Saturday, May 24, 2008

Obama collects another $500,000, slams Limbaugh

Immigration: Not that this is a surprise as Obama cheers on lax immigration rules and anyone who dares to speak up about securing the border is a xeno.

More than 800 donors packed into a Westin Diplomat Hotel ballroom Thursday night to pad Barack Obama’s war chest by another $500,000, according to this pool report of the evening.

In a speech to the crowd, Obama sharpened his rhetoric against some of the most vocal voices against immigrant workers and migrant worker programs.

“A certain segment has basically been feeding a kind of xenophobia. There’s a reason why hate crimes against Hispanic people doubled last year,” Obama said. “If you have people like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh ginning things up, it’s not surprising that would happen.”

Pro-illegal radio host becomes US citizen.

Immigration: Yep. I am sure this drive to be citizens and voting in this election is all about border security for this new group.

Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo, the popular Spanish-language disc-jockey who helped catapult half a million people to the streets over immigration reform, took his oath Thursday as a new citizen of the United States in a record-setting naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles.

...For many Latino immigrants, Sotelo’s decision to become a U.S. citizen was especially meaningful after they’ve listened to him encouraging immigrants to naturalize on his show, which reaches more than five million listeners each day, said Univision spokeswoman Georgia Carrera. The early morning show, which carries his nickname of "Tweety Bird" in Spanish, touches on immigration, community concerns, sports and entertainment with Mexican music and jokes woven in between.

"It gives us even more courage. He’s always helping people and he unites us," said Rosa Maria Gonzalez, 55, of Anaheim, a new citizen who said she listens to his show daily

Jorge-Mario Cabrera, spokesman for the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, said Sotelo has sent a strong message to his listeners of the contributions they can make to society and the success they can achieve – both through his words and his example.

Victor Rodriguez, professor of Chicano & Latino Studies at Cal State Long Beach, said Sotelo’s decision to naturalize and share the occasion with the public will resonate with listeners, particularly those who cherish their cultural identity and heritage and feel equally tied to, and part of, the United States.

"He has been such a visible leader for immigration reform," Rodriguez said. "He is also challenging this idea that people don’t want to become integrated into American society, that they’re sojourners. I think this is the best kind of countermeasure."

Sotelo, who has been sharing tidbits of his experiences in the citizenship process on the air in recent weeks, said he hopes it will send a message to Latino immigrants about the importance of learning English and becoming citizens – if they are eligible -- so they can vote and fully participate in civic life. He also hopes it will show non-immigrants how much he and other new citizens care about the country amid an often fractious debate over immigration.

Immigration reform = Open borders.

Clint Eastwood tells Spike Lee to go learn some history.

Entertainment: Spike Lee in his "I am the angry black man" role at Cannes.

Speaking about the casting for his tale of four black American soldiers in Tuscany, Lee said that black actors appear in war films too infrequently.

"Clint Eastwood made two films about Iwo Jima that ran for more than four hours total, and there was not one Negro actor on the screen," he said. "If you reporters had any balls you'd ask him why. There's no way I know why he did that -- that was his vision, not mine. But I know it was pointed out to him and that he could have changed it. It's not like he didn't know."

Clint's reply:

Veteran actor and director Clint Eastwood rejected criticism from fellow U.S. director Spike Lee that his films "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima" failed to recognize the role of African-American soldiers.

In an interview with Germany's Focus magazine, Eastwood said it was nonsense to suggest he had "erased the role of black GIs from history". He said there were no Afro-Americans in those films because there were no Afro-American soldiers involved.

"Does he know anything about American history?" Eastwood told Focus when asked about Lee's criticism. "The U.S. military was segregated til the Korean War, and the blacks in World War Two were totally segregated. The only black battalion on Iwo Jima was a small munitions supply unit that came to the beach.

"The story was about the men who raised the flag and we can't make them black if they were not there. So tell him: Why don't you go back and study your history and stop mouthing off!"

Friday, May 23, 2008

Gangs defend South Africa violence

Africa: Army was deployed and some calm has returned to townships but the damage is done.

A number of South Africans involved in deadly anti-foreigner violence have defended their actions.

A group of black South Africans told Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege in Johannesburg that foreigners were undoing years of fighting against white rule and undermining the minimum wage.

Police are patrolling the streets and the army has been called in to contain an outbreak of violence that has left at least 42 foreigners dead and sent 16,000 fleeing from their homes.

Sfiso Nkosi, a 26-year-old local in Primrose, Johannesburg, took part in the violence and, like others, shared in the spoils of the unrest - property looted from foreigners.

He said he had no choice but to join in the violence as there was peer pressure to do so.
Other locals expressed anger to our correspondent, arguing that Africans from neighbouring countries were prepared to work for only $4 a day when they insist on a minimum of wage of at least $12.

They were also angry with white South Africans who employ foreigners for what they say is next to nothing.

Responding to the charge that black South Africans are lazy and unwilling to work as hard as their poorer neighbours and were chasing away the competition, the group asked why they should have to toil for so little or be poor in a country rich with diamonds and gold.

Immigrants from nearby countries are drawn to South Africa because it has one of the strongest economies in the region and a stable democracy.

The foreigners, most of whom fled economic meltdown in neighbouring Zimbabwe, have been blamed for a rising crime rate in the country, as well as depriving locals of employment opportunities.

The unofficial unemployment rate in South Africa is believed to be about 40 per cent.

Maxine Waters threatens to nationalize Oil companies.

Politics: What a sad tool of a congress critter. I am glad to see the oil companies putting up a little fight against this idiotic show and Water capped it with her stammering threat.

Sweden tightens healthcare rules for illegals

Immigration: Sweden is going deny illegal immigrants subsidzed healthcare? Sweden? I mean its not a total ban but still... SWEDEN?

Sweden's parliament on Wednesday approved a centre-right government proposal to deny subsidized public healthcare services to illegal immigrants as of July 1st.

The law, which is largely a formalization of the current practice, stipulates that clandestine immigrants and rejected asylum seekers can only receive emergency medical care if they pay for it themselves.

The parliament voted 265-33 in favour of the proposal, with the left-wing Green Party and Left Party voting against it on humanitarian grounds.

The vote was postponed by a day to allow for an extended debate.

The government plans to create a commission later this year to examine whether some groups within the categories of people who will not receive subsidized health care should be entitled to it.

All parties in parliament are, for instance, in favour of giving clandestine immigrant children the right to subsidized medical care.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Muslim complaints gets art piece removed.

EU: Another day and another piece of Dutch government surrender of its values which now extend to art pieces.

Artist Ellen Vroegh almost fell from her chair when she was called up yesterday by Huizen municipality. Because several Muslim men had complained about her abstract paintings of half-naked women, the pieces had been removed from the municipality building where they had been displayed.

Vroegh: I feel severely discriminated! this passes all bounds. Must Dutch men now integrate in their own country? After the Nekschot affair, now you get this. Soon art will land up at the stage."

Roderick King gets another term on student government

Culture: King is the student government member who ripped up crosses put on display by a pro-life group on the campus of University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. As expected he got no punishment for his actions by the student government and was unanimously reappointed.

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student government member who, earlier this month, trashed and vandalized a pro-life display hasn't been disciplined. Instead, Roderick King is still a member of the Student Senate and was unanimously re-appointed to another term.

As first reported, King vandalized a display featuring crosses erected by the campus pro-life group to memorialize those babies killed in abortions.

While pulling and tossing them, King shouted "Freedom of speech does not cover these signs and symbols!" His actions were filmed by members of the campus pro-life group Pointers for Life and put on the Internet for display.

UWSP officials responded to the news last week saying it wouldn't disclose whether it would take any disciplinary action against King.

Now, Students for Life of America tells that King is getting another term in the student government body.

That was expected, no way the student government would actually do its job when it came to King's "protest." Just a lot of attaboys in private.

NYTIMES pissed about McCain not giving them health records.

Media: Feel the snippy.

Senator John McCain is set to release 400 pages of medical records, including documents related to his melanoma surgery in August 2000, to a tightly controlled group of reporters on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.

.. The news organizations in the pool, selected by the campaign, include ABC News, The Arizona Republic, The Associated Press, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, NBC News, Reuters, The Washington Post and, possibly, a newsmagazine.

Each organization is allowed two representatives and is expected to file a “pool report” for other reporters detailing the information in the records.

NYTIMES Translation:
That rat fink McCain kicked us out of the group to get information! How can you trust "ABC News, The Arizona Republic, The Associated Press, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, NBC News, Reuters, The Washington Post and, possibly, a newsmagazine" to get the info out to a wide audience!

Hellraisers: Burton, Harris, O'Toole and Reed.

Entertainment: Bow down to old school awesomeness when men were men, get drunk, end up in Mexico and still be able to win awards and acclaim.

Richard Burton had no doubt that "God put me on this earth to raise hell."

For Peter O'Toole "Booze is the most outrageous of drugs which is why I chose it."

Richard Harris "loved the excitement of my drinking days. Life is made from memories which is a pity as I don't remember much."

Oliver Reed readily admitted "I do not live in the world of sobriety."

Critics might argue that this quartet of larger-than-life actors squandered their talent in far too many appalling movies because they were too busy chasing their drinking demons.

Not so says author Robert Sellers in "Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed."

"They got away with the kind of behavior that today's vapid bunch of film stars could scarcely dream of because of their mercurial acting talent and because the press and public loved them," he writes in the book, being published on May 29.

....Richard Harris, star of "Camelot" and "This Sporting Life" along with some real stinkers, reveled like the others in living life to the full.

"Look at a photograph of me from the old days and I'm going to one of my film premieres with a bottle of vodka in my hand. Tom Cruise has a bottle of Evian water. That's the difference," the outlandish Irishman once recalled.

....So that just leaves O'Toole as the last one standing -- without an ounce of regret.

"I loved the drinking and the waking up in the morning and finding I was in Mexico. It was part and parcel of being an idiot," he concluded.

Honda hybrids may be nightmare for Detroit

Nation: If they can keep the price under 2000 bucks over comparable cars and great mpg over comparable cars, then I am interested.

Honda Motor Co. is coming out with hybrid cars starting early next year that will cost about $1,900 more than comparable gas-only models. The cost for the Detroit Three, according to industry analysts, could be lower market share as U.S. consumers continue their rapid shift to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Analysts say the new hybrids, including a gas-electric hybrid-only model to fight the popular Toyota Prius and a hybrid version of the subcompact Fit, will hit the market at the right time with gasoline prices continuing to rise.

"It's a game-changer for the short term if they can get the products in the marketplace in the next couple of years before the domestics can come up with a significant volume of products that get high mileage," said Jesse Toprak, chief industry analyst for the auto information site

Honda, which already has the most fuel-efficient lineup in the U.S., announced Wednesday that it will sell the new hybrid-only car in the U.S., Japan and Europe starting in early 2009. It has not determined yet where the Fit will be sold.

The new models are a key part of Honda's strategy for the next three years that President Takeo Fukui outlined at Honda's Tokyo headquarters.

Mixup negates House override of farm bill veto

Politics: Now someone figure out how to kill this pork filled bill permanently.

South Africa calls up military to stop mob violence.

Africa: Death toll is now up to 42. I am irritated by the officials acting shocked over the violence when anyone could see this coming especially the last couple of years with the lax enforcement of immigration and Mbeki failure to help with the Mugabe situation.

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - South African President Thabo Mbeki has called in troops to halt attacks on foreigners as the death toll from more than a week of violence nearly doubled and attacks began to spread.

A statement from his office said Mbeki had agreed to a request from the police for the involvement of the army as it emerged that 42 people were now known to have died.

"President Mbeki has approved a request from the South African Police Service for the involvement of the South African National Defence Force in stopping ongoing attacks on foreign nationals in Gauteng," the statement said, referring to a province which includes the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

While Mbeki's office did not give details on the nature of the army's role, national police spokeswoman Sally de Beer said they would provide a support role rather than take over.

"We do not see them performing policing but rather acting in a back-up capacity," she told AFP. The army had equipment "that we might need for special operations" such as helicopters, she added.

Defence ministry spokesman Sam Mkhwanazi said there would be no deployment on Wednesday night but that troops would be in strife-hit areas "as soon as possible."

More from CNN.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

McDonald’s CEO ticked Over Restaurant Calorie Counts

Nation: I can't blame the guy as its become the nanny state goal to babysit everyone on anything they do especially eating. I don't object to the posting of the calories but being forced to by some local government who thinks its going to stop people from eating there is ridiculous. Its a freaking McDonalds, people who order from the place know on the scale of healthy foods most of the stuff is not kosher. If by now you don't realize a Big Mac has a ton of calories and fat in it, you're an idiot.

McDonald's Chief Executive Jim Skinner took a jab Sunday at regulatory efforts to force calorie counts onto restaurant menus, and told those gathered at a restaurant industry trade show that they are facing a "perfect storm" of challenges.

Skinner was the keynote speaker Sunday at the National Restaurant Association's annual show at McCormick Place. The convention, which runs through Tuesday, is one of Chicago's biggest trade shows and is expected to draw 74,000 guests.

Richard Rivera, the association's departing chairman, noted in a speech that the industry is "engaged in policy and politics like never before." He was partly referring to attempts by local governments to force chain restaurants to add calorie information to their menu boards.

The city of New York, aiming to cut down on ballooning rates of diabetes and obesity, has been in the vanguard. Its calorie ordinance has survived legal challenges and went into effect April 30.

Similar statutes have been adopted elsewhere and proposed in places including Chicago.

Skinner said such regulations are "redundant and flawed," noting that Oak Brook-based McDonald's Corp. has offered abundant calorie information for 30 years. Industry observers have generally seen McDonald's as a leader; it posts nutritional information on its Web site, tray liners and some product packaging.

Still, advocates of menu-board calorie counts say Web site information isn't available at the point of sale, and packaging data isn't read until after a purchase is made.

Skinner called such regulatory activists "professional naysayers" and "CAVE people — Citizens Against Virtually Everything."

With growing regulatory mandates, a slack economy, soaring commodity costs and increasing labor-related issues, "it's a perfect storm," Skinner said. "I don't have to tell you that times are tough."

Teen faces prosecution for calling Scientology 'cult'

UK: Once again, the UK shows why political correctness as an official government policy makes for dumb decision making.

A teenager is facing prosecution for using the word "cult" to describe the Church of Scientology.

The unnamed 15-year-old was served the summons by City of London police when he took part in a peaceful demonstration opposite the London headquarters of the controversial religion.

Officers confiscated a placard with the word "cult" on it from the youth, who is under 18, and a case file has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.

A date has not yet been set for him to appear in court.

The decision to issue the summons has angered human rights activists and support groups for the victims of cults.

The incident happened during a protest against the Church of Scientology on May 10. Demonstrators from the anti-Scientology group, Anonymous, who were outside the church's £23m headquarters near St Paul's cathedral, were banned by police from describing Scientology as a cult by police because it was "abusive and insulting".

"Immigration raid roils Iowa melting pot"

Immigration: Another sob story article glossing over the criminal acts to decry this multiculturalist paradise was torn apart by an immigration raid.

Newspaper gets complaints over "illegal alien" usage.

Immigration: The PC word police are out and whining about the News&Observer usage of the term illegal alien in a couple of recent stories.

THE LABELING ISSUE IS NOT NEW, but it flares up regularly as immigration issues move to the front page. That's happened recently with the spate of stories about whether students without documentation should be admitted to North Carolina's community colleges and universities. Here are two recent headlines that brought reader protests:

"Easley supports college for aliens," -- Friday, May 9.

"U.S.: Colleges may admit illegals," -- Saturday, May 10.

Of the first story, reader Richard Kevin wrote: "These children are no more illegal than are the children of speeders and drunken drivers who are in the car when their parents are arrested. Whether or not they are admitted to the UNC system of higher education, these students are undocumented, not illegal. Your use of the latter term subtly supports a false perception."

Zulayka Santiago of Durham wrote of illegals: "This choice of terminology not only dehumanizes individuals, but also automatically creates a bias to the reader."

So if the terminology is offensive, what words do we use? The News & Observer, like most media organizations, has a manual of style that guides word usage. In this case, it says:

"Instead of illegal aliens, we use illegal immigrants or immigrants who are in the country illegally. Illegal aliens is permissible in a tight count in headlines."

Now, check with El Pueblo, the Raleigh-based advocacy group for Latinos. "The problem we have is not alien, it's illegal," said director Tony Asion. "They are not illegal, they are undocumented."

So, undocumented immigrant works for him.

The official terminology in federal immigration law is alien. But that leads to headlines such as last week's, which made it sound as if North Carolina's governor wanted to start a campus for people from outer space. Raleigh immigration attorney Jack Pinnix doesn't like alien either, especially when coupled with illegal.

"What bugs me about illegal is when it's applied in the context of these college students," he said. "You can't be charged with felonies and misdemeanors below a certain age. Here's a 17-year-old who's been here since age 2, 3 or 4 with no intention to break the law. You can't call them illegal." Pinnix favors undocumented foreign national.

The writer agrees with them and wants the terms illegals and alien kicked out.

MY TAKE: I'd loosen the style manual to allow undocumented and unauthorized. Illegal may be used to describe how people got here -- "immigrants who are in the country illegally" -- but not to describe the people themselves -- "illegal immigrants."

And rule out aliens, legally correct though it may be. Ditto for illegals. I don't like adjectives as nouns, especially as a label for people who violated the law to improve their families' lives.

Keep an eye on your local paper to see how far they are going to sanitize the news

Diplomats say UN probe of Iran nukes a failure

Iran: Who did not see that coming eh?

Iran has stymied the latest U.N. attempt to investigate allegations that it tried to make nuclear weapons, diplomats said Tuesday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, will acknowledge it was unable to follow up on the allegations in a report to be presented as early as Friday to its 35-nation board, two diplomats told The Associated Press.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei expressed optimism a month ago when he announced that Iran agreed to review intelligence collected by the U.N. agency, just a few weeks after Tehran had declared the books closed on any attempt to look into its alleged nuclear arms programs.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Colorado men exchange Taser shots over parked van

Stupid: Look at it this way, it wasn't knives or guns being pulled just who can shoot off the shock first. It kept the idiots out of serious harm.

A police report said Epstein and Casey M. Dane, a supervisor for Colorado Security Services Inc., were arguing over a metal boot that one of Dane's guards had clamped on a wheel of a van parked behind Mamacitas.

Dane told police he was afraid Epstein was going to hit him with a 2- foot-long pair of bolt cutters. Epstein told police he had only tried to remove the boot with the bolt cutters and hadn't threatened anyone with them.

Epstein told police Dane put his hand on a holstered pistol and threatened to shoot him. Dane told The Associated Press by telephone that he did put his hand on the holstered pistol but never threatened to shoot Epstein.

Both men drew Tasers.

"They shot each other," Police Sgt. Pat Wyton told the Camera newspaper. "It was just kind of a bonehead deal."

The guard claimed the van, owned by a Mamacitas employee, was on property he was hired to patrol. The van owner denied that.

Epstein, 36, told the AP in a phone interview Sunday he took out his Taser only after Dane pointed his at him and his mother, who was also outside. Epstein also said Dane repeatedly told him he was a police officer and that failing to comply with his orders was a federal offense, allegations that Dane denies.

Roundup of South Africa Violence reports.

Africa: Now the worry is revenge attacks on South Africans.

BBC: Mbeki condemns 'shameful' attacks

South African President Thabo Mbeki has condemned the "shameful and criminal" violence against foreigners that has left at least 22 dead.

Some 6,000 people, many of them Zimbabweans, have fled in the wave of violence directed at immigrants mainly around Johannesburg.

Mr Mbeki said police would get "to the root of the anarchy".

Up to three million Zimbabweans are thought to be in South Africa, having fled violence and poverty at home.

Many have sought refuge in police stations, churches and community halls.

AP: South Africa seeks to end anti-foreigner attacks

Washington Post: South Africans Fear Backlash of Violence

Gift Mahlakametsa, 33, leaned on a long, carved club on Monday and pointed to the brown mountain of mine waste that passes for a hillside in this grim patch of South Africa. Just beyond the ridge, he warned, Mozambicans were waiting for darkness, spears and guns at the ready.

"They want to pay revenge," Mahlakametsa said.

...Though police and aid groups say the violence has been mostly one-sided, with South Africans assaulting foreigners, residents of Ramaphosa said there have been counterattacks as well. They were expecting more. A gang of about 100 men -- carrying sharpened sticks, planks of wood, lengths of plastic pipe, machetes -- gathered not far from a cluster of destroyed homes Monday afternoon.

They were preparing to protect themselves, they said, from Mozambicans supposedly hiding on the hill of mine waste.

"They've burned our shacks here, and now they are going to rape our wives," said Petrus Masemola, 38, a security guard who pointed to some bent, charred sheet metal that he said had been his home.

NYTIMES: South Africans Take Out Rage on Immigrants

Lieberman goes after youtube over jihadist videos.

Terrorism: Tech blogs are in an uproar but Lieberman hits on a point that youtube answers too but does not put into practice.

When I learned that Lieberman wanted Google to pull what he described as "terrorist content" from YouTube, my first thought was that his PR director obviously was incapacitated. But no, this was a team effort in scare-mongering.

Searches on YouTube return dozens of videos branded with an icon or logo identifying the videos as the work of one of these Islamist terrorist organizations. A great majority of these videos document horrific attacks on American soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan. Others provide weapons training, speeches by al-Qaeda leadership, and general material intended to radicalize potential recruits.

Google isn't going to play ball. Here's what the company had to say:

Senator Lieberman's staff identified numerous videos that they believed violated YouTube's Community Guidelines. In response to his concerns, we examined and ended up removing a number of videos from the site, primarily because they depicted gratuitous violence, advocated violence, or used hate speech. Most of the videos, which did not contain violent or hate speech content, were not removed because they do not violate our Community Guidelines.

That important distinction was glossed over in Lieberman's official communications with the company. Of course, Google's refusal to play ball may get it featured as a candidate for Bill O'Reilly's Talking Point segment, but management's entirely right to stick by its principles. Lieberman's gone hunting with a blunderbuss, lumping violent and hateful content together with unpopular points of view. In this instance, Google did no evil.

I know we're about to get into the thick of the political silly season, but no less than a veteran U.S. Senator should take a look at the United States Constitution now and then. It's one heck of a document. Really.

The problem with youtube is only after Senators complain about the jihad videos do they get taken down. A lot of other videos which have been flagged and violate what Google says are the rules are left up while videos that don't violate are taken down especially when it comes to Islam. Government shouldn't get involved but the unsteady enforcement of the rules is clear.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Obama: Iran, NK, Cuba and Venezuela are tiny, why worry?

Politics: The new approach to Obama's foreign policy regarding these countries is too dismiss them as being inconsequential compared to the old threat of the USSR. All this talk of danger especially to Iran is just overhyped! Iran is not that dangerous! Look at what they spend on their military compared to us!

The scary part is he really may believe this nonsense and not just campaign talk to liberal audience in that part of the country. To say each of these countries are not a serious threat to America is to be blithely ignorant or forget that each of these countries are in parts of the world that has American interests, especially in the case of Iran and North Korea who threaten our allies in their respective regions.

If its campaign talk, Obama shows a disingenuous side that is eye-opening. If its truly how he believes, America's allies and its interests are screwed.

Sorry Black Jesus, Michelle Obama is subject to campaign ads.

Politics: Another day and another whine by Obama on what is to be said or not in relation to his campaign.

Democrat Barack Obama has a message for Tennessee's Republican Party: "Lay off my wife."

Obama, his party's presidential front-runner, and his wife, Michelle, were asked in an interview aired Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America" about an online video last week by the state's GOP taking her to task for a comment some considered unpatriotic.

"The GOP, should I be the nominee, can say whatever they want to say about me, my track record," Obama said. "If they think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful because that I find unacceptable, the notion that you start attacking my wife or my family."

He called the strategy "low class."

The video, posted on YouTube, centered on remarks Michelle Obama made while campaigning in Wisconsin last February, when she said: "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country."

The four-minute video replayed the remark six times, interspersing it with commentary by Tennesseans on why they are proud of America. In a news release that included a link to the video, Tennessee's GOP said "the Tennessee Republican Party has always been proud of America." It urged radio stations to play "patriotic music" during Michelle Obama's visit to Nashville last Thursday.

Michelle Obama later clarified the remark, saying she meant she was proud of how Americans were engaging in the political process and that she had always been proud of her country.

"Whoever is in charge of the Tennessee GOP needs to think long and hard about the kind of campaign they want to run, and I think that's true for everybody, Democrat or Republican," Obama said in the ABC interview, adding: "These folks should lay off my wife."

Michelle is an integral part of his campaign which means whatever she utters is subject to scrutiny and criticism. She made that statement and got called on it. If Obama did not want that to happen then don't have go off script which is driving her aides crazy or don't put her out there to speak for you on the campaign trail.

Arnold calls for "rebranding" of the GOP.

Politics: Via Instapundit comes the obligatory GOP must change their ways to be viable.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger created shock and awe in the Republican Party when he warned years ago that the GOP was in danger of "dying at the box office" by failing to make the sale to a wide swath of voters.

And with the presidential election looming, the Republican governor of the nation's most populous state - a decidedly blue state - has now found a chorus of agreement. The Republican "brand" - thanks to an unpopular president, a war, gas prices, foreclosures and deficit - has become such damaged goods that GOP Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia groused last week that "if we were dog food, they would take us off the shelf."

The answer for GOP presidential candidate John McCain: take a page out of the Schwarzenegger playbook and sell a product that is "counter" to the current GOP brand on issues like global warming, spending and even immigration reform.

How about Republicans who got elected on being conservatives fiscally/socially actually act that way when they get into office? The downfall of the GOP has been the failure to govern how they promised to be to the people. Moving to the Arnold version of the center will lead to failure because liberals and Dems will continue to vote Dem, the smallish center will be fought over while you alienate those to right of center. Think of it as a 40/20/40 split where you abandoned the 40 to try and fight over the middle 20.

Its a losing battle plan that has been tried before by other conservative parties around the world(Tories in Canada and UK) before they realized actually proposing and trying to enact conservative policies really do work.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

U.S.-Mexico fence rises, illegal traffic slows

Immigration: In other news! People found to be breathe air!

As recently as a year ago, residents here say their dusty Mexican village -- a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez -- was a popular staging ground for migrants and dope smugglers. But the fence project and a corresponding spike in the law enforcement presence across the border have slowed the illegal traffic considerably.

It hasn't stopped crossings altogether, though.

A convenient hole in the border barrier lies about 50 yards -- across a muddy, trash-strewn road -- from the home of Maria de los Angeles Mendoza. Even with the increased vigilance, some slip through it, she said.

''They hide down in the grass, and they go under here, smugglers included,'' she said, pointing to the rectangular opening of a concrete storm drain that empties out onto the U.S. side. Those who don't get caught hop a freight train out or catch a ride to nearby El Paso, she said.

Joe Romero, a Border Patrol agent in El Paso, said no system is foolproof. But he said the fence will help agents gain a valuable advantage as they pursue immigrants trying to gain illegal entry into the United States -- or suspected criminals fleeing back into Mexico.

''Five seconds can mean the difference between apprehending somebody or having them get away,'' Romero said. ``This area used to be notorious for a lot of human- as well as narcotic-smuggling, and we've seen quite a dramatic decline.''


Federal authorities report the largest sustained drop in apprehensions along the southern border in years -- down 18 percent in the first quarter of 2008, following declines in the two previous fiscal years.

Though it's impossible to tell from the apprehension data how many people are actually getting through, officials say increased enforcement at job sites, an economic downturn and a huge increase in agents stationed along the border are driving down the illegal traffic.

Critics of the border wall, however, use the same figures to dispute the notion that barriers are needed. Only 370 of the 670 miles have been built. If apprehensions are dropping without a complete fence, why build the rest, they ask.

Seriously... this is considered a good argument against finishing the fence? If you have a couple of leaks in a dam and you plug up half while there is a mild drought going on means not as much water will get through. That doesn't mean you don't plug the rest of the leaks because you are halfway successful.

South Africa's violence against foreigners explodes.

Africa: It has been building for the last couple of years especially of Zimbabweans fleeing Mugabe.

Emmerson Ziso fled hunger and repression in neighboring Zimbabwe, but now he wants to go back. Even his violent, chaotic homeland seems a haven compared to Johannesburg, where weekend attacks on foreigners left at least 12 dead.

"Most of the Zimbabweans want to leave. It is better at home than here," said the former teacher who was chased out of his home by a mob early Sunday.

"It's spreading like wildfire and the police and the army can't control it," Ziso said, as he tried to help register about 500 people who sought refuge at the police station in Johannesburg's Cleveland area.

It was a scene repeated in other poor suburbs around the city. Angry residents accused foreigners of taking scarce jobs and housing, many of them Zimbabweans who had fled their own country's economic collapse.

President Thabo Mbeki said Sunday that he would set up a panel of experts to investigate. African National Congress President Jacob Zuma, who is likely to succeed Mbeki next year, condemned the attacks.

"We cannot allow South Africa to be famous for xenophobia," Zuma told a conference in Pretoria.

The weekend attacks come as the government tries to change South Africa's violent image ahead of the 2010 World Cup. South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world, recording an average of 50 murders each day.

Many in the ANC government took refuge in neighboring countries during apartheid and are deeply embarrassed by the current violence, which has targeted immigrants who came to South Africa from other nations in the region.

More from the Washington Post.

NAACP pick their new president to lead the irrelevent group

Nation: Even picking a new president the NAACP manages to make it amateur hour.

The NAACP has chosen Ben Jealous as its new president after a contentious debate that lasted long into the night, members of its board of directors said Saturday.

Jealous, 35, will be the youngest president in the NAACP's 99-year history, The Associated Press reported.

When the 34-21 vote was announced, "no one clapped or celebrated," one board member said after the meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

Jealous was the only finalist presented by the search committee to the full board for consideration. Some board members wanted to hear from two others whom the search committee identified as finalists, but Jealous' supporters prevented it, sources said.

...Sources said Jealous, a former newspaper editor and director of an Amnesty International division, was the only finalist for the post of president, vacant for more than a year. He was the primary choice of board Chairman Julian Bond, sources said.

There you go, Jealous got his job based on Bonds wanting someone to be under his thumb after his experience with Bruce Gordon who wasn't willing to put up with Bond and the 64 member board.

Jealous is president of the California-based Rosenberg Foundation, and before that he directed the U.S. human rights program for Amnesty International.

....In selecting Jealous, the NAACP broke with its tradition of picking politicians and ministers to lead, as it did three years ago with its selection of telecommunications executive Bruce Gordon. Jealous is the president of the Rosenberg Foundation in San Francisco, which advocates for immigrants and working-class families.

Jealous also is a former news executive, having served as executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which encompasses about 200 black newspapers, and as managing editor of the Jackson Advocate, a black newspaper in Mississippi.

"Ben Jealous has spent his professional life working for and raising money for the very social justice concerns for which the NAACP advocates," NAACP Chairman Julian Bond said in a statement. "He is a perfect match. . . . We are looking forward to a great future under his leadership."

....The NAACP has long been criticized by young African Americans for failing to bring in fresh faces who can relate to the concerns of people who still face racial discrimination after the fall of segregation. Young bloggers have hammered the group, characterizing it as slow to react to a variety of issues.

Yesterday's selection might silence the criticism. Jealous is one in a growing cadre of young black activists emerging in San Francisco. Others include Van Jones, co-founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and the online group; and James Rucker, the other ColorofChange co-founder

Great.. Instead of forward thinking leader to bring the NAACP to the present, they pick chip on their shoulder liberal who is going to fight the battles of the past.

Obama meets with Hezbollah supporting Imam.

Politics: Debbie Schlussel points out this freep article where Obama met privately with Hassan Qazwini, head of the Islamic Center of America. Schlussel points out that he is a major Hezbollah supporter which makes sense given the popularity of the group in Dearborn. Niraj Warikoo who seems to be the only reporter at the Detroit Free Press who writes on items related to Muslims/Islam in that area realizes how this looks throw in this line to give the Imam some cred.

Qazwini has also met several times with President Bush and other elected officials.

What is amusing are two liberal blogs(Oliver Willis and Carpetbagger report) trying to tag team on how Obama meeting with this Imam is no big deal and just right wing paranoia led by Schlussel. The big gotcha is that President Bush meet with him so that gives him legitimacy and since Schlussel left that out, she is wrong about him.

Bagger: Schlussel also quoted the Detroit Times Free Press article noting the Obama meeting, but omitted the one sentence that undermined her vacuous smear.

The article concluded, “Qazwini has also met several times with President Bush and other elected officials.”

Yep, this allegedly radical, terrorist-supporting agent of Iran is so dangerous, he’s been able to hang out with George W. Bush.

Schlussel’s attack was widely parroted by the far-right, with the usual suspects charactering the Obama meeting as something scandalous. One argued, “BHO isn’t even officially the Democratic nominee yet and already he’s meeting terrorist supporters — and Iran by proxy.”

And none of them though to click the link and read, “Qazwini has also met several times with President Bush and other elected officials.”

The probelm is she has railed against elected officials including President Bush meeting with radical Imams and especially with Qazwini for years now as by this example from January 7th 2008 piece where she points out she didn't vote for Bush because of these sorts of meetings.

In the rush to protect Obama , Willis and Bagger didn't do a quick google search to support their claims and saw this as an easy hit which is easily refuted. They are liberals so I doubt they keep up with posts that have blasted everyone from President Bush to the State for meeting up with these Imams with dubious ties.