| Even in this short-form version there are hints and reminders of what makes “24” simultaneously exhilarating and irritating: exquisitely choreographed violence and suspense come alongside clunky if gratifying caricatures. The United Nations peacekeeper with a foreign accent is an appeaser and a coward; a State Department envoy is officious and sadistic. |
Joel Surnow, one of the creators of “24,” has left the series, but its jingoistic political slant has not been lifted. This is the world according to a Chuck Norris movie. Heroes like Jack Bauer can save the nation from near extinction over and over, but they will still be persecuted for niggling human rights violations by pantywaist bureaucrats.
“Redemption” is at its best when it focuses on action, not the after-action reports, and its best is awfully good. If nothing else, this two-hour version of “24” proves that downsizing is not necessarily a bad thing.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
But now you insulted Black Jesus, you better be ready to throw down!
|Spiritual leaders of New York's African-American Muslim communities lashed out Friday at a purported al Qaeda message attacking President-elect Barack Obama and, using racist language, comparing him unfavorably to the late Malcolm X.|
The imams called the recorded comments from al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri "an insult" from people who have "historically been disconnected from the African-American community generally and Muslim African-Americans in particular."
"We find it insulting when anyone speaks for our community instead of giving us the dignity and the honor of speaking for ourselves," they said in a statement read during a news conference at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial, Educational and Cultural Center.
The al Qaeda statement, an 11-minute, 23-second audio message in Arabic with subtitles in English, appeared on the Internet on Wednesday. Its authenticity has not been confirmed.
The message said Obama represents the "direct opposite of honorable black Americans" like Malcolm X.
The speaker also said Obama, former and current Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice and "your likes" fit Malcolm X's description of "house slaves."
An English translation of the message used the term "house Negroes," Malcolm X's term for blacks who were subservient to whites. The term refers to slaves who worked in white masters' houses. Malcolm X said those slaves were docile compared with those who labored in the fields.
Remember when I asked when Powell endorsed Obama if people like Al Sharpton and others who called/implied he and Condi were house negroes would say sorry? Not really but calling Black Jesus one? Rev. Al is now upset.
| The fighters from the Shabaab militia, a fundamentalist movement likened to an African Taliban, were reported to have turned up in the port of Haradheere in southern Somalia, close to where the tanker is currently anchored. |
Some reports said the Islamists, who have tried to impose brutal law and order on Somalia's warring clans, had the pirates themselves in their sights.
Others in Haradheere, however, said it was thought that they had arrived in the hope of collecting a share of any ransom money.
The pirate group that hijacked the tanker, which is carrying $100 million worth of oil, have demanded a $25 million ransom for return of the vessel and its 25-strong crew, which includes two Britons.
"The Islamists arrived searching for the pirates and the whereabouts of the Saudi ship," said a clan elder in Haradheere.
"I saw four cars full of Islamists driving in the town from corner to corner. The Islamists say they will attack the pirates for hijacking a Muslim ship."
But other residents believed the Shabaab's motives were not altruistic. "There are many militiamen who have arrived in the town and they want to get a share from the pirates if the ransom is paid," claimed Ahmed Abdullahi, another clan elder.
| United States forces are believed to have carried out about 20 missile attacks since August in north-west Pakistan, a sharp rise that reflects Washington's frustration at Islamabad's efforts to tackle militants on its own soil.|
Though the attacks have killed a number of high-profile militant leaders, civilian casualties and wounded national pride has led to outrage in Pakistan. The Pakistani government has been forced to repeatedly deny reports that a secret pact has been agreed with the US to allow the missile attacks from Afghanistan territory to go ahead.
Pakistani government officials and military officers last week denied the existence of a "secret list" of 20 individuals against whom missile strikes had been sanctioned by Islamabad without prior consultation. They repeatedly told the Observer that the strikes were causing problems by angering local people. "One strike and you have a whole village radicalised," said Shafir Ullah Nasir, the political agent in the Bajaur tribal agency where fighting has raged for months.
Pakistan's new civilian president, Asif Ali Zardari, has urged Washington to share intelligence and equip Pakistani forces so they can pursue militants on their own side of the border.
Intelligence officials in Islamabad have told the Observer that the strikes have demoralised militants, forcing many to sleep in different locations every night or even sleep under trees for cover rather than risk staying in a house. The heightened rate of attrition among the militants has sparked a hunt for a suspected spy within their ranks, diverting attention and resources from offensive actions, the officials said.
| The St. Petersburg Times newsroom was in controlled pandemonium. I don’t recall whether I handled any assassination copy that day; more likely, I was editing state and local news. |
But I was standing at the teletype when the first flash came in that a suspected Marxist, Lee Harvey Oswald, was being held in connection with the shooting. Times Publisher Nelson Poynter was standing nearby when I announced that.
His face fell.
"Oh, no," he said. "I was hoping it would be a right-winger."
Liberals always thinking of image before anything else.
|CNN's Christiane Amanpour, who emceed, showed her political stripes when she told the crowd that in the last few months, she'd felt like she was covering "a foreign country having its first-ever democratic election. ... When was the last time we saw the whole world come into the streets dancing in celebration of America instead of demonstrating and burning the flag?"|
|In April 1999, the Columbine High School massacre happened. The shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, reportedly learned how to construct sophisticated bombs through their internet activity. This discovery caused then Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder to say the following(audio uploaded at Eyeblast.tv:)|
The court has really struck down every government effort to try to regulate it. We tried with regard to pornography. It is gonna be a difficult thing, but it seems to me that if we can come up with reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations in how people interact on the Internet, that is something that the Supreme Court and the courts ought to favorably look at. - May 28, 1999 NPR Morning Edition
Nice to see we may be going the way of China and Chairman Rudd's moves in Australia to censor the internet.
ERIC HOLDER ON GUN CONTROL:
Then you wonder why gun sales are skyrocketing since Obama won?
| A UAW ally, Rep. Tim Ryan, D- Ohio, said enactment of the Employee Free Choice Act “would level the playing field. Each facility would be competing on the same playing field.” |
He noted, “We have a (GM) facility in Lordstown, Ohio, where I’m from. GM just moved a lot of their production to build the new ‘Cruze’ in that facility and added a thousand jobs three or four months ago, and they just took them away” due to the economic distress.
“It’s a union plant; the union worked with GM; they took some concessions, they made the deal work, and GM invested in the plant,” Ryan said.
Given the UAW members’ willingness to cooperate at Lordstown, Ryan said, “It’s hard to say that somehow the South has an advantage.”
If the “card check” bill became law, then “I suppose they could share the misery and everybody could be stuck with $70 an hour labor costs,” said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., sardonically.
Friday, November 21, 2008
| “Costco in general has a reputation of being a socially conscious company,” said Eric N. Gioia, a city councilman from Queens who last year began a campaign asking Costco to accept food stamps after discovering it did not during the “live on food stamps for a week” stunt. “There is no logical reason for someone not to accept food stamps. It is not only compassionate, but it’s good for their bottom line.” |
Specifically, Mr. Gioia points to the Costco on Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City, Queens, in his district. First opened in 1996, the store is within walking distance for nearly 30,000 residents of three public housing projects: the Queensbridge, Ravenswood and Astoria Homes. “This is their best chance of eating healthy wholesome food at deep discounts,” Mr. Goia said. “And so in this particular case, it’s an especially glaring omission not to accept food stamps.”
....And at a time when many New Yorkers are finding it more difficult to find fresh food within walking distance because of the decline of the neighborhood supermarkets (in part because of competition from the big-box retailers that can offer lower prices), the idea of a Costco within walking distance is appealing.
“It is inexplicable why Costco clings to a policy that is against both their public interest and the company’s own self-interest,” Mr. Berg said. “More than one million New Yorkers a year use more than one billion dollars worth of food stamps benefits. I can’t understand why Costco is essentially placing a sign in their window that says ‘Your Business Not Wanted.’ ”
The government pays dollar-for-dollar for the food stamp use, so it is not as though Costco has to discount their margins. Costco, which has created an image that has both upscale and downscale appeal, has been known for attracting the elite (at least in Washington). But perhaps Costco is more wary of the other end of the spectrum, finding western Queens appealing for its real estate, but not for its customer base.
How about Costco just making a smart business decision to not take food stamps? They are there to make money, if they refuse to take welfare stamps why try to pressure them into altering their successful business practices?
As for Gioia he is just some local politician looking to get his 15 minutes. WHat is more disgusting is that over one million people in New York are on welfare stamps at a cost of a billion dollars and now sees a problem with it.
In case he has forgotten, what he is saying is taxpayer money should be used to force a private company to do something it does not want to for business reasons.
Plus lets face the social aspect of the situation, they possible would not want a bunch of poor people in their stores creating a scenario where their better off clients would not look kindly on this new group of members.
But this looks like a push by the Times and this politician to force Costco to take food stamps.
|NYT cuts dividend from 23 cents to 6 cents per share|
New York Observer"This was a difficult but necessary decision that will provide us with greater financial flexibility in these uncertain economic times," says Times Co. chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. Read the Times' story on the dividend cut.
|AP could lose 10% of staff through attrition in 2009|
The E&P PubThat's what Associated Press CEO Tom Curley told his employees at a town hall meeting on Thursday. (First reported by Gawker.)
| The Education Department announced Thursday that it would buy up to $6.5 billion of federally guaranteed student loans made in the 2007-8 academic year as part of its effort to make sure loans are available. |
Congress has allowed the department to buy federal loans made from 2003 to 2009, but the department has not yet used the full range of its authority. The program announced Thursday will run from December to late February.
“We have full confidence that the programs we’ve announced will work in bringing liquidity to the marketplace,” Sara Martinez Tucker, under secretary of education, said on a conference call. Eligible loans are federal Stafford loans and parent PLUS loans, she said, but not consolidation loans, which students use to combine multiple loans and make a single monthly payment. The department
| Democratic Congressional leaders on Thursday said that the executives of America’s foundering automakers had failed miserably in persuading Congress or the public that $25 billion in aid from the government would be well spent and they gave industry leaders 12 days to come back with plans showing otherwise. |
The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said at a joint news conference that any legislative proposal put to a vote this week would have failed, and they leveled scathing criticism at the executives that included pointed barbs for flying to Washington this week on private jets.
The comments indicated that after two days of hearings, the auto executives had hurt rather than helped their cause. Lawmakers who just days ago were calling loudly for $25 billion in aid from the Treasury’s $700 billion bailout instead said that they were now unconvinced that taxpayer money could save the industry from disaster.
“It’s all about accountability and viability,” Ms. Pelosi said. “Until we can see a plan where the auto industry is held accountable and a plan for viability on how they go into the future — until we see the plan, until they show us the plan, we cannot show them the money.”
Forget about the private jets argument, that is a useless sideshow. What should prove that the automakers need to go into bankruptcy is the arrogance to come to the hill without even making a show of what they are going to do with the money. Nothing detailed, no business plan or anything showing they are serious about a turnaround. A small businessman try to pull the same sort of behavior he would be laughed out of a bank.
This attitude is what got them into this mess in the first place and to hell with bailing them out.
| Pennsylvania is offering $35 million in state-guaranteed federal loans to help regional department store chain Boscov's exit bankruptcy, Gov. Ed Rendell said Thursday.|
The loans would be financed through a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program, although Boscov's still needs to secure some private loans before it can get the money.
Reading-based Boscov's filed for Chapter 11 protection in August and announced that it would close 10 of its 49 stores. In Pennsylvania, it operates 24 stores and employs more than 5,000 people.
"We took this step because of the extraordinary reach that Boscov's has in Pennsylvania," Rendell said during a news conference.
Company officials did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Thursday.
Under the federal loan program, local governments can guarantee loans for economic development projects with federal community development block grants.
Boscov is also a prominent political donor, contributing more than $130,000 to Rendell alone since 2001, according to state campaign finance records.
But Rendell said the state's pledge of financial help was "in no way, shape or form a political payback." He noted that he would not have made that pledge without recommendations from top advisers.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Lets hear it for the mental midgets who run that godforsaken blight of South Florida.
|Westen (played by Jeffrey Donovan) stars in Burn Notice, the hit cable series that Fox Television Studios films in the city-owned Coconut Grove Convention Center. Though Miami plans to demolish the expo for a waterfront park, city commissioners agreed to let Burn Notice film a third season there in 2009.|
The dramatic tension comes in the details: City Manager Peter Hernandez's staff proposed Burn Notice vacate the facility by July 1. Fox says it needs the facility through September in order to shoot all 16 episodes of Westen's escapades as an ex-spy marooned in Miami.
''We have explored all options to accelerate the schedule, but this is the only option that will work for us,'' Fox vice president Kevin Hamburger wrote Hernandez in an undated letter. Hamburger said its writers won't be ready to start production until March, after wrapping production on season two last month.
Miami Today first reported the expo dispute Wednesday. The stand-off threatens to rob Miami of the first scripted series to return to South Florida since Miami Vice's five-year run from 1984 to 1989.
Graham Winick, a top advocate for Florida's film industry, said in a private e-mail that he ultimately expects Miami will accommodate the show, which regularly finished in cable's top 10 this summer.
''[W]e are not looking to go to the mattresses yet as we believe this will be resolved for season 3 shortly to everyone's benefit,'' Winick, head of Miami Beach's film office and president of the Film Florida trade group, wrote Thursday to an official with the local Screen Actors Guild.
The Miami Herald obtained the e-mail through a public records request to the city of Miami. Robert Parente, head of the city's production office and the top negotiator with Fox, declined to comment. Hernandez and Fox executives also were not available for interviews Thursday.
Marc Sarnoff, the city commissioner representing Coconut Grove, argues against letting Burn Notice disrupt a timetable that calls for the expo to become a lush park for taxpayers to enjoy. ''There's supposed to be green space there,'' he said.
|Your friend's new fuchsia fedora might be hideous. But don't call it gay, or you might get a language lesson from the conversation cops.|
Students at Queen's University who sprinkle their dialogue with an assortment of "homo" or "retarded" could find out the hard way that not everyone finds their remarks acceptable.
The Kingston university has hired student facilitators to step in when they overhear homophobic slurs, remarks bashing women or racially tinged insults, along with an array of other language that could be deemed offensive.
That means tête-à-têtes in the residence hallways may no longer be just between friends.
The initiative, believed to be the first of its kind in Canada, is part of a broader program begun at the school this fall to foster diversity and encourage students to think about their beliefs.
But the move is sparking fresh debate over the line between politically correct behaviour and freedom of expression. Some students fear the university's program borders on oppressive.
"Having a program like this in place could stifle public discussion if people are worried their private conversations are being monitored," said Angela Hickman, managing editor of the Queen's Journal, a campus newspaper. "For a lot of people, their opinions get formed in conversations and so stifling that is dangerous."
The newspaper published an editorial last week criticizing the program as a "lacklustre" attempt to deal with social issues that could actually create hostility among students.
But Mr. Laker said the new "intergroup dialogue program" focuses on respectful, non-confrontational discussions that don't impede freedoms.
"This is difficult work. It needs to be done very respectfully," Mr. Laker said. "There's really no interference."
Under the new program, six student facilitators live and work within campus residences. Their mission is threefold: to engage students "spontaneously" by talking to them about an issue that has arisen, for instance, on campus or in the media; to hold movie nights, book readings or discussions on a range of social issues; and to step in when conflicts arise.
And if students become uncomfortable when a facilitator calls out someone on an offensive slur, it shouldn't be seen as a bad thing, Mr. Laker said. It means they're forced to think about their choices.
"That is an acceptable tension to have," he said. "I would go further. I would say it's a beneficial tension."
Mr. Laker will make a fine addition to a future human rights kangaroo court as he has the multicult thinking down pat. Lets face it, offensive speech to people like Mr. Laker goes well beyond "That's gay." It will include discussions on topics that make and those like him uncomfortable which means it will be offensive.
|A settlement Wednesday between eHarmony Inc. and the New Jersey attorney general requires the online heterosexual dating service to also cater to homosexuals, raising questions about whether other services that target a niche clientele could be forced to expand their business models.|
The settlement stemmed from a complaint, filed with the New Jersey attorney general's office by a gay match seeker in 2005, that eHarmony had violated his rights under the state's discrimination law by not offering a same-sex dating service. In 2007, the attorney general found probable cause that eHarmony had violated the state's Law Against Discrimination.
As part of the agreement, the Pasadena, Calif.-based company will develop and market Compatible Partners, a Web dating service for same-sex couples, and will allow the site's first 10,000 users to register free. EHarmony will also pay $50,000 to the attorney general's office and $5,000 to the man who first brought the case.
In a statement Wednesday, eHarmony denied violating discrimination law and said its business had been based on years of researching opposite-sex marriages to understand what makes such couples compatible.
EHarmony was launched in 2000 by Neil Clark Warren, an evangelical Christian who practiced for years as a clinical psychologist. Dr. Warren is no longer involved in day-to-day management but is the company's chairman. A spokesman said Dr. Warren had no comment on the settlement beyond the company's statement.
David Bernstein, who teaches constitutional law at George Mason University School of Law, said the discrimination claim "seems like quite a stretch," but he worried it could encourage similar claims. "If you start a dating service for African Americans, do you need one for whites and Latinos? If you have one for Jews, do you need one for Christians and Muslims?"
EHarmony faces a similar discrimination claim in a California court. It's unclear if this settlement will affect that case.
Outrageous and pathetic that you have any law enforcement official willing to take up a case like this in the first place.
|Ms Napolitano, 50, was elected governor of the conservative southwestern US state in 2002, and easily re-elected in 2006. |
An attorney by training, Napolitano would accept the job if she passes the strict vetting process, CNN reported, citing sources close to the governor.
Arizona's senior senator is former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, whom Obama defeated on November 4.
The Homeland Security department was created following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States, and is the third largest government department after Defense and Veteran's Affairs.
The department, tasked with protecting US territory from terrorist attacks, securing US borders, and helping respond to natural disasters, is currently headed by Michael Chertoff.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
This incident involving N.C. State students seems more of the NAACP to bully its way in and give out the dreaded "diversity training." on their terms. This is even after the local officials and secret service deemed the incident not a threat.
Speaking of racial incidents involving Obama, where is the reverse with students or others who do not support Obama getting harrassed? Just asking
They are just turning out the next generation of big government socialists.
|WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Last week, Ramona E. Romero, the HNBA National President, formally congratulated President-Elect Barack Obama and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden for their victory in the 2008 presidential election.|
In her letter, Ms. Romero noted that two-thirds of the Latino electorate joined President-Elect Obama’s diverse base of supporters to contribute to his win on November 4th. The Latino vote was key in battleground states such as Florida, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada. In fact, at least 10 million Latino voters cast ballots, an increase in participation of 32% from the 2004 Presidential Election.
“The power of the Latino vote was evident during this election,” said Ms. Romero. She added that “we are both hopeful and confident that President-Elect Obama will select cabinet members and other advisors whose backgrounds reflect the rich diversity of our Country and of the voters who supported his candidacy.”
She concluded by stating that “the HNBA has called on the President-Elect to appoint more Hispanics to the federal bench, and urged him to make history yet again by nominating a Hispanic to fill the first U.S. Supreme Court vacancy that occurs during his term.” No person of Latino origin has ever served on the U.S. Supreme Court.
A copy of the letter to President-Elect Obama is available at the HNBA website, www.hnba.com.
|Today's teenagers and young adults are far more likely than their parents to believe they're great people, destined for maximum success as workers, spouses and parents, suggests a report comparing three decades of national surveys.|
And these so-called Millennials or Gen Y young people may be heading for a fall when their self-esteem is punctured by reality, says psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. She examined changes from 1975 to 2006 in yearly surveys, given to thousands of high school seniors by University of Michigan researchers.
Boomer parents "are more likely than their parents were to praise children — and maybe overpraise them," Twenge says. This can foster great expectations or perhaps even smugness about one's chances of reaching "the stars" at work and in family life, she adds. "Their narcissism could be a recipe for depression later when things don't work out as well as they expected."
...Still, kids and young adults with big egos could create problems for others, says Roy Baumeister, a psychologist at Florida State University who has studied self-esteem. "Many people who grew up in the '50s say, 'Nothing I did was ever good enough for my parents.' Now we're seeing the pendulum swing, and you hear from coaches and teachers who have been at it a while that kids have become more fragile. They don't take criticism well," he says.
"Thinking you're God's gift to the world is nice for you. It's a little harder for everyone else around you."
|Josh Schwartz, creator of "Gossip Girl" and "The O.C.," is in negotiations to write "X-Men: First Class," a project that continues the "X-Men" franchise for Fox.|
"First Class" will focus on a younger set of super-powered mutants than the first trilogy or next summer's Hugh Jackman-starring prequel, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."
"First Class" could serve as a prequel and focus on certain X-Men characters like Cyclops but as teens, or it could focus on some of the students attending the mutant school introduced in the "X-Men" movies. Marvel Comics ran a short-lived comics series with the same name several years ago.
Given the teen-centric approach to the project, Schwartz seems a perfect fit, as the Endeavor and Fuse Entertainment-repped showrunner has emerged as a figure with his finger on the pulse of the younger generation and the fluid nature of pop culture.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Well now Walmart is soaring and all those trendy people who pronounced Target as "Tar-Jay" because they really wanted to think they were shopping at higher level though they couldn't afford a Neiman-Marcus. To those people I say suck it down losers.
|Alfred Gough and Miles Millar have been drafted to pen "Robotech," Warner Bros.' adaptation of the anime classic.|
Akiva Goldsman and Chuck Roven are producing with Tobey Maguire and Drew Crevello.
"Robotech" was a 1980s cartoon series from Harmony Gold USA and Tatsunoko Prods. It was re-edited and re-dialogued to combine three Japanese anime series to give the producers enough episodes to air as a daily syndicated series.
A sprawling sci-fi epic, "Robotech" takes place at a time when Earth has developed giant robots from the technology on an alien spacecraft that crashed on a South Pacific isle. Mankind is forced to use the technology to fend off an alien invasion, with the fate of the human race ending up in the hands of two young pilots.
Lawrence Kasdan wrote a previous draft. Warners is intent on keeping the project moving forward, and Gough and Millar bring action and geek cred to the table. The WMA-repped duo worked on "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" and "Spider-Man 2," among other films, and were showrunners on TV's "Smallville" for many years.
|While no one was looking, a six-year-old television series that lands on few magazine covers, enjoys almost no love from critics and never gets a sniff of a nomination for prestigious awards is suddenly the hottest show on the air.|
Yes, that title really does belong to the CBS drama “NCIS”: the numbers are undeniable. On Tuesday that crime show about the Naval Criminal Investigative Service reached 18.8 million viewers, more than it ever had before and more than any other show on television for the week.
But that statistic told only part of the “NCIS” success story. Two weeks ago CBS decided to fill a weak hour, Friday at 9 p.m., with repeats of “NCIS.” In both weeks since the repeat has been the most-watched show on Friday, with more than 11 million viewers each time.
And the cable network USA, which added “NCIS” repeats to its schedule in September, has seen its ratings soar anywhere it places “NCIS.” The show has dominated in its regular spot at 7 p.m., and on most nights it is the No. 1 or 2 entertainment show on cable, drawing audiences of more than four million.
|Senate Democrats yesterday unveiled a plan to speed $25 billion in emergency loans to the imperiled automobile industry, but they acknowledged that its chances of passage are slim without a breakthrough in talks with the Bush administration.|
The apparent impasse leaves automakers facing the grim possibility that a government lifeline may not appear until late January, when President-elect Barack Obama takes office. With buyers staying away from auto showrooms, Detroit's Big Three are hemorrhaging cash, and analysts fear General Motors, the weakest of the group, could run out of money by Christmas.
BTW, anyone who thinks this isn't a money grab for the Dems to save their union buddies.
|Under a measure introduced yesterday by Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), the car companies and their suppliers would be able to apply for 10-year loans within days of the bill's passage, paying an interest rate of 5 percent for the first five years and 9 percent for the remaining term of the loan.|
Although critics have called for top auto executives to step down in exchange for the funds, the measure would not require them to do so, nor would it create a separate entity to monitor use of the money. It would, however, prohibit bonuses for employees who earn more than $250,000 a year while the loans were outstanding and require firms to submit "detailed" plans showing how the money would "ensure the long-term financial posture of the company."
|Pelosi said the plan would call for "immediate, targeted assistance" and must include several principles, including the restructuring of the companies "to ensure their long-term economic viability," new fuel-efficiency standards, and the development of advanced vehicles.|
She said it would include "even stronger limits on executive compensation and assurances to protect the taxpayer." House aides said the legislation was still being developed and a specific funding level had not yet been reached.
Pelosi did not mention any plans for the UAW to make any concessions as part of the legislation. UAW president Ron Gettelfinger told reporters earlier Saturday the problem is not the union's contract with the auto companies.
"The focus has to be on the economy as a whole as opposed to a UAW contract," Gettelfinger said. The union has said it made several concessions in its 2007 labor agreement, setting lower pay for new hires and placing retiree health care liability into a trust run by the UAW.
Just to be clear, unions are saying F you to any cutbacks on their end.
| Even as Detroit's Big Three teeter on collapse, United Auto Workers president Ron Gettelfinger said yesterday that workers will not make any more concessions and that getting the automakers back on their feet means figuring out a way to turn around the slumping economy.|
"The focus has to be on the economy as a whole as opposed to a UAW contract," Gettelfinger told reporters on a conference call, noting the labor costs now make up 8 percent to 10 percent of the cost of a vehicle.
"We have made dramatic, dramatic changes and the UAW was applauded for that," he said.
As the NYTIMES points out. "Clout Has Plunged for Automakers and Union, Too "
|While many Americans might know Rick Wagoner’s name, “they couldn’t tell you anything about him, except that he’s been there a while and his company has gone from bad to worse,” Professor Useem said of the General Motors chief executive. And one of the U.A.W.’s most prized accomplishments — winning income security for its laid-off members — is not helping the union as it argues for money to help protect its workers at a time when employees across other industries are facing layoffs.|
The U.A.W. program, called the Jobs Bank at G.M., provided nearly full pay for laid off workers while they waited for new jobs. A new version of it is less generous, but has left an impression in the public imagination of a place where workers sit around getting paid for doing nothing.
“In good times, the public can tolerate the Jobs Bank,” said Gary N. Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. “But in bad times, the public has very little patience for that.”
Today and the rest of the week, it is going to be a fight by the Dems to give their boys at the unions a bailout and the rest of us to say Drop Dead Detroit.
Monday, November 17, 2008
|Richard J. Peltz, who teaches law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, tried. The idea of suing students intrigued and worried many observers of the professoriate, and Peltz’s case prompted much discussion about free speech and the respect that should be accorded both professors and students. Peltz has now dropped his suit — but he did so only after the law school agreed to fully investigate the charges against him and after he received a letter affirming that, based on that investigation, he had done nothing racist or inappropriate.|
The university has also agreed to discuss allowing Peltz to again teach required courses, which he was barred from offering once the complaints against him were filed.
Amid the demands of some black students that he be punished, and his lawsuit against them, Peltz revealed few details about the incidents that led to the controversy. But with the suit dropped and with a university investigation backing him, Peltz shared various documents about the case, and agreed to talk about it.
What were the complaints?
|One of the examples of his alleged racial insensitivity was that he used an article on the death of Rosa Parks from The Onion to prompt class discussion. The black students’ memo called The Onion “a conservative based medium that uses satire” and said that the article “poked fun at the contribution Rosa Parks made” to the civil rights movement.|
As Peltz has noted, The Onion is not seen by most people as conservative and in fact regularly makes fun of conservatives (as well as liberals), and the article in question appears to mock, not Parks, but Republicans who think that racial discrimination is all in the past.
Any student who agreed with this notion about the Onion should be thrown out of law school and barred from ever practicing. This would be proving you have little common sense and a normal logical thought process. Matter of fact avoid any black law grad from this class at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock if this is the level of thinking they are displaying.
|Another accusation against him was that — in the same time frame when he had criticized affirmative action — he was insensitive in passing out “a basic grammar worksheet” to the class and telling students to focus more on their writing. There was no accusation that he focused on the black students, only that he raised this issue shortly after he has been critical of affirmative action.|
On this charge, Peltz noted that faculty members had been urged by the state Bar to focus more on writing issues because some law students were in danger of failing the Bar exam due to poor writing skills. While defending his intent, Peltz pledged in his new memo to never again offer the writing tips “lest I again be maligned for trying to improve student writing.”
This could be the I am special behavior that many young people have about themselves and feel insulted they would need improvement. Other hand it could be idiots who have thin skin and too stupid to separate a discussion of AA which they hated because a teacher refused to side with their worldview and the fact that the overall writing skills of the class needed improvement.
|As various accusations circulated about Peltz, the law school didn’t say that hs was in the wrong, but it didn’t say he was being unfairly accused, either — and it prevented him from teaching constitutional law or other required courses, relegating him to electives.|
The statement from the university that Peltz said made him comfortable dropping the suit reviewed the various charges and said that there was no basis for calling Peltz racist. “With reference to any charge of racism levied against you, there is no evidence that you are or have been a racist or acted in a racist fashion during your employment at the law school,” said the statement, signed by John DiPippa, interim dean of the law school, and Joel E. Anderson, chancellor of the university.
In addition to reviewing the charges brought by students, the university’s letter also cleared Peltz of a charge brought by a faculty member.
At a 2005 faculty meeting, Peltz argued for hiring as faculty members only candidates who already have published scholarship. One of his colleagues accused him of racism because one of the job applicants for a position at the time was an African American with no published scholarship. Peltz said his comment was “global” and not in relation to any one candidate, and the university letter backs him, saying that “nothing you did or said, particularly including the criteria you suggested for consideration of hiring applicants, was inappropriate or was motivated by race.”
Your typical modern college faculty with members looking for an excuse to cry racism.
|Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said the Peltz case was typical of many that come to FIRE in that they involve professors accused of racism or sexism based on statements or views that some students find objectionable. He said that college leaders are responsible for situations like the one faced by Peltz by not defending professors whose views are unpopular.|
While racial and sexual harassment are real, Lukianoff said, universities have “created and encouraged ambiguity” by letting students believe that anything involving race or gender that they disagree with is somehow inappropriate harassment. “These absurdly overly broad and constitutionally wrong definitions,” Lukianoff said, have led to “a belief among students that they have a right to punish professors they deem to have said the wrong thing.”
Bingo. This is really a sad indictment of the modern educational system. We have a generation in college that grew up fully in the I am special era and now bringing their nonsense to college with encouragement from liberal professors. The fact this happened with law students is depressing and then add its a black law group with black leaders who should know better but play the race card in such a ridiculous manner is more depressing.
|Should you keep paying your mortgage?|
If you have significant equity in your home, absolutely.
If you don't, it's getting harder to answer that question, especially when our government keeps giving people who owe more than their homes are worth so many reasons not to pay.
Last week, the government announced a program that will substantially lower payments for many homeowners who have little or no equity, but only if they are at least 90 days delinquent.
Critics say the plan, which applies to loans owned or guaranteed by government wards Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac among others, could encourage people to suspend payments.
But what about the moral obligation to pay off a debt?
Elected officials have been chipping away at that by blaming the foreclosure crisis largely on predatory lenders. In a campaign fact sheet, President-elect Barack Obama says he "recognizes that the real victims in the subprime mortgage crisis are not the lenders, but the millions of borrowers who followed the rules and whose only crime was taking out mortgages that lenders told them they could afford."
|If you owe more than the home is worth, the plan will only reduce principal down to 100 percent of market value, according to an official for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which supervises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.|
If all three of these maneuvers can't reduce your payments to 38 percent of income, you won't get a fast-track modification but could still request a customized deal, says the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The streamlined process looks only at income, not assets. If you refinanced your home to buy a Mercedes or own another home, you won't be expected to sell them to pay your mortgage.
Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital, predicts that many homeowners who have little or no equity will stop paying their mortgage and then reduce their income to get the biggest payment cut possible. They could stop working overtime or, if two spouses work, one could quit. After the modification, they could try to boost their income again.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Schiff says. "People are going to feel like complete morons if they don't participate. The people getting punished are the ones who never made an irresponsible decision to buy a house they couldn't afford."
The government is offering loan servicers $800 for every homeowner they get into the plan.
Schiff predicts that loan agents "will be cold-calling people trying to get them into it. Just like they encouraged people to overstate their income to get a bigger loan in the first place, now they will encourage them to understate their income to qualify for a smaller loan."
To prevent fraud, the government says a borrower "must certify that he or she experienced a hardship or change in financial circumstances, and did not purposely default to obtain a modification."
Basically taxpayers will be paying footing the bill for irresponsible losers and they can get better loan terms than everyone else who think paying their bills on time is a good thing.
America has become a country of bloodsucking parasites.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
|Girls as young as 13 will be urged to have contraceptive jabs as part of Government plans to curb teenage pregnancy rates.|
Officials claim using long-lasting injections and implants rather than daily pills will make it easier for teenagers to control their fertility.
But critics warn that the scheme, which is being rolled out at teenage pregnancy 'hot spots' around the country, will promote promiscuity.
There are also fears the move could fuel the spread of sexually transmitted infections and that the powerful drugs, which render girls infertile for up to three years, are unsuitable for their young bodies.
The Government has written to 21 councils where teenage pregnancy rates have stagnated or risen, telling them to push long-acting reversible contraception injections and implants.
It also wants more school-based contraception clinics to be set up, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
The letter, received by Stoke-on-Trent city council, said: 'A key priority over the next six months is the roll-out of school-based services and further development of young people's sexual health services.
'This needs to include, as a priority, the provision of long-acting contraception to ensure all young people have the choice of effective contraception.'
Another council, Tameside, was asked to ensure injections and implants are 'targeted at areas with high and increasing rates of teenage pregnancy and repeat abortions'.
Injections are given every eight to 12 weeks, while implants - about the size of a hair grip - are inserted under the skin of the upper arm.
Critics last night attacked the plans, claiming promoting jabs and implants will encourage promiscuity and the spread of STIs.
They also warned that the measures are likely to prove popular for girls keen to hide the fact they are sexually active from their parents.
Dr Hans-Christian Raabe, a GP and medical co-ordinator of the Council for Health and Wholeness, said: 'It gives an impression of safety that is not there. Girls will think, "Nothing will happen to me because I can't get pregnant".
'But the rates of sexually transmitted diseases are frightening. There has been an explosion, and yet young people are being given a false sense of security.'
Julie Bentley, of the Family Planning Association, said: 'Long-acting reversible contraception is an incredibly effective method.'
A spokesman for the Department of Health said girls would not be 'forced' to have the jabs or implants.
|The series has had good and bad, black and white presidents. Its first female leader is "very serious and very committed to restoring stability in this country and also the country's reputation around the world, not unlike where we are now," says Jones, a well-known Broadway actress in a rare TV role. During the season, "she takes on an unpopular intervention in another country and takes it on for moral reasons."|
And while 24 has been championed in some conservative circles for its muscular approach to combating terrorism, Gordon says there's a new reality.
"The show's changed for many reasons because the country's changed," Gordon says. "The post-9/11 scenario of wish fulfillment that Jack represented was replaced by some of the things that happened in the country, from Gitmo to Abu Ghraib. Our conduct in the world became a bigger issue, and Jack became a darker, more complex character."
At the same time, he says, "we couldn't renounce Jack's behavior; it would discredit the entire series. But the issue comes back time and again, and we give voice to the price that's paid for the 'whatever it takes' mind-set. I don't want to over-politicize the show, but we couldn't ignore it."
Howard Gordon has been doing a lot of backtracking going back to earlier this year to give context to my feeling Bauer and the whole idea of 24 will be slap back to a pre 9/11 ideal.
Feb 2nd: Howard Gordon: The "24" Killer.
Feb 12th: Joel Surnow leaves "24." Kinder softer Jack Bauer on the way?
September 9th: "24" production shut down for rewrites.
|"...With security having improved in recent months, the U.S. military has begun to close neighborhood outposts and take down a few blast walls, slowly disassembling the capital's wartime architecture to restore a sense of normalcy.|
Many Iraqis, however, fear the relative calm won't last long. To them, ordering interpreters to work without masks suggests that some top U.S. officials are taking an unrealistically rosy view of the security situation in Baghdad, which remains a dangerous city.
U.S. military officials said they began to enforce the mask ban in September because security in Baghdad has improved dramatically.
"We are a professional Army and professional units don't conceal their identity by wearing masks," Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a spokesman for the U.S. military, wrote in an e-mail. He expressed appreciation for the service and sacrifice of the interpreters but said those dissatisfied with the new policy "can seek alternative employment."
During years of active combat and widespread violence, interpreters have helped U.S. soldiers make sense of Iraq's streets, politics and history. These guides have been killed by snipers on foot patrols, blasted to shreds in roadside bombings and vilified by extremists as traitors.
Since U.S. troops deployed to small outposts in 2007, interpreters have played a critical role in helping American soldiers promote reconciliation, counter the influence of extremists and ensure public safety.
"The decline in violence in the past year and a half cannot be disputed," said Johnson, who founded the List Project, an advocacy group for Iraqis who have worked for the American government. "But to think somehow that the lethal stigma faced by our Iraqi allies has suddenly worn off is folly."
Despite the improved security, a growing number of Iraqis have contacted Johnson's group in recent months, many expressing concern about the mask ban. "We have hundreds of Iraqis writing to us in desperation and fear, most of whom fled because their affiliation became known," Johnson said."
This ban needs to be reworked or they better have American service people who can speak the language.
|Obama is also looking to break a diplomatic deadlock over Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons technology. A possible way forward, suggested last spring by Dennis Ross, a senior Obama adviser and former Middle East envoy, would be to persuade Russia to join in tough economic sanctions against Iran by offering to modify the US plan for a “missile shield” in eastern Europe.|
President Dmitry Medvedev signalled that Russia could cancel a tit-for-tat deployment of missiles close to the Polish border if America gave up its proposed missile defences in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Ross argued in a paper on How to Talk to Iran that “if the Iranian threat goes away, so does the principal need to deploy these [antimissile] forces. [Vladimir] Putin [the Russian prime minister] has made this such a symbolic issue that this trade-off could be portrayed as a great victory for him”.
Right, Iran is not giving up its nuke program, Iran is still a big customer of Russia who via the Putin puppet Medvedev is creating a hostile environment to Eastern Europe and lesser extent Western Europe, so by all means cave in to make Putin look good while doing nothing to Iran.
The foreign policy method of Obama so far is the "How far can we bend over for you" style.
|Barack Obama is to pursue an ambitious peace plan in the Middle East involving the recognition of Israel by the Arab world in exchange for its withdrawal to pre-1967 borders, according to sources close to America’s president-elect.|
Obama intends to throw his support behind a 2002 Saudi peace initiative endorsed by the Arab League and backed by Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister and leader of the ruling Kadima party.
The proposal gives Israel an effective veto on the return of Arab refugees expelled in 1948 while requiring it to restore the Golan Heights to Syria and allow the Palestinians to establish a state capital in east Jerusalem.
On a visit to the Middle East last July, the president-elect said privately it would be “crazy” for Israel to refuse a deal that could “give them peace with the Muslim world”, according to a senior Obama adviser.
Israel would have no veto on anything because that would be one of many excuses for countries in the region to veto the plan itself. Israel during the Clinton years gave almost everything Arafat wanted and it crashed and burned because Arafat and other Arab interest were not satisfied that Israel was bowing down enough.
If Obama thinks this will make the Arab street happy and become a peace loving region especially with radical Islamic groups stronger than ever he is just stupid.
|New York Representative Charles Rangel said he's revising his tax overhaul proposal to reduce U.S. corporate tax rates to 28 percent, down from the current rate of 35 percent. |
Rangel, in an interview with Bloomberg Television's ``Money and Politics,'' said he's changing the ``mother of all tax reform'' he unveiled in September 2007 to accommodate President- elect Barack Obama's agenda. That earlier plan would have set the corporate tax rate at 30.5 percent. Rangel is the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax policy.
That sounds wonderful until you read the rest of the article and realize Rangel is just being a class warfare tax and spend liberal idiot.
|Rangel, 78, said the reduction would be achieved by targeting special-interest provisions that favor some industries and companies over others. |
``We can dramatically cut corporate taxes by cutting out the fat out of those industries that have taken an unfair advantage of the tax code,'' Rangel said.
Only Japan has a higher marginal corporate tax rate among developed nations, the Treasury Department said last year. When state taxes are factored in, U.S. corporations pay about 39 percent on their last dollar of profit.
Obama has said that the effective tax rate paid by U.S. companies is much lower once they claim deductions, credits, and other adjustments to taxable income. In 2006, for example, American companies paid an average effective tax rate of about 23.7 percent, according to a study by Ernst & Young LLP.
In July 2007, the Treasury Department said the U.S. could reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 percent by eliminating popular benefits such as a research credit and a deduction for making products domestically.
Rangel two months later also recommended repealing the deduction for domestic production, other incentives that primarily benefit multinational corporations, as well as tax benefits associated with a popular accounting method known as last-in, first-out.
Rangel also has proposed making executives at private- equity firms and other partnerships pay ordinary income-tax rates instead of capital-gains rates on the incentive fees they charge their investors, known as ``carried interest.'' The top ordinary income-tax rate is currently 35 percent; Obama has proposed increasing that to 39.6 percent, and Rangel has proposed imposing an additional surcharge as high as 4 percent for those who make over $200,000.
Rangel didn't say what other benefits he'd eliminate to reduce the corporate rate further.
Aren't those making over $200,000 supposed to safe from tax increases under Obama's plan? This is the bait and switch of a liberal. It is the same as the post below about tax savings by cities who then increase or create new fees.
There is no such thing as a tax cutting liberal and Obama/Rangel will make sure to take out of your hide more money just under different sounding terms.
One of the many things I love about the expansion is the decision to incorporate more of the lore bosses and legendary characters to the quest lines so everyone can feel they have taken part in something big. The Death Knight starter quests and ending is the best I have seen in the game since it came out. Northrend is better than the Burning Crusade in general because it feels more alive in zones than it did in any of the BC zones with a more organic feel to it.
|The state last year ordered spending cuts and then voters in January approved additional tax relief. But in Broward County, most property owners won't get all they were expecting. Instead, 26 municipalities and the county raised property tax rates, added or increased fees on services ranging from ambulance transport to athletic programs, or did both.|
Their officials say they had little choice because essential services were at stake. But some residents and economists question whether local governments should have made more aggressive spending cuts or taken other measures, such as expanding the tax base or privatizing services.
"I think it's totally unfair because ... they are taking more money from the citizens, which is not what the Legislature intended," said Phil McConaghey, 75, an engineer from Pembroke Pines, one of 13 municipalities that boosted its tax rate, imposed some new fees and increased others.
...Voters in January approved a ballot initiative that doubled the $25,000 homestead exemption and allowed homesteaders to take tax savings with them when they moved. The previous spring, the Legislature ordered local governments to freeze property taxes at 2006 levels, then trim them by 3 percent to 9 percent, depending on how much taxes collections increased over the previous five years.
The point was "to ensure that local governments knew that the ever increasing gravy train is over," said former state Sen. Steve Geller, a South Florida Democrat who pushed the tax relief amendment.
Cities across the nation spent like it was never going to stop and now they are caught up in their own stupidity which the taxpayer is going to fund one way or the other.
|The vision was ambitious and well-intentioned: a crumbling, crime-infested South Florida neighborhood transformed by a new city law into a secluded enclave for retirees.|
I have never seen any place transformed by a new law especially is it is a crime-ridden crack haven. But this is how politics are in South Florida, pass it first then realize how stupid it was years later.
|Twelve years later, almost everyone agrees the plan has gone terribly wrong.|
A combustible mix of the mentally ill, the physically infirm, and drug dealers now live alongside law-abiding families in the decaying neighborhood known as Cannon Point.
Some young men sell slivers of crack cocaine. Some residents of assisted-living facilities mill in the streets. Squatters roost for the night in derelict buildings.
It is not like you couldn't see other reasons for this to go horribly wrong.
|In 1996, the Lauderhill City Commission gave permission for "special residential facilities" to congregate on Cannon Point's three streets.|
The zoning change was supposed to remake the neighborhood of low-rent apartments into a placid campus of assisted-living facilities for middle-class retirees, potentially with a drug store, a restaurant and medical offices. Under state law, assisted-living facilities are homelike settings with few restrictions on residents. Some offer personal and nursing services.
"It's been very well thought out," then-Community Development Director Kelly Carpenter told the Sun Sentinel in 1996.
Assisted-living facilities aren't just for the elderly. They also can house the mentally ill. Group homes for problem teenagers also are considered "special residential facilities" under state law. Lauderhill's zoning change allowed homes for the mentally ill and troubled juveniles to open more easily than in other parts of the county.
"It was basically like opening up Pandora's Box," city planning director Earl Hahn said.
The place is a dumping ground for those who really need help and those who should be in jail. They never thought it all the way and now its one of many places in Lauderhil that is crime zone.
|A triple stabbing marred a major music awards show at London's O2 Arena last night, which left one guest seriously injured and two others wounded.|
Hundreds of people who attended the 6th Annual Urban Music Awards were being quizzed today following the stabbings - just one incident in a night of violence across the UK.
Organisers at the Urban Music Awards were forced to abandon the ceremony when the violence erupted after an hour and a half.
In chaotic scenes, eyewitnesses described seeing 'blood all over the floor' after a huge brawl broke out at about 10pm.
The brawl sent champagne bottles and chairs flying and caused general 'hysteria'. Guns were also said to have been spotted inside the auditorium.
Around 300 guests ended up being stuck inside the venue until the early hours while police blocked the exits and questioned people one by one before allowing them out.
One man was arrested.