Saturday, March 1, 2008

Jamaica explores legalizing marijuana

World: As everyone does a double take saying it wasn't legal already? If anyone who has used Miami and Fort Lauderdale international airport terminals thought it was security heavy before just you wait. Sniffer dog applications are going to skyrocket.

Jamaica is considering the legalization of marijuana, a drug revered by members of the island's large Rastafarian population who say smoking it is part of their religion.

A seven-member government commission has been researching possible changes to the Caribbean nation's anti-drug laws, which some police complain are clogging courts and jails with marijuana-related cases, a government official said Friday.

"We have discussed it, and we are preparing a report to present to the prime minister," said Deputy Prime Minister Kenneth Baugh.

In 2003, a government commission recommended legalizing marijuana in small amounts for personal use. But lawmakers never acted, saying legalization might entail loss of their country's U.S. anti-drug certification. Countries that lose it face economic sanctions.

A U.S. State Department report Friday said that Jamaica is the largest producer of marijuana in the Caribbean and a major hub for drugs bound for the United States.

Boeing cries about losing to Airbus over Air Force Deal.

Nation: Air Force people said the better plane won and if one of the selling points that Boeing tried was American company and Made in America in trying to sell a plane that did not meet the Air Force standards they deserve to lose the bid.

Boeing's loss of a $40bn contract to build a new in-flight refuelling aircraft for the US military has drawn angry protests in Congress. Lawmakers from Washington state and Kansas, which have big Boeing plants, voiced "outrage" that it had gone to a consortium including Europe's Airbus. The planes will be assembled in Alabama but constructed largely in Europe. Boeing has said it is awaiting an explanation from the military before deciding whether or not to appeal.

The new aircraft, named the KC-45A by the US Air Force, is based on the Airbus A330 and will be manufactured in partnership with US defence firm Northrop Grumman. Its job will be to refuel the vast array of US warplanes and the contract is worth in the region of $40bn over 15 years. It is a huge blow for Boeing, the BBC's Vincent Dowd reports from Washington. America has around two-thirds of all such aircraft in use anywhere, and a senior figure in the company said recently if it lost this contract it could be out of the refuelling market totally for years.

Gen Arthur J Lichte, commander of the US Air Force's Air Mobility Command, said the winning design had many advantages over Boeing's tanker.

"More passengers, more cargo, more fuel to offload, more patients that we can carry, more availability, more flexibility and more dependability," he said.

In Everett, Washington state, a few dozen Boeing workers protested outside a Machinists Union hall holding up signs saying "American workers equal best tankers" and "Our military deserves the best".

Congressional lawmakers from the state's Seattle area issued a joint statement condemning the "outsourcing" of the contract.
"We are outraged that this decision taps European Airbus and its foreign workers to provide a tanker to our American military," they said.

Todd Tiahrt, a Republican congressman from Wichita, Kansas, called for "an American tanker built by an American company with American workers". "I hope the Air Force reverses its decision," he added. But the news was a boon for Alabama Republican congressman Jo Bonner.

"We are so very excited about having the opportunity to help the Air Force acquire the most modern and capable refuelling tanker - a tanker assembled in America by Americans," he said.

What makes the Boeing argument about Made in America so hilarious is their new 787 is being made overseas with assembly done in America just like the new tankers will be made in Alabama which is beside itself.

Sweetening the win for Mobile, Airbus has announced plans to shift production of a freighter version of the A330 to the new plant, potentially adding 300 jobs.

"We already have begun the work necessary to expand our U.S. industrial footprint in support of this important program," said Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., chairman and chief executive of EADS North America.

Construction of the factory could begin within the next three months, according to local officials. The Air Force wants its first planes delivered in 2013, and its budget projections call for the purchase of about 15 planes annually.

The assembly jobs are expected to pay salaries of about $65,000, or more than 50 percent above the state average for manufacturing work. Another 5,000 jobs could be created statewide, according to Northrop.

If this is all true, Boeing not only deserved to lose but they were trying to be slick about it.

The Northrop KC-30, which is based on the EADS Airbus A-330 passenger jet, had been considered the more capable aircraft. It's bigger, which means it can carry 20 percent more fuel, 20 percent more passengers, and 30 percent more cargo. It can also carry 45,000 pounds more fuel than Boeing's KC-767. But Boeing had pitched the smaller size of the 767 as a feature, rather than a handicap. However, the 767 is at the end of its commercial life. The military would have been the only customer for the airplane had Boeing won the contract, raising concerns about maintenance costs.

Give off a dead line to the military which in every category was the lesser plane and have high maintenance costs over the life of the planes in service. Unbelievable arrogance if they pushed the smaller size and lesser capacity as a feature.

Marion Cotillard 9/11 and the moon walk conspiracy theories.

Weird: The 9/11 stuff would have kept her employed in Hollywood forever but the moon walk theory is a dealbreaker even in that town.

Oscar winning French actress Marion Cotillard’s nascent Hollywood career is under threat after she backed conspiracy theories over the 9/11 attacks.

...Footage which surfaced on the internet showed her questioning the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks, and the 1969 moon walk.

"I think we’re lied to about a number of things" said Ms Cotillard, singling out 9/11.

Referring to the two passenger jets flown into the World Trade Center, she said: "We see other towers of the same kind being hit by planes, are they burned? There was a tower, I believe it was in Spain, which burned for 24 hours.

"It never collapsed. None of these towers collapsed. And there [New York], in a few minutes, the whole thing collapsed."

Expanding her conspiracy theories, Ms Cottillard suggested that the towers, planned in the early 1960s, were an outdated "money sucker" which would have cost so much to modernise that it was easier to destroy them.

She said: "It was a money sucker because they were finished, it seems to me, by 1973 and to re-cable all that, to bring up to date all the technology and everything, it was a lot more expensive that work etc, than destroying them."

Referring to America’s achievement of putting a man on the moon in 1969, Ms Cotillard said: "Did a man really walk on the moon? I saw plenty of documentaries on it, and I really wondered. And in any case I don’t believe all they tell me, that’s for sure."

Ms Cotillard, who was born and brought up in Paris and still has a flat in the city, made the comments on Paris Première -Paris Dernière (Paris First - Paris Last), a programme first broadcast a year ago.

Dutch PM again pleads with Wilders not to release film.

EU: At this point the Dutch government is just pathetic.

Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende has urged maverick MP Geert Wilders to carefully consider the consquences of broadcasting his anti-Koran film.

While stopping short of asking Wilders not to release the film, Balkenende said he was seriously worried about the effect it could have on Dutch citizens, soldiers and companies.

"It is our duty to point this out to Mr Wilders. That is why we are publicly speaking out," Balkenende said after the weekly cabinet meeting.

"We have a duty to make clear to everyone that the methods and thoughts of one MP do not correspond to those of the government."

A number of countries have already expressed their concerns about the 15-minute feature, which Wilders says aims to show the Koran is a fascist book which encourages violence.

Employers organisation VNO-NCW and the farmers lobby group LTO Nederland have also called on Wilders not to go ahead, news agency ANP reported.

On Friday, Christian Democrat parliamentary leader Pieter van Geel repeated his call to Wilders to cancel the project. ‘I am making a moral appeal to him not to go ahead,’ Van Geel said on a tv talk show. ‘The cabinet is not in a position to do that.’

But all this pleading is getting others irritated.

We condemn all threats, including those directed against Mr. Wilders. And we call on the governments (of Islamic countries) to abide to the principles of international law, such as the duty therein laid down to protect foreign interests, citizens and companies. At the same time, we have the duty to make it clear to all, that the conduct and thoughts of an individual MP do not match those of the government. We defend the core values of freedom and respect. We guarantee freedom of speech and freedom of religion," the CDA premier stated.

Less balanced than the declaration was the premier's response to questions from journalists after he had finished the statement. He stressed repeatedly and with irritation that Wilders and no one else was responsible for any violence that might break out after his film's release. "Ask yourself what your responsibility is at this moment," he said about Wilders. "And at this moment, a great responsibility is resting on Mr. Wilders," he added.

The premier summed up examples of "critical signals" he received. "At a festival, a Dutch product was refused; the Taliban announced action towards Dutch soldiers; and stewardesses are afraid to fly to certain destinations. These are only the examples of one day. This is the reality we are in. (...) Mr. Wilders cannot ignore the sentiments that are already being expressed." (...) Economic sanctions, attacks, threats, great consequences. The one carrying the responsibility for that, is the one who is currently providing grounds for that."

Wilders condemned the statement. "Although the cabinet is giving into and capitulating to Islam, I will never'', he stressed. "My film will be released no matter what". Nobody yet knows what it will show."

Parents should be banned from the best schools

UK: Silly communist nonsense from from educational watchdog. No parent is going to be forced to send their kid to a crap schoo just so social engineers can get their jollies by executing their plan for social justice.

Middle-class parents should be barred from "buying" their way into the catchment areas of good schools and make do with sink schools instead, the admissions watchdog said yesterday.

Chief Schools Adjudicator Philip Hunter said a proportion of middle-class families should be forced to send their children to less popular schools to make way for disadvantaged pupils.

His proposed regulations would anger many parents and have a major impact on house prices across the country.

Living close to a good secondary can add more than £20,000 to the value of nearby houses, while a good primary can add more than £40,000.

Dr Hunter claimed the Government policy of parental choice in schools made segregation between children from poor and wealthy families "inevitable", and concentrated children from difficult backgrounds in sink schools, denying them a chance of academic success.

Changes in admission rules such as lotteries could reduce the effects of segregation, Dr Hunter said.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls suggested yesterday that lotteries and banded admissions policies were ways to address the problem of oversubscribed schools.

But he admitted the only real solution was to make every school a good one.

Why is it the obvious solution is never taken by these fools?

GOP Frets Over Democratic Fundraising

Politics: Poor party officials.

For Republicans, watching Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama fight for supremacy in fundraising is not just a spectator sport. It is a look into the future, and the GOP isn't cheering.

Obama and Clinton together raked in as much as seven times as much cash in February as John McCain, the all-but-certain Republican nominee.

The Democrats, particularly Obama, are also developing a broad base of fervent donors whose help goes beyond sending money.

Some Republicans are sounding alarms.

"Since the midterm election of 2006, Democrats have had an enthusiasm gap with Republicans," said GOP strategist Scott Reed. "They have big crowds, raise more money and appear to have more excitement on the campaign trail. Couple this with turnout numbers, which are off the charts, and Republicans are going to have a big challenge in the fall."

GOP only has themselves to blame for the shortfall. There is only so many times you can kick your supporters, act like wimps and behave like liberals/moderates before your supporters get tired of your act. Clean it up and you won't have these problems.

Nebraska state reps kill off Immigration bill.

Immigration: Led by the complete idiot Ernie Chambers, the state committee killed off the bill because they said it supported racism and it stopped giving illegals tuition breaks not given to out of state citizens or legal residents.

The Legislature's Judiciary Committee voted 5-1 on Thursday to kill Gov. Dave Heineman's bill targeting illegal immigration, but it may not be the last word on the measure.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha moved to kill Legislative Bill 963, saying outbursts and comments from some supporters during Wednesday's public hearing demonstrated that the measure encourages racism.

...The panel also voted 5-1 to kill Legislative Resolution 224, a proposal from Sen. Tony Fulton of Lincoln that Nebraska law enforcement agencies cooperate with federal authorities in enforcing immigration law.

Legislative Bill 1170, introduced by Sen. Tom White of Omaha, would allow lawsuits seeking damages from companies that hire illegal immigrants. The vote to kill that measure failed 4-4.

"Those racists we heard yesterday are one reason to kill every one of those bills,'' Chambers said.

He said Heineman and Bruning were "riding the crest of racism'' with their support of LB 963.

At one point during the committee's meeting Thursday, Chambers dropped to the floor and started doing push-ups.

After he stopped, he said he had needed to vent excess energy because he was so infuriated by the public hearing and the bill.

....Other committee members said they voted to kill the bill because the governor and Bruning hadn't made the case that it would do anything that isn't already required under federal law.

They said the bill appeared to be a smokescreen for repealing a Nebraska law that allows undocumented immigrants to attend college at resident tuition rates. The Legislature passed that measure over Heineman's veto in 2005.

"I don't know how anybody can support this bill,'' said Schimek, who sponsored the college tuition bill. "They just didn't make their case.''

Study tells Democrats to use tougher words on immigration.

Immigration: Emphasis on the word use because they will never follow thru on anything.

Democrats may soon be taking a tougher public position on immigration, according to a confidential study put together by key think tanks close to the party leadership.

The study urges Democrats to adopt more rigid rhetoric when discussing immigration by encouraging office-holders to emphasize "requiring immigrants to become legal" rather than stressing border enforcement and the opening of a path to legalization for the undocumented already here.

Implicit in the report is the notion that Democrats can win wider public support for immigration reform by framing the issue in harsher-sound verbiage and, perhaps, policy.

Titled "Winning The Immigration Debate," the study was put together by the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the Center for American Progress. Its findings, which have been sent to Capitol Hill and have been part of briefing sessions in both the House and the Senate, are based off of polling conducted by Peter Hart Research Associates.

Taken as a whole, the report presents a new prism through which the Democrats should approach the immigration debate. "It is unacceptable to have 12 million people in our country who are outside the system," it reads. "We must require illegal immigrants to become legal, and reform the laws so this can happen."

Democrats give Hugo Chavez a tax break.

Politics: Give our domestic companies the screws while letting Hugo Chavez and Citgo off the hook. I told this big oil bill was stupid. The liberals won't be in a hurry to fix it.

The House passed legislation Wednesday to boost production of renewable energy despite criticism from Republicans that it would allow a Venezuelan oil company to retain a tax benefit being stripped from U.S. companies.

The tax package (HR 5351), which passed 236-182, repeals subsidies for five major oil and gas companies to offset $13.7 billion of the $18.1 billion in renewable-energy tax breaks contained in the bill.

Meanwhile, Citgo Petroleum Corp. would continue to receive a 6 percent deduction for domestic manufacturing that the largest firms would lose.

Citgo, which refines oil and markets and transports gasoline in the United States, is owned by a subsidiary of the government-owned Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., or PDVSA. Because Citgo does not drill for oil and gas domestically or abroad, it does not fall under the bill’s definition of companies that will lose a major tax break.

The five big companies targeted by the bill — Chevron, BP, ExxonMobil, Shell and ConocoPhillips — all produce and refine oil and sell gasoline in the United States, and therefore under the bill would lose the domestic manufacturing deduction they received as part of a corporate tax law in 2004 (PL 108-357).

GOP lawmakers Wednesday argued that such a policy runs counter to the Democrats’ goals for the bill — to reduce dependence on foreign oil and increase national security — by providing a tax break to a company owned by a country whose head of state just weeks ago threatened to stop oil sales to the United States.

“This bill raises taxes for U.S. oil and gas production . . . while giving more American dollars to a dictator that has threatened to take away U.S. energy supplies,” said Republican Phil English of Pennsylvania.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Michelle Obama's Corporations are evil schtick.

Culture: It's irritating, condescending and makes no sense logically.

I have a new story today about Michelle Obama's visit to Zanesville, Ohio, where she met with a group of women at a local day care center. According to the U.S. Census, Muskingum County, where Zanesville is located, had a median household income of $37,192 in 2004, below both the Ohio and national averages. Just 12.2 percent of adults in the county have a bachelor's degree or higher, also well below the state and national averages. About 20 percent don't have a high school degree. Nevertheless, Mrs. Obama urged them to foreswear lucrative professions like corporate law or hedge fund management and go into the helping industry, even if the sacrifice is great:

As she has many times in the past, Mrs. Obama complains about the lasting burden of student loans dating from her days at Princeton and Harvard Law School. She talks about people who end up taking years and years, until middle age, to pay off their debts. “The salaries don’t keep up with the cost of paying off the debt, so you’re in your 40s, still paying off your debt at a time when you have to save for your kids,” she says.

“Barack and I were in that position,” she continues. “The only reason we’re not in that position is that Barack wrote two best-selling books… It was like Jack and his magic beans. But up until a few years ago, we were struggling to figure out how we would save for our kids.” A former attorney with the white-shoe Chicago firm of Sidley & Austin, Obama explains that she and her husband made the choice to give up lucrative jobs in favor of community service.

“We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do,” she tells the women. “Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.” Faced with that reality, she adds, “many of our bright stars are going into corporate law or hedge-fund management.”

What she doesn’t mention is that the helping industry has treated her pretty well. In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that Mrs. Obama’s compensation at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she is a vice president for community affairs, jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office. And that does not count the money Mrs. Obama receives from serving on corporate boards. She would have been O.K. even without Jack’s magic beans.

Mrs. Obama also bemoaned the amount of money she has to spend — nearly one-third of the median household income in Zanesville — on piano, dance, and other lessons for her two children. But she was grateful for the concern her husband's supporters have shown for her. "Everywhere I go, no matter what, the women in the audience, their first question for me is, 'How on earth are you managing it, how are you keeping it all together?'" she told the women.

So corporations are not in the helping business? They don't have employees who give back to the community or teach skills necessary to open your own business or exactly what is wrong with the best and brightest taking their skills to jobs that compensate them well. If you hadn't gone to corporate jobs you wouldn't be in the position to drop out to get into the "helping industry" Mrs. Obama. This is a poor example of trying to use class warfare to make a point and use yourself as a shining example of the humble sacrificing woman.

Manufacturing jobs being lost in....China?

Business: Rising costs due to a more developing China, higher taxes, better enforcement of labor laws making companies move out to cheaper areas.

The teddy bears selling for $1.40 in Shanghai's IKEA store may be just about the cheapest in town, but they're not made in China -- they're stitched and stuffed in Indonesia.

The fluffy brown toys reflect a new challenge for China: Its huge economy, which has long offered some of the world's lowest manufacturing costs, is losing its claim on cheapness as factories get squeezed by rising prices for energy, materials and labor.

Those expenses, plus higher taxes and stricter enforcement of labor and environmental standards, are causing some manufacturers to leave for lower-cost markets such as Vietnam, Indonesia and India.

Costs have climbed so much that three-quarters of businesses surveyed by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai believe China is losing its competitive edge.

The higher costs mean Western consumers are bound to face steeper prices for iPods, TVs, tank tops and many other imported products made by small Chinese subcontractors.

"Americans continue to want to buy at lower prices," said Kevin Burke, president and CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association. "They are used to going to the store during Christmas and getting something cheaper than a year ago."

Planned Parenthood and black baby donations for abortions.

Abortion: Sheesh, anything to get money to carry out abortions. It would be a mistake in one place but two?

( - According to telephone conversations taped by a student pro-life publication, The Advocate, at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), Planned Parenthood locations in Ohio and Idaho agreed to accept money targeted at minorities even when racist intentions were expressed.

Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio confirmed to Cybercast News Service that the telephone conversation with a presumed donor occurred in mid-summer 2007, adding that it was not the policy of Planned Parenthood to accept donations specifically to underwrite abortions among minority women.

Obama's double talk on NAFTA getting slammed.

Canada: You can make fun of the canucks, but don't start talking nasty about NAFTA then say they are lying when you try to play both sides. They get hornery.

Despite repeated requests, Barack Obama's campaign is still neither verifying nor denying a CTV report that a senior member of the team made contact with the Canadian government -- via the Chicago consulate general -- regarding comments Obama made about NAFTA.

Allegations of double talk on the North American Free Trade Agreement from both the Obama and Clinton campaigns dominated the U.S. political landscape on Thursday.

On Wednesday, CTV reported that a senior member of Obama's campaign called the Canadian government within the last month -- saying that when Senator Obama talks about opting out of the free trade deal, the Canadian government shouldn't worry. The operative said it was just campaign rhetoric not to be taken seriously.

The Obama campaign told CTV late Thursday night that no message was passed to the Canadian government that suggests that Obama does not mean what he says about opting out of NAFTA if it is not renegotiated.

However, the Obama camp did not respond to repeated questions from CTV on reports that a conversation on this matter was held between Obama's senior economic adviser -- Austan Goolsbee -- and the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago.

Lets be honest about NAFTA. As it stands right now, no one is going to rip up or change the agreement in such a way that jobs will magically appear in Ohio. Between the farming, the oil and other businesses that has happened because of NAFTA which involve billions of dollars, neither Canada or Mexico are going to screw themselves to make anyone in America 100% happy.

This is a global economy, its not about what happens in Ohio, companies need to competer or they go out of business. NAFTA has flaws but Obama's yapping about it is over the line reckless and he cannot deliver on any of his promises.

'Asian hate' writer suspended, whiny college kids gets hugs.

Culture: Max Karson writes a column titled "If it's war the Asians want ... It's war they'll get," It comes off like a written Ted Rall cartoon regarding US military. Students gets mad, complain and Karson gets suspended.

"Max Karson's duties with the Campus Press have been suspended pending a restructuring of the opinions section," according to a statement posted on the student paper's Web site Wednesday.

Karson ignited a firestorm last week when his piece titled "If it's war the Asians want ... It's war they'll get," infuriated some students and past members of the Campus Press staff who said the piece was inflammatory and a failed attempt at satire.

Fine, here is where I get even more irritated at the whiner college students.

Darin McGregor / The Rocky
CU students hold hands while singing We Shall Overcome during Wednesday's protest rally.

Yes, A song that has been used in protests by people who have had no or little civil rights from Blacks in America to South Africans to Irish protests is now hijacked by a bunch of thin-skinned emotionally crippled students who have the conflict resolution skills of two year olds. It gets worse as the university just bends over to give hugs and kisses to these idiots.

The statement goes on to say that the publication's editors are in the process of organizing an "open, public forum to address diversity sensitivity in our news coverage" and are rewriting their ethics policy.

The announcement came the same day university officials said they're close to announcing major changes in the way the paper is operated and overseen.

The Campus Press already has agreed to establish a Student Diversity Advisory Board, invite student organizations to meet face-to-face with the editors, adopt an "opinions policy," schedule a series of diversity-awareness workshops for the entire staff and host a series of workshops for opinion writing and editing.

....A diverse audience of nearly 200 people attended a rally outside University Memorial Center before meeting with CU-Boulder Chancellor Bud Peterson

Chris Choe, a 21-year-old senior and member of the Korean American Students at Boulder group who led the rally, said he hopes the university's administration fundamentally changes how content is reviewed before it's published by the class.

"I want to see responsibility," Choe said. "I want to see that this isn't being marginalized."

Student leaders at the University of Colorado on Wednesday demanded the resignations of the online student newspaper editor and a faculty adviser for publishing a column that has created a furor among Asian Americans and other minority students.

The students also were upset about a column published a day earlier titled "No hablo Ingles," or "I don't speak English."

"The editors at the Campus Press should rename that opinion section as 'racist viewpoints,' said David Chiu, a CU senior. "Once again, the reputation at CU has been tarnished. The publication of these articles embodies institutional racism."

...Both Hewlings and Herdy apologized directly to the audience after they were prompted by the student government's diversity director

...Charles Gilford III, one of the three leaders of the CU student government, said he respects freedom of speech but that it was no excuse for publishing the column.

"You have no right to isolate and marginalize certain people," he said. "You have no right to attack a member of our family, and that's what's happened."

Gilford suggested that campus officials evaluate the column in light of federal anti-discrimination laws.

....Peterson listened and took notes during the meeting.

At the end of the 90-minute session, he said he would direct students and staff to examine if anyone's civil rights had been violated. He noted that he has directed the journalism department's chairman to re-evaluate the structure and supervision of the Campus Press.

This is insane, this is the future of America and it scares the hell out of me. There is no maturity in any of these quotes just I am so hurt so kiss my ass. How can anyones civil rights been violated by a college student column. Imagine these fools in the real world handling a problem. They would crack in 5 mins.

UK race chief implies Obama not black enough.

UK: Damn, what got this out of Trevor Phillips. I agree on some parts but other bits are truly out there in fantasy land.

One of Britain’s most influential black figures today accused Barack Obama of cynically exploiting America’s racial divide and gave warning that he could prolong, rather than heal the rift.

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, claimed that the Democratic front-runner would ultimately disappoint the African-American community and dismissed the notion that he would be "the harbinger of a post-racial America" if he becomes the country’s first black President.

Writing in Prospect, the monthly current affairs magazine, Mr Phillips suggested that guilt over transatlantic slavery was behind Mr Obama’s support from middle class whites.

"If Obama can succeed, then maybe they can imagine that [Martin Luther] King's post-racial nirvana has arrived. A vote for Obama is a pain-free negation of their own racism. So long as they don't have to live next door to him; Obama has yet to win convincingly in white districts adjacent to black communities," he wrote.

Ouch, though I have thought the same of upper class white liberals who see this as a moment of history to be a part of more than anything else to vote for a black person to be President.

Mr Phillips compared Mr Obama to Bill Cosby and Oprah Winfrey, prominent black “bargainers” – those who strike a deal with white America not to make an issue of historical racism if their own race is not used against them.

But, in a warning to the Democratic candidate, he added that Cosby now cut a “sad and lonely figure” because he had abandoned the moral weapon used by figures such as Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and Jesse Jackson in insisting that “in the end, salvation for blacks won’t depend on the actions of whites.”

"In truth, Obama may be helping to postpone the arrival of a post-racial America and I think he knows it," Mr Phillips wrote. "If he wins, the cynicism may be worth it to him and his party. In the end he is a politician and a very good one: his job is to win elections."

He added: "If he fulfils the hopes of whites, he must disappoint blacks – and vice versa."

Disagree completely about Cosby as he has gotten the message out without resorting to the Jesse Jackson school of thought. Just because Cosby doesn't use the race card doesn't mean he is ineffective.

AP has photographed Black Jesus in all his glory.

Politics: How many desktops and screensavers is this on right now.

Now poor Hillary gets the White Devil treatment. So wrong.

More on "Black Jesus"

Kenyan elders want U.S. apology over Obama photo

Politics: Someone may need to show them how the political system over here works because there is no apology coming soon.

Kenyan elders demanded an apology from Washington on Thursday ahead of a planned protest over a controversial photo of U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama in traditional Somali dress.

The picture, which appeared on a U.S. Web site, showed the Democratic frontrunner donning a white headdress and robes during a visit in 2006 to the remote north-eastern town of Wajir.

The dispute has angered many in Kenya, especially ethnic Somalis from the northeast, who resent the implication that Obama did anything wrong during his visit.

Wajir residents plan to demonstrate after Friday prayers to show their support for the Illinois senator.

Mohamed Ibrahim, who attended one of two crisis meetings held in Wajir on Thursday by clan members who hosted Obama on his trip, said Washington must immediately make amends to them and especially to the elder pictured with him.

"The U.S. government must apologise to us as a clan and the old man," Ibrahim told Reuters by telephone. "We have been offended and we cannot afford to just watch and stay silent."

He said it was essential Clinton "clear her name" too.

Terror financing arrests in Norway.

Terrorism: Via Aftenposten.

The three arrested for alleged terrorist financing are tied to the Somalian community in Oslo, reported

Norway's national security police PST, the state crime unit Kripos, Norway's white-collar crime unit Økokrim and the tax authority for eastern Norway all took part in the arrests.

The three suspects face a court hearing on remand custody either Friday or Saturday, said PST spokesman Martin Bernsen.

The PST also confirmed that it had coordinated its arrests in Oslo with Swedish police, who arrested three other men in Stockholm Thursday morning, also on charges of financing terrorism and planning terrorist activities.

The three arrested in Stockholm are all Swedish citizens, but come from Somalia as well and are charged with having financed terrorist activities in their homeland.

UK: politically-correct policies are spoiling our schools

Culture: Same thing happening here in America, the everyone is special then no one is special is giving us a bunch of narcisstic egomaniacs twits including the Gen Y's or myspace generation.

Parents believe political correctness and bureaucratic red tape are ruining childhood, a Government survey has found.

They say their children's education is being fundamentally damaged and communities undermined by ludicrous rules and the "everyone must have prizes" mentality.

This has led to school sports days being cancelled because the grass is wet, and pupils being sent home for wearing the cross of St George in case it offends other children.

Talented pupils are not praised or encouraged and are paired with "klutzes" in school plays and dance classes as part of policies to include every child.

Parents blame schools, local education authorities and the Government for the "political correctness gone mad".

But they say childhood is also being damaged by growing materialism and the celebrity culture.

The findings come in a report, Childhood Wellbeing, which was commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools and Families after a recent Unicef study found British children were among the unhappiest in Europe.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lakshmi Tata takes first steps and doing fine.

Medical: Followup on the eight limb girl who went thru surgery and is now doing fine.

Just three months after marathon surgery successfully removed her four extra arms and legs, little Lakshmi Tatma has taken her first steps.

"She's now moving with a walker, holding onto objects — a table, a chair — and moving a little bit," said Sharan Patil, chief orthopedic surgeon and chairman of Sparsh Hospital in Bangalore where the surgery was performed.

The 2-year-old Indian girl captured international attention in November when a team of 30 surgeons separated what was essentially a headless parasitic twin joined at her pelvis. Parasitic twins differ from conjoined twins because they are not fully formed and they depend upon the body functions of the complete fetus.

"Lakshmi always knew she was different. After the operation she instinctively started behaving like a normal child. It's like she had always been waiting for the opportunity," the girl's mother, Poonam Tatma, told Britain's Channel 4 News.

"When she was put in the baby walker she started pushing herself backwards with her legs and burst into laughter with a huge grin on her face. She loves it."

Berlin gallery shuts down over terror threats.

Culture: Yet another slap against art, usually you would have the nose in the air leftist types out screaming censorship, so far nothing.

AN exhibition by Danish artists in Berlin has been closed due to threats received over a photo deemed to be offensive to Muslims, organisers said.

The exhibition, which opened in central Berlin on February 22, has been closed to ensure the safety of staff and visitors, Ralf Hartmann from the artists' collective Kunstverein Tiergarten said today.

The show by Danish collective Surrend is aimed at depicting what they say is the absurdity of extremism in all religions.

One of the 21 photos is of the Kaaba - the cube-shaped building inside the Grande Mosque in Mecca - with the inscription describing the stone as "stupid".

Another shows an astronaut on the moon standing next to an Israeli flag. The photo has the inscription "Neonazi-Hallucination".

In 2006 an avant-garde adaptation of a Mozart opera was scrapped because of threats resulting from the use of Mohammed's decapitated head in the production.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali to get protection everywhere in the EU?

EU: Maybe... Bravo to the European Union for stepping up and protecting a citizen of the EU.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Dutch activist facing death threats for her outspoken criticism of Islam, is to come under national police protection anywhere in the European Union, the top justice official in Brussels said tonight.

Franco Frattini, the European commissioner for justice and home affairs, told the Guardian that Hirsi Ali and any other persons facing threats to their lives because of their opinions or writings, would be guaranteed protection wherever they went in Europe and that the host country would bear the expense.

The issue was discussed at a lunch of all 27 interior ministers of the EU in Brussels today after being raised by the Dutch. Frattini said the ministers agreed and that the pact would be effective immediately based on "unanimous consensus".

Other European sources doubted whether such an agreement could be implemented so promptly.

British sources said a pan-European deal could not be "that simple" since there were cost and legal implications to authorising such special police measures.

"There can't possibly be political agreement on it," said an official.

Black Superdelegates threatened by Obama supporters.

Politics: Tavis Smiley felt it and now black superdelegates are being threatened and being called every name in the book because they won't switch to Obama.

African-American superdelegates said Thursday that they’ll stand up against threats, intimidation and “Uncle Tom” smears rather than switch their support from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to Sen. Barack Obama.

“African-American superdelegates are being targeted, harassed and threatened,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), a superdelegate who has supported Clinton since August. Cleaver said black superdelegates are receiving “nasty letters, phone calls, threats they’ll get an opponent, being called an Uncle Tom.

“This is the politics of the 1950s,” he complained. “A lot of members are experiencing a lot of ugly stuff. They’re not going to talk about it, but it’s happening.”

After civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) switched his support from Clinton to Obama earlier this week, other black superdelegates have come under renewed pressure to do a similar about-face. A handful have bowed to the entreaties in recent weeks, including Georgia Rep. David Scott, but many say they are steadfast in their support for Clinton and resent strong-arm tactics to make them change.

Rep. Diane E. Watson (D-Calif.), a black lawmaker and Clinton backer, said the intense lobbying for Obama would not alter her vote.

“I’ve gotten threatening mail,” Watson said. “They say, ‘Your district went 61-29 Obama and you need to change.’ But I don’t intimidate. I can hold the ground. … I would lose my seat over my principles.”

Neither Watson nor Cleaver faces a strong reelection threat at this time. Cleaver’s Kansas City-area district narrowly supported Obama in Missouri’s Feb. 5 primary.

Black superdelegates are getting heavy pressure from such groups as, a grass-roots organization backing Obama.

Color of Change is an off shoot of This is despicable KKK behavior and should be slammed by everyone especially in the black community. Where is the NAACP? Southern Law and others to say enough already.

Detroit mayor: I'm not resigning

Nation: Not yet Kwame, not just yet.

Embattled Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said Thursday he won't resign because of a text-messaging scandal that has engulfed his administration, but acknowledged the uproar has reduced him to tears.

Kilpatrick, during an appearance on a morning radio show, was asked whether he would step down.

"Absolutely not," Kilpatrick said on "The Paul W. Smith Show" on WJR-AM. "I don't understand when people say `resign.'"

The mayor's comments came a day after the state's highest court rejected an attempt by Kilpatrick to prevent documents from being made public that detail a city settlement that helped conceal an apparent affair with a top aide.

The Michigan Supreme Court unanimously upheld two lower court rulings ordering the release of documents. They were made public hours after the ruling.

Detroit News has continuing coverage including a resolution introduced demanding Kwame resign.

New Latino wave helps revitalize Detroit

Culture: At least Detroit has some good news.

The broad-brimmed western hats, colorful festival dance dresses and Mayan-style pottery that line the shelves at Xochi's Mexican Imports are common sights at stores in the Southwest.

But it's southwest Detroit on a cold, dreary winter day, not sunny El Paso, San Diego, Tucson or other cities just north of the Mexican border.

From its Mexican Town restaurant district to the new shops of the La Plaza Mercado retail development, southwest Detroit is doing something it hasn't done in years — grow and prosper.

"We come starving for a better life," 32-year-old dance instructor Valeria Montes said. "We want to strive and we've found in southwest Detroit a place to do it. The opportunity was here for us and we took it."

....More than $200 million has been invested in southwest Detroit in the past 15 years, which has attracted retail and new homes, including an $11 million condo development.

"It's one of the few places in the city where you are seeing a lot of private investment," said Olga Savic, of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., the city's public/private development arm. "West Vernor Avenue was once primarily vacant. Now, it's 90 percent full."

The neighborhood is doing so well the mayor didn't include it in his plan to pump millions of dollars into distressed areas.

Blight hasn't been totally wiped out, but older Latinos and the new immigrants are helping with the transformation.

"These are people who are risk takers ... and understand if they are going to make it, it's up to them to make it successful," said Ruben Martinez, director of the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University. "Many others, who have been here for several generations, don't have that."

On the other hand, it looks like some are happy to have some sort of balkanized area.

Mexican restaurants and bars along Mitchell Street and in other parts of Milwaukee attract non-Latinos, but it's Latinos that keep the bakeries and grocery stores open, Figueroa said.

"There is enough money in the economy that people can sustain retail establishments by primarily relying on Latino clientele," he said.

It's that sense of community that led Montes and her husband to move from a downriver suburb of Detroit to the southwest side.

"I feel like I'm at home," she said. "I go to get a haircut, I speak Spanish. I go to mercado (market), I speak Spanish. My daughter goes to school and there are a lot of Latino kids. It's a great feeling."

Treasury Secretary rejects government bailouts

Nation: Make it simple. Screw the speculators, flippers, ATMers and ARMers. You made your own mess, stop looking for the government with taxpayers money to bail you all out.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Thursday that many proposals being put forward to deal with the housing slump would do more harm than good.

While he still believes that the housing problem remains the biggest downside risk to the economy, Paulson said the issue needed to be put in perspective. He said 93 percent of all mortgages are being paid on time and that less than 2 percent are in foreclosure.

"So while some in Washington are proposing big interventions, most of the proposals I've seen would do more harm than good," the secretary said in remarks prepared for delivery Thursday night before the Economic Club of Chicago.

"I'm not interested in bailing out investors, lenders and speculators," he said. "I'm focused on solutions targeted at struggling homeowners who want to keep their homes."

....Both Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., are leading congressional efforts to bolster the government's response to unfolding mortgage crisis which by some estimates could result in 2 million foreclosures this year alone.

Among the items being considered are proposals to have the government buy $15 billion in troubled mortgages, change bankruptcy laws to allow judges to modify home mortgage loans to more favorable terms and provide assistance to state and local governments to help buy foreclosed properties.

All this will do is inflate the market. Let the chips fall and everything sort itself out only helping those that are truly in need.

Obama looking to halt America's military capabilities.

Politics: This video is downright stupid and coming from an anti-war candidate like himself entirely logical in his supporters minds. Its all about stopping the military from making itself over for the future.

I am all for cutting wasteful spending, but slowing down the Future Combat Systems program would be a disaster. The rest about getting rid of nukes and not weaponizing space is the pipe dreams of naive fools. Realists already know you are not getting rid of nukes and putting weapons in space is a matter of when not if.

Obama and Farrakhan and how Hillary missed her chance.

Politics: Ann Althouse with the breakdown of how Obama slipped passed outright rejecting Louie while Hillary got played like a fiddle by Obama.

If you want further proof of how Obama did not reject the support Calypso Louie can bring him, the Nation is praising his answer.

When Russert began his line of questioning, Obama showed the smarts and toughness required of any national leader, indulging Russert only to a point: Prodded by Russert, NBC Washington's Bureau Chief, and also by his opponent, Hillary Clinton, Obama "denounced and rejected" Farrakhan's beliefs.

But wisely -- and bravely -- Obama did not throw Louis Farrakhan under that creaky bus. Being based in Chicago, Obama is probably keenly sensitive to the true standing of Farrakhan -- that of a symbolic figurehead, a bow-tied, bespectacled id for black Americans who cannot afford to say out loud what they often think about race relations in America.

Utah passes gutted weak immigration bill.

Immmigration: There is nothing in this bill worth a damn and on top of that they pushed enforcement back to 2009 for obvious reasons.

The Utah Senate has passed a comprehensive immigration bill: one that has been the subject of multiple protests. The bill calls for sweeping changes to the way undocumented workers are handled in the workforce and by law enforcement.

The bill that passed was a "kinder" version of the original, and it does not take effect until July of 2009--to give lawmakers more time to study immigration.

The original bill was patterned after an Oklahoma law. A lot of people here were worried about unintended consequences from the legislation.

Proyecto Latino de Utah also released a statement this afternoon responding to the passage of SB81. The statement says the response to the passage of the bill is "'mixed' or 'bad news ... good news'" among some Latino community members.

The statement also reads, "Having a January of 2009 date will allow all of us (legislators and citizens) to call on the U.S. Congress and the new president-elect to take action on this important issue affecting our communities nationwide."

Tony Yapias, director of Proyecto Latino de Utah, said, "We will wait and see the final bill as it awaits passage in the House of Representatives to determine the actions the community will take."

Illegals tuition breaks survived in another shocker.

Time ran out Tuesday for a Senate committee to review a bill that would repeal in-state college tuition for undocumented students, sending it to the Senate Rules Committee.

Sponsoring Rep. Glen A. Donnelson, R-North Ogden, said there will be a push - with the help of Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem - to get the bill to the Senate floor.
Dayton intends to propose two amendments, according to Donnelson.

One would allow a qualifying undocumented student to receive in-state tuition only if they signed an affidavit vowing not to work while enrolled. Donnelson said that change is intended to prevent an undocumented student from committing a felony by using forged documents to seek employment.

A second amendment would delay the effective date of the bill to Jan. 1, 2009

'Virtual Fence' Along Border To Be Delayed

Immigration: Not that anyone is shocked by this and none of the candidates are going to be in a hurry to start it up again. Its amazing how everyone else around the world can build border fences like in India and Mexico along their southern border. America on the other hand keep getting delayed.

The Bush administration has scaled back plans to quickly build a "virtual fence" along the U.S.-Mexico border, delaying completion of the first phase of the project by at least three years and shifting away from linked, tower-mounted sensors and communications and surveillance gear, federal officials said yesterday.

Technical problems discovered in a 28-mile pilot project south of Tucson prompted the change in plans, Department of Homeland Security officials and congressional auditors told a House subcommittee.

While the department took over that initial stretch Friday from Boeing, authorities confirmed that Project 28, the initial deployment of its Secure Border Initiative network, did not work as planned or meet the needs of the U.S. Border Patrol

....But officials yesterday said they now expect only to complete the first phase of the virtual fence's deployment -- roughly 100 miles near Tucson and Yuma, Ariz., and El Paso, Tex. -- by the end of 2011, instead of by the end of 2008. That target falls outside Boeing's initial contract, which ends in September 2009 but can be extended.

The virtual fence was to complement a physical fence that the administration now says will include 370 miles of pedestrian fencing and 300 miles of vehicle barriers on the border that was to be completed by the end of this year. The GAO said this portion of the project may also be delayed and that its total cost cannot be determined.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Virginia's Planned Parenthood Could Lose Funding

Abortion: Oh Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William)is so dead in the Dem party, guy will probably be recalled.

The Virginia Senate voted Wednesday to cut off state funding to Planned Parenthood of Virginia because it offers abortions, an action that could endanger hundreds of thousands of dollars in state aid for women's health-care programs.

The decision, a major setback for the Senate's new Democratic majority, marks the first time in more than a decade that the Senate has decided against giving state aid to the organization because of its abortion-related activities.

The GOP-controlled House has long pushed to cut off state aid for Planned Parenthood, but the moderate Republicans who controlled the Senate until this year fought off the effort.

On Thursday, however, all 19 Senate Republicans decided they would vote for the amendment sponsored by Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax), who is considering running for attorney general next year.

Senate Democratic leaders struggled for hours to defeat the amendment, but they were unable to stop Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William) from voting for it. Colgan's decision resulted in 20 to 20 tie, which was broken by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who voted for the restrictions.

"It's because of my conscience, and I don't waver from that, as my colleagues found out today," said Colgan, whose district includes western Prince William County. "I ran on a pro-life platform, and most of my constituents are pro-life."

Harvard's female Muslim only hour may catch on elsewhere.

Culture: People are getting ideas at University of Pennsylvanian.

Though Mahoney said the department would be open to discussing the issue, he added that it would be a "difficult juggling act" to carry out such an initiative based on the original purpose of the building.

"When Pottruck was opened, it was a center that was open to the entire community and in that sense it was supposed to bring people together - black, white, Asian, Muslim, male and female," he said.

College junior and Muslim Students Association vice president Amanda El-Dakhakhni said that many Muslim students and faculty members have suggested that such a policy be implemented.

"I think there's a significant number of women that would take advantage of it," she said.

Although there has not yet been a push for a policy similar to Harvard's, "it's definitely wanted," she said. "This might be the next step of making [the MSA] known on campus."

El-Dakhakhni suggested making one level of Pottruck women-only for a few hours instead of closing the entire facility, an idea that Mahoney said would likely be unfeasible because "the building is open for everybody."

Al Qaeda Fatwa against Geert Wilders

EU: While the Dutch Cabinet puts its own fatwa on Wilders in a move to stop him from showing his movie.

The terrorist network Al-Qaeda has given orders for the assassination of MP Geert Wilders, newspaper De Telegraaf reports. The Party for Freedom (PVV) leader must be 'slaughtered', the orders say, because he has insulted Islam and the prophet Mohammed.

The newspaper based its report on a recent message on a protected web forum of internet site, which De Telegraaf claims is affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The internet threat, which was posted on 28 January, was intercepted by the American research institute SITE Intelligence Group, the newspaper reports.

"In the name of Allah, we ask you to bring us the neck of this unbeliever who insults Islam and the Muslims and ridicules the prophet Mohammed," the site says about Wilders, according to the newspaper.

The message honours Mohammed Bouyeri as a hero. This Amsterdam-born Moroccan Muslim cut Islam-critic Theo van Gogh's throat on 2 November 2004. The message also appeals for readers to "terrorise" the Netherlands to prevent Wilders' controversial film on the Koran from being broadcast.

Radio Netherlands.

Two Dutch cabinet ministers have held a meeting with Dutch right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders to dissuade him from releasing his film critical of Islam, Radio Netherlands reported Wednesday.

Dutch Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin and Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen met Wilders on behalf of the Dutch cabinet. They warned him that he could face prosecution for bringing out the film, the report said.

The Dutch government is concerned that the film, due to be released in March, would damage the reputation of the Netherlands and to have consequences for Dutch businesses abroad.

Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam, anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV) which has nine seats in the lower house of Dutch parliament, described the meeting as an attempt at intimidation, Radio Netherlands said.

Its official, the Dutch have surrender to terrorism.

House passes $18 billion in new taxes for Big Oil

Bidness: Wonderful, either the Dems have no economic intelligence or the public is so stupid idiotic bills like this can pass without thought to the consequences.

The House approved $18 billion in new taxes on the largest oil companies Wednesday as Democrats cited record oil prices and rising gasoline costs in a time of economic troubles.

The money collected over 10 years would provide tax breaks for wind, solar and other alternative energy sources and for energy conservation. The legislation, approved 236-182, would cost the five largest oil companies an average of $1.8 billion a year over that period, according an analysis by the House Ways and Means Committee. Those companies earned $123 billion last year.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, noted it was two years ago, when oil cost $55 a barrel, when Bush said oil companies need no government subsidies to pursue more oil or gas.

"With the price of oil hovering around $100 do we really believe this incentive is justified?" asked Hoyer. "Do these companies need taxpayer subsidies to look for new product? They don't need any incentive."

Republicans said the measure unfairly targeted a single industry.

"It punishes the oil and gas industry. This is wrongheaded. It will result in higher prices at the gasoline pump. It's spiteful and wrong," said Rep. Jim McCrery, R-Louisiana.

The top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, which developed the tax proposals, he cited statistics that show that oil companies already pay more taxes than many other industries.

Hoyer acknowledged "this legislation alone will not bring down gas prices." But he said the measure will provide a needed boost to alternative energy industries -- solar, wind, biofuels, and geothermal -- and help promote energy conservation. "That may bring down gas prices three years from now, 10 years from now,"

The bill would roll back two lucrative tax breaks for the five largest U.S. oil companies. One helps manufacturers compete against foreign companies; the other gives American companies a tax credit related to oil and gas extraction outside the country. Democrats estimated that those current breaks would save the oil companies $17.65 billion in taxes over the next 10 years.

The House-passed bill would use that money to promote renewable energy industries -- such as wind, solar and cellulosic ethanol plants -- by extending tax credits that recently expired or are scheduled to end at year's end.

The bill would offer tax credits for more energy efficient homes and a credit for "plug-in" gas-electric hybrid cars that would capture electricity off the power grid, once such cars become available in showrooms.

So the idea is to tax the oil companies while making it harder for them to compete in a growing international oil market use the tax money to prop up alternate fuels sources. Sources that are either not economically viable(wind, solar) or harm the environment while pushing up feed crop(ethanol) prices. On top of that oil companies will just pass the tax burden back to the public and with added expenses will slow down oil exploration and drilling since it makes to sense to actually produce more to be taxed more.

What we have here is a classic pass the tax shell game that will work out even more expensive for consumers in the end. But hey, lets stick it to big oil. They should pass a windfall tax, it worked so well in the 70s.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Corzine Seeks to Cut N.J. Budget and Work Force

New Jersey: What the hell? A Dem governor looking to cut state workers and budget cuts?

Declaring that New Jersey had reached an irrevocable “turning point” because of years of bad fiscal habits, Gov. Jon S. Corzine proposed a budget on Tuesday that would reduce the state’s work force by 3,000 people, close three departments and prune expenses for services including colleges and hospitals.

If enacted as proposed, the overall state budget would shrink by $500 million to $33 billion, marking only the fifth time in the last 50 years that New Jersey would spend less money than it did the previous year. Assuming inflation this year at around 3 percent, as it has been since 2004, the cut would be equivalent to roughly $1.5 billion, or 4.4 percent of last year’s budget, in real terms.

“Frankly, New Jersey has a government its people cannot afford,” a somber Governor Corzine told a stone-silent group of legislators, lobbyists and local officials in his annual budget address.

“We must turn away from the era of spending and borrowing beyond our means, once and for all,” he said. “In practical terms, failing to take on the tough choices will only force New Jersey into a deeper fiscal swamp.”

No no no, this isn't right. Who is this realistic spending cutting man who claims to be Gov. Corzine? It has to be a trap or a pod person in place of the real governor.

Virginia Imam now thought to have aid Al-Qaeda.

Terrorism: Via Washington Post.

Even before the 2001 terrorist attacks, American-born imam Anwar al-Aulaqi drew the attention of federal authorities because of his possible connections to al-Qaeda. Their interest grew after 9/11, when it turned out that three of the hijackers had spent time at his mosques in California and Falls Church, but he was allowed to leave the country in 2002.

New information later surfaced about his contacts with extremists while in the United States. Now, U.S. officials are saying for the first time that they believe that Aulaqi worked with al-Qaeda networks in the Persian Gulf after leaving Northern Virginia. In mid-2006, Aulaqi was detained in Yemen at the request of the United States. To the dismay of U.S. authorities, Aulaqi was released in December.

"There is good reason to believe Anwar Aulaqi has been involved in very serious terrorist activities since leaving the United States, including plotting attacks against America and our allies," said a U.S. counterterrorism official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

U.S. authorities were limited in how far they could push Yemen to hold Aulaqi, officials said, because they have no pending legal case against him. The officials said ongoing intelligence-gathering efforts here and abroad prevented them from providing details about Aulaqi's suspected activities.

Obama's church has peaked the IRS's interest.

Politics: Via AP. I expect this is racist slam by morning.

NEW YORK - The IRS is investigating the United Church of Christ over a speech Sen. Barack Obama gave at its national meeting last year after he became a candidate for president, the denomination said Tuesday.

Obama, an Illinois Democrat, belongs to the 1.2 million-member Protestant group through his Chicago congregation.

In a letter the denomination received Monday, the IRS said "reasonable belief exists" that the circumstances surrounding the speech violated restrictions on political activity for tax-exempt organizations. The denomination has denied any wrongdoing.

Obama, a member of Trinity United Church of Christ, spoke about faith and public life at the denomination's June 2007 General Synod in Hartford, Conn.

The IRS said in the letter that it was concerned about articles posted on the church's Web site and on other sites stating that Obama had addressed nearly 10,000 people at the event. The agency also said Obama volunteers had staffed campaign tables "outside the center to promote his campaign."

Harvard tries women-only gym hours for Muslims.

Culture: Via Instapundit. I think I learned a new meaning for the word compromise out of this mess.

Harvard University has moved to make Muslim women more comfortable in the gym by instituting women-only access times six hours a week to accommodate religious customs that make it difficult for some students to work out in the presence of men.

Men have not been allowed to enter the Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center during certain times since Jan. 28, after members of the Harvard Islamic Society and the Harvard Women's Center petitioned the university for a more comfortable environment for women.

Harvard Islamic Society's Islamic Knowledge Committee officer Ola Aljawhary, a junior, said the women-only hours are being tested on a trial basis. The special gym hours will be analyzed over Spring Break to determine if they will continue, she said.

Aljawhary said that she does not believe that the women-only gym hours discriminate against men.

"These hours are necessary because there is a segment of the Harvard female population that is not found in gyms not because they don't want to work out, but because for them working out in a co-ed gym is uncomfortable, awkward or problematic in some way," she said.

Though the policy was in part initiated by the school's Islamic group, Aljawhary said women-only hours are not a case of "minority rights trumping majority preference" and said women of different faiths have showed interest in the hours.
"We live together in one community, it only makes sense for everyone to compromise slightly in order for everyone to live happily," she said. "This matter is simple: Can't we just display basic decency and show tolerance and inclusion for people not a part of the mainstream majority?"

The compromise is that you shut out men to fill your desire to have womens only hours which in turn shows tolerance and inclusion of an intolerant and exclusionary demand . That makes sense. I am still wondering where is the compromise on the Islamic Society part in all of this? They played it slick and now will play the victim role for anyone that dares to question them. If this rule stays I guarantee that they will demand either more hours or permanently sectioned off part of the gym. It is all about giving an inch and they will take the yard.

Next up, asking for classes to be rearranged around prayer time.

Muslim medics refuse to roll up their sleeves in hygiene crackdown

UK: A mini followup by the Daily Mail from an earlier story this month via the Telegraph on female Muslim medical students who are refusing to roll up their sleeves to clean up.

Health officials are having crisis talks with Muslim medical staff who have objected to hospital hygiene rules because of religious beliefs.

Medics in hospitals in at least three major English cities have refused to follow the regulations aimed at helping tackle superbugs because of their faith, it has been revealed.

Women medical students at Alder Hey children's hospital in Liverpool objected to rolling up their sleeves when washing their hands and removing arm coverings in theatre, claiming it is regarded as immodest.

Similar concerns were raised at Leicester University and Sheffield University reported a case of a Muslim medic refusing to "scrub" because it left her forearms exposed.

Some students have said that they would prefer to quit the course rather than expose their arms, but hygiene experts said no exceptions should be made on religious grounds.

There is of course the predictable "accommodation" routine.

"A number of female Muslim students had approached the University of Liverpool to ask if we would provide facilities for them to change their outerwear and Hijab for theatre scrubs.

"We were pleased to accommodate this request and these facilities have now been incorporated."

Dr Charles Tannock, a Conservative MEP and former hospital consultant, said: "These students are being trained using taxpayers' money and they have a duty of care to their patients not to put their health at risk.

"Perhaps these women should not be choosing medicine as a career if they feel unable to abide by the guidelines everyone else has to follow."

But the Islamic Medical Association insisted that covering all the body in public, except the face and hands, was a basic tenet of Islam.

It said: "No practising Muslim woman - doctor, medical student, nurse or patient - should be forced to bare her arms below the elbow."

I said it before, no one's religious beliefs should ever take priority over cleaniness of medical services. If they can't deal with it, go find another occupation.

Washington Times goes Politically Correct.

Media: Give it another month and the stories that the MSM refuses to investigate/run will be gone too. You knew the Times was going left when it picked a Washington Post guy as their head man. Being the Post lite will not get you anymore readers.

Obama promises to suck up to Raul Castro

Cuba: While it looks like Raul Castro will loosen up on Cuba for Obama to reduce the Presidency of the United States to nothing more than an extension of the State Department's motto of " What can we do to make you happy only" is dangerous and naive.

I know that Obama doesn't think America is of exceptional quality and should not carry itself as being better than most but he would open the door for every tinpot dictator to get an air of legitimacy with this stance.

At a debate last week with Clinton -- following Fidel Castro's announced resignation -- Obama said he would be willing to meet with Cuba's new leader ''without preconditions,'' but added that the encounter would happen only after both sides came up with an agenda that included human rights, the release of political prisoners and freedom of the press.

Obama's campaign said Monday that Clinton ``may agree with John McCain in supporting the status quo, but the fact is our Cuba policy has failed to advance American interests or freedom for the Cuban people for 50 years.

``Barack Obama's policy will be guided by the principle of liberty for the Cuban people, and he will pursue that goal through strong and direct diplomacy without preconditions, and unlimited family visitation and remittances to the island.''

McCain called Obama's Cuba remarks last week ''dangerously naive.'' The Arizona senator brought up the issue again on Monday, saying at a town hall meeting in Ohio that ``one of the most overrated aspects of diplomacy is talks.

''For example, I don't know why in the world you would want to sit down with Raúl Castro under no conditions for it,'' McCain said, according to MSNBC.

``I have no idea what that would do except perhaps enhance the prestige of a guy who was really the enforcer for Fidel Castro for long periods of time.''

Diver in chummed waters dies after shark bite

Stupid: This is going to be up for a Darwin award.

An Austrian tourist died Monday after being bitten by a shark while diving near the Bahamas in waters that had been baited with bloody fish parts to attract the predators.

Markus Groh, 49, a Vienna lawyer and diving enthusiast, was on a commercial dive trip Sunday when he was bitten about 50 miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, said Karlick Arthur, Austrian counsel general in Miami, Florida.

Groh was in the open water without a cage or similar protection.

Anger over helping out fools with bad home loans rises.

Nation: Just wait till the programs become more well-known and people will be backtracking like crazy. You can put any buzzword on this you like but it adds up to helping out people in most cases who got themselves in a loan mess.

Seattle, which has nowhere near the kind of foreclosure problem other cities have, began a modest program last month offering loans of up to $5,000 to help a few dozen homeowners avoid losing their homes.

Not only are people in Seattle relatively prosperous, but they have a reputation for being nice, too. Yet no sooner had Mayor Greg Nickels announced the program than opposition surfaced.

“Just can’t agree with using taxpayer dollars to bail out private homeowners, no matter how the mayor tries to justify it,” read a complaint posted on the “Soundoff” section of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Web site.

Mark Ellerbrook, who manages Seattle’s homeownership program, said that, aside from residents hoping to apply, few people were enthusiastic about the program. He said he understood that reaction, given the local housing market.

“People struggle to buy homes in this city, for sure,” Mr. Ellerbrook said. “And then you have what looks, on the face of it, like the city giving money to people who made bad decisions.”

In Massachusetts, MassHousing, a quasi-state agency, began a loan refinance program last summer that relies on bond revenue. After its initial public relations effort, the agency had to make clear “that this is not taxpayer-funded,” said Tom Farmer, an agency spokesman.

“The talk radio was all up in arms: ‘Why should we be helping these people out?’ ” Mr. Farmer said. “ ‘They should have known what they were doing.’ ”

The goal of these programs is not just to keep people from losing their homes, but also to limit broader economic fallout, including plummeting property tax revenues and widespread declines in home values. Still, they pit what some government officials say are practical economic solutions for the common good against individual ideals of fairness and personal responsibility.

When the term common good pops up in any conversation, put your hands on your wallet because its going to hurt.

Illegal Immigrant backers rally in Maryland.

Maryland: I don't know why, it is liberal Maryland. It looks like a tuition break for illegals is going to pass this year as well. They have nothing to whine about considering the state.

Chanting "Yes, we can!" in English, Spanish and French, a crowd of mostly Hispanic men and women gathered near Maryland's State House tonight in hopes of stemming what they say is a growing backlash in the legislature over illegal immigration.

Participants in the rally, held on the eve of another round of General Assembly hearings on immigration bills, lighted several hundred candles and cheered local legislators and advocates and national civil rights leaders. Most of the measures seek to curb or cut off benefits to those who cannot prove they are in the United States legally.

....The measures scheduled to be discussed Tuesday in two Senate committees include one bill seeking to cut off all public benefits to undocumented immigrants except those that are required by federal law, such as public schooling or emergency medical treat ment; multiple bills dealing with Maryland's practice of giving driver's licenses without requiring proof of legal status; and a measure making it more difficult for criminal cases to be dismissed if courts cannot find interpreters.

Other legislation proposed this year would cut off state funding to municipalities that do not enforce immigration laws and ensure that undocumented immigrants cannot receive in-state tuition. Another bill would create a commission to study the costs and benefits of the illegal immigrant population on the state.

Many Democrats have coalesced around a bill to create a study commission, and the legislature appears poised to repeat a heated debate from last year, when an at tempt to allow illegal immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition rates at Maryland's public colleges and universities narrowly failed.

This year, advocates from CASA of Maryland, the state's largest Latino and immigrant advocacy organization, have said that they have the votes to ensure approval of the tuition bill, and they pre dicted that it would survive a promised Republican filibuster.

Polygamy demands grow in Spain, other EU countries.

EU: Its like illegals here demanding driver licenses. We are doing it so why not make it legal.

MADRID - Spain is not the only country in the European Union that has had to deal with the question of polygamy among its foreign nationals. In Britain, comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams two weeks ago about the inevitability of British law having to accept some aspects of Sharia, or Islamic law, have sparked a lively debate.

France and Italy are also discussing the question of the legal ramifications of practices and traditions that stand outside national jurisprudence. In both countries, censuses show that there are tens of thousands of men with more than one wife. Some groups have called for changes to the law to deal with the situation.

In Spain, Muslim leaders have called for polygamy on the part of Muslims to be accepted within Spanish law. They argue that such a move would be no different to the recent legislation permitting same-sex marriage.

The government has kept out of the debate for the moment. But Octavio Granados, the head of the Social Security department, is worried. "This is a complicated matter based on two opposing principles: protecting the families who are dependent on the deceased worker; and not accepting a practice that is contrary to the rights of women," he says.

Monday, February 25, 2008

BBC series on white working classes calling ruckus.

UK: I love a good politically incorrect series though it is the BBC so by the end of it the whole thing is whitey's fault or something.

The white working classes feel "politically alienated" and frightened to speak out, a senior BBC executive has claimed.

Richard Klein said poorer whites believe they are "threatened economically and stifled socially" and that they no longer have a voice.

Mr Klein, the corporation's commissioning editor for documentaries, has courted controversy before.

He previously admitted that the political correctness the BBC is frequently accused of is at odds with many of its viewers.

His latest comments come ahead of a season of BBC2 programmes under the banner White, which he is overseeing and which he believes can play a part in easing the anxieties of that section of the community.

He said: "You don't hear white, working-class opinions often enough on TV.

"There's a large group of people who feel politically alienated, threatened economically and stifled socially. They feel they haven't got a voice."

He said many people interviewed for the programmes felt they could not say what they really thought for fear of being criticised.

"I wanted to change that. And I think it was important for the BBC to try and have a go at it."

The season has already provoked controversy, with politicians and race campaigners claiming the BBC should not be singling out ethnic groups.

Eh? That is what BBC does all the time and gets praised for it showing off the multicult landscape of New UK or something.

There are fears from some that it will play into the hands of Right-wing groups like the BNP, by portraying white people as victims. One of the programmes, All White In Barking, will focus on a BNP activist.

Mr Klein, speaking to the Radio Times, admitted some viewers might consider the language and sentiments expressed in the programmes as racist.

But he added: "I don't think we're taking a stand here: we're hosting a debate. Quite a lot of these programmes are challenging to watch. What you get are sympathetic characters, complex responses to circumstances, and some people who are not particularly nice.

It should be interesting to watch and see how much of a fit it causes to professional race groups.

Oh hai! Iran weapons project 'continued'

Iran: If we did have an unbiased robust objective press by now they would be calling sources at the NIE asking why the hell is the EU/IAEA going in the opposite direction?

The UN's nuclear watchdog has been told Iran may have continued secret work on nuclear weapons after 2003, the date US intelligence suggested the work ceased.

A US National Intelligence Estimate released last December said Tehran had frozen its atomic programme in 2003.

But documents presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) suggest the work continued.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, angrily dismissed the documentats as "forgeries".

Simon Smith, Britain's ambassador to the IAEA, said material presented to the IAEA in Vienna came from multiple sources and included designs for a nuclear warhead, plus information on how it would perform and how it would fit onto a missile.

"Certainly some of the dates that we were talking about... went beyond 2003," he said.

GOP fears charges of racism, sexism

Politics: If this is how the GOP is going to act now, just don't bother with a nominee or convention or campaign run then You have already lost.

"....Republicans interviewed for this story uniformly believe they will have to be especially careful. Many expect to be held to a higher rhetorical standard than is customary in campaigns, in part because of perceptions of intolerance that still dog the party.

“Fair or unfair, but that’s going to be a reality,” said GOP strategist John Weaver, a longtime confidant of John McCain. “The P.C. [politically correct] police will be out and the standards will be very narrow.”

The McCain camp is only beginning to explore this dilemma, aides said.

McCain’s strategic team still lacks survey research on either of their likely opponents in the general election, inhibiting their capacity “to discuss it intelligently,” a top adviser said. The campaign is currently occupied with “getting our act together structurally.”

“But my basic thought on it is that McCain is not much of a negative campaigner anyhow,” the advisor said. “When he does get into debates with people it’s on issues, substance. So I don’t think we are going to have to train our candidate not to insult people.”

The potential for mischief reaches well beyond any “undisciplined messaging” that the Republican nominee might engage in. In the case of the Clinton campaign, it has been the surrogates – like former President Clinton – who have been the source of much of the blowback for imprudent language.

“What I would not do is do what Bill Clinton has done,” said Ed Rollins, Mike Huckabee’s campaign chairman. “I would not in any way, shape, or form trivialize the strength of an Obama or compare him to another candidate.”

But some on the right are equally wary of unnecessary timidity. According to their thinking, the Democratic candidate begins as the frontrunner in the general election – and that will compel the Republican Party and its nominee to run a fiercely aggressive campaign.

“If we approach this campaign from the standpoint that we need to take political sensitivity training because one candidate is a woman or one candidate is black, I think we are approaching it from the wrong standpoint because that already handcuffs us,” said Republican strategist Tony Fabrizio. “If McCain is afraid, or shies away from taking on Obama because that’s what they worry about, then they’ve lost the battle to begin with.”

Obama supporters like the media and other Dems will play the race card no matter what. This is going to be the biggest defense showing for a Dem candidate by the media in forever. They hated John Kerry and they almost pulled him over the finish line. Obama is a dream come true and he will be defended at all costs.

But as Fabrizio, play or go home. There is more than enough on his record and speeches to nail him. If he tries to make a race case out of something that is clearly not, hit back hard.

Horse Industry fails at making revenue from slot machines.

Business: Here in Florida, they go the bright idea to save the racing industry by introducing slot machines at the race track. They failed to realize that people go to gamble at the Indian reservations like the Hard Rock Casino because it most takes after Las Vegas. No one cares to go to a harness or regular race tracks just to play slots. Its like eating at a 7-11 when you know there is a five star restaurant down the street.

Plus the owners don't have to share the money adds to the problem.