Saturday, September 15, 2007

As a Miami Hurricanes fan this win was embarrassing.

Sports: 23-9 over FIU? That is not a win, it is an example of how far Miami has fallen in talent and coaching so far from the ranks of good teams.

Right now, UF, UCF, USF and even FAU have shown more than the Canes. I would put those teams except for FAU as being better than the Canes.

Converts To Islam Move Up In Cells

Terrorism: Not surprising considering converts would easier fit in and not bring as much suspicious on themselves.

BERLIN -- Religious converts are playing an increasingly influential role in Islamic militant networks, having transformed themselves in recent years from curiosities to key players in terrorist cells in Europe, according to counterterrorism officials and analysts.

The arrests this month of two German converts to Islam -- Fritz Gelowicz and Daniel Schneider -- on suspicions that they were plotting to bomb American targets are just one example of terrorism cases in Europe in which converts to Islam have figured prominently.

In Copenhagen, a convert is among four defendants who went on trial this month for plotting to blow up political targets. In Sweden, a webmaster who changed his name from Ralf Wadman to Abu Usama el-Swede was arrested last year on suspicion of recruiting fighters on the Internet. In Britain, three converts -- including the son of a British politician -- are awaiting trial on charges of participating in last year's transatlantic airline plot.

"The number of converts, it seems, is definitely on the rise," said Michael Taarnby, a terrorism researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies. "We've reached a point where I think al-Qaeda and other groups recognize the value of converts, not just from an operational viewpoint but from a cultural one as well."

Meatless Zimbabwe killing pets for meat.

Africa: As the Mugabe economy approaches its zenith.

Pets are being slaughtered for meat in shortage-stricken Zimbabwe and record numbers of animals have been surrendered to shelters or abandoned by owners no longer able to feed them, according to animal welfare groups.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it could not feed surrendered animals or find new homes and was being forced to kill them and destroy the corpses.

Vets have run out of the drug used to put down the animals and are relying on intermittent donations from neighbouring South Africa.

One veterinary practice was waiting for supplies to destroy about 20 animals, and on Friday could neither feed them adequately nor fatally inject them.

In its latest bulletin to donors and supporters, the SPCA said it launched an awareness campaign on "the ethical and moral issues regarding the killing and consumption of trusted companion animals."

"But in the face of starvation and the burgeoning number of stray and abandoned animals the moral issues become far more complex and we should not be too hasty in our condemnations when animals and people are suffering equally," it said.

Washington D.C becoming gentrified.

Culture: If the pattern holds then within 10 years blacks would be the minority. Marion Barry will still be elected to some office.

A similar transformation is happening across Washington as the black population declines and more white residents and other ethnic groups move in. Demographers say if the trend continues the District of Columbia could lose its longtime majority-black status within 10 years. The changes are shaking up city politics, reshaping neighborhoods and displacing longtime residents.

Washington's black population peaked at 71 percent in 1970 as tens of thousands of white residents left for the suburbs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But by 2006, the estimated number of black residents had fallen to 57 percent.

At the same time, the population of white residents, which plunged from 65 percent in 1950 to 27 percent 30 years later, is growing. By 2006, the census estimated that 38 percent of D.C. residents were white. The city's Asian and Hispanic populations also are climbing.

Analysts attribute the shift to lower-income and middle-class black residents leaving for the suburbs while young white professionals and others able to afford expensive housing are moving in. The newcomers to D.C. are being lured by a robust economy, new condos and a chance to escape worsening highway congestion.

"The city today is occupied by a lot of singles and childless couples who have put incomes together," said Robert Lang, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech. "I don't think it's a straight-on white gentrification — it's more affluent as a whole."

Washington isn't the only city where neighborhoods have gentrified in recent years. But D.C. is one of the few places seeing such dramatic change, said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. He expects the city will cease to be majority black by 2015.

The View getting better ratings without Rosie?

Entertainment: Whoopi brings the leftist politics without coming off like a nutjob.

Rosie who? No one at ABC may actually be asking that, but Whoopi Goldberg's first week as moderator of "The View" averaged a solid 3.5 million viewers last week, according to data released Thursday by Nielsen Media Research.

That was only 2% off last year's premiere week, which marked the beginning of Rosie O'Donnell's stormy tenure. O'Donnell left the show this year and was replaced by Goldberg, who has brought a less caustic vibe to the show.

And there's more growth for "View" in the first few days of Sherri Shepherd, the new co-host who joined the show Monday. "View" averaged 3.9 million viewers Monday compared with last season's second-week average of 3.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

Friday, September 14, 2007

No argument from me on this point from Greenspan.

Politics: The prize of pork was a major factor.

Greenspan said he unsuccessfully urged the White House to veto "out-of-control" spending bills while the Republicans controlled Congress. Republicans "deserved" to lose control of Congress in last year's election because they "swapped principle for power," he said.

Philly chief needs 10,000 black men to guard streets.

Crime: This plan won't work and not even come close to the numbers being asked by the chief.

Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson is joining with civic leaders in an effort to recruit 10,000 black men to fight crime in Philadelphia's toughest neighborhoods.
Dubbed "A Call to Action: 10,000 men - It's a New Day," the effort will begin Oct. 21 with a rally and recruitment drive at the Liacouras Center, followed days afterward by the training of the volunteers to act as community "peacekeepers."

"It's time for African-American men to stand up," Johnson said in an interview. "We have an obligation to protect our women, our children and our elderly. We're going to put men on the street. We're going to train them in conflict resolution."

Johnson said volunteers will be asked to patrol in high-crime areas for two to three hours a day for "a minimum of 90 days."

Volunteers will be prohibited from bringing weapons or engaging in confrontations. They will be asked to sign agreements making it clear they aren't agents of the city and aren't covered by city insurance.

Johnson said the training and patrols will be offered citywide and open to anyone, but he believes there's a special need for African-American men in Philadelphia to get involved.

COnsidering the snitch culture, the potential harm to one's family and own health, the lack of ways to protect yourself this plan is a bust. But it sounds really good.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Rise of the far-right in Germany.

Germany: Unfortunately, the biggest move against the NPD is to try and ban it, that would be the worse thing to do at this point.

Call for ban

Politicians on all sides called for new measures to tackle xenophobia and far-right extremism, particularly in the former communist east of the country.

With many far-right gangs, known as Kameradschaften, operating freely in towns and villages, some politicians have once again demanded that the NPD should be banned.

SPD leader Kurt Beck said he was going to put together a new legal initiative designed to outlaw the NPD.

But other politicians are sceptical about such a move. Although many Germans feel revulsion when they see NPD supporters during demonstrations in city centres, when it comes to a political initiative to ban the party, any attempt degenerates into bickering.

It is a controversial idea because the last effort to ban the NPD, back in 2003, failed.

Germany's constitutional court in Karlsruhe rejected the ban after it established that most of the evidence against the far-right party was inadmissible because it had been collected by government intelligence agents who had infiltrated the organisation.

So the government in Saxony and the federal government remain in a dilemma - on the one hand, there is a sense that "something has to be done", but on the other hand, there is little consensus on what measures should be taken to tackle far-right activities.

Trying to ban them the first time most likely made them more attractive.

Gordon Brown meets Thatcher at No.10

UK: Yes it is a stunt, but at this point Brown is outmaneuvering Cameron who has managed to tick off the conservative base at every turn. He also got the people behind the ads that helped Thatcher and the conservatives come to power. I am such a sucker for a Flash Gordon reference.

Tavis Smiley declares war on GOP frontrunners.

Politics: It seems his previous threat hasn't prevented Giuliani, Romney and now Thompson from blowing off this pathetic ego fest.

At least three other Republican contenders, including front-runners Rudolph W. Giuliani and Mitt Romney, have balked at attending. Aimed at minority voters - a nonfactor in Republican primaries - the debate coincides with the final days of the reporting period for campaign fundraising, when candidates would rather be out collecting money.

According to talk-show host Tavis Smiley, the event's organizer and moderator, Thompson agreed last month to take part. Yesterday afternoon, Smiley and KCET, the PBS station in Los Angeles, said Thompson was expected to appear at the Baltimore debate.

But Thompson's campaign said he hasn't committed to any debates yet.

Thompson spokeswoman Karen Hanretty called the Smiley-PBS statement inaccurate and said campaign officials were "very surprised to see that they did that."

On The Tonight Show, Thompson said Wednesday that he didn't think much of the '08 debates, with up to 10 candidates on stage at once.

"I'll do my share, but I don't think it's a very enlightening forum, to tell you the truth," he told Jay Leno.

Giuliani and Romney have declined invitations to the Maryland debate, to be held on the campus of historically black Morgan State University. And Arizona Sen. John McCain has not confirmed his attendance.

The forum, to be aired nationally on PBS, is the second in a series designed to force presidential candidates in both parties to address concerns of minority voters. The first, at Howard University in June, drew the entire Democratic field, which signed up months in advance.

Corralling the Republicans has proved far more difficult.

"This is the hardest thing I have ever done," Smiley said in an interview yesterday. He said he found it "a little strange" that rival candidates "would beat up on Fred Thompson" for not being at this week's televised debate in New Hampshire, "then decide not to show up in Baltimore."

Any Republican who fails to appear will be making "a huge mistake," predicted Smiley, who has a nightly talk show on PBS. "If the person who ends up being the Republican nominee a year from now, if they skipped this debate in Baltimore, this is going to become a watershed moment in the race for the White House."

There will be an empty lectern on stage for each candidate who fails to show up in Baltimore, said Smiley, who has gone on the attack against Republican no-shows.

"So, you're telling me that your wealthy donors are more important than everyday people?" Smiley said in an Aug. 23 radio commentary. "I wonder ... what the race of these wealthy donors is, anyway. ... You're not just going to lose your black voters if you don't show up. More importantly, you're going to lose moderate and progressive white voters who are turned off to your politically and culturally truncated view of America."

Debate planners have been working behind the scenes to produce a program that won't be overly hostile to the Republicans, including an effort to seat an audience that is as neutral as possible, according to a person with knowledge of the preparations.

Still, the candidates who show up will expect tough questioning on issues such as immigration, the federal response to Hurricane Katrina and their party's dismal standing with black and Hispanic voters.

This morning on the Tom Joyner show Tavis went on with a petulant rant about this cannot believing they would skip his "debate." I said it before, this is a setup by a far left host(Smiley) and his questioners who won't be satisfied with answers with a conservative or even center foundation to them. The last show was a panderfest devoid of any real answers unless you enjoy promises of higher taxes, a bigger welfare/handout system along with victim politics on a silver platter of hypocrisy that was embarrassing on all sorts of levels. This would be even worse.

After years of Feminism.. Sweden has done it.

Sweden: Killing off any sort of manliness and reducing them to super metrosexuals.

Last year.

Swedish women turn to moose hunting
Published: 30th August 2006 10:53 CET

This year.

Handbags for men all the rage
Published: 12th September 2007 13:22 CET

Fashion conscious Swedish men won't be seen dead without their handbags this season.

Sales of the accessories are currently causing a trend sensation, with discerning males from Stockholm to Gothenburg ditching their briefcases in favour of stylish man bags.

NewsCorp Won't Pull Videos From iTunes

Bidness: Unlike NBC, Newscorp is not going to sink a revenue stream without knowing if it can go elswhere with the same or enchanced revenue.

Best hero at your side in case of trouble? MacGyver

Culture: No brainer given the choices though I am surprised Bond and Bauer was so low on the list.

Eighties television icon MacGyver has beaten Indiana Jones, James Bond and Jack Bauer as the fictional hero most Americans would want by their side in the event of a disaster.

In the survey, commissioned by the McCormick Tribune Foundation, participants were given a choice among seven fictional heroes for help in an emergency.
Twenty seven per cent of respondents said they would want MacGyver to help them out should disaster strike.

The ingenious secret agent, played by Richard Dean Anderson, became a household name in the 1980s with his ability to get out of life-or-death situations using everyday items. Among his many exploits he plugged an acid leak with chocolate, blew open doors with bombs made of chewing gum and patched a hot-air balloon using duct tape and a map.

Don Cooke, the McCormick Tribune Foundation's senior vice president for philanthropy, told the Associated Press he was delighted that MacGyver was voted number one hero.

"I love MacGyver. You could give him a sock and a piece of string and he could somehow create electricity for the whole city," he said.

MacGyver was followed by Indiana Jones played by Harrison Ford (16 per cent); John McClane, played by Bruce Willis in the Die Hard films (14 per cent); James Bond (played by various actors) and Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon, (8 per cent each); and Lara Croft played by Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider and Jack Bauer of 24, played by Kiefer Sutherland (7 per cent each).

Google founders get NASA landing strip for their 767

Culture: They don't watch themselves and people will think they are elitists or something.

In the annals of perks enjoyed by America’s corporate executives, the founders of Google may have set a new standard: an uncrowded, federally managed runway for their private jet that is only a few minutes’ drive from their offices.

For $1.3 million a year, Larry Page and Sergey Brin get to park their customized wide-body Boeing 767-200, as well as two other jets used by top Google executives, on Moffett Field, an airport run by NASA that is generally closed to private aircraft.

It is a perk that is likely to turn other Silicon Valley tycoons green with envy, as no other private jets have landing rights there. But it may not sit well with a community that generally considers itself proud to have Google in its midst.

Waiter save carjacking victim and gets fired.

Crime: The restaurant owner has the publicity skills of a dead fish.

A waiter in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who left his shift to rescue a woman being attacked by an armed carjacker was fired after the heroic effort.

Police said a 22-year-old woman was attacked by a knife-wielding man outside the 84 Thai Food restaurant in the Southland Shopping Center on Monday.

Restaurant waiter Juan Canales spotted the attack and ran to help.

Canales said he tackled the culprit, who police identified as Albert Means, and held him until police could arrive.

However, when Canales went back to work, he said his boss terminated him.

"He told me you're dismissed, you're fired," Canales said. "And I looked him and I said, 'Are you serious?' (He said) go get out of here, you're fired."

"Did he give you a specific reason why?" the reporter asked.

"No, he did not," Canales said.

The woman he saved, Massiel Marquartdt, said she did not understand why Canales was fired.

"I couldn't believe that after he's done something so noble, they would actually go ahead and fire him," Marquartdt said.

The restaurant manager said Canales may be a hero but he just wasn't that good of an employee.

KC's Semler controversy still going on

Culture: As the KC star is hellbent to force Semler off the park board in the name of diversity and multicult. This is some of the most bias reporting on a subject I have seen in a while. Lewis Diuguid, a liberal black writer for the Star whines why the Kansas City diversity image is getting worse.

For months, multiracial groups have protested the appointment because Semler is a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, an offensive group that opposes illegal immigration and most immigration reform. Funkhouser refused to accept Semler’s resignation offer as the flap grew.

But that didn’t make it go away. It only got bigger.

In August, the National Council of La Raza, the country’s largest Hispanic rights organization, warned it was considering canceling the convention it planned to have here in 2009. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People added to the city’s troubles, saying it would consider pulling its 2010 convention.

Semler’s appointment and Funkhouser’s stand tell outsiders this city doesn’t welcome diversity. Too many area residents have loudly joined the offensive chorus. It all worsens Kansas City’s increasingly bad diversity image. This town stubbornly remains one of America’s most segregated cities.

The reason the residents are up in arm and not supporting your position is the nerve of La Raza and at this point its lapdog the NAACP want to kick off a woman from a park board position because she belongs to a group that opposes illegal immigration. People don't like outsiders attacking one of their own and telling them what to do.

If this was reversed and a hispanic or black person with an actual controversial side to him/her was in Semler's place want to have open borders for example this wouldn't be an issue.

The implication that because Semler is on the board and people are supporting her is an indication worsening diversity is a lackluster excuse from someone looking for a hook because the case itself is so weak. La Raza and their lapdog NAACP are bullying a woman but I am not surprised they and this writer fail to see it.

Why the GOP was right to blow off Univision.

Politics: Pandering on a grand scale on something as important as immigration would only bring trouble for GOP candidates. Now mix in the leftwing Univision and it makes matters worse. I am not saying they were wrong to not do a spanish debate, but in that setting they become targets instead of being asked questions.

Univision is the largest and most important part of the Spanish-language media, yet it features some of the most unbalanced political news coverage on television and it continues its leftward drift. Marcela Salazar, a former staffer for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was hired recently as the producer on Univision's new political show, "Al Punto," which is hosted by two left-wing journalists. A Democratic friend of mine, who works as a strategist for a Democratic presidential campaign, told me last week: "She'll do us a lot of good there."

As a group, Latinos are more pro-life and more supportive of traditional family values than non-Hispanic whites, less likely to divorce and three times as likely to have started a business in the past decade. Given that all of these are strong Republican identifiers, GOP strategists are asking themselves why they vote so lopsidedly Democratic.

The answer rests, in part, in the bias in the Spanish-language media. Republicans should counteract that by participating in Univision's debate, if only so they can speak over the heads of biased reporters and directly to the network's audience.

Anderson Cooper 360 down to one hour .

Entertainment: Interesting move, I would say because Cooper is overexposed.

CNN is permanently shifting to taped programming for the second hour of "Anderson Cooper 360," scaling back an ambitious programming block created in 2005 to showcase the studio and field-reporting talents of Cooper, who it viewed as an emerging star.

CNN's cable news competitors air taped programming at 11 p.m. ET, a cheaper proposition, and the second hour of "360" runs second in the ratings to a rerun of "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News Channel.

But insiders say the net has been weighing a return to a repeat of "Lou Dobbs Tonight," or as some suggest, airing a repeat of Campbell Brown's new show which will be launched in November.

Biofuels may harm more than help

Enviro: Not a surprising study considering others over the last year has pointed out the minuses of biofuels outweigh benefits.

In a report on the impact of biofuels, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said biofuels may "offer a cure that is worse than the disease they seek to heal."

"The current push to expand the use of biofuels is creating unsustainable tensions that will disrupt markets without generating significant environmental benefits," the OECD said.

"When acidification, fertilizer use, biodiversity loss and toxicity of agricultural pesticides are taken into account, the overall environmental impacts of ethanol and biodiesel can very easily exceed those of petrol and mineral diesel," it added.

The OECD therefore called on governments to cut their subsidies for the sector and instead encourage research into technologies that would avoid competing for land use with food production.

"Governments should cease to create new mandates for biofuels and investigate ways to phase them out," it said.

The OECD said tax incentives put in place in many regions, including the European Union and the United States, to encourage biofuel output could hide other objectives.

That is not happening anytime soon because Biofuel has become a big pork project especially in important states for election like Iowa and other midwest states. The obvious point about biofuels has been the price shock on commodities that has driven other food and manufacturing products up.

Biofuels, made mainly from grains, oilseeds and sugar, have been accused of being responsible for a recent surge in farm commodities prices, along with other factors such as lower output and tight stocks.

The OECD, which said in July that it saw biofuels keeping prices at high levels into the next decade, said it would lead to an unavoidable "food-versus-fuel" debate.

"Any diversion of land from food or feed production to production of energy biomass will influence food prices from the start, as both compete for the same input," it said

One in Three Muslims Not Rejecting Violence against Apostates

Netherlands: This won't make the membership of ex-Muslims go up any faster.

THE HAGUE, 13/09/07 - Thirty percent of Muslims in the Netherlands are not prepared to condemn violence against apostates, according to a survey carried out by Foquz Etnomarketing for TV programme Nova.

Seventy percent of the Muslims interviewed answered 'no' to the question whether violence against a person who abandons the Muslim faith is justified. Six percent answered 'yes'. Twenty-four percent did not wish to answer the question.

Only 11 percent of Muslims interviewed feel that the committee set up for apostate Muslims is needed. On Tuesday, Labour (PvdA) councillor Ehsan Jami presented such an organisation.

According to Jami, the committee only has two members because other former Muslims are afraid to join. Last month, Jami was assaulted. The perpetrators were presumably three Muslims who could not tolerate his message. One suspect has been arrested and has confessed.

Magazine editor pushed out by PC diversity woman.

UK: The joys of having some sensitive PC type bossing people around because she knows better than you.

As an Ulster-born Catholic, Denis Lusby is perhaps more qualified than most to poke fun at the Irish.

But although most enjoy reading the jokes he prints in his parish magazine, some can't see the funny side.

And after a council official complained they were racist, Mr Lusby, the magazine's editor, resigned.

His 30p publication, which sells about 500 copies, includes information on local events.

Schools in villages on the edge of Bodmin Moor also use the Blisland with Temple, Helland and St Breward Community Magazine to tell locals of their news.

But after reading the May issue, Cornwall County Council's equality and diversity boss complained that the use of the names Murphy and Paddy in jokes in the magazine was racist and ridiculed the Irish traveller communities with whom she works.

Ginny Harrison-White then wrote to schools asking whether it was appropriate to have their news printed alongside 'such derogatory material', claiming that the jokes may have an impact on the attitudes of the children.

She called for headmasters to boycott the magazine.

Miss nose in the air knows what is right and wrong.

Mrs Harrison-White, who lives in the nearby village of Blisland, said that she sent the letters to the schools as a 'concerned local resident' rather than in her capacity as a council worker.

"The context of the letter was to follow up an informal conversation," she said.

"Because of my role I clearly come from an informed position with particular expertise and knowledge.

"I firmly believe that it is the responsibility of all members of society to support each other to ensure that any actions, comments, or public materials do not cause offence."

Her letter said: "There are three items which are distasteful and two of them use racist language or ridicule based on race as defined under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and which may have an impact on the attitude and behaviour of the children and the wider school community.

"I am asking if you feel it is appropriate for the school and church to have their articles, which demonstrate and promote respect and celebrate achievement, published alongside such derogatory material."

Here are some of the jokes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

George Mason Meditation Space Stirs Controversy

Culture: A followup going back a couple of months where a general meditation room got hijacked by some unruly MSA members. It is unclear how much the admin will step in to make sure this situation is corrected.

In the last school year, many students began to voice concerns about the seeming takeover of the meditation space by Muslims on the student government forum, The popularity level on the message board about the topic has stayed high; it is currently the top thread on the site, with the most posts on it and the most page views.

The space, which contains: rugs on the floor, laid out by a Mason administrator; screens dividing the space into gender-specific areas; and a number of shoe racks; has prompted student complaints. Many see the public university space as being run by Muslims while Mason turns a blind eye. In addition, non-Muslim students spoke on the forum about experiences where they were asked to leave the space or felt harassed.

“Many Jewish students have expressed interest in using the space but felt too intimidated or felt that such a move might be too provocative to follow through on,” a statement from the Hillel Student Board said. Other religious groups on campus were contacted for comment but no others had responded by deadline.

Joseph Sorgini, senior government and international politics major, spoke of an encounter in the meditation space when he went to go pray a rosary in March.

“I had no sooner finished “and the Holy Spirit, Amen” in my head when two men approached me and asked me to get up,” Sorgini said. “I was hesitant at first, so one of the individuals responded with the statement ‘What ever you have in your hand there, you can not use that here.’”

Sorgini was told by the men, who identified themselves as members of MSA but would not say their names, that the Space was an area designated for Muslim prayer use. He was told that he should have removed his shoes as well.

“I apologized for the confusion, but told him that I was made aware that this space was open for all religions or those who use meditation for non-religious purposes to use,” Sorgini said. “The first male, who had responded earlier about the rosary in my hand, told me that this was not true, and asked that I leave. Not wanting to find myself in the middle of an argument, I exchanged goodbyes with them, and left the area.”

....After the previous Broadside article was published, the meditation space issue came to the attention of other news publications. USA Today wrote an article titled, “Some say schools giving Muslims special treatment,” which mentioned the space. In the article, Alissa Karton, assistant to the vice president for university life, said that once the Broadside article came out, the school ordered students to roll up prayer rugs when not in use and move the dividers.

On a recent inspection of the meditation space, it was observed that a new sign hangs on the wall with rules for the space, including the requirement that a set of chairs must remain in the space. However, the rule stating that the dividers in the space must not be moved is phrased generally. The meditation space currently looks much the same as it did last year.

"Kiddie Porn" flick rocks Toronto's film festival.

Entertainment: Ack, unless Roger Friedman has gone crazy, this film sounds terrible with no redeeming value. I will leave out the descriptions because I might end up in search results under some horrible terms.

The worst and most offensive movie I’ve seen in a while has just had three screenings at the kooky Toronto Film Festival.

"Nothing Is Private" is written and directed by Alan Ball, the man behind "Six Feet Under" and "American Beauty." But it’s caused outrage here for its graphic depiction of sexual, mental and physical child abuse that verges quite literally on kiddie porn.

The movie — so odious that many people have simply walked out during the screenings — shows actor Aaron Eckhart having sex with a 13-year-old girl played by a now 19-year-old actress, Summer Bishil. The actress only turned 19 recently, however, which means that she was just on the cusp of 18 when she made the movie last year.

...."Nothing Is Private" comes within a year of "Hounddog," the film in which a 12-year-old girl (Dakota Fanning) is raped on screen. Of course, in that case it was really a 12-year-old. But something has definitely happened -- a change has occurred in the mindset of filmmakers who no longer see anything wrong with these depictions. How wrong they are.

Independent filmmaking is not supposed to be marked by a complete abandonment of taste, sensibility and propriety.

I don’t know if "Towelhead" is a good novel or not. But the way it’s been translated to film is certain to gross out even the most cutting-edge audiences. It’s simply unacceptable.

Indie filmmakers want to be edgy and out there. What is there left under than revolting scenarios like this to shoot.

Clinton Returns Money, Sets Precedent...What?

Politics: Am I reading too much into this or is the AP praising Clinton for doing the obvious?

WASHINGTON (AP) - In returning $850,000 to donors associated with a disgraced fundraiser, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton sets a significant new standard for how campaigns should respond in the face of potential scandal.

Clinton's decision also underscores the price—financial and political—that her campaign is paying for failing to spot trouble with the fundraiser, Norman Hsu, even after receiving a warning. The campaign announced it would now conduct background checks on its fundraisers, an extraordinary and potentially time consuming step.

By returning the money, Clinton also puts pressure on presidential rivals and other politicians with rainmakers who have dubious pasts or who have employed questionable fundraising tactics, including the campaigns of Barack Obama and John Edwards.

The only precedent set is the amount of money returned from a criminal donor. Any campaign would have done the same regardless of the amount if the background of the donor is potential trouble.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Cameron faces backlash over 'vote loser' parking tax plan

UK: Really, shocking surprise people would turn on the conservative leader for trying to force them to shop at places they do not want and pay taxes at places they do want to shop.

David Cameron's plans to scrap free parking at supermarkets, DIY stores and garden centres was at the centre of a growing storm last night.

The Tory leader was inundated with attacks on his website after a Conservative policy group said families should pay a tax to park at out-of-town shopping developments to help curb pollution and save small high street shops.

And he failed to silence the clamour by refusing to rule out such a move under a Tory government.

Mr Cameron said he could 'understand the pressures that families feel in getting the weekly shop done' but said action was needed to save the 'dying' high street.

The issue overshadowed the announcement of plans by the same policy group, led by millionaire ecowarrior Zac Goldsmith and former Environment Secretary John Gummer, for council tax discounts for families who recycle rubbish.

Mr Cameron has been bracing himself for a backlash to the report, which proposes a raft of green taxes and other environmental measures.

Colin Powell: Open border champion?

Immigration: Speaking of pie in the sky fluffy talk.

How can we restore America’s image?
We should remember what that image was, back after World War II. It was the image of a generous country that sought not to impose its will on other countries or even to impose its values. But it showed the way, and it helped other countries, and it opened its doors to people—visitors and refugees and immigrants.

America could not survive without immigration. Even the undocumented immigrants are contributing to our economy. That’s the country my parents came to. That’s the image we have to portray to the rest of the world: kind, generous, a nation of nations, touched by every nation, and we touch every nation in return. That’s what people still want to believe about us. They still want to come here. We’ve lost a bit of the image, but we haven’t lost the reality yet. And we can fix the image by reflecting a welcoming attitude—and by not taking counsel of our fears and scaring ourselves to death that everybody coming in is going to blow up something. It ain’t the case.

Did I miss the parts where the borders were shut down and no one was coming in unless by strict mandate of the US government or America not welcoming immigrants legally? Why does restoring America's image mean opening the gates to everyone who wants in here?

America still has a welcoming attitude to those who are doing it legally and not demanding rights and privs like it was given to them by God. America is not scared that everyone coming in is going to blow up something but we should drop our guard to allow them in faster so America can be viewed as some sort of lapdog everyone gets to pet.

Via Hot Air.

Dream Act is up for a vote, time to kill it.

Edumacation: Illegal is illegal, no way an illegal student should get breaks and space that out of state citizens and legal residents cannot get. All this is trying to get amnesty in one part at a time.

The DREAM Act, previously S.774, has been introduced as an amendment to H.R. 1585, National Defense Authorization Act (Defense Authorization Bill) as SA 2237, Title XXXIII (National Defense Stockpile), Sec. 3301 (Authorized Uses Of National Defense Stockpile Funds). It is number 254 of 353 proposed amendments.

Who but our corrupt and pandering senators would think of incorporating the DREAM Act into “stockpile” provisions buried at the end of the lengthy Defense Bill?

Deval Patrick, Go home and get your spine box.

Terrorism: What kind of mush mouth crap is this?

Unfortunately, the governor’s fuzzy recollection of that terrifying day seems to be in keeping with a certain “blame us” mentality that so many of his supporters embrace, along with a failure to acknowledge the continuing threat of evil that Americans face.

“Among many other things, 9/11 was a failure of human understanding,” Patrick said. “It was a mean and nasty and bitter attack on the United States. But it was also a failure of human beings to understand each other, to learn to love each other.”

Governor, “mean and nasty” are terms better suited for a political campaign or a junkyarddog. Not for the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil.

We couldn’t help but be struck by the contrast between Patrick’s remarks and those of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who in an oped in yesterday’s National Review On-Line correctly noted the “barbarism” of Islamic extremism and those who would target innocents to further their misguided cause.

“Our cause is the cause of defending liberty and freedom against a totalitarian movement that is the evil heir to the twin totalitarian threats of the 20th century,” wrote Lieberman, the Independent-Democrat from Connecticut. “Islamic extremism, like fascism and communism, seeks to eliminate all of the ideals that free peoples cherish.”

This isn’t just fretting over semantics. It speaks to a real misunderstanding of how Americans view the evil we confronted on that cataclysmic day, in the person of the hijackers and the masterminds behind the attacks.

Same sort of can't we all get along sissy nonsense from Spitzer in New York. The wussification of America continues and Dem politicians like Patrick and Spitzer are happy to move that process along.

Norfolk State making Michigan a punchline? Norfolk State??

Sports: Come on Michigan, you have to man up because this is just sad.

Norfolk State has a daunting task on Saturday. The Division 1-AA Spartans travel to Rutgers to play the 2-0 Scarlet Knights, ranked No. 13 in this week's Associated Press poll.

The 3:30 p.m. game has Norfolk State coach Pete Adrian wishing for a lesser opponent -- like Michigan.

"After watching Rutgers on film and watching Michigan play (Oregon), I think I'd rather be playing Michigan," Adrian is quoted as saying in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Now Tories want you to pay for parking.

UK: Honestly, these Tories are just spitting on every part of what a conservative used to be in England. Now people have to pay to keep small stores in business and forcing them to shop there which is ridiculous.

Free parking at supermarkets, garden centres and DIY stores would be scrapped under a Conservative plan to tax pollution.

David Cameron says the move would encourage families to use small shops on the high street and curb the growing power of food giants.

The Tories claim it would also help the environment because shoppers would ditch their car and use public transport.

But it will dismay parents who have no choice but to use large supermarkets for their weekly shopping, especially in rural areas.

The idea is the latest policy to emerge from the Tories' Quality of Life group, headed by millionaire eco-warrior Zac Goldsmith and former Environment Secretary John Gummer.

It contains measures to encourage environmentally-friendly behaviour including higher taxes on gas-guzzling cars and jet travel and a clampdown on plasma TVs.

Mr Cameron gave his clear backing to the report in a speech yesterday when he committed a Tory Government to green taxes to 'discourage bad things'.

Women scared of electronic stores.

Culture: Good! The tech stores are the last refuge of modern man, our own high tech treehouses. Go shop at Target...sorry Tar-zhay.

Women are put off spending money in electronics shops because of the way they are treated, a survey suggests.

Contrary to popular myth, female consumers are interested in technology, the study found - but they do not feel confident asking questions in stores.

In the poll by Saatchi and Saatchi, a third of women internet users said they would spend more on gadgets if retailers learned how to approach them.

One respondent said electrics shops reeked of a "strong scent of men".

Damn right it does, as we men gaze at the flat screens and ponder the meaning of life and NFL football in HD. Gadget stores aren't for the weak, play with the big boys or stay on the porch!

Of course, women who are gadget or car freaks are the greatest women in the world. Never forget that piece of advice.

CNN drops Reuters, misses out on Bin Laden tape.

Media: Here is a crazy idea, hear me out. Maybe CNN should not have dropped Reuters before they had their own news service up and running. No sense saying you can cross the river when you can't swim or have a boat because you sent the guy who had the boat away.

Outside of a newsroom, a half-hour delay in obtaining video may seem like a minor inconvenience at best. But to television news executives, the lag in catching up to the competition can be a challenge.

That was the predicament CNN faced just after 3:15 p.m. on Friday, as a grainy 75-second tape of Osama bin Laden’s latest message began running in a seemingly endless loop on the cable news network’s chief rivals, Fox News Channel and MSNBC.

Reuters had obtained a video excerpt and distributed it to clients. Unfortunately for CNN, the channel had ended its 27-year relationship with Reuters just seven days earlier.

A CNN correspondent did obtain a transcript of bin Laden’s message and used archival footage to report on it. But television relies on fresh visuals; without them, CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, continued its regular news coverage while Fox News Channel and MSNBC covered the bin Laden tape as breaking news.

In explaining the decision to cancel the Reuters contract the week before, Tony Maddox, a CNN International executive, had said that the company would make significant investments in its own news-gathering capabilities and reduce its reliance on outside agencies.

Without the wire service, CNN was put in an unpleasant position. Through an arrangement with the Arabic news network Al Jazeera, it was able to show the new video half an hour after its competitors. Al Jazeera, too, was broadcasting the Reuters video.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

MTV hates Black people or in this case Kanye West.

Entertainment: Whiner.

LAS VEGAS - Sour grapes from Kanye West — again. Shut out at the Video Music Awards, Kanye West threw a tantrum Sunday night in front of media and crew backstage as the MTV show was ending.

West, waiting for an elevator in a crowded hallway, began yelling about losing all five categories for which he was nominated.

"That's two years in a row, man ... give a black man a chance," West said, stomping around his entourage and directing his comments at a reporter. "I'm trying hard man, I have the ... number one record, man."

West said he never will return to MTV.

The rapper was nomination for five awards, including male artist of the year. This is the latest in a series of awards show outburst for West. Last year, he crashed the stage at the MTV Europe Awards after not winning for best video

50 cent sums up the reaction to Britney Spears performance.

Entertainment: That was a big of a trainwreck you could possibly have for a "comeback" gig. Speaking of which, what the hell is Dre on? He looked like he could lift a house.

LAS VEGAS (Map, News) - Somewhere, Kevin Federline is laughing.

An out-of-shape, out-of-touch Britney Spears delivered what was destined to be the most talked about performance of the MTV Video Music Awards - but for all the wrong reasons. Kicking off the show Sunday night with her new single, "Gimme More," Spears looked bleary and unprepared - much like her recent tabloid exploits on the streets of Los Angeles.

She lazily walked through her dance moves with little enthusiasm. It appeared she had forgotten the entire art of lip-synching; and, perhaps most unforgivable given her once taut frame, she looked embarrassingly out of shape.

Even the celebrity-studded audience seemed bewildered. 50 Cent looked at Spears with a confused expression; Diddy, her new best friend, was expressionless.

Some comeback.

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Time' s 50 Worst Cars of All Time is pathetic

Culture: I know Time magazine is left of center but for the love of God, if you are going to make one of these lists about the 50 worst cars, get someone other than Dan Neil to write it. List like these are based on reliability, practicality, design make. Not Neil's whiny liberal BS so he can take superficial shots at oil consumption to the war to Henry Ford's model T. Next time grab Jeremy Clarkson.

1995 Ford Explorer: In its very success, the Ford Explorer is responsible for setting this country on the spiral of vehicular obesity that we are still contending with today. People, particularly women drivers, discovered that they liked sitting up high.

2003 Hummer H2: One struggles to think of a worse vehicle at a worse time. Introduced shortly after 9/11 — an event whose causes were tangled in America's unquenchable thirst for oil — the Hummer H2 sent all the wrong signals. It was/is arrogantly huge, overtly militaristic, openly scornful of the common good. As a vehicle choice, the H2 was a spiteful reactionary riposte to notions that, you know, maybe we all shouldn't be driving tanks that get 10 miles per gallon.

1909 Ford Model T: Uh-oh. Here comes trouble. Let's stipulate that the Model T did everything that the history books say: It put America on wheels, supercharged the nation's economy and transformed the landscape in ways unimagined when the first Tin Lizzy rolled out of the factory. Well, that's just the problem, isn't it? The Model T — whose mass production technique was the work of engineer William C. Klann, who had visited a slaughterhouse's "disassembly line" — conferred to Americans the notion of automobility as something akin to natural law, a right endowed by our Creator. A century later, the consequences of putting every living soul on gas-powered wheels are piling up, from the air over our cities to the sand under our soldiers' boots.

Next time stick to the nuts and blots keeping your enlightened thoughts to yourself.

KC mayor gains popularity from La Raza/NAACP threats.

Politics: To recap the story of National Council of La Raza and the NAACP demanding someone be taken off a park board because she is in the minutemen group.

Kansas City Parks Board member Frances Semler says she won't step down, even if it means losing two national conventions.

The NAACP and the National Council of La Raza are put off by Semler's membership in the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. The Minutemen have a strong stance on immigration issues and have conducted patrols of U.S. borders.

The two civil rights groups are threatening to cancel their convention plans for Kansas City if Semler doesn't step down.

Not only that an "interfaith" group showed up at her house to tell her to resign.

Also Thursday, members of a group apologized for upsetting Semler by going to her door Wednesday and leaving a letter calling for her to resign.

Semler said the incident left her shaken and prompted her to call police, who have stepped up patrols of the neighborhood.

In a news conference, members of the Interfaith Worker Justice of Greater Kansas City offered their explanation.

“We don’t regret delivering her the letter,” said the Rev. Spencer Barrett of the Bethel AME Church. “We do apologize to her. Our only regret would be that she was frightened in any way, shape or form.”

Longtime labor organizer Chere Chaney said she was one of six people who visited Semler’s home. She said there was no intent to intimidate Semler.

.....Semler questioned whether the group truly regretted its action because members said they would do nothing differently.

“That’s not an apology really,” she said.

Semler said she questioned the group’s explanation because she believed they called ahead to find out whether she was at home and hung up when she identified herself.

Two of Semler’s neighbors told police they saw eight or nine individuals at the door and the group parked two cars away from Semler’s home and then walked to the door.

She said the group pounded on her door multiple times before leaving.

“I think they wanted a confrontation because they made sure I was at home,” she said.

In spite of these thuggish tactics, the mayor is sticking by her and the public is responding much to the chargin of the liberals on the Kansas City Star newspaper.

Whatever you want to call this arm-twisting, Mark Funkhouser’s refusal to cave to pressure is giving His Honor something of a popularity boost.

“We are getting a lot of correspondence … in support of him not bowing to threats,” Funkhouser spokesman Kendrick Blackwood told me Thursday before calculating the percentages for and against — 95 to 5, he says.

Meanwhile, I checked a more neutral source, our letters editor here at the paper. She says the mail is similarly lopsided in endorsing the mayor’s stance.

So it seems that, thanks to this little controversy, a bunch of Kansas Citians now see Funkhouser in a new light. He is no longer the clueless dolt who ticked off Hispanics with his appointment to the park board of an outspoken member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a zealous group committed to stopping illegal immigration.

Nope. Now, to a lot of folks, he’s a man of principle who will stand his ground no matter the cost in the face of… OK, we might as well go with “blackmail,” as that’s the term you hear the most.

Seriously, I’m with the mayor on this one.

He deserves credit for not giving in to pressure from out-of-town organizations that seem more interested in showing their muscle than recognizing Kansas City as a city that is far from being hostile to minorities.

Mind you, this is a person who is appointed to board that deals with parks and related issues like keeping dogs on a leash. I am very disappointed with the NAACP in joining up with this nonsense and it shows how far it has fallen in status they would go after a woman on a park board who thus far has shown only opposition to illegal immigration.

Update#: Here is Julian Bond's comments

La Raza has warned it may pull its 2009 convention from Kansas City because of the Semler appointment. If La Raza were to abandon Kansas City, Brock said, the NAACP probably would “have no other recourse but to pull our intent to come to Kansas City.”

The NAACP convention is scheduled for 2010 in Kansas City and will make a decision by the end of October, Brock said. Bond and Brock said it was important for the NAACP to stand with its sister civil rights organization, La Raza, on Semler and the conventions.

“She is a divisive presence,” Bond said. “The mayor should know better and say, ‘Thank you for agreeing to resign.’ ”

The Minutemen Civil Defense Corps is offensive, because it has set up armed camps on the border and conducted patrols without the authorization of authorities, Bond said.

“It is a vigilante group,” Bond said. “Does this appointment (of Semler) represent some kind of pattern, or does it represent an anomaly that will soon be corrected?”

The NAACP does not support illegal immigration, bond said, but supports “a rational immigration policy for the United States.”

La Raza officials also have said they do not support open borders but want an immigration policy that is fair and does not discriminate against minorities.

In an opinion piece submitted to The Star on Wednesday and running on B8 today, Semler said she supports legal immigration, but a moratorium on new applications should occur “until the thousands of immigrants now waiting in line to become American citizens are processed.”

She said illegal immigrants are costing the U.S. and its citizens.

It is sad the NAACP has become a sort of lap dog with other groups to stay relevant.

Wash Post again lies to help its pro-illegal stance.

Immigration: You see a headline like this and you wonder if the headline writers are just stupid or think the readers won't read further. This is about illegal aliens, not immigrants.

Plan to Target Businesses That Employ Immigrants Draws Fire

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 8, 2007; Page A08

A pending crackdown by the Bush administration against U.S. companies that employ illegal immigrants faced growing opposition yesterday, as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several large industry groups joined an AFL-CIO lawsuit to halt the program and the U.S. Small Business Administration said it was considering whether to take their side.

"We are evaluating that," Keith Holman, a spokesman for the SBA, said when asked whether the agency would file a friend-of-the-court brief in the legal challenge to a drive by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to pressure U.S. companies to fire as many as 8 million workers who have suspect Social Security numbers.

Nice to see the unions stick up for the American worker...wait no they are not.

Tampa student fakes her brother's disappearance.

Media: Bree Laro has a bright future in American journalism, perhaps the New Republic as a first job.

The "missing" brother of a UT student has come forward to smash his sister's claims that he disappeared while serving in the Iraq War.

The Minaret has learned that UT student Bree Laro fabricated much of her story about the missing soldier, which was featured in The Minaret's last issue of the 2006/2007. Her brother, Joe Laro, who was actually in the U.S. while Laro was completing a series of interviews, has stepped forward to say he was never missing.

Confronted with his statement, Bree claimed she had never explicitly told The Minaret he was missing. However, suitemates and Bree's sorority sisters said they were well aware of her "missing" brother. Even after he had returned safely to the states, Bree continued to try to cover her tracks in a series of instant messages and phone conversations.

She later said the news story started when a suitemate overheard Bree offering a friend an idea for a creative writing project. She claimed the whole article resulted from miscommunication, despite confirming her story in a series of interviews and multiple friends who confirmed hearing the same story about Joe's alleged disappearance.

The Minaret first learned parts of Bree's story were false when Joe himself posted a comment at the bottom of the original Minaret story. The soldier, who had already been home for weeks, said he was never missing or out of contact with his family.

"Dear everyone who reads this article. This is the real Joe Laro, now back from AFGHANISTAN- NOT IRAQ. Just wanted to make it clear that I was never in Iraq, and never missing, and no little kids ever exploded in front of me. I would greatly appreciate it if you just took this article down because none of it is true.- Joe Laro"

He later confirmed by phone that details his sister provided were false. Bree responded, "I was not aware that the stories were false...I suppose as a little sister, I overhear things and believe what is being said."

She added, "The story is correct except for all of the army aspects of it." She said the army aspects were a combination of inaccuracies and stories not intended to be shared.

Gonna make a fun Thanksgiving.

The paper posted an update.

Note: Some readers appear to think Bree Laro was a journalist for The Minaret. She wasn't. She was merely a source who lied to Minaret staff members and some of her friends. Unfortunately, there have been cases in national media in which journalists fabricated stories; this is not one of them.

Minaret reporters did what they could to confirm her story, but with a "missing" brother, a family who allegedly was too upset to talk and concerned friends who confirmed the lies she had also told them, editors decided to print the story. No one had any clue her story was fake until her brother responded to the original article. Again, this was about a source who lied and embellished a story, not a reporter or editor who fabricated an article.

The editors screwed up badly then, they printed a hot story without checking out if it was true.

German terror plot may involve up to 50 and a deadline.

Terrorism: Via AP.

Three Islamic terror suspects arrested on suspicion of planning massive bombings in Germany may have been part of a larger network involving up to 50 people, an official said Saturday.

The three, arrested Tuesday in a raid on a vacation residence in central Germany, had allegedly stockpiled enough hydrogen peroxide to build bombs more powerful than those that killed 191 commuters in Madrid in 2004 and 52 in London in 2005. Officials said all three attended terror training camps in Pakistan last year.

German authorities believe two German converts and a Turk were only the leading tip of the planning, said Petra Kneuer, spokeswoman for the Federal Prosecutor's Office.

She said authorities were investigating seven more suspects inside and outside Germany as part of what could be a larger network, and that reports that about 50 people may be involved are "not unrealistic."

Someone gave them orders to strike American targets.

BERLIN (Reuters) - Three suspected Islamist militants who were planning to attack American targets in Germany had orders to act by September 15 and knew police were hot on their trail before their arrest, a magazine said on Saturday.

The plan was foiled on Tuesday when police arrested two German converts to Islam and a Turk in the biggest German police investigation in the last 30 years.

According to surveillance details published in Der Spiegel magazine, the men had been given a two-week deadline for their planned strikes in a late August call from northern Pakistan that was monitored by German police.