Saturday, December 8, 2007

Mr. T, Shatner and Van Damme Warcraft commercials

Gaming: Van Damme as a Troll Mage is good..... But Mr.T and William Shatner in German is out of this world mind blowing AWESOME!!!!

Muslim prayer on dance track results in bomb threats.

Islam: Yeah this was a predictable result unfortunately.

Producer Cry Lehlaka only realised the serious error of judgment which DJs Tea and Kay had made on their latest hit house mix when he received a bomb threat.

The sound of the Muslim prayer known as the Ayat-ul-Qursi had "simply appealed" to them, so they had lifted a version of it and used it as part of their new House Therapy compilation.

But it wasn't long before Lehlaka, operations manager at the popular House Therapy production house in Pretoria, was taking calls from Muslim fans furious at the apparent blatant exploitation of a sacred verse.

"There was only one person who threatened me with a bomb," Lehlaka said, "but most people who phoned were angry. We honestly didn't realise how serious the lyrics were, so we immediately promised to take the song off the CD, which is what we have done."

"We had gone to see an Islam expert and he explained that we were not supposed to use the prayer in this way," Lehlaka said on Friday. "Now the people have been very understanding and we've removed all the offending lyrics."

The debacle has cost House Therapy dearly, as the company has had to recall hundreds of discs. But it appears both potential legal action - and bombings - have now been averted.

Suraya Dadoo, of the Media Review Network, said: "We accept that they did not realise that this was an important verse from the Qur'an."

Via Sugiero.

Commodore 64 still gets the love after all these years.

Culture: As it should, first computer I ever owned and I still have the floppy drive somewhere. All these kids talking about load time would go crazy having to wait for the games to start up. But as the article states getting a C64 was the precursor for kids who later got their first car.

By 2007 computing standards, the Commodore 64 is a dinosaur. A relic of the past, long made obsolete by the march of time. But the C64 isn't dead. It's very much alive -- on gaming Web sites, through music and in the memories of millions who owned and loved them.

"Computer nostalgia is something that runs pretty deep these days. The memories that people have of this machine are incredible," McCracken said.

Twenty-five years ago computers were an individual experience; today they are just a commodity, he said.

"I don't think there are many computers today that we use that people will be talking about fondly 25 years from now.

David Shuster and Mika Brzezinski religious bigots?

Culture: Via Newsbusters, I guess this will put them in right with the Manhattan cocktail crowd.

BBC says sorry for radio host joke about Mohammed.

Culture: Oh would CAIR love this sort of response and groveling here in America.

The BBC was forced to apologise after one of its presenters made an on-air joke about freed teacher Gillian Gibbons naming her dog Mohammed.

Frances Finn, presenter of BBC Radio Nottingham's mid-morning show, quipped that the primary school teacher would be greeted at the airport by a pet named after the Muslim prophet during a conversation with a guest during a show on Tuesday.

As the host discussed Mrs Gibbons' release from a Sudan jail, she said: "Gillian Gibbons' son is pleased to see her and I'm sure her dog, Mohammed, is very pleased to see her as well."

The BBC issued an apology the following day.

The whiner...."concerned listener" is still not happy.

Najeeb Nazir, who works at Nottingham Pakistan Centre, made the original complaint to the BBC after hearing the conversation as he drove to work.

Nazir said the decision by the Sudanese courts to jail Mrs Gibbons was extreme but that he had taken offence against what he described as a deliberate joke against Muhammad on the radio show.

"I disagree with what the Sudanese did with that lady, which was in the extreme. But if people deliberately make a joke to offend a religious figurehead then it's very offensive," he said.

"Muslims do hold the Prophet Muhammad in very high regard. He is the messenger of God and central to Islam.

"To make a joke on the back of what happened with the teddy bear in Sudan is frankly appalling and for that to happen on the BBC is very bad."

Nazir also said he was unhappy with the apology - broadcast by BBC Radio Nottingham this morning - because it was too brief.

Busy body mom threatens school grade program.

Edumacation: It only takes one self-righteous hallpass monitor to screw up a program that has been around for more than a decade that hasn't done any harm to people.

Report cards in Seminole County elementary schools are doubling as a pitch for McDonald's restaurants, encouraging kids to get free fast food as a reward for good grades.

Officials say they are reconsidering the promotions on school report-card envelopes, which go home every few weeks with about 27,000 Seminole elementary-school children. But the re-evaluation comes only after a parent and a child-advocacy group complained that Seminole County is encouraging poor eating habits at the same time childhood obesity is a growing national concern.

"This takes in-school marketing to a new low," said Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a Boston-based advocacy group. "We are going to ask that McDonald's stop advertising on children's report cards."

....McDonald's officials said Seminole's report-card promotion is unique in Florida and that the company was approached by district officials to take the spot after Pizza Hut dropped out. Seminole administrators said McDonald's covered the $1,700 cost of envelopes and printing, which they say was the district's only compensation.

Seminole schools Superintendent Bill Vogel said he did not understand all the fuss, considering Pizza Hut had a similar promotion on report-card jackets for about 10 years. Still, the district may have second thoughts before deciding in the spring whether to repeat the promotion, he said.

"Based on what has come up, we will definitely look at the whole program when it comes up for next school year," Vogel said.

Based on this one parent.
The issue came to light last week when Susan Pagan’s daughter, Cathy, a fourth-grader at Red Bug Elementary School, brought home her report card and wanted to get a free Happy Meal because she earned good grades.

Pagen told her daughter, "Our family does not eat at fast food chains," Pagan said. "And, now I’m the bad guy."

Pagan said she complained to school officials in an e-mail about the advertising and received a telephone call from Superintendent Bill Vogel. She said he told her that she was the only person who complained and he noted that McDonald’s offers some healthy alternatives.

With the emphasis on healthier eating and problems with childhood obesity, she said she thought the advertising was inappropriate.

She contacted Linn’s group in Boston.

"I’m outraged that McDonald’s is trying to exploit my daughter’s achievement — and that the Seminole County School Board would help facilitate this exploitation."

This is making a mountain out of a hole in the ground. Its not like there isn't alternatives to the prize or you can get the kid some healthy food at McDonalds. There is no exploitation unless they somehow got the rights to her face and name to shove in an ad. This is just an incentive program and I am sure you take stock around the country business get involved in schools at all levels rewarding good grade with some sort of prize. As for being the bad guy, you are the parent, suck it up and stop whining.

The bigger worry is if the school board does stop the program how the other kids will view her and the daughter. Especially the other kids who may look at this as a raw deal.

Pork Chop is a racial offensive term?

Culture: New minor league team, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs is moving into town and does a fan contest on what their mascot's name should be. A five year old wins by sending in the name Pork Chop. Girl wins, the team thinks its awesome. Then out of the blue comes a few malcontents who decide that pork chop is such a racially charged term the team should change it.

It was supposed to be fun and a grand slam with kids, but some Puerto Ricans in the Lehigh Valley quickly cried foul.

"It know it was used in the 50s and 60s, and it was very offensive back then," said Tony Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said he has never heard the racial slur used at him or anyone else in the Puerto Rican community since.

Even the IronPigs admit only a few people complained.

"It does go back a ways, but there are still people who exist who may have been called pork chop once, and that's not fair," said team spokesman Matt Provence.

So 12 hours after unveiling "PorkChop" to the world, the team decided to call their plump pig "Ferrous" instead.

Most people had no clue and feel this is just stupid.

Lopez hosts the morning show on Allentown's Hispanic radio station, "Hola."

She said most of the Latino community finds the whole thing absurd and believes the world is becoming too politically correct.

"It all depends on the intention in which you say things, and the tone that you use when you say it, and I don't think there's any bad intention in there," Lopez said.

"I agree because, when you go to a restaurant and you see pork chop, what are you going to do?

Change the name on the menu?" Rodriguez asked. "What I think will happen is that you will really have some kids at school being named pork chop in a bad way because someone brought this back to light."

Despite getting more complaints now that the IronPigs have dropped the name
"PorkChop," the IronPigs stand by the change.

"If it offends one person, it's too many for a mascot name," Provence said.

That political correct attitude also extended to the Allentown main newspaper who is part owner of them as being praise worthy.

Keeping in mind that the newspaper also is a founding partner of the IronPigs, we agree that the change was the right thing to do. A business that needs to appeal to as broad a customer base as possible does not want to alienate any group. The public reaction, however, wasn't about how to run a sports team. It was, once again, about the intolerance that lies an inch below the surface in the Lehigh Valley. If Puerto Rican people say the term ''pork chop'' is offensive, who are those whose backgrounds are different to deny that? Furthermore, it's too bad that it was left to Puerto Ricans themselves to identify the slur. That puts them in the role of being ''victims'' at a time when they sincerely want to put that era behind them.

*Raises hand* It is kowtowing and setting up a broader section of the population to ridcule over a name that was not meant to be offensive to anyone. It was a five year old girl naming a baseball mascot. Plus now the Ricans in the area get the added pleasure of an obscure, forgotten racial slur being brought back to life.

More news about the Baltimore bus attack

Crime: The police is going to investigate if its a hate crime, but from this article it looks like it was just nine punk kids who deserve severe punishment who beat up this woman because they wanted to "rule" the bus.

In a written report, MTA police said the beating took place after one of the boys kept jumping in front of Kreager, claiming that the open seats on the bus were reserved. When Kreager finally found a seat, the teens began throwing punches at her and her boyfriend, according to the report. Police said her male companion, Troy Ennis, was also beaten, but not as severely.

A law enforcement source close to the investigation said Friday that Kreager, who is homeless, has entered the State's Attorney's Office's witness assistance program because officials are concerned for her safety.

Friday night, Kreager told The Sun she does not think she did anything to antagonize the students.

"I never spit. I did not spit," Kreager said. "I never said a racial thing."

Kreager said she had gotten on the No. 27 bus Tuesday afternoon to go downtown to fill a prescription with her boyfriend of 10 years. She said the bus was crowded, and she found a seat in the back -- but was confronted by a student telling her to move.

"When police asked me if this was a hate crime, I said I do feel it was motivated by racism, but I think it escalated more out of them trying to be cool them wanting to be in on the action," Kreager said.

Burns, with the State's Attorney's Office, said prosecutors are reviewing the law to determine whether the juveniles can be charged in the adult system.

"Prosecutors have not ruled out additional charges or charges under adult jurisdiction," Burns said.

Daughter of imam under police guard for converting

UK: The fact the police hasn't hauled the father or relatives on something at this point as this poor woman is moving from house to house shows the typical ineptness that comes with this type of situation.

The daughter of a British imam is under police protection after she received death threats from her family for converting to Christianity.

The woman, aged 32, whose father is a Muslim imam in Lancashire, has moved house 45 times to escape detection by her family since she became a Christian 15 years ago.

Hannah, who uses a pseudonym to hide her identity, told The Times that she became a Christian after she ran away from home at 16 to escape an arranged marriage. The threats against her became more serious a month ago, prompting police to offer her protection in case of an attempt on her life.

She was speaking on the eve of the opening of Lapido Media, a charity that is seeking to promote “religious literacy” in world affairs.

Muslims in Britain who wish to convert to Christianity are living in fear of their lives because of Islamic apostasy laws, a senior Church of England bishop will warn at the invitaton-only charity event in West London.

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, will claim that “freedom to believe” is under threat in Britain because of Islamic hostility to conversion. He will call on society to offer greater protection, by increasing understanding of what makes people vulnerable.

Hannah, who gives talks to churches on Islam, has been in hiding since her home was attacked by a group of men armed with knives, axes and hammers, in 1994.

The latest threat was a text message from one of her brothers, warning that he could not be responsible for his actions if she did not return to Islam.

WGA Strike: Talks fall apart.

Entertainment: DeadlineHollywood and NYTIMES has the details.

Let me recap what happened tonight, first and foremost. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers today at 2:35 PM put a so-called revised proposal, including a list of demands, on the bargaining table to flesh out its New Economic Partnership for the Writers Guild Of America.

I'm told even agent Bryan Lourd, considered an objective source, considered that the AMPTP proposal bettered the studios' and networks' terms on the table for New Media. It included a new and improved, albeit slightly, streaming deal for theatricals.

But the AMPTP issued demands that the writers take Reality TV and animation jurisdiction off the table as well as remove the no-strike clause in their contract. (The latter means that, if the writers settle with the AMPTP, then they must cross picket lines if the Screen Actors Guild goes on strike.)

I'm told that, after the AMPTP proposal/demands were made, the WGA negotiators went to caucus inside a hotel room. The WGA decided amongst themselves that what the AMPTP brought to the table today was a take-it-or-leave-it "ultimatum" and claimed the New Media terms were the same old/same old.

The bottom line in all of this from the beginning the producers and media companies saw this strike as a way to force a wholesale change in how the business is done. WHile the writers were making cutesy videos and theme strikes( strike with a star) The media bosses were trying to figure out who to use this to their advantage. They can afford the PR hit, kill contracts in a couple of weeks and start new.

#Update: Finke has posted the producers rejection of writer's proposals and it looks like the writers want defacto control of the business along with forced unionization of everyone who works in the field. If the AMPTP isn't lying, they were right to say screw this and walk away.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Oklahoma State Senators want to gut illegals law.

Immigration: They are both Republicans showing once again that the stupid party label goes across down all levels of this nation. This Shane Jett person takes the top prize of being the state idiot by wanting to introduce ID cards for illegals.

Oklahoma will lose good-paying jobs and face other economic hardships if the Legislature does not repeal portions of an anti-illegal immigration law, construction industry officials warned Thursday.

Employers joined Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, and Rep. Shane Jett, R-Seminole, at a news conference to call for legislation to ease unintended economic consequences of the law, which took effect Nov. 1.

'We will be in the worst depression this state has ever seen if this bill stays in effect,' said Jack Gray, head of Standard Roofing Co. of Oklahoma City.

Gray and other representatives of construction companies said they already are having trouble finding workers to complete projects on time because of the law.

'It's created a climate of fear,' said Bobby Stem, representing the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors.

Coates wants to repeal a provision that establishes criminal penalties under state law for harboring or transporting illegal immigrants.

He said his legislation will 'protect from prosecution employers who hire someone who may not be fully documented' if those employers pay at least double the minimum wage.

Jett is proposing a system whereby undocumented workers can get a state identification card and continue to work in the state if they are not breaking the law and are trying to gain citizenship.

He said his plan would protect an undocumented worker from being deported for a traffic violation.

Jett said state law needs to target lawbreakers and not hardworking families who have become part of the state's social fabric.

Coates said the law would lead to employers leaving the state so they could find workers.

What part of illegal do these two nitwits not understand? Even more outrageous is Coates goes after the author of the bill calling him racist. This is the sort of talk you hear from open border liberals who want to shut down any debate on the matter.

Coates predicted the law would have a devastating effect on agriculture. He said one watermelon farmer recently told him he would not have a crop next year because of the loss of workers.

He criticized the bill's author, Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, for proposing to deny prenatal benefits for women who are illegal immigrants. He said the proposal has racial overtones since most undocumented people in the state are Hispanics.

'I think the man has some racist ideas here,' Coates said. 'Withholding medical treatment for women and their children is simply immoral,' the senator said.

Terrill denied having any racist ideas and said the anti-illegal immigration law does not deal with anyone's race or nationality.

'I think the senator's comments are outrageous, insulting and they do a disservice to his cause,' Terrill said.

Philadelphia evicts boy scouts over gays and atheists.

Culture: Congrats to Philadelphia for kicking out the boy scouts, whats next? Booing Santa? Oh wait..

But over the years the fight between the city and the Scouts was about more than this grandiose structure in Center City.

Municipal officials said the clash stemmed from a duty to defend civil rights and an obligation to abide by a local law that bars taxpayer support for any group that discriminates. Boy Scout officials said it was about preserving their culture, protecting the right of private organizations to remain exclusive and defending traditions like requiring members to swear an oath of duty to God and prohibiting membership by anyone who is openly homosexual.

This week the Boy Scouts made their last stand and lost.

“At the end of the day, you can not be in a city-owned facility being subsidized by the taxpayers and not have language in your lease that talks about nondiscrimination,” said City Councilman Darrell L. Clarke, who represents the district where the building is located. “Negotiations are over.”

Mr. Clarke said talks ended this week when the deadline passed for the local chapter to change its policy; on June 1 the group will be evicted.

“Since we were founded, we believe that open homosexuality would be inconsistent with the values that we want to communicate with our leaders,” said Gregg Shields, national spokesman for the Boy Scouts. “A belief in God is also mentioned in the Scout oath. We believe that those values are important. Tradition is important. Our mission is to instill those values in scouts and help them make good choices over their lifetimes.”

In 2000, the Supreme Court decided a case — Boy Scouts of America v. Dale — involving an openly gay scout from New Jersey who was barred from serving as troop leader. The court ruled in a 5-to-4 decision that, as a private organization, the group had a First Amendment right to set its membership rules.

Speed Racer movie trailer out.

Entertainment: Hmm... It is interesting looking.

Boston firefighter gets stabbed for being white.

Crime: I guess East Boston is a no-go zone now.

Boston firefighter is mending from what could have been deadly stab wounds he suffered early yesterday morning when he was allegedly jumped in East Boston while off duty by a group of Hispanic males who told him they “don’t want any gringo here.”

Though police are not classifying the incident as racially fueled, the Boston Police Department’s Community Disorders Unit is investigating. The 32-year-old jake, whose name officials were not releasing, is white.

Ironically, the firefighter’s life was likely saved because he sought refuge from his alleged assailants at Engine 5 on Saratoga Street - the station house he’s assigned to.

....The firefighter summoned the help of fellow jakes by ringing the station doorbell and his alleged attackers fled. MacDonald said his injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.

“He’s more upset about the fact that he’s going to miss several shifts,” MacDonald said.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Woman gets beat up by nine middle school thugs.

Crime: I doubt it has to do with race but these nine punks need to be shown a harsh lesson.

According to a police report, one of the boys kept jumping in front of the woman, Sarah Kreager, 26, and claiming that the open seats on the bus were reserved.

When Kreager finally found a seat, the teens began throwing punches at her and her boyfriend, according the report. The beating continued, police said, even as the eastbound bus lurched to a stop and the driver radioed for help about 3 p.m.

At one point in the Tuesday afternoon attack, police said the teens punched and kicked Kreager, broke down the rear door of the bus and dragged her into the street. The report says she suffered two broken bones in her left eye socket, two deep cuts on the top of her head and other cuts on her neck and back. Her face was bruised and her left eye was swollen shut.

Kreager was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Her companion, Troy Ennis, also was beaten, police said, but did not require hospital treatment.

Another museum will show Mohammed artwork.

EU: Via the NIS.

THE HAGE, 07/12/07 - MuseumgoudA intends to show the controversial 'Mohammed pictures' by Iranian artist Sooreh Hera. The Gemeentemuseum in The Hague refused to display them.

The Gemeentemuseum, from 15 December, was to exhibit pictures of two gay men wearing masks of the Islamic prophet Mohammed and his son-in-law Ali. Initially, museum director Van Krimpen said he would "not be stopped by possible security risks" and found it "simply exceptional work". But he changed his mind over the weekend and banned the pictures "because certain sections of society found these offensive."

MuseumgoudA in Gouda now does want to show the pictures. Director Ranti Tjan could not name a date yet yesterday. "We will take our time to make solid agreements". Hera is pleased. The decision by the Gemeentemuseum was "censorship", in her view. "The only conclusion I can draw is that Allah is indeed very great in the Netherlands and that fear rules," she said earlier.

Americans criticize subprime plan from all sides

Bidness: This is a bullspit plan. Help those who got legit screwed by lenders due to fraud and lying to people who looked for a loan. Even I can get behind that plan. But this bailout is going to people who for the most part overborrowed and now want the government to use(eventually) taxpayer's money for their stupidity. Let the market shake everything out.

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Americans criticized a White House plan to help troubled homeowners as both too little and too much on Thursday, split over whether borrowers and lenders should be rescued in a bid to avert a U.S. recession.

"It's not the government's problem. People got into this with the help of the banks and they overbought, most likely, and now we're seeing the bailout," said Gene Kaberline, 57, a Republican who has just moved to Iowa from California.

But Democrat Sue Repplinger, 66, who worked years ago in the real estate industry but is now retired, said the plan unveiled by President George W. Bush came too late for many borrowers whose homes have already been foreclosed.

"Those who played by the rules who have already lost their homes, what about them?" asked Repplinger. "We need a broader package than this. This is affecting the entire economy."

.....University of Maryland School of Business analyst Peter Morici said the aid program only delays inevitable pain.

"Freezing adjustable mortgages at teaser rates will only push the problem to the next president," Morici said.

Supporters of the plan say that without help for troubled homeowners there will be a knock-on effect hitting every part of the economy, from consumer spending to job losses.

But others said the program goes too far, rewarding irresponsible borrowers and lenders who got greedy during the five-year housing boom that ended in 2005.

....Kansas mother of three Becca Dopheide, was also skeptical, saying some borrowers deserved the help but others did not.

"People go into loans with variable interest rates and balloons and all that stuff ... but they don't worry about it because they just want what they want," said Dopheide, 39.

"That bothers me that they're getting a bailout. It isn't going to help enough people and isn't going to help the right people."

Australia backs off big carbon emissions cuts.

Enviro: As I said before, this is all yap and no substance. You say you will sign it and all the enviro nutters cheer then when push comes to shove you back down because realistically this would be stupid.

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has distanced himself from the Australian delegation to the Bali climate change talks after it voiced support for big carbon emissions cuts.

The federal Opposition has warned of economic devastation if the delegation's backing of a 25-40 per cent cut in greenhouse gases by 2020 is realised.

A delegate told the UN conference yesterday Australia "fully supports" an August statement by developed nations which have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, recognising the need for such cuts.

Mr Rudd said today his Government did not agree with the target, which originated from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change earlier this year.

"(Nations) have ... indicated that they do not necessarily accept those targets, nor do they accept those targets as binding targets for themselves," said Mr Rudd, who will attend the climate talks in Bali early next week with a delegation of ministers.

"That is also the position of the Australian Government."

Labor does have a 2050 target of cutting greenhouse gas pollution by 60 per cent, but so far has not set shorter term goals.

When in doubt, set a long term goal that has no chance of being met, it makes you look good.

Iranian notes led to reversal on its nuke program.

Iran: A surprisingly good summary of events on why the NIE reversed itself from an earlier claim that Iran had a weapons program.

American intelligence agencies reversed their view about the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program after they obtained notes last summer from the deliberations of Iranian military officials involved in the weapons development program, senior intelligence and government officials said on Wednesday.

The notes included conversations and deliberations in which some of the military officials complained bitterly about what they termed a decision by their superiors in late 2003 to shut down a complex engineering effort to design nuclear weapons, including a warhead that could fit atop Iranian missiles.

The newly obtained notes contradicted public assertions by American intelligence officials that the nuclear weapons design effort was still active. But according to the intelligence and government officials, they give no hint of why Iran’s leadership decided to halt the covert effort.

Ultimately, the notes and deliberations were corroborated by other intelligence, the officials said, including intercepted conversations among Iranian officials, collected in recent months. It is not clear if those conversations involved the same officers and others whose deliberations were recounted in the notes, or if they included their superiors.

......In fact, some in the intelligence agencies appear to be not fully convinced that the notes of the deliberations indicated that all aspects of the weapons program had been shut down.

The crucial judgments released on Monday said that while “we judge with high confidence that the halt lasted at least several years,” it also included the warning that “intelligence gaps discussed elsewhere in this Estimate” led both the Department of Energy and the National Intelligence Council “to assess with only moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program.”

The account is the most detailed explanation provided by American officials about how they came to contradict an assertion, spelled out in a 2005 National Intelligence Estimate and repeated by Mr. Bush, that Iran had an active weapons program.

Well, we will see in the next two years which Iran will probably say it has a nuke.

NAACP chapter says sorry to Baltimore fire fighters.

Nation: Baltimore chapter president says sorry for calling the fire fighters racist after a noose was found in the locker room. They found out it was a hoax by a black firefighter who is now fired for unrelated reasons.

Japanese bloggers blog a lot.. a whole lot.

Internet: But are less self-promoting, nicer and quirky.

Compared to the English-speaking world, the Japanese have gone blog wild. They write Web logs at per capita rates that are off the global charts.

Although English speakers outnumber Japanese speakers by more than 5-1, slightly more blog postings are written in Japanese than in English, according to Technorati, the Internet search engine that monitors the blogosphere.

By some estimates, as much as 40 percent of Japanese blogging is done on mobile phones, often by commuters staring cross-eyed at tiny screens for hours as they ride the world's most extensive network of subways and commuter trains.

Blogging in Japan, though, is a far tamer beast than in the United States and the rest of the English-speaking world. Japan's conformist culture has embraced a technology that Americans often use for abrasive self-promotion and refashioned it as a soothingly nonconfrontational medium for getting along.

Bloggers here shy away from politics and barbed language. They rarely trumpet their expertise. While Americans blog to stand out, the Japanese do it to fit in, blogging about small stuff: cats and flowers, bicycles and breakfast, gadgets and TV stars. Compared with Americans, they write at less length, they write anonymously, and they write a whole lot more often.

Thankfully Wash Post didn't say 4chan was a blog.

Justice Dept. Numbers Show Prison Trends

Crime: 905,600 black people in all jail levels, thats the good news because the number has fallen from 2000.

An estimated 2.38 million people were incarcerated in state and federal facilities, an increase of 2.8 percent over 2005, while a record 5 million people were on parole or probation, an increase of 1.8 percent. Immigration detention facilities had the greatest growth rate last year. The number of people held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities grew 43 percent, to 14,482 from 10,104.

The data reflect deep racial disparities in the nation’s correctional institutions, with a record 905,600 African-American inmates in prisons and state and local jails. In several states, incarceration rates for blacks were more than 10 times the rate of whites. In Iowa, for example, blacks were imprisoned at 13.6 times the rate of whites, according to an analysis of the data by the Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy group.

But the report concludes that nationally the percentage of black men sentenced to state and federal prisons in 2006 fell to 38 percent, from 43 percent in 2000. Incarceration rates also declined for black women, while rates for white women increased.

Over all, the number of women in state and federal prisons, 112,498, was at a record high. The female jail and prison population has grown at double the rate for men since 1980; in 2006 it increased 4.5 percent, its fastest clip in five years.

The report suggests that state prison capacity has expanded at roughly the same rate as the prison population, with prisons operating at 98 percent to 114 percent of capacity, a slight improvement over 2005.

Limits Proposed on CIA Interrogators

Terrorism: Maybe a good reason why you shouldn't hamstring the CIA with military rules is because they are not the military? Just a wild stab at logic.

House and Senate negotiators working on an intelligence bill have agreed to limit CIA interrogators to techniques approved by the military, which would effectively bar them from using such harsh methods as waterboarding, congressional aides said Wednesday.

Members of the House and Senate intelligence committees decided to include the ban while working out differences in their respective bills authorizing 2008 spending for intelligence programs, according to the aides, who spoke anonymously because the negotiations were private. Details of the bill are to be made public Thursday.

That will set the stage for another veto fight with President Bush, who last summer issued an executive ordered allowing the CIA to use "enhanced interrogation techniques" that go beyond what's allowed in the 2006 Army Field Manual.

The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 prohibited cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment for all detainees in U.S. custody, including CIA prisoners. CIA Director Michael Hayden last year prohibited the use of waterboarding, which simulates drowning, but has been publicly silent on other interrogation techniques.

In a speech in September to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Hayden said he does not believe the CIA should be constrained by military interrogation rules. "It's clear that what it is we do as agency is different from what is contained in the Army Field Manual," he said. "The CIA handles a very small number of senior al-Qaida leaders."

Hayden contended that CIA interrogators are older and as a rule better trained than military interrogators. "We weren't consulted about the Army Field Manual, and no one ever claimed that the Army Field Manual exhausted all the lawful tools that America could have to protect itself," he said.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mark Steyn; subject of human rights complaint.

Canada: This is the new tack of going after people certain interest groups do not like in Canada which is file a human rights complaint. This is a followup to the first report that came out about the Islamic Congress going after Mark Steyn.

Four students at Toronto's Osgoode Hall Law School are accusing Maclean's magazine of violating their human rights over an article titled The Future Belongs to Islam.

They've filed complaints with the federal, Ontario and British Columbia human rights commissions over the October 2006 article.

The article discusses the high birth rate among Muslims and speculates that Islamic people could become the majority population in Europe. It also says some Muslims are violent radicals.

Naseem Mithoowani, one of the Osgoode Hall law students bringing forward the complaint, said the article was one of a series of articles offensive to Muslims.

"This isn't just one article in a context of fair and balanced media. This really was the straw that broke the camel's back because it's one in a string of articles that are anti-Islam and anti-Muslim," she told CBC News.

Khurrum Awan, another of the students, said the group will argue before the commissions that such articles tend to subject Muslims to hatred or contempt.

"To say that we share the same basic goals as terrorists … if you look at the theme of the article in the context, it is putting that label on all of us and I felt personally victimized," he said.

Maclean's said it stands behind the writer of the article, Mark Steyn, and it is confident the human rights commissions will find no merit in the complaint.

Faisal Joseph, a lawyer from the Canadian Islamic Congress who is representing the four students, argued that journalists can't write just anything.

"You have to be responsible. There are limits on freedom of expression, people seem to forget that," he said.

But Sohail Raza, a representative of the Muslim Canadian Congress, said Maclean's had the right to publish the article.

"This is Canada, not Sudan, Egypt or Pakistan, where the press is stifled," he said. "There is absolute freedom of expression and people have an opportunity to voice their opinion."

Jeremy Clarkson encounter with hoodies.

UK: Same problem here with punk kids though over here they would be more likely to have guns and shoot for kicks. But he does slam the useless parenting skills and hug a hoodie politicians.

The Daily Mail summary here.

Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson was quizzed by police after he tackled a gang of unruly youths at his daughter's birthday party.

Mr Clarkson was visiting the indoor ski slope in Milton Keynes, Bucks, when he was harassed by the gang of 'hoodies'.

He took his youngest daughter to the Xscape building to celebrate her birthday at Snozone, last week.

But when he went outside for a cigarette, the TV presenter attracted the attention of the youths who recognised his face from television.

Mistakenly thinking they were fans of his motoring show, he was surprised when they asked him if he had any 'security'.

When he asked them to leave him alone and walked away, the group continued to pester him.

He grabbed the ringleader by his hoodie, lifting him off the ground and shouting at him to go away.

London Times article.

"....So, weirdly, I was standing there holding this boy by the scruff of his neck, and instead of worrying about being stabbed I was actually thinking: “Jesus, I’m going to get done for assault if I’m not careful.”

I therefore put him down, and in a flurry of swearing and hand gestures involving various fingers he was gone. Leaving the entire nation with a very serious problem.

It’s this. Plainly this boy’s parents are useless, allowing him to be out and about on the streets, harassing passers-by at will. Think about it. Every single time one of these children is found stabbed or shot, his mum and stepdad always tell the papers he was a “good lad”. And that he “didn’t deserve to die”.

And nobody ever says: “Well, if he was such a frigging angel, what was he doing on a derelict building site at four in the morning, you halfwits?” He didn’t deserve to die, for sure, but you do, for having the parenting skills of a Welsh dresser.

There’s an equally big problem at school. Children, as far as I can see, are at liberty to do just about anything to one another at school because there is absolutely nothing the teacher can do. Not without being hauled out of the classroom by some frizzy-haired human rights lawyer, sacked and sent to prison.

The police? Oh come on. They are far too busy filling in health and safety forms and processing speeding tickets to be bothered with every single gang of teenage ruffians. Which means that every single gang of teenage ruffians is completely free to go out and do whatever it pleases.

And we – the normal people who see town centres as somewhere to go to buy takeaway food or organise a loan for a new house – can’t do anything either because a) the politicians keep telling us all these kids are tooled up like special forces hitmen, and b) if we stand up for ourselves we will spend the next 40 years in the Scrubs fighting off the unwelcome advances of Pinkski, the Albanian nonce.

Dutch Minister pleased with anti-Wilders campaign.

EU: What the hell is going on over there where a government official is please with hate talk against another minister because he doesn't share her Multicultural views? This is the sort of environment that got Pim Fortuyn and Van Gogh killed.

Integration Minister Ella Vogelaar is "pleased" about the anti-Wilders campaign started by Doekle Terpstra. "I appreciate the initiative very much," she said yesterday.

Vogelaar supports the "initiative to set up a counter-movement against polarisation and for mutual respect." The Labour (PvdA) minister did say that she is not in a position to join the movement. She also said the action should not be directed against Wilders the person. "But binding society together, there I can find myself very much," she said, adding that she regards Terpstra's action as a "citizen initiative, which is wonderful".

Doekle Terpstra, in militant terms, called last weekend for a "movement outside parliament" against Wilders, the Party for Freedom (PVV) leader. "Wilders is evil and the evil must be stopped," he told newspaper Trouw. Following substantial criticism, he has meanwhile said that "it is not a movement against Wilders but a pro-movement to show that good things happen in society".

....Terpstra (CDA) is chairman of HBO Council, the umbrella body for colleges (HBOs), and former chairman of union federation CNV. He considers Wilders is "polarising" with his negative statements about Islam and the Koran. Wilders said yesterday Terpstra talks "like an Ayatollah" and is insulting PVV voters.

In the Lower House, the governing parties did not wish to react. But the Socialist Party (SP), leftwing Greens (GroenLinks) and centre-left D66 opposition parties consider it unwise for Terpstra to attack Wilders personally by calling him evil and urging for him to be stopped. SP MP Harry van Bommel added that "people in problem neighbourhoods are not helped by pointing out to them what is going well in the Netherlands."

Independent MP Rita Verdonk, an electoral competitor of Wilders with her new party Proud of the Netherlands (TON), considers the anti-Wilders campaign "a ridiculous idea." Verdonk pointed out that Wilders has the support of 600,000 voters and that he has the right to put forward his ideas. She considers it "cannot be allowed" for the chairman of a supposedly neutral organisation, HBO Council, to come up with such an initiative.

Dems blame America first for NPR debate question.

Politics: You know which one. "Why do Muslims hate us?" You got the same groveling responses you would expect from the Democrats. It is the typical we were asking for it that appeals to liberals who want world adulation all the time. Audio clip at the link.

“Because we are trusted so little” - Joe Biden

Because of “the bullying, selfish, abusive behavior” of President Bush and his administration. - John Edwards

“John’s point is right, but I want to broaden it a little. If you were a Muslim overseas listening to Rudy Giuliani saying they want to come over here and kill you, you would get the impression that we don’t want to talk.” - Barack Obama

“This has been a vacuum for a long time. We don’t know their culture.” - Chris Dodd

Surprisingly I would give Biden and Dodd marks for smart answers that make up a small part of the equation on why Islamic terrorists want to kill us and others in the West. Edwards is being his short-sighted snarky self and Obama once again grovels with the best of them. The question that should have been asked after this one is why is it America has to bend over backwards to appease certain Muslim governments who help whip up anti-American and/or West hatred?

Networks to "repurpose" cable shows.

Entertainment: I actually think Dexter would not be that big of a problem as the violence and blood is most of the times less than you would see on a typical CSI episode. Language wise is also not that hard except for Deb's part where you would have to redub a ton of her lines.

In addition to "Dexter," CBS also is considering Showtime's racy period drama "The Tudors," which originally was developed for CBS, and the critically praised dark comedy "Weeds," about a marijuana-peddling soccer mom. However, both would need heavy editing to make it to broadcast primetime.

CBS chief research officer David Poltrack said after Moonves' presentation at the conference that it was hard to forecast how well Showtime's programming would do on the broadcast network, particularly because of what would have to be edited. He noted that Showtime's programming of "Dexter" and "Weeds" generally rated high or higher than broadcast fare in CBS Corp.'s testing of viewer satisfaction.

"There's no reason why that wouldn't translate" from pay cable to broadcast, Poltrack said.

Showtime toppers on Tuesday said CBS had been looking at the cable network's entire slate. They welcomed the idea of their shows getting a second run on the sister broadcast net but stressed that no deals are done.

"We may be going to The Show," said Showtime entertainment president Robert Greenblatt, using the sports terminology for minor league baseball players moving to the majors.

Showtime's chairman and CEO Matthew Blank also supported the prospect for a Showtime show like "Dexter," now available in 15 million homes, to be exposed to every U.S. household.

"It will be great for 'Dexter,' it will be great for Showtime, it will be great for CBS," he said.

With their scripted series running out of original epi?sodes, the broadcast networks have been exploring the idea of repurposing series from their sister cable networks as a strike contingency.

NBC has been rumored to be looking at a potential second window on the network for such NBC Uni cable series as USA's "Monk" and "Psych" and Sci Fi's "Battlestar Galactica," all produced by Universal. This week, NBC exercised its option to repurpose the Uni-produced "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," which moved from the broadcast network to USA in the fall (HR 12/4). A potential "Burn Notice" acquisition is going to be trickier as the show hails from Fox TV Studios, which is co-owned by News Corp.

Sources said Fox and ABC, which are considered the least vulnerable in case of a long strike because of their strong reality slates led by their respective blockbuster hits "American Idol" and "Dancing With the Stars," have not yet seriously considered borrowing fare from such corporate siblings as FX, ABC Family and Lifetime.

Burn Notice is another great show. I think CBS can pull it off but NBC is a train wreck and as pointed out in this Medialife column it will get worse come spring.

Boston Globe reporters stalk illegal lawn cutters.

Media: I can see why the Globe has lost money over the last couple of years if they are paying people to hang out by Romney's lawn to catch illegal workers. Malkin points out the hypocrisy.

Will the Globe reporters be accused of, ahem, “stalking” the poor illegals and invading privacy? Note that they didn’t just drive by the house once. They hung out on the lawn over the last two months.

And when is it permissible to ask an illegal alien his citizenship status?
Now, the answers are loud and clear:

It isn’t “harassment” when liberal MSM journalists spy on illegal aliens…if it will embarrass a Republican presidential candidate.

It isn’t “stalking” when liberal MSM journalists snap photos of your lawn and conduct two-month-long recoinnasance missions…if it will embarrass a Republican presidential candidate.

And while it’s bad for police to ask suspected criminal aliens their citizenship status, it’s fine and dandy for journalists to ask lawn workers whether they’re here illegally…if it will embarrass a Republican presidential candidate.

So if Minutemen members hung out at a spot where day laborers and did the exact same steps I doubt the Globe would miss the chance to call them nativists, racists and know-nothings who are harassing people who just want to work and earn a living for their family.

Wis. teacher arrested for blog comment

Nation: Mocking sarcasm sometimes doesn't translate well in the comment section especially if you praise the Columbine shooters. But the police reaction does seem over the top if it became clear that he was just trolling for reaction.

Bloggers and free speech advocates are calling on prosecutors not to file charges against a teacher arrested for allegedly posting an anonymous comment online praising the Columbine shooters.

Some were disturbed by the post police say James Buss left on a conservative blog, but other observers said it was a sarcastic attempt to discredit critics of education spending.

The suburban Milwaukee high school chemistry teacher was arrested last week for the Nov. 16 comment left on, a blog on Wisconsin politics. The comment, left under the name "Observer," came during a discussion over teacher salaries after some commenters complained teachers were underworked and overpaid.

Buss, a former president of the teacher's union, allegedly wrote that teacher salaries made him sick because they are lazy and work only five hours a day. He praised the teen gunmen who killed 12 students and a teacher before committing suicide in the April 1999 attack at Columbine High School.

"They knew how to deal with the overpaid teacher union thugs. One shot at a time!" he wrote, adding they should be remembered as heroes.

The comment disturbed at least one teacher, who called police in West Bend, 40 miles north of Milwaukee and home of the blog's administrator. Police traveled to arrest Buss at his home in Cudahy, south of Milwaukee, last week after the blogger gave them the anonymous poster's IP address.

BootsandSabers owners explains the whole story leading up to the arrest.

What do I think?

At first blush, I think it’s a gross overreaction for a comment left on a blog. Yes, the comment was idiotic and over the top, but it hardly constitutes a direct threat to anyone. It was explained to me that it was not believed that the commenter had any intent to harm anyone, but that the mere presence of a comment appearing to condone such violence had to be punished because it might encourage someone else to engage in violence against schools. I don’t buy that argument. In fact, let’s put it in context with the commenter’s next comment on that thread.

I am NOT advcting shootng teachrs. I agree with Mark belling when he said that theese kids were pushed into doing this by the stupid union teachrs at Colmbine. belling said that to bad only one teachr got it and lots of kids. shuld have been the other way. belling hates teachrs I like belling

It appears to me that the commenter is attempting to do one of two things. Option 1: the commenter is a right wing whack job that isn’t violent, but likes to engage in outlandish rhetoric. Option 2: the commenter is a liberal who is trying to discredit conservatives by acting like option 1.

As you can see from the story, the commenter is actually a union teacher from Oak Creek, but it gets more interesting than that. The commenter was also once the president of his local teachers’ union. This leads me to believe that Option 2 is the truth. This commenter is just a liberal union teacher who was trying to make conservatives look bad by pretending to be one and acting like an imbecile.

That being said, I still believe that the arrest was unwarranted. I realize that in a post-Columbine world that everyone is hypersensitive about any mention of Columbine or school shootings. But this comment was clearly just talk. When I gave the detective the IP address, I assumed that they would find him, chew him out a bit for being an idiot, and leave it alone. The fact that the West Bend Police decided to actually arrest him in the absence of any additional evidence of this guy being a threat is out of line.

'Jena Six' Teenager Pleads Guilty

Crime: This is a surprise given all the barking people like Rev.Al and Rev.Jackson was doing about getting Bell a pardon and getting the Justice Department involved.

JENA, La., Dec. 3 -- A black teenager whose prosecution in the beating of a white classmate led to one of the largest civil rights protests in years pleaded guilty Monday to a battery charge.

Mychal Bell, 17, was charged as an adult with attempted murder in the beating of Justin Barker in December 2006. That charge was reduced before a jury convicted him in June of aggravated second-degree battery. An appeals court threw the verdict out in September and ordered Bell retried as a juvenile.

Under his deal, Bell pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge of second-degree battery in return for an 18-month sentence, with credit for 10 months already served. Bell had faced being placed in a juvenile facility until his 21st birthday.

Bell also must pay court costs plus $935 to Barker's family, testify should his co-defendants in the attack stand trial, undergo counseling and be reintegrated into the school system, his lawyers said.

"We were prepared to go forward with the trial, but you have to do what's best for the client," said Carol Powell Lexing, one of Bell's attorneys. A trial in juvenile court was to begin later this week.

The charges against Bell and five other black students, who became known as the "Jena Six," led to a civil rights demonstration in Jena in September. Felony charges against the other students are pending.

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters said he is pleased with the deal "because Mr. Barker is beginning to get the restitution and compensation he's due."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Blogging light due to AT&T DSL outage.

Internet: If anyone is now getting on their service wondering what happened.

AT&T Inc. customers in the Southeast United States were unable to connect to the Internet through their DSL service for several hours Monday night because of an equipment problem, a company spokesman said.

Michael Coe, a spokesman for the San Antonio-based telecommunications company, said the digital subscriber line service was restored about 10 p.m. CST. He said the outage affected customers in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee.

"The root cause of the disruption is still being investigated but appears to be an equipment impairment," Coe said in a statement.

Dave Burstein, editor of the industry newsletter DSL Prime, said broadband outages are not unusual.

"Broadband goes down much more often than telephone lines because they didn't build the system for the same level of reliability," Burstein said. "We do not know how often it happens, however, because they're not obligated to report it."

Pathetic India to scared to defend Taslima Nasreen.

India: What an absolute disgrace the attitude and cowardly actions of the Indian government to stand up for her writing and telling the fundies to cut the nonsense.

An exiled Bangladeshi woman writer threatened by radical Islamists has become a victim of political ping-pong in India, bundled from one city to another in a controversy critics say has shamed the secular state.

Authorities rushed award-winning Taslima Nasreen, a Muslim who criticizes the use of religion as an oppressive force, from Calcutta, her home in exile, last week after Islamist protests led to riots, forcing authorities to call in the army.

The riots came after years of simmering anger directed at Nasreen. Some radical Muslims hate her for saying Islam and other religions oppress women.

A group of religious leaders issued a "death warrant" against her in August.

After quelling the riots, police moved her to a hotel in the western state of Rajasthan, then quickly sent her to Delhi at the weekend under police protection.

No one seemed to want her.

"Democratic we may be, but liberal we most certainly are not," wrote Karan Thapar in the Hindustan Times, criticizing India for failing to defend freedom of expression enough.

On Friday, Nasreen promised to remove passages from her autobiography that some Muslims found offensive in the hope that would enable her to live peacefully in India.

The controversy highlights the delicate social fault-lines of modern India, a nation born out of secular ideals 60 years ago where communal politics still play a huge role.

Each move led to criticism that politicians were pandering to Muslim voters and were unwilling to take heat for defending her.

In an editorial last month, the Economic Times accused the government of being "afraid of offending the Islamist street."

Critics railed at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for being silent, as women's groups called on the government to grant citizenship to Nasreen, whose visa expires in February.

Museum Denies Self-Censoring due to Muslims.

EU: Why is it that the western values of free expression and speech seem to be defended only when the complainer realizes there isn't an actual chance he/she may be in real danger?

The Gemeentemuseum (Municipal Museum) in The Hague denies that it has allowed itself to be influenced by threats from Muslims. It was a voluntary choice to drop a work of art concerning the prophet Mohammed, a spokesman claims.

The museum decided last weekend to withdraw a number of items by the Iranian artist Sooreh Hera from an exhibition, because "certain sections of society found these offensive." A spokesman explained that museums have the freedom to choose for themselves what they display.

The Gemeentemuseum was to exhibit pictures of two gay men wearing masks of the Islamic prophet Mohammed and his son-in-law Ali. "As museum director, I do not maintain any political criteria. I am not stopped by possible security risks. I simply found it exceptional work," director Van Krimpen said last Friday. But he changed his mind over the weekend and banned the pictures.

"Muslims have threatened the museum," Hera claimed. "But the museum is not willing to admit that this is the reason why they do not wish to exhibit the works." The Iranian artist is convinced that fear is behind the rejection.

Lesbians' sperm donor must pay child support

UK: What is the lesson to be learned here by men everywhere? No matter what the couple or person tells you, the law tells you or what you think is fair. Never ever donate your sperm.

When a lesbian couple asked Andy Bathie for a sperm donation, they assured him that would be the end of his parental duties.

But the women have since separated - and he is being ordered to pay for their children's upbringing.

More than £5,000 a year is now being docked from the 37-year-old fireman's salary by the Child Support Agency to support Sharon and Terri Arnold's two young children.

Mr Bathie has met the four-year-old girl and two-year-old boy just a handful of times.

The financial strain means he and his wife cannot afford to start a family of their own.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Brad Pitt irritates me even when trying to do good.

Nation: Brad Pitt commissions house designs for lower ninth ward in New Orleans and this morning Ann Curry on the Today show will paw at him like a excitable puppy. But this last part is just self-righteous stupidity.

Mr. Pitt is asking foundations, corporations and individuals to contribute to the project by adopting one house, several houses or a portion of a house through the project Web site, “You can adopt a tankless water heater or a solar panel or a tree or a low-flush toilet,” Mr. Pitt said. “You can give it to someone for Christmas,” he said — instead of another sweater.

Responding to critics who question the wisdom of rebuilding at all in an area likely to get hit again, Mr. Pitt said: “My first answer to that is, talk to the people who’ve lived there and have raised their kids there. People are needing to get back in their homes.”

Fine, but the question remain why build in that area that will most likely get hit again considering it will be always in the most danger. The question would pop up if it was an earthquake or fires or place where floods hit all the time. It is a valid question and Pitt is content giving a prick answer.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

NBC to outsource its programming?

Entertainment: Money must be tight to go this route. It also plays into the WGA strike where people have said the entire system needs a revamp.

NBC has made an ambitious deal, apparently the first of its kind, to buy a two-hour — or perhaps even three-hour — block of prime-time programming from outside producers, including Thom Beers, the creator of adventure documentary series like “Deadliest Catch” and “Ice Road Truckers.”

Under the plan, NBC has agreed to broadcast at least two new hours produced by Mr. Beers back to back on a single night, with many more hours possible. The terms guarantee Mr. Beers and his partners 30 hours of programs on NBC — three separate 10-episode series.

These 30 hours would come at a fraction of the cost of standard network scripted or reality programming, a factor that made the deal attractive to NBC.

The project is not related to the current strike by Hollywood writers but the background forces are somewhat similar as networks struggle to revise their financial formulas to face a future of diminishing ratings and growing uncertainties about how the Internet will figure in viewers’ choices. The programs, which are all documentary in style, would not have staff writers.

Speaking of the WGA strike, going by the tone on Nikki Finke's comment sections the writers are getting more obnoxious and full of themselves which is not good given the fact the other side doesn't seem to be in a rush to deal with them.

MCB ends Holocaust memorial day boycott

UK: A slick move as the Muslim Council of Britain ends its stupid ban of attending Holocaust memorial day because it wasn't "inclusive" The real reason was it was a bit too Jewish for their members and taste. But since being kicked to the curb and getting slammed by everyone over the last couple of years. This is a move to get some good pub.

Britain's largest Muslim body has voted to end its boycott of Holocaust memorial day, the Guardian has learned.
The Muslim Council of Britain voted this weekend to end its six-year protest, which had angered the government and Jewish groups.

The decision may lead to some groups leaving the MCB, an umbrella organisation with over 500 members. Its working committee voted 18 to 8 to end the boycott, which began in 2001. Those who voted to attend said the stance had allowed the MCB to be accused of antisemitism and seeming to disrespect the suffering of Jews.

...In a statement the MCB assistant general secretary, Inayat Bunglawala, said: "We have always sought a more inclusive title such as Genocide Memorial Day so that it would also give recognition to more recent massacres such as in Rwanda and that of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica. We wanted to uphold the principle of the equality of all human beings.

"However, there was a growing recognition among our affiliates that non-attendance of HMD was inadvertently causing hurt to some in the Jewish community. The MCB has always placed a lot of emphasis on inter-faith work and building ties ... so this was becoming a problem."

Please.... They knew this from the beginning and didn't care because before everyone was still kissing their behind. Now on their backfoot they need to do this or be kept to the margins.

Update# On cue here is Bunglawala trying to gin up praise for MCB stopping the boycott with a moral equal exercise of the Iraq War and the Holocaust being the same. They just do not get it and this half assed move is not going to them a bit of good.

Sci Fi's Tin Man: Good concept, bad execution.

Entertainment: Just watching the first hour, I like how they turned roles and settings on their head but it is getting killed by whoever this actress playing GG. She has shown all the emotion and skill of a rock saying her lines in the most monotone voice ever.

UK: 12 year old girls getting morning after pill.

UK: Shocking that teens and younger now think it is okay to randomly have sex because the pill will cure all.

Girls as young as 12 are being given the morning-after pill without their parents' knowledge at chemist shops.

A report shows the powerful contraceptive is available to young girls at High Street pharmacies in almost every area.

It reveals the growing ease with which they can get hold of a pill that has barely been tested on girls under 15 and was previously available only on prescription.

Under a controversial Government scheme to cut teenage pregnancies, youngsters are asked only basic questions in a brief consultation with a pharmacist.

...Disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that 84 per cent of England's 152 NHS trusts allow pharmacies like Boots to hand out the morning-after pill to girls under 16.

Some set lower age limits of 12, 13, 14 or 15, but more than half do not.

Astonishingly, 59 per cent of trusts would consider refusing to licence a new pharmacy unless it promised to provide the pill to children.

Family planning clinics issue more than 20,000 morning-after prescriptions to under-16s every year. But thousands more girls are thought to be getting them without prescription from chemists.

...England and Wales has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Europe. The biggest recent increase has been among under 16s, with 7,917 such pregnancies in 2005

Among under-18s there were 39,683, up from 39,593 in 2004 and higher than the 35,400 recorded a decade ago in 1995.

UK Indian women aborting female babies.

Culture: You can take the person out the culture but not the culture out the person especially I suspect because you don't want to appear racist.

Cultural pressure to give birth to sons is causing some pregnant Indian-born women living in Britain to return to India to abort their unwanted daughters, an investigation has found.

It reveals how “selective sex abortion”, a practice outlawed in India in the 1980s, is still widespread and being used by some women living in England and Wales.

Between 1990 and 2005 almost 1,500 fewer girls were born to Indian mothers in England and Wales than would have been expected for that group, researchers say. This represents one in ten girls “missing” from the birth statistics for Indian-born women having their third or fourth child. The findings will be revealed in a special radio programme to be broadcast on the BBC’s Asian Network digital radio station this evening.

One British-born mother, who has three daughters, tells the programme that she terminated a pregnancy intentionally last year. “Meena”, an office worker in her 30s, said that she had no difficulty in finding a gynaecologist in Delhi willing to do a scan to determine the sex of the baby, and then to perform the abortion.

“Me and my husband decided to go to India and try and find out what we were having and unfortunately it was another girl,” she said. “My husband and I thought the burden would probably be too much. So we decided to terminate.”

EU harasses the handicapped over scooters.

EU: I would call it a lot of things, but a leisure vehicle just so you can put a tax on it is just wrong.

People who rely on motorised scooters to help to cope with disabilities are to be hit with a £300 tax, after an EU ruling that they should be categorised along with “leisure vehicles”.

The electric power-driven wheelchairs with flexible handlebars are used by people with severe mobility difficulties, such as disabled ex-servicemen. They are now taxed in the same class as snowmobiles, jet skis and racing cars.

A personal appeal has been made to Gordon Brown to intervene, but there has been no response from Downing Street, according to Jim Dooley, who runs the Mobility Bureau that provides motorised wheelchairs and scooters for hundreds of Service veterans.

Under the EU ruling the scooters are now subject to a £300 import tax on top of their £2,000 cost. The decision by the EU was made in 2001 but it was not properly implemented by Revenue & Customs until this year, after a complaint from Belgium that the required 10 per cent import tax was not being enforced by Britain.

Ghana Reflects Progress in Africa

Africa: Amazing what happens when people say enough and start taking the reins themselves.

Fifty years after Ghana became the first African country to gain independence, Africa's economies are expanding by 5.4 percent a year - compared to a world average of 4.2 percent - and are projected to hit almost 7 percent next year. Investments are up. Banking firm Merrill Lynch & Co. concluded that Africa now offers investors as much potential as Russia.

These signs of economic hope come as the world is increasingly aware of its broader stake in Africa. Rich countries fear any disruption in the flow of resources out of Africa, which now rivals the Middle East in the quantity of oil it sends to the United States. Terrorism has revealed the danger of failed states, and hundreds of thousands of African immigrants flee to America, Europe and the Middle East every year.

The picture across the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa is still very much a patchwork. But a yearlong exploration by The Associated Press shows that progress - while fragile - is finding a foothold, in spheres ranging from democracy to education. Perhaps most strikingly, after few results from five decades of advice and $568 billion in aid, today's developments in business, education, government and other areas are being led by Africans themselves.

There is a new sense among many Africans that it is up to them to rethink their continent and challenge the West to do the same. The change shows up all over - in newspaper editorials, in a regional partnership for African leadership, in the revamping of the African Union, in a newly aggressive stance for fairer terms in agricultural trade, and in the confidence of entrepreneurs like Asmah.

"The change of thinking has been coming from Africa," says economist George Ayittey, a Ghanaian teaching at American University in Washington, D.C. "Civil society in Africa is becoming more and more empowered and emboldened, and they are driving the agenda."

Moral Equivalence comes to Sudan teddy fiasco.

Culture: Powerline blog points out a mild case in the on faith section of the Washington Post, but it is child's play to the resident extremist apologist at the leftist Toronto Star's Haroon Siddiqui. You have to read the whole thing to get it but it ends this way.

Given all this, we need to be less smug in judging other peoples.

NYTIMES comes out in defense of Huckabee

Politics: Yeah I will pass on him. If the NYTIMES likes a "conservative" that is a huge warning.

But the record offers a more complex and nuanced picture. While taxes did rise in the 10 years that Mr. Huckabee was governor, the portrayal of him as a wild-eyed spendthrift is hardly apt. For the most part, Mr. Huckabee’s tax initiatives had wide bipartisan support, with the small number of Republicans in the overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature voting for the tax increases and many maintaining that the state was better for them.

In addition, when Mr. Huckabee left office last January, he had turned a $200 million budget shortfall into an $844 million surplus. Still, as the attacks on his fiscal policies have stepped up, the Huckabee campaign has also cited examples of some 90 taxes that went down under his tenure.

But over all, on balance, tax increases outweighed the tax cuts by some $500 million, and many of the cuts that Mr. Huckabee heralds owe little to his efforts.

“He got bipartisan support on all the tax increases,” said State Senator Kim Hendren, a veteran Republican and member of the legislative budget committee. “Huckabee didn’t say ‘I just want to raise taxes to start programs.’ He has a liberal heart for young people, for the disabled and for improving Arkansas’ lot in education, and he is pretty good at working across party lines.”

... In general, Mr. Huckabee supported tax increases when he had a defined goal in mind, whether it was schools, roads or parks.

“He tended to raise taxes for specific government programs,” said Jay Barth, an associate political science professor at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. “He does believe in a robust government as an active force in the lives of its citizens, especially in helping the little guy.”

Robust government = tax your ass. No thanks.

More from the Arkansas Leader.

The 94 tax cuts that he said he fathered are similarly misleading. The vast majority of those were the usual exemptions and modifications of various taxes and fees that the legislature enacts every time it meets. They were not a part of Huckabee’s program with a few exceptions. Rather, Democratic legislators sponsored them, usually at the behest of whatever special interest benefited, and Huckabee signed them when they hit his desk. If you did a similar summary of Clinton’s years he could claim probably well over 100 tax cuts. Every Arkansas governor since World War II could claim dozens each

Muilticultural Writer renames Mohammed the Mole

Culture: The first victim of the teddy bear fallout is a mole.

A BRITISH children's author who called one of his characters Mohammed the Mole to promote multiculturalism has renamed him Morgan so as not to offend Muslims.

Kes Gray said the case of British teacher Gillian Gibbons, who has been jailed in Sudan for allowing her class of primary school children to name a teddy bear Mohammed, had prompted him to postpone a reprint of his book, Who's Poorly Too, and change the name.

“I had no idea at all of the sensitivities of the name Mohammed until seeing this case in Sudan,” Gray told The Sunday Times.

“As soon as I saw the news I thought, 'Oh gosh, I've got a mole called Mohammed - this is not good'.”

Gray's book, which has sold 40,000 copies in Britain and overseas, also featured the characters Dipak Dalmatian and Pedro Penguin in an effort to be “inclusive”.

Black firefighter behind noose hoax in Baltimore.

Crime: When you have the amount of noose reports over the last couple of months, some are bound to hoaxes meant to be a distraction.

A firefighter who reported finding a knotted rope and a threatening note with a drawing of a noose in an East Baltimore station house last month had placed the items there himself, city officials said yesterday.

The man was suspended last week for performance-related issues and will likely face additional punishment, fire officials said. Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for the Police Department and for Mayor Sheila Dixon, said the man admitted to the hoax and will not face criminal charges.

Officials identified the firefighter who they say acknowledged writing the note as Donald Maynard, a firefighter-paramedic apprentice who is black. Maynard could not be reached for comment.

The rope incident sparked outrage two weeks ago and prompted a federal investigation into possible civil rights violations. It was the latest in a series of incidents that have cast the Fire Department in a poor light over the past year, including the death of a recruit in a training exercise and accusations of racism.

The news of the hoax came a day after a report released by the city's inspector general found that the top performers on two recent Fire Department promotions exams likely cheated amid lapses in testing security.

A black firefighters group had called accusations of cheating racially motivated after union officials questioned the test scores. But the investigation found that five African-American firefighters had studied by using a 2001 exam, which is against test protocol.

On Nov. 21, a handwritten note and a rope were discovered about 1:30 a.m. by two Fire Department employees - one black and one white. It read, "We cant [sic] hang the cheaters but we can hang the failures. NO EMT-I, NO JOB." A small stick figure with a noose and the word "Stop" were drawn below the message.

The note appeared to refer to the cheating investigation and a push by top fire officials to compel emergency medical technicians to become certified as paramedics. Maynard was among those whose jobs were at risk.

He needs to be fired.