Saturday, October 18, 2008

Immigration debate intensifies in Europe.

Immigration: Fortress Europe rises!

Australia moves ahead with filtered Internet access.

Australia: PM Kevin Rudd has a fetish for all things Chinese but taking their web access policies is a bit much.

Australians will be unable to opt-out of the government's pending Internet content filtering scheme, and will instead be placed on a watered-down blacklist, experts say.

Under the government's $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material.

Pundits say consumers have been lulled into believing the opt-out proviso would remove content filtering altogether.

The government will iron-out policy and implementation of the Internet content filtering software following an upcoming trial of the technology, according to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Department spokesman Tim Marshall said the filters will be mandatory for all Australians.

"Labor's plan for cyber-safety will require ISPs to offer a clean feed Internet service to all homes, schools and public Internet points accessible by children," Marshall said.

"The upcoming field pilot of ISP filtering technology will look at various aspects of filtering, including effectiveness, ease of circumvention, the impact on internet access speeds and cost."

...EFA chair Dale Clapperton said in a previous article that Internet content filtering could lead to censorship of drugs, political dissident and other legal freedoms.

"Once the public has allowed the system to be established, it is much easier to block other material," Clapperton said.

According to preliminary trials, the best Internet content filters would incorrectly block about 10,0000 Web pages from one million.

Quran quotes delay Sony's LittleBigPlanet

Culture: Overreaction but worldwide corporation is not going to take chances on this sort of thing.

One of the year's most anticipated video game releases, Sony's "LittleBigPlanet" for the PlayStation 3, is being delayed a week in the United States because lines from the Quran, the central religious text of Islam, were discovered in one of the game's licensed musical tracks.

"LittleBigPlanet," in which users create their own levels, was supposed to be released next week, but Sony is instituting a worldwide recall of the game and re-pressing the discs without the Quran references. As a result, the game will start shipping to U.S. retailers the week of October 27, according to an update on the PlayStation Blog.

The lines in question are found in one of the game's licensed songs. The Muslim gamer who first pointed them out said the "LittleBigPlanet" track features the lines "kollo nafsin tha'iqatol mawt," which means "Every soul shall have the taste of death," and "kollo man alaiha fan," which translates to "All that is on Earth will perish."

Copies of "LittleBigPlanet" have already shipped to a number of retailers, and some gamers are reporting success in finding them on store shelves. Even MTV News has received copies of the now-recalled version of "LittleBigPlanet."

The developers of the game, a small group of British creators whose studio is called Media Molecule, issued a statement on their Web site apologizing for the delay: "We were as shocked and dismayed by this as anyone — shell-shocked and gutted."

The statement went on to explain that Media Molecule learned about the controversial lines just one day earlier, and was prepared to issue a "day 0" patch to update copies of the game already sent to retailers. The studio indicated that publisher Sony instead opted to delay the game and only sell revised discs. As for the content of the song in question, the studio's statement indicates: " 'LBP' should be enjoyable by all."

Obama camp demands investigation of fraud investigation.

Politics: Obama coming to the rescue of ACORN by having the process lawyered up.

Hawaii stops universal child health care

Medical: First they were stupid to not put requirements in and second if taxpayers have to pay for a universal system why not join up and reap some of benefits.

Hawaii is dropping the only state universal child health care program in the country just seven months after it launched.

Gov. Linda Lingle's administration cited budget shortfalls and other available health care options for eliminating funding for the program. A state official said families were dropping private coverage so their children would be eligible for the subsidized plan.

"People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free," said Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services. "I don't believe that was the intent of the program."

State officials said Thursday they will stop giving health coverage to the 2,000 children enrolled by Nov. 1, but private partner Hawaii Medical Service Association will pay to extend their coverage through the end of the year without government support.

"We're very disappointed in the state's decision, and it came as a complete surprise to us," said Jennifer Diesman, a spokeswoman for HMSA, the state's largest health care provider. "We believe the program is working, and given Hawaii's economic uncertainty, we don't think now is the time to cut all funding for this kind of program."

Hawaii lawmakers approved the health plan in 2007 as a way to ensure every child can get basic medical help. The Keiki (child) Care program aimed to cover every child from birth to 18 years old who didn't already have health insurance—mostly immigrants and members of lower-income families.

It costs the state about $50,000 per month, or $25.50 per child—an amount that was more than matched by HMSA.

State health officials argued that most of the children enrolled in the universal child care program previously had private health insurance, indicating that it was helping those who didn't need it.

Immigration to Britain 'will be capped'

UK: As all of Europe starts to clamp down on new immigration.

Phil Woolas, the new immigration minister, said that there would be a sharp reduction in the number of foreigners allowed to stay in the country.

He appeared to announce a reversal in Labour policy by backing plans to set a strict upper limit on immigration.

"This Government isn't going to allow the population to go up to 70 million," Mr Woolas said in an interview.

"There has to be a balance between the number of people coming in and the number of people leaving."

He added: "If people are being made unemployed, the question of immigration becomes extremely thorny. It's been too easy to get into this country in the past and it's going to get harder."

Mr Woolas also warned that businesses risked fuelling racial resentment if they relied on cheap foreign labour.

"Britain has to get working again. The easiest thing for an employer to do is to employ an immigrant. We need to help them to change that," he said.

"In times of economic difficulties, racial stereotyping becomes stronger but also if you've got skills shortages you should, as a government, attempt to fill those skills shortages with your indigenous population."


Translation: HIRE MORE BRITS!

Ireland goes into a recession.

EU: As construction comes to a halt.

Man to testify about government kickbacks

South American: ...to Venezuelan officials.

The convicted business partner of a wealthy Venezuelan will be allowed to testify at a Miami trial about millions of dollars in kickbacks allegedly paid to senior officials in the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Carlos Kauffmann gave a preview of that testimony on Friday when he summarized the money he and his partner, Franklin Durán, allegedly paid to senior officials in the Venezuelan National Guard, Finance Ministry, Education Ministry and two states.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard's ruling came after the unexpected testimony by Kauffmann, who took the witness stand without a jury present. He pleaded guilty to charges he failed to register as an agent with U.S. authorities when he flew to Miami to allegedly silence a business associate who had been stopped in Argentina with a suitcase containing almost $800,000 in cash.

Kauffmann's statements added an explosive dimension to the seven-week-old trial likely to reverberate from Miami to Caracas to Buenos Aires.

Though Kauffman's bribery allegations have emerged before in court records, his testimony is likely to draw more international scrutiny because of the dramatic fashion in which he will deliver it: in front of the 12-member federal jury in Miami.

Also, he is expected to name the senior officials who allegedly received tens of millions of dollars in bribes, though on Friday the judge limited the scope of Kauffman's testimony next Tuesday -- just before closing arguments Wednesday.

Kauffmann gave a preview of his testimony because Lenard wanted to hear whether his information should be allowed in as rebuttal to her decision to let Durán's attorney argue an ''entrapment'' defense in closing arguments.

''It's relevant to the crimes charged in this case and the defendant's readiness and willingness to commit those crimes,'' Lenard said.

Friday, October 17, 2008

TPMCentral: All them darkies look alike to us

Politics: I am still trying to figure out if David Kurtz and Greg Sargent over at Talking Points Central are whining about this Virginia mailer with a clear picture of Bin Laden on it thinking it is Obama are playing the fools to score political points or just massively stupid people.

I am leaning to the latter.

Palm Beach Post takes back Tim Mahoney endorsement.

Media: The paper got a black eye for endorsing the guy the day before the sex scandal broke.

Considering how he got to Washington, he should have known better than most how important trust and ethics are. In 2006, District 16 incumbent Mark Foley resigned six weeks before the election when his many lewd e-mails to underage pages came to light. It was one of several scandals that resulted in Republicans losing their majority in Congress to Democrats, many of whom, like Rep. Mahoney, made ethics an issue. Democrats blasted GOP House leaders, who had been aware of the complaints against Foley but had refused to act.

Spokespersons for Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, who recruited Rep. Mahoney, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, have acknowledged that their bosses confronted Rep. Mahoney about the affair this year. Both, however, deny knowledge of the settlement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who says she first learned of the allegations from Monday's ABC News report, has called for the ethics committee to investigate "without delay."

In 2006, Rep. Pelosi promised that Democrats would "lead the most honest, the most open and the most ethical Congress in history." If that's true, now is the time for her and other members of the House leadership to tell the public, as Democrats demanded of Republicans two years ago in the Foley case, what they knew and when they knew it.

Rep. Mahoney's behavior means that this year's congressional Christmas present probably will go to Mr. Rooney. An Army veteran and lawyer whose family owns the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Palm Beach Kennel Club, Mr. Rooney won the Republican primary. The Post won't agree with him as often as we agreed with Rep. Mahoney, but Mr. Rooney does support the national disaster insurance bill and he favors a timeline for ending the Iraq War.

On Wednesday, Rep. Mahoney's attorney said the $121,000 came from the congressman's account. Too much about this scandal, though, remains unanswered. Rep. Mahoney called it "a private matter," but it involves taxpayer money to hire the mistress, and he lost the privacy shield when he campaigned on "Faith and Family - Where I Stand." Now, it's where he has slipped and fallen.


The FBI probe is getting bigger now involving FEMA.

John Travolta flees riot caused by Paris "youths"

World: When good intentions get smacked in the face by reality swinging a baseball bat.

Actor John Travolta cancelled filming on his new movie after rioting broke out among crew members on set.

The actor was set to shoot part of From Paris With Love - which highlights social problems in French ghettos - in Les Bosquets, a high-rise estate north of the French capital, and jobs as extras and support staff were offered to the residents of the area.

However, before filming could begin violence broke out among the workers, who burnt 10 cars set to feature in the movie.

A spokesman for the movie said: "All 10 of the vehicles set to be used were burnt out and there were threats aimed at crew.

"There's now no possibility of Mr. Travolta or any of the other stars of the film operating in such a dangerous area.

"The scenes we were meant to do here will now be shot elsewhere."

It was hoped the movie would help draw attention to France's lower classes, but filming was only permitted in Les Bosquets on the condition locals were used as extras and meals for the crew were made by local companies.

Graffiti wall vandalised by disgruntled taxpayer

UK: Seriously..Wadebridge.. A wall so youths can practice a crime and taxpayers in part funded it? Nice.

The 6ft high by 30ft long wall was installed so youths could practice their graffiti artwork without vandalising local property.

But ahead of its opening on October 31 a fed-up resident sneaked behind a security fence and daubed a protest about the use of taxpayer's money.

The wall, in Wadebridge, Cornwall, was funded by Wadebridge Town Council, Wadebridge Town Forum and North Cornwall District Council.

It was built in the town's Jubilee Park and was the brainchild of Sergeant Robin Moorcroft who has vowed to investigate the graffiti.

He said it is "ironic" because most of the cost was subsidised by local businesses who supplied free materials and labour.

"The ironic thing is that the wall has been built thanks to the generosity of local people giving time and resources for free," he said.

"But it is now going to cost the taxpayer, as we will have to crime it, investigate it and paint over it.

"We have been working hard to try to provide something positive for the community and this coward and their juvenile delinquent act has set a terrible example to the youth of the town.

"All residents were given the opportunity to raise objections during the planning process. This person could have come and spoken to us instead of committing this petty act.

"To paint graffiti on the wall and remain anonymous shows this person has no courage, I would have more respect if he or she came forward and admitted responsibility."


I really don't have to spell out the irony of the above statement.

EU agrees on tough immigration pact.

Immigration: Who would have thought the EU would be leading the way on immigration. It is not perfect but better than what America has at the moment.

European Union leaders agreed on Thursday a "European pact on immigration and asylum" which activists and analysts said marked a further toughening of the continent's migration policies.

They pledged to expel illegal migrants and beef up border controls, while vowing to work to attract more highly-skilled migrants.

The pact says the 27-nation bloc needed immigration but warned that it "does not have the resources to decently receive all the migrants hoping to find a better life here".

EU states also say they want to cooperate better together and with migrants' countries of origin to fight illegal migration and help foster development there.

They agreed not to carry out mass regularisations of illegal migrants but rather proceed on a case-by-case basis.

"The pact clearly heralds a more conservative approach to immigration," said Elizabeth Collett, political analyst at the Brussels-based European Policy Centre think-tank.

"It looks at immigration policies through the prism of 'control first', making this more explicit than in the past."

In the pact, EU leaders reiterated pledges to agree a common asylum policy, but said this might be achieved only in 2012, rather than by the original 2010 target.

"We have some strong reservations regarding the direction that the debate has taken," said Bjarte Vandvik, Secretary General of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles.

"We feel that the pact may be tipping the balance further towards the security approach -- which to date has not provided the solutions to Europe's migration challenges -- and away from the necessary actions to ensure human rights safeguards."


You know it has to be good if the immigration advocates are angry about it.

To hell with woman beater Josh Brolin.

Crime: It is sickening to see the morning shows lavish praise on this prick especially when he got arrested for beating up Diana Lane who is still married to him for whatever reason.

BBC will treat Islam better than Christianity

UK: At least the BBC admits the policy in the open.

BBC programme-makers tackle Islam differently from Christianity, its director general has admitted.

Mark Thompson was responding to criticism from comedian Ben Elton, who accused the BBC of being scared to make jokes about Islam.

Mr Thompson said: 'What Christian identity feels like to the broad population is a little bit different to people for whom their religion is also associated with an ethnic identity which has not been fully integrated.

'There's no reason why any religion should be immune from discussion, but I don't want to say that all religions are the same. To be a minority I think puts a slightly different outlook on it.'


Mr Thompson, who spoke at a lecture for think-tank Theos, said shows critical of Islam would be shown if they were of high quality.

Elton made his comments earlier this year in an interview with Christian magazine Third Way when he was asked if too much deference was shown to religious people.


'I think it all starts with people nodding whenever anybody says, 'As a person of faith ...',' he said.

'And I believe that part of it is due to the genuine fear that the authorities and the community have about provoking the radical elements of Islam," he said.

'There's no doubt about it, the BBC will let vicar gags pass but they would not let imam gags pass. They might pretend that it's, you know, something to do with their moral sensibilities, but it isn't. It's because they're scared. I know these people.'

However Thompson's admission was met with derision by Christian and media groups.

Stephen Green, director of Christian Voice, said: 'Mr Thompson seems to be saying that because Islam is a minority religion it should be treated with kid gloves.

'This is ridiculous.

All religions should be treated with equally and with the same approach. I think the reality is that the BBC treats coverage of Islam and Muslims differently because it is terrified of offending them. It is political correctness. The BBC is simply not bothered about offending Christians despite the majority of this country being of that faith.'

John Beyer, director of Mediawatch, said: 'All religions need to be treated in the same way, otherwise how can the BBC claim to be impartial?

'I think that any approach to religious debate and discussion that is not impartial is not what the BBC should be doing.'

The problem besides the obvious is that every program(fiction or non-fiction) that deals with Islam or Muslim will be looked at with contempt and suspicion because they admit they will handle the subject with kids gloves.

The intolerance of liberal blacks in Prince George's County.

Politics: Free speech and political expression will not be allowed in this county as this overreaction is an example of Black Jesus's supporters on political discourse.

The sign went up Sunday evening, bold black letters against the stark white background of the marquee at the Colony South Hotel & Conference Center in Clinton: "Country First. McCain/Palin."

By daybreak, pandemonium had broken loose all across heavily Democratic Prince George's County. Many local supporters of Democrat Barack Obama, jolted by the message as they headed down Branch Avenue on their Monday morning commutes, grabbed cellphones and BlackBerrys to notify friends. Operators of neighborhood e-mail group lists cried foul to their memberships. The NAACP logged calls. Community leaders demanded boycotts of the hotel, a common venue for Democratic events.

"Businesspeople have to be mindful of the sentiments and sensibilities of their market trading area, and Prince George's County is overwhelmingly for Obama," said community activist Arthur Turner of Kettering, who was among those advocating a boycott. "People I have talked to look at the sign as a slap in the face. They feel it was blatant disrespect. . . . I have heard people say they will no longer patronize Colony South because of that disrespect."

....June White Dillard, president of the Prince George's chapter of the NAACP, said the type of events Colony South has booked in the past is the reason the sign cut so deeply.


The overreaction and screeching is to be expected from community organizers and activists but what the hell is the NAACP doing participating in this nonsense? It is a fundamental slap in the face of all the rights fought and won by the NAACP in having open political debate and expression.

This is an example of how far it has fallen as a relevant organization that it would take part in this assault on this hotel. There is zero tolerance on the other side.

The media goes after Joe the Plumber

Politics: He made the innocent mistake of questioning Black Jesus and his followers are going to make him pay for it.

The media still has those investigating instincts but only when they have to protect Obama who is out mocking plumbers in general.

Somali Islamists threaten Kenya with Jihad.

Africa: Via BBC.

Somali Islamists say they will attack Kenya if it goes ahead with plans to train 10,000 government troops.

"We will order all our holy warriors to start the jihadi war inside Kenya," said spokesman Sheikh Muktar Robow.

Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula has been quoted recently offering the training to beleaguered government forces.

The warning comes as insurgents have again battled government troops and peacekeepers in the capital, Mogadishu.

EU climate change plans blow up over expense.

EU: Via Timesonline.

Europe’s commitment to ambitious green goals became the latest victim of the global financial crisis yesterday when a growing number of EU countries rebelled, claiming that the plans were now too expensive.

Plans for binding European legislation by December were dropped as the EU watered down the carbon dioxide blueprint that it had announced with a fanfare 18 months ago.

The revolt by eight countries, led by Italy and Poland, left the EU’s self-proclaimed mission to shape a global, postKyoto agreement on greenhouse gases in disarray.

President Sarkozy of France, which holds the rotating EU presidency, led the way in appealing to all 27 countries to stick to their targets.

But tempers flared at the quarterly European Council in Brussels, with Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, clearly furious at the pressure being applied. During a stand-up row behind the scenes, he told Mr Sarkozy that the targets would crucify Italian industry.

“Our businesses are in absolutely no position at the moment to absorb the costs of the regulations that have been proposed,” Mr Berlusconi said later.

Donald Tusk, the Polish Prime Minister, said: “We don’t say to the French that they have to close down their nuclear power industry and build windmills, and nobody can tell us the equivalent.”

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama whines about media bias from Fox News.

Media: If it wasn't for Fox News reporting on ACORN, Ayers, Wright, "Spread the Wealth" and so on. Obama would be up by 20 points given the eagerness of the MSM to be his personal fluffers.

“I am convinced that if there were no Fox News, I might be two or three points higher in the polls,” Obama told me. “If I were watching Fox News, I wouldn’t vote for me, right? Because the way I’m portrayed 24/7 is as a freak! I am the latte-sipping, New York Times-reading, Volvo-driving, no-gun-owning, effete, politically correct, arrogant liberal. Who wants somebody like that?

PM Kevin Rudd: What global crisis? Carbon tax time!

Australia: What happens when an egghead gets morally uppity? Stupidity.

Australia's plans to launch a carbon emissions trading scheme within two years will not be derailed by the global financial crisis, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Tuesday.

Australia's second-largest oil and gas producer, Woodside Petroleum Ltd, this week told Rudd's center-left Labor government that global market volatility and bank credit paralysis should put emissions trading on hold.

Rudd said the worst international financial crisis since the 1930s did not eclipse the danger of climate change, expected to have a greater impact on Australia's $1 trillion coal and energy reliant economy than almost any other developed nation.

"On emissions trading, our ambition remains 2010," Rudd told journalists while unveiling a A$10.4 billion ($7.3 billion) emergency stimulus package to protect Australia against any global recession.

"Part of the government's thinking is the calls from business for consistency and predictability in the future. Climate change is not going to go away," Rudd said.

Woodside Chief Executive Don Voelte said his company and Chevron Corp were rethinking funding for future Liquefied Natural Gas projects worth more than $70 billion against a backdrop of global credit jitters and falling oil prices.

Woodside, 34 percent-owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, said on Monday no projects would be shelved, but Voelte warned emissions trading would bring more unrest to Australia's economy and could cost jobs.

"Heck, I think this is off the table. You cannot put something like that in and at this time until we get this whole fiscal chaos that's going on in the world straightened out," he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. television.

Australia's biggest business group has asked the government to shelve or delay the emissions scheme, saying it could be a "company killer" and force firms out of business or offshore.


More taxes on businesses, what could go wrong at this time?

Guy Ritchie finally gets rid of the anchor around his waist.

Culture: Now she can go hook up with A-Rod without looking like a total slut instead of a 3/4 one now.

After countless denials of domestic trouble, Madonna and Guy Ritchie announced Wednesday they are divorcing after nearly eight years of marriage. The couple's announcement brings to an end a showbiz union that spanned the Atlantic and dominated the gossip columns.

Madonna - "Madge" to the British press - and her filmmaker husband were always greater tabloid fodder in England, where they lived. The pop star seemed to take to English life, spending much of her time at the couple's 1,200-acre country estate in Wiltshire, and to some ears, adopting a slight British accent.

But in recent years, reports began to accumulate that they were on the rocks. Over the summer, Madonna was linked - unfairly, she said - to the breakup of New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez and his ex-wife Cynthia.

Venezuela to set 6-hour workday

World: That Hugo Chavez is a smart guy given that oil prices are falling past the point where he can successful prop up his socialist programs...Why not a six hour workday. It has worked well err..somewhere I guess.

The government of President Hugo Chavez is planning to establish a 6-hour workday under forthcoming legislation.

Labor Minister Roberto Hernandez announced Monday that he would present a proposed bill before the end of the year to reduce the workday from 8 to 6 hours, improve employee benefits and establish "more forceful" penalties for businesses that violate labor laws.

The president's allies hold a majority within the National Assembly and most bills proposed by Chavez's administration are approved without considerable delay.

Chavez presented the same proposal as part of a constitutional reform package that voters rejected last December.

Before the vote, some business owners warned that reducing the workday would force them to cut jobs or close down

Gordon Brown takes charges of EU bailout.

EU: As Sarkozy tries to catch up.

Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy issued rival plans to rescue the global financial system yesterday as they jousted over who should take charge of far-reaching regulatory reforms.

The French President sprung into action after Mr Brown issued a detailed document that challenges European leaders to move to “stage two” of his bank rescue plan, and calls for a new Bretton Woods-style conference to reorganise financial regulation.

Not to be outdone, several hours later Mr Sarkozy handed out his own two-page paper demanding a global overhaul of the financial system and “a new form of capitalism”.

Like Mr Brown, he also called for a meeting of key international players before the end of the year and referred to “a new Breton Woods”, saying that this repeated his ideas from a speech to the United Nations last month.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Obama: Talk about ACORN Voter Fraud? You guessed it! ‘Distraction’

Politics: Predictable as usual.

Canada's Conservative Party wins re-election

Canada: Perhaps Liberal leader Stephane Dion should have talked more about the carbon tax? That seemed to have won over the public.

The election agency reported on its Web site that the Conservatives had won or was leading in races for 143 of Parliament's 308 seats, an improvement over the 127 seats the party had in the previous Parliament.

But with nearly all the returns in early Wednesday, it was clear the Conservative Party would not win the 155 seats needed to govern on its own. That would force it to again rely on opposition support to pass budgets and legislation—as it has had to since a 2006 election victory.

Harper had called elections early in hopes of getting his party a majority, but the Conservatives sought to put a good face on the results, pointing to their increased number of seats.

"Our party is bigger, our support base is broader and more and more Canadians are finding a home in the Conservative Party of Canada," Harper said early Wednesday. "We have shown that minority government can work and at this time of global economic instability we owe it to Canadians to demonstrate this once again."

The Liberal Party, long Canada's top party, suffered a severe drubbing, dropping to 77 seats from 95 in the previous Parliament, according to the election agency. Bloc Quebecois led for about 49 seats, the New Democrats just under 37 and independent candidates 2.

The opposition Liberals have typically been the party in power, forming the government for most of Canada's 141 years. But the left-of-center vote was divided among four parties, giving an edge to the Conservatives.

Dion's campaign was hindered by his unpopular plan to tax all fossil fuels except gasoline and by perceptions he is a weak leader. A former professor from French-speaking Quebec, Dion also suffered in other regions because he frequently mangles English grammar and his accent makes him hard to understand.

Dion said Canadians have asked him to be their official opposition leader, a signal that he's not ready to step down at this point.

If Dion was ousted as leader after a loss, he would be just the second Liberal leader to fail to become Canada's prime minister. The only other was Edward Blake, who led the party to defeat in the 1882 and 1887 elections.


If the world economy hadn't taken a nosedive they probably would have won a majority.

Huge News! Los Angeles Times hints it will endorse Obama

Media: That fact there is speculation and being treated as a big deal on who LATIMES will endorse in media circles like Romenesko and Editor and Publisher shows how out of touch these companies really are with the public.

Pieter Hugo Picture causes racial protest at Hollywood Agency.

Culture: Political Correctness and cultural ignorance is the death of America especially when wielded by stupid people.


So on September 16th, Zimmer decided to install in UTA public space on the 4th floor a photograph of an African youth and his chained monkey (photo left). Like all the pictures hanging at the agency, there was no identifier.

I'm told that, shortly after, a group of UTA employees comprised primarily of African Americans complained to the tenpercentery's human resources department that the image was "derogatory" to blacks. "Collectively the employees of color now feel uncomfortable and unwelcome," one of the staffers emailed me when it happened. "This is not the first time racial discrimination has been exhibited at United Talent Agency, but it is the first time that it has been put on public view."

A discussion ensued between the agency owners and the human resources department, which then proceeded to explain the pedigree of the photographer who had taken the picture. He's Pieter Hugo, the award-winning South African whose haunting and often provocative portraits try to portray the reality of the African continent's human condition, and this "Dayaba Usman With The Monkey Clear, Nigeria 2005" was part of a very powerful series of portraits about men and their relationships with the animals they have tamed.

But despite the agency's affirmations that the artwork was not racist, the protesting staffers still said it made them uncomfortable. "I understand that some things are more offensive to others. However, if an image is offensive to anyone, in my opinion, it should be removed. Especially when there is an underlying tension felt by a minority group," one of the African American staffers inside UTA emailed me.

Here is Pieter Hugo site with the gallery of pics. First became aware of him when pics of the people with their tamed Hyenas started showing on the net which (drugged in some cases) were used for show and scams.

I know I am not sensitive enough to think these pics are racist and I don't see any intent that it was put up as a racist gesture. But we have passed the point where everything is racism which means eventually nothing is racism. Maybe something else will come out to change my mind about this overreaction.

Jesse Jackson: Obama gonna stop those Jews and their influence!

Politics: This is why I laugh at idiotic nonsense like The Great Schlep with Sarah Silverman because these young fools have no clue about the damage Obama could do to Israel. But good ole Jesse Jackson seems to know whats up.

PREPARE for a new America: That's the message that the Rev. Jesse Jackson conveyed to participants in the first World Policy Forum, held at this French lakeside resort last week.

He promised "fundamental changes" in US foreign policy - saying America must "heal wounds" it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the "arrogance of the Bush administration."

The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where "decades of putting Israel's interests first" would end.

Jackson believes that, although "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" remain strong, they'll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.

"Obama is about change," Jackson told me in a wide-ranging conversation. "And the change that Obama promises is not limited to what we do in America itself. It is a change of the way America looks at the world and its place in it."

Jackson warns that he isn't an Obama confidant or adviser, "just a supporter." But he adds that Obama has been "a neighbor or, better still, a member of the family." Jackson's son has been a close friend of Obama for years, and Jackson's daughter went to school with Obama's wife Michelle.

Chicago to shut down government for six days

Politics: The greatest idea to come from Mayor Daley as he protects people from his government for 6 days out of the year.

Facing a huge hole in Chicago's current and upcoming budgets, Mayor Richard Daley announced on Tuesday a plan to partially shut down city government for six days.

Along with several other measures, the mayor's plan was aimed at saving $62 million for the city's corporate or operating fund, which currently faces a $469 million shortfall.

Under the plan, city employees, with the exception of mostly public safety workers, would not work and would not be paid for the day after Thanksgiving or for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve this year and in 2009.

Daley also said the fiscal 2009 budget he will unveil on Wednesday will eliminate 1,346 currently vacant positions and will include various cost-cutting or revenue-raising measures.

"I know that no one will be completely satisfied with our recommendations," the mayor said in a statement. "But, if we work together and responsibly cut spending this year, we'll be taking an important step toward addressing the financial challenges we'll still face in the years ahead."


Why not raise taxes on someone? Oh yeah.

Parking in the Loop is a pricey proposition as it is, but Mayor Richard M. Daley wants to make it even more expensive with a new tax increase.

As CBS 2's Joanie Lum reports, some Chicagoans are so upset about the idea that they held a protest on Tuesday.

The parking industry says taxes have been raised six times in the past 12 years, and they have no choice but to pass that cost onto the drivers. They said the expenses incurred from the new tax could price some motorists out of parking at all.

As motorists entered the Lake/Wells Self Park Facility, 175 W. Lake St, workers handed out flyers and encouraged them to call their local aldermen and fight the increase. They say Chicago has the second highest parking tax in the country, and with the new proposal it could rise from 27 percent to 33 percent.

The only U.S. city with a higher parking tax is Pittsburgh, where the tax is 45 percent. Before dropping a year ago, the Pittsburgh tax had been 50 percent.
Parking attendants told their customers prices would go up if they did not raise their voices. As it is, the average parking garage rate in Chicago is nearly $300 per month, more if you pay by the day. The tax hike would increase that amount by about $15 per month.

FBI to investigate Tim Mahoney in sex scandal

Politics: Nice, very Nice.

FBI agents Tuesday reached out to several major players in the sex scandal that has ensnared Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney.

A source said late Tuesday that the head of the anti-corruption unit of the agency’s West Palm Beach branch spoke with the lawyer of Mahoney’s alleged ex-mistress, Patricia Allen.

What does the FBI want to know?

Mainly whether campaign money and/or tax revenues were used to pay off Allen for her silence.

Her lawyer, former local bar president Greg Coleman, didn’t return calls.

Incentives luring buyers back to pickups, SUVs

Nation: Cheaper gas means more sales for what should a dead segment of the auto market. But the company that makes a better M.P.G out of a SUV will be dominant. Americans like big autos. Deal with it.

Is history repeating itself in the automobile industry? The latest data on vehicle sales suggest that it might be.

Auto sales hit the skids in September, sinking to their lowest level in more than 15 years, as the faltering economy and credit crunch combined to squeeze the business. But amid the carnage, sales of large pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles held their own, according to Edmunds.com.

Yes, you read that correctly: trucks and SUVs, the very same gas-swigging monsters that Americans have stampeded away from this year as gasoline prices rose to record levels.

The plumber is smarter than Christopher Buckley

Politics: Buckley is now the media darling after he does the tried and true backstabbing of conservatives to make a bigger name for himself. But it still stands that his argument for Obama is stupid and shallow. No self-respecting conservative can vote for Obama knowing he is a socialist if we are lucky on this sort of empty rationalization.

I’ve read Obama’s books, and they are first-rate. He is that rara avis, the politician who writes his own books. Imagine. He is also a lefty. I am not. I am a small-government conservative who clings tenaciously and old-fashionedly to the idea that one ought to have balanced budgets. On abortion, gay marriage, et al, I’m libertarian. I believe with my sage and epigrammatic friend P.J. O’Rourke that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take it all away.

But having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves. If he raises taxes and throws up tariff walls and opens the coffers of the DNC to bribe-money from the special interest groups against whom he has (somewhat disingenuously) railed during the campaign trail, then he will almost certainly reap a whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a balmy summer zephyr.

The plumber who got the spread the wealth quote from Obama realizes what Black Jesus is and is not happy about it. So for all the talk of intellect, why does a businessperson get it but not Christopher Buckley. The only explanation is naivete and living in the pointy headed Republican world

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Muslim students refuse to share multi-faith prayer rooms.

Australia: Not exactly the interfaith multicultural way of doing things.

UP TO 1000 Muslim students at RMIT are protesting against sharing a multi-faith prayer room with Christians, Jews and worshippers of other faiths.

RMIT Islamic Society vice-president Mohamed Elrafihi said the university had promised Muslim students their own prayer room at the Swanston St campus.

Five refurbished multi-faith prayer rooms -- including a foot-wash room for Muslims and a prayer room with Arabic signs and oriented towards Mecca -- were opened to students earlier this year.

But Mr Elrafihi said the Islamic-themed prayer room can be booked by other religions, which would interrupt evening Muslim prayer times.

Islamic students have refused to use the new facilities, insisting one room be dedicated for use by Muslims.

"We have nothing against multi-faith, we support multi-faith," Mr Elrafihi said.


He said RMIT had misled international students in previous promotions about Muslim prayer facilities.

"The Muslims were promised a dedicated room and that was taken from them. That has caused a lot of stress," Mr Elrafihi said.

While refusing to use the new prayer facilities for the past eight months, up to 600 Muslim students have been worshipping outdoors each Friday in nearby Bowen St, or on other days on the lawns outside RMIT's prayer halls in part of the old Melbourne jail.

"There has been days when it has been raining, hail and thunder," Mr Elrafihi said.

He said Muslim students had nothing against other faiths.

But he said Jews, Christians and other religions using the centre were small in number and did not need their own dedicated facilities.

He explained that the Muslims were supported by Christian, Jewish and student union groups at the university.


If the other student groups support this push they are just stupid. In a society of multiple faiths and cultures it would be wrong to have one religon get special treatment. This is just a power grab.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Howard Stern exposes Obama supporters in Harlem.

Politics: If a Republican pulled this stunt, RACIST! The interviewer took McCain policies to Harlem and said they were Obama's views. The supporters just went right along without missing a beat. That was bad then it got worse when he asked about Obama's VP choice.




Longer version here with a McCain supporter.

Tim Mahoney is not the story, Rahm Emanuel is the story.

Politics: We start with this mess.

Florida Congressman Tim Mahoney has called for an ethics investigation of himself amid reports that he had an affair and then paid the woman to keep quiet.

Minutes later Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also called for an investigation.

ABC News reported on its Web site Monday that Mahoney agreed to pay $121,000 in March to a former mistress and staffer after being threatened with a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The network, citing unnamed sources, says the congressman began an affair with Patricia Allen in 2006 while he was campaigning for Congress.

Mahoney, a Democrat, won the race after former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley resigned when it was revealed Foley sent lurid Internet messages to male Capitol Hill teenage pages.


The bigger news is that Dem House leaders knew about it and tried to cover it up.

The scandal could have repercussions far beyond the Sunshine State, where Mahoney ran under the slogan “Restoring America’s values begins at home.”

House Democrats flayed the GOP leadership for covering up Foley’s inappropriate behavior with pages two years ago — and Republicans are eager to return the favor. They were given ammunition yesterday when a pair of top Democrats — Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland — both admitted they had confronted Mahoney about his personal conduct before the scandal broke.

ABC News, which investigated the affair for weeks, reported early Monday that Mahoney paid Allen $61,000, plus $60,000 in legal fees, after she threatened to sue him for “sexual harassment” and “intimidation.”

The network also reported that Mahoney had secured for the 50-year-old single mother a two-year, $50,000-per-year job at his campaign’s communications firm, Fletcher Rowley Chao Riddle Inc., as part of the settlement.

In a statement released later Monday, company CEO Bill Fletcher denied knowledge of the arrangement and severed ties to Mahoney.

“FRCR Inc. has resigned from Tim Mahoney’s campaign and permanently ended our relationship with him,” Fletcher wrote in an e-mail. “According to ABC News, Tim Mahoney apparently included our company in a secret legal settlement without the knowledge of our firm. Our firm did not agree to any legal settlement. If these allegations are true, Tim Mahoney’s actions are unacceptable and not in line with FRCR’s business ethics.”

Mahoney refused to comment on the story, gave no indication he was planning to quit the race and called for an ethics committee investigation to vindicate himself. "


Lets see if the MSM will run with this story and dig around or just ignore it.

The other side story is the Palm Beach Post. They gave a rousing endorsement to Mahoney. What did they know as the entire company is basically a propaganda group for Palm Beach Dems. Someone in that paper knew about it. You don't keep secrets in that kind of society.

Obama reveals his socialist side for the world.

Politics: What is that saying? " Remember to work hard, millions on welfare are counting on you." All this thinking does is create a large parasite segment of the population which makes them lifelong Democrats.

Plumber to Obama: “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more. Isn’t it?”

Obama: “It’s not that I want to punish your success, I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success too. I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”


Screw it then, why work hard to make myself a success with Obama in power, just leech off the productive members of society.

Chimp takes care of tiger cubs, Mouse turns on Snake.

Nature: From the adorable story of Anjana the Chimpanzee helping to raise tiger cubs in South Carolina.


When two white tiger cubs were born during a hurricane they had to be separated from their mother after their sanctuary flooded.
However they have since found an unlikely surrogate mother in chimpanzee Anjana, who has taken on the role of caring for the cubs.
These adorable images will melt even the most cynical of hearts.






To the BADASS! Mouse that refused to be snake food. Slightly disturbing pictures at the link.

Venezuela economic oil planning.. Not so good.

South America: Pretty much what would you expect from a buffon like Chavez.

To win allies and forge an anti-American front, Mr Chavez sells oil to friendly countries at low prices. Ironically, the only big customer buying Venezuelan oil at the full market price is the United States, which the president routinely denounces as the "Empire".

"As production falls, the sales to the US become more important," said Pietro Donatello, an oil analyst from Latin Petroleum in the capital, Caracas. "Only the US is paying the full amount for Venezuelan oil and in cash, the rest are in some kind of barter agreements."

The state oil company, PDVSA, produced 3.2 million barrels per day in 1998, the year before Mr Chavez won the presidency. After a decade of rising corruption and inefficiency, daily output has now fallen to 2.4 million barrels, according to OPEC figures. About half of this oil is now delivered at a discount to Mr Chavez's friends around Latin America. The 18 nations in his "Petrocaribe" club, founded in 2005, pay Venezuela only 30 per cent of the market price within 90 days, with rest in instalments spread over 25 years.

The other half - 1.2 million barrels per day - goes to America, Venezuela's only genuinely paying customer.

Meanwhile, Mr Chavez has given PDVSA countless new tasks. "The new PDVSA is central to the social battle for the advance of our country," said Rafael Ramirez, the company's president and the minister for petroleum. "We have worked to convert PDVSA into a key element for the social battle."

The company now grows food after Mr Chavez's price controls emptied supermarket shelves of products like milk and eggs. Another branch produces furniture and domestic appliances in an effort to stem the flow of imports. What PDVSA seems unable to do is produce more oil.

Time to fight "President Obama." I'm done with McCain.

*bumped*

Politics: When McCain became the GOP nominee I was wary after seeing how Obama and his crew played the race card so skillfully against the Clintons. If he could do that to them, what would happen along with his MSM groupies who would be hellbent to have Obama elected because he fits all the liberal stereotypes and makes the press swoon that he is the first electable liberal black candidate with the rock star persona?

At first, McCain campaign to the frustration of the GOP base was willing to play along as the Washington Generals to Obama's Globetrotters(RACIST!) Then came the celebrity ad which did its job of painting him as just a lightweight. I thought they may have a clue in trying to win.

1)Hit him as a celebrity.

2)The leftwing politics going back to his days in Illinois state government and Obama's judgement on the different policies and shifting positions.


3) Dubious associations with people like involved in the Chicago political machine, ACORN, Rezko, Ayers , Rev. Wright who he went to that buppie(RACIST!) church for 20+ years listening to what I suspect was just a show for people who has liberal guilt and buppies who wanted to "Keep it real."

4) Showcase conservative policies that the party in power were wrong including the Bush administration that went on a spending binge that makes liberal policies look quaint in some instances(Medicare enlargement). Use the Sarkozy strategy of blasting the party in power for failing to uphold conservative policies and you are the guy to do it.

5) Run against congress vigorously.

6) Hit back hard and fast against attacks that come from the Obama camp and his media allies who cry RACIST! at everything to show how that side works.

7) Don't be afraid to point out organizations that are associated with leftwing policies and why they are bad for America. Hit hard to the people issues like the Union-led card check scam which will hurt America business while putting people under the union's jackboot thug tactics.

These are just some of the things he should have done with a passion and he did most half-assed or not at all. All of these things should have been done together in the summer to paint a picture of Obama but McCain campaign failed to do so either because they don't have the heart for it or they screwed it up.

Given that McCain refused to allow Rev. Wright as a topic, the blame falls on him. Most people don't know about Ayers and given the late start to introduce him properly in the campaign, not enough time. Wright with the amount of video on hand makes the perfect topic to showcase Obama's lack of judgement or even worse his ambition to associate with anyone who can help him to political office.

You could add his love for amnesty for illegals or his bailout plan that got painted is even to the left of Obama. Mind you this is after Obama said said to Jesse Jackson Jr of supporting a plan to stop foreclosures which would just keep home prices inflated up but go after lenders.

The rage story at McCain rallies the press is hyped about because of a few individuals while ignoring 8 years of BUSH HITLER! GOP FASCIST! is ridiculous and McCain plays right into it while confirming to the party supporters that McCain is who we thought he was in the first place.

But the worst mistake is with the handling of Gov.Palin who gave the base and his campaign a big boost which he then proceeds to squander with over management which allowed the press to make a character out of her so out of whack with reality.

Even with Troopergate, at least plan in advance if the outcome is worse given the media plan to hype up headlines. But the response so far has been less than stellar given the results of the report.

But the final straw were the first two debates where McCain who knew he had to hit hard did nothing which allowed the style of Obama who lacked the substance to win out. This third debate is just wasting primetime hours.

McCain himself is a great guy and politician. But the GOP needs people running for office that have the ability to take the punch from the Dems and the MSM and punch back twice as hard. McCain does not have it him to do so despite some of the most egregious smear attacks in modern politics against him.

The whole bit of we suffered with Carter to get to Reagan because we can survive Obama means nothing unless there is a overall change in the GOP from the grassroots up to the national level, the candidates that are running, the acknowledgement that the media will never give you the same leeway or friendship they give fellow Democrats and there needs to be a more national infrastructure in place that rivals the Dems as this point to run a 50 state strategy.

New leaders must be put in charge of the GOP as the current ones have failed miserably in every aspect with the low point being the whining that Pelosi's speech hurt their feelings. Not one person thought before that press conference that maybe saying the bailout plan did nothing for the America people would play better than Pelosi is being mean? That was the final straw that showed the GOP needs better leaders.

In 2004, the GOP surpassed the Dems, since then the Dems have run ahead of the GOP. By 2010 mid-terms there better be a plan in place to run candidates that excite the party faithful while learning mistakes were made along the way that have been corrected. VA. Republicans may have gotten the message and its time everyone else do the same.

As for fighting "President Obama" I am tempted to do in jest the same he is not my president BS those on the other side have done along with the smear attacks until I realized that without fellow ideologues in the MSM to promote it, it would just be a waste of time.

After Bush won in 2004 despite the MSM best efforts, I thought they can go one of two ways, change their tactics to acknowledge the liberal bias or just go all in with the liberals. They went the latter and you have to acknowledge the power they still hold in shaping the agenda to their way of thinking while ignoring the fact they are going down in flames financially and journalistically.

That is why conservatives must create and promote news ways of getting the message out while cheering and helping the demise of print press which this year showed its true colors. You can't befriend or reason with a rabid dog, just help put the damn thing out of its misery.

Update# As if to say I told you so from the UK TIMES.

With his electoral prospects fading by the day, Senator John McCain has fallen out with his vice-presidential running mate about the direction of his White House campaign…

Mark Salter, McCain’s long-serving chief of staff, is understood to have told campaign insiders that he would prefer his boss, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, to suffer an “honourable defeat” rather than conduct a campaign that would be out of character – and likely to lose him the election.

Palin, 44, has led the character attacks on Obama in the belief that McCain may be throwing away the election and her chance of becoming vice-president. Her supporters think that if the Republican ticket loses on November 4, she should run for president in 2012…
A McCain official confirmed that there was dissension in the campaign. “There is always going to be a debate about the costs and benefits of any strategy,” he said.

“After November 4, the feelings of individuals will come to light. It is only natural and will be expected.”…

A spokesman for McCain denied he and Palin had fallen out over her aggressive attacks. “Vice-presidential candidates are typically the tip of the spear and further out in front than the candidate for president. This is pretty standard fare,” he said.


An "honorable defeat," thanks McCain.

Update#2 From Instapundit.

NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE? So we've had nearly 8 years of lefty assassination fantasies about George W. Bush, and Bill Ayers' bombing campaign is explained away as a consequence of him having just felt so strongly about social justice, but a few people yell things at McCain rallies and suddenly it's a sign that anger is out of control in American politics? It's nice of McCain to try to tamp that down, and James Taranto sounds a proper cautionary note -- but, please, can we also note the staggering level of hypocrisy here?

(And that's before we get to the Obama campaign's thuggish tactics aimed at silencing critics.)

The Angry Left has gotten away with all sorts of beyond-the-pale behavior throughout the Bush Administration. The double standards involved -- particularly on the part of the press -- are what are feeding this anger. (Indeed, as Ann Althouse and John Leo have noted, the reporting on this very issue is dubious). So while asking for McCain supporters to chill a bit, can we also ask the press to start doing its job rather than openly shilling for a Democratic victory? Self-control is for everybody, if it's for anybody. . . .

UPDATE: Well, here's an opportunity to see how they do.

Plus, days of rage.

posted at 09:06 PM by Glenn Reynolds


NYTIMES blamed Palin for going to the hockey game so once again we see the new standard operating procedure for defending boorish liberal behavior and Obama. Its your fault not the leftists. Get used to it for the next four years.

Black Jesus will be protected at all costs. If you thought the Clinton defense force was bad, this is the next level.

Update#2: Instapundit with an email that mirrors my feelings on this whole election campaign and the media.

This is surely small of me, but if Obama wins, I plan on giving him as much of a chance as the Democrats gave George Bush. I will gleefully forward every paranoid anti-Obama rumor that I see, along with YouTube footage of his verbal missteps. I will laugh and email heinous anti-Obama photoshop jobs, and maybe even learn photoshop myself to create some. I'll buy anti-Obama books, and maybe even a "Not My President" t-shirt. I'm sure that the mainstream bookstores won't carry them, but I'll be on the lookout for anti-Obama calendars and stuff like that. I will not wish America harm, and if the country is hurt (economically, militarily, or diplomatically) I will truly mourn. But i will also take some solace that it occurred under Obama's watch, and will find every reason to blame him personally and fan the flames.

Obama's thuggish behavior thus far in this election cycle - squashing free speech, declaring any criticism of his policies to be "racist" (a word that happily carries little weight with sensible people these days), associating with the likes of Ayers, Wright, and ACORN - suggests that I won't have to scrape for reasons to really viscerally dislike Obama and his administration. And even if he wins, his campaign's "get out the vote fraud" activities are enough to provide people like me with a large degree of "plausible deniability" as to whether he is actually legitimately the president.

I've seen a President that I am generally-inclined to like get crapped on for eight years, and I've seen McCain and Palin (honorable people both, despite policy differences I may have with them) get crapped on through this election season. If the Democrats think that a President Obama is going to get some sort of honeymoon from the folks who didn't vote for him, as a wise man once said: heh.


Instapundit doesn't care for it but understands. AP on HotAir is depressed but as the later email said the Dems introduced and set the new rules for political discourse over the last 8 years that a sympathetic media either ignored, excused or encouraged. If GOPers pulled half the stunts the left from bloggers to people in congress have done since 2000, it would be nothing but non-stop condemnation.

The breaking point should have been for everyone the fake pregnant rumors over Gov.Palin and a media willing to print any nonsense from liberal sites under the guise of "just asking."

Now the mystery is are we going to have any GOP leaders willing to play by these new rules or just get steamrolled every time? This current batch is not up to the task.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Al Qaeda defendants get laptops at Guantánamo

Terrorism: At least they haven't gotten internet access...yet.

Guantánamo guards must furnish confessed al Qaeda kingpin Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his four alleged co-conspirators with enough battery power to use their prison camp laptops 12 hours a day -- but the 9/11 accused can't surf the Internet, a military judge ruled.

Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, the judge, issued the decision a week ago. It turned up Sunday on a Defense Department website, which under the ruling the men will not be allowed to see live.

The five former CIA-held detainees are accused of the mass murder of 2,973 people on Sept. 11, 2001 in a complex conspiracy case that seeks military execution as the ultimate punishment.

They allegedly trained, financed and coordinated the 9/11 hijackers, and are in pre-trial hearings at the U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba, where three of the five are now functioning as their own attorneys.

At issue of late has been what resources they get to prepare for the case inside a secret Guantánamo prison facility, called Camp 7, which is reserved for alleged terrorists who had earlier been interrogated somewhere overseas by the CIA.

''Reasonable access does not equate to a right or an entitlement to be placed on the same footing as a technologically state of the art law office,'' Kohlmann wrote in his three-page ruling.

Rep. John Lewis takes back dumb statement.

Politics: This is the overplaying of the absolute moral card that backfired.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis said late Saturday that controversial remarks he made comparing the feeling at recent Republican rallies to those of segregationist George Wallace were misinterpreted.

The civil rights icon issued a statement Saturday evening which said a "careful review" of his remarks made earlier in the day "would reveal that I did not compare Sen. John McCain or Gov. Sarah Palin to George Wallace."

McCain said Lewis' earlier statement was "a brazen and baseless attack" and called on Sen. Barack Obama to repudiate it.

Lewis had said earlier that he was "deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign" and that the Republican running mates are "playing with fire."

"What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse," Lewis said in a statement.


Nothing today compares to that era and Lewis knew that when he said his first statement. He just never expected to be called on it.

NYTIMES pulls Palin hockey blog post.

Politics: And nicely revised it down to nothing compared to the glee shown by liberal Greg Mitchell.

I don't know why Palin was there in the first place considering it is Philly a liberal hive that has sucked that city down to a punch line.

Mass closings of newspaper companies unlikely.

Media: Damn it. Keep hope alive people.

Newspaper companies have been skipping loan payments, missing financial targets in debt agreements and accepting higher interest rates in exchange for more flexibility—and they're not even directly feeling the impact of the credit crisis yet.
But don't expect massive sales or closures of newspapers any time soon, even though at least four newspaper companies overburdened with debt have been forced to confront their lenders over the past few weeks.

With revenue at newspapers shrinking and few investors willing or able to buy them, lenders are loathe to force companies to liquidate assets that are plunging in value. They have few alternatives but to help newspapers stay on track with their payments and hang on until ad prospects improve—if they ever do.

"This is not a great time to, let's say, repossess the Minneapolis Star Tribune ... and then try to turn around and sell it," said Rick Edmonds, media business analyst with the journalism think tank Poynter Institute.

The Star Tribune said Sept. 30 it skipped a $9 million quarterly debt payment to conserve cash. The next day, the investor group that owns The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News skipped an unspecified interest payment in an apparent bid to force lenders to renegotiate.

The McClatchy Co., one of the largest U.S. newspaper chains and owner of The Sacramento Bee and The Miami Herald among other prominent papers, agreed last month to pay higher interest rates and put up more collateral.

Analysts believe McClatchy came close to a technical default under its old loan terms, which required maintaining certain a cash flow as a percentage of its debt level. The new agreement with lenders changes the formula to account for sustained reductions in revenue.

Taliban tactics change to doing 'Tet-style' attack

Afghanistan: I figure they know how the media works in the west and even if they fail to take over massive NATO kills and injuries would be blasted all over the media.

British and Afghan forces repulsed an attempt by hundreds of Taleban fighters to attack the provincial capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah, on Saturday night in the most audacious Taliban attack in the province since 2006.

Up to 100 Taleban fighters were killed in a series of airstrikes and firefights around the city outskirts in fighting that began in the early evening as Taleban fighters were concentrating to attack the city of three sides and continued into the early hours of Sunday morning.

It was the first time that the Helmand capital has been attacked.

The Taleban plan appeared to be for a “Tet Offensive” style infiltration of the city, the seat of the Afghan provincial government and home to the headquarters of the British commander in Helmand and the civilian reconstruction component of the British mission in Helmand.

Had the infiltration succeeded then British and Afghan forces would have faced confused street fighting in which Western airstrikes would have been impossible without the risk of causing mass civilian deaths in the city.

A British army spokesman said that the Taleban operation displayed "a level of co-ordination that wasn't expected." He estimated the Taleban forces at around 170, though some Afghan estimates were much higher.

However, British officials insisted that there was absolutely no threat of the British base falling. "Whatever their military objectives were, we didn't get to find them out, because they were defeated on the edge of the city" said the Helmand Task Force spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Woody Page.

Pakistani tribesmen rise up against militants

Terrorism: Another awakening in the making?

Pakistani tribesmen are raising armies to battle al-Qaida and Taliban militants close to the Afghan border—a movement encouraged by the military and hailed as a sign its offensive there is succeeding.
The often ramshackle forces lend force to the campaign in the lawless and mountainous region, but analysts question their effectiveness against a well-armed, well-trained and increasingly brutal insurgency.

The extremists are increasingly targeting the militias, an indication they believe them to be a threat.

On Sunday, two tribesman were killed during an army-backed offensive against insurgents in the Bajur tribal region. Government official Jamil Khan said helicopter gunships shelled militants' bunkers, killing at least 10 people. Fifteen more suspected militants were killed in separate clashes, he said.

On Friday, a suicide bomber killed more than 50 tribesman gathering to form an army. Eight pro-government tribesmen have been beheaded in recent days.

By encouraging the private armies, or "lashkars," the government is exploiting local resentment against foreign and Pakistani extremists in the area, considered a likely hiding place for Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders.

"These Taliban call themselves Muslims, but they have been involved in all kinds of crimes," said Malik Mohmmand Habib, a leader of the Salarzai tribe, one of the largest of at least five tribes who have formed lashkars in recent weeks. "We want them out of our area."

Habib claims up to 15,000 men in his lashkar. Similar figures have been given by other leaders of private armies but those claims could not be independently verified. Analysts caution tribesman are likely exaggerating, perhaps by as much as 50 percent.

The lashkars have drawn comparisons with government-backed militia in Iraq—the so-called awakening councils—that have been credited with beating back the insurgency there.

But the lashkars are less organized and the tribesman use their own, often aging, weapons. The government does not admit to funding the armies, but analysts suspect the leaders at least receive money.

Meantime Pakistani Army is getting better at killing off Islamic militants.

Pakistani helicopter gunships on Sunday bombed a meeting of Islamic militants linked to Al-Qaeda near the border with Afghanistan, leaving 35 fighters dead, security officials said.
The attack in the northwestern district of Orakzai came two days after a suicide bomber killed at least 40 anti-Taliban tribesmen at a tribal gathering in the same district.

Among the dead in Sunday's attack were two Taliban commanders and about 12 potential suicide bombers, officials said.

"Helicopter gunships carried out a successful raid at a militant hide-out in Orakzai district killing 35," a senior security official told AFP.

Separately, a paramilitary official confirmed around a dozen potential suicide bombers were among those killed.

"The raid was carried out after ground intelligence that the Taliban were meeting and their commanders and potential suicide bombers would be there," he said.

It was not possible to get independent confirmation of the incident.

Orakzai, a mountainous area which is the only one of the lawless tribal regions that does not share a border with Afghanistan, has previously been relatively unaffected by Pakistan's battle with Islamic militants.

Across the tribal belt, the government has tried to enlist the fiercely independent ethnic Pashtun tribesmen to back its military operations against Al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists based near the Afghan frontier.

Taliban rebels have killed dozens of tribal elders they accuse of backing the government using roadside bombs, executions and, less frequently, suicide bombings.

More elitist eco hypocrisy via World Wildlife Fund

Enviro: Via Small Dead Animals. Carbon Credits are nothing more than modern day indulgences.

Fannie, Freddie to buy a lot more mortgages

Nation: Talked about earlier but more details coming out. At 40 billion a month what the hell can go wrong now?

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Federal regulators have ordered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to start buying $40 billion of troubled mortgage bonds each month as the U.S. government tries to revive the economy, according to a published report.

A story from Bloomberg News on Saturday reported Fannie
began telling bond traders last week that each company needs to buy $20 billion a month in mostly subprime, Alt-A and non-performing prime mortgage securities, Bloomberg said, citing three unidentified people familiar with the situation.

The purchases would be separate from the U.S. Treasury's $700 billion bailout plan, which was signed into law earlier this month, Bloomberg noted.

Fannie and Freddie were taken over by the U.S. government in early September, in the first of several bailouts the government has launched recently to try to halt the spread of the mortgage-fueled credit crisis.

Regulators initially restricted Fannie and Freddie's growth when they seized control. To "promote stability" and lower mortgage costs to borrowers, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the two companies would be allowed to "modestly increase'' their mortgage portfolios to as much as $1.7 trillion through the end of next year and said they would no longer be run "to maximize shareholder returns."

Less than two weeks later, Fannie and Freddie were told to ramp up their mortgage bond purchases as the financial crisis deepened and credit activity came to near standstill, Bloomberg said.

Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee almost half of all home loans in the U.S., so they're vital to the health of the residential real estate market.

Andrew Cuomo hails affirmative action loan settlement.

Nation: Andrew Cuomo who is now suing for affirmative action radio ratings back in 1998 was pleased with a settlement he admitted gave loans to people who under standard rules would have and should not have gotten them in the first place.


In recent weeks media has been defending fannie mae/freddie mac and the charge that minority lending wasn't the cause and its racism. That is a garbage defense. The entire mess comes from loans given out because of pressure by congress critters and "community organizers" like ACORN to people who don't deserve it and loans given out to people who looked at their house as ATMs. If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac weren't there as a way for banks and private companies to sell them loans as securities so they can make more capital to make more bad loans, we wouldn't be in such a mess.