Saturday, August 9, 2008

George Clooney, Obama's close political adviser and Bin Laden's driver supporter.

Politics: This explains a lot especially Syriana where he made suicide bombers sympathetic.

George Clooney once famously declared he could never run for public office because he’d ‘slept with too many women, done too many drugs and been to too many parties’.

But now the Hollywood heart-throb has entered the political arena at the highest level – by becoming an unofficial adviser to US Presidential front-runner Barack Obama.

Oscar-winner Clooney, 47, is said to be helping the Democratic candidate to polish his image at home and abroad.

But he is also sharing with Obama his strong opinions on Iraq and the Middle East.

But Democratic Party insiders have revealed that Clooney and Obama regularly send texts and emails to each other and speak by phone at least twice a week.

One said last night: ‘They are extremely close. A number of members of the Hollywood community, including Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, offered to help raise funds for Barack but it was with George that he struck up this amazing affinity.

‘George has been giving him advice on things such as presentation, public speaking and body language and he also emails him constantly about policy, especially the Middle East.

‘George is pushing him to be more “balanced” on issues such as US relations with Israel.

'George is pro-Palestinian. And he is also urging Barack to withdraw unconditionally from Iraq if he wins.

‘It’s a very risky relationship. His hope of becoming America’s first black President depends heavily on winning over conservative voters and it would be suicidal for him to be perceived as a tool of a Hollywood Leftie, which is how they regard George.

‘But they text and email each other almost every day and speak on the phone at least a couple of times a week, often more.’

....One of Clooney’s trusted acquaintances said: ‘George is a master at crafting his own image and he is helping Obama to hone his image both domestically and abroad.

'He told me he feels Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime leader. He is doing everything he can behind the scenes to bolster support in Hollywood, not just with other celebrities but with the money men at the studios.’

The acquaintance added: ‘He has tried to keep the true extent of their involvement out of the Press because he is frightened of alienating voters.’

Update: More details on Clooney making a sympathetic movie about Bin Laden's personal driver. Remember, if its against America its for George Clooney.

George Clooney, already one of Hollywood's leading liberal voices, has embarked on what may be one of his most controversial projects: the story of Osama bin Laden's driver.

Clooney's production company, Smokehouse, has bought the rights to a book about Salim Hamdan, an inmate at Guantánamo Bay who last week was sentenced to jail for his role in helping the al-Qaeda leader. The book, The Challenge, is by journalist Jonathan Mahler and tells the story of Hamdan's capture and trial, defended by a US navy lawyer, Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift. It has had a big critical success.

Last week Yemen-born Hamdan, who has already spent seven years in US custody, received a surprisingly light sentence of just five and a half years for being bin Laden's driver in Afghanistan. Prosecutors had billed the case as a key plank in the 'War on Terror', designed to show that terrorists could be dealt with by Guantánamo. They had described Hamdan as a member of bin Laden's inner circle who had knowledge of his terrorist plans.

Defence lawyers, however, portrayed him as a simple man who had taken a high-paying job in order to feed his family. A military jury seemed to agree with that assessment, clearing him of terrorist conspiracy charges, but finding him guilty of providing support to a terrorist.

Bernie Mac dead at 50.

Entertainment: One of the best stand ups around. This is one of his best bits, NSFW language.

Bernie Mac, the actor and comedian who teamed up in the casino heist caper "Ocean's Eleven" and gained a prestigious Peabody Award for his sitcom "The Bernie Mac Show," died Saturday at age 50.

"Actor/comedian Bernie Mac passed away this morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital," his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles.

The comedian suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body's organs, but had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia, which his publicist said was not related to the disease.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kwame Kilpatrick jailed, faces pressure to resign.

Politics: Nice to see the rest of the Detroit/Michigan political elite finally realize the guy has got to go. No more games.

Jailed and facing an uncertain future, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is under mounting pressure from City Hall to Lansing to step aside and end seven months of scandal and commotion.

After months of relative silence, prominent Democrats such as Speaker of the House Andy Dillon and Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano are calling on Kilpatrick to resign or take a leave of absence.

Hours after Kilpatrick was jailed, Gov. Jennifer Granholm said she's made up her mind and will host hearings Sept. 3 on whether to remove him from office.

At 9 a.m. today, Kilpatrick will ask Wayne County Circuit Judge Thomas Edward Jackson to set him free. An hour later, Attorney General Mike Cox is expected to announce criminal charges against Kilpatrick for a scuffle he had with a deputy trying to serve a subpoena at the mayor's sister house.

That could mean more jail time. And even Kilpatrick's friends say his time may be up.

"He's out of moves; it's checkmate," said Adolph Mongo, the Detroit political rainmaker and architect of Kilpatrick's 11th hour re-election in 2005. "His enemies have him surrounded."

Also today, the City Council is expected to set rules for an in-house removal effort against Kilpatrick set to start Aug. 18.

A onetime ally, Councilwoman Alberta Tinsley-Talabi, said the jailing was the last straw. She now supports ousting Kilpatrick.

"It's a snowballing effect," she said. "The city needs to be moving forward, and it's not doing that."

Even Kilpatrick's most vocal supporter on the council, President Pro Tem Monica Conyers, reiterated her call the mayor take a leave of absence.

"Just to clear his head," Conyers said. "I think he needs to take a leave of absence and assess things."

Man Vs Wild Season 5 off to an awesome start.


While the new episode of Mythbusters was slightly disappointing, Bear Grylls did not disappoint though I have to wonder the hell he was thinking covering up half his face to get the honeycombs. He then made up for that by killing a rattlesnake with his face half-swollen from the bee sting.

Tampa Bay, Teacher/student sex crime capital of the world?

Crime: Tampa Tribune with the google map coverage.

Justifiable use of barbecue pit as a weapon

Nation: I am not saying its right to resort to violence but I understand.

A man and a woman found a new use for a barbecue pit — one that landed them in jail. An argument over whether a third guest should stay in the house got so heated that the woman picked up the barbecue pit and hit the man over the head with it, police said.

The man picked up the barbecue pit and returned the favor and hit the woman in the head with it, police reported. The woman then told police that she picked up the barbecue pit and hit the back window of the man's car with it.

Someone's friend or relative the other one can't stand and it got out of hand. Totally understandable.

Sex buyers defrauded by 16-year-old boy

Crime: Community service sounds about right as I hope the police took the info to nail the sickos.

AD agency's hope for new Obama Salute.

Politics: Yeah.....

So, who wants to start the Goaste photoshops or variations of where Obama is going to or for some of his supporters hope he is going to screw you or various family jewels jokes.

Disclaimer: DO NOT look up goaste at your work computer. Thank you.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

NPR Ombudsman upset over derision about Ohio meat story.

Media: Here is the main problem with Alicia Shepard's cry piece about how mean the blogs were in regards to the originally titled "For Some Ohioans, Even Meat is Out Of Reach."

The July 17 ATC story looked at the economy in Ohio, a political swing state, and centered on one family to illustrate a study, co-sponsored by NPR, which reported that low-income Ohio residents are having a particularly tough time making ends meet.

The segment reported that Gloria Nunez and her daughter, Angelica Hernandez, 19, live in low-rent subsidized housing in Fostoria, a small town in northern Ohio, surviving on a monthly $637 check from Social Security and $102 in food stamps. According to the story, Nunez has never worked and her daughter has been unable to get any transportation to a job since the family van broke down last fall.

This is how the story ended: "The rising cost of food means their money gets them about a third fewer bags of groceries....So they cut back on expensive items like meat, and they don't buy extras like ice cream anymore. Instead, they eat a lot of starches like potatoes and noodles."

When posted on the NPR web site, the story was headlined: "For Some Ohioans, Even Meat is Out Of Reach." Under the headline was a photograph, taken by producer Katia Dunn, showing a close-up of Nunez and her daughter, both of whom are overweight by American standards.

The headline and photo distracted from the intended focus of the story, which was the Nunez family's struggle to survive in a down economy.

Soon after the story appeared, the "trolls" in the blogosphere went on the attack. I won't dignify their comments by repeating them. But they overwhelmingly exhibited an appalling lack of empathy as well as ignorance of the fact that many low-income people are overweight precisely because they can't afford to buy healthy food.

By King Henry the Eighth standards they are overweight, but there is that language that riles people up. Call a spade a spade and stop trying to rationalize it. Even without the pic the story itself is risible to many people because they fit every stereotype of welfare recipients.

The mom doesn't work and never finished high school before her accident which she claims leaves her unable to work, there are multiple siblings and members of the family living in taxpayer funded housing and getting welfare checks, they are surrounded by people who tell them to have another kid to get more welfare money and then you put a picture of them up under the headline "For Some Ohioans, Even Meat is Out Of Reach."

Then you compound the problem by blasting critics of the story and suggesting maybe a better pic would have made a difference instead of realizing because of the liberal outlook of NPR that the facts you posted and what was left to be interpreted is what made the story get a blogsphere beatdown.

Non-Hispanic whites leaving Broward, Palm Beach County in large numbers

Culture: If you want to know why print media is falling apart, read this opening lead from the Sun Sentinel on the dramatic demographic shift in both counties.

Non-Hispanic whites are leaving Broward and Palm Beach counties in droves. Meanwhile, the dramatic growth of Hispanics and other minority groups has slowed to a trickle.

The latest U.S. census estimates, released today, show that the number of non-Hispanic whites in Broward County went down by more than 24,000 between 2006 and 2007, single-handedly accounting for the county's drop in total population. In Palm Beach County, that number dropped by more than 9,000.

At the same time, the number of Hispanics increased by more than 9,000 in Broward and about 7,000 in Palm Beach County. The number of blacks jumped by almost 2,000 in both counties last year.

Contrast that with the year 2000, when the Hispanic and black populations went up by more than 30,000 and 19,000 in Broward, respectively. That year, Hispanics climbed by nearly 13,000 and blacks by 7, 000 in Palm Beach County.

Blame the economy. Blame hurricanes. Blame property taxes.

You mean to tell me there is no racial/cultural angle to this story? Its just the economy,taxes or hurricanes? Come on reporters at least have the courage to check it out to prove or debunk because you know that is what going thru reader's minds.

Dem Rep calls ICE agents the Gestapo

Immigration: Yep, He and Joe Baca have demanded the President stop enforcing immigration laws and now Gutierrez calls agents the Gestapo.

“You know who is in charge now? The Gestapo agents at [the Department of] Homeland Security. They are in charge,” Gutierrez said. “I think it is election season, and they have decided it did not work for us one way [with comprehensive reform], so let’s try to exploit it politically another way” through harsh enforcement.

Its always about the Nazis for Democrats. Do not expect this piece of garbage to say sorry for calling American agents the new Nazi secret police.

Mexican government protests Texas execution

Crime: As the Mexican government protests the killing of Jose.

"The government of Mexico sent the U. S. Department of State a diplomatic note of protest for this violation of international law, expressing its concern for the precedent that it may create for the rights of Mexican nationals who may be detained in that country," the Mexican government said in a written statement.

"The Ministry of Foreign Relations reiterates that the importance of this case fundamentally stems from the respect to the right to consular access and protection provided by consulates of every state to each of its nationals abroad."

The Mexican people on the other hand could give a damn.

Mexicans struggling with increasingly gruesome crimes at home devoted the least attention in recent memory to the execution of one of their citizens in Texas.

With Mexico riveted on its own kidnap and killing of a 14-year-old boy, the normally anti-death penalty country expressed far less outrage at the death on Tuesday of Jose Medellin, a Mexican national convicted in the 1993 rape and murder of two Texas girls.

Some Mexicans on Wednesday even called for the death penalty at home.

"There is no reason for outrage. The man was a rapist," said lawyer Gustavo Sanchez, 40, as he got his shoes shined on a Mexico City street. "If we had the death penalty here, there wouldn't be so many crimes."

His sentiments echoed Emilio Gamboa, the congressional leader of Mexico's former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, who called for capital punishment earlier this week.

In contrast, the 1997 execution of Mexican Irineo Tristan Montoya for robbery and murder sparked angry demonstrations in Mexico. His body was given a hero's welcome.

But the domestic kidnapping case dominated almost all of the daily front pages Wednesday, while Medellin's execution merited small mentions lower down, if at all.

British soldiers 'itched to join' US fight for Basra

Iraq: Bit of a backstory on how the Brits finally joined the Basra fight.

UK socialist healthcare system deems cancer drugs cost too much

Medical: ...given how many years of life it would give you. Welcome to healthcare big government style.

Four new medicines that could prolong the life of more than 3,000 patients with advanced kidney cancer should not be funded by the NHS in England and Wales, the government's advisers on the cost-effectiveness of drugs said last night.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) issued draft guidelines rejecting state funding of the drugs Sutent (sunitinib), Avastin (bevacizumab), Nexavar (sorafenib) and Torisel (temsirolimus). It accepted that they could delay the progression of advanced kidney cancer by up to six months, but said the cost to the NHS would be well above the accepted limits.

Cancer Research UK said Nice's decision would frustrate doctors and patients, who showed small but significant improvements after taking the drugs. About 75% of the 3,600 people with advanced kidney cancer did not respond well to interferon, the only alternative treatment.

Professor Peter Littlejohns, the clinical and public health director of Nice, said the institute took account of how much extra a new drug would cost to produce an extra year of healthy life. The four kidney drugs cost up to six times the normal NHS limit of about £30,000 a patient per quality-adjusted life year.

He added: "Although these treatments are clinically effective, regrettably, the cost to the NHS is such that they are not a cost-effective use of NHS resources."

Professor John Wagstaff, the director of the Wales Cancer Trials Network, said: "The possibility that we clinicians may be prevented from offering Sutent to our patients is an outrage and a devastating blow to the kidney cancer community."

There is the rub about universal healthcare, in the end it comes down to rationing out drugs and medicine against if its worth trying to keep you alive.

Olbermann still spinning Milbank departure.

Media: Via BigHeadDC.

“Keith, working ever harder to court his liberal fan base, obviously wants people to believe he was directly involved in Dana’s exit,” a cable TV honcho not affiliated with CNN or MSNBC told BHDC. “The truth is simply that Dana got a much better offer. And Olbermann decided to spin it his way.”

Wonderful.. Robots learn to move themselves

World: Humans had a good run on earth but welcome our new Robot overlords.

Researchers in Leipzig have demonstrated software designed for robots that allows them to "learn" to move through trial and error.

The software mimics the interconnected sensing and processing of a brain in a so-called "neural network".

Armed with such a network, the simulated creatures start to explore.

In video demonstrations, a simulated dog learns to jump over a fence, and a humanoid learns how to get upright, as well as do back flips

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Random House cancels book over fears of Muslim attacks.

Culture: You can thank an America academic who saw it her duty to raise a ruckus to protect Muslims from a book.

Starting in 2002, Spokane, Wash., journalist Sherry Jones toiled weekends on a racy historical novel about Aisha, the young wife of the prophet Muhammad. Ms. Jones learned Arabic, studied scholarly works about Aisha's life, and came to admire her protagonist as a woman of courage. When Random House bought her novel last year in a $100,000, two-book deal, she was ecstatic. This past spring, she began plans for an eight-city book tour after the Aug. 12 publication date of "The Jewel of Medina" -- a tale of lust, love and intrigue in the prophet's harem.

It's not going to happen: In May, Random House abruptly called off publication of the book. The series of events that torpedoed this novel are a window into how quickly fear stunts intelligent discourse about the Muslim world.

Random House feared the book would become a new "Satanic Verses," the Salman Rushdie novel of 1988 that led to death threats, riots and the murder of the book's Japanese translator, among other horrors. In an interview about Ms. Jones's novel, Thomas Perry, deputy publisher at Random House Publishing Group, said that it "disturbs us that we feel we cannot publish it right now." He said that after sending out advance copies of the novel, the company received "from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment."

Spot the goofy logic.

This time, the instigator of the trouble wasn't a radical Muslim cleric, but an American academic. In April, looking for endorsements, Random House sent galleys to writers and scholars, including Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Texas in Austin. Ms. Jones put her on the list because she read Ms. Spellberg's book, "Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: The Legacy of 'A'isha Bint Abi Bakr."

But Ms. Spellberg wasn't a fan of Ms. Jones's book. On April 30, Shahed Amanullah, a guest lecturer in Ms. Spellberg's classes and the editor of a popular Muslim Web site, got a frantic call from her. "She was upset," Mr. Amanullah recalls. He says Ms. Spellberg told him the novel "made fun of Muslims and their history," and asked him to warn Muslims.

In an interview, Ms. Spellberg told me the novel is a "very ugly, stupid piece of work." The novel, for example, includes a scene on the night when Muhammad consummated his marriage with Aisha: "the pain of consummation soon melted away. Muhammad was so gentle. I hardly felt the scorpion's sting. To be in his arms, skin to skin, was the bliss I had longed for all my life." Says Ms. Spellberg: "I walked through a metal detector to see 'Last Temptation of Christ,'" the controversial 1980s film adaptation of a novel that depicted a relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. "I don't have a problem with historical fiction. I do have a problem with the deliberate misinterpretation of history. You can't play with a sacred history and turn it into soft core pornography."

On a May 21 conference call, Random House executive Elizabeth McGuire told the author and her agent that the publishing house had decided to indefinitely postpone publication of the novel for "fear of a possible terrorist threat from extremist Muslims" and concern for "the safety and security of the Random House building and employees."

As self-censorship is alive and well in America. The West talks a good game about its values but you punch them a couple of times and they get into the fetal position. A sad day for Random House and a pathetic insight into people like Spellberg and the bloggers who made sure to create a situation of this magnitude.

Dana Milibank tired of being Olbermann's yes boy.

Media: and that has pissed off Olbermann.

Olbermann tells TVNewser:

Dana appeared with us the night before his column appeared with the truncated Obama quote — and did so under the terms of his contract which both he and MSNBC obviously considered still in force. After the column, he contacted us, joking he was glad I hadn't put him on the "Worst Persons" list, and then discussing with the producers coming on to clarify or explain what he wrote. Out of appreciation for his work for us, I had delayed a permanent decision on whether he should again appear on Countdown. Dana used this time to make another deal, which he told us about the day before he appeared on another network.

Milbank also responded to FishbowlDC's Patrick Gavin, and seems to take a swipe at Olbermann: "The CNN contract was negotiated long before the Obama column. It's just that CNN's a better fit for me and my philosophy of holding all parties to account."

Oh burn.

Zombie Animals and the Parasites that Control Them

Nature: I am never leaving my house again. Seriously too dangerous.

Via Neatorama.

Soul food dying in Harlem.

Culture: As various cultural and economic forces take hold, good read.

Laurence Fishburne for CSI lead role?

Entertainment: It would make CSI interesting again, though the Malkovich starring would be 10 times more godly.

Laurence Fishburne is in talks to succeed William Petersen as the star of CBS' veteran crime drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

CBS and CBS Par's search has been shrouded in secrecy, but sources say Fishburne is being heavily courted to play the new character, described as a doctor/scientist outsider to the CSI unit who has the same genetic profile as a serial killer but hasn't previously acted on any homicidal impulses.

Fishburne, an Oscar nominee for "What's Love Got to Do With It" who most recently co-starred in "21," had been mentioned as one of the "CSI" producers' top choices for the role, along with John Malkovich and Kurt Russell.

George Clooney to host Obama fundraiser in Switzerland.

Politics: The party of the working man.

Academy award winning actor George Clooney is set to host a fundraiser for Barack Obama in Switzerland next month.

The event, taking place on the evening of September 2 in Geneva, Switzerland will be split into two parts: a reception and a dinner. According to Obama’s National Finance Committee, tickets for the reception where Clooney will speak are going for $1,000, followed by a dinner at the home of NFC member Charles Adams for $10,000 a plate. Space for the dinner is limited to 75 guests.

Clooney made headlines in February when he told CNN he was hesitant to campaign for the presumptive Democratic nominee, calling it a ‘slippery slope.’

“I feel that at times you can harm the person that you are trying to help,” Clooney told CNN’s Kiran Chetry in reference to campaigning for Obama. “I don’t want to damage anybody.”

Jose Medellin executed as the world whines.

Crime: I am hoping it was painful somehow. The scumbag deserved a lot worse.

Mexican national Jose Ernesto Medellin has been executed by lethal injection, according to Texas prison officials.

Corrections spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said Medellin died at 9:57 CT.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied the last-ditch appeal of a Mexican national on Texas' death row late Tuesday, paving the way for him to be executed for a pair of brutal slayings, state corrections officials said.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said about 9:15 p.m. that the court had turned down the appeal of Jose Ernesto Medellin.

Medellin's capital appeal was an unusual one that pitted President Bush against his home state in a dispute over federal authority, local sovereignty and foreign treaties.

At issue is an international court's ruling that Medellin and about 50 other Mexicans have been illegally denied access to their home country's consul. Allowing travelers such access when they are arrested abroad is common practice.

Medellin's execution will be the first of what promises to be a busy month at the state's death chamber in Huntsville. Five other men are scheduled to die by lethal injection in the next four weeks, including one on Thursday.

Medellin was 18 when he participated in the June 1993 gang rape and murder of two Harris County girls, Jennifer Ertman, 14, and Elizabeth Pena, 16. He was convicted of the crimes and sentenced to death.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nissan to make nanny state cars to help you drive.

Bidness: Not in terms of safety features but when you are speeding up too much for your own good.

Nissan's "ECO Pedal" system—promoted as being both green and safe—makes the gas pedal press upward when it senses motorists are speeding up too quickly.

Nissan said in a news release Monday the system, which will be available next year, can help drivers improve fuel efficiency 5 to 10 percent.

The system calculates the most efficient rate of acceleration in a vehicle based on how fast fuel is being burned and other factors and causes the gas pedal to push back to alert overzealous drivers. A special meter on the dashboard flashes and changes colors to help drive the message home.

Nissan says the system is designed to help drivers become more fuel efficient behind the wheel. Part of the company's strategy for reducing carbon dioxide emissions is modifying driving behavior.

Drivers can also opt to switch the system off.

Or just not buy a Nissan with this sort of technology. How about you just make cars that give people better MPG right off the bat without any nanny pedals? Much better business plan.

Venezuela's Chavez pushes through 26 decrees

World: The Zimbabwe of South America is growing nicely.

Under one of the new laws, food retailers or distributors caught skirting government-imposed price controls or hoarding products will be punished with up to six years in prison.

Business owners who refuse to produce, import, transport or sell "items of basic necessity" can face up to 10 years in jail.

The decree allows the government to "restrict or prohibit the import, export, distribution, exchange or sale" of certain foods or agricultural products and "take over distribution activities when considered necessary."

Other measures increase state control over commerce, services and publicity. Businesses that violate the new rules can face fines or indefinite closure.

One decree aims to support efforts toward a socialist-style economy at the community level, providing for bartering of goods and "social property" businesses operated communally.

"The government believes it can advance toward a centralized, state-run economic system, but that's going to cause more conflict with the business community," said Jorge Botti, an economist who heads a Fedecamaras committee studying the impact of government policy on the private sector.

Critics also raised concerns about a decree that creates a new National Bolivarian Militia - a branch of the military consisting of civilian volunteers who will help neighborhood-based "communal councils" establish "defense committees."

Former defense minister Fernando Ochoa warned that neighborhood defense groups could closely resemble Cuba's Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, which encourage citizens to watch for "counterrevolutionary" activities.

Nice to see he is picking up tips from Ze Germans.

Texas set to kill Jose Medellin as the World whines.

Crime: Don't mess with Texas or you get the horns.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday unanimously recommended against a reprieve for Jose Ernesto Medellin, a Mexican national who's facing execution in Texas on Tuesday for raping and murdering two teenage girls 15 years ago in Houston.

The recommendation, approved 7-0, went to Gov. Rick Perry for a final decision on Medellin's fate. Perry is expected to announce his decision Tuesday, said his spokeswoman, Allison Castle.

The board also rejected the lawyers’ request to commute Medellin’s punishment to a life sentence.

The Bush administration, the Mexican government and much of the diplomatic community have warned of an international backlash if the execution proceeds without a hearing on Medellin's claim that he was denied an opportunity to contact the Mexican consulate after he was arrested.

Medellin and other members of a gang called the Black and Whites were sentenced to death for raping and killing Jennifer Lee Ertman, 14, and Elizabeth Pena, 16, after the girls stumbled into a gang initiation while they were hurrying home from a party.

Witnesses said Medellin later bragged about the assault and described using a shoelace to strangle one of the girls because he didn't have a gun, according to Texas' Supreme Court brief. Medellin, then 19, also "put his foot on her throat because she would not die," the brief said.

The execution is scheduled for sometime after 6 p.m. CDT Tuesday.

He had chances before and failed to take them. This is about consulate power than it is a chance for the Hague and Mexico to try and dictate American policies. The guy and the rest on death row are monsters that deserve to die.

Mark Krikorian points out another reason they want to save this garbage's ass.

To Ed Swaine, a law professor at George Washington University in Washington, an execution Tuesday would reverberate throughout the international-law community. "It will diminish the ICJ's credibility and lessen the incentive for countries to bring cases to the ICJ in the first place," he says. "This will be a very big deal."

Michelle Obama is set to be "Mom-in-Chief"

Politics: That is some arrogance...wait that a racist code word? Everyday there seems to be another word I can't say to describe the Obamas.

Michelle Obama says her overriding role will be to serve as "mom-in-chief" to her and her husband Barack's two young daughters when -- not if -- they enter the White House.


Beyond that, the driven lawyer hoping to be the inaugural black first lady says she intends to restore a work-life balance to hard-pressed Americans and to support military wives of husbands serving extended tours overseas.

Interviewed by Ebony magazine, Michelle Obama was in no doubt about life after the November election when voters will decide between her husband and Republican John McCain.

"My first job in all honesty is going to continue to be mom-in-chief," she said, "making sure that in this transition, which will be even more of a transition for the girls... that they are settled and that they know they will continue to be the center of our universe."

Malia Obama, 10, and her sister Sasha, seven, are being brought up with the help of Michelle's mother as their parents campaign. They would be the youngest residents of the White House since president Jimmy Carter's daughter Amy.

Michelle Obama's certainty of tone could rile some on the right and foster charges by the Republican Party -- which has set up a website called "Audacity Watch" -- that her husband is arrogantly assuming the election is won already.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Muslim holiday replaces Labor day at Tyson Foods.

*Bumped to the top*

Nation: Talk about walking right into a minefield without a care in the world. What sort of idiot union would think this will go over well? Throwing away Labor Day?

Workers at Tyson Foods' poultry processing plant in Shelbyville will no longer have a paid day off on Labor Day, but will instead take the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in the fall.

A recent press release from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) stated that a new contract at the Shelbyville facility "implements a new holiday to accommodate the ... Muslim workers at the plant."

The RWDSU stated that "the five-year contract creates an additional paid holiday, Iidal Fitil, a Muslim holiday that occurs toward the end of Ramadan."

Eid al-Fitr falls on Oct. 1 this year.

Tyson's Director of Media Relations, Gary Mickelson, stated that while the new contract does not provide an additional holiday, as the union claimed, "the new contract includes eight paid holidays, which is the same number provided in the old contract."

"However, the union leadership did request and receive Eid al-Fitr (which is apparently spelled various ways including Id al-Fitr and Eid ul-Fitr) as a paid holiday in place of Labor Day," Mickelson confirmed in an e-mail to the T-G.

.....The press release stated there are approximatly 700 Muslims working at Tyson, but Mickelson said that Somalis only represent approximately 250 of the 1,200 employed at the plant, a little over 20 percent of the workforce.

"All Team Members who have completed their probationary period are eligible for all eight paid holidays including Eid al-Fitr," the Tyson spokeman said.

The union also claimed that in addition to the observance of the Muslim holiday, "two prayer rooms have been created to allow Muslim workers to pray twice a day and return to work without leaving the plant."

Mickelson said that Shelbyville's Tyson plant "does have a prayer room to accommodate the needs of Muslim Team Members."

"In addition to regular, non-paid breaks, all Team Members are allotted a seven-minute paid break," the Tyson spokesman said. "Some Team Members choose to pray during this time."

Labor Day is meant for everyone regardless of religion, it is idiotic to switch it out for a religious holiday that only 20% of the workforce celebrates. What is going to happen is this story will get kicked around the blogs and the media with outrage because they have taken away an American tradition for a religious reason. Something that would not fly for any other group. This is going to be a mess.


Former employee and Shelbyville resident Anthony Proctor said he thinks what's happening is wrong.

He said he helped build a special Muslim prayer room that's located inside the plant and that no other Tyson facility has been that accommodating for any other religion.

"If we want to go pray, we don’t have one for Christians," he said.

News report from WSMV

Update#: Michelle Malkin has picked this up and the author Brian Mosley who has been working on this and other stories in regards to refugees has the background on the article.

Clearly, the accommodations given to the Muslims have upset a great many people here and across the county, especially if they believe, as many apparently do, that their traditional values are being suppressed in the name of cultural diversity and political correctness. More than one person has told me that their tolerance only goes so far, and this is obviously one of those times.

I have stated my opinions about the refugee issue itself before. It is my personal opinion that the drive to bring so many refugees to America are not prompted by just good will or concern for the plight of these poor people, but instead for the millions of dollars in federal grants that are available for settling them in this country. According to Chris Coen, who is trying to help out refugees of all nationalities, there is a lot of money to be made in this "profession."

I also need point out that it would appear that some of these refugees are being used for other reasons. I find some of the allegations about these employment arrangements to be awfully similar to this sort of thing, and it should not be tolerated.

I also have to say that I do not feel that I am "obsessed" or "fixated" with the topic of Somalis living here, as one blogger believes. The refugees have lived in Shelbyville for the past four years, and no one has even addressed the issue until the T-G published the series in December of last year.

I would also have to suggest that the blogger's opinion is quite possibly influenced by the fact that she makes her living by working with the Nashville refugee community, as she states on one of her other websites.

I am simply reporting on what happens when hundreds of people from a totally alien culture suddenly move to a small town in the rural south -- both the good and the bad. I can not control how people are going to react to my stories.

In closing, I'll just say that I'm going to continue to keep looking into the various issues surrounding our new neighbors so that our community can stay informed. That's what we're here for. And that's what I'm going to do.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bill Clinton refuses to talk about primaries until next year.

Politics: When he is freer to say something about it being the good Dem somewhat.

In a session that lasted more than 45 minutes, Clinton described his role in the 2008 campaign as "a privilege, an honor," and said, "I loved it," but he declined to discuss any of his own possible mistakes, describing them as a distraction. "Next year, you and I and everybody else will be freer and have more space to say what we believe to be the truth" about the primaries, he said.

Clinton volunteered very little praise of Obama, beyond describing him as "smart" and "a good politician" when asked about him toward the end of the interview. He did, however, muse at length about the role that race could play in the general election -- the issue that some of his former black allies angrily accused him of introducing in the Democratic primaries -- as a factor, if not a decisive one.

Bill is going to hold that grudge forever.

Moses ad for Obama means... Uppity!

Politics: I told ya for months now that this is where the last big line of defense in going after Obama, anything said negatively about him is just a code word for uppity negro. This is going to be the new meme started today by David Gergen and watch the morning shows to "tackle" this new affront to Black Jesus.

George Will makes a point I made myself last week, that the irony of all these bad-faith charges of racism is that most of the GOP’s knocks on Obama’s ego are straight out of the playbook they used against “haughty, French-looking Democrat” John Kerry. Granted, there was no “Moses” ad for Waffles, but that’s because most people hated him; Obama is adored to an absurdly iconic extent, especially vis-a-vis his actual accomplishments (in Lindsey Graham’s words, “fame without portfolio”), which is why he gets goofed on as leading people to the Promised Land whereas Kerry got the windsurfer treatment.

(Although there are plenty of goofs on Obama along the same dorky windsurfer lines to be found if you look around.) The real “tell” here, though, is what Gergen offers as further evidence to support his point — that McCain, when asked about affirmative action, said he opposes quotas.

A perfectly mainstream conservative position, and certainly one McCain would also hold if he was facing Hillary, but because he’s facing Obama McCain’s no longer allowed to talk about it. Presumably he should be responding to questions on the subject with a terse “no comment” lest halfwits like this whip out their secret racial decoder rings to tell America what he “really” meant.

Even AP admits the latest series of ads have worked wonders for McCain.