Saturday, December 6, 2008

So it looks like Auto Makers will get a bailout.

Nation: I can't wait when 6 months from now like AIG they come back demanding more taxpayer money to cover their bloated business practices. UAW has done a fine job in exploiting and giving nothing back to helping something they were a big part in creating, just a bunch of symbolic moves that in the long run mean nothing.

UNC bans Christmas Trees.

Christmas: You know damn well that every other holiday or event in December will be represented like Kwanzaa or Eid celebrations but because a christmas tree is on the edge of what can be seen as a Christian event, that can be banned.

For as long as anyone can remember, Christmas trees adorned with lights and ornaments have greeted holiday season visitors to UNC-Chapel Hill's two main libraries.
They aren't there this year.

The trees, which have stood in the lobby areas of Wilson and Davis libraries each December, were kept in storage this year at the behest of Sarah Michalak, the university's associate provost for university libraries.

Michalak's decision followed several years of queries and complaints from library employees and patrons bothered by the Christian display, Michalak said this week.

Michalak said that banishing the Christmas displays was not an easy decision but that she asked around to library colleagues at Duke, N.C. State and elsewhere and found no other one where Christmas trees were displayed.

Aside from the fact that a UNC-CH library is a public facility, Michalak said, libraries are places where information from all corners of the world and all belief systems is offered without judgment. Displaying Christian symbols is antithetical to that philosophy, she said.

"We strive in our collection to have a wide variety of ideas," she said. "It doesn't seem right to celebrate one particular set of customs."

Michalak, UNC-CH's chief librarian for four years, said at least a dozen library employees have complained over the last few years about the display. She hasn't heard similar criticism from students, though they may have voiced their concerns to other library staff.

Christmas trees by law and common sense is a secular symbol but someone take a camera inside and see what other celebrations of certain customs are allowed to be displayed.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Canada's coalition coup falling apart.

Canada: After the laughable disaster that was the liberal leader Stéphane Dion amateur porn quality late to broadcast video response and polls showing anger at the idea of this coalition with conservatives up big, some liberals are already backing down.

Liberal resolve to topple the Conservative government began crumbling today almost immediately after Prime Minister Stephen Harper won a stay of execution.

Within an hour of Governor General Michaelle Jean agreeing to suspend Parliament until Jan. 26, some Grit MPs were pulling back from the idea of trying to replace the Tory regime with a Liberal-NDP coalition propped up by the Bloc Quebecois.

Toronto MP Jim Karygiannis bluntly asserted that Liberals blew their chance to take down the government.
“We did have that. It didn’t work. Who are we kidding here?” said Karygiannis. “I think it’s over.”

Moreover, Karygiannis said publicly what a number of Liberals have been whispering privately: that the coalition can’t work as long as Stéphane Dion remains Liberal leader and, thus, prospective prime minister.

He pointed to Dion’s dismal showing in the Oct. 14 election and his tardy and inept response last night to Harper’s nationally televised address.

“Our communications sucks. It was shown last night. What else is there to say?” said Karygiannis. “If you don’t win the air war, you don’t get nowhere.”

The end of the Bratz doll?

Culture: The only place left for America's young female children to learn to dress and act like sluts would be Hot Topic.

Pouty-lipped Bratz will stay on store shelves until after the holidays, but their fate after that — and that of their parent, MGA Entertainment Inc. — was uncertain Thursday after a federal court ruling banning MGA from making the saucy Barbie alternative.

MGA is appealing the ruling which — if upheld — is a severe blow for the company and an equal boon for Barbie maker Mattel Inc., which has been duking it out with MGA over Bratz for four years.

"In the most dire scenario, MGA can't sell Bratz at all and a humongous chunk of their business disappears," said Needham & Co. analyst Sean McGowan. "But it's likely they will work out a way for MGA to stay in business but Mattel to profit."

Desmond Tutu calls out Mugabe

Africa: This is the kind of talk that should have happened years ago.

"I think now that the world must say: 'You have been responsible with your cohorts for gross violations, and you are going to face indictment in The Hague unless you step down'," Mr Tutu told Dutch current affairs TV programme Nova.

Asked if Mr Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, should be removed by force, he said: "Yes, by force - if they say to him: step down, and he refuses, they must do so militarily."

Mr Tutu, a Nobel peace prize winner who was one of the continent's leading voices against the former apartheid regime in South Africa, said the African Union or the Southern African Development Community (SADC) would have the capacity to remove Mr Mugabe, 84.

"He has destroyed a wonderful country. A country that used to be a bread basket - it has now become a basket case," he said.

His comments come as Robert Mugabe's government admitted for the first time that Zimbabwe's cholera epidemic is a national emergency.

The idiot Russell Brand remaking 'Arthur'

Culture: Only watch if I find out he dies of binge drinking at the end. Brand could be the most annoying useless UK export since Chris Martin of Coldplay views on Africa.

The frilly feminists fighting to be a beauty queen

UK: Story goes as you expect, good looking university students want to be part of a beauty pageant partly as a celebration of post-feminism which doesn't set back women.
On the other side the not so hot looking women and their second tier male friends protesting the contest as an affront to everything that is female.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dems to Bush: Give auto makers bailout money now!

Nation: Or else what? If they were confident of the public behind them in bailing out the Big 3, why the threats? Do a vote, if it fails, you can blame the Republicans as always with a willing media being the bullhorn.

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf Reports: Democrats sent a clear message to the White House tonight - make some of the $700 financial industry bailout money available to the domestic auto industry or else. And they want an answer by Friday.

Auto makers returned to Capitol Hill today two weeks after a chilly reception from bailout weary lawmakers.

And while pleas from GM, Chrysler and Ford for bridge loans seemed to have some effect, prospects remain dim for an auto industry bailout passing Congress this year even though any later could spell the end of GM, according to prepared testimony from CEO Rick Wagoner.

The White House and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson have rejected the notion of using money from the so-called TARP - a $700 billion package passed by Congress in October to stabilize the financial industry.

But in a letter Thursday night, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate told President Bush he must commit funds from either the TARP or the federal reserve or they will be unable to pass anything in Congress.

The Dems realize the public is opposed to it so as always trying to get the Republicans to cover their behinds win or fail. Do not fall for it and oppose the bailout.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Automakers/unions again plead for bailout.

Nation: It still looks like the votes are not there

WASHINGTON – Imperiled automakers and their union worked feverishly Wednesday to sell a skeptical Congress on a $34 billion aid plan, promising labor concessions and restructuring. The Senate's Democratic leader said there still weren't enough votes to tap the $700 billion federal bailout fund to prop up the foundering Big Three.

One day before the chiefs of the auto companies return to Capitol Hill to make their urgent cases for loans, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the money was unlikely to come from the Wall Street rescue fund.

"I just don't think we have the votes to do that now," Reid told The Associated Press in an interview.

The White House called the timing of his comments "interesting" coming on the eve of high-stakes congressional hearings Democrats demanded.

"It's not hospitable," said Dana Perino, the White House press secretary.

Indeed, the reception the Big Three were getting from Congress was anything but friendly. Even a top Democrat in charge of evaluating their aid requests made it clear he was eager to avoid voting on a bailout.

The Public is saying no to a bailout.

Sixty-one percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey out Wednesday are dead set against the federal government providing billions of dollars in assistance for the automakers, with 36 percent favoring such a bailout.

The poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday, also indicates that a majority of Americans, 53 percent, don't think government assistance for the automakers will help the U.S. economy.

"Only 15 percent say that they would be immediately affected if the auto companies went bankrupt," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Seven in 10 say that a bailout would be unfair to American taxpayers."

GM's new business plan is all show and no substance.

If you’re a U.S. taxpayer you ought to read GM’s “Restructuring Plan for Long-Term Viability.” By the end of next year, you’ll own a good chunk of this company, so you might as well familiarize yourself with what’s going on there.

On first read, you’ll think that’s too rash a judgment. The document is well-reasoned and thoughtfully crafted. There are lots of numbers “proving” GM’s commitment to restructuring.

But at its core, it’s propaganda aimed directly at warming the hearts of Congress.

It is not a viable business plan.

Think of the document more as a political tool — and it makes perfect sense. After all, it is Congress — not GM’s board of directors — that have the power to okay GM’s staggering $18 billion request.

....As for the meat and potatoes of the actual proposed restructuring, GM gives a good effort. It projects the U.S. auto industry supporting 12 million new cars in 2009 and 13.5 million in 2010. Not unreasonable. And GM makes the right noises about cost reductions with “wages and benefits fully competitive with Toyota by 2012.”

But the restructuring plan comes up short on the most fundamental question. Will this company actually make money? Just look at the details — or what details are lacking.

GM says it plans to focus on only four brands. So why does the number of models only drop from 48 to 40?

GM has 6,600 dealers, which it says it will cut to 4,700 by 2012. Honda has 1,300 dealers. Even Ford has only 4,100 — which it will cut further.

....Turn to Exhibit B-1 — and you find something interesting. It is only in an appendix entry — and not stated explicitly. GM appears to have changed its market share assumption for 2009 GM U.S. volume from 20.6% a year ago to 22.5% today.

In this environment, it seems strange that GM is actually increasing its market share assumptions. And car business is all about volumes.

That points to the real flaw in the GM restructuring plan. The U.S. car industry has been a credit junkie that now has to go cold turkey.

The UAW is being the UAW trying to put up a show like they actually give a damn and not that they are putting out false promises to get their hands on taxpayer money.

The United Auto Workers agreed to work with the embattled U.S. automakers about changes in their labor contract, an important step for the industry's chance to win up to $34 billion in federal loans.

...Gettelfinger said the union will suspend the "jobs bank" at GM. That is a jobs guarantee program that pays laid off auto workers up to 95% of their regular pay. He said the union is also open to suspending the jobs bank at Ford and Chrysler. But he said this and other help from the union is not enough to save the automakers from their current crisis.

"To be honest with you, right now if the UAW members went in these facilities and worked for would not help the companies that much," he said.

He said the union also is willing to have the companies delay billions in payments to the trust funds that will assume responsibility for retiree health care coverage in 2010, although he said that such a move would require court approval. Those payments are not due until next year.

Suspension of the job bank will do nothing but delay more money going into that debacle and the trust funds. Considering the makers don't seem to have viable business plans in place which means even with the loans they will still be losing money. Delaying payments mean nothing, its a symbolic move.

What is going to happen is the taxpayer will foot the bill for the car makers and their liabilities including that health fund.

Obama promises on Iraq and windfall taxes? Never mind

Politics: As reality hits hope and change express, the NYTIMES is there to help out their man Obama.

On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to “end the war” in Iraq.

But as he moves closer to the White House, President-elect Obama is making clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq, even if he can make good on his campaign promise to pull all combat forces out within 16 months.

“I said that I would remove our combat troops from Iraq in 16 months, with the understanding that it might be necessary — likely to be necessary — to maintain a residual force to provide potential training, logistical support, to protect our civilians in Iraq,” Mr. Obama said this week as he introduced his national security team.

Publicly at least, Mr. Obama has not set a firm number for that “residual force,” a phrase certain to become central to the debate on the way ahead in Iraq, though one of his national security advisers, Richard Danzig, said during the campaign that it could amount to 30,000 to 55,000 troops. Nor has Mr. Obama laid out any timetable beyond 16 months for troop drawdowns, or suggested when he believes a time might come for a declaration that the war is over.

In the meantime, military planners are drawing up tentative schedules aimed at meeting both Mr. Obama’s goal for withdrawing combat troops, with a target of May 2010, and the Dec. 31, 2011, date for sending the rest of American troops home that is spelled out in the new agreement between the United States and the Iraqi government.

That status-of-forces agreement remains subject to change, by mutual agreement, and Army planners acknowledge privately that they are examining projections that could see the number of Americans hovering between 30,000 and 50,000 — and some say as high as 70,000 — for a substantial time even beyond 2011.

As for getting those evil oil companies.. never mind!

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is not planning to implement a windfall profit tax on oil companies because prices have dropped below $80 a barrel, an aide said on Tuesday.

"President-elect Obama announced the policy during the campaign because oil prices were above $80 per barrel," an aide on Obama's transition team said. "They are currently below that now and expected to stay below that."

Oil prices have fallen from a record $147 a barrel in July to under $50 this week.

Obama, who signaled early in his campaign for the White House that he would take an active approach to oil markets as president, had planned to use the revenue from a windfall profits tax to fund a tax rebate for low- and middle-income families struggling with high energy prices.

But the aide said Obama's presidential campaign had already taken the price drop into account six weeks ago.

When Obama laid out his economic plan for the middle class in mid-October, revenue from a windfall profit tax was not included because of the price change, he said.

School cancels Christmas nativity for Muslim Eid celebrations

UK: Oh I love the red meat this late at night.

Greenwood Junior School sent out a letter to parents saying the three-day festival of Eid al-Adha, which takes place between December 8 and 11, meant that Muslim children would be off school.

That meant planning for the traditional nativity play were shelved because the school felt it would be too difficult to run both celebrations side by side.

She said a letter, sent from "The staff at Greenwood Junior School', said: "It is with much regret that we have had to cancel this year's Christmas performances. This is due to the Eid celebrations that take place next week and its effect on our performers."

The school is to hold a number of children's Eid activities for those pupils who do not take two days off to celebrate with their families.

Following outrage from parents, the school was forced to send out a second letter saying that the Christmas play would be done in January.

Sent by the head teacher, Amber Latif, and Yvonne Wright, chair of governors, it apologised for "any misunderstanding" but said it had to respect "the cultures and religions of all the children".

It added: "The Christmas performance has not been cancelled outright but has been postponed until the New Year."

Lets celebrate something Christmas after Christmas, what a smart plan. Why is it in the rush to hail multicult and diversity it is always one group that gets pushed to the back of the diversity bus?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Just pass Amnesty for 12+ million illegals now.

Immigration: Janet Napolitano is nothing more than a rubber stamp for amnesty and allowing more open border policies, she will get and with it a flood of illegals and their advocates will get their long awaited amnesty.

The NYTIMES loves her.

It would be a relief to see the job go to someone with a solid understanding of immigration and all its complexities and political traps. As governor of a border state, Ms. Napolitano knows the landscape intimately. She has a cool head and a proven willingness to pursue policies that conform to reality, rather than the other way around. For years, the country has stumbled in a state of immigration panic, using harsh tactics to create the illusion of control while rejecting comprehensive strategies that would attack the problem at its roots.

Getting comprehensive reform passed may be a difficult slog for the new administration. But it can move quickly to repair what has gone awry with the enforcement-only regime, starting with reining in state and local crackdowns. Ms. Napolitano would do the country a huge favor by taking a withering look at a fellow Arizonan, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has used the federal 287(g) program, which delegates immigration enforcement to the local police, to terrorize immigrants in Phoenix.

McCain and Chertoff loves her.

Her selection drew high praise Monday from key Democratic lawmakers and Republicans such as the current homeland security chief, Michael Chertoff, and her home-state senator, John McCain. They said that as a border governor, former U.S. attorney and state attorney general, she has the right mix of managerial skills, law-enforcement experience and understanding of the heated immigration issue to handle the challenges ahead.

Open border business types love her.

Her nomination was applauded by business groups who think she'll support efforts to expand guest-worker programs.

As governor, Ms. Napolitano pushed for so-called comprehensive immigration reform. She has supported a temporary worker program and called for a national employer-verification system.

"It's our belief that she shares our concerns about allowing enough legal immigration to meet the needs of employers," said Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business.

Yep, perfect choice to protect America's borders if you think the borders are a turnstill.

Patients opt for Private over UK's NHS

UK: You mean given a choice between government run hospitals and private they run like hell away from the NHS? Shock and Awe.

Thousands of patients a month in England are using a government reform to get what is effectively private treatment paid for by the taxpayer.

Patients have the right to opt for any NHS hospital or private unit that can offer the care at NHS cost.

In little over 12 months, the number opting for private hospitals has risen 10-fold to over 3,500 a month.

Doctors said patients needed to think carefully as vital NHS money was being lost to private health providers.

Patient choice was launched at the start of 2006 to give people the right to choose where they have non-emergency treatment such as hip and knee operations.

Ministers also allowed private hospitals to be added into the mix where they could provide treatment at NHS cost.

It was felt the policy was a way of driving up standards by getting hospitals to compete for patients.

In the early summer of 2007 just over 300 patients a month were opting for NHS care at a private hospital.

But in September this year the monthly figure had risen to 3,634, costing the NHS £7.6m in fees to private hospitals - although it still represents less than 1% of overall non-emergency treatment.

While patients using private hospitals do not have access to any drugs or implants not available on the NHS, they benefit from the individual rooms, free parking, lower rate of hospital infections and higher staff-to-patient ratios that are commonplace.

I can see why the whole free parking, lower infections and more staff would be appealing to human beings.

Jindal: GOP Version of Obama? Hell no.

Politics: Lets nip this meme before it gets out of control by the MSM to say that this politician is a version of Obama as if he is a yardstick who hasn't even even done anything yet as President. OTOH, 10 years ago, they would have said he was the GOP version of Bill Clinton. Do not let them start comparing with their Dem candidates as the yardstick.

Jindal supporters regularly evoke the Reagan parallel, fueled by a confidence that their hero's brand of social and fiscal conservatism, coupled with his sunny folksiness on the stump, can rekindle the Reagan flame. But all the comparisons end there. In 1981, Reagan entered the presidency at age 69, in the model of a leader the party traditionally favored then, older and seasoned. Just an elementary school kid when Reagan stepped into the Oval Office, Jindal is boyish-looking and six years younger than John F. Kennedy was when he became the nation's youngest elected president.

Jindal is his own invention, in the mold of an Obama. Born in Louisiana as Piyush Jindal to highly educated immigrants from India, he decided as a young child to nickname himself "Bobby," after his favorite character on the TV show "The Brady Bunch." Raised as a Hindu, he converted to Catholicism while in college and later wrote a lengthy, intimate story that provided a window on his religious evolution, in a manner that fairly calls to mind Obama's books about his own grappling with issues of self-identity. Success at Brown University and later at Oxford University during his Rhodes years led to high-profile attention in the power corridors of Louisiana and Washington.

Susan Rice a godawful choice for the UN.

World: Putting the UN ambassador position at cabinet level and multilateralism/UN cheerleader Susan Rice as Obama's choice speaks well for America becoming yet again the UN's lapdog.

But Obama decided instead to put her in New York, in a more visible role -- ambassador to the United Nations -- and thereby send a message to the world's diplomats: The United States will look more kindly, come Jan. 20, on multilateralism and U.N. peacekeeping missions.

Obama said yesterday that he is restoring Rice's position to a Cabinet-level rank, an indication that he views the job as central to his goal of fostering more international cooperation.

"Susan knows the global challenges we face demand global institutions that work," Obama said. "She shares my belief that the U.N. is an indispensable and imperfect forum."

The UN is a imperfect, corrupt, bloated piece of garbage filled with people who have delusions of grandeur and eagerly want some sort of world government where they have power. The fact Obama is either too naive or stupid to realize this "imperfect" forum is only a danger to America speaks volumes.

As for Rice, look for more African adventures which doesn't mean taking hard power solutions to its problems but the soft power approach that has worked well in cases like

South Africa and Zimbabwe...wait

EU and Iran...err..hold on..

India and Pakis...know what... never mind.

America is screwed. Susan Rice is a bad choice to represent America's interest at the UN. All she is as a Madeleine Albright student is a rubber stamp for the UN and other countries interest while harming our own.

The Newspaper industry getting a bailout?

Media: Hey, every business is now too big to fail including newspapers as what was talked about here last week that Connecticut would be looking to bail out several area newspapers. Well legislators are already starting to try and get money.

Seven legislators from the area served by The Bristol Press and The Herald in New Britain today wrote to the state Department of Economic and Community Development to ask for its help in preventing the closure of the newspapers.

We'll have more on this breaking news later, but for now, here's the letter.

Watch for this to spread all over the nation.

Dems ready $500 billion bailout for states.

Nation: Irresponsible states getting taxpayer money to cover up their own irresponsible fiscal stupidity. The new American way.

Miami activist moves people into foreclosed houses

Florida: Speaking of a banana republic where rule of law and common sense is rare, you have this "activist" moving homeless people in to houses that are foreclosed. What a feel good story!

Rameau is an activist who has been executing a bailout plan of his own around Miami's empty streets: He is helping homeless people illegally move into foreclosed homes.

"We're matching homeless people with people-less homes," he said with a grin.

Rameau and a group of like-minded advocates formed Take Back the Land, which also helps the new "tenants" with secondhand furniture, cleaning supplies and yard upkeep. So far, he has moved six families into foreclosed homes and has nine on a waiting list.

"I think everyone deserves a home," said Rameau, who said he takes no money from his work with the homeless. "Homeless people across the country are squatting in empty homes. The question is: Is this going to be done out of desperation or with direction?"

With the housing market collapsing, squatting in foreclosed homes is believed to be on the rise around the country. But squatters usually move in on their own, at night, when no one is watching. Rarely is the phenomenon as organized as Rameau's effort to "liberate" foreclosed homes.

.....In early November, Rameau drove a woman and her 18-month old daughter to a ranch home on a quiet street lined with swaying tropical foliage. Marie Nadine Pierre, 39, has been sleeping at a shelter with her toddler. She said she had been homeless off and on for a year, after losing various jobs and getting evicted from several apartments.

"My heart is heavy. I've lived in a lot of different shelters, a lot of bad situations," Pierre said. "In my own home, I'm free. I'm a human being now."

What does Miami say about this activity?

Miami spokeswoman Kelly Penton said city officials did not know Rameau was moving homeless into empty buildings - but they are also not stopping him.

"There are no actions on the city's part to stop this," she said in an e-mail. "It is important to note that if people trespass into private property, it is up to the property owner to take action to remove those individuals."

And if the property manager does act on his/her property?

Pierre herself could be charged with trespassing, vandalism or breaking and entering. Rameau assured her he has lawyers who will represent her free.

Two weeks after Pierre moved in, she came home to find the locks had been changed, probably by the property's manager. Everything inside - her food, clothes and family photos - was gone.

But late last month, with Rameau's help, she got back inside and has put Christmas decorations on the front door.

So far, police have not gotten involved.

So illegally living in a house where you got the first hint not to be there because its not yours to live in means nothing to this activist. Yet Miami refuses to clamp down on it.

That is why Miami is a banana republic.

Bloodless coup in Canada

Canada: So let me get this straight, the NDP, Liberals and Bloc are forming a coalition party. The same liberals who got their asses beat up in the recent election will have Dion as the new coalition leader while NDP and Bloc add support.

Along the same lines, it is also a great idea to shove your arm down a vat of acid.

With the announcement of a formal alliance among opposition parties, Canada moved closer Monday to removing its Conservative government without holding an election.

If the pact — signed by the Liberal and New Democratic parties and the Bloc Québécois — is successful at dislodging the Conservatives, it will be the first time since 1926 that the federal government has changed hands without a vote.

Coalition governments are rare in Canada, and the opposition plan still faces constitutional and political uncertainties.

Adding to the political turmoil is speculation about how Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose government is outnumbered by the opposition in Parliament, will respond. Over the weekend, the Conservatives tried to stifle the movement against them by withdrawing some economic proposals, including an end to public financing of political parties, that angered the opposition parties and prompted the negotiations that led to their alliance.

....Under the plan, Stéphane Dion, the Liberal leader, would become prime minister. Because Mr. Dion resigned following his party’s poor showing in October’s election, he would turn over the prime minister’s office to whomever the Liberals chose as leader at a convention in May.

The New Democrats, who have never held power at the federal level, would be given 6 posts in a 25-member coalition cabinet, although the key position of finance minister would be reserved for a Liberal.

What idiots think this is a good idea even in the short term? They pull off this coup, the Bloc will blackmail the hell out of the other two to get as much money for Quebec, the NDP will demand action on their leftist policies that by themselves no likes except a narrow few and the liberals who should be trying to rebuild their party has a lame duck at first as Prime Minister.

This is stuff of banana republics not a leading western nation.