Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eric Holder's DOJ allows ACORN to get taxpayer funding.

Did you really think that Obama or Holder would allow his favorite community organizing group to not suck on the public teat? This is the definition of Clinton's depend on what is is rationale.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has concluded that the Obama administration can lawfully pay the community group Acorn for services provided under contracts signed before Congress banned the government from providing money to the group.

The department’s conclusion, laid out in a recently disclosed five-page memorandum from David Barron, the acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, adds a new wrinkle to a sharp political debate over the antipoverty group’s activities and recent efforts to distance the government from it.

Since 1994, Acorn, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has received about $53 million in federal aid, much of it grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for providing various services related to affordable housing.

But the group has become a prime target for conservative critics, and on Oct. 1, President Obama signed into law a spending bill that included a provision that said no taxpayer money — including money authorized by previous legislation — could be “provided to” the group or its affiliates.

A Housing and Urban Development Department lawyer asked the Justice Department whether the new law meant that pre-existing contracts with Acorn should be broken. And in a memorandum signed Oct. 23 and posted online this week, Mr. Barron said the government should continue to make payments to Acorn as required by such contracts.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday: Walmart rules and I hope Target fails.

Target refused to price match on anything especially doorbuster sales(Looking at the $98 DS lite) unlike Walmart who price matched anything as long as you had the ad. Add to it the electronics department said sure we do price match but you have to go to the service desk to change it. Go there and they say no we don't pricematch. I pointed out you better tell the electronic department because they are sending people over here to pricematch.

This happened at two Target Stores, the second out of curiosity to see if it was a store wide policy or just an obnoxious manager irritated at the Walmart ad in my hand at the first one. So you have the left not knowing what the right hand is doing.

I headed out to the Sawgrass Mills Mall which any South Floridian knows is a freaking madhouse on Black Friday. It is the second most popular attraction behind Disney World in Florida.

It was busy but I doubt we will see any big uptick in sales because getting parking was easy around 10 AM. The sign if shopping is going crazy are cars parked on the grass swales around the parking lot. There was nothing.

Even Brandsmart despite opening at midnight usually is crazy and it seemed like a busy Saturday than a Black Friday sale from 2-3 years ago.

Just to head off people pointing out that I am whining. Well yes I am. Its Black Friday, its competition time, step up damn it. I don't care if you refuse to pricematch, Best Buy wouldn't either but they weren't obnoxious about it and everyone was on the same page about the policy unlike both Targets.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Australia: Muslim kids bullied my son over salami sandwich

Look like multicultural lessons are in order.

Andrew Grigoriou said yesterday he complained to the school and to police after his son Antonios was chased and later assaulted by Muslim students after a confrontation over the contents of his lunch.

Antonios, a Year 5 student of Greek-Australian background at Punchbowl Public School in Sydney's southwest, said he and a friend had to be locked inside the library for an hour after being chased by a group of Muslim boys offended by his choice of food while they were fasting.

The Grigoriou family said the following exchange took place:

Muslim student to Antonios: "Why are you eating ham, it's Ramadan?"

Antonios: "My mum packed this for lunch today."

Muslim student: "Don't eat that. How can you eat pig, it's disgusting."

During the confrontation a Muslim boy allegedly accused Antonios of saying: "F. . . the Muslims" but Antonios denied swearing.

Mr Grigoriou said he removed his son and a younger child from the school on Tuesday after the boy was punched in the eye and kicked in the legs by a Muslim student.

....Other parents also complained to The Daily Telegraph about bullying at the school and claimed victims received too little protection.

One said her 12-year-old son was scared to open his lunch box at school because he was harassed about what is in it. "He has been bullied from day one . . . about being a Christian and about the hot salami in his lunch," she said.

"My boy has a Greek background . . . the bullying is extreme.

"He has been called a fat pig and hit on the back with a stick."

Another mother said her young son refused to go on school excursions for fear he would be bashed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best Buy uproar over Eid al-Adha wishes in Black Friday Ad.

Now people are going to keep a close eye if Best Buy pulls a Happy Holiday or Merry Christmas switch and I don't think there is even a Happy Thanksgiving mention in the ad as well.

Best Buy stands by its decision to wish U.S. Muslims a Happy Eid Al-Adha, a rep for the company said, and though some Best Buy customers took offense, a Muslim advocacy group praised the move.The retailer got some flak this week for including, along with its circular advertising Thanksgiving Day sales, a note saying "Happy Eid Al-Adha," which refers to a holiday of sacrifice for followers of Islam on Nov. 27 this year.

After TechCrunch ran an item about the circular, some claimed offense and said they'd take their business elsewhere. "I spent about $3,000 with . . . your store. I will be shopping somewhere else," one consumer wrote on Best Buy's Web forum. "BB has the Muslims covered with the 'Happy Eid,' but what about the rest of us Americans?" wrote another. "Do we get a 'Happy Thanksgiving'?"

(The American Family Association, a Christian advocacy group, has singled out Best Buy for using "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." A Best Buy rep, however, didn't agree with the claim, saying: "You will see more of Christmas in our holiday messaging. Christmas will be included in our insert and online. We have 'Merry Christmas' on our gift cards, too. In addition. we have developed the Christmas Morning simulator as an online interactive game.")

NEA: Hell with children, we have power only for teachers.

A clear view of what the National Education Association is all about and its not the well being and teaching of children, just more power for the union thugs and their members that make a mockery of education every day.

It shows the top lawyer of the National Education Association, Bob Chanin, speaking at the NEA's annual meeting in July. Chanin was retiring. This was his swan song.

Chanin makes unmistakably clear what the highest priority is for the union. Hint: It's not the education of your kids.

Chanin closed his nearly 25-minute speech by explaining the influence of the NEA:

Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.

And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year, because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.

Oh, it gets more interesting.

This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary. These are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay.

Too high a price to pay for educated children. Chanin got wild applause from thousands of NEA members at the San Diego Convention Centerfor his remarks.

We tried for several days to get NEA officials to explain those remarks. We wanted to ask if the rest of the union leadership believed that kids ranked behind collective bargaining on the teacher priority list. We're still waiting to hear from them.

Britain denies Bowel cancer victims life-prolonging drug

Government rationing of healthcare, learn to love it.

Bowel cancer sufferers are to be denied a life-prolonging drug on the NHS which is available to patients across Europe and beyond.

Trials show Avastin can extend life by almost two years.

But the Government's rationing body, Nice, says it is not cost-effective.

Avastin, also known as bevacizumab, costs around £18,000 for a course of ten months' treatment given as intravenous infusion with chemotherapy.

The price is similar to that in other countries.

But the complex formula used by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which looks at quality of life and overall cost effectiveness, says the annual cost is £36,000.

This breaks the maximum limit set by Nice of £30,000 - a figure which has not changed in ten years despite inflation.

Dr Carole Longson, director of the health technology evaluation centre at Nice, said its decision was preliminary.

While it recognised that the drug 'may provide benefits in terms of clinical effectiveness', it concluded that 'the high cost of bevacizumab relative to the benefits it brings means that it is not a cost-effective use of NHS resources'.

Heather Ellis takes plea deal.

I forgot about this when it happened but she did take a plea deal that was offered to her a couple of years ago. The Daily Dunklin Democrat has the testimony of her and her cousin on the stand and she still comes off looking like an obnoxious I am better than you prick. But the whole 15 years in jail was overblown nonsense.

Zelaya says the US has thrown him to the curb.

I think about the time he started talking about mossad hitman is when Obama and company realized they backed the wrong horse to make an example.

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said Monday the United States has weakened efforts to reverse the coup that ousted him, while a U.S. envoy says his country has clearly opposed the ouster and will examine upcoming elections closely for fairness.

Zelaya told the Radio Globo station that the Nov. 29 presidential elections are an attempt to legitimize his ouster, and said "whoever is elected will be as illegitimate as (Roberto) Micheletti," the interim president who replaced him.

In an open letter to the presidents of the region, Zelaya called on the region's leaders "not to adopt ambiguous or imprecise positions like the one shown now by the United States, whose final position has weakened the effort to reverse the coup, illustrating the division in the international community."

But the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, said Monday that the elections "are not something invented by the de-facto government as a way out or to clean up the coup."

Thatcher finally gets her portrait at 10 Downing Street.

About damn time, the Iron Lady still one of the best.

Eight more Somalis charged in Minn. terror probe

This is in connection with an alarming amount of young Somalis disappearing with some reappearing in Somalia fighting for the Islamists.

Federal authorities are due to unseal charges against eight new suspects in a long-running probe of young men who left the United States to fight in Somalia.
As many as 20 young Somali men have left Minnesota over the last two years and are believed to have joined the Somali terror group al-Shabab. At least three have died.

The charges announced Monday include accusations that the men provided financial support to those who traveled to the East Africa country to fight on behalf of al-Shabab and also fought on behalf of the group, which the U.S. has designated a terror organization.

Court records indicate that between September 2007 and October 2009, about 20 young men — all but one of Somali descent — left Minnesota for Somalia, where they are accused of training with al-Shabab to fight against Ethiopian forces. Prosecutors claim that while in Somalia, the young men were trained to use military weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, and tactics.

A total of 14 people — including the eight announced Monday — have been charged in the investigation. Four have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Seven are not in custody and are believed to be outside the United States.

Obama to announce 30,000 Afghan troop increase next week’

According to the Telegraph.

White House sources indicated that Mr Obama is preparing to address Americans in a live prime-time broadcast next Monday followed by testimony before Congress by senior figures such as his Pentagon chief Bob Gates.

The same sources said Mr Obama was close to deciding on an increase of between 30,000 and 35,000 more American troops in addition to the 68,000 currently in Afghanistan.

Gen Stanley McChrystal, commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, who requested some 44,000 troops in an August 31st document that was subsequently leaked, is expected to travel to Washington to tell Congress of his plans for the troops.

Mr Obama convened a group of senior officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mr Gates, at 8:13 pm. EST in the White House Situation Room.

The United States president has faced a growing chorus of criticism from hawks and others who have accused him of “dithering” and allowing the Afghan situation to deteriorate. White House officials insist he has been engaged in a process of serious deliberation that will prevent him repeating he mistakes of his predecessor George W. Bush.

"The delay is not cost-free," former vice president Dick Cheney told Scott Hennen, a conservative talk show host. "Every day that goes by raises doubts in the minds of our friends in the region about what you're going to do, raises doubts in the minds of the troops."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Adam Lambert's performance had to be a parody.

He had to be treating everyone as a big joke because that was godawful on so many levels. He really can't sing just scream. The vulgar acts people will be talking about was shock value for the sake of shock.

But what people are going to remember most is the guy cannot sing worth a damn.

Low Priced Hipster shirt = $78 dollars.

Reason #2939392 why the world hates Hipsters.

Zac Posen Launches Lower-Priced Line for Hipsters

Last week, Zac Posen cut the position of vice-president of communications. Rumors shortly followed of more layoffs at the company. Today, WWD announces Posen is launching a lower-priced line, an increasingly common business strategy for young designers in the recession.

So far Doo-Ri Chung, Thakoon Panichgul, and Richard Chai, among others, have launched lower-priced lines. Posen's main collection retails for the not-so-recession-friendly prices of $900 to $12,000, with custom pieces going for upwards of $20,000. The new collection, called "Z Spoke," starts at $78 for a T-shirt, and will launch exclusively at Saks with an aim to expand to other stores.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Newspaper circulation numbers may be shadier than you think.

Yeah, this is still massaging the numbers to make the newspaper industry look good. Bundled subscriptions shouldn't count as two since its just one set of eyeballs.

While U.S. newspapers are losing subscribers at a staggering rate, a few dailies stand out because their circulation is rising. But they aren't necessarily selling more copies.

Here's why: Since April 1, new auditing rules have made it easier for newspapers to count a reader as a paying customer.

These looser standards are especially helpful to a newspaper if it sells an "electronic edition." That can include a subscriber-only Web site, such as what The Wall Street Journal has, or it can be a digital replica of a newspaper's printed product. Several dozen publications, including USA Today, sell access to these daily "e-editions" that show how the news was laid out in print.

Under the new auditing standards, if a newspaper sells a "bundled" subscription to both the print and electronic editions, the publication is often allowed to count that subscriber twice.

If not for these rules, the industry's numbers would look even worse. Average weekday circulation at 379 U.S. newspapers fell 10.6 percent during the six months ending in September. That was the steepest decline ever recorded by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the organization that verifies how many people are paying to read publications.

Rising unemployment taxes "could" hinder hiring

It is insulting to put "could" in the headline because it absolutely will hurt hiring. It was pointed out what will happen in Florida earlier last week now the story touched on the nationwide effect.

As if small businesses needed another reason not to hire, consider their latest financial burden: The cost of rising unemployment itself.

Employers already are squeezed by tight credit, rising health care costs, wary consumers and a higher minimum wage. Now, the surging jobless rate is imposing another cost. It's forcing higher state taxes on companies to pay for unemployment insurance claims.

Some employers say the extra costs make them less likely to hire. That could be a worrisome sign for the economic recovery, because small businesses create about 60 percent of new jobs. Other employers say they'll cut or freeze pay.

• Chuck Ferrar, who owns a liquor store in Annapolis, Md., expects to pay $9,000 in unemployment taxes next year, up from $3,000 this year. Health care costs for his employees will rise by $8,000, or 17.5 percent. "When you start adding this up, it turns into real money," he said. "If I lose an employee through attrition, I will not replace him. You can't afford to do it."

• Sam Schlosser, owner of Plymouth Foundry Inc. in Plymouth, Ind., said his unemployment tax bill could double next year. Revenue at the family-owned company, which makes iron castings for machine parts, has fallen about 50 percent, he said. In case of higher taxes, his company may have to consider layoffs, he said.

• Marjorie Feldman-Wood, president of Al's Beverages in East Windsor, Conn., which makes soda fountain syrup, said higher taxes would make pay raises less likely. Connecticut is borrowing from the federal government, and employers fear the state will have to raise taxes soon to repay the loan. "There's only so much money at the end of the day," she said.

For comedic effect they quote a liberal think tank to try and discount the hurt that is coming for small businesses.

The tax increases will have "a small, negative effect on hiring" because they will raise employers' costs, said Wayne Vroman, an economist at the liberal Urban Institute.

They hope its a small effect but in reality in this economic climate unless changes are made for businesses to lower their costs from taxes, hiring will be hurt badly.

(Details) How Internet Porn is Changing Teen Sex

If you are under 30, this article makes you out to be clueless sexual morons who think a money shot is the way to end sex. If you are parent it will make you lock up your daughter and make you scared of their boyfriends.

The awkward truth, according to one study, is that 90 percent of 8-to-16-year-olds have viewed pornography online. Considering the standard climax to even the most vanilla hard-core scene today, that means there is an entire generation of young people who think sex ends with a money shot to the face. It's hard to pinpoint exactly where the age divide falls, but it's safe to say that the first purebred guinea pig to have grown up never knowing a world without fisting on demand is probably around 22 years old.

By the time they're in high school, America's porn-fed youth have already amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of smut. Seth Rogen, cowriter of Superbad—which features a now-classic scene of teenage boys graphically discussing hard-core sites—recently told me that one of his favorite pastimes is trolling porn message boards. "It's hilarious how much these kids know," Rogen says. "There'll be arguments like 'This is classified as gonzo, but I would say it's more of a feature-BDSM. Also, they say this clip is taken from Handjobs #8, but this scene was actually first featured in Killer Grips #7.'"

Rogen might as well have been talking about brothers Travis and Cody, typical 21-year-old college students in Florida who tell me there's one criterion at the top of their list when it comes to picking a fuck buddy. "Pubic hair is disgusting," Travis says. "Girls should keep their vaginas porn-star trim." Cody describes his first real-life ejaculate-to-the-face finale like this: "It was the happiest moment of my young life. There is just something about blowing a load in a chick's face that makes you feel like a man."

....But boys have always been perverts. Since a facial requires a female to receive it, the real story might be the apparent surge in the number of willing participants. In Immersion: Porn, a documentary by New York photographer Robbie Cooper, 22-year-old Lindsay sees the act as empowering to women. "Even if she has eight dicks on her face, she's still the queen of those eight dicks," she says. "I definitely like come on the face."

Any woman who thinks that is just warped and wrong but for some men sakes you just keep thinking you are being empowered instead of being just some communal bike.

Ladies and Gentlemen the future of America helped raised by online porn.

Doctor Who -The End of Time Clip

I am beginning to concur with the speculation that the Timelords are returning.

Wall St. Finds Profits by Reducing Mortgages paid by taxpayers.

In the end, nothing has really changed except more steps in the shell game especially by homeowners and other taxpayers who will end up paying for it.

As millions of Americans struggle to hold on to their homes, Wall Street has found a way to make money from the mortgage mess.

Investment funds are buying billions of dollars’ worth of home loans, discounted from the loans’ original value. Then, in what might seem an act of charity, the funds are helping homeowners by reducing the size of the loans.

But as part of these deals, the mortgages are being refinanced through lenders that work with government agencies like the Federal Housing Administration. This enables the funds to pocket sizable profits by reselling new, government-insured loans to other federal agencies, which then bundle the mortgages into securities for sale to investors.

While homeowners save money, the arrangement shifts nearly all the risk for the loans to the federal government — and, ultimately, taxpayers — at a time when Americans are falling behind on their mortgage payments in record numbers.

For instance, a fund might offer to pay $40 million for a $100 million block of mortgages from a bank in distress. Then the fund could arrange to have some of those loans refinanced into mortgages backed by an agency like the F.H.A. and then sold to an agency like Ginnie Mae. The trick is to persuade the homeowners to refinance those mortgages, by offering to reduce the amounts the homeowners owe.

The profit comes when the refinancings reach more than the $40 million that the fund paid for the block of loans.

The strategy has created an unusual alliance between Wall Street funds that specialize in troubled investments — the industry calls them “vulture” funds — and American homeowners.

But the transactions also add to the potential burden on government agencies, particularly the F.H.A., which has lately taken on an outsize role in the housing market and, some fear, may eventually need to be bailed out at taxpayer expense.

(WSJ) Japan's Anime Studios falling apart

Back in the 80's and 90's if you were into Anime you knew the drill of going to comic store to rent some 5th generation copy of whatever series you were watching and then copy that to have your own copy.

Over the years my interest fell because everything just started looking like a copy of everything else, involved way too many young girls with big saucer eyes or series that ripped off other series and repeated same storyline/situation with different characters. This behind the scenes pieces is just an updated version of what you heard among anime people for the last decade or so.

Anime, Japan's stylized animation that has become hugely popular around the world, helped reshape the country's image as a cultural trend-setter. But behind the scenes, things aren't so rosy.

Japan's animation industry is struggling. Anime workers are unhappy, toiling long hours at low pay. Sales have been declining. On top of that, there is fast-growing competition from across Asia. Studios in China and South Korea now churn out high-quality anime-style programs, helped by cheaper labor and, in some cases, government subsidies.

..In a nation once known for its manufactured goods, anime has grown into Japan's most popular cultural export, influencing animation artistry world-wide, with a following among adults as well as children. The anime movie "Spirited Away" won the 2002 Academy Award for best animated feature, and before that the Pokemon franchise was a television staple and box-office success in the U.S., not to mention a trading-card and merchandising frenzy.

A shrinking population of children in Japan has discouraged toy makers, television networks and other traditional sponsors from funding new programs. That has driven many anime studios—most of which are small shops—toward making animated soft porn and violent movies targeted at adult audiences. At the same time, YouTube and other free Internet services have hurt sales of DVDs. Sales of Japanese-made anime DVDs slid 18% from a year earlier to 72.8 billion yen (about $800 million) in 2008, after peaking at 93.7 billion yen in 2006, according to the Japan Video Software Association, a trade group.

Morale is low. Industry executives estimate nine out of 10 new workers quit within three years, with the many talented employees leaving for better-paying jobs in areas like videogames. A survey conducted this year for industry executives showed that animators in their 20s made just 1.1 million yen ($11,000) a year on average, while those in their 30s earned 2.1 million yen.

Its not just competition or youtube but just nothing fresh has come out of Japan in a long time to the perception of a lotta people. Its going to take a new talent doing something different to stop the decline.

Microsoft to pay news publishers to delist from Google?

This will raise some eyebrows but on the surface seems legal enough since the publishers would be paid to provide exclusive content to MS Bing. If newspaper publishers think being beholden to MS money bags is going to save an outdated business model they are nuts.

Microsoft has had discussions with News Corp over a plan that would involve the media company’s being paid to “de-index” its news websites from Google, setting the scene for a search engine battle that could offer a ray of light to the newspaper industry.

The impetus for the discussions came from News Corp, owner of newspapers ranging from the Wall Street Journal of the US to The Sun of the UK, said a person familiar with the situation, who warned that talks were at an early stage.

However, the Financial Times has learnt that Microsoft has also approached other big online publishers to persuade them to remove their sites from Google’s search engine.

News Corp and Microsoft, which owns the rival Bing search engine, declined to comment.

Thanks Eric Holder: 9/11 defendants want platform for views

We already know its a show trial given assurances from Holder and Obama they wouldn't be let go even if found not guilty. So the Holder is actually putting America and the last 8 years on trial as I discussed earlier and KSM with others are eager to provide the entertainment for Holder and Obama.

The five men facing trial in the Sept. 11 attacks will plead not guilty so that they can air their criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, the lawyer for one of the defendants said Sunday.

Scott Fenstermaker, the lawyer for accused terrorist Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, said the men would not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but "would explain what happened and why they did it."

The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier this month that Ali and four other men accused of murdering nearly 3,000 people in the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. will face a civilian federal trial just blocks from the site of the destroyed World Trade Center.

RI bishop asked Patrick Kennedy to avoid Communion

Good for him. Nice to know there are some members that actually have a spine and not turn into the buffet religionists.

A month of harsh words between Rep. Patrick Kennedy and a strident critic, Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin, escalated Sunday when the bishop acknowledged asking Kennedy not to receive Holy Communion because of the Democratic lawmaker's support for abortion rights.

Two weeks ago, after a planned meeting between the two fell through, Kennedy said he wanted to stop discussing his faith in public. But then he told The Providence Journal in a story published Sunday that Tobin instructed him not to receive Communion. He also claimed the bishop had told diocesan priests not to give him Communion. Kennedy and his spokespeople did not return repeated requests from the AP seeking comment.

Tobin said he wrote to Kennedy in February 2007 asking him not to receive Communion, but never formally banned Kennedy from receiving Communion or instructed any priest not to give it to him.

Kennedy said this month that he receives Communion, but he did not say whether his priest is in the Diocese of Providence. Tobin only has authority over priests in Rhode Island.

The bishop said he would probably not personally give Kennedy Communion and might have "a little conversation" with any priest who regularly gave Kennedy the sacrament.