Saturday, May 10, 2008

Obama lies out of his ass about talking to Iran.

Politics: The hubris in the Obama camp must be so high they think they can say something like this and everyone will just oh and ah like the media whores in the youtube clip snapping away at Obama in jeans.

May 5th, 2008 NYTIMES:

In particular, the McCain campaign has explicitly linked Mr. Yousef’s statements to Mr. Obama’s repeatedly stated willingness to talk to so-called “rogue states” like Iran, North Korea and Cuba.

“Well, Iran is obviously an important supporter of Hamas,” Mr. McCain said Friday.

“Senator Obama wants to sit down and have negotiations and discussions with the person who just yesterday called Israel a quote ‘stinking corpse,’ ” he said, referring to Mr. Ahmadinejad, and “who continues to advocate quote ‘wiping Israel off the map.’ ”

Susan E. Rice, a former State Department and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic candidate, said that “for political purposes, Senator Obama’s opponents on the right have distorted and reframed” his views.

Mr. McCain and his surrogates have repeatedly stated that Mr. Obama would be willing to meet “unconditionally” with Mr. Ahmadinejad.

But Dr. Rice said that this was not the case for Iran or any other so-called “rogue” state. Mr. Obama believes “that engagement at the presidential level, at the appropriate time and with the appropriate preparation, can be used to leverage the change we need,” Dr. Rice said. “But nobody said he would initiate contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and advance work.”

November 2nd, 2007:

Making clear that he planned to talk to Iran without preconditions, Mr. Obama emphasized further that “changes in behavior” by Iran could possibly be rewarded with membership in the World Trade Organization, other economic benefits and security guarantees.

“We are willing to talk about certain assurances in the context of them showing some good faith,” he said in the interview at his campaign headquarters here. “I think it is important for us to send a signal that we are not hellbent on regime change, just for the sake of regime change, but expect changes in behavior. And there are both carrots and there are sticks available to them for those changes in behavior.”

Barack Obama own damn website:

Diplomacy: Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. Now is the time to pressure Iran directly to change their troubling behavior.

Obama would offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress.

Feds: College OK for illegal immigrants

Edumacation: I have no problem with that and its the right ruling. The problem is when illegals get tuition breaks that citizens and legal residents cannot get when they want to go to college.

No federal law prohibits North Carolina from admitting illegal immigrants to its colleges and universities, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said today.
The statement from federal officials contradicts a letter sent this week by the office of state Attorney General Roy Cooper.

The letter from Cooper's office advised the state Community College System that federal law bars the admission of illegal immigrants to public colleges and universities, even if they pay out-of-state tuition.

The letter said that the Department of Homeland Security, of which ICE is a part, was responsible for enforcing the law and offered to ask the department for further clarification of the law.

The department provided that clarification today, at the request of The News & Observer.

"It is left for the school to decide whether or not to enroll" illegal immigrants, the statement reads. "The Department of Homeland Security does not require any school to determine a student's status."

CAIR protests terror drill with center posing as a Mosque.

Terrorism: Using a Mosque as the center point of a terror drill just gives CAIR a reason to whine and try to push itself onto the local law enforcement.

The emergency preparedness drill in Irving last week has gotten attention from a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group, claiming that the storming of a fake "mosque" sends the wrong message that all Islamic houses of worship may be potential security threats.

The group discovered the story through The Journal-News web site, which has had thousands of hits and dozens of comments since it was posted on Monday.

Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Undersheriff Rick Robbins, who helped plan the event, apologized for using a fake mosque to stage the event.

"I apologize for the message that was received by many," Robbins said. "After reviewing statements made regarding the use of the word mosque, I understand the misuse of the word."

Violence in Yemen after mosque blast

Iran says explosion in mosque last month was deliberate
The Associated Press

Just saying its not unpresented nor was it a slight that every mosque is a terror threat.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Anti-Semitic cartoon at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee?

Nation: Put out by the Muslim Student Association against David Horowitz. Cartoon at the link. Horowitz wants no action taken against anyone because it is protected free speech, but some idiot professor likened it to the Danish Cartoons.

Some conservative bloggers called for disciplinary action by the university, but UW-Madison political science professor Kenneth Mayer compared the situation to The Badger Herald reprinting a controversial Danish cartoon offensive to some Muslims in February 2006.

“This is exactly like the Danish cartoons. Horowitz sees them as different, but that’s just his interpretation,” Mayer said in an e-mail. “Muslim students saw those cartoons as hateful religious bigotry and wanted the Herald punished. But free speech rights do not depend on how a viewer or listener interprets the speech or message.”

Horowitz, however, responded to Mayer both on conservative blogs and in an interview, saying reprinting of the cartoons by various media outlets was different since the cartoon was circulated by a campus organization.

“It’s nothing like the Danish cartoons,” he said. “There, the editors of a newspaper made a decision that those cartoons were fair comment. What ensued was riots and some people were killed globally; that’s an attack on free press.”

Horowitz said he took more issue with how UWM’s MSA allegedly tore down 2,000 of the posters promoting his event.

Horowitz is correct, one is a news event and this cartoon is just a lash out.

Media whores cheer on Obama in jeans

Politics: One of them sounded like Chris Matthews. Via Malkin.

Its going to be a long political season.

Canadian police investigates editorial cartoon for hatred.

Canada: Yet another gaming of the system by professional Islamic group in Canada this time against a newspaper who does not seem willing to bow down.

Police are investigating an allegation that an editorial cartoon in The Chronicle Herald promoted hatred.

The cartoon by award-winning Herald staff cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon appeared on April 18 and depicted Cheryfa MacAulay Jamal, a former Nova Scotia woman now living in Ontario. She had told the Herald that she would seek millions of dollars in compensation from the federal government after terrorism-related charges against her husband, Qayyum Abdul Jamal, were stayed.

Mr. Jamal was one of 17 men and youths in the Toronto area arrested in June 2006. An 18th suspect was arrested two months later.

Charges remain in effect against 11 suspects. The Crown alleges they attended a terrorist training camp and were involved in a plot to storm Parliament Hill and bomb targets in Toronto and Ottawa.
In the cartoon, Ms. Jamal is shown saying she’d use the government compensation to fund her husband’s "next training camp."

Halifax Regional Police spokeswoman Theresa Rath couldn’t name the complainant or even the newspaper.

"We did receive a complaint on April 21 from someone who found a political cartoon to be offensive and believed it may border on hate literature," she said.

Police are still trying to determine whether a crime took place, she said.

CBC Radio has reported that Ziaullah Khan, a Halifax man who is the director of the Centre for Islamic Development, made the complaint to police and has also complained to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.

Citing policy, Michael Noonan of the human rights commission would neither confirm nor deny that a complaint had been made.

Mr. Khan could not be reached Thursday.

Dan Leger, director of news content for The Chronicle Herald, said Thursday he received a phone call from a police officer on April 25 about the cartoon but had heard nothing since until the CBC Radio broadcast.

He said Mr. Khan has not returned his phone calls and has made no apparent effort to contact the newspaper through a letter to the editor or an opinion page submission.

"I’m more than willing to meet him," Mr. Leger said. "We’d be happy to give him some editorial space if he wants to respond to Bruce’s cartoon."

Mr. Leger said the human rights commission is meant to protect citizens against discrimination from employers or the state and has nothing to do with the editorial content of newspapers.

"We will vigorously defend (the cartoon) and it would be an abuse of process for them to even contemplate initiating any type of action against the newspaper," he said

Mosques refusing funeral services for cop killer.

Crime: In a religious sense you sorta raise an eyebrow over this though someone will bury him probably in secular setting. On the other hand he really doesn't deserve that level of respect.

The leadership of the Germantown Masjid has refused to conduct funeral services for Howard Cain, the bank robber who killed Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski with a Chinese-made semi-automatic rifle.
"No, we will not bury him at Germantown Masjid," said Tariq El Shabazz, managing director of the mosque. "We don't want one slight scintilla hinting that we condone his behavior."

On Sunday evening, a friend of Cain's family asked if Cain's burial could take place at the mosque on Germantown Avenue near Logan Street, El Shabazz said.

El Shabazz declined to conduct the service after researching Islamic law and meeting with Saadiq Abdul Jabbar, chief executive of the mosque; Imam Talib Abdullah, and others.

"We don't tolerate that kind of behavior," El Shabazz said. "Their actions are not from Islam. You don't dress like a woman, you don't rob people or transgress against them or commit murder. On all three grounds, they are dead wrong.

"We are not saying that Muslims should not bury him, or that he should not have Janaza [funeral prayers]," he added. "He is a Muslim and he has that right, but we don't want that here."

The religious leaders offered to "talk the family through the washing of the body and Janaza prayers," El Shabazz said, "but we didn't hear anything more from them after we stated our position."

Ex Radio host Bernie Ward admits to child porn charges.

Crime: Former liberal talk show host admits to child porn and gets a light sentence by accepting a plea.

Former radio talk show host Bernie Ward offered a guilty plea in federal court in San Francisco today to one count of sending child pornography over the Internet in December 2004.
Ward, 57, a former host on KGO radio in San Francisco, admitted to the charge during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker. He told the judge he sent pornography containing sexually explicit pictures of minors by e-mail.

But at the request of Ward's defense lawyer, Walker deferred accepting the plea until the question of whether Ward must immediately be taken to prison is resolved.

Walker will rule on that question at a sentencing hearing Aug. 28. Defense attorney Doron Weinberg said that in the meantime, Ward's legal status is that he has tendered a guilty plea but the judge has taken whether to accept it under advisement.

The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a possible maximum of 20 years. Weinberg said he expects Ward to spend at least four years and three months in prison even with credit for good behavior.

Another taxpayer bailout of mortgage owners.

Nation: Once it started it was never going to stop.

The House yesterday approved an ambitious plan to rescue hundreds of thousands of homeowners at risk of foreclosure by helping them trade exotic loans with rapidly rising monthly payments for more affordable mortgages backed by the federal government.

Bucking a White House veto threat, 39 Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the bill, the centerpiece of a broader housing package that represents Washington's most aggressive response to the nation's housing crisis. The measure aims to unfreeze mortgage markets by expanding the Federal Housing Administration's reach and strengthening mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It also would create a $7,500 tax credit for first-time home buyers to try to boost sales and slow plummeting home prices.

GOP House leaders blasted the bill as a bailout for speculators and irresponsible borrowers. But the measure, sponsored by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), gained strong support from rank-and-file Republicans worried that escalating foreclosures are ruining lives and decimating neighborhoods.

Obama gets called out over his smary tactics.

Politics: The media swoons over him like a bunch of lovesick teens as he gets away with empty platitudes and rhetoric. The smary move his campaign carries out and gets away with trying to have him above it all finally got called out over this remark.

At the root of the dispute is McCain's decision to call attention to a Hamas adviser's apparent affinity for Obama. The adviser, Ahmed Yousef, said in a recent interview: "We like Obama and hope that he will win the election."

McCain used those comments in a fundraising appeal and has cited them in interviews.

Asked about the matter Wednesday during a taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," McCain said: "It's indicative of how some of our enemies view America. And I guarantee you, they're not going to endorse me."

In an interview Thursday with CNN, Obama accused McCain of trying to smear him by repeating the comments.

"This is offensive, and I think it's disappointing, because John McCain always says, 'Well, I'm not going to run that kind of politics,'" Obama said. "And then to engage in that kind of smear, I think, is unfortunate, particularly since my policy toward Hamas has been no different than his."

The Illinois senator added: "For him to toss out comments like that, I think, is an example of him losing his bearings as he pursues this nomination. We don't need name-calling in this debate."

McCain points out that Hamas likes Obama and Black Jesus claims he is getting smeared and tries to act above it all while lashing out. Mark Salter finally calls him out on this tactic.

First, let us be clear about the nature of Senator Obama's attack today: He used the words 'losing his bearings' intentionally, a not particularly clever way of raising John McCain's age as an issue. This is typical of the Obama style of campaigning.

We have all become familiar with Senator Obama's new brand of politics. First, you demand civility from your opponent, then you attack him, distort his record and send out surrogates to question his integrity. It is called hypocrisy, and it is the oldest kind of politics there is.

It is important to focus on what Senator Obama is attempting to do here: He is trying desperately to delegitimize the discussion of issues that raise legitimate questions about his judgment and preparedness to be President of the United States.

Through their actions and words, Senator Obama and his supporters have made clear that ANY criticism on ANY issue — from his desire to raise taxes on millions of small investors to his radical plans to sit down face-to-face with Iranian President Ahmadinejad – constitute negative, personal attacks.

Senator Obama is hopeful that the media will continue to form a protective barrier around him, declaring serious limits to the questions, discussion and debate in this race.

Senator Obama has good reason to think this plan will succeed, as serious journalists have written of the need for 'de-tox' to cure 'swooning' over Senator Obama, and others have admitted to losing their objectivity while with him on the campaign trail.

Today, Senator Obama is complaining about comments John McCain made about a senior Hamas advisor stating that Hamas would welcome Senator Obama's election as president. Indeed, on April 13th, senior Hamas political advisor Ahmed Yousef said, 'We don't mind – actually we like Mr. Obama. We hope he will (win) the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle, and he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with domination and arrogance.'

The McCain campaign has never suggested that Senator Obama supports Hamas' agenda, but it is more than fair to raise this quote about Senator Obama because it speaks to the policy implications of his judgment.

Just today, the president of Iran, whom Senator Obama wants to meet with unconditionally, called the state of Israel a 'stinking corpse.' Iran is the paymaster and state sponsor of Hamas.

In his victory speech this week, Senator Obama stated that 'wisdom' is meeting with our enemies, including Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, North Korea's Kim Jong Il, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Raul Castro. John McCain couldn't disagree more. Rather than giving tyrants and dictators the prestige of meeting with an American president, John McCain will instead meet with the champions of human freedom around the world and opposition leaders fighting for liberty .

We understand why Senator Obama doesn't want to engage in a debate over leadership and judgment with John McCain, but the American people demand that debate take place.

These are serious times that call for a serious debate on the profound issues facing our future. John McCain is ready for that debate and we hope Senator Obama will one day get serious and join it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

NBC's Brian Williams praises Home Depot job losses.

Business: Did someone pass Brian Williams stupid pills before the newscast? He is praising the fact Home Depot had to close a store in Vermont along with the loss of 80 jobs because it forces people to shop at some local ace and true-value stores where the selection will be worse and prices will be higher. I mean it is liberal people's republic of Vermont but cheering the fact of a loss of competition is ridiculous.

Plus trying to portray Ace and True Value stores as some mom and pop small time chain is flat out lying to the audience unless Ace having 4600 stores and True Value with their various 5800 retail locations is considered small time.

What PEJ learned after studying "The Daily Show" for a year

Media: It took them a year to learn what is obvious just by watching a week?

Among the study’s findings:

The program’s clearest focus is politics, especially in Washington. U.S. foreign affairs, largely dominated by the Bush Administration’s policies in Iraq, Washington politics and government accounted for nearly half (47%) of the time spent on the program. Overall, The Daily Show news agenda is quite close to those of cable news talk shows.

The press itself is another significant focus on The Daily Show. In all, 8% of the time was made up of segments about the press and news media. That is more than double the amount of coverage of media in the mainstream press overall during the same period.

A good deal of the news, however, is also absent from The Daily Show. In 2007, for example, major events such as the tragic Minneapolis bridge collapse were never discussed. And the shootings at Virginia Tech, the most covered story within a given week in 2007 by the overall press, received only a cursory mention.

Republicans in 2007 tended to bear the brunt of ridicule from Stewart and his crew.
From July 1 through November 1, Stewart’s humor targeted Republicans more than three times as often as Democrats. The Bush Administration alone was the focus of almost a quarter (22%) of the segments in this time period.

The lineup of on-air guests was more evenly balanced by political party. But our subjective sense from viewing the segments is that Republicans faced harsher criticism during the interviews with Stewart. Whether this is because the show is simply liberal or because the Republicans control the White House is harder to pin down.

Let me help you out, its because Stewart is a liberal.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Chinese firms finding it easier to build in America

Business: The Chinese are finding it cheaper to build in America and do business.

DONGGUAN, CHINA -- Liu Keli couldn't tell you much about South Carolina, not even where it is in the United States. It's as obscure to him as his home region, Shanxi province, is to most Americans.

But Liu is investing $10 million in the Palmetto State, building a printing-plate factory that will open this fall and hire 120 workers. His main aim is to tap the large American market, but when his finance staff penciled out the costs, he was stunned to learn how they compared with those in China.

Liu spent about $500,000 for seven acres in Spartanburg -- less than one-fourth what it would cost to buy the same amount of land in Dongguan, a city in southeast China where he runs three plants. U.S. electricity rates are about 75% lower, and in South Carolina, Liu doesn't have to put up with frequent blackouts.

About the only major thing that's more expensive in Spartanburg is labor. Liu is looking to offer $12 to $13 an hour there, versus about $2 an hour in Dongguan, not including room and board. But Liu expects to offset some of the higher labor costs with a payroll tax credit of $1,500 per employee from South Carolina.

"I was surprised," said the 63-year-old president of Shanxi Yuncheng Plate-Making Group. "The gap's not as large as I thought."

Liu is part of a growing wave of Chinese entrepreneurs expanding into the U.S. From Spartanburg to Los Angeles they are building factories, buying companies and investing in business and real estate.

...Chinese manufacturers, particularly those that import parts or raw materials from the U.S., are also looking at setting up assembly operations in Washington. They would save on shipping costs, Shen said. What's more, land, labor and business-operating costs are soaring in China.

Shen said the president of a Shanghai machinery maker told her that opening a plant in eastern Washington might be more economical than expanding in Shanghai's free-trade zone.

"The president told me the assembly line [capability] and quality would be much higher" in the U.S., she said, adding that he hadn't made a final decision.

More than 30 states in the U.S. have staff members or representatives in China, according to the Council of American States in China. With the U.S. economy slumping and unemployment rising, even some tough critics of China and outsourcing are courting Chinese money.

As more of China climbs the economic ladder and get more integrated in the world's economy, you are going to see more of this and more of American businesses that outsourced coming back as it becomes economically viable.

Iranian artist Sooreh Hera goes into hiding in Netherlands

EU: Just a blurb on NIS.

Anti-Terrorism Coordinator Arranges Hiding Place for 'Islam Artist' Hera
THE HAGUE, 08/05/08 - Artist Sooreh Hera has gone into hiding at a secure location provided by the Anti-Terrorism Coordinator NCTb. She ...

Background here where a Georgetown professor shows astounding ignorance given his profession.

For the third time in four months, the controversial work of an Iranian artist has been suddenly yanked from a Dutch museum exhibition.

The artist, who goes by the alias Sooreh Hera and who lives in exile in the Netherlands, said she received death threats after attempting to show her series of photographs entitled "Adam & Ewald, Seventh-Day Lovers."

Some of the photographs include depictions of the Prophet Muhammad and his son-in-law Ali in poses that would likely upset any believer in any religion.

The most controversial images feature gay men posed in various stages of undress. In one, a man wears leather chaps with his buttocks exposed, wearing a mask of Ali, the son-in law of the prophet Muhammad. In other photo two men are shirtless wearing masks of both Ali (on the left) and Muhammad (on the right).

Click here to view photos by Sooreh Hera. Warning: Contains graphic material.

Museum directors initially planned to display the work of the 35-year-old artist. But now, citing fear of reprisals and political pressure, they've changed their mind, much to her dismay.

Hera says she is fighting for freedom of speech and freedom of expression in a nation that once was known for its tolerance and peace, but now is a hotbed of religious and social tension.

"Freedom of expression has become an illusion in Europe," she told in a phone interview from a home where she is currently in hiding. "We think we have freedom of expression, but in fact we live under a sort of hidden censorship."

But John Voll, associate director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, said Hera's works cross the line and are offensive.

He said freedom of speech does not mean that one has the freedom to be as insulting as possible.

"It isn't as if we have absolute freedom in the United States to be offensive and insulting just to be different," Voll said in an interview.

"Can you imagine what would happen if John McCain used the n-word about Obama while campaigning? There are consequences. Free speech is not absolute," he said.

Actually it does mean you can be insulting as possible because you are allowed to answer back. He may be biased in his opinion considering his job title. Yet another example of Europe bending over backwards to appease.

Pro-Abortion tool rips up Anti-Abortion display

Nation: The tool name is Roderick King, he is a University of Wisconsin Stevens Point student government leader. Typical self-righteous student government leftist who believes rights are for him but not those with views he can't stand to be around. The interpretation of rights and freedom of speech/expression he expresses in the video leads me to believe he is a liberal arts major.

The UWSP pro-life group Pointers for Life put up the Cemetery of the Innocents display and spent the morning last Thursday repairing the damage someone caused in an apparent vandalizism.

That's when they were trashed a second time.

As students repaired the earlier damage, King led a group of angry students by walking through the rows of small crosses and plucking them from the ground and throwing them.

The national pro-life college group Students for Life of America told that King began to voice his complaints and said that Pointers for Life had "no right" to display the crosses.

King said it was "his duty as a paying student" to take down the pro-life display.

The pro-life students notified campus Protective Services and, when an officer arrived, most of the students stopped vandalizing the display. However, King did not stop and claimed, "The freedom of speech does not cover these signs and symbols."

According to a video pro-life students posted on YouTube, King refused to stop vandalizing the pro-life display until the campus security officer told him he would have to compensate the pro-life group for the damages he caused.

"If students had a problem with the display, they could exercise their freedom of speech maturely by protesting it peacefully, not by defacing our display," Jackie Kryzkowski, president of the pro-life student group, said in response.

After the incident, Bob Tomlinson, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, apologized to Pointers for Life for the vandalism. Student government senators Katie Kloth and Erica Wardle reportedly stopped by the display and told the pro-life students they had properly reserved the space for the display and had a right to host it.

The evening of the vandalism, Pointers for Life submitted a complaint to the Student Government Association and asked for King to submit his resignation or face discipline from the body.

Students for Life of America tells the SGA has yet to take any action against King.

If its a SGA like any other college SGA, King will be given a slap on the wrist and thats it. This is the university of today, get use to it.

Oprah and Barbara Walters are full fledged sluts!

Media: You have got to be kidding me

Oprah's highly-touted interview with Barbara Walters ran today, and it was every bit as juicy, if not necessarily newsy, as expected (many of the things Barbara dished about were already public, except for the Edward Brooke affair, which came out last week, though it was still exciting to hear Barbara talk about them).

One highlight appears below, where Barbara and Oprah congratulate themselves for, while both of them have at points in their lives been the "other woman," neither of them was a mistress (which they define as a woman who is "taken care of" by the married man she is sleeping with).


Video at the link. This is where we are in the country where two women can go on national television, admit to having affairs with married men and then come to the conclusion they were not their mistresses. What the hell is going on here. Ask the wives what they think you are and mistresses may be the nicest thing they say about you as they punch your lights out.

La Raza getting taxpayer money for housing grants.

Nation: The same is happening for the National Urban League but I have a bad reaction to racially/ethnically based grants to prop up these professional race groups.

Democrats are prepared to bring to the House floor legislation purportedly written to assist Americans impacted by the recent housing slump. But in recent days, it has become increasingly clear who this legislation is really out to serve: scam artists, speculators, and trial lawyers.

That’s right: the bill forces taxpayers to pay for a massive $300 billion bailout at the expense of innocent victims who truly need assistance and hard-working families who continue to pay their mortgage on time. And it includes language slipped-in by House Democrats at the last minute to fund a giant $35 million slush fund for trial lawyers seeking to capitalize on the housing downturn.

But the goodies for the friends of the Democratic Majority don’t stop there. House Democrats quietly tucked another giveaway into the long, complicated bill in order to benefit their political allies with virtually no prior public scrutiny or debate. Take a look at this political giveaway – “Assistance for the Raza Development Fund” – straight from the text of the bill:


(1) USE.—The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development may make a grant to the Raza Development Fund for the purpose of providing technical and financial assistance to local non-profit organizations to undertake community development and affordable housing projects and programs serving low- and moderate-income households, particularly through organizations located in neighborhoods with substantial populations of income-disadvantaged households of Hispanic origin. Assistance provided by the Secretary under this subsection may be used by the Raza Development Fund…

(2) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.— There is authorized to be appropriated for grants under this subsection—

(A) $5,000,000 for fiscal year 2008; and
(B) $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 and 2010.

In short, House Democrats are expecting American taxpayers to shell out $25 million to the Raza Development Fund – an arm of the National Council of La Raza and Democratic political ally that has made its name by promoting pro-illegal immigration policies and opposing real border security.

American families are struggling with rising costs for everything from gasoline to food to mortgages. Times like these require Congress to work in a bipartisan way on behalf of the American people. But instead, this Democratic Majority has produced a bill that rewards scam artists, speculators, trial lawyers, and political allies like La Raza…all at the expense of taxpayers and homeowners who really need help. Sadly, it’s yet more example of what American taxpayers have come to expect from a broken Washington under the leadership of House Democrats.

Vallejo Votes For Bankruptcy

Nation: When public employees make up 74% of your budget, your city has gone off the rails.

After nearly five hours, the Vallejo City Council voted unanimously late Tuesday night to file Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

The city faces a $16 million deficit in the 2008-2009 budget starting July 1 and unsuccessfully negotiated with its police, firefighter and electrical workers unions for contract concessions through 2012. Public safety salaries comprise 74 percent of the city's general fund budget.

Most of Tuesday night's 30 speakers urged the council to file bankruptcy so the city can restructure its finances.

John Riley, president of the International Association of Firefighters, said he is disappointed by the 7-0 vote to file bankruptcy.

"I think it was premature. I don't think they exhausted all their options," Riley said.

Riley said an independent auditing firm disputes the city's numbers supporting the decision to file bankruptcy. He called for an independent state audit.

The council and several speakers said the city simply will have no money on July 1 and cannot tell its employees to come to work because there is no money to pay them.

Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes, an ardent supporter of the city's filing for bankruptcy, said, "I want to make sure the City Council is in charge of this city and not those who comprise 80 percent of our general fund."

Countering the assertion that bankruptcy would tarnish the city's image, Gomes said, "Who wants to move to a city that can't address its problems?"

NY TIMES whines about McCain's choice of judges.

Politics: Heaven forbid the supreme court has judges that stick to the rule of law.

On a day when Mr. Obama won a decisive victory in North Carolina and Mrs. Clinton eked out a win in Indiana, Mr. McCain spoke about his judicial philosophy. He is determined to move a far too conservative and far too activist Supreme Court and federal judiciary even further and more actively to the right.

Mr. McCain predictably criticized liberal judges, vowed strict adherence to the Founders’ views and promised to appoint more judges in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. That is just what the country does not need.

Since President Bush chose Justices Roberts and Alito, the Court has ordered Seattle and Louisville to scrap voluntary school integration, protected employers who illegally mistreat their workers, and constrained women’s right to choose and voters’ right to vote.

Selective interpretation of certain rulings and outright lying about the events. The school integration was not voluntary and both used race as a means to shuttle kids everywhere in the name of political correctness. It did nothing to improve the schools themselves. A woman's right to an abortion and having to have ID when voting have not been constrained in either case . Partial birth abortion is a rarely used procedure and other procedures can be used to kill the unborn baby in case of the woman's health is in danger.

The entire editorial is just a temper tantrum.

Pelosi taking the Iraq war off the table?

Iraq: Via Politico and Washington Post.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is about to lead her party into a major showdown over Iraq funding by violating two Democratic campaign pledges in one fell swoop.

To the critics, whether anti-war activists or House Republicans, Pelosi has made her feelings clear: Get over it.

This week’s maneuvering over a $200 billion war spending bill has revealed Pelosi self-confidently playing what she believes — with increasing evidence — is a strong hand.

Strong enough that she is expected to break one promise — her 2006 pledge for a more open and inclusive committee process — by circumventing the powerful House Appropriations Committee on the Iraq bill.

And when the final Iraq bill reaches the president’s desk, any troop withdrawal conditions are likely to be gone from the legislation. That is another 2006 pledge that has fallen by the wayside.

Pelosi’s calculation, say political analysts, seems clear. Democrats are using the Iraq bill as leverage for billions of dollars in domestic spending priorities. As for anti-war activists, they seem to accept the speaker’s logic: More than 40 previous Iraq votes have left Democrats maxed out in terms of legislative efforts to dictate an end to the war over a veto-wielding President Bush.

Most of all, the early signs are that there will not be a backlash from voters. Democratic victories in recent special elections — Don Cazayoux in Louisiana and Bill Foster in Illinois — suggest that individual candidates are not suffering from the low public approval ratings that are afflicting the Democratic Congress.

House Republicans, protesting the bypassing of the Appropriations Committee, promise floor theatrics, with numerous floor votes when the Iraq bill comes for a House vote.

Captain Ed points out on Hot Air with the economy the number one issue this take Iraq off the schedule till after the election where a Dem congress and president would be able to dismantle the Iraq/Afghanistan war fronts(What? you think the Dems really care about Afghanistan?) If the GOP had halfway decent leadership they would move around to enchance this prospect to their favor, instead we have show votes as the answer. Another example of why new leadership is needed.

Obama CAMP takes Ayers to task over flag stomping pic

Politics: Hey, the Obama CAMP is now aware some of the people Obama has hung out with are not a positive for him.

A seven-year-old photograph of Barack Obama associate and onetime radical bombmaker William Ayers stomping on an American flag is all over the Internet, earning criticism from Obama’s presidential campaign.

The senator’s campaign spokesman said Obama is “appalled by the disrespect” to Old Glory, but decried efforts to associate Obama to the action just because the men know each other.

“Senator Obama is appalled by this disrespect of a flag we love and that so many have fought and died for. There is no excuse for anyone to treat that which we hold so dear with so little regard. But the politics of association required to link Obama to this picture in any way is ridiculous and a silly distraction from the important challenges facing the American people,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.

Okay..maybe not 100% aware but still a good move in the right direction.

Idiot House Republicans prepare for disaster.

Politics: Nothing new from this Politico that hasn't been said for the last four years other than more people telling the NRCC they don't have a fricking clue about what they are doing right now.

Shellshocked House Republicans got warnings from leaders past and present Tuesday: Your party’s message isn’t good enough to prevent disaster in November, and neither is the NRCC’s money.

The double shot of bad news had one veteran Republican House member worrying aloud that the party’s electoral woes — brought into sharp focus by Woody Jenkins’ loss to Don Cazayoux in Louisiana on Saturday — have the House Republican Conference splitting apart in “everybody for himself” mode.

“There is an attitude that, ‘I better watch out for myself, because nobody else is going to do it,’” the member said. “There are all these different factions out there, everyone is sniping at each other, and we have no real plan. We have a lot of people fighting to be the captain of the lifeboat instead of everybody pulling together.”

....Cole, on the defensive in the wake of special election losses in Louisiana and Illinois, pointed his finger Tuesday at his Republican colleagues, telling them that they had been too stingy in helping fund party efforts. He also complained that the Republicans ran weak candidates in both Louisiana and Illinois — a charge Cole made despite the fact that, as NRCC chairman, he could have played a major role in choosing the party’s candidates if he hadn’t made the decision to stay out of GOP primaries.

In his meeting with members, Cole distributed a document showing that even former Republican political guru Karl Rove had badmouthed Jenkins, according to GOP sources. It’s not clear whether Cole meant it as a criticism of Rove or of Jenkins.

But Cole’s overall message was clear, said members who sat through the meeting: “If you’re not out doing your own work, and you’re waiting for the NRCC to come in at the last minute and save you, it ain’t gonna happen.” That’s how one lawmaker characterized Cole’s talk, adding that the NRCC is “not going to have the resources” to help all members “and Democrats will have a lot more money.”

Republicans are suffering a crisis of confidence after the two special election losses. There’s talk that House Minority Leader John A. Boehner and other GOP leaders could be ousted if the party suffers double-digit losses in November.

Gingrich’s broadside did little to calm the GOP jitters.

You want to know how effective a Republican is as the leader for the Senate and the House? Figure out how many times the MSM go after them which in this case has been very little. Boehner and Tom Cole are NOT the right leadership for the party and they have brought nothing to the table in terms of forward thinking plans since 2004 where it seems the entire party leadership has been stuck in a rut. They run flawed multiple time losers in races and then blame each other for the losses.

I would be for myself as well considering how things are being run right now for Republican races. I have yet to see anything where I can point too as being innovative to helping the party. A couple of years ago I thought the Tories in the UK were stuck on stupid. Now I would be happy if some of them would teach these fools here how they got back together to their historic victory last week.

Right now, a purge of the leadership positions and rebuilding seems like a good thing.

UK: Black school chief joins the Mayor's crime fight

UK: Need some of this here in America.

Boris Johnson's first full day at work as London mayor saw arrivals and departures at City Hall.

Mr Johnson, elected on Friday, announced the appointment of Ray Lewis, an inspirational black community leader, as a deputy mayor with a key role in tackling youth violence. Mr Lewis, a former prison governor, runs a successful school for troubled youths, which he predicts will educate Britain's first black prime minister.

Mr Lewis's appointment is the most tangible sign of Mr Johnson's desire to reach out to black Londoners.

Mr Lewis founded the Eastside Young Leaders' Academy, which provides disruptive black youngsters with a combination of military-style discipline and a traditional education including poetry and the classics. It says that all pupils gain at least two A-levels and three quarters go to university.

Mr Johnson said: "We face a wave of violent crime amongst young people in the capital. Kids are killing other kids. Ray will be part of my team who will work night and day until we put an end to this tragic trend."

More from the Guardian.

Boris Johnson announced yesterday that a Guyanan-born former prison governor would serve as his deputy for young people with a brief to end the "tragic trend" of "kids killing other kids".

On his first official day in office, Johnson asked the "inspirational" Ray Lewis to deliver his "dynamic but strict approach" across London. Lewis, 44, who was educated in Walthamstow, north-east London, after moving to Britain from Guyana, is a former governor of Woodhill prison in Milton Keynes. He set up the Eastside Young Leaders' Academy, which encourages black boys to be leaders in business and law, after being appalled by the number of black youngsters who end up in prison.

His motto is: "We see no shortage of young black males in the courtrooms, so my vision is to seek to prepare as many as possible for the boardrooms." Lewis is a prominent Johnson supporter who introduced him at his mayoral campaign launch in Edmonton, north London, in March. Johnson said Lewis had given "countless opportunities to hundreds of young men in London".

Commissioners want to split Florida into two states.

Nation: It will never happen despite the whining that South Florida is so different from central and north in terms of culture and diversity blah blah blah. First off that is not true. South Florida has areas that would make people run to rural counties up north. Second, North Lauderdale officials have no room to talk considering the downward spiral that place seems to be have gone thru in the last decade. Its the type of area even starter families think twice about.

NORTH LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — One city commission wants to divide Florida into two states: North Florida and South Florida. The North Lauderdale City Commission says in a resolution that it's not confident in state leaders when it comes to collecting and spending their own money.

It also says it would be "in the best interests of the citizens and residents" to divide the state.

Commissioner Rich Moyle says they're frustrated with the state Legislature "ignoring the cities in South Florida." But he acknowledges the idea likely won't pass.

When asked Tuesday about the resolution, Governor Charlie Crist could only muster up a laugh.

Meanwhile, other municipalities and counties are being asked to join in the resolution. The boundary line would be from Palm Beach County down through Monroe County.

Its over Hillary, go home.

Politics: Even if she wins a squeaker in Indiana which is looking unlikely even now. Media and the Dem party want this to be over. Obama has to be found eating babies at this point to be stopped.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Obama Victory Racially Lopsided!!!..or traded baskets?

Politics: AP's Pickler had a nice headline earlier tonight that got a rewrite as the night went on as seen on google news.

Obama victory racially lopsided in NC
Las Vegas Sun, NV - 1 hour agoBut she said Obama's racially lopsided victory "is certainly a concern. And I think we all have our work cut out for us." Eighteen percent of North Carolina ...

Obama's victory racially lopsided in NC
MSNBC - 1 hour agoBut she said Obama's racially lopsided victory "is certainly a concern. And I think we all have our work cut out for us." Eighteen percent of North Carolina ...

Analysis: Obama and Clinton "traded baskets"
Houston Chronicle, United States - 1 hour agoBut she said Obama's racially lopsided victory "is certainly a concern. And I think we all have our work cut out for us." Eighteen percent of North Carolina ...
Analysis: Obama and Clinton "traded baskets"
WBT, NC - 1 hour agoBut she said Obama's racially lopsided victory "is certainly a concern. And I think we all have our work cut out for us." Eighteen percent of North Carolina ...

That should be a concern for Obama because if he didn't want it but he is the "black" candidate as the racially divide between blacks/whites showed up in exit polling. There is a good chance this divide won't heal come general election. Unfortunately I don't see McCain or the GOP taking any advantage of this in a smart way.

Obama makes thin the new masculine chic.

Politics: Obama inspires a lot of empty articles that make you think his admirers are trying just a little bit too hard.

Whether or not he finishes off Hillary Clinton with victories in North Carolina and Indiana today, wins the Democratic nomination or the presidency, Barack Obama's ascension to the world stage represents the dawn of new era in American history. I'm not referring to his efforts to redraw the political map, or inspire a post-racial, post-partisan politics. No, Obama's success brings about a shining new hope for skinny men.

Obama represents a new kind of masculinity - intellectual, sensitive, yet keen to participate in male rituals like the NCAA tournament pool and pick-up basketball.

At a lean 6-foot 1, (Obama's overworked press office didn't return my calls requesting his weight), Obama is attractive but not hunky. He is nice to look at, but his crisp, dry figure reminds both sexes that his key attraction is in his ideas, not his pecs. He isn't leering and dangerous like Bill Clinton, nor pretty like John Edwards, nor asexually buff like George Bush. Like John F Kennedy, Obama attracts both mothers and daughters without making husbands and fathers feel threatened.

El Paso passes anti immigration enforcement resolution.

Immigration: Another town where they want zero enforcement of immigration laws.

County commissioners are opposing construction of a wall along the nation's southern border with a resolution.

The El Paso County Commissioners Court voted 3-1 Monday in favor of a resolution that calls for stopping the building of the border wall and says local law enforcement officials should not enforce federal immigration laws.

The resolution also emphasizes placing a moratorium on immigration raids, ensuring the enforcement of labor laws and civil protection regardless of a worker's immigration status and stopping programs that criminalize immigrants.

Commissioner Veronica Escobar said the commissioners aren't advocating having open borders or not enforcing immigration laws with the vote.

"It's very important we tell the federal government we want a voice in policies that impact our daily lives," Escobar said. "If we allow federal or state policymakers to create policy that impacts us without expressing our own concerns, we are not doing our constituents justice."

Commissioner Miguel Teran, who put the item on the agenda, said some current immigration proposals are based on racism.

"Nine-eleven (the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001) came in from the north, but we're not building walls over there. We're building them here," he said.

The vote was preceded by mostly favorable comments about the resolution, which was first presented in another form last week by advocates of immigrant rights.

"You're joining the ranks of many communities across the country that are saying we're not going to be part of this anti-immigrant movement," said County Attorney Jose Rodriguez.

White Zimbabwean farmers bring change to Nigeria

Africa: White farmers fleeing Zimbabwe have found a welcoming area in one part of Nigeria where success is benefiting everyone. Its not all happy happy joy joy as another region farmers are ready to give up plus dealing with the corruption culture is a learning experience.

Shonga, Nigeria - Musa Mogadi says he is better off since "the whites" came. He's got a new job, learned new farming skills, and he can chat on a mobile phone while zipping around the countryside on a motorbike.

Three years ago, Mr. Mogadi got by as a subsistence farmer. But he now earns a regular wage as a supervisor on one of this town's new commercial farms.

He's applied skills he learned from some of the two dozen white Zimbabwean farmers who moved to Nigeria in 2005, after being kicked off their land by President Robert Mugabe and later attracted by large parcels of land on offer under 25-year leases and commitments of support from the Nigerian government.

Production on his farm is now up.

"We are starting to use fertilizers," says Mogadi, explaining that he was encouraged to buy fertilizer after seeing yield benefits on the commercial farm. He's also started planting his maize in a more compact formation, like the Zimbabweans, increasing production from each field planted.

Before the Zimbabweans arrived, there was no mobile phone network in the area and so no reason to have a mobile phone. Now he and most of the other workers have snazzy cellphones, and many have bought motorbikes imported from China, often with a loan from their employer.

In the future, when the national power network reaches the Shonga farms, Mogadi is looking forward to having electricity in his home and village for the first time.

Kenny Oyewo, who works as a farm manager, thinks the lessons being learned in Shonga should be exported across Nigeria.

"If there were at least 20 white Zimbabwean farmers in each state," says Mr. Oyewo, "Nigeria would become one of the most rich countries in the world and we would not even depend on our oil." Nigeria is the largest crude producer in Africa, but despite the country's oil-wealth the majority of Nigerians exist on just a couple of dollars a day.

Lynton Crosby, the man behind the rise of Boris and the Tories.

UK: Crosby is given credit for getting the Tories at least on track to take advantage of the mistakes of the Labour party and make their own policies well-liked enough to vote for in the election. Via Conservativehome which is a good read for conservative UK news.

Lynton Crosby's role behind Boris' win

"The political wheel is turning in Britain and it should come as no surprise that Australian political minds are deeply involved. Tony Blair copied many of the strategies of the Hawke and Keating governments to fashion his so-called Third Way revolution for British Labour. Eleven years later, with Mr Blair gone, the cycle is moving back towards the Tories in Britain, and John Howard's backroom tactician, Lynton Crosby, is being hailed as the brains behind the Conservative resurgence." - The Australian

"Much of the credit is due to Lynton Crosby, the Australian political enforcer. Whatever caused Mr Crosby's ancestor to be transported, it must have been something formidable. In 2005, Crosby advised Michael Howard's Tories to talk about immigration in a way that attracted right-wing voters without alienating the more liberal-minded.

This was the "dog-whistle" technique: a sound audible to the dog which would not grate on passing humans. In 2008, Mr Crosby moved on, from the dog whistle to the dog lead. He kept Boris under control.Lynton Crosby's ticket-of-leave has run out. He is returning to Australia. This creates a vacancy. Now that Bertie Wooster is in City Hall, who will be Jeeves?" - Bruce Anderson in The Independent

Arab-Americans want apology from McCain campaign

Politics: Debbie Schlussel wrote about Ali Jawad who was on McCain's Michigan Finance Committee accusing him of ties to Hezbollah who do have a strong following in the Dearborn, Michigan area. He was also convicted of insurance fraud. Arab-American leaders are unhappy about his removal last week.

Jawad and his supporters said during a news conference that he was asked to resign from the committee after Michigan blogger Debbie Schlussel wrote that he had ties to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. They said her comments they said were based on rumor and innuendo.

"We do not want a president who makes a decision ... based on false information," said Osama Siblani, president of the Arab American Political Action Committee and publisher of the Arab American News. "This is an insult to every Arab-American and Muslim-American in the country."

Jawad told The Associated Press Monday evening that the accusations by Schlussel were false, including any links to Hezbollah. On one particular trip to Lebanon, he said, he met with the U.S. ambassador, who arranged all his appointments with the president and members of parliament.

"This is our country by choice," he said. "We're patriotic Americans, as much as anyone else."

McCain plans to be in Michigan for Tuesday's fundraiser and plans to hold a town hall meeting with supporters Wednesday morning at a local university. There are over 300,000 people in southeast Michigan who trace their roots to the Middle East.

Jawad was potential trouble from the beginning, if it wasn't the insurance fraud it would have been for quotes like this pointed out by Jake Tapper and Schlussel.

In this 2002 story, Jawad is quoted saying he "rejects talk that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization that should be shunned by the United States and other governments. 'Killing innocent people -- we reject that,' he said. 'Hezbollah does not fit this category. It has protected its people.'"

Any Arab American leader after all the Rev.Wright stuff doesn't see this quote at the very least as trouble down the road is a fool.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Self-Righteous twit John Roberts declares Wright-free zone.

Politics: Seriously, if a Fox News person did this everyone in the media would have a hissy fit.

NEW YORK - CNN's John Roberts declared his interview with Barack Obama on Monday a "Rev. Wright-free zone" to telegraph he wouldn't ask the Democratic presidential contender about the controversy over his former pastor.

The reference was flip, but Roberts primarily talked about Iran, the gas tax and the economy during a six-minute interview with Obama that aired at 6:20 a.m. EDT.

...Roberts said it was clear that nothing new had been said about the issue for a week, and that many of his viewers believed it was time for CNN to move on.

"Rather than spend one second of time on an issue that isn't really relevant to people because there's been no news on it, I thought I'd spend the time talking to these candidates about issues that really matter to people," he said.

Roberts, co-host of CNN's morning program, interviewed Hillary Clinton an hour after talking to Obama. He didn't ask her about Wright, either.

The veteran anchor said he made the decision on his own, and has since received about 100 e-mails, all overwhelmingly positive, about it.

The declaration of a "Wright-free zone" wasn't done to telegraph to Obama that he was going easy on him, Roberts said. Rather, he was trying to tell viewers it was going to be a substantive interview, he said.

"All of the questions that are currently out there on this have been asked and answered," he said.

Please, if he didn't want to ask him questions about Wright, fine. But to make big deal(it wasn't a "flip") is pandering to Obama who is the preferred media candidate.

Teamsters say Obama promised nothing

Politics: Yes, why would Obama a union guy promise a union that he would take government oversight off the unions? That is just wrong.

WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama did not promise to end federal oversight of the Teamsters in exchange for an endorsement, a union official said Monday.

"Senator Obama has promised us nothing in exchange for our endorsement," spokesman Bret Caldwell said.

The Teamsters endorsed Obama in February.

The union, one of the nation's largest, has been under federal oversight since 1989, when it signed a consent agreement with the Justice Department to end a corruption lawsuit aimed at rooting out mob influence.

Only a federal judge can dissolve the decree.

"We would never expect a candidate to promise that, and we would know they were lying if they did," Caldwell said.

The most a president could do is try to nominate people to the Justice Department who would support dissolving the agreement. A president also could try to fill a vacancy in the New York district where the decree was issued with a federal judge who would support ending government oversight.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that union and Obama campaign officials said the Illinois senator won the Teamsters' endorsement after privately telling the union he supported ending federal oversight.

Oprah left while Obama stayed at Wright's church.

Politics: One of the main reasons why I suspected that Obama stayed with Wright's church about a month ago was the political connections he could make with the other members. Now this story comes out on why Oprah started but ultimately left the same place. It puts her and Obama on the same calculating level.

For any spiritually minded, up-wardly mobile African-American living in Chicago in the mid-1980s, the Trinity United Church of Christ was—and still is—the place to be. That's what drew Oprah Winfrey, a recent Chicago transplant, to the church in 1984. She was eager to bond with the movers and shakers in her new hometown's black community.

But she also admired Trinity United's ambitious outreach work with the poor, and she took pride in upholding her Southern grandmother's legacy of involvement with traditional African-American houses of worship. Winfrey was a member of Trinity United from 1984 to 1986, and she continued to attend off and on into the early to the mid-1990s. But then she stopped. A major reason—but by no means the only reason—was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

According to two sources, Winfrey was never comfortable with the tone of Wright's more incendiary sermons, which she knew had the power to damage her standing as America's favorite daytime talk-show host. "Oprah is a businesswoman, first and foremost," said one longtime friend, who requested anonymity when discussing Winfrey's personal sentiments.

"She's always been aware that her audience is very mainstream, and doing anything to offend them just wouldn't be smart. She's been around black churches all her life, so Reverend Wright's anger-filled message didn't surprise her. But it just wasn't what she was looking for in a church."

Oprah's decision to distance herself came as a surprise to Wright, who told Christianity Today in 2002 that when he would "run into her socially … she would say, 'Here's my pastor!' " (Winfrey declined to comment. A Harpo Productions spokesperson would not confirm her reasons for leaving the church.)

But Winfrey also had spiritual reasons for the parting. In conversations at the time with a former business associate, who also asked for anonymity, Winfrey cited her fatigue with organized religion and a desire to be involved with a more inclusive ministry. In time, she found one: her own. "There is the Church of Oprah now," said her longtime friend, with a laugh. "She has her own following."

Friends of Sen. Barack Obama, whose relationship with Wright has rocked his bid for the White House, insist that it would be unfair to compare Winfrey's decision to leave Trinity United with his own decision to stay. "[His] reasons for attending Trinity were totally different,'' said one campaign adviser, who declined to be named discussing the Illinois senator's sentiments.

"Early on, he was in search of his identity as an African-American and, more importantly, as an African-American man. Reverend Wright and other male members of the church were instrumental in helping him understand the black experience in America. Winfrey wasn't going for that. She's secure in her blackness, so that didn't have a hold on her.'' And while Winfrey, who has endorsed Obama and campaigned on his behalf, had long understood the perils of a close association with Wright, friends say she was blindsided by the pastor's personal assault on Obama.

"She felt that Wright would never do anything to hurt a man who looked up to him as a father figure," said her close friend. "She also never thought he'd intentionally hurt someone trying to make history and change the lives of so many people.''

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Blu-ray player sales down despite format victory

Entertainment: Given the still high price which makes a mass market buying spree unlikely and the fact that for most people the leap from DVD to Blu-ray is not the same as tape to DVD. Why would sales be up? Then throw in the still high prices of HDTVs and you have right now a stuck on sales neutral product.

Minneapolis Star Tribune to go bankrupt?

Media: To be vicious about it, I really hope so. Its a red rag that has dominated and manipulated its role as a paper for way too long.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune, reeling under a heavy debt load and plummeting advertising sales, is on the brink of bankruptcy, The Post has learned.

One of the nation's top dailies, "The Strib," as it is known to readers in the Twin Cities, recently hired the Wall Street powerhouse Blackstone Group to restructure its balance sheet after failing to meet its debt obligations, according to people familiar with the company.

The broadsheet is unlikely to shutter its doors, but its creditors, including the banking giant Credit Suisse Group, figure to eventually end up controlling the paper. Down the road, the creditor group could then sell it after dramatically cutting costs.

The private-equity firm Avista Capital Partners, run by former Credit Suisse deal maker Tom Dean, purchased the Star Tribune from the McClatchy Co. in 2006 for $530 million. The New York firm, which put up $100 million of its own money and borrowed the rest, stands to lose its entire investment, sources said.

Immigration raid on San Francisco restaurant chain.

Immigration: Just because you are a sanctuary city doesn't mean you won't get raided.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Friday stormed 11 El Balazo restaurants around the Bay Area, arresting 63 illegal immigrants - and drawing the outrage of immigration advocates who had marched the previous day to call for the legalization of undocumented workers.

The raids began at 10:30 Friday morning in San Francisco, San Ramon, Lafayette, Concord, Pleasanton and Danville and involved 62 people from Mexico and one from Guatemala.

Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for the immigration agency, called the arrests "a targeted enforcement action" that is part of a continuing criminal investigation she couldn't discuss further.

Immigration officials photographed, fingerprinted and interviewed all of those arrested. Ten women and one man were quickly released on humanitarian grounds, including pregnancy and medical concerns, pending future immigration proceedings, Kice said.

The rest were being processed, and the majority of them were expected to be released under supervision. Some of the illegal immigrants had prior criminal convictions or deportation orders and will be detained.

Evelyn Sanchez, advocacy coordinator for the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, was trying to connect with the workers as they were released to ensure they knew their rights and were treated fairly.

She said the immigration agents got search warrants for the El Balazo restaurants, ordered the doors be shut and interrogated the employees inside.

"It was a gross violation of civil rights, and it's just unfortunate that this happened the day after May Day when literally thousands of immigrants throughout the Bay Area marched to have this type of activity stopped," she said. "It just goes to show we need new immigration laws."

Uh... they followed procedure and still a violation of civil rights? Don't be illegal.

Obama: Clinton's too forceful about taking out Iran.

Politics: Obama is like a deer in headlights trying to take on this statement from Hillary who can point out what a wimp he is to a threat to one of our allies.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama on Sunday accused Sen. Hillary Clinton of echoing the "bluster" of President Bush when she said the U.S. would be able to "obliterate" Iran if it used nuclear weapons against Israel.

"It's not the language we need right now, and I think it's language reflective of George Bush," Obama told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Clinton made the statement on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday. She said that "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran [if it attacked Israel]."

"In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them," Clinton said.

Not long after Obama weighed in Sunday on Clinton's remark, she was asked about what he said while she was being interviewed on ABC's "This Week."

She stood her ground, saying warnings of "massive retaliation" are needed to keep the Islamic republic in check.

Obama and Clinton's sparring comes two days before critical Democratic primaries in Indiana and North Carolina.

Obama, addressing Clinton's statement about Iran, said, "We have had a foreign policy of bluster and saber-rattling and tough talk, and in the meantime have made a series of strategic decisions that have actually strengthened Iran."

Obama said that Israel is "the most important ally" the United States has in the Middle East, and that Washington would respond "forcefully and appropriately" to any attack.

"But it is important that we use language that sends a signal to the world community that we're shifting from the sort of cowboy diplomacy, or lack of diplomacy, that we've seen out of George Bush," he said. "And this kind of language is not helpful."

"When Iran is able to go to the United Nations complaining about the statements made and get some sympathy, that's a sign that we are taking the wrong approach," Obama said.

Al Qaeda could go to the UN and get sympathy along with lesser despots and dictators mainly on the human rights council. Pointing out that America needs to worry about members of the UN giving Iran sympathy along with protection(Russia/China) shows Obama has the "Its America's fault" attitude that is strong among the left.

Its the suburbs wot won it for Boris Johnson.

UK: The American style divison between the city dwellers and the suburbs did in Red Ken. Of course to the leftists the suburbs are nothing more than haters.

One glance at a deflated Ken Livingstone as he faced the cameras late on Friday told the story. Johnson stared intently at his shoes; Livingstone managed a wan smile as his share of the vote was read out. It was not enough.

He responded with unexpected grace and a lifeline for the man with whom he is barely on speaking terms. Livingstone could not, he stressed, lay any blame on Brown: 'I am sorry I couldn't get the extra few percentage points that would take us to victory, and the fault for that is solely my own.' His humility will mollify colleagues irritated by his appearing, as one colleague put it, 'asleep at the wheel' during a sometimes lacklustre campaign.

Inside his camp, however, there were defiant arguments that he outperformed Labour nationally - and that he was felled by suburban small-mindedness and the over-55s. As one minister puts it: 'It was Bromley that did for us.'

As a new analysis by the pollsters Ipsos-Mori reveals, the image of the contented leafy suburb is a myth. London's outer boroughs were more likely than inner boroughs to consider traffic congestion, cleanliness and the state of roads a problem: more likely to think that parents do not take enough responsibility for their childen, and that too many people are drunk in public. Johnson's promises to evict rowdy teenagers from buses and confiscate alcohol on the Tube were manna to them.

Ben Page of Ipsos-Mori argues that newly arrived Londoners have colonised outlying areas where housing is cheaper, changing the racial and social profile: established residents fear the consequences. They experience urban problems of crime and grime, but without the cultural benefits of metropolitan life which are still clustered in the centre. And they feel like poor relations.

'The suburbs have been denatured, and it is the pace of change that affects them,' said Page. 'You have got this terrible mixture of people who don't really want to live in London so they live in Bromley now being joined by people who want to live in London but can't afford to.' Johnson may live in inner-city Islington, but he had plenty of insight into this world - Katie Perrior, one of his two press spokeswomen, is a councillor in outlying Bexley.

Veil can come off, Muslim shows in court.

Nation: Another woman and her lawyer who are eager to put into the American judicial system that a veil is a defacto part of Islam and must be respected by everyone. The problem is covering your face and entire body is nothing more than a cultural interpretation.

When a Hamtramck district court judge told Ginnah Muhammad she couldn't testify in a 2006 small claims lawsuit unless she removed her veil, she was willing to lose the case for a religious principle.

But when she showed up Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Detroit to appear in a religious discrimination lawsuit against the Hamtramck judge, the 44-year-old Detroit Muslim not only removed her veil, but she removed her black head-to-toe garment and produced a Michigan driver's license containing a photo of her unveiled face.

A contradiction?

Not so, Muhammad and her lawyer said after a 30-minute hearing before U.S. District Judge John Feikens.

Muhammad said she would have removed her veil in Hamtramck had Judge Paul Paruk allowed her to testify before a female judge. Paruk is the only district judge in Hamtramck. He also declined her request for a change of venue.

Muhammad said she routinely removes her veil at the request of female airport screeners, who check her in a private room.

Muhammad said that's the procedure a court security officer used Tuesday to screen her, and the procedure that was used to have her driver's license photo taken by the Michigan Secretary of State.

"Everyone else has accommodated her," her lawyer, Nabih Ayad of Plymouth, said after Tuesday's hearing, in which Muhammad sought to prevent Paruk from requiring other Muslim women to remove their veils in court.

Paruk demanded she remove her veil so he could assess her credibility. Ayad said judges in other countries assess the credibility of Muslim women by watching how they use their hands.