Fruit.

His answer?

Yesterday morning, a spokesman for the Edwards campaign called to clarify his position. The global warming program would not require families to pay more for everyday products, he said. "We are optimistic we will not have to raise the price of tangerines."

This is totally BS unless Edwards passes Mugabe-like price controls, of course any cost businesses run up in his program will be passed on to the customer. The price of all fruits will go up.


Ethics Commission probes Spitzer scandal

Politics: Possibly getting really awesome.

The state Ethics Commission has authorized its staff to start a preliminary investigation into the scandal in which top aides to Gov. Eliot Spitzer used state police in a plot to discredit Republican Senate leader Joseph Bruno, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press.

The letter from the Ethics Commission's executive director states the commissioners have acted and "authorized staff to review facts and circumstances" of the case that has dominated the Albany agenda since state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo released an investigative report Monday. Unlike Cuomo, in this case, the Ethics Commission has subpoena power to compel testimony.

The letter, dated Thursday and addressed to Cuomo, was provided by a state official on the condition of anonymity because the investigation hadn't been officially announced. When told of the letter, state Ethics Commission spokesman Walter Ayres confirmed it came from the investigative agency.

Video of a NYPOST reporter just gunning for Spitzer at a conference.

Gay Artist Burns Rare $60,000.00 Koran

Culture: Red meat material? Oh no, This is a whole herd coming at you.

NEW YORK, July 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Charles Merrill, the artist who recently
edited the Holy Bible with a black marker and pair of scissors, has lately
burned a rare Islamic Holy Book, The Koran, valued at $60,000.00, in an
undisclosed Chicago location. "The purpose of editing and burning Abrahamic
Holy Books is to eliminate homophobic hate," Merrill stated. "Both ancient
books are terrorist manuals."

He continues, "I inherited the rare Islamic book from my late wife,
Evangeline Johnson Merrill. As the daughter of the founder of the
international pharmaceutical giant, Johnson and Johnson, Inc., doors of kings
and queens opened to her around the world. Evangeline was given the rare
manuscript by the late King of Jordan when she was on a mission for the United
Nations in the 1950's."

"Airplanes are flown into buildings because of words, and hate crimes
against gays," Merrill said.

Merrill is a self-made millionaire, artist, fervent atheist and cousin of
the co-founder of Merrill Lynch.

Broadway Gallery is pleased to present Charles Merrill, artist, gay
activist and iconoclast. Merrill's exhibition incorporates themes of LGBT
activism and the spiritual customs associated with indigenous cultures in his

NYPress has a blog item on it.

Entertainment tidbits. Near riot by tv critics over Lost.

Entertainment: New trailer for the polar express like-animation of Beowulf. It looks too sterile.

Cast pics from Heroes: Season 2.

Zack Snyder's Watchmen cast list.

Newsarama and Superhero Hype will have your daily San Diego Comic Con news.

Harold Perrineau(Michael) coming back to Lost. Hilarious reaction at the Television Critics Association as they were ticked ABC honcho McPherson didn't want to reveal it till comic-con.

More details on the coming season are expected to be unveiled during Lost's presentation at San Diego's Comic-Con International Thursday—which is when the news of Michael's return was meant to be broken.

But McPherson was besieged by near riotous reporters at the TCA panel when he announced that no Lost tidbits would be disclosed until Comic-Con.

Some reporters asked why he would not break news in front of the assembled media, rather than with fans,
others heckled his remarks and some even booed when he made the Imus crack.

When it became clear McPherson was losing the crowd, a publicist emerged from the side of the stage and consulted with the ABC boss, prompting him to make the face- (and perhaps limb-) saving revelation. Apparently, the publicist had made a call to producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse in Hawaii and got the all-clear for McPherson to toss the Michael's-coming-back bone.

I always thought that TV critics are the biggest crybabies in the newspaper business with a holier than thou attitude.

Brazil air travel crisis reaches boiling point.

Brazil: Lula getting lots of love.

Brazil's president fired his defense minister Wednesday in response to a fatal jetliner crash that turned months of anger over breakdowns in the military-run national air system into a full-blown political crisis.

Defense Minister Waldir Pires was under withering criticism for not fixing the system even before the TAM Linhas Aereas SA jet crashed last week at Sao Paulo's main Congonhas airport, killing 199 people.

His replacement, former Supreme Court President Nelson Jobim, now must make good on President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's promise of a thorough investigation, new safety measures and a third airport to serve Sao Paulo, a booming city of 18 million people.

"It's no secret to any Brazilian that we have an aviation crisis," Silva said at Jobim's swearing-in, vowing to do whatever it took to resolve the situation.

He acknowledged feeling anxiety about flying in general. "Everytime the airplane door closes, I deliver myself to God," the president said.

.....Brazil's exasperated domestic travelers have had it even worse.

Dr. Jose Tereza settled for a six-hour bus trip to his destination after waiting 16 hours in the Congonhas airport, where his flight was canceled twice. Like many Brazilians, he blamed Silva, known here as Lula, for failing to make infrastructure improvements.

His advice for foreigners planning to travel to Brazil: "The best thing is to wait a year and see if Lula dies."

Senate Democrats/White House don't care for border enforcement.

Immigration: Via AP.

It started with an end-run by Republicans to pass some of the most popular elements of President Bush's failed immigration bill, including a plan to increase security along the southern border.

Democrats liked the money but objected to such GOP proposals as allowing law enforcement officers to question people about their immigration status and cracking down on those who overstay their visas.

The move put political pressure on Senate Democrats. They killed Sen. Lindsey Graham's plan on a 52-44 procedural vote, but Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., immediately countered with a pared-down proposal containing only the border security funds. Then Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a Bush ally, killed that effort.

Dying with the proposals could be hopes for seizing "operational control" over the U.S.-Mexico border with additional Border Patrol agents, vehicle barriers, border fencing and observation towers.

The battle began when Graham, R-S.C., and other Republicans tried to resurrect the border security plan and combine it with the GOP policy provisions from last month's immigration debate.

Graham sought to add the GOP immigration plan — over White House opposition — to a pending bill to fund the budget for the Homeland Security Department.

The underlying bill had already drawn a veto threat for breaking Bush's budget. White House spokesman Scott Stanzel noted that Wednesday's plan would not have been financed by fines on illegal immigrants as were comparable provisions from the broader bill that died last month; it therefore would have added $3 billion to the deficit.

PM Gordon Brown wants tougher terror laws.

Terrorism: May have changed the language to be more PC, but he is getting tougher.

Addressing lawmakers before Parliament went into recess for two months, Brown said one option under consideration was extending the time that police can question terror suspects. Currently, suspects need to be charged or released within 28 days. Although Brown held off on specific proposals — new laws will be considered later this year when Brown's legislative program is announced — he told legislators that state of emergency laws could extend police custody to 58 days. Another suggestion was to allow police to question suspects after they have been charged — not permitted under normal British laws — which Brown said could minimize the number of exceptions to the 28-day standard.

Brown is likely to face widespread opposition from lawmakers, civil liberties groups and some in Britain's nearly 2 million Muslims who believe they are unfairly targeted by police profiling. "These measures effectively mean the Muslim community will be the target, and in most instances, become the victims," said Ihtisham Hibatullah, a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Some say schools giving Muslims special treatment

Nation: Pretty much a recap of various stories including the footbaths, special prayer rooms and prayer in Carver Elementary School wrapped into one article.

Spitzer’s Office Vows to Fight Investigation

Politics: What did Spitzer know, when did he know it or did he start or approve it?

ALBANY, July 25 — Gov. Eliot Spitzer vowed on Wednesday to fight any State Senate inquiry into his administration’s internal operations, even as Republican senators were laying the groundwork for an investigation that could lead to subpoenas of top officials.

The administration’s stance sets the stage for a potential showdown with the Senate, and it came amid rising concerns even among Mr. Spitzer’s fellow Democrats about whether the governor and his staff had been candid about their office’s effort to discredit a political rival.

A scathing report issued on Monday by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo concluded that the governor’s staff had broken no laws but had misused the State Police to gather information about Joseph L. Bruno, the Senate majority leader, in an effort to plant a negative story about him.

The governor has maintained that he was misled by his staff and knew nothing about the effort to discredit Mr. Bruno. But two of his closest aides refused to be interviewed by the attorney general’s investigators, intensifying suspicion, especially among the governor’s critics, that Mr. Spitzer and his staff had not been forthright.

Hollywood Quickly Bringing the Iraq War Home

Culture: I'm surprised Hollywood took so long to bring out films that spit on America and its troops with Crash liberal Paul Haggis leading the charge.

On Sept. 14, Warner Independent Pictures expects to release “In the Valley of Elah,” a drama inspired by the Davis murder, written and directed by Paul Haggis, whose “Crash” won the Academy Award for best picture in 2006. The film stars Tommy Lee Jones as a retired veteran who defies Army bureaucrats and local officials in a search for his son’s killers. In one of the movie’s defining images, the American flag is flown upside down in the heartland, the signal of extreme distress.

Wha? Spitzer a sneaky bullying snake in the grass?

Politics: The hell you say, it couldn't happen to a better slimebucket.

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's pledge to clean up the state's politics may suffer now that an official inquiry has found his office misused state police in a bid to tarnish a rival, analysts and opponents say.

Spitzer, a Democrat, came to office in January vowing to reform the state's corrupt political ethics after winning nearly 70 percent of the vote in November 2006 -- a victory that may have bolstered an ambition for higher office.

Now he is fending off questions about his own abuse of power and Republicans say they are reinvigorated after getting routed at the polls in November.

"The sheriff of Wall Street has had the tables turned on him," said Democratic political consultant Hank Sheinkopf, referring to a reputation Spitzer picked up in his campaign against corporate malfeasance while state attorney general.

"He's being held to the same standard of aggressive reform that he had as attorney general. It's going to make it more difficult for him to govern," Sheinkopf said.

A report by Spitzer's successor as attorney general on Monday found the governor's aides directed state police to gather potentially damaging information on his chief Republican rival, state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

The report found no criminal wrongdoing but reprimanded the governor's office for using state police under false pretenses to track down records of when Bruno used taxpayer-funded helicopters on trips for both state and political business.

He had to know more, he is too much of a control freak not too.

Naugle issues an apology, not the ones gays wanted.

Politics: At this point Jim Naugle is openly mocking people.

"...Momentum has grown quickly against the 16-year mayor since he was quoted in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on July 4 about a $250,000 self-cleaning toilet the city planned — and later nixed — for the beach. The mayor said one thing he liked about the robotic commode was its security features — the free-standing toilet would deter "homosexual activity," he said.

Naugle said public restrooms are plagued by gay sex in Fort Lauderdale, even though police said it's not a problem. He also said he doesn't use the term "gay" because homosexuals are "unhappy."

Naugle didn't attend Tuesday's rally, but he staged his own news conference earlier in the day. After sending an invitation to the media to come hear a brief speech "including an apology," he announced on City Hall's steps that Broward leads the nation in new AIDS cases resulting from men having sex with men, and said the county should "examine" whether to continue inviting gay tourists to "come on down."

He also apologized.

"I want to apologize to the children and parents of our community for not being aware of the problem," he said, explaining that he found Web sites advising gays to "cruise" for sex in two city park restrooms.

"I apologize for not bringing this forward earlier," he said. "Maybe some lives could have been saved."

County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish, a lifetime Fort Lauderdale resident like Naugle, said he was "spewing hate" and giving the wrong impression that the county doesn't welcome gays.

"On behalf of the public officials in Broward County," Parrish said at the rally, "we apologize for him not being man enough to do so."

She said his comments galvanized the community.

Though Naugle has been criticized for what some considered outlandish comments in the past, former Vice Mayor Dean Trantalis said this time was different. People were fed up, he said.

"This has never happened before in Fort Lauderdale," he said to the crowd. " ... We are united together for change."

Two of the mayor's colleagues — Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson and Vice Mayor Carlton Moore — spoke out. So did the Wilton Manors mayor, the head of the ACLU and others.

"This mayor must be treated as the bigot he is," urged Matt Foreman of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, "and that is he is shunned everywhere he goes, and not allowed at any gathering where decent people are!"

Obama gets slammed by Hillary for talk comments.

Politics: Obama walked right into this one as I said yesterday. This is the John Kerry global test mess all over again.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Barack Obama's offer to meet without precondition with leaders of renegade nations such as Cuba, North Korea and Iran touched off a war of words, with rival Hillary Rodham Clinton calling him naive and Obama linking her to President Bush's diplomacy.

Older politicians in both parties questioned the wisdom of such a course, while Obama's supporters characterized it as a repudiation of Bush policies of refusing to engage with certain adversaries.

It triggered a round of competing memos and statements Tuesday between the chief Democratic presidential rivals. Obama's team portrayed it as a bold stroke; Clinton supporters saw it as a gaffe that underscored the freshman senator's lack of foreign policy experience.

"I thought that was irresponsible and frankly naive," Clinton was quoted in an interview with the Quad-City Times that was posted on the Iowa newspaper's Web site on Tuesday.

In response, Obama told the newspaper that her stand puts her in line with the Bush administration.

Both parties were weighing the potential political fallout, especially in Florida, an early primary state, a pivotal general election state - and where Cuban President Fidel Castro remains particularly unpopular.

"Anything that looks like pandering to dictators is bad politics in South Florida," said Republican state Rep. David Rivera of Miami. He predicted Obama's comments would come back to haunt him, particularly if he becomes the Democratic nominee.

The Republican National Committee on Tuesday circulated stories calling attention to and ridiculing Obama's remarks.

In Monday's debate from Charleston, S.C., Obama was asked by a questioner via YouTube if he would be willing to meet - without precondition - in the first year of his presidency with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.

"I would," he responded.

Clinton said she would not. "I don't want to be used for propaganda purposes," she said. Clinton said she would first use envoys to test the waters.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Obama: I will kiss everyone's behind around the world.

Politics: In and out of the Youtube debate( Love upgrading windows xp) but I did catch Obama channelling Jimmy Carter and vowing to make the world knows no one can be a lapdog like America.

Obama's Astonishing Moment [Byron York]

Sen. Barack Obama, the candidate who once neglected to mention that he would counterattack if al Qaeda destroyed two U.S. cities, tonight pledged to meet, one-on-one, in his first year as president, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashir Assad, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Kim Jong Il.

Sen. Hillary Clinton refused to make such a pledge. "I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year," she said. "I don't want to be used for propaganda purposes."

Between this and his vow to grant Amnesty his first year in office, Obama the Messiah is officially Obama the Panderer.


Obama's campaign in damage control mode.

Somali Muslim workers complain of religious harassment

Culture: At some point Swift is going to throw up their hands and say we will pay the fines, just let us hire illegals instead of this mess.

An American-Islamic advocacy group has drafted a complaint to federal officials that is awaiting the signatures of dozens of Muslim Somali workers who allege they were fired or harassed by supervisors at a Grand Island meatpacking plant for trying to pray at sunset.

The complaint from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to be filed with federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission officials, compiles testimony from at least 44 workers who say they quit or were either fired or verbally and physically harassed over the prayer issue.

The complaint alleges that breaktime rules at the Swift & Co. plant violate civil rights laws by not allowing workers to leave production lines to pray at sundown.

A given CAIR would be involved, but even their allies are not all on board with this.

An employment attorney for the Greeley, Colo.-based Swift said that unscheduled breaks can force unplanned shutdowns of lines.

"That is a significant number of employees, and there is not much of a way to accommodate that consistent with keeping the production online," said Donald Selzer, a Minneapolis-based attorney.

....At least two dozen workers had been fired since May by Swift for praying, he said, but Swift disputes the number.

Selzer said only three Somali workers were fired for reasons relating to the issue, and for walking off the line without permission, not for praying.

"These people are absolutely entitled to pray, and they should not be interfered with for doing so," Selzer said. "But on the other hand, the only situations that I've been made aware of are people that walk off the job without permission, and that's a different kind of an issue."

The president of the local union that represents workers said he had not heard of many Somali workers being fired or harassed since May.

Dan Hoppes, president of Local 22 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, said he sees regular lists of people who are fired from the plant. Nothing in those lists raised his suspicions, he said, but added that the plant _ which employs about 3,000 people in all and about 150 Somalis _ generally has very high turnover.

He couldn't file a grievance in some of the cases because prayer breaks are not part of the contract, Hoppes said, but he plans to revisit the issue with plant officials when the contract is renegotiated in 2010.

A Chicago-based staff attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Rima Kapitan, said Swift has been "unwilling to work with us to create a solution where the workers can pray."

Kapitan said Swift rejected her group's suggestion to allow the Somalis who work evenings to leave in smaller shifts to avoid disrupting lines. The five- to 10-minute sunset prayer must be done within a 45-minute window surrounding sunset, according to Muslim prayer rules.

Considering there are only 150 out of 3000, you can't throw everything into chaos because of them. At some point a line has to be drawn on how much a business can accommodate someone's religious belief before everyone agrees it may be better to look for another job. CAIR is doing everything to erase it .

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Geffen and Steven Spielberg to walk from Paramount?

Entertainment: Variety reports all is not happy and Summer Redstone is the cause.

Though Paramount's acquisition of DreamWorks has often been termed a major dealmaking coup, there are signals their relationship may be unraveling.
Unless wounds are healed, there's a possibility that David Geffen and Steven Spielberg may walk in 15 months, according to sources. If a schism occurred, Geffen and Spielberg could retain the DreamWorks name but would lose ownership of their negatives, development deals and nearly all their staff.

While acknowledging that Geffen and Spielberg receive no salaries and have non-exclusive deals, one key Paramount executive disputed their contractual right to walk away from their studio relationship.

Sumner Redstone, the chairman of Viacom, has knowingly or unknowingly emerged as a lightning rod in the relationship, DreamWorks sources alleged. Redstone himself insists his relations with Spielberg are friendly, but sources said both the filmmaker and Geffen feel the Viacom chairman has cold-shouldered them, thus aggravating earlier perceived snubs and credit-grabs by the studio.

Another Latino group(LULAC) demands fairness doctrine.

Politics: This has all sorts of juicy tidbits including the fact an ABC reporter is moderating a panel on the side of a political issue. NBC's Telemundo when looking the other way as reporters have affairs with mayors offering suggestions on how to do better in winning illegal battles.

People better keep their eyes and ears open, the supporters of amnesty are angry they lost despite using every racial dirty trick on the books to demonize opponents and now they want government to be their savior.

The panelists cited TV talk-show hosts such as Lou Dobbs who provide inflammatory entertainment but no real, in-depth immigration coverage. Quinones encouraged LULAC and other civic organizations to confront Dobbs and others who make their living bashing immigrants. He said that we need cable news outlets that counter right-wing commentators. Where are the Latino talk-show hosts?

Domingo Garcia of Dallas, the national co-chairman of LULAC's civil rights commission, said that he has asked U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reintroduce the "Fairness Doctrine" in Congress to call for balanced coverage of controversial issues. He challenged Spanish news media corporations such as Telemundo and Univision to counter these attacks. Instead of showing telenovelas or R-rated entertainment that do little to change society, they should enter the immigration fray with counter-viewpoints.

Esteban Creste, news director for Telemundo Chicago, said that his station recently covered an unsuccessful attempt by the Illinois Legislature to allow driver's licenses for the undocumented. The bill failed, not for the lack of news coverage but because grassroots organizations and legislators offered weak political strategies, he said.

John Quinones, ABC News correspondent, told the LULAC audience how he hired a Mexican human smuggler to get him across the Mexican-U.S. border at Laredo.

Working for a Chicago TV station at the time, Quinones sought to provide an in-depth look at undocumented immigrants' entry into this country. After riding an inner tube across the Rio Grande, he said, he was probably the first Mexican to cross illegally and sleep that night in a Hyatt Regency.

Quinones won an Emmy for his story and soon was hired by ABC. During the 78th LULAC National Convention in Chicago last week, Quinones moderated a panel discussion in a workshop on media coverage of immigration issues.

Quinones said that as a son of a poor migrant worker family, he got his professional break when a San Antonio community organization demanded that the local news media start hiring people who looked like San Antonians. The group threatened that if the stations didn't hire more Latinos, it would go to the Federal Communications Commission and challenge their licenses.

"Thank God for them," Quinones said. "I wouldn't be here."

Nice to know Quinones got his job not based on actual talent.

Knee jerk leftist Islamist apologist gets it wrong.

Religion: The whole piece is the typical bad evil west not being tolerant and Islamophobic blah blah blah. But the entire premise comes from a fault reading of free speech in the west means by Karen Armstrong.

But equally the cartoonists and their publishers, who seemed impervious to Muslim sensibilities, failed to live up to their own liberal values, since the principle of free speech implies respect for the opinions of others.

No, the main strength of free speech comes from being able to criticize and basically bitch about something without fear of being killed in the street like Theo Van Gogh.

When Gallup asked what the west could do to improve relations, most Muslims replied unhesitatingly that western countries must show greater respect for Islam, placing this ahead of economic aid and non-interference in their domestic affairs. Our inability to tolerate Islam not only contradicts our western values; it could also become a major security risk.

There is the leftist apologist creed, be nice to Muslims and they won't kill you since respect to Islam these days is to not say anything that puts it in a bad light. Once again, people like Armstrong bring Muslims down to the level of mindless violent creatures that must be appeased instead of being engaged to show how things work in the West.

UK race group stop TV show over appeal over rapist.

UK: Being sensitive to race trumps even "alleged" rapists which only adds to the UK's police wimp reputation.

Detectives were due to appear on an episode of ITV's Manhunt to ask for help finding Noorullah Seddiqi, 34.

The Afghan had absconded from bail after being arrested in connection with the rape of one woman and the sexual assault of three others.

Officers working on the case believed the appeal, due to be shown in May, could have proved vital in the search for Seddiqi. They thought he might be working as an unlicensed taxi driver in the south of England.

But the Chief Constable of the Devon and Cornwall force, Stephen Otter, told officers not to go ahead with the programme after the Devon Racial Equality Council, funded by and affiliated to the Commission for Racial Equality, said the appeal could lead to a racist backlash.

Detectives had at first refused to pull the plug on the appeal but were overruled by Mr Otter.

Seddiqi is still missing though several addresses have been visited by police. Since his disappearance at least three more potential victims have come forward.

Turkey's secular traditions coming to a hard end?

World: I believe the answer is oh yes and it will be bitter entertainment to watch as Islamists push to take out the secular and demand more Middle East type traditions.

Turkey's ruling party won a majority of seats in the 550-member Parliament in Sunday elections, a state-run news agency said.
Anatolia agency said the Justice and Development Party had won 331 seats, based on results compiled with 85% of votes counted. The opposition Republican People's Party won 124 seats, Anatolia said.

"We are doing very well throughout Turkey," said Nevzat Cetinkaya, deputy chairman of the ruling party before the count was final.

The contest was viewed as pivotal in determining the balance between Islam and secularism in this nation of more than 70 million.

Many people cut short vacations to head home to cast their ballots, and lines at some polling stations were long. In Istanbul, Turkey's biggest city, traffic jammed some main roads, and police officers stood guard outside schools serving as polling stations.

....The country has an emboldened class of devout Muslims, led by a ruling party willing to pursue Western-style reforms to strengthen the economy and join the European Union. Under Erdogan inflation has dropped, foreign investment has increased and the economy has grown at an annual average of 7%.

"Things are going well, there's stability in the economy," said Kadem Diner, a catering company owner. "It would be insane to ruin stability by voting for someone else."

The ruling party's success has been touted as proof that Islam and democracy can coexist, although its detractors accuse Erdogan and his allies of plotting to scrap Turkey's secular traditions despite their openness to the West.

Many of these government opponents constitute a traditional elite and have roots in state institutions such as the courts and the military, guardians of the secular legacy of national founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

They argue that personal freedoms — such as the right to drink alcohol or a woman's choice of clothing — are in peril, but they have more of an authoritarian background and less of a reformist record than the government.

"I want our government to protect secularism," said banker Burcin Atalay, who voted for the Republican People's Party.

This will not help chances of being in the EU.

Lincoln Diaz-Balart demands Spanish language be protected.

Politics: This deserves a seperate post from the same meeting of La Raza because I haven't seen this in the local Sun-Sentinel or Miami Herald. I wonder if they are protecting him.

The group backs bills to protect credit card users and make it easier for foreign-born workers to send remittances back home. The group also supports stronger assessment and accountability provisions when Congress updates the No Child Left Behind education bill, and it opposes efforts to make English the "official" language of the United States.

Speaking to delegates during lunch yesterday, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Florida Republican and a Cuban immigrant, urged them to help preserve Spanish.

"It is important that we emphasize the Spanish language and that we keep the Spanish language, and that we transmit that emphasis to our children and our grandchildren," he said.

Remember La Raza opposes assimilation from a memo passed out last year.

Now to La Raza's concerns. Among them, in the e-mail I'm looking at, the La Raza staffer warns: “while it doesn’t overtly mention assimilation, it is very strong on the patriotism and traditional american values language in a way which is potentially dangerous to our communities.”

So, "patriotism and [A]merican values"—by which I'll assume they mean, say, learning English and knowing basic history—are “potentially dangerous” to Hispanics?

I wonder now if Diaz-Balart is on the same wavelength.

La Raza aims to kill off talk radio over immigration.

Immigration: Opposition was all about hate, not about bad laws or giving amnesty of course.

The nation's largest Hispanic advocacy group says it must come up with a strategy to combat "a wave of hate" its leaders say came from talk radio's efforts to sink the Senate's immigration bill.

"That had an extraordinary impact in the Senate, and as a nation, I don't think we should be comfortable with the fact that the United States Senate responded to what was largely a wave of hate," Cecilia Munoz, the National Council of La Raza's senior vice president for research, advocacy and legislation, told The Washington Times after meeting with NCLR affiliates to talk about a new strategy.

Stung by the collapse of the immigration bill in the Senate last month, NCLR leaders and members at the group's annual convention in Miami Beach, which began yesterday, say they will have to start a campaign to register and mobilize voters, to warn against crossing the line in the debate and to force lawmakers to take a clear stand on what they are willing to tolerate.

"I think we have to shine a light on it," Ms. Munoz said. "At the end of the day, we believe people need to take sides, that you can't stand on the sidelines, especially if part of what is motivating the actions of the United States Congress is not really about the public-policy debate, but is about their discomfort with Latinos."

John Edwards, sexiest woman alive version 1.2

Politics: There is really no part of this cover that can't be used to ridicule the poofy
entity that is John Edwards.

Via Innocent Bystanders and Hot Air.

The upside is on the Esquire site is a Giada De Laurentiis mini pictorial showing a good use of tomatoes.

NHS plan to give addicts iPods

UK: While other patients have to deal with rationing of medicine, welcome to socialist medicine.

DRUG addicts are to be offered gift vouchers and prizes on the National Health Service under plans by the government’s medicine watchdog to encourage them to stay clean.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) will recommend the system of inducements, which could enable clinics to offer televisions and iPods as prizes, to tackle the burgeoning drugs problem. But patients denied drugs for blindness, Alzheimer’s and lung cancer under Nice rationing are likely to accuse it of wasting public money.

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, said: “Why should these people with self-inflicted problems be given priority over people who have a genuine illness? Some people with genuine disease are being forced to sell their homes for the medicines they need.”

Under the guidelines expected to be published by Nice this week, heroin and cocaine users will be given the financial rewards if they test free of drugs. The scheme is inspired by one already operating successfully in America.

The range of financial incentives is likely to include vouchers, which start at £5 but increase in value each time the addict tests negative. Typically, there would be three tests each week and therefore three chances to gain vouchers of increasing value. Drafts of the guidance suggest giving addicts who test free of drugs tickets for a draw to win prizes worth up to £100.

Research by the University of Connecticut found cocaine and methamphetamine users stayed drug free for longer when they had the chance to win prizes such as telephones, stereos, DVD players and televisions. Every time addicts gave a negative drugs test they were given tickets for the draw. They “earned” an increasing number of tickets for every week that they remained drug free.

Those who endorse financial rewards for addicts argue that any money will be recouped because those who stay clean will make fewer demands of the NHS.