Saturday, October 10, 2009

Yep... T.I. wins BET awards from prison

Yep... That is all I have to say about it... Yep

ATLANTA (AP) - T.I. didn't need to attend the BET Hip-Hop Awards to take home two trophies.
The rapper, who is locked up in an Arkansas penitentiary on a federal weapons conviction, won for best collaboration and CD of the year.

His fiancee Tameka "Tiny" Cottle accepted his awards at the ceremony in Atlanta on Saturday.

Jeremy Clarkson not a fan of BBC's diversity policies.


As the BBC tries to draw a line under the Strictly Come Dancing racism row, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has added his thoughts on the television industry's diversity policies.

In a column for the new issue of Top Gear magazine, the BBC presenter ridicules TV bosses for being obsessed with having "black Muslim lesbians" on shows to balance out the numbers of white heterosexual men.

In response to questions about the lack of female presenters on BBC's Top Gear, Clarkson said: "The problem is that television executives have got it into their heads that if one presenter on a show is a blond-haired, blue-eyed heterosexual boy, the other must be a black Muslim lesbian.

Publisher cancels book for fear of Muslims, CAIR pleased.

Another publisher, another book involving Muslims and another cancellation.

A German book publisher has canceled a novel about Islamic "honor killings," fearing that the book would offend the Muslim community and put him in danger. Critics of the decision call it a cowardly move, but others say the publisher is simply being responsible.

....But Droste Verlag spokeswoman Nora Tichy pointed to statements by Droste that were published Wednesday, in which he said he was primarily motivated by a desire to respect all religions — "whether Christianity, Islam or Judaism." He said he still plans to release a book that involves an honor killing next year, but that it will not contain controversial passages such as one in the cancelled book in which a chracter says "You can shove your Koran up your…”

That passage, said Ibrahim Hooper, director of communications for the Council of American Islamic Relations, would offend Muslims. But while he would prefer to see the book go unpublished, he said Droste has every right to release it.

"Obviously it's offensive. The question is do they have the right to publish it, and the answer is yes," Hooper said.

"Now, they also have the right not to publish. That's really something that should be up to the publisher. And we would hope that [the decision] would be based on good faith and respect for others and not due to potential violence."

Friday, October 9, 2009

White South African wins visa over crime fear

Here comes the protests from South Africa about Ireland being racists even though the numbers are sort of hard to dismiss.

Miss Jefferson launched a legal bid in Dublin's High Court for permission to stay in the country, stating in her affidavit: "I say and believe that as a white South African there is a real possibility of criminal racial discrimination against me and I fear for my wellbeing and ultimately my life if I am returned".

The judge granted her an injunction stopping immigration authorities from deporting her, and she has now been given a five-year residency visa.

Owen Swaine, Miss Jefferson's lawyer, said his client, who lives in Doughiska, County Galway, had no immediate family left in South Africa.

"Her apprehension in returning is two fold," he said. "One is she's been in Ireland as a child, has no family connections and would be a stranger in South Africa. She is of limited financial means and if deported would effectively be abandoned there, and a female abandoned in any area of the world is more likely to fall victim to crime.

"In addition to that, being a South African, she takes a keen interest and has read about the wide level of violent crime, which heightens her fear of returning as a young woman."

There are on average 50 murders and nearly 200 sexual offences every day in South Africa, according to crime figures released last month. In total, there were 18,148 murders between April 2008 and March 2009.

Obama adviser says Sharia Law is misunderstood

Why does in Obama's world outreach means sucking up to groups any rational person would deem a menace to society?

Miss Mogahed, appointed to the President's Council on Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships, said the Western view of Sharia was "oversimplified" and the majority of women around the world associate it with "gender justice".

The White House adviser made the remarks on a London-based TV discussion programme hosted by Ibtihal Bsis, a member of the extremist Hizb ut Tahrir party.

The group believes in the non-violent destruction of Western democracy and the creation of an Islamic state under Sharia Law across the world.

Miss Mogahed appeared alongside Hizb ut Tahrir's national women's officer, Nazreen Nawaz.

During the 45-minute discussion, on the Islam Channel programme Muslimah Dilemma earlier this week, the two members of the group made repeated attacks on secular "man-made law" and the West's "lethal cocktail of liberty and capitalism".

They called for Sharia Law to be "the source of legislation" and said that women should not be "permitted to hold a position of leadership in government".

Miss Mogahed made no challenge to these demands and said that "promiscuity" and the "breakdown of traditional values" were what Muslims admired least about the West.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Congressional Black Caucus stands by tax cheat Rangel

CBC never failing to live up to my low expectations of this group who circle the wagons even when its clear Rangel must go and damn sure should be charged with tax evasion.

The Congressional Black Caucus flexed its political muscle by sending a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defending Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) from partisan attacks.

The letter, dated Oct. 7, was sent the same day Democrats beat back a GOP attempt to force Rangel, a founding member of the CBC, to resign as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee because of a string of ethics allegations against him involving a series of financial violations on his taxes and required congressional disclosure forms, among other accusations.

The CBC said members should allow the ethics committee to continue its work without action against Rangel, especially considering that Rangel initiated the investigation last summer after the first news report appeared that he failed to pay taxes on $75,000 worth of rental income on a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. Since that time, a string of other allegations has surfaced, the latest involving his failure to report at least $600,000 in assets on his financial disclosure forms until August, when he amended them.

“As you know, Chairman Rangel has been subjected to repeated attacks based on allegations that he committed errors in complex financial disclosure and tax filings,” the CBC members told Pelosi. “Out of respect for the integrity of the House, Chairman Rangel himself asked the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to conduct a thorough investigation of any possible errors, and he has demonstrated his cooperation with such an investigation by hiring on his own initiative an accountant to thoroughly review all his records and file corrections when necessary.”

The Committee on Standards is currently conducting its review, and will present its findings to the House when its review is completed,” they continued “This is as it should be.”

Republicans argue that members should not to be held to a different standard than average citizens when it comes to accounting for all of their income on their tax returns. Rangel has already admitted to some of the tax violations and financial disclosure omissions – and that alone should force him from the tax-writing committee, they argue.

CBC is a disgrace

Betrayal: Obama focusing on al-Qaida, not Taliban

Talked about this last night, this is one of the stupidest things anyone could have come up with in dealing with Afghanistan and the entire premise success hinges on how stupid Obama think the American people are to swallow this garbage.

President Barack Obama is prepared to accept some Taliban involvement in Afghanistan's political future and appears inclined to send only as many more U.S. troops as needed to keep al-Qaida at bay, a senior administration official said Thursday.

The sharpened focus by Obama's team on fighting al-Qaida above all other goals, while downgrading the emphasis on the Taliban, comes in the midst of an intensely debated administration review of the increasingly unpopular eight-year-old war.

Though aides stress that the president's final decision on any changes is still at least two weeks away, the emerging thinking suggests that he would be very unlikely to favor a large military increase of the kind being advocated by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

No way he would agrees to sending more troops to win the war considering his own leftist views on the military and his supporters in the Dem who would like nothing more than the American military retreating.

This is Obama betraying the troops and the mission thinking giving the Taliban some land would keep them quiet. How Neville Chamberlain of him.

Obama's developing strategy on the Taliban will "not tolerate their return to power," the senior official said in an interview with The Associated Press. But the U.S. would fight only to keep the Taliban from retaking control of Afghanistan's central government — something it is now far from being capable of — and from giving renewed sanctuary in Afghanistan to al-Qaida, the official said.

The official is involved in the discussions and was authorized to speak about them but not to be identified by name because the review is still under way.

Bowing to the reality that the Taliban is too ingrained in Afghanistan's culture to be entirely defeated, the administration is prepared, as it has been for some time, to accept some Taliban role in parts of Afghanistan, the official said. That could mean paving the way for Taliban members willing to renounce violence to participate in a central government — though there has been little receptiveness to this among the Taliban. It might even mean ceding some regions of the country to the Taliban.

Didn't Pakistan try this with tribal groups and it blew up in their face just like everyone said it would because the same lessons apply here. You can't cede regions to the Taliban as it would give them staging areas for attacks on the rest of the country, it would give Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups free sanctuary to regroup and stage more attacks as well.

You can't just keep your enemy at bay, you have to defeat him. This is a plan that will lead to defeat of coalition forces. I can't believe Obama would even think it even with his beta male tendencies much less agree with this plan. It will make matters much worse for everyone in the region.

Via Hot Air.

To meditate on while you watch, a new poll from Gallup/USA Today finds that 48 percent want more troops in Afghanistan, 38 percent want fewer troops, and just seven percent want to keep the number as is — which of course is what the Obama plan is shaping up to be. It’s one thing to lose men when you’re trying to win the war, it’s another to lose the war but save Americans’ lives in withdrawing, but it’s something else entirely to keep men in the line of fire with no hope of victory. And yet, here we are.

Exactly. My point is Obama wants to get out, but he can't cut and run like the Dems want him too, but he won't increase troops and try to win the war, so in a political calculation, this is what it is, he is leaving the status quo in troop level, making the situation worse until he can snarkly claim the public wants us out and use them as his excuse since he can't man up.

Dems ready to give us a second stimulus bill.

Porkulus II or III? Of course now they are looking at tax cuts which would be great if they had done this the first time instead of printing hundreds of billions of dollars for every other "stimulus" bill this year.

Confronted with big job losses and no sign the U.S. economy is ready to stand on its own, Democrats are working on a growing list of relief efforts, leaving for later how to pay for them, or whether even to bother.

Proposals include extending and perhaps expanding a popular tax credit for first-time home buyers, and creating a new credit for companies that add jobs. Taken together, the proposals look a lot like another economic stimulus package, though congressional leaders don't want to call it that.

Democratic leaders in Congress and the White House say they have no appetite for another big spending package that adds to the federal budget deficit, which hit a record $1.4 trillion for the budget year that ended last week.

But with unemployment reaching nearly 10 percent, many lawmakers are feeling pressure to act. Some of the proposals come from the Republicans' playbook and focus on tax cuts, even though they, too, would swell the deficit.

Iran helping Taliban, Obama muzzles military officers.


U.S. military officials have told CBS News that Iran is sending money and weapons onto the Afghan battlefield. But U.S. commanders are not allowed to comment publicly and it's unclear to them what the U.S. strategy is for dealing with Iran's increasingly deadly involvement.

The deadliest form of roadside bomb on the Iraqi battlefield - explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) - is now being found in Afghanistan.

Lethal armor piercing bombs that can slice through U.S. humvees are also an Iranian specialty.

More worrying still: U.S. intelligence believes Iran is supplying surface to air missiles to the Taliban - the very same weapon the U.S. supplied to the Afghan resistance to bring down the Russians.

"We are losing this war every day," said Bruce Reidel, with Brookings.

Reidel led the Obama Administration's strategy review of Afghanistan and Pakistan earlier this year. But he's also worried about Iran.

"It's clear that U.S.-Iranian relations now are going to go into an increasingly difficult period," Reidel said. "If I was sitting in Teheran, I'd be looking for the place where you could hurt the Americans the most and that's Obama's war right next door in Afghanistan."

New Doctor Who logo

I like, now where is the t-shirt?

Still a bit meh on the new guy

French minister Mitterrand admits Paying Young Asian Boys for Sex

Well that explains his full throated defense of Roman Polanski.

The French culture minister, Frédéric Mitterrand, last night faced calls for his resignation over an autobiography published four years ago in which he described paying "young boys" for sex while travelling abroad.

Mitterrand was the first major political figure to leap to the defence of the film director Roman Polanski when he was arrested in Switzerland last month facing deportation to the United States for having had sex with a 13-year-old girl there in 1977.

Mitterrand's impassioned comments in support of Polanski, who had initially faces charges of rape, and against an "a frightening America", were controversial and the French government eventually distanced itself.

But Mitterrand's critics on the political extreme right and the left have now questioned his suitability for office over his self-confessed penchant for "young boys" in Bangkok.

In his bestselling autobiographical work, The Bad Life, published in 2005, Mitterrand describes travelling round Thailand, confessing: "I got into the habit of paying for boys".

He wrote of his attraction to young male prostitutes despite knowing "the sordid details" of the sex trade. "All these rituals of the market for youths, the slave market excited me enormously ... the abundance of very attractive and immediately available young boys put me in a state of desire."

House Dems protect tax cheat Rangel yet again.

I am waiting for the CBC to play the race card as usual. Disappointing that some GOPers actually sided with this deadbeat.

Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) sat stone-faced as the House chamber buzzed around him, preparing to vote on a measure that could partly undo his almost four decades of work in Congress.

As Republicans pressed their attempt to remove him from his perch as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Democrats stood by Rangel -- who is under investigation for a series of alleged violations that include improperly occupying several rent-controlled New York City apartments and not disclosing a laundry list of income and assets -- and deflected the measure to committee.

They have stuck with Rangel repeatedly as the list of charges against him has grown, resisting any temptation to push aside a popular fixture in the party who helped found the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971. They have done so despite vows from Republicans to continue to force them to go on the record in defense of their colleague. But the issue carries complications for both parties.

Instead of full-throated defenses of Rangel, House Democrats measured their comments. Asked whether the controversy would have any negative impact on his party, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, sidestepped the question, saying that "the issue is making sure there is a fair process."

Some Republicans, meanwhile, chafed at the sharp rhetoric aimed at Rangel, a jovial lawmaker who has many friends in both parties and is in a position to dole out favors on both sides of the aisle.

"There are some serious issues," said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), who voted with the Democrats on Wednesday and said he was not ready to call for Rangel to give up his chairmanship. "But from what I know, there was no malice or malfeasance. He's a war hero, he's been here for 40 years, he's a decent guy."

The Republican-sponsored resolution said Rangel was unfit to serve as the chairman of the powerful committee that writes tax laws while he remains under investigation. Democrats blocked the move, sending the resolution by Rep. John Carter (Tex.) to the ethics committee and saying Congress should not act until that panel completes its investigation.

Illinois $3 Billion dollars in unpaid bills

How exactly was was this state going to pay for the Olympics if they can't pay their own bills?

The State of Illinois' pile of unpaid bills has grown to a record-breaking $3 billion. Comptroller Dan Hynes said Tuesday it's never before been this bad at this point in any previous fiscal year. CBS 2 Political Editor Mike Flannery reports that some social service agencies that rely heavily on state reimbursement warn they will soon be forced out of business.

While the General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene next week in Springfield, no one's even pretending to offer a comprehensive solution to the unprecedented budget disaster. Democrats and Republicans, the governor and legislative leaders all insist that must wait until next year.

Late Tuesday, Mayor Daley described Chicago's revenue situation as "very serious."

Because local governments receive a proportionate share of state revenues, including taxes on income and sales, they face the same problems the State of Illinois does.

UK: Public unrealistic thinking Police will put themselves in danger.

The wussification of UK's society continues as it spreads even more to the police. This is highly insulting to UK police officers who do put themselves in danger everyday by choice to protect the public.

The public have ' unrealistic expectations' that police will put themselves in danger to protect ordinary people, according to new safety guidelines for officers.

The Health and Safety Executive caused outrage by declaring that officers confronted with dangerous situations-while fighting crime or trying to guard the public 'may choose not to put themselves at unreasonable risk'.

Its guidance published yesterday firmly plays down the need for officers to show bravery in the course of their duty if they make a 'personal choice' not to.

It states: 'There is often an unrealistic public expectation that officers and staff will put themselves at risk to protect the public.'

The document concedes that 'very occasionally in extreme cases', police may be justified in putting themselves in jeopardy - in which case they may be let off without being prosecuted under health and safety laws.

The report - which has the backing of senior police chiefs - prompted anger and astonishment last night.

NFL demands new stadium in South Florida or no more Super Bowls.

Good timing... middle of a recession and cuts in critical services in all sectors of the economy is a good time to spit on a region to demand a new stadium. How about the NFL which is making good money contribute towards it? Then people will talk ytou wretched SOBs.

Three months before South Florida hosts a record 10th Super Bowl, a top football executive warned that a dated stadium might keep future championships away from the region.

Along with a roof to keep the rain out, Land Shark Stadium lacks the modern skyboxes, high-definition lighting and other amenities that can make a Super Bowl more lucrative for the National Football League, Frank Supovitz, the NFL's senior vice president of events, told a business group Wednesday.

``You have to look at what the other cities are offering in terms of comfort,'' Supovitz told the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Two years ago, a February storm drenched Super Bowl XLI in Miami Gardens -- the kind of hassle that Supovitz noted he won't have to worry about with the host cities in 2011 and 2012.

``I'm not going to have anyone rained on in North Texas,'' Supovitz said, referring to the Dallas Cowboys' new $1 billion stadium.

``They're not going to get rained on in Indianapolis.''

One veteran of South Florida's Super Bowl bids noted privately that the NFL frequently issues similar warnings as it pushes the region to offer a more generous bid.

Army chaplains: American troops losing heart in Afghanistan.

A lack of solid leadership and firm decision making are also contributing to the mess. The left is going to take heart with this report. This is what happens when political decisions take a more important stance than the actual facts on the ground.

American soldiers serving in Afghanistan are depressed and deeply disillusioned, according to the chaplains of two US battalions that have spent nine months on the front line in the war against the Taleban.

Many feel that they are risking their lives — and that colleagues have died — for a futile mission and an Afghan population that does nothing to help them, the chaplains told The Times in their makeshift chapel on this fortress-like base in a dusty, brown valley southwest of Kabul.

“The many soldiers who come to see us have a sense of futility and anger about being here. They are really in a state of depression and despair and just want to get back to their families,” said Captain Jeff Masengale, of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Infantry Battalion.

“They feel they are risking their lives for progress that’s hard to discern,” said Captain Sam Rico, of the Division’s 4-25 Field Artillery Battalion. “They are tired, strained, confused and just want to get through.” The chaplains said that they were speaking out because the men could not.

The base is not, it has to be said, obviously downcast, and many troops do not share the chaplains’ assessment. The soldiers are, by nature and training, upbeat, driven by a strong sense of duty, and they do their jobs as best they can. Re-enlistment rates are surprisingly good for the 2-87, though poor for the 4-25. Several men approached by The Times, however, readily admitted that their morale had slumped.

“We’re lost — that’s how I feel. I’m not exactly sure why we’re here,” said Specialist Raquime Mercer, 20, whose closest friend was shot dead by a renegade Afghan policeman last Friday. “I need a clear-cut purpose if I’m going to get hurt out here or if I’m going to die.”

Sergeant Christopher Hughes, 37, from Detroit, has lost six colleagues and survived two roadside bombs. Asked if the mission was worthwhile, he replied: “If I knew exactly what the mission was, probably so, but I don’t.”

Used car prices climb to record high in September

Thanks cash for clunkers for screwing up another market.

Used vehicle prices shot to an all-time high last month, spurred by falling inventories, according to a closely watched barometer of the second-hand car business.

For those in the market for a used car, that's not necessarily bad news, said Tom Webb, chief economist at Manheim Consulting, which produces the index of the used car market. That's because the value of trade-in vehicles are fetching record prices, he said.

But those buying their first car or who aren't looking to trade in a vehicle will find themselves stuck paying the higher price, Webb said.

The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index rose 6.9% in September to a record high of 118.5. The index is adjusted for vehicle mix and seasonality. A value of 100 represents used vehicle prices in January 1995.

The index reflects the wholesale, or trade-in, value of vehicles. But Webb said retail prices move "pretty much in lockstep" with wholesale values.

The main driver behind higher used car prices is falling wholesale vehicle supply, Webb said. This summer's wildly popular cash for clunkers program sent new vehicle sales soaring, taking dealers by surprise and clearing out inventories.

Even though new car sales dropped off in September, auto factories struggled to catch up and inventories remained low.

In addition, he blamed falling vehicle turnover from rental car companies, many of whom have taken a beating in the economic recession.

"There's a lack of wholesale supply" in the market, Webb said in an interview.

The trend is unlikely to continue for much longer, he said. Toward the end of the month, second hand car prices began to level off due to falling demand, he said. Used car sales fell 14% in September, he said, citing a study by CNW Research.

Obama's team focuses on Al Qaeda, less on the taliban.

Obama is going to get painted in a corner with this stupid angle if he goes along with it. Even Hillary realizes this would be stupid.

President Obama’s national security team is moving to reframe its war strategy by emphasizing the campaign against Al Qaeda in Pakistan while arguing that the Taliban in Afghanistan do not pose a direct threat to the United States, officials said Wednesday.

As Mr. Obama met with advisers for three hours to discuss Pakistan, the White House said he had not decided whether to approve a proposed troop buildup in Afghanistan. But the shift in thinking, outlined by senior administration officials on Wednesday, suggests that the president has been presented with an approach that would not require all of the additional troops that his commanding general in the region has requested.

It remains unclear whether everyone in Mr. Obama’s war cabinet fully accepts this view. While Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has argued for months against increasing troops in Afghanistan because Pakistan was the greater priority, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have both warned that the Taliban remain linked to Al Qaeda and would give their fighters havens again if the Taliban regained control of all or large parts of Afghanistan, making it a mistake to think of them as separate problems.

Moreover, Mr. Obama’s commander there, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, has argued that success demands a substantial expansion of the American presence, up to 40,000 more troops. Any decision that provides less will expose the president to criticism, especially from Republicans, that his policy is a prescription for failure.

The White House appears to be trying to prepare the ground to counter that by focusing attention on recent successes against Qaeda cells in Pakistan. The approach described by administration officials on Wednesday amounted to an alternative to the analysis presented by General McChrystal. If, as the White House has asserted in recent weeks, it has improved the ability of the United States to reduce the threat from Al Qaeda, then the war in Afghanistan is less central to American security.

In reviewing General McChrystal’s request, the White House is rethinking what was, just six months ago, a strategy that viewed Pakistan and Afghanistan as a single integrated problem. Now the discussions in the White House Situation Room, according to several administration officials and outsiders who have spoken with them, are focusing on related but separate strategies for fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The point of also fighting the Taliban is they gave refugees to AL Qaeda and other groups before the war and are also helping to destablize Pakistan. You can't separate the two thinking you are going to win, if you intend to win which is something I don't see from Obama.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Obama rejects 'Biden option' on Afghanistan

Even a blind squirrel can find a nut sometimes.

President Obama has made it clear to key congressional power-brokers that his administration's rethink of US military strategy in Afghanistan will not see a significant reduction of troop numbers and a narrower counter-terrorist focus on al-Qaeda.

Mr Obama met key Republican and Democrat leaders in the White House State Dining Room last night to discuss a request from his top commander on the ground for up to 40,000 extra troops to help defeat the Taleban insurgency.

The meeting, on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the first US air strikes against al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan, were an attempt to make clear that the decision Mr Obama faces is one that transcends normal party politics.

But the meeting produced a sharp exchange of views between Mr Obama and his former rival for the presidency, the Republican senator John McCain, who effectively accused the President of dithering while US troops remain under fire.

According to people at the meeting, Senator McCain told Mr Obama that he should not move at a "leisurely pace" while US commanders wait for a decision on troop levels. The comment drew a sharp response from the President, who replied that nobody felt more urgency than he did about the war and there would be nothing leisurely about his decision.

Rejoice! CBO predicts health care bill will cost $829 billion

What people seem to be forgetting is this Baucus bill is like a car with no brakes, AC, engine or floor mats. Its a base bill that will have to mesh with the liberal Dems plan in the house, more amendments in the both House/Senate that will drive up the costs way more than being predicted.

A compromise health care proposal widely seen as having the best chance to win Democratic and Republican support would cost $829 billion over the next 10 years, nonpartisan budget analysts concluded Wednesday.

It also would reduce the federal deficit by more than $80 billion, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office.

The review of the Senate Finance Committee's amended bill sets the stage for the next step in the politically charged debate over health care reform. Committee members have been waiting for the Budget Office's cost analysis before voting on their version of the bill.

The Finance Committee is the last of five congressional panels to consider health care legislation before debate begins in the full House and Senate.

The Budget Office's analysis differs slightly from Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus' estimate. Baucus, a Montana Democrat, had said the revised bill would cost roughly $900 billion.

....Looking ahead to a potentially accelerated legislative process, top Senate Republicans on Wednesday introduced a resolution requiring all bills to be made public and subjected to a Budget Office cost analysis at least 72 hours before being brought to a vote.

The GOP leaders expressed concern that Democrats might eventually try to ram redrafted legislation through Congress with little or no debate.

Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, said he was "afraid that part of the strategy from the Obama administration and their allies on the health care bill is to change the target so quickly and to compress the debate time as we go down the path that there is not going to be full opportunity to digest the final version of what we're voting on."

For their part, Democratic congressional leaders are still wrestling with several divisive topics. Among other things, they have to decide how hard they want to push for a government-run public health insurance option.

Thats right people, this without the public option, its a blatant snow job to get this passed as THE BILL except that would be wrong.

Napolitano strips Arpaio of immigration authority

Napolitano finally gets to do what she couldn't do as governor. All in the name of protecting illegals.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has stripped Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of his authority to arrest suspected illegal immigrants based solely on their immigration status.

But Arpaio said Tuesday he plans to continue his controversial “crime suppression operations,” despite DHS’s decision to not renew an agreement that would allow the sheriff to continue immigration enforcement on the streets.

“It’s all politics,” said Arpaio, who spent much of an afternoon news conference Tuesday wagging his finger, waving his arms and snarling at reporters.

.....DHS, headed by former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, announced July 10 the agency was standardizing the agreements and giving police that were operating under previous agreements the option to either sign new ones or lose their authority.

The new agreements specify the priorities of DHS, one of which is to go after “criminal aliens” — illegal immigrants who have committed a state crime.

The local agencies would also have to “pursue all criminal charges that originally caused the offender to be taken into custody.”

DHS said that provision was included because there were concerns that police were using minor infractions to get illegal immigrants deported.

Dems going for public option with opt out poison pill

Its a simple repeat of the fight of stimulus dollars earlier in the spring where if states wanted federal dollars for unemployment they had to expand/lengthen their rolls. The idea here is make a public option with states being able to vote in or out which is a sham as the public would demand to opt in in their respective states.

Senate Democrats have begun discussions on a compromise approach to health care reform that would establish a robust, national public option for insurance coverage but give individual states the right to opt out of the program.

The proposal is envisioned as a means of getting the necessary support from progressive members of the Democratic Caucus -- who have insisted that a government-run insurance option remain in the bill -- and conservative Democrats who are worried about what a public plan would mean for insurers in their states.

....Another Democrat working on reform legislation added, "If everyone gets a plan, and states have to affirmatively vote, preferably by referendum, to opt out. I really don't see a lot of states opting out, for one. And, for two, you get your national [public plan] available everywhere. If a few holes start appearing, it's not nearly as fatal as if you went with the Carper plan, which after a few years might mean 10 or 20 [state-based] public options. If you go the other way, you'll probably have like 47 states. It's a big difference."

Slick move and with gutless opposition, it would be easy to fold states into a national plan.

Fed worries About Commercial Real Estate

This is the next segment of the real estate market that is going to collapse.

Banks in the U.S. "are slow" to take losses on their commercial real-estate loans being battered by slumping property values and rental payments, according to a Federal Reserve presentation to banking regulators last month.

The remarks suggest that banking regulators are girding for a rerun of the housing-related losses now slamming thousands of banks that failed to set aside enough capital during the boom to cushion themselves when the bubble burst. "Banks will be slow to recognize the severity of the loss -- just as they were in residential," according to the Fed presentation, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

A Fed official confirmed the authenticity of the document, prepared by an Atlanta Fed real-estate expert who is part of the central bank's Rapid Response program to spread information about emerging problem areas to federal and state banking examiners throughout the U.S.

While the Sept. 29 presentation by K.C. Conway doesn't represent the central bank's formal opinion, worries about the banking industry's commercial real-estate exposure have been building inside the Fed for months. "More pain likely lies ahead for this sector and for those banks with heavy commercial real estate exposures," New York Fed President Bill Dudley said in a speech Monday.

Australia's Kevin Rudd refuses to meet with Dalai Lama

I actually understand this stance better than Obama's because Rudd has his head stuck so far up China's ass he could clean tonsils with his tongue.

Kevin Rudd is refusing to meet the Dalai Lama when he visits Australia later this year because he's too weak to stand up to China, the Australian Greens say.

The prime minister this week confirmed he won't meet the exiled Tibetan leader in December.

"This will be the Dalai Lama's third visit to Australia in three years," the PM's office said on Friday.

"Last year the Dalai Lama was met by senior representatives of the government and that will also happen on this visit.

"The prime minister has met with the Dalai Lama in the past."

Their last meeting was in 2007 - when Mr Rudd was opposition leader.

Greens spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young says the government is kowtowing to Beijing.

"We need to see our prime minister actually sitting down with one of the world's most honoured advocates for human rights and justice," she said.

"Mr Rudd needs to be firm and strong enough to have a meeting with the Dalai Lama ... as two world leaders.

"The only understanding of this decision is his reluctance to upset the Chinese government."

Tom Shales: "...not sure a 13-year-old is really a 13-year-old"

Thus Shales joins Whoopi Goldberg for one of the most boneheaded quotes since Polanski got arrested. Patterico tears down Shales for minimizing then denying he did it of Polanski's rape case.

Adrien Brody to star in Predator remake...The hell.

Did Brody gain about 30 pounds of muscle and attitude because he is a poor sub for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In a surprise, Adrien Brody has been set by 20th Century Fox to play the heroic mercenary who battles alien hunters in "Predators," the reinvention of the "Predator" franchise that is being creatively spearheaded by Robert Rodriguez.

Brody will star with Alice Braga, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali and Louiz Ozawa.

Nimrod Antal is directing the film, production of which is about to get under way on location in Hawaii and at Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios in Austin, Texas. Fox has set "Predators" for release on July 9, 2010.

Though best known for his Oscar-winning turn in the Roman Polanski-directed "The Pianist," Brody is playing a character close to the one that Arnold Schwarzenegger did in the 1987 original. He's a mercenary who tries to keep his team alive when its members are hunted by the aliens.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Greg Craig to fall on the sword for Obama over Gitmo.

Forgot where I read it but someone pointed out that Obama's closing in a year promise on Gitmo was the result of hanging around the far left crowd and believing that mostly everyone there was some innocent.

Greg Craig, the top in-house lawyer for President Barack Obama, is getting the blame for botching the strategy to shut down Guantanamo Bay prison by January — so much so that he’s expected to leave the White House in short order.

But sources familiar with the process believe Craig is being set-up as the fall guy and say the blame for missing the deadline extends well beyond him.

Instead, it was a widespread breakdown on the political, legislative, policy and planning fronts that contributed to what is shaping up as one of Obama’s most high-profile setbacks, these people say.

The White House misread the congressional mood – as it found out abruptly in May, when the Senate voted 90-6 against funds for closing the base after Republicans stoked fears about bringing prisoners to the U.S. The House also went on record last week opposing bringing Gitmo detainees here.

The White House misread the public mood – as roughly half of Americans surveyed say they disagree with Obama’s approach. A strong element of NIMBY-ism permeates those results, as Americans say they don’t want the prisoners in their backyards.

But most of all Obama’s aides mistook that political consensus from the campaign trail for a deep commitment in Washington to do whatever it takes to close the prison.

“The administration came in reading there to be wide support for closing Guantanamo at home and abroad, and I think it misread that attitude,” said Matthew Waxman, a Columbia law professor who held Defense and State Department positions on detainee policy. “In general, they were right….but there was very little willingness to accept the costs and risks of getting it done.”

The White House declined to make Craig available for an interview, or discuss the Gitmo deliberations in detail, but several allies and even some critics scoffed at suggestions that Craig bears the main responsibility for the missteps.

“This clearly was a decision that had the full support of the entire national security team,” said Ken Gude, who tracks Guantanamo issues for the liberal Center for American Progress think tank. “It’s typical Washington that someone has their head on the chopping block, but it’s ridiculous that it’s Craig.”

“The implication that this was the brainchild of the White House counsel is not really credible,” said Elisa Massimino of Human Rights First.

Big Labor gains ground in the FAA.

Thanks Obama as if you couldn't squeeze more money out of taxpayers by having the unions control federal agencies.

WASHINGTON -- Labor is gaining clout inside the Federal Aviation Administration -- and hoping to do so elsewhere.

Late last month, the FAA signed a three-year deal with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association valued at $669 million. A new contract for Natca had been a top priority of the Obama administration after years of impasse in negotiations with the union that represents about 20,000 employees.

The deal will elevate the union's influence on aviation policy and signals a growing role for public-employee unions at other federal agencies.

Obama kills off funds for Iran Rights Watchdog Group.

Obama is bringing in his beta male tendencies to an alpha male job.

Nothing says pushover than cutting off funding to groups out to keep the Iranian government honest. This suck job to countries and regimes hostile to America is going to cause a blow back politically.

WASHINGTON - For the past five years, researchers in a modest office overlooking the New Haven green have carefully documented cases of assassination and torture of democracy activists in Iran. With more than $3 million in grants from the US State Department, they have pored over thousands of documents and Persian-language press reports and interviewed scores of witnesses and survivors to build dossiers on those they say are Iran’s most infamous human-rights abusers.

But just as the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center was ramping up to investigate abuses of protesters after this summer’s disputed presidential election, the group received word that - for the first time since it was formed - its federal funding request had been denied.

“If there is one time that I expected to get funding, this was it,’’ said Rene Redman, the group’s executive director, who had asked for $2.7 million in funding for the next two years. “I was sur prised, because the world was watching human rights violations right there on television.’’

Many see the sudden, unexplained cutoff of funding as a shift by the Obama administration away from high-profile democracy promotion in Iran, which had become a signature issue for President Bush. But the timing has alarmed some on Capitol Hill.

“The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center is at the forefront of pioneering and vitally important work,’’ said Senator Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, in a statement yesterday. “It is disturbing that the State Department would cut off funding at precisely the moment when these brave investigations are needed most.’’

Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington-based think tank, said, “It is a shock that they did not get funding.’’ A reason, he asserted, may be that “the Obama administration is so focused on engaging Iran that they don’t want this information to get in the way.’’

.....Obama officials have argued publicly for a less-confrontational approach than Bush, in the belief that the Bush administration’s vocal support for democracy activists made them targets in Iran and stirred up fears of regime change.

The Obama administration has emphasized other forms of assistance, such as aid for software programs that help activists communicate on the Internet anonymously. It also has continued funding for exchange programs. In the coming months, for instance, the administration hopes to bring Iranian lawyers to major cities in the United States, including Boston, to talk with American lawyers about their concept of law.

Formed by two exiled Iranians in 2004 with a $1 million grant from the State Department, the center made its home near Yale’s campus, where it attracted Yale law school professors to its board. The board also includes the dean of Harvard Law School, Martha Minow.

The group has published 12 reports in English and Persian about the forced confessions of detained bloggers and journalists, the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners, and the Iranian government’s campaign to assassinate dissidents abroad. Although the State Department has been the group’s main source of funds, the Canadian government granted it money to research human-rights abuses in the wake of the disputed election this year.

Currently, the group is working to develop a list of all those who were arrested following the election and a list of those responsible for alleged abuses in prison. But without additional funding, the group will shut down in May when its funding runs out, Redman said.

I can see why Obama wants this group dead, facts get in the way of a photo op.

Senate Dems put higher taxes in health care bill.

No surprise.

Congressional tax experts say Senate health care legislation would impose $29 billion more in taxes on health care industries than originally thought.

The Joint Committee on Taxation says drug companies, medical device manufacturers and insurers would pay $121 billion over 10 years as a result of taxes in the Senate Finance Committee bill.

That's compared with $92 billion originally calculated.

The tax experts said the reason for the change is that the companies won't be able to deduct the fees from their corporate income taxes.

The new numbers come Tuesday as the Finance Committee is preparing to vote on the bill and could bolster GOP arguments that it contains too many new taxes.

Obama sells out free speech to Muslim countries at UN.

All the things he could approve at the UN, he signs off on selling out free speech and expression for the sake of kissing up to the deplorable human rights council.

The U.N. Human Rights Council approved a U.S.-backed resolution Friday deploring attacks on religions while insisting that freedom of expression remains a basic right.

The inaugural resolution sponsored by the U.S. since it joined the council in June broke a long-running deadlock between Western and Islamic countries in the wake of the publication of cartoons depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

The resolution has no effect in law but provides Muslim countries with moral ammunition the next time they feel central tenets of Islam are being ridiculed by Western politicians or media through "negative racial and religious stereotyping."

American diplomats say the measure — co-sponsored by Egypt — is part of the Obama administration's effort to reach out to Muslim countries.

"The exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression is one of the essential foundations of a democratic society," the resolution states, urging countries to protect free speech by lifting legal restrictions, ensuring the safety of journalists, promoting literacy and preventing media concentration.

....Others warned that the resolution appears to protect religions rather than believers and encourages journalists to abide by ill-defined codes of conduct.

"Unfortunately, the text talks about negative racial and religious stereotyping, something which most free expression and human rights organizations will oppose," said Agnes Callamard, executive director of London-based group Article 19.

"The equality of all ideas and convictions before the law and the right to debate them freely is the keystone of democracy," she said.

How much did Obama and the state department give in to Islamic members?

The Obama administration decided that a revamped freedom of expression resolution, extracted from Canadian hands, would be an ideal emblem for its new engagement policy. So it cosponsored a resolution on the subject with none other than Egypt--a country characterized by an absence of freedom of expression.

Privately, other Western governments were taken aback and watched the weeks of negotiations with dismay as it became clear that American negotiators wanted consensus at all costs. In introducing the resolution on Thursday, October 1--adopted by consensus the following day--the ranking U.S. diplomat, Chargé d'Affaires Douglas Griffiths, crowed:

"The United States is very pleased to present this joint project with Egypt. This initiative is a manifestation of the Obama administration's commitment to multilateral engagement throughout the United Nations and of our genuine desire to seek and build cooperation based upon mutual interest and mutual respect in pursuit of our shared common principles of tolerance and the dignity of all human beings."

His Egyptian counterpart, Ambassador Hisham Badr, was equally pleased--for all the wrong reasons. He praised the development by telling the Council that "freedom of expression . . . has been sometimes misused," insisting on limits consistent with the "true nature of this right" and demanding that the "the media must . . . conduct . . . itself in a professional and ethical manner."

Malawian uses wind to power hope, electrify village

How can you not respect this and where is the movie.

William Kamkwamba dreamed of powering his village with the only resource that was freely available to him.

His native Malawi had gone through one of its worst droughts seven years ago, killing thousands. His family and others were surviving on one meal a day. The red soil in his Masitala hometown was parched, leaving his father, a farmer, without any income.

But amid all the shortages, one thing was still abundant.


"I wanted to do something to help and change things," he said. "Then I said to myself, 'If they can make electricity out of wind, I can try, too.'"

Kamkwamba was kicked out of school when he couldn't pay $80 in school fees, and he spent his days at the library, where a book with photographs of windmills caught his eye.

"I thought, this thing exists in this book, it means someone else managed to build this machine," he said.

Armed with the book, the then-14-year-old taught himself to build windmills. He scoured through junkyards for items, including bicycle parts, plastic pipes, tractor fans and car batteries. For the tower, he collected wood from blue-gum trees.

"Everyone laughed at me when I told them I was building a windmill. They thought I was crazy," he said. "Then I started telling them I was just playing with the parts. That sounded more normal."

That was 2002. Now, he has five windmills, the tallest at 37 feet. He built one at an area school that he used to teach classes on windmill-building.

The windmills generate electricity and pump water in his hometown, north of the capital, Lilongwe. Neighbors regularly trek across the dusty footpaths to his house to charge their cellphones. Others stop by to listen to Malawian reggae music blaring from a radio.

....Former Associated Press correspondent Bryan Mealer, who covered Africa, wrote a book, "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," after hearing Kamkwamba's story. The book was released in the United States last week.

Mealer, a native of San Antonio, Texas, said he lived with Kamkwamba in his village for months to write the book. The story was a refreshing change after years of covering bloody conflicts in the region, Mealer said.

Kamkwamba is part of a generation of Africans who are not waiting for their governments or aid groups to come to their rescue, according to the author.

"They are seizing opportunities and technology, and finding solutions to their own problems," Mealer said. "One of the keys of his success is ... he's never wanted to rest on his laurels."

Obama officially snubs the Dalai Lama for China.

This was reported back a couple of weeks ago that Obama would not meet with the Dalai Lama when he came to Washington and didn't make much waves till now.

President Barack Obama was facing criticism he succumbed to Chinese pressure as the Dalai Lama opened his first visit to Washington in nearly two decades without a presidential meeting.
Tibet's exiled spiritual leader was set Tuesday to receive an award at the US Capitol complex a day after arriving for a week-long visit to the US capital that will also feature sold-out public talks on spirituality.

But for the first time since 1991, when the globetrotting Buddhist monk held his first presidential meeting with George H.W. Bush, the White House declined talks with the Nobel Peace laureate.

.....In an editorial Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal was aghast that Obama was willing to offend China by imposing tire tariffs but not meeting "a religious leader who has long been a friend to the US and an advocate of human rights."

"Perhaps the administration is hoping for a return favor from Beijing for snubbing the man Chinese leaders label a 'splittist' and a 'wolf in sheep's clothing,'" the conservative newspaper said.

"But rewarding China's bullying only encourages such tactics," it said.

This is just another notch in Obama spits on his allies while sucking up to enemies or frenemies.

Apple quits Chamber of Commerce over Obama's greenhouse gases policy.

If you think about it this is hysterical funny.

On Monday, Apple resigned from the Chamber "effective immediately" over the organization's opposition to the Obama administration's environmental policies.

"We strongly object to the Chamber’s recent comments opposing the EPA’s effort to limit greenhouse gases," wrote Apple government affairs vice-president Catherine Novelli to Tom Donohue, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. "Apple supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and it is frustrating to find the Chamber at odds with us in this effort." (link)

The move follows similar — if not quite so harshly framed — moves by Nike (NKE), Pacific Gas & Electric, PNM Resources (PNM) and Exelon (EXC).

In recent weeks, Apple has made a concerted effort to reposition itself as environmental leader. Steve Jobs even gave BusinessWeek a rare interview to push his green agenda.

Given that Apple makes it products over in China with the worst enviro policy and no gas limits and Foxconn who makes the iPod was shown in 2006 to run the sweatshop of all sweatshops and groups accuse them in 2009 of the same charges. I think Steve Jobs is talking big and doing nothing.

Monday, October 5, 2009

(Video) David Letterman says sorry to wife and staff.

Can we stop making Letterman anything but a victim of his own stupidity? The blackmailer should be put away but the reports of people feeling so sorry for Letterman shows a lack of values and common sense among some of his fans.

Letterman's position as the boss put any relationship with female staffers especially interns in an area where it becomes a question did he use his position for sexual favors.

But when it comes to workplace behavior, the law cuts celebrity bosses no slack.

"This is terrible, no matter who it is," says Deb Keary of the Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria, Va. "The supervisor is putting the subordinate in a bad position. They're putting everybody in their department in a bad position because of possible favoritism." And "if the relationship goes south, the company can be sued for sexual harassment."

Independent: The demise of the Dollar.

Somehow I don't see Obama in a big rush to defend the dollar or try to fix the problem because it goes against his multicultural/national world view.

In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.

The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.

WSJ - Iran's Big Victory in Geneva

Via John Bolton, yet another blunder by Obama and smart move by Iran who delays again taking away the threat of sanctions.

The most widely touted outcome of last week's Geneva talks with Iran was the "agreement in principle" to send approximately one nuclear-weapon's worth of Iran's low enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia for enrichment to 19.75% and fabrication into fuel rods for Tehran's research reactor. President Barack Obama says the deal represents progress, a significant confidence-building measure.

In fact, the agreement constitutes another in the long string of Iranian negotiating victories over the West. Any momentum toward stricter sanctions has been dissipated, and Iran's fraudulent, repressive regime again hobnobs with the U.N. Security Council's permanent members.

Obama furious at General McChrystal for calling him out.

10 Troops died over the weekend in Afghanistan and the death toll and fighting is getting higher and hotter. I would be pissed if there wasn't military officers looking out for their troops getting angry at the deliberate slow pace of the White House and especially Obama in talking about what strategy should be used now.

According to sources close to the administration, Gen McChrystal shocked and angered presidential advisers with the bluntness of a speech given in London last week.

The next day he was summoned to an awkward 25-minute face-to-face meeting on board Air Force One on the tarmac in Copenhagen, where the president had arrived to tout Chicago's unsuccessful Olympic bid.

Gen James Jones, the national security adviser, yesterday did little to allay the impression the meeting had been awkward.

Asked if the president had told the general to tone down his remarks, he told CBS: "I wasn't there so I can't answer that question. But it was an opportunity for them to get to know each other a little bit better. I am sure they exchanged direct views."

An adviser to the administration said: "People aren't sure whether McChrystal is being naïve or an upstart. To my mind he doesn't seem ready for this Washington hard-ball and is just speaking his mind too plainly."

Critics also pointed out that before their Copenhagen encounter Mr Obama had only met Gen McChrystal once since his appointment in June.

I am convinced that Obama and the Dems are playing a political game with American troops in Afghanistan to sap away any and all support from winning against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. If Obama actually gave a damn about the war and the troops you would think he would meet with the General a lot longer than 25 mins which is way shorter than the time he took to talk up an Olympic Bid.

As Instapundit points out, remember when it was good to listen to the Generals?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Reports - Obama's arrogance turned off the IOC

Via Gateway Pundit, a couple of stories that fall in line with what I and others are saying about Obama just flying in like black jesus thinking the IOC would be dazzled by him and Michell Obama.

George Will says the same.

Obama pushing for public option behind the scenes.

Not surprising he would say he is open to everything and the public option was not a cornerstone of Obamacare in public but in private twisting arms.

But now, senior administration officials are holding private meetings almost daily at the Capitol with senior Democratic staff to discuss ways to include a version of the public plan in the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to bring to the Senate floor later this month, according to senior Democratic congressional aides…

At the same time, Obama has been reaching out personally to rank-and-file Senate Democrats, telephoning more than a dozen lawmakers in the last week to press the case for action…

“The challenge is to go to the (Senate) floor, hold the deal,” said Steve Elmendorf, a lobbyist who was chief of staff to former House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt. But “they are more involved than people think. They have a plan and a strategy, and they know what they want to get and they work with people to get it.”…

He has met repeatedly in private with Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who has floated a proposal to allow states to set up government plans as a fallback if commercial insurers do not control premiums.

That is a sucker's plan because once you require people to pay for health insurance or you may go to jail, insurance companies forced to take everyone and Obama puts in requirements making it impossible to price low rates, the public option will come into plan. Not to mention who will decide if the premiums are too high? The government.

Obama is a lover of the single payer and government controlled health care. This is his slow calculated way of destroying the private sector to make it happen.

Some Muslim students object to Danish Cartoonist Yale Invite.

Some of these students not exactly doing the be open to everything college mantra.

Heavy security greeted two separate discussions at Yale University Thursday about cartoons depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, sparking local discussions about academic freedom, religious sensitivity and political manipulation.

Jytte Klausen, author of “The Cartoons that Shook the World” published by Yale University Press, spoke in the evening, while the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, whose image of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban set off violent reactions three years ago, was a guest of a Yale residential college master earlier in the day. The events were planned separately.

None of those interviewed took issue with Westergaard’s First Amendent right to create his cartoons, and some even thought the Yale Press should have published the cartoons in Klausen’s book.

They were upset, however, with Branford College Master Stephen Smith’s invitation to Westergaard to speak at a master’s tea, generally low-key affairs often open to the public and held in the master’s residential college home.

Because of the controversy surrounding the cartoons, the talk was moved to the larger site with very tight police security, limited mainly to Branford College residents, although 15 seats were held for Muslim students from throughout campus.

Salah Ahmed, 20, a junior, said free speech for Westergaard was a given, but not the invitation.

“Professor Smith is supposed to protect the students. Basically, by inviting a proven bigot, a proven hate monger, I don’t know what the professor was trying to do. I think the only point of inviting him here was to offend people. ... Why are we encouraging hate speech? It doesn’t make sense,” Ahmed said.

....Aminah Zabhab, 19, another sophomore. said there was no reason to bring Westergaard to the campus. “That kind of turns Yale into an environment that is hostile to many Muslim students,” she said.

....Representatives of the Yale chaplain’s office however, were upset with the decision. they said.

Standard boilerplate response that reads as ridiculous as you think. Colleges are supposed to challenge your preception and at least grow you up a little. If Westergaard can change Yale to a hostile environment, then something is wrong with Yale not him. Catering to specfic religions or group needs to stop these sort of ridiculous statements.

Why Lula won for Brazil while Obama didn't help America

Lula went the PM Tony Blair route of doing massive groundwork and talking to everyone over a period of time. Obama just strolled in like the rock star he thinks he is and failed. This is from Mike Lee who is the senior advisor to Rio 2016 and was director of communications for the London 2012 bid

There was a view in Olympic circles that South America had never had the Games because it wasn't capable of hosting them. If we had built the campaign only around going to South America for the first time, we would have lost. As the London team did, Rio had to combine the rational and the emotional, building a story that understood the context of the Olympic movement.

We didn't want to overplay, too early on, the fact it was a historic moment. Unless we could say Rio was ready then the other side of the campaign, which was all about passion, celebration and emotion, couldn't work.

We brought both sides together in our Copenhagen presentation with Brazilian president Lula, the governor of the Central Bank, Henrique Meirelles, and then the emotion of bid leader Carlos Nuzman (a former Olympian and head of Brazil's Olympic Committee).

Lula was absolutely crucial because, just like Tony Blair in the London campaign, he worked at this for two years. The reason we were never fazed about Obama coming was because we knew if he was coming, he was only flying in for the day. The message for heads of state that want to involve themselves in Olympic bids is that you have to commit yourself. Lula was amazing. He committed from every angle. He delivered financial guarantees, established cross-party support, worked with the governor and the mayor, raised the issue with other heads of state, wrote personally to every IOC member, went to Beijing, visited the London Olympic Park. This is what you have to do. Not just pitch up on the day.