Saturday, July 12, 2008

Police fury as bosses tell them to 'celebrate' gipsies

UK: I am not going to get into the degree of criminality of gypsies in London, but Denise Milani job title and gypsy announcement tends to make me think she is boorishly political correct half wit which means this is a dumb idea.

Their arrival in the capital is said to have led to a huge rise in thieving and prompted the creation of a specialist police squad to tackle their sinister activities.

Yet in a move which has caused disbelief amongst rank and file officers, Scotland Yard has asked staff to 'celebrate' the contribution of Roma gipsies to 'London's culture and diversity.'

In a notice posted on the force's intranet website, Denise Milani, director of the Met's 'Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate', urges officers to observe the first ever 'Gipsy Roma Traveller History Month.'

Ignoring the huge drain on resources caused by Romanian pickpockets who target commuters and tourists in the West End, Miss Milani - a protege of Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair - says Roma gipsies are welcome in the capital.

She says: 'We welcome the celebration of the community's history and contributions to London's culture and diversity.

'The Met Police works to make London a safer city for all and we are committed to understanding and working with all communities, including the Gipsy Roma Traveller community.

'The Gipsy Roma Traveller History month celebrates their history, culture and contributions to the rich tapestry of Britain's diversity.'

The mother-of-two's comments were described as 'political correctness off the Richter scale' by one furious detective. He added: 'What planet is this lady living on? We have been run ragged by gangs of Romanian gipsies who are targeting innocent people in the West End.

'How is that enhancing the rich tapestry of cultural life in Britain?'

South Central official wants to ban fast food joints.

Nation: My first reaction is don't eat it.

LOS ANGELES, July 12 -- Citing alarming rates of childhood obesity and a poverty of healthful eating choices, a city councilwoman is pushing for a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in South-Central Los Angeles.

"Some people will say, 'Well, people just don't have to eat it,' " said Jan Perry, the Democrat who represents the city's overwhelmingly African American and Latino District 9. "But the fact of the matter is, what if you have no other choices?"

The proposed ordinance, which takes a page from boutique communities that turn up their noses at franchises, is supported by nutritionists, frustrated residents and community activists who call restrictive zoning an appropriate response to "food apartheid."

"There's one set of food for one part of the city, another set of food for another part of the city, and it's very stratified that way," said Marqueece Harris-Dawson, executive director of Community Coalition, based in South-Central.

Anyone ever think why no other type of restaurants wants to open up in SOUTH CENTRAL L.A.? Anyone ever think maybe the economic level of the area makes it not worthwhile in opening up in the area? Anyone ever think not to eat at these place since its not a right for you to eat there? Anyone ever think about anything before coming up with such a stupid proposal?

Perry said her proposal, which is awaiting a committee hearing, hit a raw nerve outside her constituency. "I've been called a fascist, a nanny-stater," she said.

But researchers and activists praised the strategy as a cutting-edge application of government power to promote health.

The next step is some idiot wanting to sue companies for refusing to open up in an area.

Obama's Iraq Withdrawal Plan = Garbage.

Iraq: Its logical Saturday on the blog as US Commanders kindly rip on Obama for his non-sensical timetable for surrendering in Iraq.

Whatever nuance Barack Obama is now adding to his Iraq withdrawal strategy, the core plan on his Web site is as plain as day: Obama would "immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months."

It is a plan that, no doubt, helped Obama get his party's nomination, but one that may prove difficult if he is elected president.

Sustainable Security
Military personnel in Iraq are following the presidential race closely, especially when it comes to Iraq.

The soldiers and commanders we spoke to will not engage in political conversation or talk about any particular candidate, but they had some strong opinions about the military mission which they are trying to accomplish, and the dramatic security gains they have made in the past few months.

We spent a day with Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond in Sadr City. He is the commander of the 4th Infantry Division, which is responsible for Baghdad. Hammond will likely be one of the commanders who briefs Barack Obama when he visits Iraq.

"We still have a ways to go. Number one, we're working on security and it's very encouraging, that's true, but what we're really trying to achieve here is sustainable security on Iraqi terms. So, I think my first response to that would be let's look at the conditions.

"Instead of any time-based approach to any decision for withdrawal, it's got to be conditions-based, with the starting point being an intelligence analysis of what might be here today, and what might lie ahead in the future. I still think we still have work that remains to be done before I can really answer that question," Hammond said when asked how he would feel about an order to start drawing down two combat brigades a month.

Asked if he considered it dangerous to pull out if the withdrawal is not based on "conditions," Hammond said, "It's very dangerous. I'll speak for the coalition forces, men and women of character and moral courage; we have a mission, and it's not until the mission is done that I can look my leader in the eye and say, 'Sir, Ma'am, mission accomplished,' and I think it is dangerous to leave anything a little early."

Video here.

AP: Minimum-wage gains rattle businesses

Business: Yet another business angle not thought out by the Dems in raising the min wage which goes into effect in a weak economy. I bet when the min wage was being debated and voted on the AP ran sob stories for those for it. Now all of a sudden their economic classes kicked in and we get this article.

"....Still, a weeknight dinner at Jim's—old fashion pot roast with three vegetables and coffee or iced tea—hasn't budged from $7.73 a meal. Same goes for the fried chicken livers, the chopped sirloin and dozens of other menu items.

Tampling hasn't passed along the higher costs to her customers because she knows that she has lots of competition nearby—10 new restaurants have recently opened within five miles of her spot, which is just outside Alabama's state capital of Montgomery.

She also knows her customers feel strapped every time they hit the gas station or the supermarket checkout.

"I keep hoping that prices will stabilize and then start going down. I want to ride this out," said Tampling, who said the restaurant is lucky to own the property it is on so it isn't saddled with the additional burden of having to pay rent.

But that doesn't mean she can continue to watch her profits evaporate, which is why her prices could start creeping up later this summer.

Come July 24, the national minimum wage will go up, from $5.85 an hour to $6.55 an hour, and although Tampling's staff of about 15 dishwashers and cooks makes more than that an hour, she will have to give them a raise because the minimum is going up. She might also have to boost the wages of her wait staff if the combination of their salaries and tips don't exceed the minimum wage.

Do the math to see the potential impact: If she just bumps up each of their salaries by 70 cents an hour—the size of the minimum wage raise—and they work a 9-hour shift, that would eat about $190 a day out of her already crimped earnings.

"Once the minimum wage goes up in a few weeks, that may make it hard to not raise my prices because now everything is cutting into my profits," she said.

If Tampling raises her prices, that will cut into the disposable income of the patrons who eat her homestyle food. Then they might spend less at the local movie theater, the clothing store or the grocery store_ and that ultimately will offset the gain in wages seen by her own workers.

The result: The economy doesn't get any help."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Men lower their standards for one night stands.

Culture: Damn it, this type of info about men and the one night stand should have never been published. Now women will know their hook up is based on men seeing them as one and done.

When it comes to one-night stands, men and women are poles apart. Guys just want, well, you know, while gals go to bed with the false impression of flattery and a craving for feeling desirable.

The upshot, according to new research, is great for most men and the pits for most women. The study goes further under the covers, delving into the nuances of casual sex and its potential as a Venus-and-Mars minefield.

Among the findings: Women were not hooking up in an effort to secure a long-term beau, but because they felt flattered by the overnight proposition.

They were mistaken.

As the researcher points out, men lower their standards when it comes to one-night stands, so the presumed flattery is a fantasy or close to it.

"Often [women] said things like, 'I felt so flattered, so happy that he found me attractive. It was so nice to be wanted,'" said researcher Anne Campbell, a psychologist at Durham University in England. "What women don't seem to see is that men drop their standards massively for a one-night stand."

She added, "No woman should be flattered because a man wants to have sex with her once."

Warner Bros finally going to kick DC Comics in the ass.

Entertainment: About time, DC Comics has characters on par with Marvel and have failed to keep up with them in the movie/tv arena. The bad part is its Warner Bros looking to lead the charge and that is never a good thing considering how long it took them to reboot Superman franchise resulting in the mediocre, anti-American Bryan Singer movie just as an example.

A big shake-up could be in the works at Warner Bros. for its DC Comics film properties.

In the course of the past couple of weeks, Warner Bros. Pictures Group president Jeff Robinov and Warner Bros. Pictures president Kevin McCormick have been meeting with DC Comics executives as well some of DC's top talents, like Jim Lee, to discuss a new direction for film adaptations.

Up until now, the comic properties had been undergoing a hodge-podge development process. With the recent success of Marvel Studios' "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk" and that company's plan to develop its many characters linked strategically together, Warners has been forced to take a close second look at its sister company.

With "The Dark Knight" near its release date, a new agenda is being set, one that not only sees the DC characters emerge with a higher priority but also one that would see them developed with an overarching goal in mind.

Although plans are in motion, any firm deals or announcements are weeks away.

Warners declined comment on the discussions, only stating: "While we are not going to go into the specifics of the meetings, we're constantly looking at how best to exploit the DC Comics characters and properties. DC is an incredibly valuable asset to Warner Bros. and plays an important role across the entire studio by providing development and franchise opportunities for all media, including films, television, home entertainment, animation, consumer products, video games and digital platforms."

Pa. Democrats charged with stealing public funds

Politics: Scandal in Pennsylvania over bonuses.

A state lawmaker, a former legislative leader and 10 other people connected to the state House Democratic caucus were charged Thursday over allegations that millions of taxpayer dollars were illegally siphoned to underwrite political campaigns.

Pennsylvania prosecutors filed the theft, conflict of interest and conspiracy charges after grand jurors found that legislative employees got taxpayer-funded bonuses for doing campaign work; state computers and equipment were commandeered for political campaigning; and public contracts were issued for partisan purposes. Some of the bonuses issued in 2005 and 2006 were well over $20,000.

"It's a very sad day in Pennsylvania," Attorney General Tom Corbett said in announcing the charges.

Corbett, a Republican and potential 2010 gubernatorial candidate, said more charges are expected. He declined to say whether the investigation has uncovered evidence of similar illegal acts within the House Republican, Senate Republican or Senate Democratic caucuses.

Obama's Ideology proving Difficult to Pinpoint...

Politics: Only if you are magnificently dense in the head.

One factor in Obama's success has been his ability to confound both left and right. But while that may be a measure of a skillful politician determined to win a general election, it has left unanswered important questions about his core principles and his presidential priorities. How well he answers them over the coming months will determine the outcome of his race against Republican Sen. John McCain.

Statements he has made over the past month have ignited a debate about who Obama is ideologically. His current policy positions have convinced some progressives that he is not one of them. Matt Stoller, editor of, said that an Obama win in November would be a victory for "centrist government," adding: "Progressives are going to have to organize for progressive values."

Obama is a liberal, he is not an insane nutrooter and based on his campaign site that spells it all out he is damn sure not a centrist. He has also shown he will change at the drop of a dime when he needs too and willing to throw people under the bus when he must to keep being "distracted."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Miami trying hard to push "Burn Notice" out of Florida

Entertainment: Why does the city of Miami tend to screw things up that are going good? The officials have the minds of retarded gnats.

July 7th:

Nearly 20 years later, another show has claimed most of Unique's inventory: Burn Notice, an irreverent spy thriller that's the first scripted series since Vice to film a second season in South Florida.

''They're our bread and butter right now,'' said Rick Jones, who runs the company his father, J.B., started from a truck in 1975.

They bought their Opa-locka warehouse in 1986 on the heels of the Miami Vice windfall and now are investing heavily in new equipment with Burn Notice income.

The show rents three industrial generators, 250 lights and 25,000 feet of cable -- enough gear to account for about half of Unique's revenue for 2008. The company has ''confidence that it will continue to do well -- that we can grow behind it,'' Jones said.

His comments reflect the extra suspense for some South Florida companies as the spy thriller launches its second season 10 p.m. Thursday on the USA cable network.

Should the show -- last year's top new cable series -- do well enough to secure a third season from USA and decide to remain in Miami, Burn Notice will be on its way to matching Miami Vice's five-season run in South Florida between 1984 and 1989.

By spending $25 million over two seasons, Burn Notice has already brought South Florida its biggest television budget since Vice.

And like Vice, the story about a droll, unemployed spy rebuilding his life in Miami has brought a rare stretch of steady employment to dozens of casting agents, grips, make-up artists, film technicians and other local crew members used to the feast-and-famine cycle of South Florida's production industry.

''Sometimes I don't work for a month,'' said camera operator Al ''Tico'' Pavoni, during a break filming a Burn Notice scene in Hollywood three weeks ago. The Miami Beach resident said he worked a total of 12 days after Burn Notice's first season wrapped last August, ending five months of steady filming.

''Looking forward to a paycheck each week is wonderful,'' he said.

July 9th:

That's the question hanging over South Florida's production industry on the heels of a plan to demolish a vacant expo center that the hit cable series uses as a studio.

Film officials said that while they knew that Miami wanted to create a park where the Coconut Grove Convention Center now stands, they were stunned to learn that the demolition could happen early next year.

''I think it's really going to hurt the prospects for Burn Notice to stay here,'' said Jeff Peel, Miami-Dade County's film coordinator.

Civic activists, business leaders and others want the hulking convention center razed as quickly as possible to open up views of Coconut Grove's waterfront.

A draft plan for the Grove's waterfront hinges on the expo center's demise, and city commissioners are scheduled to consider the plan July 24. The city estimates that demolishing the center would cost about $1.2 million.

A senior aide to Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, a leading advocate of the plan, noted that drafts going back to the summer of 2006 show a waterfront without the expo center. The aide, Chief of Staff Ron Nelson, questioned whether the fate of the hit cable series really depends on a convention center described as leaking and in disrepair.

''I don't think they're going to abandon the city and the Grove because they're not filming in that location anymore,'' he said.

"....Local grip houses, camera operators and others hope not. The $25 million that the show has spent during the last two years accounts for about 25 percent of all South Florida productions' output, according to state figures. And as the first series since Miami Vice to return to South Florida for a second season, Burn Notice has provided a rare stretch of full-time work for more than 100 crew members."

Yes they would since they could pull a CSI: Miami and film elsewhere if they don't have the space and can't afford the cost. I am all for expanding the tourist capabilities of South Florida, but you have to understand these people could screw up boiling water. It would be better in the long run to be friendly to the entertainment industry rather than run everyone out of town.

Angry Canadians gets Rogers Wireless to change.

Canada: Rogers is stunned that easy going Canucks would be so pissed off about their horrible pricing plans over the iPhone.

Obama gets tough on Iran in that Obama type way.

Iran: Iran does missile tests and Obama gets tough...well for Obama anyway.

Democrat Barack Obama Wednesday called for aggressive diplomacy with Iran while Republican John McCain warned against making any concessions, as Tehran's missile tests jolted the White House race.

The presidential rivals used Iran's test of a missile capable of reaching Israel to sketch sharply divergent approaches on foreign policy.

Senator Obama said Iran "must suffer threats of economic sanctions with direct diplomacy opening up channels of communication so we avoid provocation, but we give strong incentives for the Iranians to change their behavior."

"We have to have a kind of aggressive diplomacy which unfortunately has been absent over the last several years," Obama said in an interview with CNN.

Obama has drawn fire from McCain for his offer to talk directly to the leaders of Iran and other US foes, but the Illinois Senator said only a US backed carrot-and-stick diplomatic strategy could work.

"Part of the problem that we've got right now is that we've been basically farming out the diplomatic activity to the Europeans. We've got to be actively engaged," Obama said.

Senator McCain issued a statement following the tests implicitly criticizing Obama's engagement strategy, which Republicans argue is naive and dangerous.

"Working with our European and regional allies is the best way to meet the threat posed by Iran, not unilateral concessions that undermine multilateral diplomacy," McCain said.

"Iran's most recent missile tests demonstrate again the dangers it poses to its neighbors and to the wider region, especially Israel," McCain said.

Not economic sanctions but threats! of economic sanctions and strong incentives. Iran behaves badly and Obama wants to bribe them. The Europeans have tried this for the last couple of years, this is the result.

This was a test and Obama failed miserably.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Walmart pulls Memin Pinguin for racism.

Business: I love Walmart but this was pretty tone deaf if they didn't think this wouldn't cause them problems.

Wal-Mart is pulling from its shelves a popular Mexican comic book that features a protagonist with exaggerated black features after a Houston customer complained that "Memin Pinguin" was racist.

The latest issue of the comic, "Memin para presidente" (Memin for President), was being sold in select Wal-Mart stores that have a large Latino customer base, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokesman Lorenzo Lopez in Bentonville, Ark., said.

But the discount giant decided to remove the comic from stores nationwide on Wednesday.

"We understand that Memin is a popular figure in Mexico," the company said in a statement. "However, given the sensitivity to the negative image Memin can portray to some, we felt that it was best to no longer carry the item in our stores. We apologize to those customers who may have been offended by the book's images."

The Memin Pinguin comic was part of a series of Spanish-language titles carried in Wal-Mart stores.

Men at work signs to disappear in Atlanta.

Nation: Since every serious problem for women has been solved that this becomes an issue.

In the battle of the sexes, women's magazine editor Cynthia Good said this was a skirmish she had to fight.

Across Atlanta they stood, orange signs with black letters that read "Men At Work" or "Men Working Ahead."

Sometimes, the signs stood next to women working alongside the men.

Good demanded Atlanta officials remove the signs and last week, Atlanta Public Works Commissioner Joe Basista agreed.

Score one for gender equality, Good said Wednesday.

"They get it," Good said about the city in a telephone interview.

Public Works officials are replacing 50 "Men Working" with signs that say "Workers Ahead." It will cost $22 to cover over some of the old signs and $144 to buy new signs, said Public Works spokeswoman Valerie Bell-Smith said.

Good, founding editor of Atlanta-based PINK Magazine, a publication that focuses on professional women, said she's not stopping with Atlanta.

"We're calling on the rest of the nation to follow suit and make a statement that we will not accept these subtle forms of discrimination," said Good, 48.

In Dallas, Black Hole = Racist!

Nation: On behalf of black people(Yes I speak for all), I am so sorry for this fool and the people who elected him.

A special meeting about Dallas County traffic tickets turned tense and bizarre this afternoon.

County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork normally done by the JP Courts.

Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud "Excuse me!" He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a "white hole."

That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.

Mayfield shot back that it was a figure of speech and a science term. A black hole, according to Webster's, is perhaps "the invisible remains of a collapsed star, with an intense gravitational field from which neither light nor matter can escape."

Other county officials quickly interceded to break it up and get the meeting back on track. TV news cameras were rolling, after all.

I expect stupidity from a city commissioner, but for any judge to endorse the stupidity is scary.


The brief exchange occurred during a brainstorming meeting Monday about what to do with the county's much-criticized central collections office. Since first appearing on this blog, the controversy has spread quickly to other blogs and Web sites across the country.

Mayfield remains unapologetic about his use of the word.

"Anybody who's offended by that statement needs serious psychiatric help," he said this afternoon.

But Price said his point was that most words with "black" in them have a negative connotation. He said it's no coincidence. Many such terms are inherently racist, he said.

"People need to be careful about language and the things you say," he said. "There are black knights and white knights. They have different connotations."

Update#2: Oh, it gets even better, watch the video.

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price is sticking to his comments that the term "black hole," which a colleague used, is racist.Price also says language such as "angel food cake" and "devil's food cake" are also racially insensitive.

Detroit Mayor Scandal Grows. Hell, every scandal is growing.

Nation: Detroit is just an absolute mess.

More trouble for Detroit Mayor and FAMU Alum Kwame Kilpatrick. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy plans on adding more alleged incidents of infidelity to a criminal complaint against the Mayor.

Kilpatrick is already in trouble for his affair with former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty. Former police officers in charge of the mayor's protection have alleged he used them to set up extramarital trysts.

How bad is it in Detroit?

First, the prosecutor charges the mayor with serious felonies. Then the City Council tries to kick him out of office, and city government lurches for five months through name-calling, confusion, at least five other related court actions and scathing national publicity.

Then it becomes known that some council members are under FBI investigation in connection with a multimillion-dollar sludge-treatment project.

Then, BAM! A lightning strike ignites a fire at City Hall and shuts the building down until at least July 7.

"It's becoming like the Old Testament," Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel said Monday.

Did we mention the other big government in town, the Detroit Public Schools, is struggling with a $400-million budget crisis, shrinking enrollment, name-calling, confusion and the possibility of another state takeover?

Other than during and immediately after the 1943 and 1967 riots, it is difficult to recall a time when Detroit's political institutions -- which stagger from mini-crisis to mini-crisis even during normal times -- have been so engulfed in chaos.

"There's nothing analogous to this," said Jeff Blaine, a retired deputy city clerk who started working for the city in 1967. "The wheels are falling off. It's amazing."

Los Angeles County: $1 billion for welfare for illegals.

Immigration: $36 million alone for May. California taxpayers getting screwed.

New statistics from the Department of Public Social Services reveal that illegal aliens and their families in Los AngelesCounty collected over $36 million in welfare and food stamp allocations in May 2008. These findings were announced by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

Twenty five percent of the all welfare and food stamps benefits is going directly to the children of illegal aliens. Illegals collected over $19 million in welfare assistance for May 2008 and over $16 million in monthly food stamp allocations, for a projected annual cost of $432 million.

“Illegal immigration continues to have a devastating impact on Los Angeles County taxpayers,” said Antonovich. “With $220 million for public safety, $400 million for healthcare, and $432 million in welfare allocations, the total cost for illegal immigrants to County taxpayers far exceeds $1 billion a year – not including the millions of dollars for education.”

Swiss nationalist force referendum on minaret ban

Europe: This will be interesting though arguing that banning the minarets might cause "Muslim Anger" is not helping if you are trying to defeat the referendum.

Swiss nationalists are forcing a popular vote on whether to ban the construction of Muslim minarets — a proposal that, if approved, could clash with Switzerland's constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion.

The Interior Ministry said it received a petition Tuesday for a referendum on the issue with more than the required 100,000 signatures.

It was submitted by members of the nationalist Swiss People's Party and the fringe Federal Democratic Union, which say they are acting to fight the spread of political Islam. They argue the minaret symbolizes a bid for political and religious power rather than just a religious sign.

People's Party lawmaker Walter Wobmann defended the move, saying the authorization for constructing a minaret in Winterthur near Zurich and pending requests in three other Swiss towns have exceeded the limits of many Swiss people's tolerance.

"Many recognize in this a further step in the creeping Islamization of Switzerland," he said.

Opponents of a construction ban said it would violate religious freedom, and Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has warned it would lead to a security risk for Switzerland by sparking Muslim anger.

Lara Logan's hot Iraq love life.

Media: Going from the CNN drunk to a married man, classy.

NEW YORK - Lara Logan, the chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News, tells The Washington Post she is pregnant, and the father is a married federal contractor whom she met while stationed in Iraq.

Logan’s relationship with Joseph Burkett — who’s in the midst of a divorce from wife Kimberly, with whom he has a 3-year-old daughter — has made media headlines, including the front page of the New York Post.

Logan is going through a divorce from estranged husband Jason Siemon, a Chicago-based energy lobbyist whom she married in 1998.

If you sound black or southern, your pay is less.

Nation: You would think sounding "black" resulting in negative economic outcome would mean sounding like someone on Flavor of love plus slang being used as everyday speech. But you add in southern talk, then you realize it means sounding uneducated which now goes into a class issue as well. But it's not a surprise to see that talking a certain way comes with baggage but having it labeled as talking black is horrendous.

Fascinating new research by my University of Chicago colleague, Jeffrey Grogger, compares the wages of people who “sound black” when they talk to those who do not.

His main finding: blacks who “sound black” earn salaries that are 10 percent lower than blacks who do not “sound black,” even after controlling for measures of intelligence, experience in the work force, and other factors that influence how much people earn. (For what it is worth, whites who “sound black” earn 6 percent lower than other whites.)

How does Grogger know who “sounds black?” As part of a large longitudinal study called the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, follow-up validation interviews were conducted over the phone and recorded.

Grogger was able to take these phone interviews, purge them of any identifying information, and then ask people to try to identify the voices as to whether the speaker was black or white. The listeners were pretty good at distinguishing race through voices: 98 percent of the time they got the gender of the speaker right, 84 percent of white speakers were correctly identified as white, and 77 percent of black speakers were correctly identified as black.

Grogger asked multiple listeners to rate each voice and assigned the voice either to a distinctly white or black category (if the listeners all tended to agree on the race), or an indistinct category if there was disagreement.

Then he put this measure of whether a voice sounded black into a regression (the standard statistical tool that economists use for estimating things), and came up with the finding that blacks who “sound black” earn almost 10 percent less, even after taking into account other factors that could influence earnings. One piece of interesting good news is that blacks who do not “sound black” earn essentially the same as whites.

(It turns out you don’t want to sound southern, either. Although pretty imprecisely estimated, it is almost as bad for your wages to sound southern as it is to sound black, even controlling for whether you live in the south.)

John Edwards would 'seriously consider' VP offer

Politics: Picking a guy who couldn't win his own state and basically done nothing since 2004 is a really good choice for the GOP.

John Edwards said Tuesday that if he were asked to accept the vice presidential slot or a cabinet position in a potential Barack Obama administration, he would “seriously consider” whatever the Illinois senator asked him to do.

It has been widely reported that the former North Carolina senator is on Obama’s vice presidential shortlist. On Tuesday, NPR interviewer Guy Raz called the former Democratic presidential candidate’s presence on the list an “open secret,” and asked Edwards whether he’d weigh accepting a vice presidential offer, or might take himself out of consideration as Virginia Senator Jim Webb had done Monday.

“I’m glad to hear that’s an open secret because I didn’t know it,” joked Edwards of his rumored consideration as Obama’s running mate.

“My answer to that is, I’ve run for vice president, I’ve run for president twice. I would do anything that I felt I could do to serve this country but I think it’s a huge presumption for me or anybody else to suggest what Senator Obama may decide,” he said.

LULAC demands McCain and Obama promise to hire Hispanics.

Politics: This is special.

A leading Hispanic organization is demanding assurances from the two major presidential candidates that they'll push for comprehensive immigration revisions and dramatically increase Hispanic representation in the federal government.

John McCain and Barack Obama are scheduled to appear Tuesday before the 79th annual convention of the League of United Latin American Citizens as part of their continuing offensive to bolster their support among Hispanics, the nation's fastest-growing minority. More than 9 million Latinos are expected to vote in the November general election.

Leaders of LULAC said Monday that they planned to press McCain, the presumed Republican nominee, and Obama, the victor of a grueling Democratic primary race, for their positions on several issues that are important to Hispanics.

LULAC, the nation's largest and oldest Hispanic organization, with 115,000 members, is insisting that the next president support -- and force Congress to pass -- comprehensive immigration legislation that would create a guest-worker program and put millions of illegal immigrants on paths to citizenship.

LULAC leaders say they'll also insist that Obama and McCain promise to reverse decades of inadequate representation by Hispanics in the federal workforce. Hispanics constitute about 15 to 16 percent of the population but hold just slightly more than 7 percent of federal jobs.

Never knew that federal jobs are supposed to reflect the population makeup. Fascinating foot shooting here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Barbara Walters loves Syria's dictator.

Politics: How the hell is this thing considered a top notch journalist going around saying this sort of nonsense?

GOLDBERG: So where does this misconception come from that Syria’s an issue?

WALTERS: Well, first of all the country is on our terrorist list. They are against the war in Iraq, the president of Syria, who’s name is Bashir al-Assad. I’ll tell you more about him in a minute. They objected to the war in Iraq. And they are neighbors and friends of Iran. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy or whatever- the friend of my enemy is my enemy.
And they are friendly with both Hamas and Hezbollah who are two groups that we consider unfriendly groups in Israel. So in other words, they have friends who are not friends of ours. They have also been accused of allowing people and terrorists to cross the border into Iraq. They say they do not do that and they haven’t and they’ve really cut down on it.

Hamas and Hezbollah are just unfriendly groups? Yeah, lovers of suicide bombing and calling for the destruction of Israel will make you be considered "unfriendly." I don't know if she is in her old age showing how stupid she is or she realizes she has to do baby talk to have The View audience follow along.

UK agency to root out 'racist' toddlers.

UK: This is the last part of a politically correct government and what is spawns to make the public suffer.

Toddlers should be taught about racism and singled out for criticism if they have racist attitudes, a Government-funded advisory group said yesterday.

It told nursery teachers, playgroup leaders and childminders to record and report every racist incident involving children as young as three.

These could include saying 'Yuk' about unfamiliar food.

Even babies should not be ignored in the hunt for racism because they can 'recognise different people in their lives', a new guide for nurseries and child care centres said.

The instructions for staff in charge of pre-school children in day care have been produced by the National Children's Bureau, which receives £12million a year, mostly through taxpayer-funded organisations.

The NCB, which describes itself as 'an umbrella body for the children's sector', has long used its resources to campaign on controversial issues, for example in favour of a legal ban on smacking by parents.

It also runs the Sex Education Forum, a campaign for more sex education in schools.

The new 366-page guide, Young Children and Racial Justice, warned that 'racist incidents among children in early years settings-tend to be around name-calling-casual thoughtless comments, and peer group relationships'.

It said such incidents could include children using words like 'blackie', 'Pakis', 'those people' or 'they smell'.

Children might also 'react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying "yuk".'

Nursery staff are told: 'No racist incident should be ignored. When there is a clear racist intent, it is necessary to be specific in condemning the action.'

If children 'reveal negative attitudes the lack of censure may indicate to the child that there is nothing unacceptable about such attitudes'.

Nurseries are encouraged to report as many racist incidents as possible to local councils.

'Some people think that if a large number of racist incidents are reported, this will reflect badly on the institution,' it said. 'In fact, the opposite is the case.'

The guidance said that anyone who disagrees is racist themselves.

It also suggests cultivating the home languages of new immigrants - despite Government anxiety to promote the learning of English.

It said: 'English is now viewed as the major language of the world but this is not because it has any innate linguistic advantages - it is because English is the language of power in a world dominated by English-speaking peoples.'

Critics of the race programme for pre- school children labelled it 'totalitarian'.

Author and researcher on family life Patricia Morgan said: 'Stepping in to stop severe bullying is one thing, but this is interference in the lives of children. It smacks of totalitarianism.

More nude children pic/art in Australia controversy.

Australia: Trying to win over the public by continously posting nude kids on cover calling it art not exactly a winning plan.

A photograph of a nude six-year-old girl on the front cover of an Australian art magazine has re-ignited a row over the depiction of children.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said children could not choose for themselves if they wanted to be portrayed naked, adding: "I can't stand this stuff."

The photo is on the cover of the July issue of Art Monthly Australia.

Its editor said the cover was to protest against the closing of a recent photo exhibition of naked children.

Mr Rudd said: "A little child cannot answer for themselves about whether they wish to be depicted in this way."

Government officials have said they will review the magazine's public funding.

A-Rod Divorce: Madonna Was "The Last Straw"

Sports: Madonna? I guess in Kabbalah there is not thou shall not sleep with a married man clause. So Jeter is going thru the Maxim 100 list, A-Rod is going with Madonna. Once again Jeter 1, A-Rod 0.

Cynthia Rodriguez's lawyer tells TMZ, "A-Rod may be an All-Star baseball player, but he's flunked the All-Star team as far as marriage is concerned."

Earle Lilly is repping Cynthia in the divorce case, which will be launched tomorrow when she files legal papers in Miami. Lilly claims Alex Rodriguez and Madonna have been having an affair "and are still together." He says they were together after his game yesterday and together today as well.

Lilly says, "We're not gonna lose this case." He acknowledges a prenup exists but it's "too early" to decide if he'll challenge it. He says there will be a "huge settlement" in the case but "not hundreds of millions of dollars." Lilly says A-Rod's estate is "vast ... beyond what anyone knows."