Saturday, May 17, 2008

Correction to the Greg Mitchell/Mark Glaser catfight on Romenesko.

Media: They are fighting over attendence to some paper conference.

From GREG MITCHELL: Subject -- Response to Glaser's response. Maybe Mark was too busy a-twittering to get the quote down accurately. I would never say that E&P was the first site to ever link to blogs. What I did say was that we were ONE of the first MSM sites to REGULARLY link to POLITICAL blogs. Some significant qualifiers there.


"liberal POLITICAL blogs"

Lets get it right people. Trying to make Editor and Publisher out to be an objective reporter on the entire newspaper industry is stretching the facts.

Dutch political cartoonist arrested for hate speech against Muslims

Media: Thats the end of the netherlands, turn out the lights. I wait for the world press to be outraged by this political prosecution.... yeah right.

Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin has attracted sharp criticism from a large part of the Lower House following the surprise arrest of cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot. He is facing charges of discrimination.

The arrest took place last Tuesday. The well-known stand-up comedian Hans Teeuwen, a friend of Nekschot, said on TV programme Pauw en Witteman that around 10 police dragged the cartoonist out of his home in Amsterdam in a brutal manner. His computer and telephone were seized, according to a furious Teeuwen.

The Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) in Amsterdam confirmed that Nekschot ('Neck Shot') was arrested for the publication of cartoons that are discriminatory against Muslims and people of darker skin. The cartoonist was held for about a day and a half and interrogated twice. The OM still has to decide whether he will actually be prosecuted.

The arrest is particularly remarkable because it follows a complaint dating from 2005. Three years later, there was suddenly reason to take Nekschot by surprise in his home, said Teeuwen with incomprehension.

Hirsch Ballin said Friday the arrest was only now carried out because Nekschot's identity was not known to the OM before. According to Geenstijl.nl website, this is nonsense because internet providers must provide the details of operators of websites they host if the OM asks for this as part of a criminal investigation.

The OM did not bother to make such a request before, but Hirsch Ballin apparently now wants headlines such as 'Cartoonist Arrested in The Netherlands' to be send into the world to improve tense relations with Arab countries, Geenstijl suggested.

.....The arrest followed an investigation of the work of Nekschot, after a complaint was made against him in 2005 by Abdul Jabbar van de Ven. This Dutch convert to Islam calls himself an Imam. After the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, he said on TV he would thank Allah if he could arrange for Geert Wilders to die, "for example of cancer".

Jabbar van de Ven made the complaint to the National Discrimination Expertise Centre (LECD). This complaint was passed on to the OM. According to Geenstijl.nl, Paul Velleman, the prosecutor who gave the order for the cartoonist's arrest, is also the head of the LECD.

Gregorius Nekschot publishes mainly on the Internet, but also produced a book titled 'Nekschot: Sick jokes.' Theo van Gogh, assassinated by a Muslim terrorist in 2004, gave space on his website to the work of Nekschot.

According to Teeuwen, the cartoonist was intimidated by one of the officers during his arrest, who apparently said that his real surname would be made public. "A pretty intimidating remark." Precisely because of the threat of radical Muslims, Nekschot is very cautious about who he gives his real name to, said Teeuwen.

Prosecutor Paul Velleman is also leading the OM team that is investigating whether Wilders should be prosecuted for discrimination, according to Geenstijl.nl. In 2005, Velleman decided that the radical E Tawheed mosque in Amsterdam could not be prosecuted for selling books in which calls were made for throwing homosexuals from apartment buildings head-first.


More from Deutsche Welle:

"He was arrested with a great show of force, by around 10 policemen," a spokeswoman for publisher Uitgeverij Xtra told the Associated Press on Friday. She asked that her name not be used because the cartoonist and publisher have received death threats.

Nekschot is known primarily for cartoons mocking Muslims and leftists, though the spokeswoman said he is a satirist who targets "any strong ideology."

The arrest follows an investigation by the public prosecutor after Imam Abdul Jabbar van de Ven, a well-known Dutch convert to Islam, filed a complaint about Nekschot's cartoons in 2005.

Tom Harkin: Military families just too military.

Military: So if you come from a long line of military service in your family, you may be a crazy son of a bitch with no method of seeing anything outside a military context or something... I guess this is the new attack on McCain by the lesser members of the Dem party.

Washington, D.C. — Republican presidential candidate John McCain's family background as the son and grandson of admirals has given him a worldview shaped by the military, "and he has a hard time thinking beyond that," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Ia., said Friday.

"I think he's trapped in that," Harkin said in a conference call with Iowa reporters. "Everything is looked at from his life experiences, from always having been in the military, and I think that can be pretty dangerous."

Harkin said that "it's one thing to have been drafted and served, but another thing when you come from generations of military people and that's just how you're steeped, how you've learned, how you've grown up."

A McCain spokesman said Harkin's remarks were offensive and showed that Democrats are out of touch with Americans' values.

"Senator Harkin's comments are an affront to the many thousands of Iowans who have served our country so valiantly for generations," said spokesman Jeff Sadosky. "This sort of attack shows just how out of touch Democratic leadership has become with the values that have made our country so great."

Seattle Times editor: Hitler wasn't being unreasonable!

Politics: Yeah... this is not the type of defense from Times editor Bruce Ramsey that Obama is looking for at the moment.

Democrats are rebuking President Bush for saying in his speech to the Knesset, here, that to “negotiate with terrorists and radicals” is “appeasement.” The Democrats took it as a slap at Barack Obama. What bothers me is the continual reference to Hitler and his National Socialists, particularly the British and French accommodation at the Munich Conference of 1938.

The narrative we're given about Munich is entirely in hindsight. We know what kind of man Hitler was, and that he started World War II in Europe. From the view of 1938, what Hitler was demanding at Munich was not unreasonable, according to the prevailing idea of the nation-state. His claim was that the German-speaking areas of Europe--and ones that thought of themselves as German --be under German authority. He had just annexed Austria, which was German-speaking, without bloodshed. There were two more small pieces of Germanic territory: the free city of Danzig and the Sudetenland, a border area of what is now the Czech Republic.

We live in an era when you do not change national borders for these sorts of reasons. We have learned the hazards of it. But 1938 was only 19 years since Germany's borders had been redrawn, and not to its benefit. In the democracies there was some sense of guilt with how Germany had been treated after World War I. Certainly there was a memory of the “Great War.” In 2008, we have entirely forgotten World War I, and how utterly unlike any conception of “The Good War” it was. When the British let Hitler have a slice of Czechoslovakia, they were following the historical lesson they had learned 1914-1918: avoid war. War produces results far more horrible than you expected. War is a bad investment. It is not glorious. Don’t give anyone an excuse to start one.

Winston Churchill and others knew this was a bad idea and they was proven correct pretty quickly as Hitler used that as a springboard to invade the rest of Czechoslovakia and beyond. Chamberlain and the majority at the time were so eager to appease Hitler they were willing to sacrifice another country. You can't avoid war if you are willing to make it easier for the other guy to start it.

The fact media types like this would take Hitler's side in trying to rebuke the obvious said by President Bush shows no boundary is off limits. This is a rewrite of history that is horrendous to any thinking person.

Friday, May 16, 2008

James Rubin lied, Obama whines, McCain smiles.

Politics: I don't know what James Rubin was thinking but how he figured he wouldn't get his ass nailed to the wall shows how little regard he think the media will hold him responsible for this easily refuted lie..

After Bush went after mainly Jimmy Carter, Obama took offense for whatever reason claiming they were attacking him as a surrendercrat.

We start off this morning with an op-ed in the Washington Post where Rubin says McCain is showing hypocrisy in how to deal with Hamas except he intentionally lies about what McCain says about how to deal with Hamas. The networks and Obama's official network booster MSNBC runs with the op-ed viewpoint even though it was easy to see how Rubin lied.

Later on Friday evening, video and other various interviews around the time of the edited clip that Rubin and the nutter blogs passed around came out showing conclusively how badly Rubin and Obama himself lied about what McCain thought about Hamas.

This happens because the Dems, Obama campaign know the media will run with the initial story and any corrections will be less covered. This follows a pattern by the "new politician" Obama who will run with a lie( 100 year war) to score points because he realizes the media won't hold him responsible as they would a Republican.

Why Obama would put himself in this position is he wants to be shown as tough on national security even though he and his camp are trying to back off his unconditional talk claims with America's enemies. But this was the wrong subject to jump on because the comment by President Bush and pushback by McCain points out how thin skinned Obama is to any sort of criticism even those not directed at him.

Update# Anklebitingpundits called the Post editor and got hung up on.

Apology for mosque documentary slur

UK: West Midlands Police and the prosecutors office wanted to slam Channel 4 on a docu about Islamic extremists as being misleading and distorted. They were wrong.

A police force and the Crown Prosecution Service have issued a public apology after admitting they were wrong to claim that a documentary exposing Islamic extremism had been misleading and distorted.

In a joint statement issued on their websites, West Midlands Police and the CPS also accepted the findings of an Ofcom inquiry which cleared Channel 4's Dispatches programme of any wrongdoing.

In a statement issued after Channel 4 launched libel proceedings against the police and the CPS, the bodies apologised unreservedly for the distress caused by claims that programme makers had edited footage to alter the meaning of comments made by extremist preachers

$2 million dollars spent on freaking newts in Leicestershire.

UK: When enviro nonsense goes wild.

A council spent £1 million protecting a colony of rare newts on a building site only to discover that none lived there.

Leicestershire County Council delayed a major road-building scheme for three months after evidence of great crested newts was found on the site. The species is protected by law, but after the authority paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for special newt-fencing and traps, not one of the rare creatures was discovered.

The action was taken on the strength of a report from environmental experts, which found there could have been between one and 10 of the 6in amphibians on the site.

Officials yesterday lodged a complaint with the government, claiming the outlay would have a knock-on effect on local services.

Italy cracks down on illegals immigrants.

Immigration: That was fast.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's new right-wing government on Thursday announced a crackdown on immigration-linked crime, acting quickly on a campaign pledge that helped it win April polls.

Italian police arrested 268 foreigners -- including a high number of Romanians -- during the government's first week in office, the interior ministry said.

Crime blamed on illegal migrants was a central issue in the campaign for the April elections after a series of violent crimes including rape and murder were blamed on Romanian immigrants, notably the Roma ethnic group, or gypsies.

Most of the foreigners arrested in the past week were Romanian and north African, anti-crime director Francesco Gratteri told a news conference, adding that Romanian police assisted in the crackdown.

The operation, the biggest in six months, was aimed at fighting crime "linked to illegal immigration," Gratteri said, adding that it targeted "geographical areas with particular problems."

"These operations are a sign of the new climate of intolerance towards foreigners," said Daniela Pompei of the Catholic charity Sant'Egidio.

Following through on an election pledge, Berlusconi's government is set to adopt tougher measures against illegal immigration next week, some aimed specifically at Roma.

CNN president sucks up to China.

Media: So everyone agrees the only country they won't say sorry to is America.

CNN President Jim Walton has apologized for the insulting remarks by CNN commentator Jack Cafferty on China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Thursday.

"On behalf of CNN I'd like to apologize to the Chinese people for that," said Walton in a letter to Chinese ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong, according to Qin.

Walton also said, "CNN has the highest respect for Chinese people around the world and we have no doubt that there was genuine offense felt by them over the Jack Cafferty commentary."

In early April, Cafferty said in a live show that Chinese products were "junk" and the Chinese were "basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years."

As a result of complaints from China, CNN in April issued a statement saying "it was not Mr. Cafferty's nor CNN's intent to cause offense to the Chinese people, and CNN would apologise to anyone who has interpreted the comments in this way."

At that time the network stated that Cafferty was offering his "strongly held" opinion of the Chinese government, not China's people.

Obama gets into a twitter over appeasement remarks.

Politics: The amusing part is another Obama advisor claiming the preconditions angle is a smear even though it is on his website and there is video of him saying he will meet with Iran just like that.


Update:
Good lord, President Bush struck a raw nerve, the Dems are going crazy, the networks are beside themselves in a rush to protect Obama. Bush never mentioned Obama by name but given the embarrassment of one Obama advisor talking directly to Hamas and other advisors who are trying to deny he said he would meet with Iran without preconditions despite video and his own website saying the opposite, yeah I can see where he is thin-skinned about looking like an appeaser.

Chinook helicopters at Pa. plant vandalized

Military: Via AP.

Two military helicopters were vandalized on the production line at a Boeing factory near Philadelphia, the Defense Department said Thursday as it offered a reward.

Federal officials handed out fliers to workers at the Boeing Rotorcraft Systems plant listing a $5,000 reward for information leading to whomever damaged the two H-47 Chinook helicopters.

"We have determined that this was a deliberate act and not an accident," said Ken Maupin, an agent with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, at a news conference outside the plant.

He said 10 agents were investigating, but he would not comment on specifics or what led to the determination that it was vandalism.

Minnesota state rep demands firing of conservative columnist.

Media: Rep. Mindy Greiling demands the axing of columnist Katherine Kersten because of her columns on the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy which she says was a distortion of facts...though she failed to point out the errors. Lefty Minnesota Monitor now points out a petition against Kersten to get her fired that has been signed by fellow media people.

Conservative Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten this morning called out an online petition that demands her firing. The petition (which has 191 signatories at present -- hardly the "droves" Kersten writes of, although since she drew attention to it, the numbers are steadily climbing) accuses Kersten of "journalistic malpractice" for her columns on the majority-Muslim charter school Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, which reportedly resulted in threats and additional security at the Inver Grove Heights elementary school.

One signatory of the petition might lend more credence to that criticism than most: the Pioneer Press' David Hanners, who won a Pulitzer Prize for the Dallas Morning News in 1989, was the eighth to sign. (Note: the Anne O'Connor named in the petition is not the former Strib reporter, who now lives in Wisconsin.)

Hanners acknowledges personal interest in the story, based on his faith, but says it's a belief in journalistic principles that drove his thinking. "Being Muslim (and I have no connection to TIZA) may make me more sensitive to the issue in this case, but religion really has little to do with it," he wrote. "As a profession, we have certain standards we must maintain. Given the questions raised in this instance, as well as other concerns that have been raised involving her columns, I don't believe it is extraordinary that Kersten's employer check to see if those standards are being upheld."

I would have thought a government official demanding someone in the media be fired would bring howls of outrage. But the old double standard rears its head as you get nothing of the sort from Editor and Publisher or Romenesko. So far it seems like a dodge to get rid of someone critical of the way public money is being spent on a school who are practicing in a way that would shut down any other religious school.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The black case for Obama-skepticism.

Politics: I am in the 10 percent though I am not pompous enough like Cinque Henderson to say Obama doesn't represent the black experience. There are some reasons I agree with Henderson on when it comes to Obama.

My dislike for him comes from the pathetic media loving, white educated liberals who want to atone for their own guilt, his liberalism, his thin-skinned obvious defense anytime you challenge him on anything, his subtle play of the race card, his say aloud without any substance speeches, his foolish view about world affairs and the fact he isn't Black Jesus who will cure cancer and part the ocean if he gets elected.

Other than that average guy.

How Tata is making the world's cheapest auto

Bidness: Businessweek late to the party on how Tata made the world's cheapest auto but nothing you haven't read before.

What shook the automobile world most was the fact that the designers seem to have done the impossible: The sleek, sophisticated Nano doesn't look flimsy or inexpensive. If it had been an upgraded scooter on four wheels, Tata still would have been applauded for making a family of four safer on Indian roads. The Nano, however, affords both safety and status. "The innovation wasn't in technology," Kant recalls. "It was in a mindset change." The Nano, he adds, has put an end to all discussions of having variants of scooters or quadricycles as passenger vehicles on India's roads.

Gov. Crist urges hurricane prep in Fort Lauderdale

Florida: Considering it is South Florida he is talking in one ear and out the other. Some will prep, most will not and then complain after if a storm hits where is my free food/water and why is my power not back on.

Tensions in South Africa over immigrants erupt in violence.

Africa: Blame South Africa for not taking control of the situation early on especially with people pouring in from Zimbabwe. Now violence is looking to explode and South Africans are having in certain places to mark on their homes as South Africans hoping not to get killed.

The name scrawled across the door of the flimsy wooden shack offered some protection. The angry mob baying for the blood of foreigners recognised it as South African and moved on.

A little down the street, however, Willex Katundu, a Malawian who has lived in Alexandra township in Johannesburg for 23 years, was not so fortunate. A gang of ten broke into his house, ransacked his belongings and beat him up – he was only one of dozens to be attacked over the past 48 hours.

“I was beaten just because I am not South African,” he said, as he sought sanctuary in the grounds of the township’s main police station, along with about 1,000 others mainly from Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. A groundsman at a golf club, he sobbed as he recounted how he had lost his possessions.

“Is this the new South Africa?” screamed the front page of the South African Times under a picture of a bloodied Ms Ndlovu. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has condemned the attacks, but others point to frequent warnings of mounting tensions in townships that the ANC Government has ignored.

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, a black middle class has emerged and drives much of the economy, but the poorest 30 per cent of the country’s overwhelmingly black population is as badly off, if not worse, than in the days of white rule. In the townships, where anger over poor services is already high, unemployment can be at more than 50 per cent and foreigners are often regarded as a threat.

Zimbabweans, who tend to be well educated and prepared to work for a fraction of the salaries demanded by South Africans, are particularly seen as taking jobs from locals.

It is estimated that as many as three million Zimbabweans are living in the country, the majority without official papers.

Yesterday the victims of the violence sheltered in a garage at the back of the police station while the Red Cross provided blankets and food parcels. Jane Muzolewa, 41, who left Zimbabwe for South Africa two months ago, said that the violence had cost her what few possessions she had managed to bring with her. “I thought I could find peace here after going through hell in my country. I can’t believe that my life has been ruined by my decision. I now can’t look after my child. I am completely torn apart.”

Many South African residents were unrepentant. “They should go back to their countries. Why have they come to take up our jobs?” said one local, Joel Mandla, as he watched police patrolling the streets from a nearby bar.

Jamiel Shaw father fights Special Order 40

Crime: Via NYTIMES.

A preliminary hearing in the killing of Jamiel Shaw Jr. is set to begin here on Thursday. Jamiel Jr. — who was black and, according to the police, not known to be affiliated with gangs — and a simmering unease about illegal immigration have unleashed a swell of opposition to the city’s hands-off policy toward immigration enforcement.

The Los Angeles Police Department was one of the first in the nation — nearly three decades ago — to institute a procedure that prohibits officers from initiating contact with people for the sole purpose of learning their immigration status. The procedure, known as Special Order 40, was designed in part to reassure illegal immigrants who historically had shied from reporting crimes and assisting police investigations.

But in the context of contemporary immigration politics, the procedure is now perceived in black neighborhoods and beyond as a roadblock to using immigration laws as a tool against Latino gang violence. A push to reverse the procedure, led by Mr. Shaw and viewed by many as a symbol of deeper racial conflicts in South Los Angeles, has inflamed tensions between many blacks and Hispanic immigrants, groups long resentful of each other as shifting demographics and a smattering of racially motivated killings have racked South Los Angeles.

“I think you can assume the resentments are pretty widespread,” said Connie Rice, a civil rights activist and lawyer. “There has been a huge turnover in a 20-year period, and so the tensions get expressed in a lot of other ways. The African-American community is feeling under siege, and it is always easier to strike out at the ‘other.’ “

Councilman Dennis Zine, a former police officer, has proposed amending Special Order 40 to require that gang members found to be illegal immigrants be reported to federal authorities. Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group based in Washington, has filed a suit in federal court seeking to do away with the order, arguing that it unconstitutionally impedes cooperation between the local police and federal immigration agents.

And Mr. Shaw and other grass-roots activists have called upon the police chief, William J. Bratton, to intervene.

“All we are saying is that when an officer encounters an individual who is in the gang file, they would check the name through the system,” Mr. Zine said. “If they are a known gang member, they would then inquire of their immigration status.”

Navarrette: No vote for Obama means you're racist.

Politics: The open border pro illegal advocate Ruben Navarrette gives you the liberal argument on why if you don't vote for Obama you are a racist pig. Its going to be like this thru November.

Swiss survey: US maintains edge in competitiveness

Bidness: But our similarities to Japan of the early 90s is scary but the difference is the style of the economy and the people who are a part of it.

GENEVA -- The United States topped world competitiveness rankings for the 15th straight year, but its economy is showing the same signs of weakness that sank booming Japan in the early 1990s, according to an annual survey released Thursday.

The U.S. position was cemented by its domestic economy, which is the world's strongest, topping all others in its amount of investments, stock purchases and commercial service exports. The U.S. also ranks as the easiest place to secure venture capital for business development and dominates all other economies in key technology criteria such as computers in use, according to the report.

But Garelli warned that U.S. economic health is vulnerable because of its heavy reliance on the financial sector for corporate profits.

The 2008 report says there are parallels between now and two decades ago, when the business school first started to study competitiveness and "Japan's competitiveness seemed unassailable, with a strong domination in economic dynamism, industrial efficiency and innovation.

"Then all hell broke loose," it added. "The stock market went into reverse in 1989, land prices collapsed in 1992, credit cooperatives and regional banks came under attack in 1994, large banks teetered on the edge of bankruptcy in 1997, and a major credit crunch occurred in 1998. Does this ring a bell?"

While the report called the similarities "frightening," Garelli said there are important differences between the Japan that stagnated for nearly a decade and the U.S. economy teetering on the brink of a recession now.

Japan's decision-makers were bureaucrats or politicians who reacted too slowly. The U.S. administration, by contrast, is full of business and financial experts that know when things need to be shaken up.

"The U.S always seems to find the means to reinvent itself in ways that Japan - and much of Europe - often lacks," he said.


That is the difference, I said it before that America is now feeling the effects of a hangover from living it up too much without some restrait but in economic terms it will get over it pretty fast. Unless congress tries to micromanage then America is screwed.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Professor fired for failing too many students at a HBCU.

Education: When this story first came out it seemed that a professor with a min of 83% failure rate might be at fault but Inside Higher Ed puts out an article that shows maybe Norfolk State University with a graduation rate of only 12 and 30% for four/six year students is doing something wrong for the sake of race instead of standards.

The gist of the story is this...

Who is to blame when students fail? If many students fail — a majority even — does that demonstrate faculty incompetence, or could it point to a problem with standards?

These are the questions at the center of a dispute that cost Steven D. Aird his job teaching biology at Norfolk State University. Today is his last day of work, but on his way out, he has started to tell his story — one that he suggests points to large educational problems at the university and in society.

The university isn’t talking publicly about his case, but because Aird has released numerous documents prepared by the university about his performance — including the key negative tenure decisions by administrators — it is clear that he was denied tenure for one reason: failing too many students. The university documents portray Aird as unwilling to compromise to pass more students.

A subtext of the discussion is that Norfolk State is a historically black university with a mission that includes educating many students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The university suggests that Aird — who is white — has failed to embrace the mission of educating those who aren’t well prepared. But Aird — who had backing from his department and has some very loyal students as well — maintains that the university is hurting the very students it says it wants to help. Aird believes most of his students could succeed, but have no incentive to work as hard as they need to when the administration makes clear they can pass regardless.

“Show me how lowering the bar has ever helped anyone,” Aird said in an interview. Continuing the metaphor, he said that officials at Norfolk State have the attitude of “a track coach who tells the team ‘I really want to win this season but I really like you guys, so you can decide whether to come to practice and when.’ ” Such a team wouldn’t win, Aird said, and a university based on such a principle would not be helping its students.

Sharon R. Hoggard, a spokeswoman for Norfolk State, said that she could not comment at all on Aird’s case. But she did say this, generally, on the issues raised by Aird: “Something is wrong when you cannot impart your knowledge onto students. We are a university of opportunity, so we take students who are underprepared, but we have a history of whipping them into shape. That’s our niche.”

The question raised by Aird and his defenders is whether Norfolk State is succeeding and whether policies about who passes and who fails have an impact. According to U.S. Education Department data, only 12 percent of Norfolk State students graduate in four years, and only 30 percent graduate in six years.

Aird points to a Catch-22 that he said hinders professors’ ability to help students. Because so many students come from disadvantaged backgrounds and never received a good high school education, they are already behind, he said, and attendance is essential. Norfolk State would appear to endorse this point of view, and official university policy states that a student who doesn’t attend at least 80 percent of class sessions may be failed.

The problem, Aird said, is that very few Norfolk State students meet even that standard. In the classes for which he was criticized by the dean for his grading — classes in which he awarded D’s or F’s to about 90 percent of students — Aird has attendance records indicating that the average student attended class only 66 percent of the time. Based on such a figure, he said, “the expected mean grade would have been an F,” and yet he was denied tenure for giving such grades.

Other professors at Norfolk State, generally requesting anonymity, confirmed that following the 80 percent attendance rule would result frequently in failing a substantial share — in many cases a majority — of their students. Professors said attendance rates are considerably lower than at many institutions — although most institutions serve students with better preparation.

One reason that this does not happen (outside Aird’s classes) is that many professors at Norfolk State say that there is a clear expectation from administrators — in particular from Dean Sandra J. DeLoatch, the dean whose recommendation turned the tide against Aird’s tenure bid — that 70 percent of students should pass.

Aird said that figure was repeatedly made clear to him and he resisted it. Others back his claim privately. For the record, Joseph C. Hall, a chemistry professor at president of the Faculty Senate, said that DeLoatch “encouraged” professors to pass at least 70 percent of students in each course, regardless of performance. Hall said that there is never a direct order given, but that one isn’t really needed.


Long article so read the rest but the number that stuck out is the poor number of students that graduated in four/six years. That is inexcusable and the blame falls on Norfolk. If you know the kids you are admitting are coming from a crap education system with a poor work ethic, then you must have the equivalent of a educational boot camp demanding these students realize this is not some middle school PE class. They need to be shocked into working harder and that includes having standards they better follow. If you are inflating grades and looking the other way, you are stealing their money, the taxpayer's money and churning out quitters.

That benefits no one.

People now laying into the NRCC? About damn time.

Politics: GOP lost another race last night in Missi albeit to a conservative Dem. But this morning people are finally starting to lay into the so-called Republican leadership who do not have the backbone, talent or vision to lead the GOP.

Huffy Post:

"This is 1994 all over again," Frank Luntz, a famed Republican communications consultant, told The Huffington Post. "I was there. I saw it firsthand. The Republicans of 2008 are behaving exactly like the Democrats of '94 and making exactly the same mistakes. It's pathetic."

"...Ultimately voters want to know what a politician is going to do for them. What has happened with the Republican Party over the last eight years is that some of the consultants have decided it is too hard to define what we stand for so we are just going to paint Democrats as worse than us."


Captain Ed:

The lack of motivation comes from a disgust with a Republican Party that still hasn’t learned why it lost the majority in 2006. They lost those mid-term elections not because voters stopped supporting conservative principles, but because the House GOP stopped supporting conservative principles. Look at who won these special elections; they’re all Blue Dog Democrats, running in support of conservative themes such as gun rights.

Now look at the Republicans who last held those seats, such as Hastert and Wicker — Republicans who spent other people’s money on waste and personal ambition.
Did the House GOP caucus take a hard line on pork-barrel spending or adopt policies to cut federal spending? No.

Republican voters and conservative pundits begged the House and Senate caucuses to make dramatic breaks with the previous six years and adopt real conservative policies of fiscal responsibility and federalism. What did they do? They offered to stop earmarking only if Democrats followed suit, a deal everyone knew would never take place. Instead of appointing one single anti-pork activist to the House Appropriations Committee in Jeff Flake, they appointed Joe Bonner, a good Congressman but a well-known earmarker, and mostly because Flake’s anti-pork crusade irritates his colleagues.

Unfortunately, the Republicans have to take action to build credibility as reformers. Every step of the way between 2006 and now, they have chosen as a group to go in the opposite direction. The failure to appoint one single reformer to the lion’s den of wasteful spending shows that the GOP never learned its lesson from 2006, and now will suffer even greater consequences in 2008.


Cole's plan is to "rebrand" the GOP in the image of McCain which means moving to the center and beyond. This is exactly the worst thing to do because you can't out dem a democrat. This is the entire Tories vs Labour on the surface level where the Tories went to the left, reliable voters left them and they got stuck in the wilderness for ages. GOP leadership wasted their time in power and now are going to throw whatever sticks to see if it works. How about actually governing like a conservative making people realize you mean what you say and say what you mean. That worked before to get you into power.

Update: To show how out of touch and clueless.

A third-straight special election defeat in as many months left congressional Republicans reeling Wednesday, seriously concerned about what the November elections have in store for their party.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the defeat a "wakeup call."


You moron, the wakeup call was in 2006. If you think now this is it, GOP is screwed. Just get rid of these leaders now and start over.

Tom Shales and Tony Kornheiser take buyouts from Washington Post.

Media: Via The biglead.

Guess this could be filed under breaking news, but several readers have written in this morning to say that Tony Kornheiser just announced on his radio show that he has taken a buyout from the Washington Post. The DC Sports Bog has taken some notes:

“All I ever wanted to be was a newspaper writer,” he said, which is not something that anyone under the age of 30 will ever say again. “This other stuff is great, but I don’t care about it,” he continued. “In my mind that’s what it says on the headstone, it says ‘newspaper guy.’ “

A reader adds that Kornheiser said: “I guess I am officially retired in a couple of weeks. At least I got some certificates to the Cold Stone Creamery.” Added another: “He’s being funny, but you can tell that he’s disappointed.” Kornheiser said he will be kept on in a part-time capacity to do “Talking Points” with Wilbon. According to a reader, Kornheiser also said that Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic Tom Shales also took a buyout.

Obama Gaffes on Iraq and Afghanistan

Politics: Obama shows how much he doesn't know about what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan beyond some talking points you get from liberal blogs.

ABC News' David Wright and Sunlen Miller Report:....

Obama posited -- incorrectly -- that Arabic translators deployed in Iraq are needed in Afghanistan -- forgetting, momentarily, that Afghans don't speak Arabic.

"We only have a certain number of them and if they are all in Iraq, then its harder for us to use them in Afghanistan," Obama said.

The vast majority of military translators in both war zones are drawn from the local population.

Naturally they speak the local language. In Iraq, that's Arabic or Kurdish. In Afghanistan, it's any of a half dozen other languages -- including Pashtu, Dari, and Farsi.

No sooner did Obama realize his mistake -- and correct himself -- but he immediately made another.

"We need agricultural specialists in Afghanistan, people who can help them develop other crops than heroin poppies, because the drug trade in Afghanistan is what is driving and financing these terrorist networks. So we need agricultural specialists," he said.

So far, so good.

"But if we are sending them to Baghdad, they're not in Afghanistan," Obama said.

Iraq has many problems, but encouraging farmers to grow food instead of opium poppies isn't one of them. In Iraq, oil fields not poppy fields are a major source of U.S. technical assistance.

There are other infrastructure problems both countries share that U.S. advisors have struggled to address -- a lack of safe roads, schools, adequate electricity, etc. -- but Obama did not mention these.

Now look at those statements by Obama and realize how thin the substance is on making a case against Iraq and Afghanistan. It is tofu for the liberal masses that makes no sense if you stop and think about it. The Obama camp being thin-skinned tried to pass the report off as poorly written which made David Wright shoot right back at them.

UPDATE: Bill Burton, Obama campaign spokesperson, disputes this report, writing in to say, "This poorly researched and written piece is inaccurate in that it just completely ignores the need for Arabic translators in Afghanistan, and the need for agricultural specialists in Iraq. It is irresponsible to report such issues so matter-of-factly without checking out the actual facts. Please reference these very simple and easy to find websites to learn more about these issues: on the need for agricultural specialists in Iraq; and on the foreign fighters in Afghanistan.

To which, ABC News' David Wright responds:

Interesting pushback from the Obama campaign on this story. It begs a response.They point out that the U.S. has indeed deployed agricultural experts to Iraq, in an effort to work with aid organizations to rebuild Iraq's food infrastructure. Other technical experts were deployed early on to southern Iraq to help rebuild the ravaged ecosystem of the Marsh Arabs, whom Saddam Hussein sought to exterminate.

The U.S. and its allies sent much and varied assistance to the Iraqi people, including agricultural aid. My bad.However, Obama's point seemed to be that the Iraq effort constituted a brain drain in the Afghanistan agricultural problems, that the experts deployed to Iraq would otherwise have gone to Afghanistan to encourage Afghan farmers to grow food not poppies. That strikes me –- as someone who has covered the conflicts in both countries extensively -- as doubtful.

....As for the point about Arabic translators needed for Afghanistan, the Obama campaign points to the well-documented presence of foreign fighters there, many of whom do speak Arabic. However, these folks are mostly shooting at NATO troops, not talking to them.

No doubt there are a handful of Arabic speakers employed at Bagram and Kandahar and other detention centers to interrogate foreign fighters captured on the battlefield. But I have not seen any reports that there is a shortage of such personnel, or that the need for such translators in Iraq has hamstrung the interrogators in Afghanistan.

Foreign fighters captured in BOTH Iraq and Afghanistan have also been sent to detention centers such as the one in Guantanamo. Is there a shortage of Arabic translators there or at other U.S. detention facilities overseas? That would be an interesting news story. Again, I haven't seen any proof of it.

University of Colorado absurd "hire a conservative" mission.

Edumacation: The obvious thought is why most of higher education is so lopsided in its diversity of thinking in the first place. The second thought is this is just the dumbest idea in hiring practices to make sure you have a diversity of thinking on campus. A campus which is notorious for being a liberal hotbed to the point its students think of it as the correct kind of reeducation camp.

Lopsided Politics

Jack Roldan, vice chair of the College Republicans, has felt the lopsided politics keenly during his four years studying international affairs. He longed for a conservative mentor, and says he graduated last week with many questions left unanswered: When is military intervention necessary? Why does the GOP focus so much on economic policy? And what's up with the neo-cons?

"There's a lot more about what I'm about that I'd like to know," Mr. Roldan says.

Other students don't have much sympathy. They love Boulder precisely because of its liberal swagger.

Sophomore Marissa Malouff sees the campus as a sort of re-education camp. Sheltered rich kids from out-of-state might come for the snowboarding, but while they're here they get dunked in a simmering pot of left-wing idealism. And that, in her view, is how it should be.

"They need to learn about social problems and poverty and the type of things liberal professors are likely to talk about," says Ms. Malouff, a Democrat.


Hiring a conservative professor in this way is like getting a rare monkey for a zoo. I applaud hiring professors based on qualifications and to make the intellectual makeup more diverse but this way seems more like headline grabbing than a serious move.

Cablevison and Newsday off to a rousing start!

Media: Now this is how you make your new employees happy to work for you after a sale.

On the afternoon of May 10, when word got out that Rupert Murdoch was dropping his bid to buy Newsday, the writing was on the wall: For a likely $650 million, the odd-couple father-and-son team of Chuck and Jim Dolan would be the paper’s new owners.

So on May 11, Newsday’s business desk dispatched reporter Ellen Yan to the Dolans’ compound in Oyster Bay Cove to try to buttonhole the new owners for a story.

She looked for their house, having bought a flower in case it, in turn, might buy a little goodwill—it was Mother’s Day, after all!

But when she couldn’t find the house of her newspaper’s new owner, she had to start working the phones.

Pay dirt! She scored an interview with the notoriously press-shy Charles Dolan.

He didn’t give up much: There were still “minor details” to be hashed out before his deal to buy the newspaper could officially close.

By the time the story appeared on the Newsday Web site that evening, a press release had been put together, and was sent out at 8:01 a.m., May 12, officially announcing the sale.

Only a few hours after the print editions hit newsstands, the quote Ms. Yan got was rendered useless.

To make matters worse, the business desk got in trouble from the new owners for assigning the piece, according to several people at the newspaper.

Cablevision spokesman Charles Schueler spoke with reporter Mark Harrington, formerly the Cablevision beat reporter who was working this story, and business editor Eli Reyes and “screamed at them” and “was very pissed off” for sending a reporter to look for their house, and for dropping phone calls to the Dolans, according to several staffers (though Mr. Schueler disputes this account—he said he didn’t scream).

But to many on the Newsday staff, the attempt by the paper to introduce itself to the Dolans the best way it knows how was pretty roundly rebuffed, and that didn’t look good.

“It’s made for an interesting start,” said one staffer.

“They’re the only owners who could make you wish for Murdoch,” said another.


I would polish up the resume and start eating/travel less to save money.

Beyoncé hoes in training kids' clothing line.

Culture: What was Beyonce thinking approving this nonsense? Via Malkin who has a good roundup of the outrage. This is just the evolution of the Bratz kids thinking that will permanently wrap future generations.

NYMAG:

We don't know why the world has to work this way, but Beyoncé and her sister Solange's clothing line, Deréon, includes kids' clothes. And we're not just talking, like, tween gear. The kids' line also includes attire for newborns, infants, and toddlers. And the scariest part of it all is staring you right in the face: the ads. Excuse us for stating the obvious, but this is not how little girls should dress.

Ghettotastic Prom Dress Lands Teen in Cuffs

Nation: Oh that is a ghettotastic dress to wear to a prom. It is obvious she has no common sense and where were the parents? How do you let your child leave the house in that mess? Not only is a stupid outfit, it doesn't even look like she spent money on it. She just stripped a couple of bedsheets and tied it around her. The decline of values and morals folks, this is the typical result.

Organic food sellers feeling the pain. Good

Bidness: Suck on your freshly grown arugula and seven dollar organic milk you wannabes. Its not the reality of organic foods that repulse me but the idiots who have try to have this air of superiority because they buy it.

With food prices rising, the bloom is going off organics. The healthy-food craze mushroomed this decade, growing 150 percent since 2001 to reach $19 billion in sales last year. Driven by a rising demand for food free of pesticides and growth hormones, organics went mainstream, moving from tony Whole Foods to the produce aisle at Wal-Mart.

But now with gas near $4 a gallon, the $7 gallon of organic milk doesn't look as good. (A gallon of conventional milk at Kroger will run you as little as $2.99.) In a new survey from WSL Strategic Retail, only 27 percent of shoppers thought organics were worth the money—even though most agreed they are healthier.

After years of 20 percent annual sales growth, consumers are curtailing their consumption of organics, according to market researcher the Hartman Group. "Organic strawberries looked nice in February," says Nancy Massotto, who runs a "green parenting" network in Caldwell, N.J. "But I'm not paying $6 for a pint when I'm paying $4 a gallon for gas."

Australian fined for buckling in beer, not child

Weird: Transporting a 30 can beer case is serious business.

An Australian man has been fined after buckling in a case of beer with a seat belt but leaving a 5-year-old child to sit on the car's floor, police said Tuesday.

Constable Wayne Burnett said he was "shocked and appalled" when he pulled over the unregistered car Friday in the central Australian town of Alice Springs.

The 30-can beer case was strapped in between two adults sitting in the back seat of the car. The child was also in back, but on the car's floor.

"The child was sitting in the lump in the center, unrestrained," Burnett told reporters Tuesday.

"I haven't ever seen something like this before," he said. "This is the first time that the beer has taken priority over a child."

The driver was fined 750 Australian dollars — about $710 — for driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle and for failing to ensure a child was wearing a safety belt.

Shipping containers could become condos in Detroit

Nation: I wonder why this hasn't caught on in America because its a great idea and relatively cheap to create.

A Detroit-based group hopes to use empty shipping containers to build a $1.8 million, 17-unit condominium project.

The Detroit Free Press reports Tuesday the project would stack empty containers four high, cut in windows and doors, install plumbing, stairways and heating, and add amenities such as balconies and landscaped patios.

Groundbreaking could take place this fall on the project if it wins city approval, and it could open in 2009. It's designed by Detroit-based architect Steven Flum.

Developers plan to offer condominium units measuring 960 to 1,920 square feet. Prices will range from about $100,000 to about $190,000.

The prices seem out of whack considering they are shipping containers. Here is a video from a container project in Amsterdam for students to get the idea.

Oil Refiners See Profits Sink and Congress acts the fool.

World: At some point someone will educate the masses on why oil prices are going up despite people in America not consuming as much oil. They will understand that stunts like Congress wanting to stop putting oil in the strategic petroleum reserve amount to nothing except cute headlines to soothe people too stupid to understand Economics 101.

After last year’s stellar profits, American refiners are going through a traumatic period. In a time of record gasoline prices, some of them actually lost money in the first quarter, and for virtually all refiners, profits are down sharply.

Experts say the refiners are caught in a double bind. The price of their raw material, oil, is rising because of strong global demand. At the same time, consumption of gasoline in the United States is falling as a result of slower economic growth and consumer efforts to conserve.

However much the companies would like to raise gasoline prices enough to pass along the full increases in oil, analysts say they have been unable to do it. Oil prices doubled in the past year, while wholesale gasoline prices rose a mere 39 percent.

“Refiners are having a terrible time,” said Lawrence J. Goldstein, an economist at the Energy Policy Research Foundation.

For decades, global oil prices were tightly coupled to the ups and downs of the American economy. But in recent years, world oil prices have been pulled upward by heavy demand for diesel fuel from developing countries like China. American economic growth weakened in the last few months, but that has mattered little in the upward march of oil prices.

“What we see at the gasoline pump is increasingly driven by what is happening elsewhere in the global economy,” said Daniel Yergin, the chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consulting firm.

...In its latest monthly report, the International Energy Agency, an adviser to industrialized countries, reduced its forecast for global oil demand for this year, as consumption drops by a bigger-than-forecast 300,000 barrels a day in the developed world.

But that decline will be more than offset by growth from developing countries. Consequently, global consumption is expected to rise this year by 1 million barrels a day, to 86.8 million barrels a day. Nearly all that growth will come from China, the Middle East and Russia.

....The rising oil prices have led to a sharp drop in refining profit margins, or the difference between the cost of oil and the cost of gasoline. These margins, at $12.45 a barrel on average, are 60 percent below their year-ago level, and in the lower half of their five-year range, according to a report by UBS.

In response to falling gasoline demand and rising costs, refiners have cut their production rates. Refining utilization rates, for example, slumped to a low of 81.4 percent in the second week of April, compared with 90.4 percent at the same time last year. Earlier this month, refineries were running at 85 percent of their capacity.


Put a windfall tax on oil and really see what will happen to oil.

Airbus announces with new delays for the A380.

Business: Both Airbus and Boeing seemed to have overbooked themselves and both are looking at financial penalities if this keeps up.

Airbus announced another delay in deliveries of the A380 on Tuesday, risking new financial penalties from disappointed airlines as it struggles to increase production of the world’s largest passenger jet.

The company, already dealing with two years of delays, said delivery dates of the double-decker, 555-seat plane would be postponed by three months through 2010.

The news came as no surprise to a market jaded by overambitious promises from manufacturers. Both Airbus and Boeing have made pledges for the delivery of new aircraft that they have been unable to keep. Boeing has pushed back the date three times for the first deliveries of its 787.

Analysts said the delays could hurt Airbus and Boeing by discouraging airlines from becoming early customers for new aircraft even with standard discounts.

Detroit City Council moves toward ousting Kilpatrick

Politics: By the time they do kick him out his term will probably be over.

The City Council narrowly approved taking the first step Tuesday toward removing Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who is charged with perjury over explicit text messages sent to a former aide.

Council members voted 5-4 to begin forfeiture of office proceedings against Kilpatrick. On a separate 5-4 vote, they approved asking Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to remove Kilpatrick from office — a step the governor has said she is unwilling to take while the criminal case proceeds.

A third vote — a nonbinding measure to censure the mayor — passed 7-2.

Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams called the forfeiture vote "another meaningless gesture" by the council.

"They can't remove the mayor. They have no legal authority," Adams said. "This goes well past where they need to be. He was elected by the voters of Detroit, not by the council."

Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel said the group simply did what many residents have been asking them to do.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nada Prouty let go with a slap on the wrist.

Crime: The judge was appointed by Jimmy Carter, so right away you knew this case was in trouble.

A former federal agent who pleaded guilty to faking a marriage to gain U.S. citizenship and improperly searching FBI databases was sentenced Tuesday to pay $975 in fines and other fees, but will serve no prison time.

U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn said Nada Nadim Prouty, 38, "erred in judgment" 19 years ago when she lied to enter the U.S. in 1989 from her native Lebanon, but has provided "exemplary service to the country" as a federal agent.

Cohn also signed an order revoking Prouty's citizenship, but Prouty's attorney Thomas Cranmer said after the hearing she will not be deported.

Government officials have said they would not deport her because of her knowledge about matters of national security. U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Gina Balaya said Tuesday her Immigration status was "in limbo."

Cohn criticized media accounts of the case as well as the "excessiveness of press releases" issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office, which he said "grossly distorted" the case.

Balaya said there would be no comment on Cohn's remarks.

He also read an excerpt of a letter from an unnamed former CIA colleague, who cited her dedication while working in Iraq in 2003 when the insurgency was spreading and the agency was "understaffed and underappreciated" in Washington.

"This is sufficient punishment in light of the totality of the circumstances," Cohn said.


Lets look at what she did to get to trial.

While working as a special agent, authorities say Prouty improperly searched an FBI computer database for information about her relatives and possible links to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. She joined the CIA in 2003 and resigned as part of her guilty plea.

Prouty was not authorized to search the database for her name and that of her sister, Elfat El Aouar, and brother-in-law, Talal Chahine. Chahine was the owner of the former LaShish Middle Eastern restaurant chain.

Chahine is believed to have fled to Lebanon in 2005 to avoid federal tax charges. He is accused of skimming more than $20 million in cash and sending it to Lebanon.

Elfat El Aouar was sentenced last May to 18 months in prison for tax evasion and sentenced to 90 days in prison and stripped of her citizenship in February after pleading guilty to citizenship fraud.

There is no evidence that Prouty was working as a spy on behalf of any terrorist organization or foreign intelligence service, Cohn said.

In a related case, Cohn on Monday sentenced Samar Spinelli to $700 in fines and costs but no prison time for conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and passport fraud.


750 bucks and an attagirl from a judge. What a great justice system up there in Meeechigan.

NYTIMES suckered by Chilean Security Guard

Media: Whoops.

The New York Times got a lesson in checking sources when a port security guard in Chile claimed he was the port's director, according to an editor's note published Tuesday that revealed the error.

In a March 27 Times story about an infectious virus that is killing salmon in Chile's salmon farming industry, reporter Alexei Barrionuevo quoted Adolfo Flores, who said he was the director of the Port of Castro, Chile, the note stated. It added that he was "describing bags of fish food stored at the facility by Marine Harvest, a Norwegian company, as containing antibiotics, pigments and hormones."

The Times revealed that: "he in fact worked as a security guard. ... Had The Times been aware of his actual position at the time, it would not have cited him as an authority on the contents of the bags, which were labeled medicated food." The editor's note later stated: "The article also should have noted that Marine Harvest and SalmonChile, an industry association, deny that they use hormones or that the pigments they use pose any risk to consumers."

Enemies of 'elite' Barack Obama show contempt for education

Politics: Stanley Crouch gets its all wrong when someone is talking about elitists.

Columbia- and Harvard-educated, bad-bowling Obama is an elite, the conservatives - and the Clintons - claim. He is out of touch with the working class, they say.

It has become commonplace for the predictable millionaire puppets of Fox News and their conservative talk radio counterparts to present themselves as the voices of the working class in combat with an educated elite from places like Harvard.

But beneath those cliches fester ideas that are deeply anti-democratic.

They are anti-democratic because they scoff at this basic truth: Education is the key to social mobility in our country. The stereotyped working class has no innate limits. It has produced the majority of doctors, engineers, architects, educators and others who realized the dreams of their families by studying hard and moving into careers quite different from those of their parents and their neighbors.

Education has always been viewed as suspect by everyone from slave owners to totalitarians. Wherever in the world you find them, they share one hostility: They hate books.


This has nothing to do with education, it has everything to do with attitude and behavior people see as being out of touch with the everyday man. He didn't catch heat for Wright and belonging to a buppie church because everyone there are "Atlases" of the world. He didn't catch heat for his clinging to guns and religion. He got heat because he associated or expressed views that show a disdain and/or naivety about the everyday man like someone who views everything between the coasts flyover country.

Liberals have this attitude regardless of their educational level and saying that people just don't like this uppity black person because of his Harvard education is missing the point.

via Bookerrising.

Obama touts commitment to Israel

Politics: If you have to continue to tout it, you are doing something wrong.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic presidential leader Barack Obama said he regrets the division that has grown between Jews and blacks and he remains committed to ensuring Israel's security.
Obama discussed his relationship with the Jewish community and Israel in an interview posted Monday on The Atlantic magazine's Web site, part of his continuing effort to reassure Jewish voters who have expressed some unease about his candidacy. The situation didn't improve as an adviser to the militant Palestinian group Hamas recently said they hope Obama wins the presidency.

Obama said some in the Arab world may be attracted to his candidacy because he spent part of his childhood in the Muslim nation of Indonesia, has the middle name Hussein and advocates presidential- level talks with foreign leaders ostracized by the Bush administration.

"I welcome the Muslim world's accurate perception that I am interested in opening up dialogue and interested in moving away from the unilateral policies of George Bush, but nobody should mistake that for a softer stance when it comes to terrorism or when it comes to protecting Israel's security or making sure that the alliance is strong and firm," Obama said. "You will not see, under my presidency, any slackening in commitment to Israel's security.

The accurate perception is that he is a pushover because the only way to make those leaders who is eager to talk too is by kneecapping Israel and going against the interests of America in various areas such as middle east security, lower security measures and less of going after Islamic terrorists. Just like his talk about the 2nd amendment which is a farce, I highly doubt you will courage under fire when it comes national security issues because he himself doesn't seem to understand the importance of it.

Over 300 arrested at Iowa meatpacking plant.

Immigration: When you have over 300 arrests and over 700 employees are deemed illegal, this is going beyond just illegals taking jobs, this is a mini fiefdom.

Postville, Ia. – Buses have begun arriving at the Cattle Congress grounds in Waterloo after hundreds were detained in an immigration raid on a Postville meatpacking plant today.

Officials are not allowing media or others near the entrance. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have declined to say how many buses are being used in the raid on the Agriprocessors Inc. plant.

At least 300 people were arrested during the operation, the largest of its kind in Iowa, said Claude Arnold, a special agent with ICE.

The raid targeted people who illegally used other people's Social Security numbers and were in the U.S. illegally.

According to an affidavit, “Based on information thus far developed in the investigation, it appears, based on 2007 fourth quarter payroll reports, that approximately 76 percent of the 968 employees of Agriprocessors were using false or fraudulent social security numbers in connection with their employment.”

The workers arrested so far were interviewed by agents with the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Public Health Service. Public health officials were included to ensure that their humanitarian needs were being met, said U.S. District Attorney Matt M. Dummermuth.

Somali Muslim student chases out man with service dog.

Nation: I am not surprised by the idiotic response of the officials who are hellbent on diversity and muliticult over the safety of a student. Instead of reprimanding or kicking the Somali student out they respond with a wishy wash excuse exercise.

A St. Cloud State University student in a teacher-training program at Technical High School left the school in late April because he says he feared for the safety of his service dog.


The school district calls it a misunderstanding, and officials there say they hoped Tyler Hurd, a 23-year-old junior from Mahtomedi who aspires to teach special education, would continue his training in the district.

Hurd said a student threatened to kill his service dog named Emmitt. The black lab is trained to protect Hurd when he has seizures.

The seizures, which can occur weekly, are from a childhood injury.

Kate Steffens, dean of the college of education at St. Cloud State, and Tech assistant principal Lori Lockhart met Thursday.

The threat came from a Somali student who is Muslim, according to Hurd, St. Cloud State and school district officials.

The Muslim faith, which is the dominant faith of Somali immigrants, forbids the touching of dogs.

Hurd trained at Talahi Community School and Tech. He said his experience at Talahi was good. The Somali students there warmed to the dog and eventually petted him using paper to keep their hands off his fur, Hurd said.

Things didn't go as well at Tech, Hurd said. Students there taunted his dog, and he finally felt he had to leave after he was told a student made a threat. Hurd met with Lockhart but said he did not feel comfortable continuing.

Julia Espe, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for St. Cloud school district, said the school needed to do a better job communicating.

“I think it was a misunderstanding where we didn't really prepare either side for possible implications," Espe said.

Espe said the school's investigation determined the student did not make a direct threat.

“We certainly welcome (Hurd) in our district, and we hope we can get this all resolved so he feels welcome and his dog is welcome," Espe said.

St. Cloud State places about 1,000 students in 240 schools to help prepare them for careers in education.

In St. Cloud school district, 330 are in the field training program Hurd was in and 94 are in student teaching.

Steffens said it is important to respect different cultures and the rights of disabled students.

“I think this is part of the growth process when we become more diverse," Steffens said.


Uh..No. Respecting another culture where one side takes it too far is beyond reprehensible. Punishment should have been give out to the one who threatened the guy and his dog.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Clinton goes from inevitable to on the ropes.

Politics: Long piece by the AP on how Clinton is now an also ran.

But it is easy to sum up.

Clinton thought she was inevitable.

Clinton refused to take Obama seriously.

Clinton refused to take on Obama when she realized he was serious.

Clinton did not know how to fight with her chance of being first female president against Obama chance of being the first black president.

Clinton was stunned by the media love fest of Obama which she thought was here alone.

Clinton failed to fight back until it was too late.

Clinton is now screwed.


The lesson for future candidates is if you are inevitable act like you are not and take everyone seriously till you are sure they are not a threat.

As Losses Mount, GOP Begins Looking in the Mirror

Politics: Nothing new here just the Washington Post is late to the party. No matter what the current GOP leadership has to go and the "moderates" need to be shut down. If they are not what will happen is a replay of the UK Tories plan a couple of years ago to be Labour lite in policies which did nothing to help them. It wasn't until they got back to some form of being the conservative party did they start to get success. If the GOP wants to be the token party then being Rockefeller Republicans is the way to go.

Documents indicate that Chavez helped FARC.

Terrorism: AP has caught up with news of Chavez helping out FARC against Colombia.

BOGOTA, Colombia - Documents that Colombia says it recovered from a slain guerrilla leader give the clearest indication yet that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sought to arm and finance insurgents across the border.

The documents — more than a dozen internal rebel messages — detail several years of close cooperation between top officials in Venezuela's government and military and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, including the construction of rebel training facilities on Venezuelan soil.

They also suggest Venezuela was preparing to loan the rebels at least US$250 million (euro190 million), provide them with Russian weapons and possibly even help them obtain surface-to-air missiles for use against Colombian military aircraft.

Most importantly, they outline a joint strategic project between Venezuela and the Colombian rebels, with Venezuela even seeking rebel training in "asymmetrical warfare" in preparation for a feared U.S. invasion.

The documents were shown to The Associated Press on Friday, days before Interpol is to issue a report that Colombia's conservative government hopes will dispel any doubts about the documents' authenticity.

A U.S. intelligence official in Washington vouched for the documents' authenticity, telling the AP that the Bush administration received them in March. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the matter's sensitivity.

But the leftist Chavez calls the documents fakes. He denies arming or funding the FARC, though he openly sympathizes with Latin America's most powerful rebel army. He calls Colombia's government, Washington's closest ally in the region, a U.S. pawn.

"They can get whatever they want out of there," Chavez said Sunday during his weekly television and radio program, referring to the slain rebel's computers and suggesting that U.S. officials are fabricating documents to support their accusations. "It's an imperialist plan."