Monday, February 28, 2005

Syria: More news about how deep Syria is in the know about the Iraqi insurgents.

"Saturday's Baghdad newspaper Al-Mada reported that Syria provided information that led Iraqi authorities to breaking up 35 insurgent cells in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and arresting some 750 suspected militants. The Syrians have a record of complying under pressure. "

and they just happen to "capture" and give up Saddam's half brother along with 29 of his friends. Syria is cashing in it's chips now to ease off the pressure, but it may be too late. Duplicity works when you are dealing with one party, bring in multiple parties(France, Iraq, Lebanon opposition, America) who are mad at you and it falls apart. They are trying to ease the pressure before it goes too far.


Sunday, February 27, 2005

Immigration: Malaysia starts their illegal immigration hunt tomorrow, while I am for clamping down on illegal immigrants, turning it into a nationwide running man contest is too much.

"More than 20,000 soldiers, police officers and immigration officials will be supported in Operation Firm by 300,000 volunteers who have been promised cash rewards for every illegal worker they apprehend or any Malaysian found harbouring them. "These migrants and their employers better be warned ... the crackdown is on and there is no turning back," the immigration enforcement chief, Ishak Mohamad, told Associated Press. More than 200 places - remote communities and forest areas - have been identified as likely hideouts to be searched in the first phase of the operation. The volunteers, who will get 80 ringgit (£11) for each person arrested, have been given the right to carry guns and to search properties without warrants. Wahyu Susilo, a coordinator for the Indonesian NGO Migrant Care - most of the illegal workers are Indonesian, told the Guardian: "We are worried it will get very nasty and very violent. "These guys are like poorly trained bounty hunters seeking comparatively huge rewards."


UK: BBC director Jana Bennett compares American Evangelicals to the Taliban in urging people to stand up to "lobby" groups. The Tories are mad because the BBC is running a film they claim shows the leftwing bias of the company close to an election.

"In the most robust defence yet of the BBC's right to air provocative programming, Ms Bennett will argue that it must not be swayed by mass organised protests. In the speech at St Anne's College, Oxford, she will refer to suggestions that many of the emailed protests may have come from abroad, arguing that "it is now easy for relatively small numbers of protesters to organise what may appear to be mass protests". To cave in to protests could lead to Britain following the example of America, where last year's moral outrage over the Janet Jackson "Nipplegate" scandal has led to television networks steering clear of shows that could offend vocal lobby groups, she will say. "American TV culture risks becoming polarised because American-style fundamentalists are activists in everything from media and politics to the books kids read in school. Giving these activists power to restrict freedom of expression is a slippery slope. "We have seen where it can lead," she will add, pointing to regimes such as the Taliban, which banned all television. "
Yep, I hear people like James Dobson and Pat Robertson wishing to ban all television and radio, shooting people in the middle of stadiums, supporting terrorist groups.


Lebanon: This is going to be interesting tomorrow.

"BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's Syrian-backed government has banned protests planned for Monday but a leading opposition figure vows demonstrations over the assassination of the country's former prime minister will go ahead regardless. Government and pro-Syrian loyalists also planned a demonstration in central Beirut. Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh called on security forces in a statement on Sunday "to take all necessary steps to preserve security and order and prevent demonstrations and gatherings on Monday". Opposition groups have called a protest at the central Martyrs Square by the grave of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri and a one-day strike to coincide with a parliamentary debate on a February 14 killing that for many recalled Lebanon's bitter 1975-90 civil war. Opposition deputies and many ordinary Lebanese have held Syria and the Lebanese authorities either directly or indirectly responsible for Hariri's death along with 17 other people in a car bombing. Damascus denies any role and has described Hariri's killing as terrorism. "


Syria: After the killing of Rafik al-Hariri , the Iraqi elections and international pressure, Syria is starting to realize they need to change their tactics.

"The Iraqi government did not give further details of Mr. Tikriti's arrest and did not mention whether American or other foreign forces had helped out, but The Associated Press, citing anonymous Iraqi officials, reported that Mr. Tikriti had been arrested in Syria with 29 other suspected insurgents and had been handed over to the Iraqis as a sign of good will. The Iraqi prime minister's office put out a terse statement saying Mr. Tikriti was involved in actions that "killed and tortured many Iraqi people." It also said that "it is worth mentioning that Sabawi has contributed in an active way in planning, supervising and carrying out a large number of terrorist attacks inside Iraq."
Power and the willingness to use that power will get you results, especially in the Middle East where diplomatic talk is considered a weakness, not a virtue. Captain's Quarters: "What did I tell you? With the wave of popular sentiment sweeping across Southwest Asia for democratic self-determination and pressure from both America and France to get out of Lebanon or else, Syria has decided to start playing nice with the new Iraqi government rather than protect Assad's political Ba'athist cousins. Ibrahim hardly made himself an asset to Assad anyway, and with all of the diplomatic heat coming down on Damascus, Assad has belatedly found the Iraqi Ba'athist leadership very disposable." John Cole: "Diplomatic niceties and nervous hand-wringing has never achieved results, particularly in the Middle East. The lowest level of motivation is compliance, and there are three criteria that must be met in order to achieve compliance from a party that does not otherwise wish to comply- concern, control, and scrutiny. "


Spy: CIA complaining that plane spotters are messing up their undercover operations and the laws on the book aren't helping.

"Intel sources say the CIA's own lawyers years ago decreed that under U.S. law the agency must register its aircraft—including their tail numbers and the front companies that own them—with public authorities like the FAA, even though this could provide clues to clandestine activity."
The solution would be to change the law, but the better one is try harder to conceal your operations a little better.


Russia: Putin may need to get out more or stop getting his news from democratic underground.

"PUTIN GRILLS BUSH ON DAN RATHER Sun Feb 27 2005 14:51:38 ET George Bush knew Vladimir Putin would be defensive when Bush brought up the pace of democratic reform in Russia in their private meeting at the end of Bush's four-day, three-city tour of Europe. But when Bush talked about the Kremlin's crackdown on the media and explained that democracies require a free press, the Russian leader gave a rebuttal that left the President nonplussed, TIME magazine will report on Monday. If the press was so free in the U.S., Putin asked, then why had those reporters at CBS lost their jobs? Bush was openmouthed. "Putin thought we'd fired Dan Rather," says a senior Administration official. "It was like something out of 1984." TIME's John Dickerson: The Russians did not let the matter drop. Later, during the leaders' joint press conference, one of the questioners Putin called on asked Bush about the very same firings, a coincidence the White House assumed had been orchestrated. The odd episode reinforced the Administration's view that Putin's impressions of America are often based on urban myths fed to him by ill-informed aides. "


UK: The French have a problem with how the Brits are fighting terrorists.

"Mr Marsaud, the founder of the Service Centrale de Lutte Anti-Terroriste, a service that brought together investigating magistrates, police, intelligence agents and government departments to fight terrorism, was withering about Britain's anti-terrorist record. Most egregious, he said, is the case of Rachid Ramda, who is believed to have been behind the Metro and train bombings that prompted the radical rethink in France. Ramda, who is being held in Belmarsh, edited the Al-Ansar (The Victorious) newspaper and was arrested in London, from where he allegedly plotted the attacks, shortly after they were carried out in 1995. The French maintain that he was the financier for the Algerian Armed Islamic Group, which claimed responsibility for the bombings. The court of appeal overruled the British Government's decision to extradite Ramda, based on his claim that the French information implicating him had been obtained by torture from other Algerian suspects. "I have to say for us French, your way of fighting terrorism is difficult to understand and the failure of Britain to extradite Ramda is an example of this," said Mr Marsaud. "Today, the British Government and British institutions are without doubt the most difficult for us to work with. There is easy cooperation between us and the Spanish, Germans, Italians and even the Americans. But with Britain it remains very, very difficult." Britain had a "completely different system and a different concept of the law", he said, arguing that a reactive "policing approach" was applied instead of a preventive strategy – a naive approach based on Britain's good fortune thus far not to have been attacked by Islamic terrorists. "We in France have," he said, in a reference to attacks by Algerian groups. The French offence of "association with terrorists" – under which suspicions based on intelligence rather than hard evidence admissible in court are enough to imprison an individual – has been the centrepiece of the country's anti-terrorist strategy. "This is considered by some to be an attack on the liberty of individuals and I agree totally," Mr Marsaud said. "But it stops the bombs. There has to be a balance between individual liberty on one hand and the efficiency of the system to protect the public on the other. In an ideal world, I would choose the first, but this is not an ideal world, and when dealing with Islamic extremists we have to be brutal sometimes."

The ACLU would be howling right about now.


EU: An excellent article by Brian Moynahan in the Sunday Timesonline on the Dutch rejecting the muliticulturalism/liberalism that has been the hallmark of their country for so long due to political murders and immigrants who refuse to adapt to western ways. It hits upon all the reasons why this rejection is happening including religious and cultural reasons.

"The consensus has shifted across the board. In a country that can still seem a parody of itself — a magistrate ruled recently that an armed robber was entitled to a tax rebate on the cost of his gun as a tool of his trade — even the leader of the Green party has called for it to be illegal for Muslims to import spouses through arranged marriages. Integrated teams, drawn from the police, social welfare and housing offices, are used to locate and arrest illegals. Social welfare knows who is drawing benefit, housing offices have addresses, and police check for criminal records. The number of asylum seekers has been slashed from 43,000 to 10,000 a year, nine-tenths of whom have their applications rejected. Multiculturalism is damned. A recent poll found 80% in favour of stronger measures to get immigrants to integrate — and 40% said they "hoped" Muslims "no longer feel at home here".

"Age, of course, is a factor. "The young are open to everything," says Uzeyir Kabaktepe, the vice president of the Turkish Milli Gorus mosque in Amsterdam. "If you give them pure Koran, they become extremist. All doors close for them. 'Everything else is black,' they think, 'but I'm white and I'm going to paradise.' Those who see black and white think they are angels, they think they are flying. If a Dutchman speaks to them on the street, they think 'he's a Zionist' or 'he's a Satan'. We give the Koran, not pure, but with explanations. We make them debate with each other. We show them that some of the dark ones, the infidels, are religious people too." The Moroccans, he says, are different. "They brought their ideas to Europe with them, and they don't budge," he claims. "Democracy for Arabs is Satanic, it's from the West, against God's word. Idiot imams came who said the Dutch and everything to do with them — schools, society — are devils. They said: get a second wife, from abroad, so the devils pay the social money for them. The Middle East plays a big role for the Arabs, it goes into the second and third generation. A child of 10 gets pictures on the internet of Americans in Iraq, mosques burnt down, prisoners. They say, why am I here? As a young Muslim? The internet can do big damage." Safiyeh M, a Dutch Moroccan divorcee with two children, says there is "one little group that won't adapt. It's always 'damn Dutch, damn Jews, damn infidels'. They can't do anything in Morocco. They'd get squashed. So they try it here". She carefully checks the websites that her 14-year-old son looks at. "I panicked when I found he'd been on a site that Mohammed B used," she says. "Fortunately it was a big entry portal and he was just using it to talk to friends in Morocco." Like many in the second generation, she thinks that new arrivals are keeping tensions high. "All these 150 nationalities in Amsterdam," she says. "It's ridiculous. There are too many immigrants."

"There is criticism that the Dutch remain liberal where it suits them — society permits euthanasia, same-sex marriage, the use of recreational drugs, prostitution, adoption by homosexual couples — and that it is post-PC only on immigration. Draconian solutions — preventive arrest, deportation where possible — are bandied about for radical Islamists. "We have been tolerant to the nontolerant, and we got intolerance back," Wilders says. If the law, EU or Dutch, inhibits security, the law must be changed. "I'm a law-maker as an MP," he says. "I accept nothing that stands against us winning. If necessary, we should change the constitution and European treaties." Hirsi Ali is unrepentant on the cultural gap. "I take back nothing," she said on a brief return from hiding to parliament. "The essentials of Islam are not compatible with liberal democracy. In the Koran and the Hadith, it says that woman is below man, that nonbelievers have to die, and that people who renounce Islam have to die immediately." She was scathing with suggestions that her stridency was to blame for the threats. "Moderate politicians like Cohen and Aboutaleb are on the Islamists' death lists," she said. "It doesn't matter what tone you take." All agree, however, in the new climate in Holland, that open debate is essential. "Hiding is not a good strategy," Aboutaleb says. Traida puts it more bluntly: "I say — say it, now, before the explosion."


Saturday, February 26, 2005

Canada: Canada welcomes back a terrorist leader let out early from a French jail for good behavior.

"One of Canada's most notorious terrorist leaders has returned home to Montreal after serving four years in a French prison for his role in an international jihadist network. Fateh Kamel, a 44-year-old Algerian-Canadian who headed a Montreal-based extremist cell, arrived in Montreal on Jan. 29 aboard an Air France flight, sources told the National Post. A charismatic shopkeeper who led a double life as the international terrorist operative "Moustapha," Kamel was dubbed the "Islamist Carlos" because of his remarkable exploits around the world. "I am GIA," he once said in a conversation intercepted by Italian counter-terrorism investigators. GIA is the French acronym for the Algerian Armed Islamic Group. "Killing is easy for me.

The best-known member of the so-called Groupe Fateh Kamel was Ahmed Ressam, the failed refugee claimant from Montreal who tried to blow up Los Angeles International Airport at the dawn of the millennium. Captured in Jordan in 1999, Kamel was tried in Paris in 2001 and convicted for his involvement with terrorist groups. Although sentenced to eight years' imprisonment, he was released early for good behaviour. He has a Canadian wife and son. "

To heck with Mexico's border, someone keep an eye on Canada.


Politics: I said here when the Wall Street Journal blasted Fitzgerald on his behavior of the Valerie Plame inquiry and taking a shot at the New York Times that in December 31st, 2003 said

"After an egregiously long delay, Attorney General John Ashcroft finally did the right thing yesterday when he recused himself from the investigation into who gave the name of a CIA operative to the columnist Robert Novak. Mr. Ashcroft turned the inquiry over to his deputy, who quickly appointed a special counsel."
This was a case of be careful what you wish for and now the Nytimes does a flip flop.
"Meanwhile, an even more basic issue has been raised in recent articles in The Washington Post and elsewhere: the real possibility that the disclosure of Ms. Plame's identity, while an abuse of power, may not have violated any law. Before any reporters are jailed, searching court review is needed to determine whether the facts indeed support a criminal prosecution under existing provisions of the law protecting the identities of covert operatives. Some judge may have looked at the issue, but we have no way of knowing, given the bizarre level of secrecy that still prevents the reporters being threatened with jail from seeing the nine-page blanked-out portion of last week's decision evaluating the evidence."

It's amazing how an opinion will change when something backfires on you. The Times led the charge on getting a special counsel and now have to fight to keep its reporters out of jail because their reporting practices to Fitzgerald's thinking are a hinderance to his inquiry.

Justoneminute: "There is nothing like the prospect of an imminent hanging to concentrate the mind; apparently, the prospect of having one of their reporters go to jail for eighteen months has concentrated the minds of the NY Times editors on the legal subtleties of the Valerie Plame leak investigation."


UK: Gays in the UK taken out of a bill on discrimination because Labour didn't want to offend Muslims by putting them in the same bill.

"GAY RIGHTS campaigners have been snubbed by the government for fear of upsetting Muslim voters who are regarded as more important to Labour’s election campaign. This week a new bill giving Muslims protection against religious discrimination will be published, but there will be no equivalent right for gays, as had been planned by ministers. Downing Street fears that Muslims, whose votes could be the key to saving the seats of many Labour MPs, might feel offended if they were “lumped together” with homosexuals."


EU: New York Times gets around to glumming off the Daily Telegraph on the story of native Dutch fleeing Holland for safer grounds in a sugarcoating sort of way. The Times unlike the Telegraph doesn't hit upon the failure of multiculturalism.

"Leave this stable and prosperous corner of Europe? Leave this land with its generous social benefits and ample salaries, a place of fine schools, museums, sports grounds and bicycle paths, all set in a lively democracy? The answer, increasingly, is yes. This small nation is a magnet for immigrants, but statistics suggest there is a quickening flight of the white middle class. Dutch people pulling up roots said they felt a general pessimism about their small and crowded country and about the social tensions that had grown along with the waves of newcomers, most of them Muslims."The Dutch are living in a kind of pressure cooker atmosphere," Mr. Hiltemann said. There is more than the concern about the rising complications of absorbing newcomers, now one-tenth of the population, many of them from largely Muslim countries. Many Dutch also seem bewildered that their country, run for decades on a cozy, political consensus, now seems so tense and prickly and bent on confrontation. Those leaving have been mostly lured by large English-speaking nations like Australia, New Zealand and Canada, where they say they hope to feel less constricted."
The two Telegraph stories here and here.


Media: CBS producer Mary Murphy finally resigns.

"CBS News and I have reached an amicable resolution, and I have resigned my position," Murphy said in a statement. "
Translation: " My bank account never seen so many zeros before, wooooooo!" Update: A second person has resigned who was involved in the story, Betsy West.
"A second journalist who had been involved in the broadcast, Betsy West, a senior vice president of the news division, also submitted her resignation this week, a CBS official said last night. The official, who had been briefed on the matter, insisted on anonymity because it concerned an employee's contract."


Friday, February 25, 2005

Boondocks: Well, it would depend on the money amo....uh I mean RACIST TRASH! I have no idea how the amount of black people watching UPN can turn into a Klan punchline.


UK: School bans the game of tag for safety sakes, parents are fuming.


Media: Drudge gets the cable ratings for last night and throws a shot at Olbermann.

Repeat after me, it's not the format, it's the host.


Crime: It's more teachers with students week. Margaret De Barraicua got caught having sex with a 16 year old in her car while her two year old was in the backseat. Angela M. Stellwag was dismissed for having relations with a 14 year old in New Jersey. It would be easier for everyone just to have a Google news link.


UN: Officials are realizing sex abuse cases may be more widespread.

"Rocked by widespread abuse of women and girls, including gang rape, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations also has found sexual exploitation cases in at least four other missions -- in Burundi, Liberia, Ivory Coast -- as well as more recently in Haiti, they added. "We think this will look worse before it begins to look better," Jane Holl Lute, assistant secretary general for peacekeeping operations, told reporters. "We expect that more information will come from every mission on allegations. We are prepared for that."


Congo: Nine UN peacekeepers killed in an ambush in the Ituri district. How fast will Annan issue a warning and then pull back UN operations?


France: French Finance Minister, Herve Gaymard quits over having an apartment that costs the public 14,000 euro dollars a month. BBC say it was this interview that finally forced Gaymard to quit.


Politics: Group want salt to be regulated.

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A consumer group sued the federal government Thursday, saying that salt is killing tens of thousands of Americans and that regulators have done too little to control salt in food. Despite advisories to take it easy on sodium, Americans are now consuming about 4,000 milligrams a day -- nearly double the recommended limit to keep blood pressure under control, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said. So the CSPI renewed a lawsuit first filed in 1983 to ask federal courts to force the Food and Drug Administration to declare sodium a food additive instead of categorizing it as "generally recognized as safe." This would give the agency the authority to set limits for salt in foods."
The mommy state cometh, but that's not the worst of it.
"Chinese restaurant meals can be especially, high too. "A typical order of General Tso's chicken with rice has 3,150 mg," the group said."
Mess with General Tso chicken and you are going to get a fight.


Canada: PM Paul Martin is not this stupid, but he does have to give the "proper" response to people against a missile defense plan. There is no way anyone will waste time to get permission if a missile is in Canadian airspace before firing.

"OTTAWA - Prime Minister Paul Martin said Canada must be consulted before the U.S. decides to fire on missiles that enter Canadian airspace, despite Ottawa's refusal to participate in America's missile defence program. "I don't think that anyone expected that there would be any other finger on a button than the Americans," Martin said Friday, a day after his decision not to join the program. "But in terms of Canadian airspace, yes we would expect to be consulted. This is our airspace. We're a sovereign nation. And you don't intrude on a sovereign nation's airspace without seeking permission," Martin said."

Conservatives take the opportunity to laugh at Martin.

"The opposition Conservatives mocked Martin's comments, saying they were totally unrealistic. "This is delusional. There are only minutes available for a decision. How can the prime minister realistically believe the U.S. will consult him before firing their interceptor missiles?" party defense spokesman Gordon O'Connor asked Parliament."


Churchill: Ward Churchill art work has been shown to be a copy.

"Intellectual property attorney James Hubbell compared the two works side by side, concluding it was likely no accident. "It's very obvious that the Churchill piece was taken directly from the Mails' piece, there's just too many similarities between the two for it to have been coincidence." When CBS 4 contacted Churchill Wednesday afternoon near his office on the campus of CU Boulder, the embattled ethnic studies professor initially refused to answer questions. In response to continued questioning, Churchill became aggressive, pushing a handful of paperwork in front the TV camera, and soon after, swiping his arm at the crew. A short time later, Churchill emerged from his office and agreed to comment on his artwork. He acknowledged his serigraph was based on the Mails drawing, and insists he disclosed that fact during the initial release of the prints. "It's an original work by me, after Thomas Mails ... the fact that the purchaser was ignorant of the reality of what was perfectly publicly stated at the time the edition was printed is not my responsibility," Churchill said. Churchill's serigraph gives no credit to Mails on the work itself. The professor also refused to provide documentation to support his claims. Even if such documentation does exist, it may not matter as far as copyright law is concerned. "In my opnion, unless there was consent for Churchill to do his piece, then there is copyright infringement here," Hubbell said. When contacted at his home in North Carolina, Ryan Mails, the son of the late Thomas Mails said the family still retained the copyrights to the drawings of the Mystic Warriors book, and that his father fiercely defended the copyrights. "I cannot imagine he would ever grant permission to anyone to copy one of his pieces," he said."

The two art works are at the link above.


Myopiczeal: "... but something about the two pieces of information together in my mind raise some question I can’t quite put my finger on. Guy finds fraudulent work of art, is disappointed, goes to the newspaper, and then immediately lists it on eBay for hundreds of dollars. I’m just raising the question. Is it possible this “fraudulent art” thing is just a well crafted entrepreneurial hoax?"

Michelle Malkin has found more Churchill copies.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Media: It took three days for Nancy Grace to top Keith Olbermann in the ratings

"On Wednesday, Nancy Grace averaged 381,000 viewers, compared to Countdown's 290,000. (It was 132,000 to 103,000 in the demo.) When the first three day's ratings are averaged, NG has a 16% advantage over MSNBC (361,000 to 312,000 viewers). Headline News also outperformed MSNBC in all of primetime on Wednesday night: HLN averaged 242,000 viewers compared to MSNBC's 239,000. In the 25-54 demo, HLN averaged 132,000 and MSNBC averaged 104,000. Prime News Tonight also outperformed MSNBC Investigates in both total viewers and the 25-54 demo..."

Ouch and Imus is back to ripping on Olbermann.

At about 7:25am this morning on MSNBC's Imus In The Morning program, Don Imus uttered a mildly flippant comment about the Pope. Imus's cohort, Bernard McGuirk then commented that it was another "Keith Olbermann moment", presumably referring to the tasteless comedy bit about the Pope that KO did on Countdown several days ago. Imus shot back at Bernard, "Don't compare me to Keith Olbermann, or I'll beat the hell outta ya". In the prior incident in which Olbermann's name came up in conjuction with the Pope, Imus had ridiculed Keith for having low ratings."

I repeat, the format is good, but the host has got to go.


Canada: Who knew taking over Canada was this easy?

"OTTAWA (CP) -- Canada's announcement that it won't join the U.S. missile shield provoked an immediate warning that it has relinquished sovereignty over its airspace. From now on, the U.S. government will control any decision to fire at incoming missiles over Canadian territory, declared the top U.S. envoy to Canada. "We will deploy. We will defend North America," said Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada. "
Paul Martin adds his two cents.
"The formal announcement completed a lengthy retreat for Martin, who expressed support for the project last year in his early days in office, then qualified his support, and finally fell almost silent on the issue. Still, even the final announcement was not without confusion. Martin said he would expect to be consulted on what to do about any missile passing over Canada."
**phone rings** Paul Martin: Hello? NORAD: INCO.............


UK: Red Ken Livingstone still refuses to apologize for his Nazi remark to a Jewish reporter as Israeli ambassador to London also expresses shock over the incident.

"In a statement, the ambassador said: “Jews and non-Jews around the world reacted with shock and emotion to Livingstone’s statements and behaviour. “By using such flippant language, Livingstone not only seriously abused the memories of all those Jews who survived the concentration camps, but also the thousands of British troops who died fighting against the Nazis and their families. “Coming exactly two weeks after the vivid television images marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and so soon after his own municipality had hosted survivors of the Nazi death machine, his comments demonstrate gross insensitivity to the minorities in London and beyond. Unfortunately, this is not the first time.” Despite calls from Prime Minister Tony Blair, Holocaust survivors, Jewish community leaders, all five parties on the London Assembly, Labour MPs and other politicians, Mr Livingstone has refused to apologise."
Livingstone also shot back at an MP who brought up a playground incident.
"At Mayor’s Question Time at City Hall, Andrew Pelling, the London Assembly member for Croydon and Sutton, raised an email he had received from a worried primary school teacher. He asked what advice Mr Livingstone would give the teacher who has to deal with a child who called a Jewish youngster a Nazi in the school playground. When the child was asked why he used those words, he replied: “The mayor said it was OK so why can’t I do it?” Mr Livingstone replied: “Sadly that is the sort of by-product of the sort of ridiculous media obsessions we get. “I have grown up in a world in which one of the most common terms of abuse used by tens of millions of people was someone behaving like a jumped up little Hitler. “The idea that we haven’t all used the Nazi regime as a reference point for everything vile is absolutely not the case.” Later Mr Pelling described Mr Livingstone’s response as “very childish” saying: “I think it shows the lack of perspective on his Livingstone’s part, particularly if he thinks this is acceptable behaviour in a playground.”
The "everyone else does it,so why not me defense." It does show a lack of class and intelligence that Red Ken doesn't understand a person in a position of power as himself should show a bit more tact. But I said this when all of this started, that this could make him more popular.
"Of the 10,000 residents who called BBC London's telephone poll, 66 percent supported the Mayor, with 34 percent believing he should apologise. 77 percent of almost 5,000 Guardian Online readers backed the Mayor, and of almost 2,000 letters received by City Hall, 76 percent were behind Mr Livingstone. The Times reported that emails they had been sent were two to one in favour of Ken Livingstone's position. A spokesman for Mr Livingstone said: "All tests of public opinion in London are now showing support for the Mayor's stand in refusing to apologise to the Evening Standard."
I'm not surprised Guardian readers or BBC callers would back a mayor calling a Jewish reporter a Nazi. If he had called him anything else considered politically incorrect, there would be hell to pay.


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Media: According to this report, Disney will finally release Song of the South on DVD 2006.


UK: Who knew Winnie the Pooh can befuddled parents?

"The use of cartoon characters to sell unhealthy food is boosting Britain's childhood obesity epidemic, campaigners said yesterday. Which?, the consumers' organisation, described the use of popular characters such as Scooby-Doo, Bagpuss and Winnie the Pooh on some products as "manipulative marketing ploys" which made it more difficult for parents to refuse their children these foods. Coinciding with its publication of a list of "the worst offenders", Which? called on the companies which license film and television cartoon characters to behave more responsibility over the foods they endorsed. Miranda Watson, from Which?, said: "Parents feel they are being manipulated by the use of these cartoon characters on a wealth of unhealthy food products. The message we are getting is that they are finding it incredibly difficult and they need help.

The group criticised 18 products, saying each contained worrying levels of fat, salt or sugar and sometimes all three. Among them were Nestlé Golden Nuggets cereal, endorsed by The Incredibles, which had 40g of sugar per 100g of cereal, and HP pasta shapes with pictures of Bagpuss, which contained 3.75g of salt - more than the Food Standards Agency's recommended daily limit for a child aged between one and six. Other foods were "endorsed" by Bob the Builder, Shrek, The Simpsons, Postman Pat and Action Man. "

If you are being manipulated by Bob the Builder, you got bigger problems.


Media: Bloggers and Rappers are alike!

"Essentially, blogging is sampling plus a new riff. Political bloggers take a story in the news, rip out a few chunks, and type out a few comments. Rap songs use the same recipe: Dig through a crate of records, slice out a high hat and a bass line, and lay a new vocal track on top. Of course, the molecular structure of dead-tree journalism and classic rock is filthy with other people's research and other people's chord progressions. But in newspaper writing and rock music, the end goal is the appearance of originality—to make the product look seamless by hiding your many small thefts. For rappers and bloggers, each theft is worth celebrating, another loose item to slap onto the collage.

Rap music and blogging are populist, low-cost-of-entry communication forms that reward self-obsessed types who love writing in first person. Maybe that's why both won so many converts so quickly. If you want to become MC I'm Good at Rapping, all you have to do is rustle up a microphone and a sampler. If you want to blog as AngryVeganCatholicGOPMom, bring a computer, an Internet connection, a working knowledge of Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V, and a whole lot of spare time.

Although bloggers and rappers are free to write about whatever they damn well please, they mostly talk to each other and about each other. That's partly because it's so easy to communicate with your fellow working professionals. If Nas disses you for not having a moustache, it's easy enough to come right back and tell him you slept with the mother of his child. When Markos from Daily Kos offhandedly admits that he doesn't read many books, Little Green Footballs steps up to hammer the softball."

I'm waiting for the blogger equivalent of "No Vaseline" against someone.


Churchill: Ward Churchill admits he is not a Native American.

"Churchill did address the issue of his ethnicity, admitting that he is not Native American. "Is he an Indian? Do we really care?" he said, quoting those he called his "white Republican" critics. "Let's cut to the chase; I am not," he said. His pedigree is "not important," Churchill said: "The issue is the substance of what is said."

If CU needed a reason to fire him, this would be it. But, he is such a good poster child for the right, I kinda hope CU keeps him.


Ace of Spades: "Without that admission-- that (ahem) scalp -- we'd still be arguing about this. We've gotten our first bit of scalp from Ward Churchill; we'll see about collecting up the rest of it."

Fearless Critic: "In fact, it seems a little too easy. Perhaps he's offering the university a reason to fire him. The move would cement his role as a leftist martyr. He'd be a hit on the talk circuit for years if he was dismissed while excercising "free speech." That his dismissal was because of lying, not for political speech, will be quickly forgotten."

Update#2: Star Bulletin writes a correction to Churchill's comment.

"....But a review of video and audio tapes of the speech shows that Churchill actually said: "Is he an Indian? We really care. We're trying to protect the rights of Indians to divine for themselves, say this circle of flies in the form of white reporters circling a manure pile like it's of all consequential importance. Cut to the chase on that." Churchill went on to say that he is an associate member of the Keetoowah tribe and that associates are enrolled in the band after their genealogy has been vetted by the enrollment office. He said that he is less than one-quarter Indian, so he does not qualify to be a full member."

Problem with this is the Keetoowah tribe said he couldn't prove anything.

Tahlequah Press: "According to UKB historian and former tribal secretary Ernestine Berry, Churchill was granted associate membership status in the tribe in the early 1990s, but is no longer listed as such. "After he got his associate membership, we never saw him again," said Berry. "He got that card and he was gone, gone, gone." Berry said that from the mid-'80s until about 1990, the UKB granted associate membership to tribal members' children who didn't have enough certified Indian blood to be members. The UKB requires voting members to be at least one-fourth Cherokee. Berry said associate members have no voting rights, and receive no benefits from the tribe. About 100 such memberships were granted, according to Berry. She said Churchill's associate membership was granted to him around 1993 by then-chief John Ross. "[Churchill] claimed to be part Cherokee, but he couldn't prove it; when I first met him, I didn't like him, and I didn't trust him," said Berry. "I told the chief, 'Don't do this, John; it will damage the integrity of the [tribal] roll,' but they went ahead and made him an associate member. He has since used that to promote his own purposes, and he has not helped the United Keetoowah Band at all." Berry said associate membership is no longer granted, and "the reason it's not is Ward Churchill."


Politics: Wall Street Journal blasts Patrick Fitzgerald who is heading up the Valerie Plame case and pokes at the Nytimes. This is a case of be careful what you wish for.

""After an egregiously long delay, Attorney General John Ashcroft finally did the right thing yesterday when he recused himself from the investigation into who gave the name of a CIA operative to the columnist Robert Novak. Mr. Ashcroft turned the inquiry over to his deputy, who quickly appointed a special counsel." In the recent annals of press freedom, there are few more regrettable sentences than those two from a December 31, 2003, editorial in the New York Times. The special counsel that the Times was cheering on, Patrick Fitzgerald, is now threatening a Times reporter with jail, and in a way that jeopardizes the entire press corps. This is what happens when liberals let their partisan disdain for a President obscure their interest in larger principles. * * * The Times was hardly alone, let us hasten to add. Well-nigh every liberal newspaper in the country was calling for Mr. Ashcroft to recuse himself and name a "special counsel," in the hope of nailing the Bush Administration official who had "leaked" the name of CIA analyst Valerie Plame. The idea that there might be some First Amendment equities at stake was overlooked amid the partisan frenzy, and in any case Mr. Novak was expendable because he was a conservative. (See our February 20, 2004 editorial, "The Novak Exception.") In unleashing the special counsel, however, these media liberals invited an attack on their own practices. Mr. Fitzgerald has since subpoenaed Times reporter Judith Miller, and Time magazine writer Matthew Cooper, to testify before his grand jury about their Administration sources. They have refused, claiming a First Amendment privilege to protect confidential sources. But Mr. Fitzgerald is insisting, and a unanimous federal appeals court recently agreed, that the reporters can be held in contempt of court and jailed if they refuse to comply."


Lebanon: Prime Minister Omar Karami says he is willing to resign.

``I am ready to resign on condition that we agree on a new government in order to avoid falling into a constitutional vacuum,'' Karami told the leading An-Nahar newspaper. ``If the result is a no-confidence motion, we are ready and will bow to the will of the legislators.''
Meantime, Chirac calls again for Syria to leave Lebanon.
"The French President Jacques Chirac renewed his call for Syria to withdraw its forces from Lebanon accusing of what he called its spies of controlling it. In a joint press conference held in the presence of the US President George W. Bush, Chirac said that the Syrian intelligence runs Lebanon. A situation which raises questions more than military occupation." He added "his country's relations to Lebanon are strong and what is harmful for Lebanon is harmful for France." The French President warned that the security council will discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions on Syria if it will not start the implementation of UN resolution 1559 under the supervision of the UN."


France: No wonder France is eager to sell weapons to China.

"PARIS, Feb 17 (AFP) - Sales of French arms around the world are declining because of stepped-up competition by the United States, Russia and Israel, the French defence ministry said Thursday. Although France remains the third biggest weapons merchant after the United States and Britain, its share of the market is slipping, a report by the ministry covering sales in 2002-2003 showed. "The Americans' effort to export is much bigger than it used to be," a senior official in the ministry's arms procurement and sales section, Jean-Paul Panie, said. He added that Russia was also moving beyond the former Soviet states in eastern Europe in search of clients and "Israel is now aggressively marketing its exports."


Tuesday, February 22, 2005

People: Hawaii Reporter with a great up to date roundup of the Ward Churchill controversy including this bit from a press conference yesterday.

"When asked by Hawaii Reporter in a Feb. 21, 2005, press conference if he is American Indian, Churchill became enraged by the question, said it was irrelevant and would not answer. When pressed by Hawaii Reporter and other media present on the American Indian issue, Churchill called the question "racist," and asked if President George W. Bush should have to confirm he is white. When KITV Reporter Denby Fawcett said to Churchill, "We'll take that as a 'no,'" Churchill lunged at Fawcett shouting "What did you say?" Fawcett said since he would not answer "yes" and confirm his heritage, he must not be American Indian. In a fury, Churchill stormed away from reporters, ending the press conference. Moments later, he returned, saying reporters should do their homework and if they did, they would know he is in fact a member of the Keetoowah Cherokee tribe in Oklahoma -- he's told mainland reporters he is one-sixteenth Cherokee. He even said to check with the Rocky Mountain News. But a Feb. 3, 2005, article entitled "Prof's Indian roots disputed" in this publication documents Churchill's claims as false."


Iran: President Bush calls reports America will attack Iran soon ridiculous.

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous," Bush told a news conference after talks with European Union (news - web sites) leaders. "Having said that, all options are on the table," he added, drawing laughter at a clear reference to military action."
But the EU is determined to show that their economic incentives will bring Iran to their side.
"Bush did not respond to a call by French President Jacques Chirac to stop blocking Tehran's candidacy for the World Trade Organization (news - web sites) or let it have civil aircraft engines. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told an EU-U.S. summit the three European powers were considering selling the Iranians an Airbus airliner as a sweetener to keep them at the table, with the prospect of more planes if they accepted a deal. He urged the United States to approve "intermediate steps" to make negotiating worthwhile for Iran, which has suspended disputed uranium enrichment activities during the talks. Schroeder also argued that Russia and China would only back eventual sanctions against Tehran in the U.N. Security Council if they were convinced the path of negotiations had first been exhausted, participants said."
China and Russia will never back sanctions against Tehran due to business interests and Schroeder knows this. Iran knows nothing will be done to them as long as they keep stringing along the Europeans, who will keep adding to the incentives because they are determined to show America the Chamberlain way is the right way.


UK: Red Ken Livingstone refuses to apologize for comparing a Jewish reporter to a Nazi. The Evening Standard(the paper the reporter is employed by) has a round up of reaction and answers back to Red Ken's charges.


People: It looks like University of Colorado got suckered into tenuring Ward Churchill.

"University of Colorado officials rushed to award tenure to Ward Churchill in 1991, thinking he had been offered a full professorship in American Indian studies at a California university. But a former official in the California system says no such offer was ever made. "He wasn't really a serious candidate because of his lack of credentials," said George Wayne, a former vice president for student academic services at California State University, Sacramento. "The lack of a doctorate was one factor," Wayne said Monday. "Also, he wasn't writing learned articles - they were advocacy articles that could appear anywhere."

"Wayne says that if Northridge had seriously considered Churchill for a job, they would have sent someone to Boulder to interview his colleagues and the university would have known he was being courted. Wayne thinks CU officials were simply determined to hire an American Indian to teach ethnic studies. "They thought Churchill was a hot prospect," Wayne said. "He wasn't that hot. The only place he was hot was at CU."


New Jersey: 8 local and county officials and 3 mayors in New Jersey were arrested by the FBI for extortion.

"NEWARK, N.J. -- Three mayors and eight other local and county officials in Monmouth County were arrested Tuesday, charged in a corruption sting by federal authorities. Ten officials were accused of extorting cash bribes and free work from a contractor who was working undercover for the FBI, and the other official was charged with money laundering, federal prosecutors said. Among those arrested were the mayors of Hazlet, Keyport and West Long Branch, according to the U.S. attorney's office for New Jersey. Arrested were Keyport Mayor John J. Merla; Keyport Councilman Robert L. Hyer; Middletown Committeeman Raymond O'Grady; Hazlet Mayor Mark P. Calnan; West Long Branch Mayor Paul Zambrano; West Long Branch Councilman Joseph DeLisa; Asbury Park Councilman John J. Hamilton; Neptune Deputy Mayor Richard Iadanza; Joseph McCurnin, operations manager for the Monmouth County Division of Transportation; Patsy Townsend, deputy fire marshal for Monmouth County; and Thomas Broderick, assistant supervisor, Monmouth County Division of Highways. All but Broderick are charged with extortion by an official. Broderick was charged with money laundering. Both charges carry up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000."

Corruption in New Jersey is not an aberration, it's a way of life.


Canada: 78% of Canadians feel that America promoting the creation of democratic governments is wrong.


Internet: United Nations still trying to get control over the internet.

"A U.N.-sponsored panel aims to settle a long-running tug of war for control of the Internet by July and propose solutions to problems such as cyber crime and email spam, panel leaders said on Monday. The panel, set up in December 2003, will lay groundwork for a final decision to be taken in Tunis in November at a U.N.-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society, where global control of the world wide web may be decided. Right now, the most recognizable Internet governance body is a California-based non-profit company, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). But developing countries want an international body, such as the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to have control over governance -- from distributing Web site domains to fighting spam. "There is an issue that is out there and that needs to be resolved," said Nitin Desai, chairman of working group and special adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan."

Hell No. The UN in control of any aspect of the internet would invite censorship and taxation, a move which got squashed in 1999. It's all about control and money to the UN, though Kofi gave the tried and true "rich countries being mean to everyone" bit last year.

Zdnet: "....U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan criticized the current system through which Internet standards are set and domain names are handled, a process currently dominated by the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan, saying such structures "must be made accessible and responsive to the needs of all the world's people."

BTW, who are these developing countries that should get a part in how the internet is governed?

"Dozens of delegates from developing nations echoed Annan's remarks throughout the rest of the day, arguing that their governments do not have a voice in the way the Internet is operated and that more money and investment from richer nations is the only way to end the so-called digital divide. Khalid Saeed, the secretary of Pakistan's Ministry of Information Technology, said his country must "play an active role in all layers" of organisations that control the operation of the modern Internet. "

When I think of countries that would champion the free exchange of ideas and flow of information that occurs on the internet uncensored, Pakistan comes to mind.


Media: Loonatics outrage has reached across the pond. LEE RANDALL from the Scotsman.

"ACCORDING to reports, the new cartoons are "action-oriented, filled with chases and fights". But isn’t the entire substance of the Roadrunner/Wile E Coyote relationship an elaborate high-speed chase punctuated by explosions? What the hell more does it take to satisfy kids these days? Worse still, the proposed modernisation must inevitably destroy the purity of premise behind Roadrunner cartoons, laid out in ten strict rules by the series creator, Chuck Jones: 1 Roadrunner cannot harm Coyote; 2 No outside force can harm Coyote, only his own ineptitude or the failure of Acme products; 3 Coyote could stop anytime, if he wasn’t a fanatic (as defined by Santayana: "one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim"); 4 No dialogue, ever, except "Beep! Beep!"; 5 Roadrunner must stay on the road; 6 All action is confined to the natural environment of the characters; 7 All tools and weapons must be obtained from the Acme Corporation; 8 Whenever possible, make gravity Coyote’s greatest enemy; 9 Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his adventures; 10 The audience’s sympathy must remain with Coyote. Take these two out of the American desert and all hell breaks loose. How can Coyote battle gravity in space, where everyone floats? The first time he screeches off a cliff, he’ll merely waft away unharmed. What fun is that? How can Roadrunner embody perpetual motion if he’s going head-to-head with bad guys? Did nobody think this through? Is Warner Brothers so lazy - or creatively void - that it can’t invent new characters as compelling as the old? A COLLEAGUE summed it up neatly: Bugs, Daffy and the rest are at once quintessentially timeless and of their time. In a decade, hard-nosed pre-pubescents will dismiss Loonatics as "so 2005". As for the originals, well, age shall not wither them. Warner Brothers, if you’re reading, take my advice: It ain’t broke. Stop trying to fix it."


UN: Ruud Lubbers gives his reasons why he is stepping down and it seems the UN is glad he is gone.

"My decision to resign has much to do with my wish not to complicate life for the Secretary-General, who is facing a series of problems and ongoing pressure from the media," Mr Lubbers told staff at the UNHCR. "In a way, our own UNHCR has less of these problems," he added in an open letter after four years as UN High Commissioner for Refugees."
"....Mr Lubbers, who has repeatedly denied misconduct, said the June 2004 report had failed to substantiate the allegation and referred to legal advice claiming the report by the UN's Office for Internal Oversight Services was "deficient in objectivity and impartiality". At a press appearance that UN officials privately described as an embarrassment, the 65-year-old Dutchman said in New York on Friday that he was merely "friendly to women". Mr Lubbers said today he would stay on as high commissioner until a successor could be found. "


Zimbabwe: South African president Thabo Mbeki complains about America calling Zimbabwe an outpost of tyranny as an exaggeration. Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" is an utter failure. South Africa is supposed to lead by example for other African nations, but all Mbeki has done is turn into Mugabe's waterboy.


Politics: Let the New York Times boosting of Hillary in 2008 begin!

"Pollsters say the change is remarkable for a woman who has long been shadowed by a seemingly implacable group of voters - commonly referred to as Hillary haters - who dislike her, no matter what she does, and who pose a potential obstacle to any presidential ambitions she may harbor. A measure of how far Senator Clinton has come was on display Sunday when Senator John McCain, Republican from Arizona, said on "Meet the Press" that he thought Mrs. Clinton, a Democrat, would make a good president, although he said that he would support his party's nominee. She returned the compliment, saying when asked by the program's host, Tim Russert, that Senator McCain would be a good president. The changing view of Mrs. Clinton coincides with a period following the November election in which she offered a series of speeches filled with references to faith and prayer, while putting less emphasis on polarizing social issues like gay marriage and abortion. The result of these comments has been an emerging image of Senator Clinton that is far different from the caricature that Republicans have painted of her: that of a secular liberal whose stances are largely at odds with a public that they say is concerned about the nation's moral direction. Political analysts say the themes Senator Clinton has emphasized - combined with the hard-working image she has sought to project - appear to be causing large numbers of voters to re-evaluate her in New York, although not nationally, where the number of people who disapprove of her is still high. In a Marist poll last fall, roughly 4 in 10 Americans had negative views of her."

I give Hillary credit, she moves to the right while the Demo party moves to the far left and looks good as a result. But, move her out of that NY bubble and cut thru from the NYTIMES puff pieces, you end up with this.

SFGate: "Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you," Sen. Clinton said. "We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."


Monday, February 21, 2005

Iraq: More backlash against Sunni groups who urged a boycott of last month's election.

"Much has been made of the Sunni boycott’s impact at the national level, with leading Shia and Kurdish parties debating the best way to include the disenfranchised Sunni minority in the new government. But Sunnis in al-Anbar governorate are now facing the very real possibility that they will not be fairly represented at the local level either. That has caused a backlash against groups that encouraged the boycott as well as anger towards the Iraqi interim government, which Sunnis say failed to provide a secure environment for the vote."

"....Al-Anbar residents are now demanding that their leaders find solutions to the problems caused by the boycott. They are pressuring their leaders to attend National Assembly meetings and take part in writing Iraq’s new constitution. In addition, some are demanding that new elections be held immediately at the governorate level. Members of the leading Iraqi Islamic party have said that they will work hard to address the concerns of voters in al-Anbar."


Iraq: EU office to open up in Baghdad to help train up to 700 iraqi prison guards, judges and prosecutors.


Crime: Damn....

"KTUU: Anchorage, Alaska - A lover's quarrel took a bizarre twist last night. The Anchorage Police Department said late last night, after a fight over a pending breakup, a woman severed her 44-year-old boyfriend's penis. Kim Tran, 35, was arraigned today on charges of domestic violence, assault, and tampering with evidence. Police said after the fight, the couple decided to have sexual relations and he agreed to let Tran tie his arms to the window handle above their bed. That’s when they say Tran pulled out a kitchen knife and severed his genitals. Police say Tran flushed the penis down the toilet and then drove the man to Providence Alaska Medical Center shortly after midnight. Hospital staff called the Anchorage Police Department and police called officials with Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility to recover the penis. “Officials from the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility were able to come out to the home, they pulled the toilet from its base and tipped it over into the bathtub and were able to recover the man's body part, and police officers then brought it into the hospital for reattachment,” said Anita Shell of the Anchorage Police Department. Police say surgery to reattach the man's penis was successful."

The lesson for guys? No matter how hot the idea of making up sex appeals to you, if she brings out the ropes, make sure you have an escape plan.


Sunday, February 20, 2005

Crime: According to the Hudson county prosecutor, Edward J. DeFazio there are no suspects in the killing of the Coptic family murdered last month.


EU: Spain held its EU constitution vote and it passed without much "enthusiasm."

"....Instead, they argued that it was a great honour to be the first country to vote, that the eyes of all Europe were turned toward the Iberian peninsula and that it was the patriotic duty of every Spaniard to cast his ballot lest the country appear stand-offish. Yet the "Sí", when it came, was terse and reserved: fewer than one in three eligible voters supported the constitution."


UN: Ruud Lubbers quits the United Nations over sex claims.


People: Ward Churchill was rejected by two other departments in University of Colorado and was only taken in by the communication department because he said he was part Indian.

"Ward Churchill was rejected by two University of Colorado departments in 1991 before the communication department agreed to give him tenure.Even in the communication department, the chairman-elect was "uncomfortable" with the decision, according to documents released Friday by CU. At the time, CU officials were shopping for a department that would accept Churchill, fearing they would lose him to another university."
It gets better.
"Pacanowsky made it clear that he was under pressure from College of Arts and Sciences Dean Charles Middleton to make a decision on Churchill quickly. "I apologize for the manner in which we are having to deal with this, and I am uncomfortable with it, but under the circumstances of the time pressures we are now operating under, I could think of no other way to handle the issue," Pacanowsky told the faculty. Pacanowsky, citing other university officials, feared Churchill had been offered a full professorship at California State University at Northridge and that CU would lose the opportunity to hire him. Churchill at the time was rostered in a program that provided tutoring to minority students. He did not have a doctorate, which is usually required for tenure. Pacanowsky said he was "overwhelmed" by the position in which he found himself. While he saw the benefit of increasing ethnic diversity on campus, "Ward does not seem to me to be the kind of person who fits our mold of a department focused on interpersonal and organizational communication," Pacanowsky wrote. Three other faculty members from the department have also said increasing campus diversity was a factor in granting tenure to Churchill."

So the factors in giving this guy tenure was he might go to another university and it increased diversity on campus. Who knew it could be that easy to get tenure.


Saturday, February 19, 2005

UK: Demand for cannabis goes way up after relaxation of drugs laws, and crime gangs are now focusing on importing and selling pot. In other news water is wet and the sky looks blue.


UK: The fox hunt ban did little to stop about 100 foxes being killed following the new rules and enforcement of the rules is somewhat suspect.

"More than 700 riders and 3,500 pedestrians congregated in Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire to protest at the ban. The supporters blocked roads and held up traffic, and applauded riders with Quorn, Cottesmore and Belvoir hunts as they paraded from the Cattle Market to the Hunting Museum. The police presence at all the hunts was muted. At the Dulverton Farmers' Hunt on Exmoor, a policeman even joined in the drag hunt. Rod Brammer, a local landowner and hunt follower, said: "One of the old generals here told me that a policeman turned up in a Land Rover and said he had had to put in an appearance. Then he left and 10 minutes later he was back in his gear and he joined in. He is a member of the hunt, after all."


Iraq: Hillary Clinton continues her rightward move for 2008 with a statement sure to tick off some on the left.

"As 55 people died in Iraq on Saturday, the holiest day on the Shiite Muslim religious calendar, Sen. Hillary Clinton said that much of Iraq was ''functioning quite well'' and that the rash of suicide attacks was a sign that the insurgency was failing."


UK: More Red Ken Livingstone fallout from calling a Jewish reporter a Nazi concentration camp guard as Labour MP's say Ken's refusal to apology is making the party looking anti-semetic. The Guardian's Simon Hoggart says maybe Red Ken had too much to drink, but considering drinking lowers your inhibitions and common sense when to shut up, this is not a good defense to use.


Lebanon: Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warns of a Lebanon civil war because of the anger caused by the death of Rafik al-Hariri.


Media: via Toonzone, the Loonatics preview movie and Bugs Bunny or Buzz Bunny saying what's up doc like Dirty Harry is brutal.

"Buzz: Team leader with laser and martial arts expertise Duck: Weapons expert with built-in sonar Roadster: Super speed Spaz: Team muscle with jaws of steel Lexi: Disguise expert with super hearing Slick: Vehicles and surveillance; regeneration abilities"


UN: Ruud Lubbers denies sexual harrassment claims against him, and the US is asking Kofi why he dismissed the case the first time around.


North Korea: NK declaration of no more talks ever lasted about a week. I think China decided to put Kim Jong in his place.

"North Korea will return to six-party talks on its nuclear program if the United States pledges to stay out of Pyongyang's "domestic affairs" -- a prospect that could lead to the two nations becoming "friends," North Korea's envoy to the United Nations told a South Korean newspaper for Saturday's editions. Last week, North Korea said it had no intention of returning to the negotiating table and declared that the nation already has nuclear weapons and is prepared to build more. That earlier statement was met by strong comments in Washington, which has refused to offer concessions to North Korea and has rejected Pyongyang's calls for direct talks with the United States. Meanwhile, Wang Giarui, a senior Chinese government official, left Beijing for Pyongyang Saturday for weekend talks aimed at trying to get North Korea back to the six-party talks. The Foreign Ministry had announced the trip earlier in the week."


Lebanon: Lebanon opposition declares an "intifada" against Syria and urging people for a peaceful uprising.


Friday, February 18, 2005

UK: Red Ken Livingstone will release a statement and have a press conference on Tuesday. But this is the best part.

"Today City Hall released figures showing that the GLA had received nearly 1,000 letters about the concentration camp guard controversy, but they were nearly two-to-one in favour of the mayor. 673 people(68%) wrote in support of the position taken by the mayor, while 317 (32%) wrote to oppose his position."
I said I wouldn't be surprised if his popularity went up by calling a Jew a Nazi guard and it seems I was right, unfortunately.


Lebanon: 12 Australians were questioned and cleared following an interpol request they be questioned in connection to the killing of Rafik al-Hairi. The Lebanese Tourism minister quits and Syrian spy chief gets replaced.


Media: More Loonatics featuring Bugs BUZZ Bunny, previous post here.


UN: Ruud Lubbers, the UN's high commissioner for refugees was found guilty of sexual harrassment in a secret report obtained by the Independent.

"Ruud Lubbers, the UN's high commissioner for refugees, was found guilty of misconduct involving sexual harassment by an official investigation carried out by the UN's watchdog, it can be revealed. The secret document has never before been released. Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, took internal and external legal advice after studying the 15-page report on the allegations, before deciding he was unable to take action against Mr Lubbers. Instead, he issued him with a strong warning about his conduct. As high commissioner, Mr Lubbers, 65, formerly the longest serving Dutch prime minister, is responsible for marshalling the aid effort for the world's 17 million refugees. The investigation ­ carried out by the UN's office for internal oversight services (OIOS) ­ began after a complaint of sexual harassment by a female employee at the refugee agency. She alleged Mr Lubbers placed his hands on her waist, pulled her back towards him and pressed his groin into her at the end of a meeting with male colleagues in Geneva on 18 December 2003. In its note to the secretary general, the report says: "Mr Lubbers did engage in unwanted physical contact with a subordinate female staff member. New allegations that came to the OIOS's attention during the investigation were also examined and indicate a pattern of sexual harassment by Mr Lubbers." It continues: "OIOS is also of the view that Mr Lubbers abused his authority as high commissioner by his intense, pervasive and intimidating attempts to influence the outcome of this investigation."


Immigration: Another activist judge says illegal aliens have the right to a driver license.

"judge ordered yesterday that the state stop taking away the driver's licenses of immigrants in New York who do not have Social Security cards, saying that the Department of Motor Vehicles is not authorized to enforce immigration law or to make new rules without public notice. The department began a license crackdown last year that was expected to cost the licenses of 300,000 immigrants in New York this year and has already led to the suspension of about 7,000 licenses. The order by Justice Karen Black of State Supreme Court in Manhattan was temporary, but lawyers on both sides said it reflected her preliminary opinion that immigrant drivers would suffer irreparable harm unless the crackdown was stopped while the court considers a class-action lawsuit brought on their behalf, and that the immigrants' suit was likely to prevail. It was filed last summer against Gov. George E. Pataki and Raymond Martinez, the motor vehicles commissioner, by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. It was brought on behalf of New Yorkers who have been denied a driver's license or identity card for lack of a verifiable Social Security number or an immigration document satisfactory to the Department of Motor Vehicles. "We think this is a clear victory for the immigrant community, that they are entitled to the same licenses as any other resident of the state," said Foster S. Maer, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs. "The court found that the state can't just arbitrarily cut off the driver's licenses for the immigrants of the state. They had done it secretly without any notice."


Sudan: UN with a stunning revelation about Sudan and Darfur and pushing their baby the ICC at the same time.

"Any new initiative proposed by the Sudanese Government to deal with the atrocities committed in the country's war-torn Darfur region should be dismissed given the extent of the involvement of that Government's officials in the crimes, the top United Nations human rights official told the Security Council today. Briefing the Council on the findings of the International Commission of Inquiry on the conflict in Darfur, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) is "the only credible way" to bring the perpetrators of the crimes to justice."
UN also released a report that found out water is wet.


Taiwan: US and Japan to declare on Saturday that they got Taiwan's back, this won't make China happy.

"Although it is likely to anger China, the move is being welcomed by Taiwan, which, despite having been occupied by Japan from 1895 to 1945, maintains an empathy for the Japanese that is rare in Asia. Elderly Taiwanese, for instance, still show delight in Japanese language and culture. Last month, Taiwan inaugurated its $3 billion, Japanese-built bullet train, which can reach speeds of almost 200 miles per hour. And in December, Japan angered China by granting a tourist visa to former Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui, who was educated in Japan and had an emotional reunion here with a former professor. "This is the first time that Japan has made its stance clear; in the past, Japan has been very indirect on the Taiwan issue," said Koh Se-kai, Taiwan's special representative to Japan, which since 1972 has had formal relations with China but not with Taiwan. "We're relieved that Japan has become more assertive."


Thursday, February 17, 2005

EU: Whoops. PM of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero who has a bad habit of running his mouth way too much when he is not ass-kissing France and Germany, says that Euro countries will close their embassies to be replaced by EU embassies. This will help to promote a "unified" voice to the world.

"Zapatero said that approving the constitution would lend credibility to a common European policy in many arenas. “We will see Europe with a single voice in security matters. We will have a single European voice within Nato,” Zapatero said. Zapatero added that Spain had gained influence in Europe due to a pro-European stance. “We want more European unity,” Zapatero said."
Of course this doesn't help PM Tony Blair and the Labor party who said the UK would not lose power in the EU, something the The Sun points out with glee.
"Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancram reacted angrily to his outburst last night. He said: “Spain’s PM has made clear what Tony Blair has denied again and again — that the EU constitution is all about handing vast new powers to Brussels. “Now we know that, if we approve it, the EU will run foreign policy.” Neil O’Brien, of anti-EU constitution group Vote No, said: “Our government doesn’t tell the truth about the constitution. “It means another transfer of power to people in Brussels who are not elected and can’t be voted out.” Spaniards are expected to back the new EU constitution as their country has received billions in subsidies from Brussels. The new European masterplan states: “Member States shall actively and unreservedly support the Union’s common foreign and security policy.” The Foreign Office sought to play down Mr Zapatero’s views. A spokesman said: “Britain will keep its embassies, its seat in NATO and its foreign policy. That cannot change without our agreement."


Education: Lunch trades banned to protect the kiddies in bay area schools.


Politics: Most class action lawsuits will now be pushed to federal courts instead of state courts under the new Class Action Fairness Act. President Bush will sign it this morning.


People: More tidbits about Ward Churchill in clashes with different people and more on his tenure position not going thru normal procedures.


Media: More outrage from fans at the new look Bugs Bunny and the show called Loonatics that I posted about yesterday.

NY Dailynews: "..."It's just not Bugs Bunny," said Washington Heights resident Andrea Diaz, 36, looking at images of the new Bugs. "If they're going to make him so different, why not just come up with a new character?"
WB president of animation defends the show.
NY Post:""This is a kids show intended for kids today who are growing up in the Internet age, an age of technology, an age of hip, cool animation, and something that we hope will resonate with that age group," explained Sander Schwartz, president of Warner Bros. Animation, in a phone interview from Hollywood."
Problem is that kids know when you are trying to pander to them and nothing is worse than taking classic characters and screwing around with them to try and be hip. Look at the promo poster, it screams the "We need to be edgy and make the characters hardass" I can only imagine how they have Bugs Bunny saying What's up Doc. More unhappy people. Vodkapundit: ""Is nothing sacred?" Apparently not." Double Canister: "I will bet that this type of "kids programming" will go the way of other such extreme makeovers of iconic products..." KateSpot: "This is an abomination." Broadsheet: "I just can't imagine the new Bugs chomping on a carrot, and asking in a wise guy voice "Eh...What's up doc?", or Daffy Duck (who looks more like Digi-Duck than Daffy), calling Bugs "Silly Wabbit"." Resurrection song: "I can see no good in this."


Africa: This about wraps it up for Darfur and any hope of getting anything done positive in the region.

"- African leaders, including the head of Sudan, on Wednesday urged the international community not to send troops to Darfur or to impose sanctions because of violence that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. The declaration came after the leaders met in Chad for talks aimed at reviving a faltering peace process in the Sudanese region, where a two-year conflict has claimed at least 70,000 lives and driven around 2 million people from their homes. "The heads of state called on the international community to continue to give its support to African efforts already underway and to abstain from all action which could harm these efforts, including the imposition of sanctions and all deployment of non-African forces," the leaders said in a statement."

"....Bashir said after the talks in Chad that he would respect all previous ceasefire accords. "We want this problem to remain African, in the hands of the African Union (AU), that the AU assumes its responsibilities and has the confidence of the international community," he said."
After seeing the work of African leaders in relation to Rwanda, Zimbabwe and every other crisis that has hit Africa, excuse me if I have very little faith in an All_Africa solution.

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