Saturday, June 14, 2008

Liberal Ohio Judge a Che Guevara/Obama fan

Nation: James Burge of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas in Elyria said Ohio's method of lethal injection is unconstitutional under state law. A decision that The Volokh Conspiracy and others found puzzling until they saw this picture.

Then everything fell into place.

Malik Obama says Barack will be good president for the Jews

Politics: Fight the Smear!

Barack Obama's half brother Malik said Thursday that if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people, despite his Muslim background.

In an interview with Army Radio he expressed a special salutation from the Obamas of Kenya.

Chris Matthews whores out Tim Russert's death for anti-war rant.

Media: It wasn't a slip up but a carefully planned line of attack.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chicago teachers union takes out $3million loan.

Nation: Just to stay viable. Its Chicago, its a union, so of course there is corruption.

She says he has frittered away thousands of dollars on Dutch vodka, margaritas, pricey lamb chops and the like.

He says she has wasted money on satellite radio for her car and $500,000 in meals.

The nasty food fight is between the Chicago Teachers Union's top two officials. They have turned on each other over allegations of misused funds in a nasty spat that has spilled into court.

The dueling charges come as critics contend the once financially fat labor organization has been forced to take out $3 million in loans to stay afloat.

The union's executive board has accused Vice President Ted Dallas of inappropriately charging the CTU for more than $6,200 in drinks -- ranging from Ketel One vodka to margaritas to pitchers of Miller Genuine Draft -- and dinners at such high-end hot spots as Gibson's Steakhouse, Coco Pazzo and Frontera Grill, according to documents obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times. The restaurant and bar tabs spanned a one-year period ending in February.

Dallas is also accused of signing a $17,725 check to himself for sick days, authorizing a $63,500 severance and sick-day payment to a still-employed worker and using CTU equipment to copy propaganda against Marilyn Stewart, CTU president.

Dallas said the allegations of misspent money are "fabrications."

"No one said those [drinks and dinners] were not proper," he said.

A union hearing was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. today to decide if Dallas should be stripped of his position and union membership. But Dallas fired back by suing the union, claiming Stewart was the big spender and that he and treasurer Linda Porter were being railroaded in their efforts to act as watchdogs on the union funds.

Britons are 'unmotivated and uneducated', Government claims

UK: As the result of a welfare society.

Britons are out of work because too many of them are lazy and unemployable - not because Eastern Europeans have taken their jobs, an explosive Government report claimed last night.

The Department for Work and Pensions said UK citizens were on the dole because of 'issues around basic employability skills, incentives and motivation'.

The arrival of a million Eastern Europeans in the last four years has not damaged wages or led to an increase in unemployment among natives, the study said.

Business leaders agreed with the devastating assessment of Britain's jobless, saying they are suffering from a 'benefits culture'.

They claimed firms had no option but to turn to migrants because people in the UK did not have the skills for the job.

The Conservatives described the Government's conclusion as a 'scandal'.

The DWP's statement was intended to rebut a damaging report from the House of Lords economic affairs committee, which concluded migration had 'little or no' positive economic impact on the UK.

Obama aides "grilled" in Dearborn

Politics: Please, this is made up nonsense, Obama will get most of the votes in the Dearborn area so why should he stick his neck out to promote for the most part a self serving idea that is used to deflect legit criticism.

As he continues to fend off false assertions that he is Muslim, aides to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, met with Arab-Americans, Muslims and Chaldeans in Dearborn in a plea for support.

It was immediately apparent at the 90-minute meeting at the University of Michigan-Dearborn that Obama has some work to do, as he and the presumptive Republican nominee, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, battle for votes in ethnic and religious communities that are "in play" in the 2008 election -- including the three large communities in Metro Detroit.

First, some who attended the get-together Tuesday said, there was Obama's speech last week to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel advocacy group, in which he called for an undivided Jerusalem under Israeli control.

The three Obama aides who attended the meeting also were challenged about the perception that he fails to denounce Islamophobia, even when he points out publicly that he has been targeted by prejudiced Internet bloggers, in particular, who continue to assert that he is Muslim.

"We are waiting for him to decry this Islamophobia as anti-American, just as anti-Semitism is anti-American," said Dawud Walid, of the Council on American Islamic Relations. "To simply say that he is a Christian and not to criticize Islamophobia is akin to passively supporting Islamophobia. He has to address publicly the roots of these concerns."

That Blue Balled video confirmed the obvious.

Politics: That young/liberal women have the morals/values of a crackhead hooker. Anytime anyone making any sort of film and uses the phrases "edge and a clever hook." and "hip cool and passionate" thats myopic focus group thinking talking back to you. This appeals to the Gen Y'ers who think MTV is still awesome and wants to Free at any given time.

Earmark Spending Makes a Comeback

Nation: Don't call it a comeback, its been there for years. Basically almost every rat fink congress critter is sticking his/her hands in the taxpayers money to fund their pet projects and it is going to get worse.

Earmark spending in the House's defense authorization bill alone soared 29 percent last month, from $7.7 billion last year to $9.9 billion now, according to data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group in the District. The Senate bill has not been approved, but the proposal includes an increased number of earmarks, although for a slightly lesser total cost.

Lawmakers had promised to cut back on earmarks and mandated better disclosure of them after steady criticism that they were funding programs with little debate or oversight. The promises led to an initial decline in earmarks last year that was trumpeted on Capitol Hill. But the new data show that they are surging again, at least in the proposed Pentagon authorization budget, which sets out priorities to be funded in a later appropriations bill.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Obama's new Fight the Smear site.. scary and wrong.

Politics: Wrong:

LIE: Rush Limbaugh says a tape exists of Michelle Obama using the word “whitey” from the pulpit of Trinity United

But you read the expanded text and it says

On May 30th, Rush Limbaugh said he had heard a rumor that a tape exists of Michelle Obama using the word “Whitey” from the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ.

That is dishonest but the eagle symbol that looks like something out of 30's/40's Germany with the oversized O on its chest is downright scary.

Katherine Heigl throws Grey's Anatomy writers/creator under the bus.

Entertainment: Heigl gets a couple of movies and has gotten more obnoxious and tiring at the same time. Someone needs to tell her a pretty face and boobs does not make a box office superstar. I am not even a Grey's fan but insulting the creative team in such a manner is a low blow. Show a little bit of class because this sort of behavior is going to come back and bite you eventually.

Katherine Heigl won't be chewing her manicure at this year's Emmy ceremony: She says she didn't seek a nomination because "Grey's Anatomy" failed to deliver the goods for an award-worthy performance.

Heigl, who was honored as best supporting actress in a drama last year for the ABC series, declined to put her name in consideration for a bid, a spokeswoman for the actress said Wednesday.

"I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization" decided against competing, Heigl said in a written statement provided by her publicist, Melissa Kates, who was contacted by the AP.
"In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials," added Heigl. She plays Dr. Izzie Stevens on "Grey's Anatomy," which slipped in the ratings this past season but remained a top 10 show.

An after-hours message left with a publicist for "Grey's Anatomy" creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes was not immediately returned Wednesday night.

Heigl, who shot to box-office success last summer with the comedy "Knocked Up," has established herself as one of Hollywood's rare voices of candor.

In a Vanity Fair magazine interview published in January, she called the hit film "a little sexist" and said that it painted women as "shrews, as humorless and uptight," while the male characters were lovable and goofy.

Heigl also was outspoken when "Grey's" castmates Isaiah Washington and T.R. Knight clashed last year over Washington's alleged use of a homophobic slur.

"I'm going to be really honest right now, he needs to just not speak in public. Period," Heigl said at one point of Washington, who ended up being booted from the medical drama.

Google CEO Sees 'Moral Imperative' to Help Newspapers

Media: Well yeah he does because without it Google News would be a bust. Its not like Google can gather news as well even at the distressed levels newspapers are at now.

Pledge of Allegiance dropped due to Muslim families.

Culture: I love a ready made controversial story as yet another example of multiculturalism and mushy sap principal killing off a tradition. But lets give her a point for replacing it with the preamble though she is going to catch hell for the main reason she replaced it.

PORTLAND, Ore. - The exclusion of the Pledge of Allegiance from a southwest Portland elementary school's ceremony has proved upsetting for a local mom.

Departing fifth-graders at Capitol Hill Elementary usually open their promotion ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance - but not this year.

"I was sad," said parent Briana Reese. "The flag was sitting up there, you know. Two of the kids went up and they said 'Everybody rise,' and we rose, and I thought for just a second 'Oh yeah, we're going to put our hands on our hearts and we're going to salute the flag' - but no."

Reese had heard that the principal planned to take the pledge out of the ceremony.

"I think that's what they should be doing - telling kids you should be pledging your allegiance to this country," Reese said. "This is a great country. You're here for a reason."

The pledge was instead replaced with a singing version of the preamble to the Constitution.

KATU tried repeatedly to talk with Principal Pam Wilson but got no results. However, in an e-mail response to Reese's questions, she explained the pledge was removed "out of respect for the diversity of religious faiths."

But she only included one in the email.

The following is the full e-mail response that parent Briana Reese received from Principal Pam Wilson:

"The Pledge contains the words, 'under God' and we have many Muslim families here. So out of respect for the diversity of religious faiths practiced by our school community (parents and families) we decided that this year the students would memorize and sing the Preamble to the Constitution. At the rehearsal on Friday they did it from memory and to a wonderful song. It was very joyful and unique. I think you, and other parents, will really appreciate the creative and new way to open the program."

So out of respect of diversity, you drop the pledge of allegiance which is spitting on the majority of students. That makes perfect sense. This is what multiculturalism does in the long run, downplay the host country while celebrating everyone else.

Hispanic Dems warn Obama: Amnesty now!

Politics: Or you losing the Latino vote.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) must commit to helping illegal immigrants achieve citizenship or else risk losing the vital Latino vote in the general election, Hispanic Democratic lawmakers are warning.

If he does not promise so-called comprehensive immigration reform, the lawmakers say, the only other way to win over Hispanic supporters of his erstwhile rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), may be to pick her as his running mate.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Canadians being wimps in the arena of ideas confirmed.

Culture: From a very interesting read about the limits the rest of the West puts on speech compared to America comes this tidbit.
In his opening statement in the Canadian magazine case, a lawyer representing the Muslim plaintiffs aggrieved by the Maclean's article pleaded with a three-member panel of the tribunal to declare that the article subjected his clients to "hatred and ridicule" and to force the magazine to publish a response.

"You are the only thing between racist, hateful, contemptuous Islamophobic and irresponsible journalism," the lawyer, Faisal Joseph, told the tribunal, "and law-abiding Canadian citizens."

In response, a lawyer for Maclean's all but called the proceeding a sham.

"Innocent intent is not a defense," the lawyer, Roger McConchie, said, in a bitter criticism of the British Columbia hate speech law. "Nor is truth. Nor is fair comment on true facts. Publication in the public interest and for the public benefit is not a defense. Opinion expressed in good faith is not a defense. Responsible journalism is not a defense."

Jason Gratl, a lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, which has intervened in the case, was measured in his criticism of the law forbidding hate speech.

"Canadians do not have a cast-iron stomach for offensive speech," Gratl said in a telephone interview. "We don't subscribe to a marketplace of ideas. Americans as a whole are more tough-minded and more prepared for verbal combat."

Burger King Helped Downey Jr. Quit Drugs

Entertainment: Somehow I don't think this will end up in an ad. The Croissan'wich is awesome though.

Some addicts say they reach "rock bottom" when they lose their health or their family -- but Robert Downey Jr hit his lowest ebb when he ordered a Burger King!

The Iron Man star has publicly thanked the fast food chain for helping him get on the road to recovery by serving him a cheeseburger so disgusting that it forced him to reassess his entire life, according to Britain's film magazine Empire.

Downey Jr, 43, who has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for many years, said he had the life-changing epiphany in 2003 when he pulled into a drive thru in a car filled with "tons of f****ing dope".

"I have to thank Burger King," he told the magazine. "It was such a disgusting burger I ordered.

"I had that, and this big soda, and I thought something really bad was going to happen."

Downey Jr. says he went and threw all his drugs into the ocean right there and then.

Surgery Offers Muslim Women Illusion of Virginity

Culture: This is insulting to Muslim women to have to have such a degrading operation.

The operation in the private clinic off the Champs-Élysées involved one semicircular cut, 10 dissolving stitches and a discounted fee of $2,900.

But for the patient, a 23-year-old French student of Moroccan descent from Montpellier, the 30-minute procedure represented the key to a new life: the illusion of virginity.

Like an increasing number of Muslim women in Europe, she had a hymenoplasty, a restoration of her hymen, the vaginal membrane that normally breaks in the first act of intercourse.

“In my culture, not to be a virgin is to be dirt,” said the student, perched on a hospital bed as she awaited surgery on Thursday. “Right now, virginity is more important to me than life.”

As Europe’s Muslim population grows, many young Muslim women are caught between the freedoms that European society affords and the deep-rooted traditions of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

Gynecologists say that in the past few years, more Muslim women are seeking certificates of virginity to provide proof to others. That in turn has created a demand among cosmetic surgeons for hymen replacements, which, if done properly, they say, will not be detected and will produce tell-tale vaginal bleeding on the wedding night. The service is widely advertised on the Internet; medical tourism packages are available to countries like Tunisia where it is less expensive.

“If you’re a Muslim woman growing up in more open societies in Europe, you can easily end up having sex before marriage,” said Dr. Hicham Mouallem, who is based in London and performs the operation. “So if you’re looking to marry a Muslim and don’t want to have problems, you’ll try to recapture your virginity.”

...The French College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians opposes the procedure on moral, cultural and health grounds.

“We had a revolution in France to win equality; we had a sexual revolution in 1968 when women fought for contraception and abortion,” said Dr. Jacques Lansac, the group’s leader. “Attaching so much importance to the hymen is regression, submission to the intolerance of the past.”

But the stories of the women who have had the surgery convey the complexity and raw emotion behind their decisions.

One Muslim born in Macedonia said she opted for the operation to avoid being punished by her father after an eight-year relationship with her boyfriend.

“I was afraid that my father would take me to a doctor and see whether I was still a virgin,” said the woman, 32, who owns a small business and lives on her own in Frankfurt. “He told me, ‘I will forgive everything but not if you have thrown dirt on my honor.’ I wasn’t afraid he would kill me, but I was sure he would have beaten me.”

....In other cases, the woman and her partner decide for her to have the operation. A 26-year-old French woman of Moroccan descent said she lost her virginity four years ago when she fell in love with the man she now plans to marry. But she and her fiancé decided to share the cost of her $3,400 operation in Paris.

She said his conservative extended family in Morocco was requiring that a gynecologist — and family friend — there examine her for proof of virginity before the wedding.

“It doesn’t matter for my fiancé that I am not a virgin — but it would pose a huge problem for his family,” she said. “They know that you can pour blood on the sheets on the wedding night, so I have to have better proof.”

Controversial tax to fund Argentina's social programs

World: Good idea to gouge one of your leading industries to fund welfare programs that will eventually cost more in the long run which results in more taxes. This is also the Obama presidency in action.

Argentine farmers are planning their next move after the country's president announced plans to fund a public works program with revenues from a controversial agrarian export tax.

The 44 percent export tax, which applies to soybeans, wheat, corn and sunflower seeds, has caused a three-month-old standoff between the government and farmers.

Argentina is the world's second-largest corn exporter and third-largest soybean exporter.

On Monday, farmers suspended roadblocks that had snarled traffic across the country, though reports indicated that groups in some rural areas were still blocking roads Tuesday.

Kirchner has argued that the tax, which was implemented March 11, pays for increases in seniors' pensions and financial assistance for the poor.

She has rejected the farmers' demands for a repeal of the export tax as "extortion."

Monday marked the first time Kirchner revealed details of how the government plans to use profits from the tax, which has generated about U.S. $1.5 billion, to lift people out of poverty.

....Analysts suggested that the tax was a "strong attack" on on the farmers and their arguments against it.

Claudio Loser, a visiting senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue policy analysis center, said it could result in Argentine society being "less sympathetic to the farmers," noting that it was "surprising" that the government didn't come up with the plan until the tax was three months old.

Loser, who is from Argentina, also predicted that a continuation of the tax would provoke farmers into not investing.

Externally, the standoff has had a two-pronged effect on Argentina, he said.

"The conflict has resulted in a loss of market for Argentina," he said, as other countries have gone elsewhere for products.

Socialism in action.

Al-Maliki emerges stronger from Basra conflict

Iraq: Interesting turn of events given during the conflict, lots of newspapers said he lost badly.

BASRA, Iraq — When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was nearly killed in a mortar attack this spring during an offensive against Shiite militias in Basra, his advisers urged him to halt the operation and go back to Baghdad.
Instead, al-Maliki doubled down, called in thousands of reinforcements and returned to Baghdad victorious.

In the two months since, al-Maliki has begun to shed his image among Iraqis as a weak leader who governs only on behalf of his fellow Shiites. His emergence as a relatively strong leader could help him crack down on militia groups elsewhere, appeal to disaffected Sunnis and ensure the future of a pro-U.S. government in Iraq.

"This is the beginning of a political shift," says Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman, who has strongly criticized the prime minister in the past. "Al-Maliki is in a very strong position now.

"Because he went after … Shiite militias, Sunnis no longer see al-Maliki as sectarian and are to a degree satisfied with him now."

Ibrahim Sumydai, a Sunni political analyst and former Iraqi intelligence officer, says, "He has become a hero within his party and much of the Iraqi population."

It is a notable transformation for a leader who had rarely taken bold action during his two previous years at the helm of Iraq's government.

Academic blames Muslim parents for children turning to extremism

UK: This is going to spark a reaction.

British Muslim parents are to blame for leaving their children open to the lure of Islamic extremism, according to an influential academic

Dr Farhan Nizami CBE, a key adviser on Islam to the Prince of Wales, accused British Muslims of failing to make sure their children learn to speak English or supporting them in their education.

He said this leaves them alienated from mainstream society and exposed to being groomed by radical Islamic groups.

It is the first time Dr Nizami, the director of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, which has links with Oxford University, has spoken out about the failure of Muslims to integrate with British society.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Spain, Like U.S., Grapples With Immigration

Immigration: If grapples mean by offering amnesty upon amnesty without any regard to the effect like more increased illegals then yeah, Spain has done a bangup job. Now that their economy is slowing, now the reality is beginning to hit.

"...No country has run more legalization programs than Spain, which has carried out six since 1985. As recently as a decade ago, immigrants made up less than 2 percent of the population. Now they are more than 10 percent. About 40 percent come from eastern and northern Europe; 38 percent come from Latin America; and 20 percent from Africa.

Despite the rapid change, until recently there was little political conflict, with legalizations occurring under both conservative and socialist governments. Spain even offers immigrants free health insurance, whether they are legal or not.

“The attitude toward unauthorized migrants is much more relaxed than in the United States,” said Joaquín Arango, a sociologist at Complutense University in Madrid.

The acceptance has been attributed to newfound prosperity, the need for workers, the progressive culture of post-Franco Spain and the shared language with Latin Americans, which spares Spain a major source of tension in the United States.

But with the economy slowing, attitudes appear to be changing. The unemployment rate among foreigners is now 14.7 percent, compared with 8.7 percent among Spaniards. Nearly 40 percent of the recent jump in unemployment has occurred among the foreign-born.

“People are starting to say: ‘We don’t need immigrants. They should return to their country,’ ” said Sebastián Salinas, a lawyer with the immigrant rights group Acobe.

Immigration emerged as an election issue in Spain this year for the first time. Mariano Rajoy, a conservative challenger to Prime Minister José Luiz Rodríguez Zapatero, said the 2005 legalization had attracted more illegal immigrants and increased social tensions. “We are heading toward a situation of enormous problems,” said Mr. Rajoy, who narrowly lost."

Turn lights off, New Zealanders told

Enviro: New Zealand should put this in context of Earth Hour by letting people know the lack of power is saving the environment and is a model for the rest of the world to emulate...or mock incessantly like I am doing. New Zealand deserves this being the self-righteous twits that they are led by Helen Clark.

New Zealanders are to be urged to wash dishes by hand and turn off some of their household lights as the country teeters on the brink of a power crisis caused by drought.

After two years of dry weather the low level of water in lakes that drive New Zealand's hydroelectric power plants is causing concern. The energy minister, David Parker, yesterday denied claims that the country was facing rolling power cuts, but said that unless there was significant rainfall soon households would be asked to cut electricity consumption by up to 15% during the peak early evening time.

Hydroelectric stations usually produce about 75% of New Zealand's electricity but lack of rainfall has reduced that output in recent weeks to only 50%. Coal, diesel and gas-fired power plants are trying to make up the shortfall, but more strain is expected to be put on the national grid with the arrival of winter in the southern hemisphere.

Backed by the government, the electricity industry is to launch a power-saving campaign on television.

"I think the advice will be that, while it's not an emergency, it is time for people to be turning off lights in rooms they are not using, certainly not leaving the computer on all night or the heated towel rail on for 24 hours a day," Helen Clark, New Zealand's prime minister, said in a radio interview.

Idiocy: Obama says he would impose oil windfall profits tax

Politics: Having an Ivy education means not learning from the past. Obama sees business as a hooker that must pay their pimp(government) for their work. Jimmy Carter pulled this nonsense and it failed miserably because shockingly when you make it more expensive to do business, companies tend to do less. Its like basketball/baseball teams who cut payroll so they don't have to pay the luxury tax.

Launching a two-week focus on the economy after clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama drew a sharp contrast between his economic policies and those of John McCain, his Republican rival in the November election.

"I'll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we'll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills," the Illinois senator said.

Obama's website overrun by anti-Jew/Israel nuts.

Politics: LGF has been having a good time pointing out the personal sites which are being cleaned out as fast as they can even from the Google cache. As a reader points out to Instapundit, they are personal websites anyone can make on that section of the official Barack Obama's website.

But how foolish is that to allow that sort of unfettered access which is going to be used to tarnish Obama and his supporters overall. They should have known that the nutters who support him need to be watched closely.

Lori Andreachuk, Canadian thought police in action.

Canada: Canada has serious problems that are being exposed by the ridiculous kangaroo court over Mark Steyn and Macleans. Ezra Levant points out an horrendous example of what could be the sentence and shows that Canada does not value freedom of expression/speech.

Pakistan to ask EU to amend laws on freedom of expression

Culture: EU is doing a fine job on its own to curtail freedom of speech/expression.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will ask the European Union countries to amend laws regarding freedom of expression in order to prevent offensive incidents such as the printing of blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and the production of an anti-Islam film by a Dutch legislator, sources in the Interior Ministry told Daily Times on Saturday.

They said that a six-member high-level delegation comprising officials from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Law would leave Islamabad on Sunday (today) for the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium and explain to the EU leadership the backlash against the blasphemous campaign in the name of freedom of expression.

The delegation, headed by an additional secretary of the Interior Ministry, will meet the leaders of the EU countries in a bid to convince them that the recent attack on the Danish Embassy in Pakistan could be a reaction against the blasphemous campaign, sources said.

They said that the delegation would also tell the EU that if such acts against Islam are not controlled, more attacks on the EU diplomatic missions abroad could not be ruled out.

Sources said that the delegation would also hold discussions on inter-religious harmony during its meetings with the EU leaders.

Gas taxes set to rise in some states

Nation: State government are tax addicts and what they want is more tax revenue. Most of these bills are already set to rise and only public anger in most of these states will get rid of them. Places like Minnesota and California have convinced themselves they are doing it for the greater good or some commie nonsense.

Chavez distances himself from FARC.

Terrorism: At least publicly, I guess the laptop with info on close ties between Chavez and this terrorist group is a bit too much even for him. Once you start realizing FARC is into drug-running along with kidnapping/blackmail. No matter the "righteous" cause, it doesn't look good for your image.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday urged Colombian rebels to lay down their weapons, unilaterally free dozens of hostages and end a decades-long armed struggle.

Chavez sent the uncharacteristic message to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, saying their ongoing efforts to overthrow Colombia's democratically elected government were unjustified.

"The guerrilla war is history," Chavez said during his weekly television and radio program. "At this moment in Latin America, an armed guerrilla movement is out of place."

Such declarations were unexpected from Chavez, who has long been accused of giving the rebels refuge. A self-described socialist, he called on world governments to remove the FARC from terrorist lists earlier this year, suggesting the group is in fact a legitimate insurgency.

Colombia's government claims that a laptop recovered from a FARC camp in March shows a history of deep collaboration between the rebels and Chavez - something the Venezuelan leader denies.

But addressing FARC's new leader Alfonso Cano on Sunday, Chavez said, "I think the time has come for the FARC to free everyone they have in the mountains. It would be a great, humanitarian gesture, in exchange for nothing."

....Latin America expert Bruce Bagley said he believes Chavez may be distancing himself from the FARC because he no longer wants to be associated with "an illegal and terrorist organization" tarnished by drug trafficking, kidnapping and extortion.

"Chavez, as he has in the past, is correcting his course to burnish his image at home and abroad," said Bagley, chairman of international studies at the University of Miami. "Chavez is making the only smart policy move available to him publicly. He may not mean it. Only time will tell."

Chavez's comments could improve Venezuelan relations with Colombia, which have been strained for months amid allegations that Chavez has been aiding the FARC.

While the guerrillas openly admire Chavez, he has repeatedly denied supporting them, saying his government's contact with them has been aimed only at securing the release of rebel-held hostages.

Judge bans use of the word 'rape' at trial

Crime: Absolutely ridiculous. If jurors are being seated for a trial, they know its a rape case, the defense/prosecutors know its a rape case. If you ban various words that describe rape and then force the accuser to sanitize their own words, you are giving an uneven helping hand to the defendent. What is missing here is a just and fair trial for both the defendent/accuser.

I do understand about the effect of loaded terms in a trial can persuade a jury but seems a bit too far.

It's the only way Tory Bowen knows to honestly describe what happened to her.

She was raped.

But a judge prohibited her from uttering the word "rape" in front of a jury. The term "sexual assault" also was taboo, and Bowen could not refer to herself as a victim or use the word "assailant" to describe the man who allegedly raped her.

The defendant's presumption of innocence and right to a fair trial trumps Bowen's right of free speech, said the Lincoln, Neb., judge who issued the order.

"It shouldn't be up to a judge to tell me whether or not I was raped," Bowen said. "I should be able to tell the jury in my own words what happened to me."

Bowen's case is part of what some prosecutors and victim advocates see as a national trend in sexual assault cases.

"It's a topic that's coming up more and more," said Joshua Marquis, an Oregon prosecutor and a vice president of the National District Attorneys Association. "You're moving away from what a criminal trial is really about."

....The issue is a discretionary call with judges, said Jackson County Circuit Judge Brian C. Wimes, who did not preside over Slaughter's trial. Wimes said he typically would not grant a pretrial order limiting certain words, but he would verbally tell the attorneys to avoid using words in a prejudicial or inflammatory way.

"You don't want to create an unfair environment," he said.

Those who defend the accused say the determination of whether what happened was rape or consensual sex is up to juries, not witnesses.

"They shouldn't be able to use the word `rape' as if it is a fact that has been established," said Jack King, director of public affairs and communications for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "These are loaded words."

But Bowen says there is nothing fair about allowing the defense to describe what happened as sex and forcing the victim to describe it in the same words, especially when jurors are not told that an order limiting speech is in place.

More States having local police doing illegal immigration enforcement.

Immigration: If the federal government is too freckless to do something, let the states decide what to do about it.

Sheriff Wendell Hall of Santa Rosa County, who led the effort, said the arrests were for violations of state identity theft laws. But he also seemed proud to have found a way around rules allowing only the federal government to enforce immigration laws. In his office, the sheriff displayed a framed editorial cartoon that showed Daniel Boone admiring his arrest of at least 27 illegal workers.

His approach is increasingly common. Last month, 260 illegal immigrants in Iowa were sentenced to five months in prison for violations of federal identity theft laws.

At the same time, in the last year, local police departments from coast to coast have rounded up hundreds of immigrants for nonviolent, often minor, crimes, like fishing without a license in Georgia, with the end result being deportation.

In some cases, the police received training and a measure of jurisdiction from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, under a program that lets officers investigate and detain people they suspect to be illegal immigrants.

But with local demand for tougher immigration enforcement growing, 95 departments are waiting to join the 47 in the program. And in a number of places, including Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, police officers or entire departments are choosing to tackle the issue on their own.

State lawmakers, in response to Congressional inaction on immigration law, are giving local authorities a wider berth. In 2007, 1,562 bills related to illegal immigration were introduced nationwide and 240 were enacted in 46 states, triple the number that passed in 2006, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A new law in Mississippi makes it a felony for an illegal immigrant to hold a job. In Oklahoma, sheltering or transporting illegal immigrants is also a felony.

It remains unclear how the new laws will be enforced. Yet at the very least, say both advocates and critics, they are likely to lead to more of what occurred here: more local police officers demanding immigrants’ documents; more arrests for identity theft; more accusations of racial profiling; and more movement of immigrants, with some fleeing and others being sent to jail.

“It is a way to address illegal immigration without calling it that,” said Jessica Vaughan, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports intensified local enforcement. She added, “They don’t just have to sit and wait for Washington.”

Boom times wane in Venezuela

Business: As Chavez's grand economic plans are starting to meet reality.

Boom times are waning in oil-rich Venezuela, even as world crude prices soar. Inflation is nearing 30 percent, the highest in Latin America, and annual economic growth slowed to 4.8 percent in the first quarter, a four-year low.

Analysts say President Hugo Chavez's economic policies are hindering private investment and growth just as he hopes to boost support ahead of November's regional elections. Many point to the economy as his Achilles' heel.

Already complaining of inflation and food shortages, voters last December rejected constitutional changes that would have allowed Chavez to run for re-election indefinitely. It was his first blow at the ballot box, where he had enjoyed four straight electoral and referendum wins.

Inflation has been a familiar problem, but a newly slowing growth rate is making it a more urgent concern.

Chavez plans to announce a package of economic measures to boost growth in coming days -- and to name a new finance minister to lead the strategy, Information Minister Andres Izarra said.

Venezuela, the world's 10th-largest producer of crude, has seen its annual budget triple to $63.9 billion since 2004 as oil prices soared. State oil monopoly Petroleos de Venezuela SA provides about half of the government's income.

Chavez pumped huge amounts of that revenue into social programs for the poor, flooding the economy with cash and fueling a consumer spending boom, while banks increased lending.

Stanford University political scientist Terry Karl says oil booms always send growth soaring -- until an economy reaches what she calls an "absorption crunch."

"You just can't absorb that huge influx of money properly," Karl said. "You get problems with your prices, you get problems of supply. ... All those bottlenecks slow down growth and eventually create inflation."

The bigger problem is unlikely America's economy which corrects itself, Chavez's socialists ideals with hinder any correction and make matters worse.

G8 ministers vow new 'green' efforts.. They mean it this time.

Enviro: Just like the new green efforts before this and that time before the last one. At some point the enviro-nuts have to face reality that all this means jack in the grand scheme.

Faced with record-high oil prices, the world's leading economies and oil consumers have pledged greater investment in energy efficiency and green technologies to control their spiraling thirst for petroleum.

In a joint statement, energy ministers from the Group of Eight countries -- joined by China, India and South Korea -- also urged oil producers to boost output, which has stalled at about 85 million barrels a day since 2005, and called for cooperation between buyers and producers.

But with little prospect for a production surge soon, the focus of Sunday's meeting in Japan was on what wealthy nations should do to rein in consumption, while reducing carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

"We also have to address too the demand side of the equation," said John Hutton, Britain's business secretary. "We will do that through new measures to improve energy efficiency (and) accelerate our moves to a new, low-carbon form of energy generation."

The 11 nations account for 65 percent of the world's energy consumption and face record-high oil costs. Prices gained 8 percent Friday to US$138.54 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Energy experts say most producers have little ability to expand output. The exception is Saudi Arabia, which could increase output by about 2 million barrels a day.

Walmart: Your source for hot new music!

Entertainment: News that AC/DC will sell its new album only thru Walmart stores seems like a slap to the rock gods but this Times article points out Walmart has the power.

On Tuesday Wal-Mart started selling on an exclusive basis a three-disc collection by the popular 1980s band Journey called “Revelation.” The difference, however, is that there is no middleman: the album was bought directly from the band without the help of a record label. Journey went right to Wal-Mart and kept most of the money a record company would normally take as profit for the group. Last year Wal-Mart made a similar deal with the Eagles, who like Journey are represented by Front Line Management, the nation’s largest music management company.

The deals highlight the changing dynamics of the music industry as once-powerful labels decline because of the migration to digital downloads. To fill the gap, musicians are scrambling to connect with fans, and Wal-Mart is using these exclusive deals to assume a new role: hit maker.

The Eagles’ double disc, “Long Road Out of Eden,” sold 711,000 copies in its first week and three million since its release, according to Nielsen SoundScan, impressive numbers at a time when CD sales are declining. Journey sold 45,000 albums in its first three days on sale, and Irving Azoff, founder and chief executive of Front Line Management and a music industry veteran who ran MCA Records in the ’80s, predicted that it would sell more than 80,000 copies in its first week. That is probably enough to debut in the top five, and significantly more than its last album sold in total.

“With the downturn, the labels couldn’t match the marketing commitments that Wal-Mart could make,” Mr. Azoff said. “It was well in excess of anything a label could do.”

and artists realizing they can make more money.

In some ways, the arrangements that Wal-Mart has made with Journey and the Eagles represent the mainstream equivalent of the path that artists like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have taken by releasing albums on the Internet without a traditional label.

“It just goes to show you that fewer artists need to be associated with record companies,” said Larry Mestel, chief executive of Primary Wave Music Publishing and former chief operating officer of Virgin Records. “They don’t need to give up a big chunk of money to the record companies when they’re iconic. They can go direct to Wal-Mart and make four to five dollars per CD.”

Global AIDS epidemic is a myth admit world experts

World: Yeah but admitting this publicly is going to cause some problems as its become a money train for some groups.

The threat of a global AIDS epidemic is over, the World Health Organisation's top HIV expert has admitted.

Kevin De Cock, who has spent most of his career leading the battle against the disease, said the understanding of the threat posed by the virus had changed.

Rather than being a risk to populations anywhere, the threat is largely confined to gay men, drug addicts and prostitutes and their clients.

The concession comes just months after the United Nations admitted overstating the threat of AIDS, slashing estimates of the number of people with HIV worldwide from nearly 40million to 33million.

Speaking a quarter of a century after the term AIDS was coined, Dr De Cock said large-scale heterosexual spread was unlikely to occur anywhere outside sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 11 million children have been orphaned by the disease.

He said: 'It is very unlikely there will be a heterosexual epidemic in other countries.

'Ten years ago, a lot of people were saying there would be a generalised epidemic in Asia - China was a big worry with its huge population.

'That doesn't look likely. But we have to be careful.

'As an epidemiologist, it is better to describe what we can measure. There could be small outbreaks in some areas.'

The washing machine that uses one cup of water

UK: But the trade off is a crap load of plastic chips which lasts about 100 washes.

A washing machine that uses only a cup of water to carry out a full wash, leaving clothes virtually dry, has been developed by British inventors.

Researchers say the technology, which uses less than 2 per cent of the water and energy of a conventional machine, could save billions of litres of water each year.

The machine, which has been created by academics at Leeds University, works by using thousands of plastic chips - each about half a centimetre in size - to absorb and remove dirt.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Kwame Kilpatrick gets booed at Red Wings rally.

Politics: Seriously at this point coming out to events like this is just asking for trouble. A scandal plagued politician is less of a pain than a scandal plagued politician who doesn't act like he is one.

On a sweltering 92-degree day in the heart of the Motor City, embattled Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick got an icy reception from thousands of rabid hockey fans gathered to pay homage to their newly crowned Stanley Cup champions.

Kilpatrick began by acknowledging the celebration at Hart Plaza was for the Detroit Red Wings.

But that wasn't enough to buffer him from an unrelenting cascade of boos during brief remarks delivered Friday afternoon along the city's riverfront. Seemingly unruffled, Kilpatrick smiled and even joked, "The beer is on me!" before stepping aside.

"The mayor's been elected to office twice by the residents of Detroit, and based on the crowd reaction, I guess if he was running for mayor of Joe Louis Arena he wouldn't win," spokesman James Canning said following Kilpatrick's remarks.

Northern Ireland's first lady in trouble for gay hate crime.

UK: Another example of innane usage of the term hate crime. Stupid words yes, but this sort of talk shouldn't have the police wasting man hours on it.

Northern Ireland's first lady is being investigated by police following allegations she committed a hate crime by launching a withering attack on homosexuality.

In an outburst on a live phonein on BBC Radio Ulster on Friday, Iris Robinson, the 57-year-old wife of First Minister Peter Robinson, referred to gays as 'disgusting, loathsome, shamefully wicked and vile.'

She called homosexuality 'an abomination' but said she knew of a cure.

'I have a lovely psychiatrist who works with me and his Christian background is that he tries to help homosexuals - trying to turn them away from what they are engaged in,' she said.

Now Andrew Muir, 31-year-old co-ordinator of the pressure group Gays and Lesbians Across (County) Down, has made a formal complaint to police.

He said last night: 'They were reluctant to pursue the matter until I told them it was covered by the hate crimes legislation and I would not be leaving until they took a statement from me.'

Church of England slams Islam and minority religions favoritism.

UK: Church of England finally figuring out what multi-culturalism and political correctness combined can do to the host country and its culture/norms.

The Government pays 'lip service' to Christianity and favours Islam and other minority religions, according to a report commissioned by the Church of England.

The damning study criticises the policies of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for focusing 'intently' on minority beliefs whilst neglecting the Anglican faith.

It also accuses Labour of ignoring the breakdown in society and failing to recognise the Church's potential contribution to public affairs.

The report says: 'We encountered on the part of the Government a significant lack of understanding, or interest in, the Church of England's current or potential contribution in the public sphere.

Fears of ID checks trap(illegal) immigrants

Immigration: Same old story, illegals getting caught by spot checks by officials, local pro illegal groups/supporters in an uproar demanding they stop enforcing the law.

Britain's climate target 'impossible'..

Enviro: Pretty much everyone has to live in caves and live by fire to stop anything from happening. It won't stop the scientists who would rather keep quiet about it.

Britain will find it 'impossible' to meet its target as part of the world's battle to ensure temperatures do not rise more than 2C - a key threshold for dangerous climate change, according to a study by a panel of leading experts.

The report 'Carbon Scenarios' by the Stockholm Network thinktank says that if existing policies and hopes of international agreement on reducing emissions were implemented, there would still be a 90 per cent chance the temperature rise would reach about 3C, a level that experts fear would provoke 'feedback' of more carbon by melting permafrost, threatening the world's forests.

If governments let policies 'stall and backslide' - as many appear to be doing - the rise would be 4.8C, says the study, to be published tomorrow. 'The two-degree target is impossible, and [a] three-degree target is implausible,' said Paul Domjan, energy fellow at the London-based European thinktank and an author of the report.

Domjan said the modelling, done by the world-renowned Hadley Centre at the Met Office but using emissions calculated by the Stockholm Network, highlighted three problems: 'Current policy comes in too slowly, it internationalises too slowly and it binds developing countries too late.'

Privately, many climate scientists believe it will be impossible to meet the 2C target, but they are reluctant to say so because they do not want to discourage moves to cut emissions.

The report says dangerous temperature rises could be avoided by a 'step change' in emissions reductions. To do this, the thinktank advocates a global cap on production of fossil fuels which would be auctioned to energy generators to raise money to compensate producers and pay developing nations to help adapt. 'Wealth transfer isn't an addendum, it's the most important part of carbon policy, because without it the developing world won't introduce emissions reductions and without emissions reductions we won't have lower temperatures,' Domjan added.