Saturday, November 17, 2007

Keith Ellison being a busy little political beaver.

Politics: Both of these requirements would help Demorcrats while increasing the chance for fraud.

WASHINGTON (Map, News) - A House panel held a feisty hearing Friday on Rep. Keith Ellison's bill to require states to have same-day voter registration for federal elections, with Democrats touting increased voter turnout while Republicans said the practice would lead to more voter fraud.

Ellison, a freshman Minnesota Democrat, noted that his home state has used same-day voter registration for decades, and that Minnesota had a 78 percent voter turnout in the last presidential election.

The right to vote "should not be conditional on the ability to navigate bureaucracy or meet artificial, arbitrary deadlines," he testified in a hearing before a House Administration subcommittee on elections.

Ellison got backing from Democratic Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, but Ritchie's predecessor, Republican Mary Kiffmeyer, threw cold water on the idea.

Kiffmeyer said that if you don't think vote stealing is a problem, "Next time you leave, don't lock your home and don't lock your car door, if you have that kind of absolute trust."

Other Republicans made similar arguments.

Testifying alongside Ellison was Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who said election officials need to verify that people are who they say they are.

"That means a picture ID," said King, taking aim at another Ellison bill, which would ban states from mandating photo IDs for voting in federal elections. Ellison argues that requirement disenfranchises minorities, the poor, women, elderly and young people.

And King said that if same-day voting is to take place, such votes should be counted as provisional - meaning they would be checked later to verify their eligibility. Ellison said he would oppose that requirement. A study of the 2004 presidential election by, a nonpartisan clearinghouse for election reform information, found that about two-thirds of the more than 1.6 million provisional ballots cast that election were counted.

The subcommittee's ranking Republican, Kevin McCarthy of California, noted that a task force in Milwaukee found voting irregularities in that city during the 2004 presidential election, in a state that also uses same-day voter registration.

But Neil Albrecht, deputy director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, said that while there were problems, it would be unfair to label the city a "voter fraud city." And he said that same-day voter registration helped the city pull in a record-setting turnout in 2004.

Friday, November 16, 2007

UK: Illegal immigrant demands to be flown home

UK: UK even gave him a house and everything, where is the love?

An illegal immigrant has demanded to be flown home after saying he was fed up with British people - because they are "rude and unfriendly".

Speaking today, Mokhtar Tabet, 30 - who has been given a home, food and free travel around London - claims his local council has breached his human rights by moving him to a place he does not like.

He was refused asylum in 2004 and is set to be deported.

He said: "The council evicted me from my home in September and moved me to Streatham, which I don't like.

"The new place is small, and the kitchen closes at 9pm, so I can't have anything to eat late at night. They have taken away my human rights."

Croydon Council says it has bent over backwards to help Tabet, who fled Algeria in 2002.

WGA strike: Universal suspends 30 rock, Office actors

Entertainment: Jeremy Pikser in the Guardian's CIF page wrote one of the theories floating around is the studios wants the strike to go long enough to cancel development deals.

So then, why aren't the companies willing to consider this eminently fair, even modest, proposal? Well, aside from the not entirely preposterous notion that fairness and modesty have absolutely no meaning to them, I've heard two theories that sound plausible. I can't say I know either is right.

The first is that the companies are being so insanely intransigent only in order to assure that the strike will last six weeks, after which they can legally declare the strike to be a force majeure that would free them from any contracts they have signed (particularly those with production companies) that they'd like to get out of. Since this timeframe would coincide with the holidays, it would, presumably, put more pressure on the by-then penniless writers to fold. So, this analysis suggests, once the holidays are over, the companies will be ready to come back to the bargaining table and negotiate seriously.

Universal wants to be the first to start the movement.

As the writers strike nears the end of its second week with no resolution in sight, the most dreaded phrase in Hollywood is making the rounds: force majeure.

Producer Universal Media Studios on Thursday began notifying the regulars on NBC's "Bionic Woman," "The Office" and "30 Rock" that the studio is suspending them on half-pay for five weeks, citing the force majeure provisions in their Screen Actors Guild (SAG) contracts.

While deals with actors allow for the force majeure -- or "greater force" -- option right after production is suspended, such a contract clause could be invoked for writers very soon if the strike continues. Most writers' production deals trigger the termination clause four to six weeks into a stoppage, but in some, the cushion is said to be only two weeks.

That means that as of Monday, studios could start terminating their overall pacts with writers.

Since the beginning of the strike on November 5, TV studios have been debating how to deal with series regulars -- whether to invoke the force majeure clause that allows them to terminate actors for unanticipated or uncontrollable reasons put them on hiatus or do something else.

On Friday, Sony Pictures TV took a different tack, notifying the regulars on two of the sitcoms it produces-- Fox's "'Til Death" and CBS' "Rules of Engagement" -- that they are being put on unpaid hiatus, remaining exclusive to the studio.

Joy Behar complains about McCain and Hillary bitch thing.

Entertainment: Via Newsbusters.

"The View’s" Joy Behar objects to personal attacks on presidential candidates, when they agree with her. On the November 15 edition of "The View" co-host Joy Behar ranted against John McCain because one audience member called Hillary Clinton a "bitch." But when confronted for her personal attacks on President Bush, as co-host Sherri Shepherd pointed out how "you do personal assaults on President Bush" and wondered "what’s the difference?", Behar passively responded: "I don’t like him."

Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi smacked her about to get this answer.

The discussion led to this exchange with Sherri Shepherd calling out Joy Behar on her many personal attacks against President Bush.

SHEPHERD: What I'm saying is the same could be said, she felt Hillary Clinton was a bitch. And so she said it.

BEHAR: No, that's a personal assault on the woman.

SHEPHERD: You do personal assaults on President Bush.

BEHAR: Yes, I do.

SHEPHERD: So what's the difference? What’s the difference?

BEHAR: The difference is that I don't like him.


SHEPHERD: What’s the difference? She didn’t like her.

GOLDBERG: And this woman doesn’t like her.

So calling a woman a bitch is a personal assault which means when Behar called Michelle Malkin a "selfish bitch." She is now on the same level as the woman who called Hillary a bitch. Be proud.

Rare robbery case brings cries of racism

Crime: I am confused about the legal doctrine they are using here because on the face of it doesn't make much sense. I do know by this article the NAACP chapter is out of its damn mind trying to defend the three.

Three young black men break into a white man's home in rural Northern California. The homeowner shoots two of them to death — but it's the surviving black man who is charged with murder.

In a case that has brought cries of racism from civil rights groups, Renato Hughes Jr., 22, was charged by prosecutors in this overwhelmingly white county under a rarely invoked legal doctrine that could make him responsible for the bloodshed.

"It was pandemonium" inside the house that night, District Attorney Jon Hopkins said. Hughes was responsible for "setting the whole thing in motion by his actions and the actions of his accomplices."

Prosecutors said homeowner Shannon Edmonds opened fire Dec. 7 after three young men rampaged through the Clearlake house demanding marijuana and brutally beat his stepson. Rashad Williams, 21, and Christian Foster, 22, were shot in the back. Hughes fled.

Hughes was charged with first-degree murder under California's Provocative Act doctrine, versions of which have been on the books in many states for generations but are rarely used.

The Provocative Act doctrine does not require prosecutors to prove the accused intended to kill. Instead, "they have to show that it was reasonably foreseeable that the criminal enterprise could trigger a fatal response from the homeowner," said Brian Getz, a San Francisco defense attorney unconnected to the case.

California's Provocative Act doctrine has primarily been used to charge people whose actions led to shooting deaths.

The stepson suffered brain damage from the beating and lives in a rehab center, they broke in at 4 a.m. But the NAACP comes up with this defense.

The NAACP complained that prosecutors came down too hard on Hughes, who also faces robbery, burglary and assault charges. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

Brown and other NAACP officials are asking why the homeowner is walking free. Tests showed Edmonds had marijuana and prescription medication in his system the night of the shooting. Edmonds had a prescription for both the pot and the medication to treat depression.

"This man had no business killing these boys," Brown said. "They were shot in the back. They had fled."

....Hughes' mother, San Francisco schoolteacher Judy Hughes, said she believes the group didn't intend to rob the family, just buy marijuana. She called the case against her son a "legal lynching."

"Only God knows what happened in that house," she said. "But this I know: My son did not murder his childhood friends."

Unless California law is that specific, they broke into his house and threatened/assaulted the owner and his family. He defend himself and two of the robbers are now dead. You can't cry racism in a case like this unless you are absolutely sure because it wipes out any credibility. Terms like legal lynching for what they did is nonsense.

They went to rob and paid the price.

Obama again drops the ball to Hillary. He had her!

Politics: He had her dead to rights tonight and Wolf gives him the easy question of driver licenses to illegals. Simple yes or no answer. Obama goes on this tangent.

Did no one in his campaign tell him if this comes up be strong and answer with conviction? Just say yes or no instead the above happens to him. When the audience turns on you because they realize you are trying to sit on the fence it is a bad sign.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

WGA strike is an egofest.

Entertainment: You think this type of nonsense matters to anyone outside of Hollywood?

Picketing: Gays Today, Assistants Monday

Writer/director C. Jay Cox and Michael Medico (who heads up the blog Hot in Hollywood) are hosting "Gay Gate" at the main gate of Raleigh Studios Hollywood at 5300 Melrose Avenue today from 10 AM until 2 PM Los Angeles Times . Invited are gay and lesbian writers and actors to join at a central location for one day. They said they decided on Raleigh since the gayest show on television, Ugly Betty, is filmed there. As the invitation reads, "Let's picket because we're right. Let's picket together because we're fabulous!"

On Monday, assistants are organizing a central picket between 12 Noon until 2 PM at the Main Gate (Pico & Motor) of the Fox lot. Invited are assistants and other “below-the-line” employees ("particularly those who have been laid-off by the media conglomerates") who support the WGA and would like to picket in unity with the writers. "For writers, this is a chance for us to celebrate the assistants and “below-the-line” employees, and to recognize them for the sacrifices they’re being forced to make as we fight for a fair deal."

Nothing says serious union picketing that gay day and inviting the people who you helped fired to celebrate their "sacrifices" When I see the WGA paying their salaries, then I will be impressed.

1 in 22 gay, bisexual men in Florida has HIV

Medical: This is unacceptable and its not because there isn't protection or the lack of knowledge out there that unprotected sex is not a good thing within the gay community given the number of cases. This is a choice among certain gays to say to hell with safety. Anyone who goes around acting the fool is getting very little sympathy from me. You should know better at this point in time.

Hoping to call attention to the extent of HIV/AIDS among gay men, state health officials said Tuesday that an estimated 1 in 22 gay and bisexual men in Florida had the virus last year, an infection rate that dwarfs any other group.

HIV has struck some areas of the gay community even harder, with rates as high as 1 in 11 among gay white men in Broward County, 1 in 13 gay black men in Palm Beach County and 1 in 12 gay Hispanic men in Miami-Dade County, officials said. By comparison, in the least affected group, 1 in 1,625 white women had the virus.

AIDS activists who gathered in Wilton Manors to hear the new report challenged the methods behind the new estimate, but universally agreed the virus is not declining among gays as hoped. They called on officials and one another to find new ways to stress the message of safe sex.

...But numbers aside, activists said many gay men do not practice safer sex, for many reasons: A cavalier belief that new drugs have made HIV a manageable disease instead of a killer; rebellion against safer-sex after years of sexual fear; abuse of party drugs; lack of safe-sex knowledge among younger males, and denial caused by stigma against homosexuality.

"There's no gay man who doesn't know having unprotected sex can lead to HIV. But sometimes they ignore it, and that's what we have not been able to address," said Christopher Lacharite, an HIV patient and prevention coordinator at Compass, a gay organization in Palm Beach County.

Mexico to get involved in American politics over illegals.

Immigration: Maybe it is time to start screwing around in Mexican politics, buying ad time slamming them.

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 14 -- Mexican President Felipe Calderón took the unusual step Wednesday of injecting himself into U.S. presidential politics, calling Mexican migrants "thematic hostages" of the race and urging candidates not to use them as a talking point.

Speaking at a conference here, Calderón criticized what he called "the growing harassment" of Mexicans in the United States and said his administration would finance a media campaign to underline immigrant success stories.

Calderón made his remarks one day before his environment minister, Rafael Elvira Quesada, is scheduled to release a report concluding that the U.S.-Mexico border wall is damaging the environment.

Calderóns statement on the U.S. presidential race caught many people here by surprise. Addressing delegates at a conference sponsored by the Mexican government agency that assists migrants, he said: "It is my duty to make a respectful but firm call to the candidates of the various political parties in the United States for them to stop using Mexicans in that country as thematic hostages of their speeches and their strategies."

Calderón has frequently criticized U.S. immigration policy, as do many Mexicans. But it is unusual for a Mexican president to make such a direct comment about U.S. presidential campaign strategies.

It is the arrogance that gets to people.

UK taxpayers paying for Muslim 'virginity fix' operations.

UK: The stupid is strong in the UK. It is all apart of the UK's multicultural experience, feel the diversity and do not question it.

Women are being given controversial "virginity repair" operations on the NHS, it emerged last night.

Taxpayers funded 24 hymen replacement operations between 2005 and 2006, official figures revealed.

And increasing numbers of women are paying up to £4,000 in private clinics for the procedure apparently under pressure from future spouses or in-laws who believe they should be virgins on their wedding night.

Doctors said most patients are immigrants or British of ethnic origin.

The trend has been condemned by critics as a sign of social regression driven by Islamic fundamentalists. Some countries have made hymen reconstruction operations illegal.

Dr Magdy Hend, consultant gynaecologist at the Regency Clinic, Harley Street, London, who started hymen reconstruction more than 18 years ago in the Middle East and the Gulf, said: "In some cultures they like to see that the women will bleed on the wedding night. If the wife or bride is not a virgin, it is a big shame on the family."

Dr Hend said he was surprised by the "very good response" to the service and said there is "big competition on the market".

Most of his clients, he told More4 News, are in their teens or early 20s.

"They might be British of ethnic background, they might be immigrants, or some people come from abroad, Asia, Middle East, the Gulf, and they don't want to have it done back home," he added.

Dr Hend said demand is increasing, particularly from UK residents.

UK schools ban Christmas cards on enviro and moral grounds.

UK: The war on Christmas always starts off with a stupid first move by someone. Simply the continuing drive to pussify the next generation of children.

"....Angry parents and schools campaigners have accused the schools of acting against the spirit of Christmas.

Nicholas Daniels, deputy head of at Evan James primary school, said they were acting on "environmental and moral" grounds.

Teachers will instead allow the 420 pupils to make one card each for someone in their class so that everyone receives a handmade card.

Mr Daniels said: "The reasons for not having cards are endless and we are sticking to our guns.

"We are asking parents to contribute the money they would have spent on cards to the school's charity.

"We are a big school and the amount of cards teachers are asked to hand out can be horrendous.

"Cards in school cause litter problems and can become a popularity contest about who gets the most, with the risk some children could be left out.

"If the children want to write 30 cards to their friends they would be responsible for handing them out outside school premises."

Mr Daniels claimed that most parents and pupils supported the move.

But one parent said: "A lot of us feel the school is taking a politically correct decision but it is just a once-a-year occasion and the kids love taking cards for their friends.

"The school is acting like Scrooge and going completely against the spirit of Christmas."

Neighbouring Parc Lewis Primary has asked pupils not to exchange cards as part of its bid for an eco award.

In a letter to parents, head teacher Elaine Williams said: "As a change of plan this year and to help us get the Eco School Gold Award-Green Flag, we request that pupils don't bring in Christmas cards to give to each other.

"Instead they may make them in art lessons.

"Also, we request that you be so kind to donate £1 (instead of cards) for Oxfam and we will send the money to purchase a goat or mosquito net (for a family in Africa)."

Mrs Williams said the staff had done this last year and pupils asked if they could do the same.

"We are not banning Christmas," she said. "Pupils can carry on bringing in cards if they want. This is a request not a ban."

But in a letter to a local newspaper, one parent with four children at the school said: "I believe the banning of bringing in Christmas cards is utterly ridiculous, especially as the children get such fulfilment bringing them in."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Did Spitzer take stupid pills last couple of months?

Politics: Not only did an embarrassing retreat from giving illegals driver licences, he know backtracks on taxing internet purchases which he wanted to spring on customers before the end of the year. The man has no sense of timing.

A Spitzer Reversal on Taxes, Too
By Danny Hakim
After shelving its controversial drivers license policy this morning, Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s administration just said it would also drop a plan to start charging sales tax on Internet purchases.

The tax plan was reported this morning in the New York Sun, which simultaneously beat the administration over the head in an editorial–calling it, facetiously, “Spitzer’s Christmas Present.” The administration is now shelving that policy too.

In a statement this afternoon, Paul Francis, the state budget director, said “Governor Spitzer believes that now is not the right time to be increasing sales taxes on New Yorkers. He has directed the Department of Tax and Finance to pull back its interpretation that would require some Internet retailers that do not collect sales tax to do so.”

Spitzer’s tough-guy reputation is certainly taking some licks today. The Daily News has dubbed it “Pullback Day!” while the Buffalo News calls it “A Day of Caving.” Ouch.

Idiot Bridge player gets American team in trouble.

Politics: BDS strikes at a bridge tournament.

In the genteel world of bridge, disputes are usually handled quietly and rarely involve issues of national policy. But in a fight reminiscent of the brouhaha over an anti-Bush statement by Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks in 2003, a team of women who represented the United States at the world bridge championships in Shanghai last month is facing sanctions, including a yearlong ban from competition, for a spur-of-the-moment protest.

At issue is a crudely lettered sign, scribbled on the back of a menu, that was held up at an awards dinner and read, “We did not vote for Bush.”

By e-mail, angry bridge players have accused the women of “treason” and “sedition.”

....The players have been stunned by the reaction to what they saw as a spontaneous gesture, “a moment of levity,” said Gail Greenberg, the team’s nonplaying captain and winner of 11 world championships.

“What we were trying to say, not to Americans but to our friends from other countries, was that we understand that they are questioning and critical of what our country is doing these days, and we want you to know that we, too, are critical,” Ms. Greenberg said, stressing that she was speaking for herself and not her six teammates.

Then Greenberg is an idiot, what you did in a "moment of levity" is put your personal feelings ahead of the team because you felt you were put upon by other countries. If anyone should be punished its her for ruining the winning moment. It was selfish and totally a move by some deranged leftist who is full of herself. This part shows she wasn't speaking just for herself as another team member speaks truth to power.

Ms. Rosenberg said the team members intended the sign as a personal statement that demonstrated American values and noted that it was held up at the same time some team members were singing along to “The Star-Spangled Banner” and waving small American flags.

“Freedom to express dissent against our leaders has traditionally been a core American value,” she wrote by e-mail. “Unfortunately, the Bush brand of patriotism, where criticizing Bush means you are a traitor, seems to have penetrated a significant minority of U.S. bridge players.”

No just this bit of wisdom.

Robert S. Wolff, one of the country’s pre-eminent bridge players, who has served as an executive and board member of several bridge organizations, said that he understood that the women might have had a legal right to do what they did but that they had offended many people.

“While I believe in the right to free speech, to me that doesn’t give anyone the right to criticize one’s leader at a foreign venue in a totally nonpolitical event,” he wrote by e-mail.

New pics of Lakshmi Tatma post-surgery.

Medical: She could be released by Christmas. Pics at the link and video here.

A two-year-old Indian girl born with eight limbs has astonished doctors with a remarkable recovery following major surgery.

Lakshmi Tatma was born with four legs and four arms - but has had them removed in a gruelling operation.

She was today removed from intensive care following a procedure which removed her headless 'parasitic twin' a week ago, and was reunited with her parents.

Doctors at the Sparsh Hospital in Bangalore, where Laskhmi underwent the 27-hour operation, admitted they were amazed at her quick recovery.

"She is alert, eating solid food and on nothing stronger than paracetemol," said Dr Sharan Patil, who led the operation.

"She has well and truly passed the danger stage and is on course to make a full recovery. There may be further operations down the line, to correct her club feet, but so far so good. She is making remarkable progress."

Any grownups in the state of Washington?

Nation: Via Malkin, this moonbat act of stopping military equipment from getting to their destination is outrageous. Where is the police or government officials stopping this act of domestic terrorism on the military?

Military, port won't try to move equipment today without police

For the second time in a week, protesters stopped military equipment from moving out of the Port of Olympia today.

A couple of vehicles attempted to leave around 8:30 a.m. but with no police on scene were stopped by protesters standing across the access road.

“I’ve talked to them,” said Olympia police Cmdr. Tor Bjornstad, referring to officials coordinating the equipment’s movement. “They tried. It didn’t work so they’re just going to hold off.”

It’s unclear why either the police or the military would believe they could move out military equipment unimpeded as they’ve met resistance on every attempt so far.

Protesters were allowing civilian vehicles to exit the port. In one case, the protesters jumped in front of a military vehicle that was traveling behind a tractor-trailer rig carrying non-military equipment.

Get the tasers. Enough of this nonsense.

Deval "Cadillac" Patrick, you sneaky bastard.

Business: I see what you did there and so did Barney Frank.

Even as Governor Deval Patrick seeks to license three resort casinos in Massachusetts, he hopes to clamp down on the explosion in Internet gambling by making it illegal for state residents to place a bet on line. He has proposed jail terms of up to two years and $25,000 fines for violators.

The provision, buried deep in Patrick's bill to allow three casinos to the state, puts the governor at odds with a fellow Democrat: US Representative Barney Frank, the sponsor of federal legislation to license and regulate online gambling nationally. Yesterday Frank strongly criticized the governor's plan to punish online gamers while inviting casino operators to set up shop.

"Why is gambling in a casino OK and gambling on the Internet is not?" Frank said. "He's making a big mistake. He's giving opponents an argument against him."

Lions for Lamb bombs internationally.

Entertainment: That is what happens when you have an agenda and have no clue how not to lay it on thick, act like a elitist snob(looking at you Redford)thinking you are bring truth to the people!

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Tom Cruise's "Lambs" got slaughtered at the worldwide box office.

The political drama "Lions for Lambs," essentially an art-house project, adopted a blockbuster strategy by opening in 45 foreign markets and North America during the weekend. The plan misfired, with the film pulling in just $10.3 million from international theaters, and $6.7 million from North America, according to final sales data issued Monday.

Although Cruise is the big name and the film marks the first release from United Artists since he and business partner Paula Wagner took control of the dormant studio a year ago, UA executives are billing it as a Robert Redford vehicle, since the Hollywood veteran directed and co-stars. Meryl Streep is also part of the blue-ribbon lineup.

Facing mostly negative reviews, "Lambs" opened at No. 2 in both Spain ($2.2 million) and Australia ($857,000), at No. 5 in Germany ($999,000) and Brazil ($429,000), and at No. 6 in the U.K. ($1.4 million).

Industry experts said that despite the big marketing push and the huge stars involved, "Lambs" evidently did not attract its target upscale audience and failed to cross over to the general public.

Writers gushing about Bring a Star to the strike.

Entertainment: Nothing speaks more of how out of touch the Guild is by this move.

Just a quick update: estimates are that 2,500 walked the line at Universal on Bring-A Star-To Picket-With-You day organized by the striking WGA. "It was crazy beyond belief," one writer gushed. "I couldn't turn without seeing a star. There were a lot of stars..." Early sightings coming in to me are of Ben Stiller, Seth Green, Laura Linney, Lisa Edelstein (House), Minnie Driver, Doug Savant and Dana Delaney and Felicity Huffman and Nicollette Sheridan (all of Desperate Housewives), Lisa Kudrow. I'll have more details and photos later today.

50/50 chance this turns into the NHL strike where no one cared as reports coming that viewership may drop but not by much.

"...Sternberg said TV viewing hasn't declined in 20 years, though he conceded that it might shift as some viewers go to cable for the originals they don't see on broadcast TV.

"Just as overall television usage declines sharply every summer and then rebounds come fall, it will rebound once the writers strike ends," Sternberg wrote.

The 1988 writers strike caused about a 9% decline in primetime viewing, and Magna Global predicts that there will be a 9% decline in primetime viewing among the advertiser-friendly adults 18-49 demographic for the broadcast networks between January and May if the strike lasts that long. That has been backed up by other independent analyses.

The declines will be steepest in the spring, with a predicted 12% drop in April and 13% in May, while broadcast TV viewing will decline 5% in January and February and 8% in March. Sternberg said that viewers have been conditioned by as much as a 36% repeat load during December, January and March, which differs from the 14% during the non-sweep time in 1988. Sternberg also wrote that such reality shows as "Dancing With the Stars" and "American Idol" didn't exist when the strike began in 1988.

"The overall impact on ratings may not be as great as some fear," Sternberg wrote

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Muslim Students' Association bans Muslim comedians.

UK: Well in Scotland where political correctness and ass kissing community relations are the pillars of society, I am not surprised.

MUSLIM comedians have been banned from performing at a Scottish university in a move described as "ridiculous and undemocratic".

Glasgow Caledonian University backed out of hosting Allah Made Me Funny: The Official Muslim Comedy Tour this month after complaints from its Muslim Students' Association.

Oceanic, which organised the tour, was told by the university that the group felt the act was derogatory to their religion.

Preacher Moss and Azhar Usman will still perform the show at Dundee University on 27 November with the full backing of its Islamic Society. Yesterday, Fozia Ali, the campaign executive with Oceanic, said that she and the comics were disappointed with Glasgow Caledonian University's decision.

She said: "It seems somewhat ridiculous in a democratic society, in the era of freedom of speech, that the objections of a few cause an educational institution such as Caledonian University to walk away from a contractual agreement."

A spokeswoman for Glasgow Caledonian University said: "When the Muslim Students' Association expressed reservations about the show, it was decided the booking would not go ahead."

Spitzer to Drop His License Plan

Politics: Those awful poll numbers made him run like a scared coward away from giving illegals driver licenses.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer is abandoning his plan to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, saying that opposition is just too overwhelming to move forward with such a policy.

The governor, who is to announce the move formally on Wednesday, said in an interview Tuesday night that he did not reach the decision easily. “You have perhaps seen me struggle with it because I thought we had a principled decision, and it’s not necessarily easy to back away from trying to move a debate forward,” he said.

But he came to believe the proposal would ultimately be blocked, he said, either by legal challenges, a vote by the Legislature to deny funding for the Department of Motor Vehicles or a refusal by upstate county clerks to carry it out.

“I am not willing to fight to the bitter end on something that will not ultimately be implemented,” the governor said, “and we also have an enormous agenda on other issues of great importance to New York State that was being stymied by the constant and almost singular focus on this issue.”

GOP tacks right after Democratic gains

Politics: Nice of some in the GOP to realize that a bit of starting over and getting back an energized base on our side is a good thing.

Republicans may trail in the polls on virtually every issue, but conservative influence is surging in both chambers of Congress as the GOP tries to find its soul again.

It’s a risky strategy to tack to the right while Democrats have momentum in most polls, but Republicans clearly believe that they need to recapture their base before they recapture the majority.

When Republicans ran Congress, hardened fiscal conservatives often had a lone voice-in-the-wilderness feel about them.

Whether it was Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) filibustering on earmarks or Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) making a late-night speech about runaway government spending, the conservative caucus had a sympathetic ear from GOP leaders yet rarely prevailed on strategy or party message.

But now that they’ve been thrust into the minority, the conservative agitators have a front-row seat with Republican leaders, and the number of lawmakers who describe themselves as conservatives continues to grow while moderates appear to be a dying breed among Republicans on Capitol Hill.

When you act like the opposition and have no fiscal or political convictions, you lose. If it means a bit of time in the wilderness and refocusing efforts at a local/state level so be it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Moth Controls Robot

Science: I welcome our new moth overlords.

Mothbot is a small robotic vehicle controlled by the brain of a moth. Charles Higgins, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona has created it along with graduate student Timothy Melano. The brain of the machine is provided by a living hawk moth, the adult version of the horned tobacco caterpillar. It is a relatively large and rugged moth, with a wingspan of about 3 1/2 inches. It lives for several weeks.

The moth is immobilized in a plastic tube; it is connected to the "robotic electrophysiology instrument" with tiny wires implanted in its rice grain-sized brain. The wires are implanted after the moth reaches maturity (scientists are also at work on placing control hardware in an insect when it is still a pupa - see Hybrid Insects Sought For Bug Army). When the moth moves its eyes to the right, the robot vehicle turns in that direction.

Saudi Prince buys A380 for private use.

World: Stylin and profiling all night long.

"Airbus would not release many details about bin Talal's VIP A380, which dwarfs the 747 -- formerly the world's most spacious plane. Staff who answered the phone at bin Talal's office on Monday in Saudi Arabia said he was unavailable to comment.

The commercial A380, which made its maiden voyage with Singapore Airlines last month, is as tall as a seven-story building with each wing big enough to hold 70 cars. It is capable of carrying 853 passengers in an all-economy class configuration.

Take out the seats, and the plane can be transformed into a flying mansion.

Germany's Lufthansa Technik, which declined to comment Monday on bin Talal's purchase, has created a general rendering of what a VIP A380 jumbo could include. It'd have spacious bedrooms on the plane's upper deck, separated by a reception area and a bar next to central stairway. The master bedroom could include an office, private dining room and a gym featuring a steam bath and exercise machines.

The lower decks could feature a lounge-type quarters equipped with a conference area and dining room. A third level, normally used for cargo, could be transformed into another passenger space or cinema.

This type of custom design does not come cheap. Experts say it could rack the price up by another $50 million to $150 million."

Hey T-Mobile, mind fixing your payment site?

Weirdness: Sorry folks, personal venting here. Unless my computer is screwy, why hasn't T-mobile fixed this yet? It has been down since Saturday. I acutally do want to pay my bill without having to muck about in a service center.

Cities Eliminate Right to Contest Parking Tickets

Crime: The Boston ticket scheme is praiseworthy in its simplistic dickery of the people.

Cities Eliminate Right to Contest Parking Tickets

Boston, Massachusetts and Washington, DC effectively eliminate the right to contest parking tickets

In an attempt to stem the loss of revenue from motorists contesting parking tickets, cities are effectively eliminating the traditional due process rights of motorists to defend themselves at an impartial hearing. By the end of next year, Washington, DC's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will not allow anyone who believes he unfairly received a citation to have his day in an administrative hearing.

"DMV will complete the phase-out of in-person adjudication of parking tickets in favor of mail-in and e-mail adjudication by December 2008," the Fiscal Year 2008 DMV plan states.

The move is intended to allow automated street sweeper parking ticket machines to boost the number of infractions cited well beyond the 1.6 million currently handed out by meter maids. As one-third of those who contest citations in the city are successful, the hearings cut significantly into the $100 million in revenue tickets generate each year.

Under the DMV's plan, motorists will only be able to object to a ticket by email or letter where city employees can ignore or reject letters in bulk without affected motorists having any realistic recourse. That's not good enough for residents like Emily Miller, who told us that being able to present her case in person was essential. The Sunday school teacher was found not guilty at an administrative DMV hearing in June of driving with an open container of coffee. She was so thrilled with her victory that she decided to fight a parking ticket issued to her in a location where the parking signs were contradictory.

Motorists in many cities besides DC complain about unfair citations. So far, Baltimore, Maryland's Inspector General has uncovered 10,000 bogus parking tickets issued to innocent motorists. In Boston and other cities in Massachusetts, motorists cannot challenge a $100 parking ticket in court without first paying a $275 court fee. If found innocent, the motorist does not receive a refund of the $275.

At least when the Mafia shaked you down you got some sort of protection as a result. This is legal hijacking of people's money. Given the cities not a surprise though.

George Clooney and religion..not a good fit

Politics: Someone was smoking too weed and drinking to make this mistake.

Clooney was encouraged by the notion that Rudy Giuliani would draw support from the religious right, and then somehow draws a straight line from Jesus to Hamas:

That tells you the rest of the country is a little bit moved away from the idea of this "Jesus is right about everything" kind of mood. I’m not knocking religion, but there was a reason we left England: Church and state have to be separate. I love that we fought to get all these democracies in place, and they vote in theocracies, including Palestine. It worked out really well, now that we’ve got religious leaders everywhere.

Could have sworn Pilgrims and others came to America to practice religion as they see fit getting away from the religious persercution that was going on from all sides in Europe. I could be wrong. It wasn't a bunch of atheists that came on the Mayflower.

Michelle Obama: Black people fear possibilities.

Politics: Now black people who don't vote for Obama are just scared or have some sort of inferiority complex.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: The polls are showing your husband is trailing Hillary by 46% to 37% in the African-American community. What's going on here?

MICHELLE OBAMA: First of all, I think that that's not going to hold. I'm completely confident: black America will wake up, and get [it]. But what we're dealing with in the black community is just the natural fear of possibility. You know, when I look at my life, the stuff that we're seeing in these polls has played out my whole life. You know, always been told by somebody that I'm not ready, that I can't do something, my scores weren't high enough.

You know, there's always that doubt in the back of the minds of people of color. People who've been oppressed and haven't been given real opportunities. That you never really believe. That you believe that somehow, someone is better than you. You know, deep down inside, you doubt whether you can do it, because that's all you've been told, is "no, wait." That's all you hear, and you hear it from people who love you. Not because they don't care about you, but bcause they're afraid. They're afraid that something might happen.

Given that Hillary is the wife of the popular first black president, maybe they want to vote for her more because they like her better? I have pretty much had it with this sort of psych 101 bullshit that blacks won't do something because of race, THE MAN, oppression or a combination of the three.

Blacks don't fear opportunity or possibilities. The fact is Obama has not reached the black electorate as well as Hillary has done over this past year. Look at her performance at the Tavis Smiley Dem debate where she got a standing O after some red meat line. Obama fails to connect and that is why he is losing the black vote to Hillary. The implication that blacks should vote for Obama because he is black is so huge it doesn't require to go into a long curse filled diatribe of how f'ed up that line of thinking is coming from her.

Michelle drags down blacks at this point in time as being damaged goods that need a guide dog to vote the "correct" way.

MCB rep Bunglawala defends "Lyrical Terrorist" twit.

Terrorism: Here is the background of Samina Malik, this pathetic creature who fancied entertainment as watching beheading videos, poems of being a suicide bomber and wanting to attract men by showing all this off on web.

A 23-year-old who called herself the "Lyrical Terrorist" has become the first woman in the UK to be convicted under the Terrorism Act.

Samina Malik, from Southall, west London, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of owning terrorist manuals.

The jury heard Malik had written extremist poems praising Osama Bin Laden, supporting martyrdom and discussing beheading.

Malik worked at WH Smith at Heathrow Airport until her arrest last October.

So MCB rep comes along to defend her as being convicted of a thought crime.

The conviction last Thursday of the self-styled "Lyrical Terrorist", 23-year old Samina Malik, marks a further dramatic erosion of our liberties in the United Kingdom.

In the wake of the guilty verdict, several newspapers printed extracts from her attempts at poetry, including gems such as How to Behead, and The Living Martyrs. The court had heard that on an online social networking group known as Hi-5 Samina Malik had listed her interests as "helping the mujahideen any way I can" and, in the section for her favourite TV shows, she entered "watching videos by Muslim brothers in Iraq, yep, the beheading ones".

However, Malik was also said to have downloaded some material from the internet including The al-Qaida Manual and The Mujahideen Poisons Handbook - it took me less than a minute to find both of these using Google, along with a document entitled How To Win Hand-to-Hand Fighting.

It is to be hoped that this case may yet serve as a demonstration of just how badly-framed some of our anti-terror legislation actually is. In a truly free society, it should not be a crime to merely download and read such material.

During her trial, Malik argued that she was not a terrorist and that she had chosen the online moniker "Lyrical terrorist" simply because it had "sounded cool" and that her poetry, online remarks and downloading of internet material was undertaken in an attempt to attract male admirers.

The problem for the rah rah for free speech is that this is no different from someone watching child porn or putting videos out proclaiming they would like to shoot up their school. It wasn't just the poems or even downloading terrorist manuals off the net. It was the total picture of a disturbing woman who is gathering up herself to commit serious crimes in the future.

Confirmed: Generation X better than Generation Y.

Culture: Gen X escaped from the aren't we all special nonsense. The Gen Yers got it in droves and turned out to be self-centered, self-absorbed, narcissistic cuddled mamby bambies.

Proof #1: 60 minutes The "Millennials" Are Coming.

Stand back all bosses! A new breed of American worker is about attack everything you hold sacred: from giving orders, to your starched white shirt and tie. They are called, among other things, "millennials." There are about 80 million of them, born between 1980 and 1995, and they're rapidly taking over from the baby boomers who are now pushing 60.

They were raised by doting parents who told them they are special, played in little leagues with no winners or losers, or all winners. They are laden with trophies just for participating and they think your business-as-usual ethic is for the birds. And if you persist in the belief you can, take your job and shove it.

As correspondent Morley Safer reports, corporate America is so unnerved by all this that companies like Merrill Lynch, Ernst & Young, Disney and scores of others are hiring consultants to teach them how to deal with this generation that only takes "yes" for an answer.

...."Zaslow says that the coddling virus continues to eat away even when junior goes off to college. "I heard from several professors who said, a student will come up after class and say, 'I don't like my grade, and my mom wants to talk to you, here's the phone,'" he says. "And the students think it's like a service. 'I deserve an A because I'm paying for it. What are you giving me a C for?'" "

Proof #2: The making of a UPS driver; how to train Generation Y for a hard blue-collar job.

"But if there's one group that isn't down to be engineered, it's Generation Y, people who can't even be bothered to use punctuation, let alone memorize anything.

The inevitable discord started to show in 2003, when the oldest Gen Yers were in their mid-20s. UPS senior staffers began to notice a serious decline in some major performance indicators, among them drivers' time to proficiency. Before, trainees had needed an average of 30 days to become proficient drivers; the younger group was taking 90 to 180 days.

Perhaps more disturbing, the number of new drivers quitting the post after 30 to 45 days on the job spiked. That was cause for serious alarm. Gen Yers make up over 60% of the company's part-time loader workforce, from which it draws the majority of new driver hires. And in the next five years, to keep the more than 100,000 driving jobs that currently exist filled, the company will need to train up to 25,000 new drivers. "

What we are seeing here marks the beginning of the downfall of America due to lack of work ethic and common sense.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Democrat rep outs France as intelligence source?

Nation: Ellen Tausche, please shut the hell up just to be on the safe side.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - France is one of the top intelligence sources on Iran for the United States, Democrat Ellen Tausche, chairman of the House of Representatives subcommittee on strategic forces, told a press conference Thursday.

"Iran is deadly dangerous. They have been isolated from us for a very, very long time, and we don't have very good intelligence. I am glad we use a lot of international intelligence, especially the French and (Britain's) MI6," she told reporters.

Asked if the US administration's warnings about Iran's alleged secret nuclear weapons program should be believed, Tausche said: "You shouldn't, you should believe the French."

The lawmaker added that on Wednesday, after meeting with President George W. Bush, French "President (Nicolas) Sarkozy was totally unambiguous about Iran, and (said) that there was reason to be concerned about (its) ambitions."

On October 29, French Defence Minister Herve Morin dismissed comments by the head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, that there was no evidence Iran was building nuclear weapons.

"Our information, matching those of other countries, gives us the opposite feeling," Morin said at the end of a visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Top Gear Season 10 Africa edition a must see.

Entertainment: Hell with the strike, some network over here ought to rerun Season 10 episodes after the batch of new episodes of domestic shows run out.

Last week's Africa edition was the best laughing out loud episode I had seen ever. James just randomly blurting out a "Hello mate" to a cow and "monkeys." Hammond in love with his car Oliver which came thru with flying colors and Clarkson being his grumpy self with the car door made of soda cans. The vice president of Botswana arriving to see the car in a flying glider was boss.

Drug gang in Los Angeles funded Hezbollah.

Terrorism: Via NYDailynews.

A seemingly small-time drug ring busted this week in Los Angeles was actually targeted for funding the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, the Daily News has learned.

Prosecutors left out the terror tie when they announced Tuesday that federal agents and local cops had arrested a dozen people for allegedly peddling cocaine and counterfeit clothing in Bell, Calif.

But several sources familiar with the investigation said the predominantly Arab-American gang was believed to have smuggled its crime cash to the Iranian-backed terror group.

"This was a classic case of terrorism financing, and it was pretty sophisticated how they did it," a source close to Operation Bell Bottoms told The News.

The defendants once crammed $123,000 in money orders into a stuffed animal flown to Lebanon, an indictment alleged.

Writers don't get it why the papers don't care.

Entertainment: I suspect the myopic liberal worldview of many of these writers is in play given the comments on Nikki Finke's site. The LATIMES and NYTIMES is being accused of not taking seriously the writer's strike in Hollywood.

As you’re all aware, over the past few days there’s been a lot of criticism of the LA Times strike coverage. (And The New York Times', which ignored the protest which is somewhat understandable since it's based in a different city. And Variety's and The Hollywood Reporter's, but they've never been objective anyway.) After all, massing on Avenue Of the Stars is the equivalent of 4,000 protesters on Madison Avenue. But that may be the problem: it had to occur in NYC for the LA Times to cover it.

Ordinarily, an event like this strike – something that affects all socio-economic levels of what in many ways is still a Company town – drives newspaper sales, and sends circulation skyrocketing. Even people who don’t ordinarily read the paper will go out and buy it for an overview as well as for specific reporting and analysis about how this affects their lives and could cripple the local economy. (By comparison, DHD isn't aimed at a general audience. DHD is focused on the entertainment industry for the entertainment industry. I report and write as if I'm speaking only to insiders.)

Still, the front page of this morning’s LA Times raises a larger issue: Namely, the continuing myopia on the part of LAT editors about the city their readers live in. The WGA march on Fox was reduced to a 655-word story on page 2 in the Business section. And the paper used an unofficial estimate of 3,500, not the WGA's estimate of 4,000 or the LAPD's estimate of 5,000. I've read articles three times as long about French wine-making. Instead of a photo of the strike on Page One, there’s a generic shot of Benazir Bhutto (albeit a big story, but you wouldn't know it from that picture), an article about Rudy Giuliani and Bernard Kerik, and a really urgent piece about Michelin ratings and LA chefs. And for the life of me, even seven paragraphs in, I still can’t figure out what the Column One story about “A Pioneer Refuses to Fade Away” is about.

Most of the comment section is just as bad in not getting "it"


Scandalous. Just scandalous. CBS also ran a fifteen second piece at the end of their telecast. How biased are these “jouranlist?” 5000 people. A strike that could effect the entire state and cost upwards of a billion dollars. Jesse Jackson speaking. And we go after the main stories, the throwaways, weather, sports and the feel good story on cats eating rats. Scandalous.

Comment by Ugh a writer — November 10, 2007 @ 5:16 pm

When people think of unions on strike, they think of the teamsters, service workers, factory workers, regular joes with 9-5 jobs. Writers for the mass majority of people will never get that sort of fight the good fight support. People lump them in the same place as NFL, NHL, NBA players union. Most writers are not making big money, I understand that but the groundwork for this strike and making the case to the public before and now has been pathetic to the point of laughable. The longer the strike goes on, the less support or understanding you will get. You big chance was this first week and it has been a bust.

Now you are going to pull off stunts like bring a star to work the strike line? How does that make you connect with public? All it shows is a star wank fest and this is all about an argument between rich people. This is why the papers are not giving it much thought or play because the second they play this up as huge breaking everyday news given what is going on in the world now, the public will turn on them for providing space for "fluff" news.

It would be in the best interests of the writers and their union leaders to get a grasp on what their image is about because these complaints are not helping the cause.

Heath Shuler's enforcement bill derailed by Loretta Sanchez .

Immigration: So Shuler puts up a tough enforcement bill and Rep. Sanchez says no go. Hispanic lawmakers are unhappy about it.

North Carolina Democrat Heath Shuler ’s new immigration-enforcement bill, cheered by immigration hard-liners and jeered by Hispanic lawmakers, now faces a major roadblock: Rep. Loretta Sanchez , who chairs the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism.

Sanchez says Shuler, a former pro football player, made a rookie mistake by not consulting with her before he introduced the bill, which is deepening an existing rift between politically vulnerable centrist Democrats and Hispanic members. Homeland Security is one of eight committees to which the bill was referred, but the panel has the lead in dealing with it.

“I would say Heath better come talk to me about it,” Sanchez, a California Democrat, told CQ Politics.

Shuler wants to increase the number of border patrol agents by 8,000 by 2012, improve border surveillance, make employee verification mandatory for employers, and enhance law-enforcement capabilities for cracking down on illegal immigrants who are already in the country. Sanchez says existing laws take care of much of what Shuler aims to do but that they have not been enforced by the Bush administration.

The bill (HR 4088) could eventually make it to the floor without action by the Homeland panel, but party leaders would have to circumvent the committee process to get it there. Many Hispanic lawmakers have made clear their reluctance to support stand-alone border- and interior-enforcement measures.

“The most effective immigration enforcement policy we can offer our country is one that considers all parts of this equation,” said Rep. Joe Baca , D-Calif., chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez , D-Ill., the author of a “comprehensive” immigration overhaul that would combine enforcement measures with a new temporary-worker program and a means for illegal immigrants to become citizens, said Shuler’s bill is incomplete.

“It looked like he grabbed my STRIVE bill , took all the enforcement parts of it and forgot to turn the page. It’s a book he didn’t finish reading,” Gutierrez said. “We might as well put the Republicans in charge.”

Dems remove funding for border fence.

Immigration: They were never serious about closing up the borders anyway. No doubt some "moderate" Republicans are hoping they can keep the funding out of the Homeland Security bill later this year as well.

The Democrats' removal of funding for a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border from a defense-spending bill Tuesday has Republicans up in arms.

The provision, authored by Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., offered $3 billion in funding to help secure "operational control" of the U.S.-Mexican border.

The funding was intended to pay for 700 miles of fencing to be completed by the end of the 2009 fiscal year. It also would pay for more Border Patrol agents, 300 miles of vehicle barriers, 105 radar and camera towers and enough beds to detain 45,000 illegal entrants daily. Some money was earmarked for states to help them pursue illegal entrants who had overstayed their visas and to help employers comply with employee-verification requirements.

DNA findings gives worry about prejudice.

Culture: The gist is DNA work will bring back or create new prejudices about different races since it would knock down the all races, groups are the same. I say bring it on! It is amusing to see people thinking maybe it is not a good idea to delve too much into DNA research if it kills off the social critics.

"But new research is exploring the remaining fraction to explain differences between people of different continental origins.

Scientists, for instance, have recently identified small changes in DNA that account for the pale skin of Europeans, the tendency of Asians to sweat less and West Africans’ resistance to certain diseases.

At the same time, genetic information is slipping out of the laboratory and into everyday life, carrying with it the inescapable message that people of different races have different DNA. Ancestry tests tell customers what percentage of their genes are from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. The heart-disease drug BiDil is marketed exclusively to African-Americans, who seem genetically predisposed to respond to it. Jews are offered prenatal tests for genetic disorders rarely found in other ethnic groups.

Such developments are providing some of the first tangible benefits of the genetic revolution. Yet some social critics fear they may also be giving long-discredited racial prejudices a new potency. The notion that race is more than skin deep, they fear, could undermine principles of equal treatment and opportunity that have relied on the presumption that we are all fundamentally equal.

“We are living through an era of the ascendance of biology, and we have to be very careful,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. “We will all be walking a fine line between using biology and allowing it to be abused.”

If it is found out there is differences between groups, then society will have to work thru it. Ignoring or retarding research and findings will only make things worse.