Saturday, August 11, 2007

Drummers Clash With New Harlem Residents.

Culture: The changing face of Harlem and I blame Bill Clinton!

NEW YORK (AP) - On Saturday nights in summer, hundreds of fingers pound out mesmerizing rhythms on African drums—a ritual repeated for decades in Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park.
This year, the drums have a counterpoint: the complaints of "new Harlemites."

"African drumming is wonderful for the first four hours, but after that, it's pure, unadulterated noise. We couldn't see straight anymore," says Beth Ross, who lives in a luxury apartment building near the park. "It was like a huge boom box in the living room, the bedroom, the kitchen. You had no way to escape except to leave the apartment."

Ross's complaint is just the latest sign of conflict in Harlem, where upscale apartments and hotels are rapidly changing the face of a neighborhood long considered the heart of black culture in America.

Central Harlem around Marcus Garvey Park is especially attractive, with its opulent brownstones and churches from the Gilded Age of the 19th century.

The park was formerly known as Mount Morris Park, the name given to it by developers in the 1800s, when the area was mostly white; that name is now often used by real estate agencies. The park was renamed in 1973 for the Harlem-based black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey, who had advocated black ownership of Harlem.

The influx of outsiders intensified after the arrival six years ago of Harlem's most famous commercial tenant, former President Clinton, whose 125th Street office is a short walk from Marcus Garvey Park. He said then that he hoped his presence would encourage others to move to the neighborhood.

Longtime Harlem residents say that while his intentions were good, the "new Harlemites" are making changes that are destroying some of what's dearest to the black community.

A community garden was bulldozed to make way for elegant new apartments—right next to the future Museum for African Art on Fifth Avenue. After 50 years in business, the soul food restaurant Copeland's closed in July, a victim of what the owner called the neighborhood's changing demographics and food tastes.

"They call this the new Harlem Renaissance—bringing in people who are able to pay for these properties, who push out people who can't, like schoolteachers and municipal workers," said James David Manning, the 60-year-old Baptist pastor of the Atlah World Missionary Church, a block from the park.

Nearly half US murder victims are black.

Crime: Another depressing stat to show how torn up Black America has become these days.

African-Americans are victims of nearly half the murders committed in the United States despite making up only 13 percent of the population, a report published Thursday showed.

Around 8,000 of nearly 16,500 murder victims in 2005, or 49 percent, were black Americans, according to the report released by the statistics bureau of the Department of Justice.

Broken down by gender, 6,800 black men were murdered in 2005, making up more than half the nearly 13,000 male murder victims.

Black women made up 35 percent, or 1,200, of the nearly 3,500 female homicide victims.

Young black men aged between 17 and 29 bore a disproportionately high burden in the grim statistics, making up 51 percent of African-American murder victims.

The percentage of white male murder victims in the same age group was 37 percent.

More than half the murders of blacks took place in densely populated urban areas.

Firearms were involved 77 percent of the time in homicides involving black people and around 60 percent of the time in murders of whites.

Most murder victims -- 93 percent of blacks and 85 percent of whites -- were killed by someone of their own race.

Gang violence was involved in around five percent of homicides with black victims against seven percent for white victims.

In percentage terms, whites were twice as likely to be killed by a current or former partner than blacks -- 12 percent of whites were murdered by a life partner against six percent of blacks.

Blacks were also at greater risk of rape or sexual assault than any other ethnic group except American Indians, the report showed.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Villaraigosa goes shoe shopping with Salinas.

Politics: TMZ is there and LA Observed gives the details.

One of TMZ's cellphone video spies caught up with Mayor Villaraigosa and Mirthala Salinas doing some shopping at Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks. The report says that — no surprise — the mayor was happy to see the camera pointed his way while the suspended newscaster was shy about being photographed. Villaraigosa even clicked through the photos to see what was captured. Fashion report: Antonio wore a suit, while Mirthala looked lovely in jeans and heels.

Also: ERS says, based on unnamed sources, that Salinas has been spending a lot of time at Getty House, the city's official mayoral residence.

* 3 pm update: Villaraigosa told Channel 4's Ana Garcia he was buying shoes that day and didn't know about the video getting on TMZ. She also tried to ask about emails and schedule information the mayor's won't release to KNBC, but Villaraigosa refused to bite during an appearance in the City Hall tower. Channel 4's NewsRaw service billed the encounter as a scuffle, but frankly I didn't see any scuffle — the mayor's LAPD detail just blocked Garcia at a couple of junctures. Apparently Channel 4 will have an investigative report on the mayor this evening.

UK: Asian men jailed for grooming young white girls for sex

UK: This is the UK so Asian seems to be Pakistani if I am guessing by the names, feel free to correct since I can't keep up with the multi-cult, diversity terms being spewed out over there.

A hidden world in which Asian men “groom” young white girls for sex has been exposed with the jailing yesterday of two men for child-abuse offences.

Zulfqar Hussain, 46, and Qaiser Naveed, 32, from east Lancashire, were each jailed for five years and eight months after exploiting two girls aged under 16 by plying them with alcohol and drugs before having sex with them.

Both men pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to abduction, sexual activity with a child and the supply of a controlled drug.

Despite being told explicitly by police and social services that both girls were under-age and should be returned to care, the men picked up one girl from a children’s home in Blackburn and then drove on to collect her friend who was living in temporary foster care in North Wales.

It seems to be a huge epidemic.

Although campaigners claim that hundreds of young girls are already being passed around men within the Asian community for sex, she said that attempts to raise the problem with community leaders had met with little success, with most of them being in a state of denial about it.

After the case, the mother of one of the girls, who cannot be named for legal reasons, welcomed the jail terms. “This will hopefully act as a warning to others,” the woman said. She had had to leave the court as details of the men’s sexual relations with the teenagers were read out. After the trial, Ms Cryer said that young Asian men were caught between two cultures having been brought up in a Western society in families while retaining the cultural values of the Asian sub-continent.

She said: “The family and cultural norms of their community means they are expected to marry a first cousin or other relative back in a village in Mirapur or wherever the family comes from. Therefore, until that marriage is arranged they look out for sex.

Here comes the Multi-Cult.

Parents claim that criminal networks are able to prey on young girls because the authorities are reluctant to tackle the issue for fear of upsetting race relations in areas of the North West with large ethnic minority communities.

However, Ms Cryer added: “I think there is a problem with the view Asian men generally have about white women. Their view about white women is generally fairly low. They do not seem to understand that there are white girls as moral and as good as Asian girls.”

So authorities look the other way while young white girls are being sexual exploited? I am sure none of the racist groups over there is going to take this case and use it for purposes that will make matters even worse. The cultural attitudes described are the same as shown in the infamous Sydney gang rape trials where various authority figures tried to downplay the cultural attitudes of the rapists towards Non-Lebanese females. The same is happening here. Some more stories related to this case.

An ugly pattern of abuse emerges .
Mother tells how daughter, 14, was groomed.

Update: The commentators are angry with the PC term "Asian" being used because it groups everyone from the continent in the same light.

These men arie Pakistanis possibly British Pakistanis. They are not Indian , Chinese, Japanses, Korean, Filipino or Indonesian. Be specific. If they were French, Belgian, German, Russian you would not call them that not Europeans. Please treat Asians the same way.

oldasiahand, Guildford, UK

Please clarify this as it tends to be a problem in the Islamic community, not in the Hindu community. Please don't classify us all as just 'Asian', because I can assure you there are significant differences between us.

Dr S Patel, London,

Why is it being dubbed an "Asian male" issue? As I can see it, it is muslim men who have trouble respecting white girls. Asians are also Hindus and Sikhs.

Ravi, Bangalore, India

Why is the word 'Asian' being used in this report? 'Asia' is a huge continent, and Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Indians, Sri Lankans, Koreans et al are part of it.
As is quite clear, the perpetrators of the crimes mentioned in the article are of Pakistani origin. Why do you want to subject the rest of the 'Asians' such torment, just because The Times wishes to be a bastion of political correctness, by not referring to men of Pakistani origin as Pakistanis, rather than 'Asian'?

Prasant, New York,

1/5 Norwegian criminals fail to serve their sentence

Crime: The Norwegian way of fighting crime confuses me.

It almost sounds like something out of a film, but for the Norwegian Correctional Services (Kriminalomsorgen), the problem is real. 20 percent of convicted criminals simply fail to show up to serve their prison term, according to figures for 2007.

Criminals sentenced to long prison terms are particularly prone to bunking off. Almost every fourth person sentenced to six months or more in prison failed to meet in 2006. The situation is only becoming graver, with a total a 1799 people failing to show up during the whole of last year, compared to as many as 1068 people so far this year.

...The dilemma facing the prison authorities is that failure to show up at prison is not yet illegal. Although Parliament has passed new legislation making it a criminal offence to skip prison, the law has not yet been implemented and until it is, prison authorities can do nothing but hope that the criminals will eventually show up at the prison gates.

"Some people just don't get that it's better to get the sentence over and done with as soon as possible," said Houm.

The article reads better than the Onion.

Time Magazine puts devil horns on Rev. Billy Graham

Culture: It is Time Magazine, you expect the same sort of treatment they would give to a liberal? TMZ of all places was one of the first to point this out today. Here is the cover.

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Obama's favorite song? Beautiful and Beloved Mexico

Politics: I know you have to pander but pandering by singing a Mexican folk song on a show hosted by someone who favors amnesty may not play well to a larger voting audience. Just saying.

Via Hot Air.

Linda Greenhouse will not be televised!

Media: Why? You don't need a reason when you are NYTIMES reporter Linda Greenhouse.

For Supreme Court buffs who watch C-SPAN, yesterday morning was one of disappointment. A promising panel discussion, “Covering the Court(s): Reporters on the Supreme Court Beat,” that included a bevy of court reporting superstars -- like Charles Lane from The Washington Post and Dahlia Lithwick from Slate -- was to be televised. But, at the last minute, the plug was pulled on the C-SPAN cameras because the queen bee of Supreme Court reporters, Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times refused to join the panel if the event was going to be covered by the wonky news channel.

According to people who were there, Greenhouse walked in, took one look at the lights and the camera equipment, and, “became infuriated,” said one person who was standing near her. As Greenhouse herself told me yesterday following the event, she then gave the organizer of the panel an ultimatum. “I told her she had a choice, either she could have me on the panel speaking candidly or she could have C-SPAN there.”

Greenhouse said that she had come prepared to speak to a “room of academics.” She added, “I didn’t want to have to modulate my comments for a national audience.”

Why? She is Linda freaking Greenhouse, NYTIMES reporter, she doesn't answer your questions you plebs!

C-SPAN is understandly ticked off since Greenhouse knew they would be there.

C-SPAN's programming veep is unhappy: "All the participants were notified the night before, and no one objected. Then, five to ten minutes beforehand, we were told we couldn't cover it. Having a five-person crew unable to work for a day was a major hit on us." ( (via Romenesko)

G-House responds to CJR.

UPDATE: Linda Greenhouse has written a letter in response to C-SPAN in which she defends herself against their accusations. In it she claims that the "issue is not one of 'open media access to public policy discussions,'" as C-SPAN's Terence Murphy wrote in his letter, but "one of communication and simple courtesy." Ignoring the question of whether she received an email warning her that C-SPAN was going to be present, Greenhouse writes, " I learned about the plan to cover the Supreme Court panel only when I showed up and saw the cameras. Prof. Gajda told me yesterday that she had only learned at 5:00 p.m. the day before that C-Span intended to cover our panel."

So believing her story and since she is Linda freaking Greenhouse, I have no reason not too, the panel organizers failed to inform her and that is just rude.

She continues: "Some months ago, when I accepted the invitation to speak to a roomful of journalism professors, no one said anything about a nationally televised event. There is a difference between appearing before a room of 50 or so professors and speaking on national television, as I’m sure you recognize. I did not agree to do the latter, and notwithstanding my willingness—as you note—to appear on C-Span dozens of times in the past, whether to do so remains, it seems to me, a matter in which I still have a say.

I am neither a C-Span employee nor a public official. My past voluntary appearances do not give C-Span rights in perpetuity to broadcast events at which I appear, whether I agree or not. In fact, you may or may not be aware that over the years I have from time to time declined to appear at events that I had assumed were to be private when, at the last minute, I was informed that C-Span coverage was a fait accompli."

Recognize. I wonder though the huge difference between speaking in front of a bunch of profs and doing so with cameras. There is no questions asked by C-Span, just let the cameras roll and broadcast. I am sure Greenhouse doesn't have to change her language skills that much so that the hoi polloi watching C-Span doesn't feel the whole thing is over their heads.

But who am I to question G-House.

Voltron and Thor movies getting ready to shoot.

Entertainment: Via Variety.

Marvel Studios is setting Matthew Vaughn to direct "Thor," based on the Marvel Comics character. Marvel is aiming for a pre-strike production start this winter.

Mark Protosevich ("I Am Legend") did the adaptation of the comicbook franchise that launched in 1962. Thor is a blonde-tressed, hammer-wielding hero who's sent to Earth to protect mankind.

Vaughn's deal is closing just as Paramount releases the Vaughn-directed "Stardust" today. The Neil Gaiman novel adaptation stars Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer.

"Thor" marks Vaughn's second effort at a superhero pic. He was attached to direct "X-Men 3" before bowing out for personal reasons. Vaughn, who produced the Guy Ritchie-directed films "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch," made his directing debut with the Daniel Craig starrer "Layer Cake."

Voltron gets the boost from the success of Transformers but the setting is a bit odd.
20th Century Fox-based production company New Regency has partnered with the Mark Gordon Company to adapt Voltron: Defender of the Universe into a possible franchise.

Producer Mark Gordon has been developing the film, based on the popular 1980s Japanese animated TV series, comic books and toy line, for some time with Justin Marks writing the script.

But interest in the property hit a high after Transformers turned into a box office juggernaut, raking in nearly $300 million to date.

Marks' take is described as a post-apocalyptic tale of survival set in New York City and Mexico.

In the animated series, five Galaxy Alliance pilots control vehicles shaped like lions that combine and form the massive sword-wielding Voltron robot in order to battle an evil menace.

I don't remember the Mexico city/NYC episodes from days long ago...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Enter the Dragon remake??? Noir-style??

Entertainment: BLASPHEMY!

Sutter said he's writing "Awaken the Dragon" as a contemporized drama about a lone FBI agent who pursues a rogue Shaolin monk into the bloody world of underground martial arts fight clubs.

Original film starred Lee as a martial artist who's drafted by law enforcement to participate in a martial arts tournament and infiltrate a drug smuggling operation run from the host's heavily guarded island.

"I'm a huge noir fan, and this plot lends itself to the film I want to make," Sutter said. "I wanted to set it in these underground fight clubs where the action is really raw and expose the brutality of Shaolin kung fu. This will be more 'Raging Bull' than 'Crouching Tiger' in its viciousness."

Sutter will look to discover a fight star in the role of the monk and cast an established American actor to play the FBI agent.

Sutter, who'll be a consulting producer for the final season of "The Shield," is writing the FX pilot "Forever Sam Crow," a drama set in the world of outlaw motorcycle clubs. He's completing the script to "Inland Saints," a Paramount Pictures drama to be directed Joel Schumacher and produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura.

I don't think I can muster up the contempt I have for this idea to soil one of the great movies of all time into a crap darker Fight Club version of early Van Damme movies. But I will work on it.

Muslim lawmakers attack Taslima Nasreen

Culture: What a bunch of brave men to attack an author, a disgraceful display that better be punished by Indian authorities.

Muslim protesters assaulted the exiled Bangladeshi author and feminist Taslima Nasreen at a book launch in Hyderabad on Thursday, incensed by her repeated criticism of Islam and religion in general.

Some radical Muslims hate Nasreen for saying Islam and other religions oppress women.

On Thursday, lawmakers and members of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party attacked her at the press club in Hyderabad at the launch of a Telugu translation of one of her novels.

An uneasy-looking Nasreen backed into a corner as several middle-aged men threw a leather case, bunches of flowers and other objects at her head and threatened her with a chair, according to a Reuters witness and television pictures.

Some of the mob shouted for her death.

Other men tried to shield her and catch the projectiles. She ended up with a bruised forehead, and described the attack as barbaric before being taken to safety by police.

ASSAULT ON FREEDOM: Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen activists trying to attack Bangladeshi novelist Taslima Nasrin at the Hyderabad Press Club on Thursday. —
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Video of the assault here on LGF.

Ricky Martin wants to adopt kids from every continent.

Culture: As we reach the zenith of the celebrities getting kids as a fashion accessory to fill some empty egoistical need.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Ricky Martin wants kids — perhaps adopting “one from each continent” if possible.

“It’s something we want to begin to create this year, a family of many colors,” the 35-year-old pop star told reporters Wednesday in Puerto Rico, where he is scheduled to perform this weekend.

Martin, who isn’t married, said he doesn’t expect special treatment in the adoption process.

“I want to do it right,” he said. “I don’t want any problems or misunderstandings. ... Some think as celebrities we can manipulate the system to have a quicker adoption.”

Martin, whose hits include “She Bangs,” “Shake Your Bon-Bon” and “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” started the Ricky Martin Foundation to help children in need.

US public sees news media as biased, inaccurate, uncaring

Media: I think that about sums it up.

More than half of Americans say US news organizations are politically biased, inaccurate, and don't care about the people they report on, a poll published Thursday showed.
And poll respondents who use the Internet as their main source of news -- roughly one quarter of all Americans -- were even harsher with their criticism, the poll conducted by the Pew Research Center said.

More than two-thirds of the Internet users said they felt that news organizations don't care about the people they report on; 59 percent said their reporting was inaccurate; and 64 percent they were politically biased.

More than half -- 53 percent -- of Internet users also faulted the news organizations for "failing to stand up for America".

Among those who get their news from newspapers and television, criticism of the news organizations was up to 20 percentage points lower than among Internet news audiences, who tend to be younger and better educated than the public as a whole, according to Pew.

Pew Study here. Some juicy fingings and graphs to pour over. Dems along with the drop of bias in the media, a majority now thinks the military is lying to them.

Democrats think the press is not so biased anymore as this graph shows a growth overall in people who think the press is liberal.

The pattern is somewhat different in opinions about whether the press is politically biased. In 1985, less than half of Republicans (49%), independents (44%) and Democrats (43%) said the press is politically biased. By 1999, however, the partisan gap in perceptions of news media bias had grown to 18 points with 69% of Republicans saying the press is biased. And the divide in opinion has grown even wider since. Currently, 70% of Republicans and 61% of independents say news organizations are politically biased, compared with just 39% of Democrats. The percentage of Democrats who see political bias in the news media has fallen 14 points since 2005.

CNN and FOX audience don't care for each other.

More than nine-in-ten people who count on CNN for most of their news rate that network favorably (91%), and the same is true among those who rely on Fox (93% rate the Fox News Channel favorably). But when it comes to evaluations of leading cable alternatives (views of Fox among CNN viewers, and CNN among Fox viewers), there is a stark imbalance.

CNN viewers feel much more favorably toward the Fox News Channel than Fox News viewers feel about CNN. Fully 79% of CNN viewers rate Fox favorably, while just 55% of Fox viewers say the same about CNN – 45% express an unfavorable view of Fox's major competitor.

Dislike of both major cable news networks runs notably high among Americans who count newspapers and the internet as their main sources of national and international news. One-third of people who count on the internet for most of their news express an unfavorable view of Fox, and roughly the same number (31%) feel negatively toward CNN.

For a large share of Americans, however, there are really no substantial differences between the cable news networks. Of the people who offer an opinion of both CNN and Fox, 56% feel favorably toward both, and 10% feel unfavorably toward both. Only a minority likes Fox but not CNN (19%), or likes CNN but not Fox (15%). Not surprisingly, these polarized views are most prevalent at the ideological extremes – conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats.

Reuters or Russia used Titanic film shot for flag plant in North Pole.

Media: Either Reuters or Putin is going to kick someone's ass over this. A Finnish paper seems to have first pointed out the footage splicing. Reuters video here.

This story contains file shots of Russia's MIR submersible. The story also contains video of a submersible which was shot during the search for the Titanic in the Atlantic.

File identifiers were inadvertently left off the story. The story has been reposted with captions denoting the file footage.

Aug. 2 - Russia has planted a flag on the seabed directly under the North Pole in a move seen as a symbolic claim on the resource rich region

Canada dismissed the move, saying the tactic was more suited to the 15th century than the real world.

Canada is one of five states with territory inside the Arctic Circle.

Under international law the five, which also includes the U.S. Denmark and Norway, have a 320 km (200 mile) economic zone beyond their land borders.

But Moscow is hoping to establish that Russia and the North Pole are part of the same continental shelf, which could allow Russia to claim sovereignty over the energy-rich region.

Helen Long reports.

Reuters is saying this was captured from Russian television. No word from Russia.

#update: Reuters now admits the footage came from the movie Titanic but it doesn't say so on the video at the link above.

Tip: LGF

More on the "blogger" union idea.

Blogs: Jeff Jarvis with a CiF piece on the Guardian site got this response from Madrak the main pusher of this union.

The fact that this notion comes out of a convention of liberal bloggers only serves to fuel liberal caricatures - and conservative punchlines. Rightwing site imagines the first bloggers' strike under the headline, "Leftist bloggers of the world, unite!" Cue the Internationale. The snark queens at Gawker - who, in a rare moment of political correctness, make sure to say that unions are fine things - snarl: "Jesus Christ. LABOR UNIONS ARE TACTICAL ARRANGEMENTS TO DEAL WITH MANAGEMENT, YOU UNEMPLOYED SADSACKS."

Now in some fairness, which Salon attempts to bring to the discussion, one motivation for the organiser of this would-be union, Susie Madrak, who labours at the blog Suburban Guerilla, is that she wants to provide bloggers with health insurance. As someone who spent a year and a half blogging and working independently and paying $24,000 in health-insurance premiums for my family, I can get behind that banner. In America, we are indentured servants to our jobs because of the benefits. If we were freed from these shackles by Michael Moore, imagine the burst of blogging blather that could be unleashed.

Comment No. 748651
August 9 16:35
USA Oh, for heaven's sake. I wouldn't care about taking a hit for something I actually said, but I've never, ever been quoted as advocating a code of ethics for bloggers.

I don't want to "organize" anyone. I simply want people who have volunteered untold hours of their own time to get some support from those who benefit most. Nothing "socialist" about it - in business, it's a simple quid pro quo.

[Offensive? Unsuitable? Report this comment.]

Why should you get something because you or I or anyone else made a choice to do a blog? Blogs were made because it gave people a voice and a way of putting out opinions and information for other people that might be interested in it. It is a personal selfish pursuit that if you can make money from it, good job.

I am not that narcissistic to think because I can click on publish post button I should get something from whoever reads this blog.

Weinstein Bros bow to Iranian pressure over film.

Entertainment: I thought Harvey Weinstein had more balls than this to grovel over one of his films or does he just man up against Christians and those to the right of Lenin?

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - The National Iranian American Council has claimed a "mutual victory" after convincing a filmmaker to remove a family "honor killing" from the immigrant drama "Crossing Over."

In writer-director Wayne Kramer's original script for the Weinstein Co. film -- which stars Harrison Ford, Sean Penn, Ashley Judd, Cliff Curtis and Ray Liotta -- an Iranian-American woman is killed by her brother after having an affair with a Latino man. The act is sanctioned by their father.

An Iranian-American actor who read the script but wasn't associated with the film casually mentioned the plot point to NIAC assistant legislative director Emily Blout. Concerned that the depiction was "highly unlikely and potentially inflammatory," she contacted Kramer and one of the stars during the film's Los Angeles shoot.

NIAC president Trita Parsi said the star wished to remain anonymous, but all parties began "a constructive dialogue from the outset."

It had to be Sean Penn, no way it could be anyone else that politically correct. The other choice would be Ashley Judd.

In the final version, which Parsi said required reshoots and script changes, there is no discussion of "honor" in any killing. He said it was agreed that the group would not disclose the plot revision in the final film.

"'Honor killings' are accepted in some Middle Eastern cultures but not accepted in Iranian culture," Parsi said. "They sometimes happen in remote areas of Iran, but there are no cases of Iranians doing this in the U.S."

Said Weinstein Co. spokeswoman Sarah Rothman: "We are pleased the filmmakers and NIAC were able to resolve this issue in a way that addresses NIAC's concerns and maintains the creative integrity of the film. While we believe strongly in freedom of expression, we also believe in the importance of constructive dialogue between artists and the communities they seek to portray."

"Crossing Over," which examines tensions among several Los Angeles immigrant groups, is scheduled for release in December.

It seems to me that Weinstien Bros gutted the central point of the script and made something up on the fly. Considering the plot sounds like Crash, you unravel one part, the whole thing probably falls apart.
Crossing Over - The Official Synopsis

Crossing Over is a multi-character drama about immigrants of different nationalities struggling to achieve legal status in Los Angeles. The film addresses the issue from the point of view of the immigrants, as well as the immigration authorities tasked with enforcing the nation’s immigration laws.

SOURCE: The Weinstein Company

Newsbusters with more.

Harvey Keitel negotiates for "Criminal Minds" role

Entertainment: I could start watching the show if this happens.

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Harvey Keitel is in talks to join the cast of the CBS drama "Criminal Minds."

He would fill the void left by the show's star, Mandy Patinkin, who quit abruptly last month because of what he termed "creative differences."

Following Patinkin's exit, the show's producers launched an exhaustive search for a big-name actor to play a new central character. "Minds," revolving around the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, returns for a third season in the fall.

On the big screen, Keitel next reprises his role in the sequel "National Treasure: Book of Secrets."

Scott Thomas Beauchamp makes the AP wire.

Media: A rehash of what is already known but yet another black eye for The New Republic. That is the problem with liberal mags, they are way too willingly to accept and print anything that makes the military look bad that people like Beauchamp easily gets cred points from leftists. I guess its going to be the facts were wrong but the truth narrative was correct.

The Associated Press has been unable to reach Beauchamp, and the Army said details of the investigation were not expected to be released. "Personnel matters are handled internally; they are not discussed publicly," said Lt. Col. Joseph M. Yoswa, an Army spokesman.

Bob Steele, the Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values at The Poynter Institute school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Fla., said granting a writer anonymity "raises questions about authenticity and legitimacy."

"Anonymity allows an individual to make accusations against others with impunity," Steele said. "In this case, the anonymous diarist was accusing other soldiers of various levels of wrongdoing that were, at the least, moral failures, if not violations of military conduct. The anonymity further allows the writer to sidestep essential accountability that would exist, were he identified."

Steele said he was troubled by the fact that the magazine did not catch the scene-shifting from Kuwait to Iraq of the incident Beauchamp described involving the disfigured woman.

"If they were doing any kind of fact-checking, with multiple sources, that error—or potential deception—would have emerged," Steele said.

He added that he was also troubled by the relationship between Beauchamp and Reeve, his wife, who works at The New Republic. "It raises the possible specter of competing loyalties, which could undermine the credibility of the journalism," he said.

2 Buddhists beheaded in S. Thailand.

Terrorism: I haven't kept up with Thailand and its fight to stop the Islamic terrorist violence. They tried the appeasement route and that just made it worse.

BANGKOK, Aug. 9 (AP) - (Kyodo)—Two elderly Buddhists in Pattani Province, southern Thailand, were killed in their homes on Thursday, police said.

A group of insurgents stormed into the neighboring houses of the two men, aged 81 and 71, in Yaring district shortly after midnight and shot dead and beheaded them, according to the police.

The two were the last two Buddhists living in the Muslim village.

On Wednesday in the same province, two officers of the Public Health Ministry who worked for a community clinic in Yarang district were shot dead in their office.

According to the Thai authorities, more than 3,000 people have been killed since violence in southern provinces began in early 2004.

Manhattan principal brings Santeria priestess to school.

Edumacation: Uh...okay.

Principal Maritza Tamayo invited a neighbor to perform the rituals twice in Unity Center for Urban Technologies in SoHo - hoping "it would calm the students down," according to a report by schools investigator Richard Condon.

"She had the ceremony to drive away the bad spirits in the school," said an upset teacher. "Why would you bring someone doing voodoo into the school?"

Tamayo later forced her assistant principal to pay the Santeria priestess $900, then improperly paid her $350 more to drive children to school for Regents exams.

Education officials are pushing to fire Tamayo, a 17-year veteran of city schools who earned $133,998 last year.

Unity Center for Urban Technologies

Unity offers a challenging academic curriculum. We apply a holistic approach to education as our students are prepared to compete in the global marketplace intellectually, culturally and socially. Our mission is accomplished through our Regents-based program, the infusion of technology into the curriculum and collaboration with The Door.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Remittances to Mexico Slow and more counties after illegals.

Immigration: The Amnesty bill failed and now with local and state governments filling the void, money to Mexico is slowing with more thinking of leaving.

In the first six months of the year, Mexican immigrants sent $11.4 billion to their native country, according to estimates by the Central Bank of Mexico. That is about the same amount sent last year, a significant slowdown given that remittances have grown more than 10 percent a year for the past decade, reflecting population growth, said Donald F. Terry, manager of the Inter-American Development Bank's Multilateral Investment Fund.

The poll found that this year 56 percent of Mexicans living in states with newer immigrant populations sent money to their relatives back home, compared with 80 percent last year. Many of those are the same states that have passed more than 40 laws in the past two years that created harsh penalties for businesses employing illegal immigrants and landlords who board them. English-only laws also have proliferated.

More than 80 percent of the immigrants polled, a quarter of whom were employed as construction workers or day laborers, said they were having a harder time finding work because there were fewer jobs and more employers were requiring legal work documents. About half of the immigrants polled were in the country illegally, said the survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Another county in Virginia sending a message.

Culpeper is the latest county in the state to enact measures targeting illegal immigrants, after Congress failed to enact immigration legislation. Although far less ambitious than the measures Prince William and Loudoun counties passed last month, Culpeper's actions would send an important cultural message, county officials said.

"We just wanted to clarify that this was an English-speaking county and make sure we reflected that," said Supervisor Bill Chase (I-Stevensburg). "But I don't think this really changes anything."

In recent years, residents have complained about Spanish-language signs of local businesses, according to Chase, who thinks Culpeper's new immigrant population isn't as committed to learning English as previous generations were.

"I think we all came from foreign countries and turned into English-speaking Americans," he said. "But I don't feel a willingness of this particular group to do that. I don't see the willingness to blend into society."

Universities create "meditation rooms" for Muslims

Culture: Interesting admission in this piece about funding woes for student Muslim groups. At least they have dropped the pretense of not knowing what they are doing is an end around.

"...Wealthier, self-sufficient Muslim student associations would likely be welcomed by universities, which today must walk a tight line in trying to accommodate Muslim students without explicitly accommodating Islam. Many have designated "meditation rooms" that are understood to be created primarily for Muslim prayer, and now, some have instituted footbaths in the name of safety.

"We think of this as a renovation of the restrooms," said Dearborn spokesman Terry Gallagher, before adding: "We're not stupid. We understand that it is part of a religious tradition."

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Until they can resolve their financial problems, Muslim student groups in the United States are finding themselves stuck in the middle of a difficult church-state debate.

Dearborn has said that its decision to install the footbaths was made on health and safety, not religious, grounds. They said that Muslim students, who must wash their feet before their five-times-a-day prayer, had been washing in bathroom sinks, producing puddles on the floor and creating a safety hazard for students.

But skeptics in the blogosphere and at some advocacy groups insisted that the expenditure is at heart a religious one. What Dearborn and Eastern Michigan University should do, they said, is ban the improper use of sinks rather than accommodate the ritual.

"It is not up to the government to pay for the accommodation of any religion," said Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "The raising of private funds for religious buildings and religious functions is precisely the way these matters should be dealt with."

Publix quietly drops $4 deal on generics

Bidness: They forgot that part of the story when the big deal about giving away free antibiotics came out a few days ago.

When Publix Super Markets announced this week that it was offering seven generic antibiotics for free to its pharmacy customers, it was also quietly discontinuing a policy that had allowed customers to obtain scores of other medications for just $4 a prescription.

Pharmacy employees at Central Florida Publix stores confirmed Tuesday that the grocery chain has dropped its policy of matching — when a customer requested it — Wal-Mart's nationwide discount price of $4 for more than 60 generic drugs in more than 160 doses and varieties.

When it announced its new antibiotic program Monday, during a news conference with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Publix did not mention that it was discontinuing the customer-service policy of matching the discount price offered by Wal-Mart, Target Corp. and other retailers for certain medications.

Remember. Nothing is ever "free."

Obama backs down on his Pakistan threat.

Politics: I guess the polling came back and he realized this was a losing battle.

OAKLAND, Calif. - Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama said Wednesday it's critical for Pakistan to be a constructive ally in fighting al-Qaida, one week after threatening military action to hunt down terrorists if President Pervez Musharraf doesn't act.

Obama declined to criticize the Bush administration's policies on Pakistan, and expressed sympathy for Musharraf, who faces a growing militant backlash in his Muslim nation.

"President Musharraf has a very difficult job, and it is important that we are a constructive ally with them in dealing with al-Qaida," the Illinois senator said.

Obama did not repeat the most incendiary line from his foreign policy speech last Wednesday, when he promised: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

That pledge set off ripples of resentment in the relationship between Washington and Islamabad, prompting Pakistani officials to warn against U.S. incursions into their country.

President Bush was vague on Monday when asked whether he would consult with Pakistan before chasing al-Qaida leaders into Pakistan. Last year, he offered a clearer answer, saying he could not send thousands of troops into Pakistan to search for Osama bin Laden without an invitation from the government. "Pakistan's a sovereign nation," Bush said then.

Asked Wednesday whether there was any difference now between his position and the Bush administration, Obama twice sidestepped the question, once saying he did not know Bush's stance and then saying he did not speak for the White House.

Obama repeated his insistence that, "We can't send millions and millions of dollars to Pakistan for military aid, and be a constant ally to them, and yet not see more aggressive action in dealing with al-Qaida."

Minneasota bridge collapses, Somali Muslims hardest hit

Politics: I have seen some MSM reporters just try to find an angle on a story but this is ridiculous in creating a victim angle.

The collapse too adds to uneasy feelings among Somalis who say they have felt a federal backlash since Sept. 11, 2001 not only because of their Muslim faith but also because Somalia has been accused of harboring terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden. The bridge collapse has added jitters for Somalis who in recent years regrouped and rallied around one another.
“This all adds up to be very painful,” said Omar Jamal, a Somali who directs the Somali Justice Advocacy Center that fights for Somali rights.

E.A. Torriero should get employee of the month for this from the Chi Tribune.

More via Newsbusters.

Arab Americans: Resist, Don't Enlist

Culture: Since according to Nadia Abou-Karr of, the military is evil, government is evil and assimilation to American culture is totally evil. Fight the power while reaping the rewards of being in America.

I'm disturbed by the gratuitous National Guard solicitation targeted to Arab Americans that I have been seeing in places like The Arab American News and Dearborn's Arab International Festival. I am bombarded with these misleading, exploitative ads on TV, in the movie theater, and now in my Arab American media? Am I the only one who thinks it's abusive and unfair for Arabs to advocate service in the American military to other Arabs? Are our lives worth so little that we should sacrifice them in service of a government that has institutionalized discrimination against us, in order to perpetuate the same type of war and imperialism that brought many of our families here? [...]

We must do all we can to increase our options for survival beyond total assimilation and acceptance of American patriotic values that demand our subordinance. We are all different, with different values and lifestyle, but one thing I am certain of is that helping the US government tear our homelands and our people apart will not make any of us free.

So embracing American patriotic values demands subordiance of some made up Arab nationalistic streak Nadia thinks exists? That is obnoxious post exposes the author's narrow-mindedness that all Arabs are the same and doing anything that goes against her definition of "Arabness" is being a traitor.

Tip: NRO media blog.

Tintin faces racism challenge in Belgium

Culture: I am not for book banning and this just reminded me to make sure I ordered my copy.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Congolese student has launched legal action in Belgium to have the comic book "Tintin in the Congo" declared racist and removed from bookstores.

The book portrays Africans as stereotypical black characters and shows whites as their colonial masters.

"I want to put an end to sales of this cartoon book in shops, both for children and for adults. It's racist and it is filled with colonial-era propaganda," said Mbutu Mondondo Bienvenu, who lives in Brussels.

Bienvenu is also seeking symbolic damages of one euro ($1.38) from Moulinsart, the publisher that owns the rights to Tintin.

Belgian prosecutors said a motion had been filed at the beginning of August. A judge will examine the case, probably not before September, but a decision on whether to proceed could take six months, they said.

AFP getting tired of Obama's grandstanding.

Politics: What a snippy ending to this piece. But Hillary again pointed out how naive he was and used the term Islamic extremists to slam him.

Senator Barack Obama rebuked Democratic White House rivals who mocked him as naive on foreign policy Tuesday, refusing to accept lessons from those he said invited "disaster" by backing the Iraq war.

Obama defended his statement last week that he would be prepared to order strikes against Al-Qaeda in lawless tribal areas in Pakistan, if President Pervez Musharraf did not act first.

"I find it amusing that those who helped to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me," Obama said, at the debate in front of union activists in Chicago.

His remarks were a shot especially at Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton who has called Obama's foreign policy "naive" and "irresponsible" and who voted to authorize the Iraq war in October 2002.

"If we have actionable intelligence on Al-Qaeda operatives, including bin Laden, and President Musharraf cannot act, then we should. Now, I think that's just common sense," Obama said.

But Clinton immediately took Obama to task at the debate hosted by the AFL-CIO federation of trade unions.

"I don't believe people running for president should engage in hypotheticals," she said, while admitting an attack might be merited on the basis of actionable intelligence.

"I think it is a very big mistake to telegraph that, and to destabilize the Musharraf regime which is fighting for its life against the Islamist extremists who are in bed with Al-Qaeda and (the) Taliban."

Obama spoke out against the Iraq war before the US invasion -- though he was not a US senator at the time.

He did not face therefore the high-stakes choice which confronted Clinton, fellow candidates Senator Joseph Biden, Chris Dodd and former senator John Edwards, who were all on stage on Tuesday and all voted in October 2002 to give Bush power to wage war in Iraq.

Yahoo Sports showing Barry Bonds asterisk love.

Sports: Cold man cold.

Sports Illustrated must have had Rick Riley do this image.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Amsterdam 'no longer gay capital'

Culture: Vague on the attacks but previous reports have been immigrants carrying out recent attacks on gays.

Amsterdam is no longer the 'gay capital' of the world where everything is possible, but foreign homosexuals have not yet realised this, says Dennis Boutkam, chairman of the Amsterdam organisation for gay rights COC in today’s Parool newspaper.

His comments follow media reports of a number of violent incidents against homosexuals during this weekend’s annual Gay Pride parades.

Amongst those attacked in Amsterdam were an Irishman and two Americans. According to today’s Volkskrant, the Irishman suffered serious injuries including a broken jaw and broken nose.

Boutkam says the attacks are part of a trend of intolerance against gay people in Amsterdam.

Even Hollywood thinks Sean Penn went too far?

Politics: Why? All he did was praise a man who wants to be dicatator for life and purging the military while doing the socialist revolution two step. Chavez is the kind of guy they cheer on.

Even major Hollywood liberals are saying Sean Penn "went too far" in letting himself be used by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to again bash the United States. It was all part of a very anti-American and anti-Hollywood propaganda pitch to boost various Venezuelan causes -- including a visit to a filming site project that is being launched specifically to snare moviemaking away from Hollywood.
Asking not to be identified, one major Hollywood producer -- himself a big contributor to liberal causes and Democratic candidates -- told this column Sunday, "It's no secret that Sean is very left-wing, even in a town where liberal or even radical politics have long been common. But as much as many people here despise [President] Bush, a lot of us think this trip to Venezuela by [Penn] was wrong.

"Danny Glover did it too. ... It isn't the proper thing and only gives ammunition to conservatives who like to point to Hollywood as being anti-American."

Last week the Oscar winner visited a number of poor areas in Caracas and traveled inland to the site of a big film production facility Chavez is creating to compete with North American filmmaking studios.

This is the type of ammo that is stored up for down the road considering the amount conservatives have now.

Gitmo release gives Britain a security headache.

Terrorism: According to the BBC, US has been looking to release these people to a friendly country and Britain decided they needed more security threats in their midst.

MI5 is to draw up detailed contingency plans for the return of five Guantanamo Bay inmates to Britain, including one accused of having trained at al-Qaeda camps to carry out terrorist attacks in the West.

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, and Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, announced a policy U-turn yesterday by formally asking the US for the release of the five from Camp Delta. The men will be placed under surveillance and could have terrorist control orders imposed on them if they are thought to be a threat to national security.

A United States military indictment alleges that Binyam Mohammed received firearms and explosives training alongside the shoebomber Richard Reid, was lectured by Osama bin Laden and was given a terrorist mission by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the 9/11 atrocities.

Mr Mohammed, 29, an Ethiopian who converted to Islam while living in London in the late 1990s, denies the allegations and says that he was charged by the US military only after being tortured at a CIA “ghost prison” in Morocco. His military trial ground to a halt after the US Supreme Court declared it illegal.

But the return of the men — which Washington indicated was likely in the near future — will present ministers with a security headache.

Whitehall sources indicated last night that all the detainees would be subjected to surveillance checks when they arrived back in Britain. MI5 and MI6 were both consulted before the policy change was announced but security sources would not say whether any of the five poses a significant threat. The authorities are also likely to examine the possibility of deporting the five onwards to their countries of birth.

Uh..No Hillary just no on "helping" mortgage owners.

Bidness: Hell no. Via the NRO' Campaign spot.

From Hillary Clinton’s campaign press release, detailing her plan to "Preserve the Dream of Home Ownership":

New Hampshire resident Kristi Schofield joined Senator Clinton in Derry today. On July 31st, Kristi and her husband Paul lost their home of eight years in East Hamstead, NH because it had been purchased by the bank at a foreclosure auction. Yesterday, their mortgage company asked them to be out of the house in 17 days. They had planned to raise their three children and spend the rest of their lives in their home, but their adjustable rate mortgage payments continued to climb from $2,400 to its current level of $6,000 a month.

“We tried to do the right thing and continued to make the payments as long as we could with our savings and what earnings we had from unemployment, temporary and part time work. My husband had a good job, we had a great home. We were living our dream. Hillary Clinton is standing up today because she wants to help protect the American dream,” said Schofield.

As pointed out, you took out an adjustable rate mortgage, did it not occur to use a calculator or view a table to see how payments would be affected when not if the rates go up? It is one thing to go after criminal sub-primer companies that should know better or lied to get a signature, it is an entirely different thing to bail out people who should know better before signing the contracts.

Some of Hillary’s proposals are pretty mild – disclosure of mortgage broker compensation rates, more uniform broker licensing standards, etc. But then she says she wants to “establish a $1 billion fund to support state programs that help at-risk borrowers avoid foreclosure.” Whoa, whoa, whoa. I’m sure some of these folks are genuine hard-luck cases. But a good chunk of these foreclosures are people who bought a hell of a lot more house than they could afford, and who expected to be able to “flip” them quickly for a big profit. They gambled, and lost. Why are taxpayers expected to shell out to save their McMansions?

If even a softie like Avarosis is skeptical, that idea ought to be dead on arrival.

Ridiculous idea for the most part.

Life-Forms "Resurrected" After Millennia in Ice

Science: Am I the only one who sees titles like the above and go that may not be a good idea? It is also possible I watched way too many sci-fi movies.

Imagine sticking some bacteria in the freezer and taking them out millions of years later to find that they are still alive.

That would be similar to what happened recently, when scientists brought eight-million-year-old microbes back to life—simply by thawing them.

The ancient bacteria were found frozen in the world's oldest known tracts of ice, the debris-covered glaciers of Antarctica.

"We think that they were pretty much locked in a frozen, inanimate state for that period of time," said lead study author Kay Bidle, a marine microbiologist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

It's also possible that some of the microbes were capable of maintaining their metabolism within tiny droplets of water suspended in the ice, Bidle said.

Bidle and colleagues retrieved and revived two samples of bacteria from the glacial ice. The first was a hundred thousand years old, and the second was around eight million years old.

The eight-million-year-old bacteria were alive, but barely.

Their genes were severely damaged from long exposure to cosmic radiation, which is higher at Earth's poles.

The radiation bombarded the bacteria's DNA with high-energy particles, which broke apart the DNA's chemical bonds and hacked it into shorter pieces.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Climate bill shaves $533 bln off economy.

Bidness: Save the polar bears and kill the economy.

".... A Senate bill to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions would raise energy prices and also reduce American economic output by more than half a trillion dollars over two decades, according to a government report released on Monday.

Congress is expected to consider climate legislation this fall that would fight global warming. Many businesses worry the U.S. economy would suffer under a measure to impose tough mandatory cuts in emissions.

One proposal, introduced by Sens. Joseph Lieberman and John McCain, would gradually reduce total U.S. emissions by the year 2050 to 60 percent below 1990 levels.

The bill would require companies to report their yearly greenhouse gas emissions and submit a matching number of government-issued allowances to equal the emissions spewed. Companies that emit more would have to buy allowances from cleaner companies that produce fewer emissions.

However, the proposal would cut into the U.S. economy and raise gasoline and other energy prices paid by consumers, according to an analysis of the legislation by the Energy Information Administration.

The legislation "increases the cost of using energy, which reduces real economic output, reduces purchasing power, and lowers aggregate demand for goods and services," the EIA said.

With companies trying to meet the shrinking emissions levels, U.S. economic output would be $533 billion lower over the 2009 to 2030 time period, the agency said.

In the transportation sector, gasoline and other petroleum products would cost more as oil refiners buy allowances to cover the emissions spewed by their facilities.

"The cost of the allowances will be included in the prices of the fuels," the EIA said. "

Lufthansa thinking about economy beds on long flights.

Bidness: It would work for a while as a novelty for passengers depending on how comfortable they make the beds.

CAIR already crying racism in pipe bomb arrests.

Crime: This is what happens when you open your mouth before getting all the details.

Ahmed Abda Sherf Mohamed, 24, and Yousef Samir Megahed, 21, both students at the University of South Florida in Tampa, were driving through the area on Saturday to vacation at a North Carolina beach for Mohamed's birthday, their defense attorney said.

"They admitted to having what they said were fireworks. Based on the officer's judgment at hand, based on what he had seen, we judged it to be other than fireworks," Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne DeWitt said.

Mohamed, 24, said he made pipe bombs from items he bought at Wal-Mart, according to an affidavit with his arrest warrant.

In jumps Bedier.

Before details about the pipe bombs were released, the executive director of a civil rights organization for Muslims in Tampa criticized the arrest as racial profiling, an accusation South Carolina police denied.

"Definitely this is not related to terrorism," said Ahmed Bedier of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"Had these been two good ol' boys from South Carolina driving through and speeding—and even if they did have some fireworks—nobody would have been arrested," Bedier said.

The two men were stopped for speeding Saturday night on U.S. Highway 176 near Goose Creek, which is the site of the Naval Weapons Station and houses the U.S. Naval Consolidated Brig, a military prison where enemy combatants have been held.

They were heading west, away from Goose Creek, when they were pulled over about seven miles from the sprawling Navy facility, police said.

Officers became suspicious because the men quickly put away a laptop computer and couldn't immediately say what they were doing in the area or where they were going, DeWitt said.

A deputy then found what he thought were explosives in the 2000 Toyota Camry and called the bomb squad. Technicians confirmed the devices were pipe bombs and destroyed them, according to sworn statements in the arrest warrants.

I dunno, but speeding late night near a navel base would attract attention.

Intifada wear comes to New York City.

Culture: All the cool and/or naive people are wearing it, fight the oppression!

August 6, 2007 -- Activists with ties to the principal of the city's controversial new Arabic-themed school are hawking T- shirts that glorify Palestinian terror, The Post has learned.

The inflammatory tees boldly declare "Intifada NYC" - apparently a call for a Gaza-style uprising in the Big Apple.

The organization selling the shirts, Arab Women Active in Art and Media, shares office space on Brooklyn's Third Avenue with the Saba Association of American Yemenis.

Dhabah "Debbie" Almontaser, principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy - which is scheduled to open in Brooklyn next month - is a board member and spokeswoman for Saba.

Members of AWAAM refused to comment.

But Almontaser downplayed the sig nificance of the T-shirts.

"The word [intifada] basically means 'shaking off.' That is the root word if you look it up in Arabic," she said.

"I understand it is developing a nega tive connotation due to the uprising in the Palestinian-Israeli areas. I don't be lieve the intention is to have any of that kind of [violence] in New York City.

"I think it's pretty much an opportunity for girls to express that they are part of New York City society . . . and shaking off oppression."

AWAAM's co-founders, Rama Kased and Mona Eldahry, are also active in the more militant pro-Palestinian group, al-Awda, whose main U.S. office is in California.

That organization, according to the Anti-Defamation League, is an active supporter of the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas.

"Developing?" It was already made years ago when Arafat first made it popular. There is no way to pass this off as innocent.

White farmers patrol South Africa's border to stem exodus.

Africa: This could get ugly, but it is another sign of South African government failure to stop the illegal immigration which is the result of them sitting back watching Mugabe destroy the place.

The farmers, all of them white and wearing the telltale uniform of the Afrikaner farmer – tight shorts and khaki shirts, pistols at the waist – are members of the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU).

They have formed military-style units, known as Plaaswag [farm patrols], to police the border. They say that they are there to protect themselves from crime but critics say that they are little more than white vigilante groups trying to reassert their dominance. “We are not a vigilante group, we are not here to take away the rights of people just to protect ourselves. The TAU looks after our members because we feel that the security forces are not [doing] the job,” said Ms Helm.

The farmers blame the Zimbabwean influx for at least 30 per cent of the crimes which take place in the area and say that in the absence of government action they have no choice but to make citizen’s arrests and protect their interests. In two days at the border, The Times saw only two police vans and no official border patrols, but several dozen illegal immigrants.

“We are here because the state has no political will to sort out this problem. I don’t want to do this, I am a farmer, I want to farm,” said Gideon Meiling, the head of the TAU’s security and safety unit. Statistics of attacks on white farmers in the Limpopo border area trip off his tongue.

“Zimbabweans were responsible for the death of Sue Bristow a few months ago, she was killed with a pitchfork. I live on a farm 39 kilometres (24 miles) from the nearest police station. If I call them, they don’t even come, but the other farmers do,” he said.

The farmers hand over their daily catch to the local police who deport them – most of whom simply slip over the border again a few days later. The farmers often sympathise with their plight and buy them milk and bread before handing them over.

“This is a human tragedy, they are not criminals just illegals, but we cannot just sit back and do nothing. We are filling a void created by the state’s irresponsibility,” explained Ms Helm.

The Government admits that more needs to be done to thwart the influx. Aziz Pahad, the Deputy Foreign Minister, said: “If we don’t begin to assist the Zimbabweans to solve their own problems the flow will increase.” he said.

Human rights groups are enraged by the farmers’ actions, which technically fall under the Government’s own description of community policing. Only 13 years after the end of apartheid, the sight of white Boer farmers speeding around the country arresting black people touches a raw nerve.

Jody Kollapen, of the South African Human Rights Commission, said that the farm watch initiative was little more than a paramilitary organisation behaving in a racist manner.

But one police officer, who happily took possession of seven Zimbabweans, told The Times: “This is very good, this is community policing at its very best, we can’t do this on our own.”

David Carr with the Nytimes paragraph of the day.

Media: Now with Murdoch running the WSJ and looking to go national with it, the NYTIMES reporters are in full hissy mode.
If the agreement is followed to the letter, that means Mr. Murdoch cannot change editorial page editors or mandate editorial positions, something every other newspaper publisher in the country takes for granted.

Readers generally do not understand the convention, but there is a high wall between the editorial pages of a newspaper and its news operation. I can say from experience that people conflate the perceived liberalism of The New York Times editorial page with its reporters, and the men and women who make news calls for The Wall Street Journal often find themselves confused with their crazy cousins at the back of the first section. But the division is very real: the twain do not meet and often conflict. By allowing the owners of the barrels of ink to spill some in the opinion pages, it keeps mischief at a minimum.

Perceived liberalism is the same as the Black Knight saying he just had a flesh wound. There is no difference between the NYTIMES editorial pages(liberal) and its news pages(liberal). NYTIMES doesn't need a barrier because almost no one gets hired unless they can fit in the liberal urban culture that exists there. When they do hire someone who is to the right of Lenin, it is treated as a big deal and astonishment. But when you are in an echo chamber like Carr, you can write paragraphs without thinking it may seem strange to anyone outside the Manhattan cocktail party circuit.

Kids told to write 'Allah is God'

UK: This will be an interesting week at that school.

ANGRY parents have blasted a teacher for telling ten-year-olds to copy a Muslim prayer saying “There is no God but Allah”.

Helen Green is said to have picked the Muslim call to prayer as HAND-WRITING practice.

It includes the lines “Allah is the greatest” and “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah”.

Pupil Billy Darbyshire’s stepmum Hayley Clayton said: “The explanation was that the children were learning about Islam in RE.

“But this was like he was taking an oath. A Muslim child would never be asked to write a Bible passage.

“Why didn’t she choose a passage from a normal story book to teach handwriting?”

She was being cultural sensitive? That is the in-thing for academia set.

UK: Goofy parents let their kids become sex objects.

Culture: Couple of more stories like this and I am going to support having license programs to become a parent.

Take 11-year-old Belle Chapman. Last week, Belle, a naturally pretty brunette, turned to her mother Cheryl and said: "I must get my legs waxed again, they are getting so hairy."

Cheryl, a PR executive from Reigate in Surrey, says: "Her monthly waxing costs me about £30, and she regularly has her hair highlighted, which costs £60.

"I spend more on beauty treatments for her than myself. She loves having facials. I put my foot down about her using tanning beds, but she is badgering me to have the latest spray-on tan. She's even had her arms waxed."

....Like the nymphets and faunlets in Nabokov's novel Lolita, British society, it seems, is fast breeding a generation of young girls being sexualised before their bodies have had time to develop.

....Experts in America have already warned that a generation of young girls are being psychologically damaged by the relentless marketing of inappropriate 'sexy' clothing and toys.

And it's the same on this side of the Atlantic.

Last year, Tesco was forced to remove the Peekaboo pole-dancing kit from the toys and games section of its website, and a couple of years ago, Asda provoked a furore for selling inappropriately adult lingerie for children, including thongs and push-up black lace bras.

The Daily Mail columnist Bel Mooney, who lectures on the role pornography plays in society, says: "Go into town centres and you see pre-teen girls dressed as go-go dancers in mini skirts or navel-showing jeans with skimpy crop tops over their flat chests.

"Do parents have to hammer the nails in the coffin of innocence themselves?"

Set stories such as this together with the release of a UN study in February which said British children were the unhappiest and unhealthiest in the developed world, and a very worrying picture of Britain's young girls begins to emerge.

And what is especially worrying of all is the role of parents in all this and what appears to be an increasing inability to say 'no'.

Belle's mother Cheryl says: "I suppose the obvious response is that I could stop her, but the trouble is all her friends are dressing and acting like this, and she says it would make her too different."

Elima, mother of Karolina and Daniela, adds: "My partner rolls his eyes at the girls' beauty regime and says they should be concentrating on their studies.

"But I don't see anything wrong with what they are doing."

The entire article is a depressing gathering of parents who don't deserve to have a goldfish much less a child to bring up in this world.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

In Silicon Valley, Millionaires Who Don’t Feel Rich

Culture: This article is a perfect collection of people who if they got smacked upside the head you would demand more be done to them. A pathetic pity fest of money being made by people who really are book smart but not street smart with very little common sense.

Mr. Steger, 51, a self-described geek, has banked more than $2 million. The $1.3 million house he and his wife own on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean is paid off. The couple’s net worth of roughly $3.5 million places them in the top 2 percent of families in the United States.

Yet each day Mr. Steger continues to toil in what a colleague calls “the Silicon Valley salt mines,” working as a marketing executive for a technology start-up company, still striving for his big strike. Most mornings, he can be found at his desk by 7. He typically works 12 hours a day and logs an extra 10 hours over the weekend.

“I know people looking in from the outside will ask why someone like me keeps working so hard,” Mr. Steger says. “But a few million doesn’t go as far as it used to. Maybe in the ’70s, a few million bucks meant ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,’ or Richie Rich living in a big house with a butler. But not anymore.”

Silicon Valley is thick with those who might be called working-class millionaires — nose-to-the-grindstone people like Mr. Steger who, much to their surprise, are still working as hard as ever even as they find themselves among the fortunate few. Their lives are rich with opportunity; they generally enjoy their jobs. They are amply cushioned against the anxieties and jolts that worry most people living paycheck to paycheck.

But many such accomplished and ambitious members of the digital elite still do not think of themselves as particularly fortunate, in part because they are surrounded by people with more wealth — often a lot more.

The article gets worse after that, so if you are having trouble making ends meet, don't read this article or you will pop a couple of blood vessels.
Mr. Hettig, the estate planning lawyer, sums it up for many: “We’re in such a rarefied environment,” he said, “people here lose perspective on what the rest of the world looks like.”

Too true.

Bombardier Obama: "....Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove."

Politics: Mitt Romney with the zinger of week on bombardier Obama. The other question is why anyone would agree to a debate this early on a Sunday, forget the youtube debate, this is the one they should have been protesting.

Romney, too, was eager to criticize Democrats. His chosen target was Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, who said recently he would be willing to meet with the leaders of Cuba, North Korea and Iran in his first year in office, and declared in a speech he would order military action to capture terrorists in Pakistan if that nation's president did not.

"I mean, in one week he went from saying he's going to sit down, you know, for tea, with our enemies, but then he's going to bomb our allies," said Romney. "I mean, he's gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Sunday stood by foreign policy comments that sparked an anti-U.S. protest in Pakistan and attacks from his opponents, telling an audience in rural Nevada, "There was no mistake there."

"I made a simple proposition that I'd like anybody here to challenge me on," Obama said of his Wednesday speech in which he said that he would use military force in Pakistan, a U.S. ally, if necessary to root out terrorists.

Obama also sought to clarify his assertion, prompted by a reporter's question, that nuclear weapons would be "off the table" in such an attack. His top rival, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, pounced on the comment, saying leaders should not discuss hypotheticals involving nuclear weapons.

Obama portrayed the question and Clinton's critique as absurd.

"Everybody knows that you'd use conventional weapons in those circumstances," he said. "Every military expert knows that you'd never use nuclear weapons in that situation."

The comments followed a week in which the freshman senator from Illinois attempted to present a distinct foreign policy vision, and found himself piled on by both Democrats and Republicans.

Obama told the group Sunday that he was surprised by the strong reaction.

"If we had actionable intelligence in terms of taking (terrorists) out and we couldn't get the government of Pakistan to act, we should act. That doesn't seem to me to be a controversial statement," he said.

The government of Pakistan last week branded Obama's comment "irresponsible" and protesters in Islamabad burned an American flag.

You just said you would bomb an ally no questions asked in a region worse than Iraq with the General hanging on for dear life, what part of that did you not think would get a strong reaction?

Obama needs to stop acting like mister tough guy because it is not in his nature which leads him to screw ups like this.

Michelle Malkin with the pics and more reaction.

House approves taxing oil companies.

Bidness: There is some righteous stupidity going on here that can only be approved by those who refuse to think beyond point "A."

Declaring a new direction in energy policy, the House on Saturday approved $16 billion in taxes on oil companies, while providing billions of dollars in tax breaks and incentives for renewable energy and conservation efforts.

The House passed the tax provisions by a vote of 221-189. Earlier it had approved, 241-172, a companion energy package aimed at boosting energy efficiency and expanding use of biofuels, wind power and other renewable energy sources.

The utilities and business interests had argued aggressively against the federal renewables mandate, saying it would raise electricity prices in regions of the country that do not have abundant wind energy. But environmentalists said the requirement will spur investments in renewable fuels and help address global warming as utilities use less coal.

"This will save consumers money," said Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., the provision's co-sponsor, maintaining utilities will have to use less high-priced natural gas. He noted that nearly half the states already have a renewable energy mandate for utilities, and if utilities can't find enough renewable they can meet part of the requirement through power conservation measures.

The bill also calls for more stringent energy efficiency standards for appliances and lighting and incentives for building more energy-efficient "green" buildings. It would authorize special bonds for cities and counties to reduce energy demand.

"We are turning to the future," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

On one of the most contentious and heavily lobbied issues, the House voted to require investor-owned electric utilities nationwide to generate at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind or biofuels.

The bill would repeal for oil companies a tax breaks given in 2004 to help domestic manufacturers compete against foreign companies, and another tax break pertaining to income from foreign oil production. Critics of the two tax provisions called them loopholes that the industry had taken advantage of.

The House-passed bill also includes an array of loan guarantees, federal grants and tax breaks for alternative energy programs. They include building biomass factories, research into making ethanol from wood chips and prairie grasses and producing better batteries for hybrid gas-electric automobiles.

Brilliant, lets make oil companies less competitive in the world market, mark up their costs which will lead to less investment into drilling, no movement on creating more of our own domestic energy sources, raise the cost of power companies which will be passed on to consumers by demanding renewable sources that are highly expensive now and the foreseeable future, have appliances for homes go up in price, counties and cities put themselves into more debt by passing "green" bonds. A perfect formula for disaster, but at least it makes everyone feel good.

Good job.

Forgetting the fact that Nuclear energy is not getting the push that it deserves instead of the weaker and less reliable wind and biofuels.

But for all the talk of a nuclear “renaissance”, the United States lags far behind other countries, generating only 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy, a proportion that has been stagnant for years. (Coal, the single largest source of U.S. electricity, provides about50 per cent.) In France, by contrast, nearly 80 percent of the country’s electricity is nuclear-generated; in China that figure is 50 per cent. Japan and South Korea also generate significantly more nuclear power proportionately than the United States. In each of those countries, governments assume a huge role in financing nuclear plants, which are far more expensive than coal-based facilities.

Liberal bloggers want a blog union.. oy...

Media: There is such a sense of entitlement oozing from the supporters of this idea I have very little to say other than they can't be this stupid. Just a gist of what the supporters are demanding.

Organizers hope a bloggers' labor group will not only showcase the growing professionalism of the Web-based writers, but also the importance of their roles in candidates' campaigns.

"I think people have just gotten to the point where people outside the blogosphere understand the value of what it is that we do on the progressive side," said Susie Madrak, the author of Suburban Guerilla blog, who is active in the union campaign. "And I think they feel a little more entitled to ask for something now."

Others see a blogger coalition as a way to find health insurance discounts, fight for press credentials or even establish guidelines for dealing with advertising and presenting data on page views.

"It would raise the professionalism," said Leslie Robinson, a writer at "Maybe we could get more jobs, bona fide jobs."

Few bloggers are paid for their posts, and even fewer are able to make a living doing the work. But many say they often devote as much energy and time to their online musings as they do to their salaried careers.

Sitting at a panel titled "A Union for Bloggers: It's Time to Organize" at this week's YearlyKos Convention for bloggers in Chicago, Burgard said she'd welcome a chance to join a unionized blogging community.

"I sure would like to have that union bug on my Web site," said Burgard, a blogger who uses the moniker Bendy Girl.

Madrak hopes that regardless the form, the labor movement ultimately will help bloggers pay for medical bills. It's important, she said, because some bloggers can spend hours a day tethered to computers as they update their Web sites.

"Blogging is very intense _ physically, mentally," she said. "You're constantly scanning for news. You're constantly trying to come up with information that you think will mobilize your readers. In the meantime, you're sitting at a computer and your ass is getting wider and your arm and neck and shoulder are wearing out because you're constantly using a mouse."

You want your medical bills paid because you are doing something by choice that by its nature is supposed to be an independent form of media that anyone can choose to do at anytime?

You decide to sit on your fat ass to create a blog because you think what you have to say or link too is important enough to interest someone else. This is turning around and whining that you are now important enough to be paid in some form for something anyon can do in their spare time. If you can make a living off of blogging, bless your luck and hard work. But the very nature of blogging makes it less appealing to be unionized.

So... How did Obama's message about Pakistan work out?

Politics: About as well as you could imagine for Hillary.

WASHINGTON -- First, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was attacked by political rivals at home. Now he's under fire from abroad.
A senior Pakistani government official Friday criticized as "irresponsible" a threat the Democratic senator from Illinois made this week to launch unilateral American military strikes against al-Qaida havens in a remote border region of the Muslim nation.

Obama's comments also stirred street protests during which hundreds chanted anti-U.S. slogans and burned an American flag in Pakistan.

"It's a very irresponsible statement, that's all I can say," Pakistani Foreign Minister Khusheed Kasuri told AP Television News. "As the election campaign in America is heating up, we would not like American candidates to fight their elections and contest elections at our expense."

Obama's threat to attack the territory of a Muslim ally without the consent of its government also could have broader ramifications for Obama's standing in international Islamic public opinion.

The worldly mixed-race presidential candidate, who spent part of his early childhood in the Muslim nation of Indonesia, has a life story that has excited interest among a global Muslim population disillusioned by the Bush administration's policies in Iraq. Obama's middle name of Hussein, a negative to Americans familiar only with the deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, offers comfort to Muslims who recognize the name as that of a revered ancient imam associated with the cause of the oppressed.

Obama has promoted a counterterrorism policy that stresses attempts to win over Islamic public opinion in the struggle against fundamentalist extremists, and his advisers argue he would be a powerful messenger for the United States in the Muslim world. In the same speech in which Obama threatened a military strike in Pakistan, he promised to go to a major Islamic forum within his first 100 days in office to "deliver an address to redefine our struggle" against Islamic extremists.

But the threat against Pakistan is likely to significantly damage perceptions of Obama in global Islamic public opinion, though perhaps not irrevocably, said Vali Nasr, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who studies political Islam and is author of "The Shia Revival."

"There is the Obama promise. There is the Obama message. And now there are the Obama words," Nasr said. "They are not consistent with each other."