Saturday, October 20, 2007

British women treat abortion as the easy option

Culture: If they are who can blame them there or even over here? After a couple of decades of saying it is a just a "choice" and calling an unborn baby everything but an unborn life, abortion as this last resort choice has become a cliche that is looked down upon by rights groups for women.

The British public is in danger of losing its 'moral focus' on abortion and treating the procedure as normal, rather than a last resort, says the Archbishop of Canterbury.
With the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act less than a week away, Dr Rowan Williams uses an article in today's Observer to claim that people are close to slipping to a new 'default position' on the issue.

'There has been an obvious weakening of the feeling that abortion is a last resort in cases of extreme danger or distress,' Williams writes, noting that 'nearly 200,000 abortions a year in England and Wales tell their own story'. Instead, the leader of the Church of England claims the growing belief that 'abortion is essentially a matter of individual decision' means it is no longer 'the kind of major moral choice that should involve a sharing of perspective and judgment'.

UK: Top cop says stop more black suspects.

Crime: I guess all that hug a hoodie, less enforcement more talking and understanding their pain so you don't make them feel targeted falls to the wayside given the amount of crime that is increasing within minority areas.

One of Britain's leading black police officers is to demand that more people from ethnic minorities must be stopped and searched if the fight against inner-city gun and knife crime is to succeed.

In a speech that will reignite one of the most contentious issues in British policing, the president of the National Black Police Association will dramatically call for an increase in the policing strategy in black communities. It marks a U-turn by the association, which has previously questioned the high proportion of black people stopped and searched by police.

...Jarrett told The Observer: 'From the return that I am getting from a lot of black people, they want to stop these killings, these knife crimes, and if it means their sons and daughters are going to be inconvenienced by being stopped by the police, so be it. I'm hoping we go down that road. I am going to be pressing him [Blair] to increase stop-and-search. It's not going to go down very well with my audience, many of whom are going to be black.

We have talked about disproportionate use of stop-and-search in the past, but what I am proposing is quite the reverse. The black community is telling me that we have to have a look at this.' Controversially, Jarrett said he would not oppose a random use of stop-and-search when officers had 'reasonable suspicion' an offence had been committed. He argued that, as long as officers used the powers courteously and responsibly, many within the black community would accept it as a necessary evil. He added that the toll of shootings and knife crime meant that deep-seated misgivings over the policing strategy were being increasingly outweighed by fears over mounting violence.

Later in the article it pointed out these tactics were effective until riots caused everyone to politically correct. Now after a rise in killings, people realizing that a 100% soft approach does not work. Of course this leads to the white liberal stepping in to whine.

The backlash was led last night by Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg, who said stop-and-search only 'increased community tensions and distrust in the police'.

He added: 'Effective policing depends on good intelligence and smart ways of fostering community co-operation. This suggestion points us in exactly the opposite direction and risks repeating all the worst mistakes of the past'.

That is what they are doing now and it has been ineffective. I am not saying stop and search should be used everytime you see a minority within those areas. But a more robust response is in order among other factors.

Whiny columnist over people buying ugly houses.

Bidness: As if it is these people fault they see a golden opportunity due to the reckless borrowing of people who got houses they really could not afford especially those with adjustable rates?

Call them grave dancers, vulture funds, turnaround specialists or the more euphemistic "opportunity investors." However you identify them, the deal is the same: When hyperactive real estate markets lose their sizzle, or property owners no longer can afford to hang on to their houses, well-capitalized investors smell blood and move in.

That's happening in most of the "bubble" areas of the country that saw heavy speculative activity and razzle-dazzle financing from 2001 through 2005. But it's also happening in less volatile markets where unaffordable mortgages and economic distress are producing record numbers of panic sales to investors at fractions of former values.

Amsterdam riots going on for the 6th night.

Crime: Well mini riots actually, nothing on the scale of Paris, but it is never a good sign that the government hasn't come out more forcefully about it.

Disturbances have erupted for a sixth successive night in an immigrant quarter of Amsterdam, with four cars set on fire, Dutch police said.

A police spokesman say the fires brought the total number of burnt cars to 11.

The unrest started last weekend after police shot dead a Moroccan who had stabbed and injured two officers.

The 22-year-old had been undergoing treatment for psychiatric problems and had in the past been questioned over contacts with Islamic militants linked to the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.

The Netherlands is home to about 1 million Muslims out of a population of 16 million. Most live in the big cities.

previous story here and more details why it started here.

Brazil offensive on crime stirs rights concerns

Crime: ACLU would have a fit over this but at this point, harsh measures have to be taken to cut down on the crime in Brazil. It has gone out of control. The problem is the police goes too far sometimes.

Human rights groups criticized Brazilian authorities on Friday for endorsing a new police offensive against urban crime in which a dozen people were killed in Rio de Janeiro and security forces were deployed around the capital Brasilia.

Television images of suspected criminals and residents in a Rio de Janeiro slum running for their lives under heavy machine-gun fire from helicopters on Wednesday shocked a city accustomed to violence. Schools and shops in the area shut down.

A 4-year-old boy, a police officer and 10 suspected drug traffickers were killed in that raid.

Police said two more suspects were killed on Friday in an operation in Cidade de Deus (City of God) slum that featured in a hit film of the same name about Rio gangs. They seized small arms and drugs.

Police killed 870 civilians between January and August, about 20 percent more than a year ago, according to Rio state Public Security Institute. Police describe most of the victims as criminal suspects resisting arrest -- a definition rights groups criticize as nebulous. Meanwhile, 20 officers were killed in the line of duty.

Rio police are notorious for their heavy-handed tactics against the drug gangs that control many of the city's shantytowns, killing innocent bystanders and, according to watchdogs, often executing suspected criminals.

Japanese crime prevention; Vending Machine disguise.

Japan: This is genius and dumb at the same time because dumb it would barely work but genius enough as the article points out that it could lead to something awesome down the road.

Deftly, Ms. Tsukioka, a 29-year-old experimental fashion designer, lifted a flap on her skirt to reveal a large sheet of cloth printed in bright red with a soft drink logo partly visible. By holding the sheet open and stepping to the side of the road, she showed how a woman walking alone could elude pursuers — by disguising herself as a vending machine.

The wearer hides behind the sheet, printed with an actual-size photo of a vending machine. Ms. Tsukioka’s clothing is still in development, but she already has several versions, including one that unfolds from a kimono and a deluxe model with four sides for more complete camouflaging.

These elaborate defenses are coming at a time when crime rates are actually declining in Japan. But the Japanese, sensitive to the slightest signs of social fraying, say they feel growing anxiety about safety, fanned by sensationalist news media. Instead of pepper spray, though, they are devising a variety of novel solutions, some high-tech, others quirky, but all reflecting a peculiarly Japanese sensibility.

Take the “manhole bag,” a purse that can hide valuables by unfolding to look like a sewer cover. Lay it on the street with your wallet inside, and unwitting thieves are supposed to walk right by. There is also a line of knife-proof high school uniforms made with the same material as Kevlar, and a book with tips on how to dress even the nerdiest children like “pseudohoodlums” to fend off schoolyard bullies.

There are pastel-colored cellphones for children that parents can track, and a chip for backpacks that signals when children enter and leave school.

The devices’ creators admit that some of their ideas may seem far-fetched, especially to crime-hardened Americans. And even some Japanese find some of them a tad naïve, possibly reflecting the nation’s relative lack of experience with actual street crime. Despite media attention on a few sensational cases, the rate of violent crime remains just one-seventh of America’s.

But the devices’ creators also argue that Japan’s ideas about crime prevention are a product of deeper cultural differences. While Americans want to protect themselves from criminals, or even strike back, the creators say many Japanese favor camouflage and deception, reflecting a culture that abhors self-assertion, even in self-defense.

UK: Stone a man to death and get 2 years.

Crime: UK justice strikes again!

A gang of five schoolboys who laughed as they stoned a pensioner to death are likely to walk free in a year.

A judge told the youths, aged 12 to 14, that their "violent unprovoked attack" on Ernest Norton was "mindless violence".

But after hearing about their backgrounds, he imposed a sentence of just two years - of which they are expected to serve only half.

Victims of Crime Trust director Norman Brennan, a serving police officer with 29 years' experience, said: "The maximum sentence for manslaughter is life - and to get just a year is an insult to the memory of Mr Norton.

"Unless the Government wakes up to how out-of-control feral children like these are running amok, Ernest Norton will not be the last innocent victim.

"Children like these have already become hardened criminals responsible for the most heinous of crimes, and sentences like this do not punish or deter them."

.....Some later boasted to friends of the incident and during their trial displayed little remorse, having playfights and racing up the stairs until the judge had to reprimand their parents.

Barrister Nicholas Valios QC, representing the youngest boy, said the attack had developed "out of boredom and an opportunity to have a bit of a laugh".

Mr Valios added: "This is not only the youngest of the five defendants but probably one of the youngest to stand trial in this court."

Judge McKinnon told the youths, who cannot be named because of their age, that they had "hyped themselves up" by breaking windows and vandalising property before the attack.

"Your behaviour was utterly disgraceful and criminally irresponsible," he said.

"This is a bad case but sentencing ones as young as each of you I must have your welfare in mind as I do.

"I take into account your youth, your remorse and lack of previous convictions as well as the low level of risk each of you pose in the future.

"But this is a disgraceful story."

Think of the children and despite the fact they killed a man showing very little remorse, you need to think of the children. When they become hardened criminals later on, you can think "WTF was the judge thinking the moron."

Imus new employer must meet with the NABJ.

Media: That would be the National Association of Black Journalists according to Al Sharpton. It seems they and a bunch of others want more blood out of this.

Don Imus' apparent new employer, Citadel Broadcasting, has been keeping the National Association of Black Journalists waiting since early last week on the association's request for "dialogue" over Citadel's reported plans to put Imus back on the air in seven weeks.

NABJ President Barbara Ciara, asked what NABJ wanted to meet about, told Journal-isms, "First of all we are not demanding anything, we would like to have a meeting with Farid Suleman," chairman of Citadel, "to better understand his position and to have him better understand why many organizations including NABJ are alarmed about the premature return of Imus to the airwaves."

But, she said, "I have asked our communications director Kristin Palmer to make multiple calls a day to Citadel Broadcasting since early last week, no response. She is still calling.

"I've even asked an associate of Farid Suleman to reach out to him to request dialogue. I received one call from his associate saying he was interested in talking, and I haven't [heard] anything since."

On Monday, the Women's Coalition for Dignity and Diversity in Media, which said it represents more than 11 million women across the country from diverse racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds, expressed "grave concern" about an Imus return.

Another group, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, said, "After his reprehensible statements about the Rutgers women's basketball team, preceded by so many other offensive statements, we are disappointed that any reputable media outlet — particularly one that uses the public airwaves — would consider signing Mr. Imus."

Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, said NOW "implored" Citadel "to reconsider offering a contract to Mr. Imus and instead to add a progressive female voice to your lineup, preferably a woman of color. There are so many engaging and experienced women in radio, and we would be happy to suggest names of potential hosts."

"The notion that he paid the price is a joke," Latifa Lyles, membership vice president for NOW, told Jackie Jones of "A six-month vacation, $10 million (in the lawsuit settlement) and a new contract — we don't consider this punishment at all."

Imus' return to radio, she said, "is such a clear marker of a bigger problem. About 15 percent of radio personalities are women. It's not that women are only 15 percent of the population or that women don't listen to radio. What is that about? We really have to bring to light there is a problem here."

I want to take a stab at the NABJ as a bunch of liars. You did demand something just a couple of weeks ago when the news broke.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Association of Black Journalists urges Citadel Broadcasting chief executive Farid Suleman and Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes to halt negotiations to return former radio
personality Don Imus to the radio and television broadcast airwaves.

The NABJ wanted Imus banned from the airwaves, not alarmed at any pre-mature return, but a total ban. Now that you realize no one cared what you think, now you turn around and want to talk. I am not an Imus fan, but I am less of fan of any of these groups named above. There is nothing to talk about to them.

NAHJ backs Rebecca Aguilar over interview.

Media: That would be the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

NAHJ wrote the station manager late Thursday urging that Rebecca Aguilar be reinstated "for the sake of good journalism and maintaining your newscasts' credibility in the local community and national journalism community."

Robert Wilonsky reported the episode this way Wednesday on his Dallas Observer blog: "Monday night, KDFW-Channel 4 ran a piece about 70-year-old James Walton, owner of Able Walton Machine & Welding in West Dallas, who, early Sunday morning, shot and killed [a] man trying to break into his business. What made Walton's story so extraordinary was that it was the second time he'd killed an intruder in three weeks. As it happens, Walton also lives at his place of business.

....NAHJ disagreed. "What she did was obtain an exclusive interview for your station in a professional manner. This is far from the 'ambush' that has been portrayed in the blogosphere," Rafael Olmeda, NAHJ president, wrote to Kathy Saunders, vice president and general manager of the station.

"Her suspension certainly mystifies us. The only explanation we can think of is that the news director, Maria Barrs, let herself be unduly influenced by the emails being received at the station from a certain segment of the viewers who apparently have other agendas and not journalism principles as their main concern.

". . . The unceremonious and humiliating way Ms. Barr walked Ms. Aguilar out of the station before the astonished looks of her colleagues on Tuesday adds insult to injury. Even more shocking to us, Ms. Aguilar has received death threats by phone at your station as a result of this story, yet has not received support from her supervisors or management."

Saunders did not return telephone calls from Journal-isms on Thursday. Aguilar referred calls to her lawyer, who was not immediately available.

Muslim Tories: 'Iran has right to nuclear arms'

UK: I have always maintained UK Muslim leaders have this particular talent to make other Muslims look at them in disbelief for some of their actions. Cameron has found that out the hard way.

A body set up by David Cameron to advise the Conservatives on Muslim issues has criticised the Government's relationship with Israel and concluded that Iran has "legitimate" reasons for wanting nuclear weapons.

The Conservative Muslim Forum also wants the compulsory history curriculum in schools changed to give "full recognition to the massive contribution that Islam has made to the development of Western civilisation".

It also argues that preachers who advocate a rejection of democracy and its institutions should not be denied entry into Britain.

The findings are in a response to this summer's report by the Tory National and International Security Policy Group chaired by new adviser, Dame Pauline Neville-Jones.

But the way it addresses certain key issues — completely at odds with Tory policy — will embarrass Mr Cameron. Its comments on Israel, in particular, will be seized on.

When it gets to the point special interest groups like this are brazen enough to display this much stupidity, the other party who refuses to condemn such practices deserves it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Roland Martin defends Farrakhan "call to arms" speech.

Media: is the liberal Martin who defends this sort of nonsense from Louie. At this point most people just ignore him.

Chetry, in her first question to Martin, asked, "What kind of message does it seem to send when you have Louis Farrakhan saying what we just heard him say about ‘a life for a life,’ referring to what he says are 'injustices,' when it comes to police treatment of African-Americans?"

Martin’s answer:

ROLAND MARTIN: Kiran, it's called rhetoric, and what you are going to find is, you're going to find Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan come back and say that they don't get involved in violence, that they are nonviolent. So, that's what you have there. Look, I have attended many speeches by Mr. Farrakhan, other folks in the Nation of Islam, and so you have folks who played to the crowd. What you heard is he said are you asking me, you know, to call for this? And so I take it with a grain of salt, and, again, I understand the difference between folks who use rhetoric to get their particular audience excited about something, versus an actual call to arms.

Marine flag defaced and dog beaten.

Culture: What kind of nutjob would do this?

Eva Smith and her husband, James, returned home from a trip in August anxious to display the U.S. Marine flag they had purchased while away. James had just graduated from specialty training in the U.S. Marine Corps as a motor transportation operator in Fort Leonard Wood, Miss. Earlier this year he completed boot camp and combat training.

The day after they returned to their home in McAlpin, James, a private first class, noticed a stain on the new flag and Eva noticed her dog, Sebastian, was lethargic and refused to eat. On closer examination, Eva discovered someone had smeared grease on the flag. A veterinarian's examination of her dog revealed Sebastian had internal damage to his throat and three broken vertebrae. He was hospitalized for six days and couldn't even pick up his head to eat.

Though appalled, the incident did not slow the Smiths for long. Eva carefully cleaned the flag and kept it flying high.

"It hurt very much when I was washing it down. I didn't even take it down to wash it, I washed it up there," she said.

Philadelphia hikes Boy Scouts' rent over Gay ban.

Culture: Not like Philadelphia needs a group like this to help keep the out of control kids in line. They would rather it be killed off than give an exception given the circumstances.

The city has decided that the Boy Scouts chapter here must pay fair-market rent of $200,000 a year for its city-owned headquarters because it refuses to permit gay Scouts.

The organization's Cradle of Liberty Council, which currently pays $1 a year in rent, must pay the increased amount to remain in its downtown building past May 31, Fairmount Park Commission president Robert N.C. Nix said Wednesday.

City officials say they cannot legally rent taxpayer-owned property for a nominal sum to a private organization that discriminates. The city owns the land and the Beaux Arts building constructed by the Scouts in 1928.

Scouting officials will ask the city solicitor for details on the appraisals that yielded the $200,000 figure, said Jeff Jubelirer, spokesman for the Cradle of Liberty Council.

The higher rent money "would have to come from programs. That's 30 new Cub Scout packs, or 800 needy kids going to our summer camp," Jubelirer said. "It's disappointing, and it's certainly a threat."

The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that Scouts, as a private group, have a First Amendment right to bar gays from membership.

Fired white woman wins wrongful dismissal suit

Canada: Sounds like a place full of oversensitive incompetent supervisors.

A white woman fired from the predominantly black women’s shelter where she worked because of alleged racist attitudes won more than $28,000 in severance pay today for wrongful dismissal.
In a strongly worded judgment, Ontario Superior Court Justice Gloria Klowak found no evidence of racist conduct, denounced the method of firing, and warned against allowing subjective feelings of hurt to colour good employment practices.

``No one wants to marginalize or deny the validity of people’s feelings,” Klowak said in a lengthy oral judgment following a five-day trial.

``However, this type of overreaching to paint the plaintiff as a bad person with bad motives . . . raises the concern that the employer is trying to find anything it can to bolster its allegations.”

The case, believed to be one of the first litigations involving dismissal for anti-black racist conduct, involved Karen Butler-Lynch, 49, who was fired Sept. 1, 2006, from a busy, publicly funded women’s shelter in Toronto called Dr. Roz’s Healing Place.

Butler-Lynch, who is white, had worked there for more than six years. Almost all employees and clients were people of colour.

Problems with her superiors arose out of issues such as staff schedules and the treatment of shelter residents, and Butler-Lynch found herself accused of insubordination.

During a mediation session last August, the shelter’s executive director, Roz Roach, apparently said Butler-Lynch could never know what it was like to be a black woman.

Butler-Lynch allegedly responded by saying it was ``challenging” to be a white woman working almost exclusively with people of colour.

``I’m a white woman with blue eyes and freckles, and I used to have blond hair,” Butler-Lynch allegedly said. “Do you know what a challenge it is to work with all these women of colour?”

Roach and the others concluded the comments were oppressive and evidence of a deep-seated racist attitude.

As a result, the shelter fired Butler-Lynch. The termination notice was sent to an address she hadn’t lived at for three years, then given to her at work by a taxi driver on the Friday of the Labour Day long weekend.

``The plaintiff did excellent work at the shelter for some six years with no sustainable suggestion of racism or racist remarks,” Klowak concluded.

``The termination was thoughtless, ill-conceived, ill-planned and ill-executed.”

I would have doubled the award based of the bolded. If she said what she said, its rude, but oppressive and evidence of a racist attitude? If you are going to fire people on a serious charge like this you better have solid evidence.

Rising Fears of 'Parisian Riots' in Dutch Cities

EU: Mini vandal scandals going on in Amsterdam?

THE HAGUE, 19/10/07 - Amsterdam Chief Commissioner of Police Bernard Welten fears that riots will break out in the capital like those that raged in Paris two years ago. The population appears to share his fears but Home Affairs Minister Guusje ter Horst does not.

Welten said on TV programme Pauw en Witteman he fears "every day again" that riots will break out of the nature and scope of the mass violence that held Paris and other French cities in its grip in 2005 for days. He was reacting to the vandalism that has raged in Amsterdam daily for the past week.

Hitherto, the riots in Amsterdam, although frequent, have remained limited in scale. They occur mainly in the Slotervaart district. The perpetrators are predominantly Moroccan children.

Radio programme Standpunt chose for its daily statement yesterday: 'The fear of Parisian riots in Slotervaart is justified." Sixty-one percent agreed and the rest disagreed.

But minister Ter Horst suggested she was unhappy with Welten's statements. The violence in Slotervaart cannot be compared with the situation in Parisian suburbs, she stressed yesterday. "There is a small group who are extremely annoying".

As always, the truth lies in the middle. But interesting development.

Muslim students demand alcohol free halal eatery

Canada: This is a specific bunch of feeling entitled Muslim students demanding the school cater to their specific needs. The result of Multiculturalism and the weakness of school officials to put a stop to the on going demands of various groups. In this case its the Muslim Students Association with a truly asinine demand.

TORONTO - With a recent vacancy at the campus cafetaria, the Muslim Students Association at U of T Scarborough is once again pushing for a halal-only restaurant, arguing that Bluff 's, a bar downstairs that offers a halal menu, is unsuitable for Muslims because it serves alcohol.

The case is once again spotlighting the thorny issue of religious accommodation for a growing community of Muslim students at Canada's secular academic institutions.

"It doesn't have to accommodate us ... but we're still going to go ahead and push for these things," said Scarborough campus MSA president Emad Alarashi.

Mr. Alarashi does not eat at Bluff 's, even though the restaurant separates its deep fryers, does not use meat stock in its vegetarian dishes and offers soy-based dairy alternatives.

The problem is the booze, says Mr. Alarashi, pointing out that his MSA -- now 500 strong -- has been demanding more halal options for more than a decade.

He would welcome a halal-only eatery, one free of alcohol, but would just as soon frequent a fast-food sandwich shop with halal dishes.

He would even eat kosher, since it shares many of the same tenets as halal, which forbids pork and sets other conditions on the slaughter of animals for meat, including that the animal face Qibla, or the direction that Muslims pray.

"It's not a matter of segregating. We don't mind integrating with the school," said Mr. Alarashi, noting the MSA's fast-a-thon for orphans, which has raised $6,000 to date.

The story has again stirred discussion about the status of religion at universities in a country that separates its institutions from its faiths.

A Muslim can still eat in the same place that is serving alcohol you ignorant twit. This is more about the group pushing for its own place built with student fees while crying about the school not doing enough for Muslims.

This month, a former MSA vice-president sparked debate when he decried the halal-certified chicken and beef options at Bluff 's, which is supported by student fees.

Even though Muslims have been eating there since the menu appeared in spring, Ahmad Jaballah said the offering is simply not enough.

"If it was meant to be an accommodation, then it is seen as not befitting," Mr. Jaballah said.

The student (who is still an MSA member and vice-president of students and equity with the Scarborough

Campus Students Union) compared Bluff 's halal option to a Muslim prayer room dropped down in the middle of a busy corridor. He and Mr. Alarashi claim Bluff 's never consulted the MSA.

The officials should just nod their heads nicely and tell them no. It won't happen considering it is Canada.

Maine school to offer contraceptives

Culture: I waited to comment on this because it seemed pieces of the story were missing, but this AP article fills in most of the blanks.

King Middle School will become the first middle school in Maine, and apparently one of only a few in the nation, to make a full range of contraception available, including birth-control pills and patches.

Students would need parental permission to use the city-run health center in the school, but they wouldn't have to tell them they were seeking birth control.

.....This week, the health center asked the committee to make birth-control pills available to high school-aged students who were still in middle school and unable to access the contraception available at the high school, said Portland School Committee member Robert O'Brien.

School officials said five of the school's 510 students would have qualified for the birth control under the program last year.

....The King Middle School is among Portland's most diverse schools, with 31 languages spoken there and 28 percent of its students foreign-born. The school, located on the same peninsula as downtown Portland, draws from the islands in Casco Bay, wealthier neighborhoods overlooking the bay, and low-income triple deckers.

Fifty-four percent of the students are part of the federal free lunch program, which is an indicator of poverty.

Principal Michael McCarthy said the school had just one pregnancy last year, but students were reporting they were sexually active. The center has dispensed condoms since 2000, but because it could not prescribe birth-control pills, nurses referred the students to Planned Parenthood or Maine Medical Center.

"When they followed up, they found that in many cases, the kids weren't doing that," McCarthy said.

....Carol Schiller, the mother of a boy and girl who graduated from King, said she was "elated" at the committee's vote. She said critics shocked that 11-year-olds have sex should "get over it."

"It's much more important that we reach out to these kids and get them the tools they need to stay safe, stay in school and get an education," she said.

Michael Heath, executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, said he was concerned that young children would have access to any form of birth control, with adults playing a supportive role.

"It's at best troubling, at worst an outrage," he said.

I will leave the medical implications of giving the pill to girls that young to express outrage and disgust at people like Carol Schiller who think this is such a great plan. What it shows that kids living in a sexed up culture are not being taught the morals or values by their parents so they won't have to give the pill to sexually active 11 year olds.

More disturbing is the bolded part which indicates they have a much bigger problem on hand.

Jimmy Kimmel banned from Monday Night Football.

Sports: Jay Rothman seems a bit uptight, but Kimmel found out about his firing thru the NYTIMES. Richard Deitsch of S.I catches up with an amused Kimmel.

What Kimmel did during his appearance this week on ESPN's Monday Night Football, according to the show's producer Jay Rothman, was "classless" and "disappointing."

Appearing in the third quarter of a moribund game between the Falcons and Giants, Kimmel took multiple swipes at the not-so-smooth departure of Theismann from the broadcast ("I'd also like to welcome Joe Theismann, watching from his living room with steam coming from his ears") and zinged sacred cows Tom Brady ("What impressed me most is that he could impregnate two models"), Kelly Ripa ("Listen if we can have a Mormon President, I can marry Kelly") and sports betting ("Are you allowed to bet legally on this game?"). "It was cheap," Rothman told Richard Sandomir of The New York Times. "The more he went on, the worse he got."

Rothman told the newspaper Kimmel would not be invited back to the show. "I just can't imagine CBS Sports putting out a similar statement about David Letterman," Kimmel said, laughing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Addicts given free drugs as reward for staying clean

UK: I don't think some of these place grasp the concept of staying clean.

Heroin and cocaine addicts on state-funded treatment schemes are being given drugs as a reward for staying 'clean', a report has revealed.

The astonishing practice was condemned by ministers and health chiefs yesterday.

They said it was "unethical and unacceptable" for substitute drugs - which are meant to help addicts overcome cravings - to be offered as a reward or withheld as a punishment.

Research into U.S. schemes shows that offering shopping coupons worth just a few pounds can have a marked effect in encouraging addicts to continue in treatment.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) issued guidelines earlier this year supporting similar measures in the UK.

But when the NTA carried out a survey of current practice, the findings proved a massive embarrassment. Of the 200 clinics surveyed, many were simply handing out tokens such as travel tickets or leisure passes as rewards. But one in three said they would offer "increased doses of opiate substitute" such as methadone if an addict gave drug-free urine samples.

A quarter admitted that cocaine addicts were rewarded by being allowed to choose their own substitute drugs. A small number of clinics would even consider giving out diamorphine - the prescription form of heroin.

Other "incentives" included being allowed to take substitute drugs at home instead of in a clinic.

BBC threatened by strikes.

Media: Unions are ticked that the BBC which is funded by the taxpayers has to fire people to match a $2 billion funding cut and get leaner for the digital era. Fewer originals and more repeats make unions unhappy that a bloated organization has to lose the fat.

Couple Make Burglar Clean Up at Gunpoint

Crime: Awesome.

Adrian McKinnon sent his wife to see her sister while he inspected the piles left behind. As he walked back into the sunroom, a man walked through the back door straight into him, Tiffany McKinnon told the Montgomery Advertiser in a story Thursday.

"My husband Adrian caught the thief red-handed in our home," she said. "And what is even crazier, the man even had my husband's hat sitting right on his head."

Adrian McKinnon held the suspect, 33-year-old Tajuan Bullock, at gunpoint and told him to sit on the floor until he decided what to do.

"We made this man clean up all the mess he made, piles of stuff, he had thrown out of my drawers and cabinets onto the floor," Tiffany McKinnon said.

When police arrived, Bullock complained about being forced to clean the home at gunpoint.

"This man had the nerve to raise sand about us making him clean up the mess he made in my house," she said. "The police officer laughed at him when he complained and said anybody else would have shot him dead."

Terry McMillan declares war on Ghetto Literature.

Culture: Thankfully I seem to have missed this wonderful thread. Via Bookerrising.

Clinton Health Plan for Americans Only

Medical: Illegals are not shut out of course, but just to make it more easy to digest the huge tax increases and lack of choice.

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that immigrants living in the U.S. illegally would not be covered by her proposed universal health care plan.

The New York senator said she supports basic health services for illegal immigrants, including hospitalization and treatment of acute conditions. But she said the magnitude of the nation's health care challenge means her universal coverage proposal would not cover the 12 million people living in the country illegally.

"People who are here legally deserve some better treatment and acceptance in the law than people who are not here legally," she said. "These are hard choices."

As for ways to reduce pressure on the overburdened health care system, she said she could envision using "carrots and maybe a few sticks" to motivate people to lose weight and make other behavioral changes that could help.

Speaking at a forum sponsored by several health care organizations, Clinton addressed a range of questions on the future of Social Security and Medicare, racial and gender disparities in health care coverage and ways to encourage medical students to become primary care doctors rather than specialists.

She is starting already with her nonsense, the second the ability to make a choice between what you want to study is fixed for you, you are going to have a shortage. That is why people in the UK are pulling their own teeth. The carrots and few sticks comment makes you feel safe..doesn't it?

Hillary Clinton's Woodstock Museum idiocy.

Politics: Us Gen X'ers are trapped. Below us we have the Gen Y'ers who are narcissistic, weak minded,coddled, entitled having mama's children who have grown up with mantra they are special. Above us are the narcissistic,whiny, egomaniac, self-centered Baby Boomers who think crap like this is worth taxpayer money.

Hippies used to say if you remember Woodstock, you weren't really there. Republicans say presidential contender Hillary Clinton can forget about getting $1 million in taxpayer funds for a Woodstock museum.

Clinton and Charles Schumer, Democratic senators from New York, want to earmark the federal money for a museum that would commemorate the 1969 music festival in their state.

"Woodstock Museum is a shining example of what's wrong with Washington on pork-barrel, out-of-control spending," said John McCain, Arizona senator and Republican presidential hopeful. An example, he said, of "the earmark pork-barrel spending which has made the American people disenchanted and angry."

Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, and Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, were trying Thursday to strip the Woodstock earmark from a massive health and education spending bill on the Senate floor. Democrats moved to kill their effort, but Republicans won a key 52-42 vote — seeping with presidential politics — signaling the Clinton-Schumer earmark would soon be gone.

.....When Schumer and Clinton trumpeted the $1 million earmark for the museum back in June, she said in a statement that it would "continue to promote education, the arts, culture and tourism in
the region."

It is part of a larger development called the Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts with a 16,800-seat amphitheater. The development was opened in 2006.

While Clinton and Schumer jointly took credit for the earmark, Schumer was the driving force behind it.

Nice CYAing of Clinton by CNN.

Randi Rhodes mugged: Gawker may be right.

Media: I think the Gawker post about her drunk off her ass right now is the most reasonable because her little explanation has all the earmarks of CYAing herself.

On her radio show today, Air America Radio’s Randi Rhodes spoke about her supposed mugging. She said she was watching football in an Irish pub and went outside for a smoke.

The next thing she knew she was on the ground, having fallen or been pushed into a metal grate. She also said she hadn’t eaten all day, and she’s been to a series of doctors and dentists to fix her injuries and they’ve also been unable to determine a medical reason for the incident. She also says she sent a two sentence email to AAR’s management telling them that she had been mugged; when right-wingers were blamed for the incident she decided not to speak out because she had doctor’s appointments.

Why would you say you were mugged if you were not and how pissed off is the company that she just casually threw that at them as an explanation?

No election in Canada as Liberals decline to push the issue.

Canada: Dion and the Liberals seem to have been lurching towards a crisis for months. This puts him in the same position as Gordon Brown when he didn't call for an election to be called weak and indecisive.

A weakened Stéphane Dion pulled the country back from the brink of a fall election today, only to have Stephen Harper push him toward another political precipice.
The Liberal leader told the House of Commons that he won’t bring down Harper’s minority Conservative government over the Throne Speech.

Instead, he introduced a lengthy amendment — carefully worded to ensure that neither the Bloc Quebecois nor the NDP will support it. Should the amendment fail, Dion said Liberals will abstain from voting on the main Throne Speech motion next week, thus assuring the government’s survival.

It appeared to be exactly what the prime minister wanted to hear.

Harper immediately pressed home his advantage, declaring that his first act in the new parliamentary session will be to introduce a sweeping justice bill.

He said he’ll allow no substantive opposition amendments to the bill and he’ll make it a confidence matter, meaning the government will fall if all three opposition parties vote against it.

The Tackling Violent Crime Act will include elements of several pieces of legislation that didn’t pass in the last session, including provisions on: violent gun crimes, the age of sexual consent, impaired driving, bail rules, and dangerous offenders.

Dion spent almost 45 minutes lambasting the Throne Speech before finally conceding the Liberals won’t defeat the government over it.

He accused the Tories of abandoning the Kyoto climate-change protocol, being unclear on the Afghan mission, and ignoring the needs of the poor. But he also noted that Canadians don’t want another election now.

Too much support may hamper kids' development

Culture: Making it simple, parents who coddle and try to save their child every single time make them a bunch of wussies.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Moms and dads who both offer lots of support and reassurance when their young children express negative emotions may not be doing them a favor, new research shows.

Studies in four- and five-year-olds found that the children whose parents reacted with differing levels of support to their emotional setbacks were actually more emotionally mature and handled conflict better, Dr. Nancy L. McElwain of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her colleagues found.

"It's good to give your child some support, but also at the same time some space to manage the problem," McElwain told Reuters Health.

Divisions in Europe May Thwart U.S. Objectives on Iran

Iran: May? Where has Robin Wright been all these years, it is because of the screwups by the EU3 that Iran is now further along than ever in its nuke process. EU countries has trade ties with Iran and they will never agree to harsh sanctions against Iran to mess up that business deal.

European governments are deeply divided over how far and how fast to go in imposing new sanctions against Iran, in what could undermine a new U.S. effort to mobilize allies to act outside of the United Nations, according to European officials.

At a meeting in Brussels on Monday, European Union foreign ministers agreed to consider modest steps but not necessarily the kind of dramatic moves that Washington is now considering, the officials said. The session over what Europe should do to pressure Iran was described by officials as "fractious," "intense" and with "a bit of blood left on the carpet" from the debate.

Britain and France, which initiated the call for joint European action, back tough new multilateral sanctions outside the U.N. Security Council. But other countries, notably Italy and Austria, want significantly less serious steps. Germany fell somewhere in between, said European and U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the debate is not public.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Americans want fewer illegal immigrants in U.S.

Immigration: But only 3 in 10 want them all deported. The rest are willing to negotiate.

Most Americans would like there to be fewer illegal immigrants in the country, but only three in 10 say all of them should be deported, a CNN Opinion Research poll said Wednesday.

Seven percent of those polled said they would like to see the number of illegal immigrants increase, 22 percent said they would like the number to remain the same, 16 percent want it decreased "a little" and 22 percent want it decreased "a lot," according to the poll of 1,212 adult Americans.

Blacks and whites differed over whether the number of illegal immigrants should be increased, with 14 percent of African-Americans saying it should, versus 3 percent of whites.

Nineteen percent of blacks said they thought all illegal immigrants should be removed from the country; 35 percent of whites said that.

Blacks and whites overwhelmingly oppose state governments issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, with 76 percent of blacks and 83 percent of whites taking that stance, the poll said.

The races differed more on whether state and local police should turn over illegal immigrants they encounter, even if the immigrants have broken no state or local laws. In such cases, 45 percent of blacks and 61 percent of whites said they believe police should turn over illegal immigrants.

Asked whether people who cannot read or write English should be allowed to vote, 54 percent of blacks said they should, versus 43 percent of whites.

Muslims upset prosecutor might become judge

Terrorism: This is so not the case to bet your ass on in the long run.

The prosecutor who sent two local Muslim men ensnared in an FBI terror sting to prison is on the short list for a federal judgeship.

Many in the Capital District's growing Muslim community are outraged.

Members of Albany's Muslim Solidarity Committee say they will do everything in their power to ensure Glenn Suddaby doesn't receive the nomination. The activists formed their group after the arrest and conviction of Mohammad Hossain, an Albany pizza shop owner, and Yassin Aref, an Albany imam.

Despite grass roots opposition, Suddaby has at least one pretty big name supporter - U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

.....Members of the ever-growing Muslim Solidarity Committee hope others in the Capital Region will help them to thwart the nomination. They've even created an online petition they plan on delivering to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"I have to have hope and I have to have faith. Someone like myself, who is a native of Iraq, I have to see the light at the end of the tunnel," Saffar said.

Suddaby's role in the high-profile terror sting is likely one of the reasons he's in line for judgeship. But that victory, maintain Aref and Hossain supporters, is everyone's loss.

"A person of that record could not be a fair minded judge and giving fair chance and fair rule and good justice to the society," Ahmad said.

Suddaby did not return repeated phone calls asking for participation in this story.

Unless there is evidence that Suddaby lied or the case is a total fake, basing opposition because of a successful prosecution will bring a huge blowback.

Hangman Nooses running wild all over the nation.

Nation: I said yesterday this would get bigger and Halloween displays would get caught in the crossfire. First you had the cases in Georgia and New Jersey Now in Wisconsin.

After some African-American residents took offense at a dummy with a black head and hands hanging from a tree in a front yard, the homeowner who put it up said Monday it was part of a Halloween display and would be coming down as soon as he got home from work.

"It was supposed to be an executioner's hood on there. . . . When it was pointed out to me, I can look at it now. It was fairly insensitive on my part," the homeowner told a reporter. He declined to give his name.

The display offended a group traveling down S. 68th St. last week. They called Lenard Wells, director of adult education at Concordia University South Center, who spoke about it during a radio program on WMCS-AM (1290) on Monday morning.

"What makes a person feel like this is OK?" Wells said in an interview after the radio show.

He said African-Americans and the NAACP should not have to come into any community to "say this is not appropriate." He said neighbors should say, "We don't appreciate this."

"If we all do not speak out when we see something like this occur, we all lose and it reinforces that this is OK," he said.

Neighbors along S. 68th St. had mixed reactions to the display. One woman thought it was just a Halloween graveyard and wasn't meant as anything racist or disrespectful. Another found it disgusting.

NAACP being on the warpath like this without rhyme nor reason is going to cause more trouble not less.

One homeowner in Punta Gorda, Florida is doing a big F.U because he feels a cop is trying to tell him what to do with a noose he has in his yard. Some want to ban the noose but then you jam up on Freedom of expression. In these two new cases, one is a halloween display and the other is a guy who just want to piss people off.

Nooses used as pure threats such as this case in Philadephia, sending a message here and here a Indy city worker was suspended claiming it was just a halloween decoration shows means keeping an eye on this growing phenomenon across the country and whileit may make you angry trying to ban without taking into consideration the intent of the act would be foolish no matter how distasteful you may find it.

Stanley Crouch not buying the Columbia noose.

Culture: It does feel like a setup doesn't it.

As far as I am concerned, the noose incident at Columbia University could easily be something far less than a hate crime, no more than a bad joke or an attempt to manipulate.

Just as, 20 years ago next month, the Tawana Brawley hoax embarrassed and disgusted all who were incapable of saying that a rotten fish stinks, far too many might be startled if the identity of the person who hung a noose on a black academic's door at Columbia is far different from what the piece of rope indicates.

....The reason I am skeptical of the Columbia incident is that when I taught at the Claremont Colleges from 1968 to 1975, it was not unusual for some black students to send racist mail to themselves to manipulate the administration when negotiations about campus racial policies were at a tipping point.

I distinctly remember visiting a campus on the East Coast where a black student had burned a cross in front of a black fraternity house but, as lunkheads will do, had hidden things under the house which proved the burning a fraud and scandalized those who were up in arms about the "racism" on campus.

This does not make less serious any proof of the presence of racism wherever it might appear, North or South, East or West, but I would suggest that we take our time and find out as much as we can so that the energy of young people intent on doing the right thing is not dissipated in meaningless rituals that are the result of mistaking manipulative paper tigers for the mauling and murderous beasts of bigotry.

UK: Parents ready to move for good school.

Edumacation: Duh? Why is this a surprise for those parents who want their children to get a great education. The real story are the fools who are happy with crappy schools.

Over half of parents would be prepared to move house to get their child into a good school, and one in seven is willing to lie to do so, according to a survey published today.
The poll, commissioned by the Children's Society as part of a two-year inquiry into childhood in Britain, suggests that a perceived education "postcode lottery" is now having a significant effect on most parents' schooling decisions.

The phenomenon of school selection by postcode, in which only those families able to afford house prices artificially inflated by proximity to good schools are able to attend those schools, has been well documented anecdotally, but the Children's Society survey reveals willingness to move is now the norm.

Bob Reitemeier, Children's Society chief executive, said: "The lengths that parents are prepared to go to clearly indicate that there are huge variations in school standards. But for many parents the costly exercise of moving house to get their child into a good school is simply not an option.

"The current system is in danger of embedding inequality by making a child's social class and economic circumstances the key influencer in their educational success."

He added: "Unless we create a system where all children have equal access to a good education millions of children will be denied a fair start in life."

That won't happen anytime soon no matter how socialistic you want the system to be, the fact that a child's social class and economic circumstances will always be a key influencer. Stop trying to damper that and focus on pulling up other schools enough to give kids a fair chance at education. Notice I said fair not equal because it won't happen.

Democrats revisiting positions on 'genocide' resolution

Politics: Yeah, "revisiting positions" is another term for who the hell brought this up without thinking about it?

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Some Democrats appear to be wavering on a highly contentious House resolution labeling Turkey's treatment of Armenians in World War I as genocide.

Turkey, a longtime U.S. ally and NATO partner, was incensed by the resolution calling the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide and threatened to block access to Incirlik Air Base after the resolution passed a House committee vote.

The base, in southern Turkey near Syria, is a major resupply center for U.S. operations in Iraq and elsewhere in the Mideast and Asia.

The Pentagon is preparing to set up new supply routes for troops in Iraq if Turkey cuts off U.S. access to the strategically important Incirlik, military officials said Tuesday.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee last week adopted the nonbinding resolution. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would bring the measure to a vote of the full House sometime next month. But the Bush administration urged Congress to drop the issue, and some leading Democrats urged Pelosi not to bring it to the floor.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer signaled Tuesday that the vote might be put off.

"I said I thought we would bring this up prior to us leaving here," said Hoyer of Maryland. "I have not changed on that, although I would be less than candid to say that there are a number of people who are revisiting their own positions. We will have to determine where everybody is."

Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, announced his opposition to the resolution last week.

And Democratic Reps. Alcee Hastings of Florida and John Tanner of Tennessee, both members of the U.S. House delegation to NATO, urged Pelosi to reconsider in a letter released Tuesday.

Communist cool" shakes up China's fashion scene

World: Coming to a college campus near you. Imagine the scene after the Olympics next year, Hollywood truly goes red.

Funky, colorful T-shirts celebrate heroic women and the march towards socialism, handbags show soldiers stealing kisses and track suits put a rock-and-roll spin on the model worker ideal.

It is Communist cool, and it is making waves beyond China.

Party members at a key Congress which opened on Monday may not be known for their own fashion sense -- dowdy suits, oddly permed hair and oversized eyeglasses are more their scene -- yet the man on the street is starting to buck this trend.

One of the entrepreneurs leading the pack in the style revolution is Beijing-based Englishman Dominic Johnson-Hill and his Plastered range of T-shirts.

Since opening his Beijing store less than two years ago, his T-shirts, which often lean on Communist imagery like propaganda posters for inspiration as well as "retro" aspects of Beijing life like the city's clunky buses, have flown off the shelves.

"The world's eyes are on China, and everybody's looking for the new China cool. And that's essentially what we wanted to capture," Johnson-Hill told Reuters.

"You can be in a city like Shanghai, which is incredibly cosmopolitan and with modern buildings right from the future, and then you've got the government-erected statues absolutely from the 1970s. It's a hilarious mix of kitsch and modern wonder."

....Designers in the free-wheeling former British colony of Hong Kong have taken to Communist-infused fashion with gusto.

G.O.D. -- which stands for Goods of Desire -- is a kind of high-end, boutique version of popular Swedish home furnishings store Ikea, but with clothes, some of which use designs and slogans from the frantic, at times violent, Cultural Revolution.

But is it tasteless to do things like stitch the characters for "Red Guard" on to the back of a vermilion, felt sports top, riffing on the name of the Mao-crazed youth mobs that terrorized China during the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution?

No, just stylish, insists G.O.D. founder and chief executive Douglas Young.

"It's probably one of the rare periods in recent Chinese aesthetic history where the style is very strong and very kind of polemic," he told Reuters. "It's instantly recognizable because the Communist government basically is an icon-generating machine.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Random Television viewing musings.

Entertainment: I went on a major new Doctor Who viewing binge( various media sources) and I absolutely loved it. This is starting with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and liking the even more manic version by David Tennant. No complaints between the transition from Billie Piper(Rose) to Freema Agyeman(Martha Jones. Okay the last episode of the last season where the Doctor when Super Sayian on the Master was ridiculous, but I can overlook that. Bring back Sally Sparrow as a companion!

Dexter is now my new fav pay channel show and the first time in ever I actually looked at the listings for Showtime to see when it is on.

Smallville is still my guilty pleasure and the actress who plays Supergirl has actually added to scenes with both Clark and Lex unlike K.K who so far seems to be subtracting from every scene more than usual.

NBC has me watching their entire Monday lineup with Chuck getting better, Heroes needs to get a handle on their storylines because they are wandering all over the place more than last year, Journeyman is okay, but has to pick up the pace direction wise or it is going to lose viewers fast. Bionic Woman is okay, Life is better but the Zen talk can get old. Moonlight on CBS is a fun vampire show and Numbers seems to be a show that could do well on any other night other than the dead zone that is Friday.

KFC black family commercial racist or factual?

Media: Bookerrising points out the commercial that even I raised an eyebrow over when I saw it mindlessly mouthing "Where is James Evans?" I had a feeling some would object and they did but as Bookerrising points out even if KFC went that route on purpose they would be off the mark.

Folks are overreacting here. One message board poster writes: "This was a BLACK Family. Is KFC saying that the average BLACK Family does not have a father around." KFC is not profiting off a "stereotype", because the average black family nowadays does not have a father in the mix.

The typical black American family is now a single mom and her two children. While an extra child was added into this commercial to make the black family larger than the black American household average - where criticism would have some validity - that is reality. And it is not as though we've never seen a KFC commercial with two black parents and their kids. Don't hate on KFC for reflecting a statistical reality as it tries to reach black consumers, but at the statistic underlying the commercial itself. Nothing is stopping black men from being with their families, and far too many have relinquished that responsibility.

Dutch Police Station attack by "youths"

Culture: Interesting.

A group of 20 to 30 youths threw stones at a police station and set a car on fire in the Amsterdam district of Slotervaart late on Monday evening, despite appeals for calm from community leaders.

The disturbances followed the fatal shooting of a man inside the station after he attacked two police officers with a knife.

Order was restored around midnight with no casualities and no arrests but the police presence in Slotervaart has been stepped up, says the Volkskrant.

Bilal B, a 22-year-old Amsterdammer of Moroccan origin, stabbed two police officers on Sunday before being shot dead. He had spent time in jail for a string of violent offences, had had contact with the so-called Hofstad terrorist group and psychiatric problems.

More details have since emerged about B's past. The Volkskrant reports that he was sent to the Valerius psychiatric clinic in April 2007, but was released in August. Last Friday he returned to the clinic saying he felt suicidal.

Police are now considering the possibility that the aim of his attack on the police officers was to be shot dead, according to Monday's Telegraaf. This phenomenon is known in America as 'suicide by cop'.

CNN's grovels for Islamic extremists.

Culture: This is a seriously insulting piece towards Muslims as CNN gently berates Lars Vilks for his drawing of Mohammed on a dog.

His crude, sketched caricature shows the head of Prophet Mohammed on the body of a dog. Dogs are considered unclean by conservative Muslims, and any depiction of the prophet is strictly forbidden.

Vilks, who has been a controversial artist for more than three decades in Sweden, says his drawing was a calculated move, and he wanted it to elicit a reaction. Watch "I should slaughter you" »

"That's a way of expressing things. If you don't like it, don't look at it. And if you look at it, don't take it too seriously. No harm done, really," he says.

When it's suggested that might prove an arrogant -- if not insulting -- way to engage Muslims, he is unrelenting, even defiant.

"No one actually loves the truth, but someone has to say it," he says.

Vilks, a self-described atheist, points out he's an equal opportunity offender who in the past sketched a depiction of Jesus as a pedophile.

Still one could argue Vilks should have known better because of what happened in Denmark in 2005, when a cartoonist's depictions of the prophet sparked violent protests in the Muslim world and prompted death threats against that cartoonist's life.

Vilks' cartoon, which was published in August by the Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda, hasn't reached that level of global protests, although it has stoked plenty of outrage.

CNN saying he should have known better because you know those Muslims are so wild and uncivilized in their responses. Pathetic.

Randi Rhodes mugged by 14 Ketel One Bloody Marys?

Media: That is what Gawker is pushing.

When it was reported that a couple of hoods had jumped Air America talk show host Randi Rhodes and knocked out some of her teeth, leftists and wobblies cried foul. "Right wing hate machine!" said John Elliot, a fellow host on AAR. Maybe there is one of those but Air America has retracted its claim that she was mugged at all. "On Sunday evening, October 14, Air America host Randi Rhodes experienced an unfortunate incident hindering her from hosting her show. The reports of a presumed hate crime are unfounded." Poor Randi! But maybe, suggests a reader, it was an alcohol crime?

Our own commenter GBH writes:
Randi Rhodes was no more assaulted by a right-wing fanatic on Monday than Dick Cheney was. She, in fact, fell down and injured her teeth outside of a Midtown Irish bar at around 6 o'clock Sunday evening after downing about fourteen Ketel One Bloody Marys. She was abusive to the barstaff and generally gross, crass, loud, and pretentious.

I genuinely hope she has a speedy recovery. I never would've disclosed this (I believe that anyone should feel free to hang out at Irish pubs at any time and not be concerned about someone publishing their behavior) if Air America hadn't grossly interpreted a drunken indiscretion and allowed it to be morphed into some bullish rhetoric on air. Whatever journalistic integrity the station may have ever had is now completely compromised. The manipulation of the public diminishes any cause, whether just or fabricated.

Happily, the inebriation of the public just burnishes the cause! How about it?

The whole mugging story was absolutely irresponsible and the Air America hosts had to have known what really happened before they went on with this mugging story.

John Edward's affair or non-affair...maybe.

Politics: Cindy Adams and Radar talking about this on the same day is a bit creepy.


What if the National Enquirer threw a campaign sex scandal and no one came?
Usually, the mainstream press is happy to let tabloids do the dirty work so it can swoop in and fill in the blanks with on-the-record non-denial denials and explanations with just enough wiggle room for back-peddling down the road. That appeared to be how it would go down when the National Enquirer claimed John Edwards had an affair with campaign worker (and former Jay McInerney squeeze) Rielle Hunter. The notion of the candidate with the cancer-stricken wife getting his $400 haircuts mussed up by a woman who describes herself as "addicted to higher consciousness" has the makings of a dynamic and devastating primary season scandal.

What's more, the Enquirer says it has enough evidence to sink the campaign. Sources close to AMI tell Radar the tab is in possession of e-mails and phone records from Hunter to various acquaintances in which she details the affair and says she and John are in love with one another.
There's just one problem: nobody wants to believe the story. Call it a swift boat backlash.

Cindy Adams:

October 16, 2007 -- LOOK, I'm definitely absolutely for sure not saying this is so. I'm only re porting a reaction to the Enquirer's recent allegation that candidate John Edwards may have strayed. He has denied this. All I know is, his staffers are newly nervous. Some reached out to pros for how to deal with this. They're not just dismissing it. They're discussing it. One who was tapped for insight puts it at, "They're profoundly worried."

Some possible worry might be that, even minus this kerfuffle, he's disintegrating in New Hampshire and slipping to third place in Iowa. Hard to tell, and I really don't know. I'm but a lowly reporter, not a highborn kingmaker.

Halloween nooses the new racial insensitive hotness

Culture: NAACP chapters are on the hunt for hangman nooses around the country. First New Jersey.

Chesla Flood couldn't believe her eyes. A hangman's noose circled the neck of a black-hooded, jeans-clad dummy suspended from the chimney of a house in Madison.

Flood called her mother, Millie Hazlewood, who reported the Halloween display to police. She wasn't the only one. Police went to the property at least three times starting Sunday, and even the mayor asked the homeowners to take down the figure.

At 8 last night, the family relented, saying they feared for their safety.

"It's no more like freedom of speech anymore," Cheryl Maines said. "My son had to take this down because these people have blown this thing out of proportion."

Before the figure was removed yesterday, Madison Mayor Ellwood "Woody" Kerkeslager said "the appearance and the suggestion (of racism) is there, and it's inappropriate."

At least four recent noose displays -- one each in Jena, La., and Philadelphia and two in New York City -- are drawing renewed attention to a potent symbol of racism, lynchings and the era of Jim Crow segregation.

Unlike those incidents, the Madison figure was part of a Halloween display, and for two days, homeowners Cheryl and David Maines, the borough's superintendent of public works, refused to budge. They said they had done nothing wrong.

Meanwhile, the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People denounced the display as offensive, racist and insensitive.

"I think there are many people who understand the significance of a noose as it relates to the history of African-Americans," said James Harris, president of the NAACP's state chapter. "We thought we lived beyond the era when people felt it was okay to have that type of display."

In Georgia!

LAGRANGE, Ga. — A west Georgia couple expects to rehang three Halloween dummies with nooses around their necks that were torn down after a civil rights group protested the display.

The dummies in front of Tommy and Deborah McCann's house in LaGrange were taken down by someone between midnight Friday and 6:30 a.m. Saturday, but Tommy McCann said he is "99-percent sure" he will rehang the dummies.

The Troup County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People picketed the display Friday afternoon after the McCanns refused to take the display down despite requests from the organization, chapter president Ann D. Gray said. The chapter made the request through police because they did not feel comfortable going on to the McCann's property, Gray said.

She called the display "culturally insensitive."

"People were calling saying their children were disturbed by what they were seeing," Gray said. "Halloween is not hanging. Hanging is not Halloween."

Deborah McCann told the LaGrange Daily News the dummies represented a monster, a space alien and a white man.

Tommy McCann said the family intended no racial overtones with the display.

"We always decorate," he said. "We decorate for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Christmas is lit up over here."

LaGrange police said someone had phoned a death threat against Tommy McCann, leaving the message with a relative.

The fact these local chapters are fronted by obvious morons you can't go on a terror streak of banning halloween hangman on the basis of it is not culturally sensitive. It wrongly mixes the line from an act that has clear racist and terroristic threat from a haunted house display. Once this new trend gets around more people will put up nooses not out of racism but a big FU to hyperactive nitwits who have brought death threats to two families.

Iraqi cemetery workers getting less work.

Iraq: Not for nothing, but I am glad to see this part of the Iraq job sector not having a lot of work.

At what’s believed to be the world’s largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn't good.

A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that’s cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.

Few people have a better sense of the death rate in Iraq.

"I always think of the increasing and decreasing of the dead,” said Sameer Shaaban, 23, one of more than 100 workers who specialize in ceremonially washing the corpses. “People want more and more money, and I am one of them, but most of the workers in this field don't talk frankly, because they wish for more coffins, to earn more and more.”

Billy Cosby about Gangsta Rap, drugs and youth

Culture: As always Mr.Cosby speaking the truth.

Illegal immigrant rights group wants to change Irving government.

Politics: The policy must be really effective now that you have a group advocating changing the structure of the city council to gain power to stop illegals being rounded up.

Opponents of Irving's police policy of working with immigration say they'll ratchet up the pressure on city hall. That following emotional, competing protests on Saturday. KERA's Shelley Kofler has more.

At separate rallies, some 150 protested in favor of the Criminal Alien plan, in which Irving police help federal immigration officials identify and deport illegals.

Ten times as many marched nearby, claiming they're harassed because of the Plan.

As a next step, plan opponents say they'll go to court to replace Irving's current at-large council system with single member districts. Organizer Carlos Quintanilla says diversity among elected officials is needed.

Quintanilla 43 percent of the population of Irving is Hispanic and there is not one single Hispanic city council member, not a single member on their board of education.

Irving Mayor Herbert Gears says policy opponents can challenge the council structure.

Gears: "If it is important to the
Latino community to see someone from their culture on the council I completely understand that."

But Mayor Gears says Irving doesn't plan to change police policy for coordinating with immigration officials

Northern New Jersey is Al Qaeda supporter heaven?

Terrorism: It pretty much had to be New Jersey.

Osama bin Laden may be hiding in the impenetrable mountains near the Afghanistan border, but FBI counterterror officials say they have identified several of his associates in a far more accessible spot -- northern New Jersey.

The FBI's elite Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark says it is not only monitoring a number of North Jersey residents with ties to al-Qaida, but that agents have quietly "disrupted" their activities and even deported a few.

These glimpses into North Jersey's war on terrorism, from a series of interviews with task force leaders, come on the heels of revelations last summer that Bin Laden's terror network had regained strength. But that rebuilding was thought to have taken place overseas.

This is the first time since the 9/11 attacks that FBI counterterror officials have revealed an al-Qaida presence in North Jersey.

"There are definitely facilitators in this state," said Kevin Cruise, the veteran FBI counterterror agent who directs Newark's 100-member terrorism task force of FBI and CIA agents as well as state police and even local beat cops.

Spitzer bans temporary stamp off of driver licenses.

Nation: Clever little schemer that he is while everyone is livid about him giving illegals driver's licences. He does another ignorant move by removing the temp stamp off of licenses given to eligible non-citizens.

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, noncitizens who legally obtained New York State driver’s licenses have been given licenses stamped “temporary visitor” along with the date their visa expired.

No longer.

The Spitzer administration three weeks ago quietly eliminated the state policy that required the special identification stamp on the driver’s licenses for noncitizens who are legally, though temporarily, residing in the United States.

The policy change also eliminated the accompanying expiration date that was intended to show when the person’s legal right to be in the United States ended — raising the chance that a valuable form of identification could remain in the hands of people who want to remain in the country illegally.

This recent decision to stop labeling licenses of noncitizens comes as the governor is also pressing ahead with a companion policy in which the state would permit immigrants here illegally to obtain driver’s licenses.

Opponents of Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer’s latest move say it sends a signal that New York does not care whether individuals are within its borders illegally. They point out that three of the terrorist hijackers on 9/11 had expired visas and that driver’s licenses were among the forms of identification they possessed to carry out their plot.

“There are more holes in this plan than Swiss cheese,” said Wayne F. Jagow, the Niagara County clerk, whose office processes driver’s license applications for the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

Youtube cheered by Islamic terrorists as fund raising tool.

Terrorism: Trying to get Islamic terrorists clips off of youtube is the same as emptying the ocean with a 6 oz cup.

Manila - An al-Qaeda-linked Muslim militant group in the southern Philippines has been able to raise funds after posting video clips about the organization on the popular internet site YouTube, police said Monday.

The video clips seeking funds and support for the Abu Sayyaf rebel group, blamed for some of the worst terrorist attacks in the Philippines, were posted on YouTube in August.

The clips featured the late Abu Sayyaf founder Abdurajak Janjalani and his younger brother and replacement Khadafi Janjalani. Abdurajak Janjalani was killed by security forces on Basilan in 1998, while his brother died last year on Jolo.

Rapper T.I. remains in custody and he is screwed.

Crime: He remains in jail to see if he is alright for bond, if not the prosecutors want him locked up till his trial which is months away.

During a brief court hearing, U.S. Magistrate Alan Baverman ordered Harris to remain in custody at least until Friday, when the judge will hold hearings to determine whether Harris is eligible for a bond and whether there was probable cause to arrest him.

Federal prosecutors are moving to keep Harris detained until his trial, which could be several months away. If convicted, Harris, 27, faces certain prison time - about five or more years behind bars, according to the federal sentencing guidelines.

One of his lawyers, Steve Sadow, said he requested Harris's bond hearing be postponed until Friday to give the defense team more time to prepare for it. But it will be difficult for Harris's defense team to win a bond for a defendant who has a prior crack cocaine-dealing felony conviction and who allegedly had an arsenal of weapons at his College Park home.

Democrats now using 2 year old for S-CHIP program.

Politics: Let me be the first to congrats the Dems on this latest political ploy.

First, there were Graeme and Gemma Frost, the Baltimore children who were hospitalized for months after a 2004 car crash, but who have been seen more recently in the company of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Then came Abby, Josh, Latoya and Kevin, all "vetoed" by President Bush, according to a television advertisement produced this month by liberal groups.

Now meet Bethany Wilkerson, the latest youngster enlisted by congressional Democrats or their allies to help build support for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Having suffered from heart failure as an infant, USAction says, the Florida toddler would not be alive today but for the government-funded program for moderate-income families not poor enough to qualifty for Medicaid.

Now Bethany is scheduled to speak at a Capitol Hill rally Tuesday evening, according to a release this morning by Americans United For Change.

There was no word on what the 2-year-old plans to say. But she joins a flurry of 11th-hour activity in advance of the attempt by House Democrats on Thursday to override Bush’s veto of legislation to expand coverage to 4 million more children at a cost of $35 billion over five years. (A bipartisan majority in the Senate approved the expansion by a veto-proof margin.)

This time they made sure this family who qualified for the S-CHIP program as it as meant to be in the first place.

This week, Democrats have brought forth the Wilkerson family, whose two-year old daughter Bethany is covered by SCHIP and had life-saving heart surgery when she was an infant. On Monday the Wilkerson family held a conference call, sponsored by USAction, a liberal grassroots advocacy group lobbying in favor of the $35 billion SCHIP expansion.

For the record, the Bo and Dara Wilkerson say they make $34,000 in combined income from restaurant jobs in St. Petersburg, Fla. They rent their house and the couple owns one car, which Bo calls "a junker." Malkin and other bloggers have revealed over the past week that the Frost family owned two properties, as well as a couple cars, and had a $45,000 income. The accusation against Democrats, and by extension the Frost family, is that they are too middle class to be granted any subsidized health insurance for their children.

The Wilkersons said they are fully aware of the possibility that their finances and personal lives may be investigated by opponents of the SCHIP bill.

"We rent a house, we have one car that is a junker. Let them dig away," Bo Wilkerson said. "I have $67 in my checking account. Does that answer your question?"

Now I am wondering considering how naked of a ploy this is if it will resonate as much as they hope or will people realize this is a cynical political ploy.

DVR ratings a bust for network shows.

Entertainment: Not exactly setting the world on fire and any hope that DVR would add sizable amounts of ratings over time is going to fade fast.

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - A new ratings measure that incorporates digital-recorder playback failed to boost the bulk of the shows airing during the first week of the TV season, according to Nielsen Media Research data issued Monday.

While about a third of the shows got an average 15% lift in Live+7 ratings (live + playback within a week) in the week ended September 30, the rest didn't see much help at all. Fifteen programs saw a gain of 1 million or more viewers each.

The ratings-rich shows at each of the networks got richer.

ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" was up 2 million viewers, compared with the Live+SD (same day) ratings released three weeks ago. CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," NBC's "Heroes" and Fox's "House" were each up 1.9 million viewers.

But the ratings-poor shows that might have been looking for a boost from the DVR playback didn't get one. Among newcomers, only NBC's "Bionic Woman" and "Journeyman" and ABC's "Private Practice" could see any measurable increase, and it wasn't clear whether that would hold in the second week or whether it was sampling.

"There's nothing that would save a show or make a show look even stronger," Fox scheduling chief Preston Beckman said.

NBC research chief Alan Wurtzel said that the new ratings system makes for an even more Darwinian environment and agreed that it won't save anything that didn't look good in the initial ratings.

"This is not the magic bullet that will make a program struggling into a success," Wurtzel said. "They're not going to get a miracle."

Interest in Justice League of America movie dropping.

Entertainment: Last thing I need to see is a Dawson Creek's version of JLA on the big screen.

This weekend, Young Hollywood stepped into the superhero hall of justice to see who will get the parts in the big-budgeted Warner Bros. tentpole movie "Justice League of America."

Director George Miller flew in Saturday from his native Australia for a marathon casting session that started Sunday and continues Monday, seeing 35-40 actors test for roles in the comic book movie.

Miller is seeing about four or five actors for the parts of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter, with a few overlaps. A few nonhero parts might be testing as well.

On the roll call are Adam Brody (Fox's "The O.C."), Joseph Cross ("Running With Scissors"), D.J. Cotrona ("Windfall"), Mary Elizabeth Winstead ("Grindhouse"), Michael Angarano ("Sky High"), Teresa Palmer ("Wolf Creek"), Max Thieriot ("Jumper") and rapper Common.

The cast of NBC's "Friday Night Lights" is well-represented as well, with Minka Kelly, Adrianne Palicki and Scott Porter also among those testing for parts. No costumes are involved in the tests, which are being taped as actors read script pages.

If the names feel young, it's because Miller is looking for actors to grow into their roles over the course of several movies. Sources say Miller, known to be a methodical director, is testing not only for the roles themselves but how the actors interact with one another while keeping an eye on the look of the whole group. The director is due to present his findings to the studio midweek.