Saturday, April 26, 2008

Obama pulling a Bill Clinton on Fox News Sunday?

Politics: He is still sorta stumbling around now so what better way to get a buzz than going on high and mighty on Fox News.

A senior Obama adviser vows that he will "take Fox on" when he appears on the network this Sunday, though it's unclear yet just how.

Obama's decision to go on Fox News has prompted a lot of discussion about the Illinois Senator's relationship with Rupert Murdoch and whether Obama is trying to "court" the media mogul in advance of the general election.

It's also been met with some dismay in the blogosphere, where folks had worked hard to push Dems to boycott Fox as a way of snuffing out whatever is left of the network's credibility.

But how do Obama and his advisers view this? What do they have to say about it?

The senior Obama adviser insists that Obama is under no illusions about Fox and what it represents, and that this isn't about courtship at all, and vows a confrontational approach on Sunday.

NYTIMES goes nuts over NC GOP's Obama ad.

Politics: So anything that brings up Rev.Wright is now racially motivated.

The ad is built around the well-known video clip of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. — Mr. Obama’s former pastor — declaring “God damn America.” We have said before that we find Rev. Wright’s oratory racist. And we have criticized Senator Obama for waiting too long to denounce it. His relationship with the Rev. Wright is undeniably a liability for his campaign.

But that’s not what this ad is about. The assertion that Mr. Obama is “just too extreme for North Carolina” is a clear bid to stir bigotry in a Southern state. The ad’s claim that its target is actually two Democratic gubernatorial candidates who endorsed Mr. Obama is ludicrous.

This is too familiar. In his 1990 re-election campaign, Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina ran the infamous “hands” ad showing two white hands crumpling up a letter while the announcer intones: “You needed that job, and you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority.” His challenger, Harvey Gantt, a former Charlotte mayor, was, of course, African-American.

Helms ad was racial motivated. But the Obama ad stirs bigotry because they use Wright's words, a man Obama thinks highly of and says helped to shape his character is now out of bounds? The media is trying to put itself as gatekeeper again to keep the public rabble in check.

A Charlotte TV station says it will not air an advertisement from the N.C. Republican Party that uses a sound bite from Barack Obama's retiring minister.

"I just don't think it's appropriate to be on our air," said Joe Pomilla, general manager for WSOC-TV. "I think it's offensive, and I'm not real comfortable with the implications around race."

Operation protect Obama is in full effect.

Carme Chacon starts to wussify Spain's military?

Spain: I told you earlier that the danger of putting her in charge of the military is not her gender but her ideology. It may have begun.

When Spain's Socialist leader appointed a pregnant Defence Minister the conservative Spanish military establishment mostly grinned and bore it. But many members of the armed forces are now angry about Carme Chacón's first act in office - banning them from websites featuring football or naked women.

This week army, navy and air force personnel were blocked from accessing the websites of three publications: Interviú, which is famous for its covers featuring topless models, as well as Marca and As, the popular sports newspapers.

The Defence Ministry said that the ban on websites of a sexual or sporting nature was introduced to conserve internet bandwidth for military business.

At some times of day, it said, the internet was becoming almost impossible to use because of the volume of traffic to “entertainment” websites.

Military personnel suspected a feminist plot to deprive them of their traditional entertainment and many Spanish men viewed the measure as an outright attack.
“Of course, they ban Marca and Interviú, and that is equality,” an internet user, calling himself Carlos, said on one website. “Why don't they ban nurses from accessing Hello! or Ikea's website? That would be sexist, right?”

“There must be an effort to treat people as adults,” Mariano Casado, the general secretary of the Unified Association of Spanish Military Personnel, said.

Considering they are adults, the proper way would be to put limits on internet usage and banning those sites from systems designated for military use and when personnel are officially on duty. Off-time they have to unwind a little. I can see banning porn sites but sport sites in soccer crazed country is ridiculous.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Border agents to use paintball guns to protect themselves?

Immigration: Which means the illegal supporters are against it.

TUCSON - Some surprising news came from the United States Border Patrol.

The Patrol has purchased 1,000 guns that fire non-lethal paintball or pepper pellets. The goal of a target practice session was to hit the white rag at the end of a hall with paintballs. Border Patrol agents may soon use paintballs to defend themselves against smugglers along the border due to an increase in violence.

Surveillance video from an incident last year in El Paso shows a Border Patrol agent retreating after people pelt him with rocks. Some could argue the same about being hit by a paintball without protective gear, where a projectile from a paintball gun leaves a small welt on the flesh.

Small welt or not, human rights activists say it is a bad idea, even for a line of defense.

Ken Livingstone admits Olympics big welfare grant.

UK: But people in London are the ones getting squeezed by the rising costs of the games, so how exactly in the long run does this help anyone?

Ken Livingstone backed the 2012 Olympic bid to "ensnare" Government money for London.

"I didn't bid for the Olympics because I wanted three weeks of sport," London's mayor told an election hustings.

"I bid for the Olympics because it's the only way to get the billions of pounds out of the Government to develop the East End - to clean the soil, put in the infrastructure and build the housing."

He brazenly admitted: "It's exactly how I plotted it, to ensnare the Government to put money into an area it has neglected for 30 years.

"I am delighted that there will be billions of pounds from the Government.

"That was exactly the plan. It has gone absolutely perfectly."

His confession is likely to alarm critics who have seen the taxpayers' bill for the Games rocket from £4billion to at least £9.3billion.

The Commons public accounts committee this week branded initial costings "entirely unrealistic" and based on "wishful thinking".

The commentator down below makes a good point.

The problem is regeneration projects rarely help the poor. Poor people don't own their own houses so as an area becomes swish the rents go up and the poor can't afford to live there.The yuppies move in, the politicians pat themselfs on the back.

UK prisons so nice, people don't want to leave.

UK: I can't blame them if you get all this in a cell.

Drug dealers are breaking into jails to sell their wares to inmates, a prison officers' leader has claimed.

And prisoners are passing up the chance of escape because they prefer to be behind bars where drugs are cheaper and life is easier.

Savaging Labour's prisons policy, Glyn Travis told how inmates benefit from satellite television, free telephone calls, breakfast in bed and officers who treat them with kid gloves for fear of breaching their human rights.

Overstretched staff are powerless to stem the tide of illegal drugs, he said.

Mr Travis, assistant general secretary of the Prison Officers' Association, warned that every jail in the land was overcrowded and under-resourced, and that the entire system was "snowballing out of control".

The devastating assessment from a senior union leader is a crushing blow for the Government, which is struggling to cope with the chronic overcrowding crisis in prisons.

Mr Travis said: "Drugs are coming into prisons at a rate that's so dramatic that drugs in prisons are actually cheaper than on the outside.

"There's a classic case in Yorkshire where members of the public were climbing over the prison walls to take drugs into the prison.

"They put up ladders to climb over the walls, but prisoners were so comfortable in the environment they were living in that none of them tried to climb up the ladders and escape."

Student getting suspended for Indian reservation remarks?

Media: This is DL Hughley on the Tom Joyner show this morning talking about a gig in North Dakota where he asked a student where the bad area was and the student said the school warned about the Indian reservation. Hughley says that she may be getting suspended or kicked out because of it.

Full Clip at Black America Web

Quick recording of the story here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

NC Obama/Wright ad causes uproar!

Politics: If Obama is the nominee, McCain and the RNC are determined to screw over Republicans by demanding everyone have one hand tied behind their backs and ropes around the legs to be nice to Obama. No matter what is said about Obama by Republicans it will be called racial and everyone is being racists. Stop helping the Dems push that memo or the fundraising efforts will be worse.

North Carolina Republican leaders are standing by a TV ad critical of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama despite dissension in their own ranks and two stations' refusal to air it.
Republican National Committee member Linda Shaw said Thursday she was shocked that her colleagues decided to produce and air the ad, which shows Obama with his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and a clip of Wright's anti-U.S. comments.

"I do not support it," Shaw said. "I had nothing to do with it ... and I'm very disappointed."

Shaw, a longtime party leader, said she repeatedly urged state party chairwoman Linda Daves to withdraw the spot.

John McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, asked party officials to not run the ad on Wednesday and again Thursday.

"I cannot dictate to the North Carolina Republican Party what their message is, but I condemn it and I can appeal to the overwhelming majority of Republicans in the state of North Carolina," McCain said while campaigning in New Orleans.

State GOP spokesman Brent Woodcox said officials still planned to air the ad Monday, beginning with the evening newscasts. He said the party had not completed the details on the size of the ad buy.

Despite the ad's focus on Obama, Woodcox has said it is aimed at Democratic gubernatorial candidates Richard Moore and Bev Perdue; both have endorsed Obama, an Illinois senator. The ad was posted online Wednesday.

WRAL-TV in Raleigh and WSOC-TV in Charlotte have declined to run the spot, Woodcox and station officials said.

Jim Hefner, vice president and general manager at WRAL, said the station had determined the ad was "inflammatory" and decided not to run without knowing that McCain and national Republicans had objected to it.

Democratic party officials have criticized the ad. On Thursday, state Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Meek urged Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole to use her power to keep it off the air.

I wonder how many tv stations will refuse Obama's ads as inflammatory as an excuse. There is nothing wrong with the ad unless you mean using Wright's words is off topic.

Bush Admin: Don't speak about the jihad or jihadists or Islamo-fascism

Terrorism: Basically don't say anything that would offend anyone anywhere at anytime. Pretty much a cave-in to groups like CAIR and other whiners who think everyone is a simpleton that are easily led around.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Don't call them jihadists any more.

And don't call al-Qaida a movement.

The Bush administration has launched a new front in the war on terrorism, this time targeting language.

Federal agencies, including the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counter Terrorism Center, are telling their people not to describe Islamic extremists as "jihadists" or "mujahedeen," according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. Lingo like "Islamo-fascism" is out, too.

The reason: Such words may actually boost support for radicals among Arab and Muslim audiences by giving them a veneer of religious credibility or by causing offense to moderates.

For example, while Americans may understand "jihad" to mean "holy war," it is in fact a broader Islamic concept of the struggle to do good, says the guidance prepared for diplomats and other officials tasked with explaining the war on terror to the public. Similarly, "mujahedeen," which means those engaged in jihad, must be seen in its broader context.

U.S. officials may be "unintentionally portraying terrorists, who lack moral and religious legitimacy, as brave fighters, legitimate soldiers or spokesmen for ordinary Muslims," says a Homeland Security report. It's entitled "Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims."

"Regarding 'jihad,' even if it is accurate to reference the term, it may not be strategic because it glamorizes terrorism, imbues terrorists with religious authority they do not have and damages relations with Muslims around the world," the report says.

Language is critical in the war on terror, says another document, an internal "official use only" memorandum circulating through Washington entitled "Words that Work and Words that Don't: A Guide for Counterterrorism Communication."

The memo, originally prepared in March by the Extremist Messaging Branch at the National Counter Terrorism Center, was approved for diplomatic use this week by the State Department, which plans to distribute a version to all U.S. embassies, officials said.

"It's not what you say but what they hear," the memo says in bold italic lettering, listing 14 points about how to better present the war on terrorism.

Sheesh, CAIR will be very pleased.

Damn, Wesley Snipes gets 3 years for tax evasion.

Crime: Never thought he would get max considering he was found not guilty of the felony charges. In this case his fame was a target.

Hollywood actor Wesley Snipes has received a three year prison sentence for tax offences.

A federal judge handed down the maximum term requested by prosecutors - one year for each of Snipes' convictions of wilfully failing to file a tax return.

Snipes' lawyers had called for leniency, arguing that the offences were misdemeanours and that the star was of good character.

But prosecutors said an example should be set because of Snipes' fame.

In February, Snipes was found guilty of deliberately failing to file tax returns for 1999, 2000 and 2001, but was cleared of more serious fraud and conspiracy charges.

Arby's buys out Wendys.

Nation: Screw with my stack attack double cheeseburger and the revolution will begin in earnest!

After at least two rejections, billionaire Nelson Peltz has finally succeeded in landing Wendy's in a $2.3 billion deal that would add the chain known for its square burger and chocolate Frosty dessert to his ownership of Arby's and its roast beef sandwiches.

Now, the investor known for agitating corporations to boost their stock price has to figure out how to make both profitable while the economy slumps and more Americans are saving money on food and fuel by staying home to eat.

Atlanta-based Triarc Companies Inc., owned by Peltz, said Thursday it will pay about $2.34 billion in an all-stock deal for the nation's third-largest hamburger chain started in 1969 by Dave Thomas. Wendy's had rejected at least two buyout offers from Triarc.

Thomas' daughter Pam Thomas Farber said the family was devastated by the news.

"It's a very sad day for Wendy's, and our family. We just didn't think this would be the outcome," said Farber, 53.

If her father were alive to hear news of the buyout, "he would not be amused," she said.

Matter of fact, leave the 99 cent menu alone!

Details released about Victoria Lindsay case.

Crime: Via The Ledger.

The newly released records provide details into the March 30 incident, including transcripts of interviews with people involved.

Lindsay told detectives she sent a text message to Mercades Nichols to tell her that she was coming back from a trip to the beach.

Nichols was upset that Lindsay hadn't repaid her $4 in gas money, and Lindsay promised to settle the debt once she got her paycheck. Lindsay said she asked Nichols why she was nagging her. Lindsay said Nichols sent her a text message telling her not to talk to her like that and that she could find somewhere else to stay.

Lindsay told the detectives that Nichols warned her "when I come in the house I better not have an attitude or her or Brittany will beat my ----- and she's not going to stop it."

But as Lindsay traveled back with a friend to Lakeland, Nichols' attitude changed and she "became very nice" and kept calling to check on her, Lindsay said.

Christine Dorsett, 19, of Orlando, was with Lindsay on the Saturday and part of Sunday - the day of the beating - and gave Lindsay a ride to the house.

Dorsett told investigators she waited about five minutes after Lindsay went into the house. Lindsay came back outside with her things because she had been kicked out of the house.

Dorsett said some girls came outside and were "cussing" at Lindsay, who was crying, and "calling her very crude names."

The girls were screaming at each other for about 20 minutes, she said. Lindsay asked the girls to let her come back for a few hours so she could find a place to go.

Dorsett said she got out of her car and encouraged the girls to let Lindsay use a telephone. Nichols agreed to let Lindsay go inside.

"So she went inside and I left," Dorsett said. "And, then, I guess, we found out the next day that they had beaten her up, she was in the hospital."

Tampa Tribune say it was over a hairbrush and razor. Regardless, it looked like they set her up before she got there.

Sgt. Weiss Rasool should be fired and in jail.

Crime: He knew exactly what he was doing as wrong. He messed up a FBI investigation though the fact they got spotted so easily was embarrassing. But he used the databases and tipped off a suspect and he still lied to officials. Just to get probation and a good chance to keep his job is wrong.

In June 2005, when federal agents had a Fairfax man under surveillance, the man apparently asked Rasool to check the license plates of three vehicles he thought were following him. Rasool's lawyer described the man as a member of Rasool's mosque.

According to court records, Rasool checked the databases and left the following voice-mail message for the man:

"Umm, as I told you, I can only tell you if it comes back to a person or not a person, and all three vehicles did not come back to an individual person. So, I just wanted to give you that much."

The three vehicles were undercover FBI vehicles, according to a letter from the FBI filed in court yesterday, and Rasool's message "likely alerted the subject of the FBI investigation which had a disruptive effect on the pending counterterrorism case." Prosecutors said the vehicles were listed with a leasing company, which an experienced officer might have known was an indicator of law enforcement vehicles.

Obama and the Bradley Effect.

Politics: Via Robert Novak.

When Pennsylvania exit polls came out late Tuesday afternoon showing a lead of 3.6 points for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama, Democratic leaders who desperately wanted her to end her candidacy were not cheered. They were sure that this puny lead overstated Obama's strength, as exit polls nearly always have in diverse states with large urban populations. How is it possible, then, that Clinton, given up for dead by her party's establishment, won Pennsylvania in a 10-point landslide? The answer is the dreaded "Bradley effect."

Prominent Democrats only whisper when they compare Obama's experience, the first African American with a serious chance to be president, with what happened to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley a quarter-century ago. In 1982, exit polls showed Bradley, who was black, ahead in the race for governor of California, but he ultimately lost to Republican George Deukmejian. Pollster John Zogby (who predicted Clinton's double-digit win Tuesday) said what practicing Democrats would not: "I think voters face to face are not willing to say they would oppose an African American candidate."

If there really is a Bradley effect in 2008, Zogby sees November peril for Obama in blue states. John McCain could win not only in Pennsylvania but also in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and he can retain Ohio for the Republicans. There seems to be no way Clinton can overtake Obama in delegates and the popular vote. For unelected superdelegates to deprive Obama of the nomination would so depress African American general election voting that the nomination would be worthless for her. In a year when all normal political indicators point to Republican defeat on all fronts, the Democratic Party faces deepening difficulties whether Obama is nominated or rejected.

The sudden emergence of Obama as an extraordinary candidate who could transcend race and ideology seemed to indicate an escape route from this dilemma. But Bill Clinton sought to label Obama as his wife's black opponent, and Obama -- who has lost every high-population state to Clinton except Georgia and his own state of Illinois -- has been increasingly identified as bearing the ideological burdens that brought down Democratic nominees George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis.

Obama hit a low in Pennsylvania, despite clouds over Clinton's credibility and her husband's dysfunctional campaigning. Popular freshman Sen. Bob Casey, a pro-life and pro-gun Catholic, was Obama's faithful surrogate but proved to be no help. Exit polls showed Obama losing 70 percent of Catholics, 58 percent of white Protestants and 62 percent of gun owners. Clinton carried union members, people who earn between $15,000 and $75,000 annually, and those without a college degree. Obama was saved from total disaster in Pennsylvania by winning 92 percent of the African American vote, but the reverse of the racial divide was Clinton's support from whites, especially white working women.

The bitter remarks had an effect as late deciders also broke towards Clinton. These people are the ones to cling to religion and guns which is why they earn the scorn of upper class white liberals like Nora Ephron and Randi Rhodes.

Garfield creator likes Garfield without Garfield

Media: The site does put Jon in a whole different light and makes it better.

What if a comic strip lost its main character? Would it lose its essence? Would it even make sense? Those questions floated on Internet message boards until Dan Walsh of Dublin did us all a favor and answered them with his Web site, Garfield Minus Garfield (

The result takes Jim Davis's cartoon and strips it of the famously fat feline. All alone, Jon Arbuckle, Garfield's owner, looks manic at best and depressed at worst. And Walsh's fans seem to like it that way: The site averaged about 300,000 views a day in late February.

"The one resounding piece of feedback I've received is that people feel Jon's loneliness and desperation is just like theirs, but that his crazy antics makes them laugh at it," Walsh, 32, writes in an e-mail. "Sometimes the world can feel like a pretty intimidating place, and it takes someone like Jon to remind you to lighten up and laugh at the hopelessness of it all."

One of Walsh's occasional readers is Davis, who heard about the site a few months ago. The cartoonist calls the work "an inspired thing to do" and wishes to thank Walsh for enabling him to see another side of "Garfield."
"Some of the strips were slappers: 'Oh, I could have left that out.' It would have been funnier," Davis says.

There is another Garfield take where you remove the thought bubbles and sometimes it gets scary.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Media created rice shortage panic

Nation: High food prices are causing major problems in poor countries leading to food riots, but the media reports have made the chicken littles in this country to bulk buy more rice at warehouse stores especially of the high priced specialized types of rice.

Relentless demand from developing countries and poor crop yields have pushed rice prices up 70 percent so far this year, raising concerns of severe shortages of the staple food consumed by almost half the world's population.

The steep increases have followed similar jumps in the price of wheat, corn and soybeans that have added to Americans' growing grocery bill and led to violent food riots in poor countries including Haiti, Senegal and Pakistan.

Most of the rice eaten in the world is consumed within 60 miles of where it was grown, said Nathan Childs, an economist and rice expert with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Traditionally very little of it was traded in the world market.

But as populations crossed borders, the taste for specialty rices such as the Indian basmati, or Thai jasmine rice, which grow only in their areas of origin, spread.

U.S. production of long grain and medium grain rice is strong, and the global crop is larger than ever, Childs said. But with some of the principal exporters of the higher-priced rices, such as India and Vietnam, shunning foreign sales to control prices at home and the cost of food generally going up, the price of rice has been climbing to new heights.

What adds to the price spike — and the run on specialty products like basmati — is that rice consumers tend to be very loyal. The market is highly segmented by type of rice and quality, and buyers will generally not take a substitute, Childs said.

"California's had a pretty good crop, but basmati and jasmine consumers have a history of not switching," he said. "They could always have bought cheaper Calrose. But they don't."

Also being blamed is ethanol production and rising demand from developing countries like China and India. There are problems but to panic buy rice here in America is just stupid.

Pointing out an Obama vote = Racist.

Politics: Its going to be an annoying general election with idiots like Chris Matthews around.

Columbia Democrats students wash the "intangible filth" off the flag.

Politics: Another day another Dem student group having the moral superiority to wash the flag of the "filth" they don't agree with as a patriotic act.

Twenty American flags, newly washed and hung out to dry in the sun yesterday afternoon on Low Plaza made a bold visual statement that few could ignore.

The event, hosted by the Columbia University College Democrats, was both a commemoration and a protest of the five-year anniversary of the U.S. engagement in the Iraq War. The 20 flags, each of which represented a grievance the College Democrats associated with the war, were washed, dried, and folded individually. The complete list of grievances was displayed on the ground next to the flags, highlighting the death of soldiers and civilians and the degradation of Iraqi and American rights.

According to the media director for the CU Dems, Jonathan Backer, CC ’10, the act of washing American flags is purely metaphorical. “We need to think about the restorative process,” he said. “We need to repair the flag, to bring it back to a point where it is not an edifice of cynicism.”

For some, though, the idea of publicly cleansing the flag is ideologically problematic. President of the Columbia University College Republicans, Chris Kulawik, CC ’08, who specified that he was not speaking on behalf of his organization, commented, “I really do believe this borders on the desecration of the American flag.”

But according to Backer, the act of literally washing the flag is not only legal, but encouraged. He noted that an American flag is the only thing a laundromat will wash for free.

Still, Kulawik criticized the CU Dems for what he believes to be a presumptuous and unpatriotic act. “It says something when elitist Ivy Leaguers think that they have the right—nay the responsibility—to tell us the flag needs cleansing and that they have the hubris to do so,” he said. “I think it’s insulting. I’m outraged, and I don’t think it’s something we should accept.”

Many students agreed with Kulawik. “I was offended by Jonathan Backer’s use of the phrase ‘intangible filth’ to describe the American flag,” Lauren Salz, BC ’11, said in response to Backer’s op-ed piece in the Spectator. “It [the event] is offensive and embarrassing to our school.”

Another student stopped to ask Backer about the event, only to spit on the grievances and walk away.

President of the CU Dems Josh Lipsky, CC ’08, responded to these and other claims arguing, “What we’re trying to do here is raise serious questions in an activist way. As Democrats and as progressives, we simply cannot be afraid. We have to go out there and say what we think.”

“What we’re doing is very patriotic and I think people on this campus are smart enough to figure that out,” added Mara Richard, BC ’09 and head of the activist council for the CU Dems.

Give them some credit, they found an angle where they could mock the flag while doing it in a legal manner to cast their moral superiority over everyone else in the process as college Dems tend to do all the time.

Dowd: Obama Wilting Over Waffles.

Politics: I get the feeling Maureen Dowd doesn't care much for Obama, but as a Manhattan liberal she has to support him because he seems the best chance to win in November. It doesn't mean she won't take potshots at him.

The Democrats are eager to move on to an Obama-McCain race. But they can’t because no one seems to be able to show Hillary the door. Despite all his incandescent gifts, Obama has missed several opportunities to smash the ball over the net and end the game. Again and again, he has seemed stuck at deuce. He complains about the politics of scoring points, but to win, you’ve got to score points.

He knew he tanked in the Philadelphia debate, but he was so irritated by the moderators — and by having to stand next to Hillary again — that he couldn’t summon a single merry dart.

Is he skittish around her because he knows that she detests him and he’s used to charming everyone? Or does he feel guilty that he cut in line ahead of her? As the husband of Michelle, does he know better than to defy the will of a strong woman? Or is he simply scared of Hillary because she’s scary?

He is frantic to get away from her because he can’t keep carbo-loading to relate to the common people.

In the final days in Pennsylvania, he dutifully logged time at diners and force-fed himself waffles, pancakes, sausage and a Philly cheese steak. He split the pancakes with Michelle, left some of the waffle and sausage behind, and gave away the French fries that came with the cheese steak.

But this is clearly a man who can’t wait to get back to his organic scrambled egg whites. That was made plain with his cri de coeur at the Glider Diner in Scranton when a reporter asked him about Jimmy Carter and Hamas.

“Why” he pleaded, sounding a bit, dare we say, bitter, “can’t I just eat my waffle?”

His subtext was obvious: Why can’t I just be president? Why do I have to keep eating these gooey waffles and answering these gotcha questions and debating this gonzo woman?

Woman finds 8-foot alligator in her Florida kitchen

Florida: Its mating season and the gators are active, stay away from the canals.

OLDSMAR, Fla. (AP) - And some people get jittery about mice in the kitchen.

Authorities say 69-year-old central Florida woman found an 8-foot long alligator prowling in her kitchen late Monday night.

Sandra Frosti says the gator must have pushed through the back porch screen door and then went inside through an open sliding glass door at her home in Oldsmar, just north of Tampa. It then apparently strolled through the living room, down a hall and into the kitchen.

A trapper with Animal Capture of Florida removed the alligator, which was cut by a plate that was knocked to the ground during the chaos. But no one inside the house was injured.

Virtual fence on Mexican border deemed insufficient

Immigration: Well so much for that great scheme by Chertoff and Boeing. How come other countries like Spain can have one that works and they can't get a working here in America. All it needed to do was show the border and beam it to the agents. How hard is even that part to do with the tech around these days.

The government is scrapping a $20 million prototype of its highly touted "virtual fence" on the Arizona-Mexico border because the system is failing to adequately alert border patrol agents to illegal crossings, officials said.

The move comes just two months after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced his approval of the fence built by The Boeing Co. The fence consists of nine electronic surveillance towers along a 28-mile section of border southwest of Tucson.

Boeing is to replace the so-called Project 28 prototype with a series of towers equipped with communications systems, new cameras and new radar capability, officials said.

Less than a week after Chertoff accepted Project 28 on Feb. 22, the Government Accountability Office told Congress it "did not fully meet user needs and the project's design will not be used as the basis for future" developments.

A glaring shortcoming of the project was the time lag between the electronic detection of movement along the border and the transmission of a camera image to agents patrolling the area, the GAO reported.

Although the fence continues to operate, it hasn't come close to meeting the Border Patrol's goals, said Kelly Good, deputy director of the Secure Border Initiative program office in Washington.

"Probably not to the level that Border Patrol agents on the ground thought that they were going to get. So it didn't meet their expectations."

The Border Patrol had little input in designing the prototype but will have more say in the final version, officials said.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

America has high prisoner count, rest of the world appalled

Crime: America has the highest number of people in jail and a bunch of bleeding hearts think something is wrong with our justice system in terms of penalities. NYTIMES piece starts out with the typical America is so bad while everyone else is enlightened.

"Criminologists and legal experts here and abroad point to a tangle of factors to explain America’s extraordinary incarceration rate: higher levels of violent crime, harsher sentencing laws, a legacy of racial turmoil, a special fervor in combating illegal drugs, the American temperament, and the lack of a social safety net. Even democracy plays a role, as judges — many of whom are elected, another American anomaly — yield to populist demands for tough justice.

Whatever the reason, the gap between American justice and that of the rest of the world is enormous and growing.

It used to be that Europeans came to the United States to study its prison systems. They came away impressed.

“In no country is criminal justice administered with more mildness than in the United States,” Alexis de Tocqueville, who toured American penitentiaries in 1831, wrote in “Democracy in America.”

No more.

“Far from serving as a model for the world, contemporary America is viewed with horror,” James Q. Whitman, a specialist in comparative law at Yale, wrote last year in Social Research. “Certainly there are no European governments sending delegations to learn from us about how to manage prisons.”

Prison sentences here have become “vastly harsher than in any other country to which the United States would ordinarily be compared,” Michael H. Tonry, a leading authority on crime policy, wrote in “The Handbook of Crime and Punishment.”

Indeed, said Vivien Stern, a research fellow at the prison studies center in London, the American incarceration rate has made the United States “a rogue state, a country that has made a decision not to follow what is a normal Western approach.”

But Liptak points out at the end.

Whatever the reasons, there is little dispute that America’s exceptional incarceration rate has had an impact on crime.

“As one might expect, a good case can be made that fewer Americans are now being victimized” thanks to the tougher crime policies, Paul G. Cassell, an authority on sentencing and a former federal judge, wrote in The Stanford Law Review.

From 1981 to 1996, according to Justice Department statistics, the risk of punishment rose in the United States and fell in England. The crime rates predictably moved in the opposite directions, falling in the United States and rising in England.

“These figures,” Mr. Cassell wrote, “should give one pause before too quickly concluding that European sentences are appropriate.”

Other commentators were more definitive. “The simple truth is that imprisonment works,” wrote Kent Scheidegger and Michael Rushford of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in The Stanford Law and Policy Review. “Locking up criminals for longer periods reduces the level of crime. The benefits of doing so far offset the costs.”

Los Angeles 'is a Third World city'

Nation: Ouch.

Los Angeles is becoming a "Third World city" with immigrants making up half its workforce, says a new study.

A third of immigrants have not graduated from high school and 60 per cent do not speak English fluently, the Migration Policy Institute found.

It said this left immigrants ill-equipped to fill California's fastest-growing occupations, such as computer software engineering and nursing. The organisation added that as the so-called baby boomers reach retirement age, a similar pattern will spread across the US.

Ernesto Cortes Jr, of the Industrial Areas Foundation, a think-tank that specialises on social change, claimed Los Angeles was at a crossroads.

"The question is are we going to be a 21st century city with shared prosperity, or a Third World city with an elite group on top and most on near poverty wages?" he said.

Honda system to warn motorists of crime hotspots

Crime: If this system ever got to South Florida, Miami would be a ghost town.

Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. will start a new system this week warning motorists when they are driving close to crime hotspots.

Based on information from the police, drivers will get an alert through Honda's on-board navigation system about areas where cars have been damaged, stolen or broken into in the past, Honda said in a statement.

The new system, which will be available from Tuesday in Japan, will rate districts by level of risk.

Japanese automakers are increasingly targeting motorists with ever more sophisticated navigation and safety systems, even though auto theft is less common here than in many other developed countries.

Belgian police avoiding parts of Brussels due to "youths"

EU: I would feel safe knowing my police force has basically written off a section of a major city. (TRANSLATED)

BRUSSELS - The Brussels police are almost dares no longer exhibit in certain parts of Anderlecht, the Brussels district in the South. The reason is the increasing aggression of immigrant youth.

That informs the Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws Monday. The newspaper has a number of anonymous agents spoken. The occasion was Neredi last Thursday with a police with a luchtdrukgeweer was beschoten and agents were surrounded and attacked by a group of young people. Three were arrested by Justice released a day later.

The anonymous agents into the newspaper that patrols are increasingly not run. Recent its agents in action once by sixteen bullets beschoten. "It's around here as in Beirut," says one agent.

Via IIE.

St George's Parade axed over fear of Muslims being upset?

UK: If this was the case and even I have my limits on how far gone some of these officials are wouldn't it just piss off other groups that would make everything far worse?

A MARCH to celebrate St George’s Day has been axed – because the authorities fear it could spark race riots.

About 1,500 children were due to take part in a parade to commemorate the patron saint of England on Wednesday.

But council bosses in Bradford, West Yorks, have ditched the event over concerns it could upset the Asian community, many of them Muslim.

They feared a repeat of riots that hit the city in 2001, when an Asian man was stabbed by National Front supporters and 300 police were injured. Officials suggested making the route shorter to avoid areas where the riots took place.

They could have looked at making the march safer instead of doing away with it.

Olympics bill could soar to £12billion

Sports: Everyone saw this coming, you stage the Olympics you will pay more than the original price. Now its just a game to see if you end up like other cities paying for everything for years to come.

The bill for the London Olympics could soar by five times the original estimate to more than £12billion, MPs will warn today.

Ministers' failure to include "foreseeable major factors", such as tax and security, had already seen costs rise to £9.3billion.

But this figure excludes the £ 2billion cost of actually staging the 2012 Games and the £650million to buy land for the Olympic park in East London.

It also neglects to include the millions of pounds needed for transport and staff, the Commons public accounts committee will say.

It will add that the original bid for the Games gave an "unrealistic picture of the expected costs". When ministers put together the bid in 2003, MPs were told that the budget was set at £2.4billion.

It was then revised upwards to £4billion for the formal submission to Olympics chiefs in November 2004.

But that figure did not include policing and security, now put at £600million, tax of £836million, and a contingency fund of £2.7billion.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Idiot piece: The Health Care System I Want Is in France

Medical: Mary Cline is a first class twit. She applauds the French health care system and wants it in America. Since she is a free lance writer, the piece is mind numbing in its superficiality and glosses over any reason why Cline will never see it here in America.

There's no question you'll be treated in France. Everyone is. The nation pays the bills and the hospitals don't get stiffed. It's an all-encompassing cradle-to-grave system. My fear now is that I won't be able to even get insurance when and if I return to the states, much less be able to afford it.

"The French health care system has a lot of lessons for the U.S.," said Northern Arizona University Professor Paul V. Dutton, who has studied both extensively for his book "Differential Diagnoses: A Comparative History of Health Care Problems and Solutions in the U.S. and France."

"There seems to be a feeling that Britain's socialized health system is the only one we can look at because it's English, it's the mother country. But in fact, the French share many of the same values that American consumers seek, like choice of physician and freedom from insurance company authorization of medical decisions. The French system is already far more similar to the American ideal," Dutton said.

Except it works.

The whole piece is just as starry eyed. But last year in the Boston Globe an article by Paul V. Dutton also advocated the French health system but he actually included details. He showed why it would never work here.

"An understanding of how France came to its healthcare system would be instructive in any renewed debate in the United States.

That's because the French share Americans' distaste for restrictions on patient choice and they insist on autonomous private practitioners rather than a British-style national health service, which the French dismiss as "socialized medicine." Virtually all physicians in France participate in the nation's public health insurance, Sécurité Sociale.

Their freedoms of diagnosis and therapy are protected in ways that would make their managed-care-controlled US counterparts envious. However, the average American physician earns more than five times the average US wage while the average French physician makes only about two times the average earnings of his or her compatriots.

But the lower income of French physicians is allayed by two factors. Practice liability is greatly diminished by a tort-averse legal system, and medical schools, although extremely competitive to enter, are tuition-free. Thus, French physicians enter their careers with little if any debt and pay much lower malpractice insurance premiums.

Nor do France's doctors face the high nonmedical personnel payroll expenses that burden American physicians. Sécurité Sociale has created a standardized and speedy system for physician billing and patient reimbursement using electronic funds.

It's not uncommon to visit a French medical office and see no nonmedical personnel. What a concept. No back office army of billing specialists who do daily battle with insurers' arcane and constantly changing rules of payment.

Moreover, in contrast to Canada and Britain, there are no waiting lists for elective procedures and patients need not seek pre-authorizations. In other words, like in the United States, "rationing" is not a word that leaves the lips of hopeful politicians. How might the French case inform the US debate over healthcare reform?

National health insurance in France stands upon two grand historical bargains -- the first with doctors and a second with insurers.

Doctors only agreed to participate in compulsory health insurance if the law protected a patient's choice of practitioner and guaranteed physicians' control over medical decision-making. Given their current frustrations, America's doctors might finally be convinced to throw their support behind universal health insurance if it protected their professional judgment and created a sane system of billing and reimbursement.

French legislators also overcame insurance industry resistance by permitting the nation's already existing insurers to administer its new healthcare funds. Private health insurers are also central to the system as supplemental insurers who cover patient expenses that are not paid for by Sécurité Sociale. Indeed, nearly 90 percent of the French population possesses such coverage, making France home to a booming private health insurance market.

The French system strongly discourages the kind of experience rating that occurs in the United States, making it more difficult for insurers to deny coverage for preexisting conditions or to those who are not in good health. In fact, in France, the sicker you are, the more coverage, care, and treatment you get. Would American insurance companies cut a comparable deal?

Like all healthcare systems, the French confront ongoing problems. Today French reformers' number one priority is to move health insurance financing away from payroll and wage levies because they hamper employers' willingness to hire. Instead, France is turning toward broad taxes on earned and unearned income alike to pay for healthcare."

So cut out the lawyers, lower the salaries, cut out the admin staff, allow the doctors to have more control and loosen the rules on private health insurers who would love to cut out all the lawyering and paper work costs. That's just the start, don't forget to raise taxes because oh yeah, the system is running in the red.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he'll propose merging hospital governance and functions, with some facilities dropping some services in a bid to cut medical spending.

``The management of medical, paramedical and technical staff, investments, and support functions would be shared,'' Sarkozy said today in a speech in Neufchateau, eastern France. ``Surgery or maternity departments which provide sub-standard care have to be converted.''

Sarkozy is seeking to curb a deficit in the national health-care system that reached 4.6 billion euros ($7.3 billion) last year after a 2004 medical-system overhaul failed to rein in spending. After pushing back deficit-cutting commitments of his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, Sarkozy has promised to balance the national budget by 2012.

Under a bill to be proposed in the third quarter, Sarkozy said hospital directors will be given more responsibilities and be made more accountable, regulations will be loosened, and synergies between public and private hospitals will be sought in regions that lack health services.

Newspaper that reported the Putin rumor gets shut down.

World: So much for press freedom, though Obama's fans would like this to happen to ABC.

The Moscow newspaper which claimed Vladimir Putin had secretly divorced and planned to marry a gymnast has been shut down.

Billionaire owner Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB agent, pulled the plug on Moscow Korrespondent hours after the Russian president issued an angry denial of the report about former Olympic gymnast and nude model Alina Kabaeva, a member of parliament who is 31 years his junior.

Editor Grigoriy Nekhoroshev resigned in protest and claimed the article was well sourced.

Before being suspended, the paper issued an apology, yet deputy editor Igor Dudinsky declared: "We stand by our story."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Chicago weekend: 31 shot, 6 dead, 2 stabbed.

Crime: Blaming it on the warming weather which means this summer is going to be helluva ride.

In an especially violent weekend, no less than 31 people have been shot in Chicago -- six fatally -- and two people have been stabbed since noon Friday. The shooting victims range in age from 12 to 65.

On Friday, 15 people were shot -- four fatally -- between noon Friday and midnight Saturday, police said.

Obama the gun-grabber part 463673

Politics: Talkleft points out Black Jesus dodging the question, Instapundit and Justoneminute fills in the rest while AP points out that Obama's answers to guns when actually forced to answer is a bit nuanced.

Obama, who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago and served as president of the Harvard Law Review, has instead focused on his respect for what he contends are constitutionally guaranteed gun owners’ rights, the “passion” of hunters and the “tradition” of handgun ownership.

In February, he told an Idaho audience “I have no intention of taking away folks' guns.” Days later, when Politico asked him about the comment, he said, “It’s important for us to recognize that we’ve got a tradition of handgun ownership and gun ownership generally.”

Pressed to clarify his stance during a debate Wednesday evening in Philadelphia, Obama told ABC News anchor Charles Gibson, “I have never favored an all-out ban on handguns. What I think we can provide is common-sense approaches to the issue of illegal guns that are ending up on the streets.”

A white paper on his website states: “As a former constitutional law professor, Barack Obama … greatly respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms” as well as “the passion that hunters and anglers have for their sport.” It says: “He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport and use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting.”

Commentator brings up Obama's vote concerning the Hale Demar case. There is not much to say that I haven't said already over and over. Obama will use any means to take away your guns for the common good.

UK: Trevor Phillips warns of immigration 'cold war'

UK: The results of multiculturalism and an open border policy.

Mass immigration has led to a racial "cold war" among rival ethnic communities, the head of Britain's race relations watchdog has warned.

Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), said failed immigration policy risked nurturing racism among millions of Britons.

The gloomy assessment is the latest controversial outburst by Mr Phillips on the subject of immigration, he has previously warned of racial "segregation" in Britain, as well as "white families" being "cheated out of their right to social housing by newly arrived migrants".

In an address to mark the 40th anniversary of Enoch Powell's "rivers of blood" speech, in which Powell warned of the dangerous consequences of the rising level of immigration, Mr Phillips said such predictions had not come true.

However, he warned that out of control immigration policy had sparked a "war" which was just as concerning.

Mr Phillips said: "Powell predicted 'hot' conflict and violence.

"However, we have seen the emergence of a kind of cold war in some parts of the country, where very separate communities exist side by side... with poor communication across racial or religious lines.

advertisement"In essence, Powell so discredited any talk of planning or control that it gave rise to a migration policy in which Government knew too little about what was going on.

"Ironically, Powellism and the weakening of control it engendered may have led Britain to admitting more immigrants than fewer."

Last week the Telegraph reported on a warning from an influential Lords committee that the number of immigrants entering Britain should be capped, amid fears it was putting too much pressure on public services and housing.

In the speech, delivered in the same Birmingham hotel where Mr Powell sparked public debate on immigration in 1968, Mr Phillips warned Government that it risked playing into the hands of parties such as the British National Party if it failed to address the concerns of the "settled" population.

UK: Welfare system produces useless slugs.

UK: This is just common sense.

A "why bother?" economy has been created in Britain which has left thousands with no motivation to work, a report published today concludes.

Successive governments have encouraged a welfare culture that has left every family facing a £1,300 bill because the poor stay poor, it claims.

The findings by the public services think tank Reform suggest that increased welfare dependency has made it more difficult for those on the lowest incomes to do better.

An education system with a "dismal record" of educating the poorest, and a complex welfare system, have together created a far more divided society than other European countries, it finds.

Means-tested benefits and higher taxes have reduced the incentives available to those on low incomes to better themselves, Reform says.

It concludes: "The unintended consequence has been a 'why bother?' economy in which a significant minority do not have the capability or motivation to succeed."

The report finds that social mobility has not improved since the 1970s, despite substantial increases in benefits-Compared to other industrial countries the UK has an above-average number of the low-skilled relying on state handouts, which reduces the economy's productivity.

A generous welfare system and people who find out it is better to be on it than try to get work plus a bad school system equals a parasitic sub-section of the population. They come to believe it is their given right to receive a check from the government.

EU silences the bagpipes.

Scotland: The nanny state strikes again.

THEIR high-pitched skirl has put fear into the hearts of Scotland’s enemies and sent sensitive tourists reaching for the cotton wool.

Now, however, the bagpipes are to be quietened by an edict from Brussels.

From this month, pipers must adhere to strict volume limits or risk breaking European Union health and safety laws. Bands have been ordered to tone down or wear earplugs to limit noise exposure to 85 decibels.

Typically, a pipe band played at full volume peaks at 122 decibels outdoors, noisier than the sound of either a nightclub or a chainsaw, which rises to 116 decibels.

The prospect of more subdued bagpipes will be welcomed by some, but musicians have warned performances will suffer.

Pipe majors claim it is virtually impossible to play quietly or to tune a band when the musicians are wearing earplugs, raising the prospect of a cacophony at showcase events such as the Edinburgh military tattoo.

The rules in effect limit practice without earplugs to about 15 minutes a day.

While piping schools have begun issuing students with hearing protectors, pipe majors are preparing to make a stand.

Richard Quest arrested for meth and rope around his genitals.

Media: I don't care what kind of games people want to play in their bedroom but nothing good happens if you have a rope tied around your junk. Maybe on meth it looks like a great idea.

This is CNN? Kinky!

CNN personality Richard Quest was busted in Central Park early yesterday with some drugs in his pocket, a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals, and a sex toy in his boot, law-enforcement sources said.

Quest, 46, was arrested at around 3:40 a.m. after a cop spotted him and another man inside the park near 64th Street, a police source said.

The criminal complaint against Quest said the park was closed at the time - something Quest should have known because of all the signs saying "Park Closed 1 a.m. to 6 a.m."

Quest was initially busted for loitering, the source said. Aside from the oddly configured rope, the search also turned up a sex toy inside of his boot, and a small bag of methamphetamine in his left jacket pocket.

It wasn't immediately clear what the rope was for.