Thursday, June 30, 2005

Spielberg Munich Olympics film: When Jews have doubts!

Entertainment: Lordy, you can see where this film is going, moral equivalency for all with the Jews being shown as the doubting "bad" guys. Tony Kushner writing the screenplay is a dead giveaway this film is going left at a fast pace. New York Times does a preemptive strike at the complaints by showing how much pressure and pitfalls Steven Spielberg is going thru now and so "desperate" to make it right.

"But with the as-yet-untitled Munich film, already scheduled for Oscar-season release by Universal Pictures on Dec. 23, Mr. Spielberg is tackling material delicate enough that he and his advisers are concerned about adverse effects on matters as weighty as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process if his project is mishandled - or misconstrued in the public mind. Indeed, the movie's terrain is so packed with potential land mines that, associates say, Mr. Spielberg has sought counsel from advisers ranging from his own rabbi to the former American diplomat Dennis Ross, who in turn has alerted Israeli government officials to the film's thrust. Mr. Spielberg has also shown the script to Mr. Ross's old boss, former President Bill Clinton. Mr. Clinton's aides said Mr. Spielberg reached out to him first more than a year ago and again as recently as Tuesday. Mr. Spielberg is also being advised by Mike McCurry, Mr. Clinton's White House spokesman, and Allan Mayer, a Hollywood spokesman who specializes in crisis communications. The film, which is being written by the playwright Tony Kushner - it is his first feature screenplay - begins with the killing of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich. But it focuses on the Israeli retaliation: the assassinations, ordered by Prime Minister Golda Meir, of Palestinians identified by Israeli intelligence as terrorists, including some who were not directly implicated in the Olympic massacre. By highlighting such a morally vexing and endlessly debated chapter in Israeli history - one that introduced the still-controversial Israeli tactic now known as targeted killings - Mr. Spielberg could jeopardize his tremendous stature among Jews both in the United States and in Israel. .... Mr. Spielberg's interest in the question of a civilized nation's proper response to terrorism deepened, aides said, after the 9/11 attacks, as Americans were grappling for the first time with similar issues - for instance, in each new lethal strike on a suspected terrorist leader by a C.I.A. Predator drone aircraft. In Mr. Kushner's script, people who have read it say, the Israeli assassins find themselves struggling to understand how their targets were chosen, whether they belonged on the hit list and, eventually, what, if anything, their killing would accomplish. "What comes through here is the human dimension," said Mr. Ross, formerly the Middle East envoy for Mr. Clinton, who has advised the filmmakers on the screenplay and helped Mr. Spielberg reach out to officials in the region. "You're contending with an enormously difficult set of challenges when you have to respond to a horrific act of terror. Not to respond sends a signal that actions are rewarded and the perpetrators can get away with it. But you have to take into account that your response may not achieve what you wish to achieve, and that it may have consequences for people in the mission." Mr. Spielberg's statement indicated that, despite the implications for other conflicts, his movie - to be shot in Malta, Budapest and New York - was aimed squarely at the Israeli-Palestinian divide. "Viewing Israel's response to Munich through the eyes of the men who were sent to avenge that tragedy adds a human dimension to a horrific episode that we usually think about only in political or military terms," he said. "By experiencing how the implacable resolve of these men to succeed in their mission slowly gave way to troubling doubts about what they were doing, I think we can learn something important about the tragic standoff we find ourselves in today."
What was Karl Rove quote again?
"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." [NY Times, 6/23/05]
Except Spielberg and Kushner are going to use one of the most horrific event in recent history to do this. Pathetic but typical. Oh, as for Kushner, nice guy.
JWR: "...Titled Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the book, which was edited by Kushner and Alisa Solomon, is a collection of essays by left-wing authors that debates the legitimacy of Zionism itself. It attacks Israel's position from within the Jewish community, rather than from outside it. From that vantage point, Kushner and his authors champion Israelis who refuse military service, debate Israel's Law of Return, scoff at the connection between anti-Semitism and the vituperation aimed at Israel, and generally write of the Jewish state as, at best, the moral equivalent of the Palestinian terrorists that seek to destroy it. In his introduction to the book, Kushner takes particular aim at those American Jews who have rallied to Israel's defense in the past three years during the Palestinian terrorist war of attrition. He rails at those Jewish writers — distinguished political liberals and conservatives alike — who signed an advertisement in the aftermath of the April 2002 "Passover massacre," in which dozens of Jews were killed. The ad condemned Palestinian terror, affirmed the justice of Israel's cause, and called on the international community to stand with Israel in a time of peril. But to Kushner, the statement was "shameful" because it did not balance condemnation of terrorism with opposition to Israeli self-defense. Specifically embracing discredited lies about Israeli "atrocities" during the course of the Operation Defensive Shield battle in Jenin, Kushner can only see the Palestinians as victims. This distorted version of the truth coming at a time of continued Palestinian rejection of peace offers and dedication to the destruction of Israel is as outrageous as it is false. "

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Canada: The choice of hardline Syrian officials.

Canada: First the Al Qaeda family and now this, Canada immigration policies seem to be lacking in certain areas.

OTTAWA -- Immigration Minister Joe Volpe faced a barrage of criticism in the House of Commons yesterday over the case of two prominent Syrian women who received Canadian visitor's visas to allow them to deliver their babies in Canada. "Why did the government abuse our immigration system to give backdoor-citizenship opportunities to Syrian members of a foreign dictatorship?" asked Conservative immigration critic Diane Ablonczy, one of three MPs who attacked the government on the issue in Question Period yesterday. The two Syrian women, the daughter-in law and daughter of General Bahjat Suleiman, received the visas in early May. One of the women, Zeina Khair, has already had her baby and returned to Syria. Sources say the other, Randala Suleiman, holds a valid visa and plans to travel to Canada this summer to give birth. Sources say it is relatively common for the families of highly placed Syrian officials to give birth in Canada, thus conferring Canadian citizenship on the children. A Canadian passport is deemed a desirable asset by the Syrian elite both because of the relatively low-cost postsecondary education it offers, as well as security against any future regime change in Syria. ....On Friday, The Globe and Mail reported that Gen. Suleiman's daughter and daughter-in-law had received six-month visitor visas from the Canadian embassy in Damascus. Both women have given birth in Canada once before. Ms. Khair's husband and Gen. Suleiman's son, Majed Suleiman, has extensive media interests and is socially acquainted with the Canadian ambassador to Damascus, Brian Davis. Speaking through a spokesman last week, Mr. Davis categorically denied having had any personal involvement in issuing the visas. Mr. Volpe's office has likewise denied any foreknowledge of the case. Until earlier this month Gen. Suleiman was head of Syrian internal intelligence and as such was responsible for repressing the media and keeping intellectuals in line. He is believed to have lost his job because of his support for the strategically disastrous assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in February.

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Foreign Ministry to probe 'US-hating' diplomat

EU: US-hating diplomat covers a large number of people, most of those are in the state department.

"BERLIN - The German Foreign Ministry said Thursday it was investigating allegations in a Wall Street Journal report about an "America-hating" senior German diplomat who is stationed in New York. "The allegations are being taken seriously and will be carefully examined," said a foreign ministry spokesman who declined to give any further details. A report in The Wall Street Journal on June 17 told of a private visit by a correspondent of the paper and his wife to the diplomat's home where the German envoy is quoted as saying the Soviet Gulag was better than the U.S. prison for al-Qaeda suspects at Guantanamo Bay "since at least the Stalinist system offered its victims a trial of sorts". The German diplomat was also quoted as saying that civil rights in the U.S. were "on a par with those in North Korea and rather behind where they had been in Europe in the Middle Ages". "The only people who appreciate American foreign policy are poodles," said Berlin's diplomat as quoted in The Wall Street Journal. Guido Westerwelle, the leader of Germany's opposition Free Democratic Party (FDP), termed the alleged comments "scandalous" and in a Bild newspaper interview called on German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to take disciplinary action.

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Economic growth helps reduce poverty: report

World: In other news, water is wet.

WASHINGTON - Strong and sustained economic growth in developing countries would greatly help reduce poverty, a World Bank report to be released on Wednesday said. The report, conducted jointly with the governments of Germany, France and Britain, examined 14 countries and determined that, on average, a 1 per cent increase in the growth of a country's gross domestic product translates into a 1.7 per cent decrease in poverty.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Mexican stamp offensive to blacks? Come on people

Culture: Why would anyone think these stamps are racist and offensive?

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) -- The Mexican government has issued a postage stamp depicting an exaggerated black cartoon character known as Memin Pinguin, just weeks after remarks by President Vicente Fox angered U.S. blacks. The series of five stamps released for general use Wednesday depicts a child character from a comic book started in the 1940s that is still published in Mexico. The boy, hapless but lovable, is drawn with exaggerated features, thick lips and wide-open eyes. His appearance, speech and mannerisms are the subject of kidding by white characters in the comic book. Activists said the stamp was offensive, though officials denied it. "One would hope the Mexican government would be a little more careful and avoid continually opening wounds," said Sergio Penalosa, an activist in Mexico's small black community on the southern Pacific coast. "But we've learned to expect anything from this government, just anything," Penalosa said. In May, Fox riled many by saying that Mexican migrants take jobs in the United States that "not even blacks" want.
More Memin comic covers here. Don't expect the professional race complainers to start protesting this in a big way, it will be passed off as you need to understand race relations there, a culture trait or whatnot that is ingrained and hard to get rid. Be understanding. Update# Well I'm happy to be wrong. on the front page of the Washington Post.
"The Mexican government issued a series of stamps yesterday depicting a dark-skinned Jim Crow-era cartoon character with greatly exaggerated eyes and lips, infuriating black and Hispanic civil rights leaders for the second time in weeks. Mexican postal officials said the five-stamp series features Memin Pinguin, a character from a comic book created in the 1940s, because he is beloved in Mexico. A spokesman for the Mexican Embassy described the depiction as a cultural image that has no meaning and is not intended to offend. ....But the leaders of the NAACP, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the National Council of La Raza and the National Urban League denounced the image in strong terms, calling it the worst kind of black stereotype. The curator of a Michigan museum that collects Jim Crow memorabilia said the Memin Pinguin caricature is a classic "pickaninny" -- a black child, oafish and with apelike features. "It is offensive," said the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, who like other leaders called on Mexican President Vicente Fox to apologize and stop circulation of the stamps. Jackson vowed to lead a demonstration at Mexican consulates if Fox does not do so. It was the second time in seven weeks that Jackson called on Fox to apologize for a racial offense. In May, Fox apologized for saying that Mexican migrants in the United States work jobs that "even blacks don't want," a comment he said was taken out of context. Marc H. Morial, executive director of the National Urban League, joined Jackson in calling on President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to denounce the stamps. "It's outrageous, it's offensive, and it really raises the question of whether President Fox's apology was sincere and meaningful," Morial said. Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, said it is "impossible to overstate how appalled and offended I am, not only by the stamp but by the reaction of the Mexican postal service." She added: "Hispanic Americans and all other Americans will and should be equally outraged."

More reaction and roundup from Michelle Malkin, American Digest, Mysocalledblog and Waveflux. One point I want to make on something by Gerard Van der Leun of American Digest who said

"Is it too much to hope that the United States issues a similar tribute using, say, Gordo and Speedy Gonzales?"
Speedy Gonzalez is popular in Latin countries and when Cartoon Network took Speedy off the air, it created enough controversy partly helped by Hispanic groups coming to the aid of a Speedy fan that it was put back on for a bit. HispanicOnline has a slew of articles about it from 2002. I don't know about Gordo though and no one pick on Mr Popo. Update#2: Via the LATIMES, which hits upon the racism that exists in Mexico

"....Now the stamp is forcing Mexico to re-examine an issue that usually remains below the surface. Many here and in other parts of Latin America say their societies are more classist than racist in explaining discrimination suffered by indigenous and black people. Money and family history, they say, are the real social markers. But social commentators say light-skinned Mexicans of European heritage are generally seen as having a leg up in competing for jobs, social prominence, education and other public services. The social pages in local newspapers infrequently feature Mexicans of color and Indians are rarely seen in television programming. "Mexican society is fundamentally racist and classist," said Guadalupe Loaeza, a newspaper columnist. "The color of your skin is a key they either opens or shuts doors. The lighter your skin, the more doors open to you." For many Mexicans, the problem of racism is most manifested toward indigenous peoples, who get the short end of the stick in "1,000 different ways," Loaeza said. Discrimination toward Mexican blacks has different historical roots from the United States and should be placed in a "Mexican context," because Mexico's history is very different from that of the United States, said Mexican sociologist Sagrario Cruz of the University of Veracruz. "Mexico hasn't had a civil-rights struggle," Cruz said. "There isn't a conscious awareness of being black. Most black Mexicans don't think of themselves as being black." Jose Luis Gutierrez Espindola of the National Council to Prevent Discrimination contends that the problem is that many Mexican blacks feel marginalized. Blacks are poorer and receive less education and fewer social services than any other Mexican demographic group, he said. "They don't feel integrated into the country." Sociologist Luisa Strickland said Mexican blacks, most of whom entered the country centuries ago in the Caribbean port city of Veracruz as slave laborers for Mexico's sugar-cane fields, are Mexico's "forgotten, invisible people."

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Judicial Watch.. Conservative group or not?

Politics: Washington Post writes up on the surge of illegals since the amnesty program was announced by President Bush, which by the way was a no duh and I suspect intentional. But what amuses me is the tag the William Branigin puts on them when they are dealing with conservatives.

President Bush's proposal for a guest worker program to help stem the tide of illegal immigration actually prompted a surge of illegal border-crossings that the administration then sought to cover up, a watchdog group charged today, citing a 2004 survey by the U.S. Border Patrol. Judicial Watch, a Washington-based public interest group, said the survey, obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that 61 percent of a sample of detainees who had been caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexican border in the wake of Bush's proposal said they had been informed by the Mexican government or the media that the Bush administration was offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. Nearly 45 percent said the purported amnesty influenced their decision to enter the United States illegally, Judicial Watch said.
The rule with Judicial Watch is if they dealing news on conservatives, they are a watchdog or public interest group, if they are messing with a liberal, they become a conservative group. This has been noticed for years now.

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Black vendors outraged over Live 8 merchandising fees

Live 8: These are some greedy selfish morons.

"About 40 African American men blocked traffic around City Hall for an hour yesterday to protest what they say is the Street administration's refusal to reduce the fees the city is charging vendors to sell incense, shirts and other wares at the Live 8 benefit concert for Africa on Saturday. It was the third protest this month in which the African-American Chamber of Commerce and affiliated groups have criticized the Street administration for what they call its lackluster effort to create opportunities for black business owners. Officials for Mayor Street, however, said yesterday that the administration is working diligently to increase opportunities for black businesses. "It's absolutely one of the top priorities of this mayor and this administration," said Joseph Grace, a spokesman for the mayor. Grace said the city expects to have at least 30 percent minority vendor participation at Live 8 and 50 percent participation by Philadelphia-based vendors. Regardless of participation, protesters said they are most concerned about the Street administration's decision to charge Live 8 vendors $750 to $1,500 each for the right to sell related merchandise. Anthony Fullard, the chamber's economic development director, said the groups want the city to charge black vendors $100 each and to allow about 40 black vendors to set up at JFK Plaza at 15th Street and JFK Boulevard for 75 days, starting this weekend. City officials say the Live 8 vendor fees are fair. "We don't think this is really an unreasonable fee," Grace said. The city, Grace added, also does not plan to allow the vendors to set up at JFK Plaza because it needs that space for crowd control during Live 8, which is expected to draw up to 1 million people to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway."
100 dollars and the right to sell merchandise for about two and a half months, but this should apply only to black vendors. Disregarding the fact that if the city is stupid enough to grant this(it's mayor Street we are talking about here) you know after the 75 days are up, they are not going to leave. Very slimy move to use a charity event to cry racism and want to get concessions that wouldn't apply to anyone else.

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Don't mess with a Trini Grandma!

Crime: Every once in a while, despite the crime ridden festhold Trinidad and Tobago has become, you get some feel good crime doesn't pay stories.

"A 73-year-old great grandmother single-handedly tackled a masked gunman who had just shot one of her grandsons, and held him until police arrived. They found the gunman crying with the woman sitting on him. The drama began when Elise Joseph awoke just after midnight to the sounds of smashing glass and found her grandson being beaten. .....Joseph related what happened yesterday, saying she slept through the sound of the bullets but awoke when she heard the smashing of glass. "When I opened the back door, I saw my grandson and somebody scrambling and fighting. I wasn't worried about nothing. I run down and hold on to the gun butt. The fella hold on to it too. I never hold a gun but I point it up in the air, just like what I see in the movies. I was trying to get it away. So we was pulling and tugging and falling. I take the gun from him, and hand it to my other grandson who didn't help me, because he was frighten too bad, only running up and down." She said she kept a hold on the man and saw her wounded grandson fall. "He could not say or do anything again because he was bleeding bad." But instead of calling off the attack, Elise Joseph said: "I decided is me or the bandit now. All I wanted was for the police to get him, so I wasn't letting go." She said the two of them stumbled into the bushes and the man fell, losing a shoe. "I pull off the mask and see he face. I say 'oh, you feel you could come to kill. You eh getting away tonight'. So I get on top him and sit down." Elise said the man "started bawling, saying 'granny, you giving me too much weight'. I said you have no right to come here. Take the weight!" She said the man kept biting her "but with all that bite, I wasn't letting go. I put my hand around his throat and hold on. When he try to get up, I hold on tighter. He said he can't breathe. I tell him he ain't bound to breathe. And I do that until the police come and tell me they go take over from here." The 26-year-old suspect, described as "tall, lean and fit" was said to be red-faced with shame in a cell at the La Brea Police Station. ....Police discovered that the 9mm handgun which the masked man carried had no more bullets and they believe the battling greatgran would have been shot if the gun had any more bullets. But Elsie Joseph said: "I tell myself I done live my life already. My grandson still young. If I did die, I die to save him"." Another of her grandsons, Keron McGillvary, 24, said: "I want to commend granny for her bravery. She was most outstanding. She should collect an award for this." Joseph, whose husband passed away "many years ago" is a pensioner who worked as a domestic helper and at a supermarket. She said her only ailment was high blood pressure, and "I can't eat too much hot food". She said: "If a man come back to attack my family, I will do it again. When you walking with God, you have nothing to fear." A man was charged late yesterday with four gun-related offences and wounding with intent, all arising out of the incident.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Hitler: Father of sex doll?

Strange: Uh.. Okay. I'm at a loss for smartass remark on this one.

"The Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler ordered, in 1941, a Danish doctor named Olen Hannussen, to develop the world's first inflatable sex doll, the Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera' reported on Monday. The doll was went meant to serve the sexual needs of the German fighting man, who might otherwise go to brothels and contract a sexual transmitted disease – or worse, have sex with non-Aryan women and thus pollute the race. The story of the sex doll first appeared in a Norwegian newspaper, which said that Hitler himself provided the measurements and design for the doll: "She should be a natural size with a pretty woman's appearance with white skin, blonde hair, blue eyes, 1.76 meters (5 feet, nine inches) high, with large lips and breasts." According to the project, which was classified as "top secret," soldiers would inflate up the doll when feeling the urge, and it would meet their sexual needs. The officer directly responsible for the sex doll project was S.S. commander Heinrich Himmler. Perfecting the plastic woman According to another report, Dr. Rudolf Chargeheimer, a psychiatrist appointed by Himmler to help develop the prototype, wrote that "the purpose and goal of the dolls is to relieve our soldiers. They have to fight and not to mingle with 'foreign women.'" "However," wrote Chargeheimer, "no real men will prefer a doll to a real woman until our technicians meet the following quality standards: The synthetic flesh has to feel the same like real flesh. The doll’s body should be as agile and moveable as the real body. The doll’s organ should feel absolutely realistic.” The plan was never put into action because the factory that was supposed to manufacture the sex doll was in the city of Dresden, which was bombed by the Allies. And so Hitler never got to see his inflatable girls put to use.

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John Lennon interview about charity shows from 1980

Culture: via Colby Cash and it fits into my thinking about all this Live 8 concerts which amount to nothing more than fluff powered by white European liberal guilt.

Sheff : Just to finish your favorite subject [the Beatles], what about the suggestion that the four of you put aside your personal feelings and regroup to give a mammoth concert for charity, some sort of giant benefit? Lennon: I don't want to have anything to do with benefits. I have been benefited to death. Sheff : Why? Lennon: Because they're always rip-offs. I haven't performed for personal gain since 1966, when the Beatles last performed. Every concert since then, Yoko and I did for specific charities, except for a Toronto thing that was a rock-'n'-roll revival. Every one of them was a mess or a rip-off. So now we give money to who we want. You've heard of tithing? Sheff : That's when you give away a fixed percentage of your income. Lennon: Right. I am just going to do it privately. I am not going to get locked into that business of saving the world on stage. The show is always a mess and the artist always comes off badly. Sheff: What about the Bangladesh concert, in which George and other people such as Dylan performed? Lennon: Bangladesh was caca. Sheff : You mean because of all the questions that were raised about where the money went? Lennon: Yeah, right. I can't even talk about it, because it's still a problem. You'll have to check with Mother [Yoko], because she knows the ins and outs of it, I don't. But it's all a rip-off. So forget about it. All of you who are reading this, don't bother sending me all that garbage about, "Just come and save the Indians, come and save the blacks, come and save the war veterans," Anybody I want to save will be helped through our tithing, which is ten percent of whatever we earn. Sheff: But that doesn't compare with what one promoter, Sid Bernstein, said you could raise by giving a world-wide televised concert - playing separately, as individuals, or together, as the Beatles. He estimated you could raise over $200,000,000 in one day. Lennon: That was a commercial for Sid Bernstein written with Jewish schmaltz and showbiz and tears, dropping on one knee. It was Al Jolson. OK. So I don't buy that. OK. Sheff: But the fact is, $200,000,000 to a poverty-stricken country in South America... Lennon: Where do people get off saying the Beatles should give $200,000,000 to South America? You know, America has poured billions into places like that. It doesn't mean a damn thing. After they've eaten that meal, then what? It lasts for only a day. After the $200,000,000 is gone, then what? It goes round and round in circles. You can pour money in forever. After Peru, then Harlem, then Britain. There is no one concert. We would have to dedicate the rest of our lives to one world concert tour, and I'm not ready for it. Not in this lifetime, anyway.

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Minneapolis Star Tribune sued for circulation problems.

Media: The guys at Powerline will have fun with this.

Four advertisers sued the Star Tribune and its parent company on Tuesday, claiming Minnesota's largest newspaper inflated its circulation numbers so it could charge more for ads. The federal lawsuit seeking class-action status alleges the Star Tribune required distributors to dump unsold papers and failed to report returned papers accurately. The lawsuit includes allegations by an unnamed Star Tribune distributor who also works for one of the plaintiffs, Masterson Personnel, Inc. It claims that in December 2003, a Star Tribune circulation worker told the distributor to order an extra 2,500 papers per week, saying the distributor would be reimbursed later for the papers. The distributor bought extra papers for three weeks, for a total of 7,500 papers, the lawsuit alleges. The extra order was "because circulation numbers for the Star Tribune were down and needed to be increased before the end of December 2003. The representative stated that the distributor could give the extra papers away, sell them, or simply could throw them away,'' the lawsuit said. The other plaintiffs are Alternative Staffing, Inc., Vision Staffing Solutions, Inc., and Purchasing Professionals, Inc. All four are employment agencies. Messages left with the newspaper and its corporate parent, the McClatchy Co., weren't immediately returned.

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Sex offender makes a be a wimp program for the kids

Education: Lordy.... This is a good way of setting up you child for a daily butt kicking.

"....Over the course of the next year, the Department of Education will introduce into all of its elementary and middle schools “Operation Respect: Don’t Laugh at Me,” an intensive curriculum in character development. The program, which is the brainchild and heart’s desire of Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul & Mary, aims to combat bullying by emphasizing the moral lessons of folk music. “Don’t Laugh at Me” (or dlam) was born when Yarrow—a veteran of the civil-rights, gender-equality, nucleardisarmament, peace, and Amtrak-subsidization movements—heard a country ballad of that name at the Kerrville Folk Festival, in the summer of 1999. Moved to tears by its swelling harmonies and first-person testaments to the effects of ridicule—“I’m a little boy with glasses, the one they call a geek / A little girl who never smiles ’cause I’ve got braces on my teeth”—he decided to incorporate the tune into Peter, Paul & Mary’s repertoire. At a gig with the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the group played the song. “The principals gave a tremendous response to it, and said, ‘We need this in our schools,’ ” Chic Dambach, Operation Respect’s president and C.E.O., said the other day. “And Peter, being the activist and the organizer that he is, said, ‘You won’t just have a song but a whole program.’ ” dlam is now used in at least twelve thousand American schools and camps. ....On to dlam’s outreach video. The tape included accounts of book-slamming, sandwich-spitting, and shin-kicking, as well as footage of a rendition of “Don’t Laugh at Me” that Yarrow had performed at the United Nations. “A ridicule-free world,” a soothing voice intoned. “It’s possible, but only with everyone’s help.” (dlam’s efforts at enrichment may also extend to Peter, Paul & Mary’s back catalogue. Page 22 of the teacher’s guide instructs: “Tell students that this version of the song ‘Don’t Laugh at Me’ is sung by Peter, Paul & Mary. If you have not already done so, tell them a little bit about the group. . . . In the early 1960s, Peter, Paul & Mary were the #1 recording group in the country.” ) Next up was “The Big Betrayal Conflict Script,” a skit about two friends, Terry and Sasha, who get into a fight at a basketball game. The exercise emphasized using “I messages,” as opposed to those that begin with “you” and, therefore, can put their targets on the defensive. (dlam also recommends having students simulate the sound of a rainstorm and discuss a story called “The Maligned Wolf.”) “Just make sure they’re sticking to the formula,” Hurdle-Price advised. “I often get students who say, ‘I feel that you are stupid.’ ”
I feel weaker just reading that and the sex offender part involves Jimmah Carter.
MetNews:In 1970, Yarrow pleaded guilty to taking “immoral and improper liberties with ... a female child ... with the intent of arousing ... gratifying the lust, passions and sexual desires ...” At the time of the crime in Washington, D.C., Yarrow was 30 years old and the girl was a mere 14. If that’s not bad enough, her 17-year-old sister was in the room watching the hanky-panky, according to an Associated Press report on his guilty plea. “According to the victim’s statement ... , Yarrow who was in Washington on a concert tour, admitted the girl and her 17-year-old sister to his hotel room,” the story says. “Yarrow was reportedly naked when he answered the door.” The AP report continues: “Later Yarrow reiterated the couple’s actions were by mutual consent while the older girl looked on.” The singer spent three months in jail for his offense, and also underwent psychiatric treatment, his attorney told the Associated Press. Luckily for the folk singer, he had a friend in a very high place. President Jimmy Carter pardoned Yarrow the day before leaving office, thereby protecting the singer from ever having to register as a sex offender. Yarrow has described the incident as “the most terrible mistake I have ever made,” and in his petition for the presidential pardon, he said he hoped his children “will see a balanced picture, one that understands that their daddy did something very wrong but also one that asserts that their daddy has also done much for society to eliminate want and inequality where he saw it.” Carter’s acceptance of that explanation helped Yarrow quite a bit, since many of the singer’s later activities involved children around the age of 14.
Nice rolemodel to have around.

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MCB gets to push religion in UK Schools

UK: The Muslim Council of Britain, best known for its boycotting the Holocaust remembrance because it was too jewish, has teamed up with the Department of Education to pass out Islam resource kits to school children.

"...The packs were produced by the MCB, in partnership with the Department for Education and Skills, to provide children with a better understanding of Islam. The religion is already part of the school curriculum, along with all other world religions. The resources, which include books, artefacts, CDs, videos and teaching aids, were tested in schools across the country. They cover basic Muslim beliefs and practices through interactive class projects. Resources for secondary schools are also being developed and will be available to Harrow's schools. Mr Sacranie said: "We believe education is the key to creating a vibrant and understanding society. "These resources, developed by our team of educationalists, aim to support the teaching of Islam in schools by making available creative, engaging and child-friendly resources on Islam and Muslims. "We want to ensure that every school child in Britain has access to high quality Islamic resources through their schools." Councillor Bill Stephenson, Harrow Cabinet Member for Education said: "Harrow is very proud of its rich breadth of cultures and we are keen to use every opportunity to promote a genuine understanding of diversity across the borough. "The new resources will help school staff further develop their approach to high quality teaching of Islam- a religion that is far too often misunderstood."
Given the UK government willingness to bend over backwards for every complaint that MCB has made and trying to pass a religion hate law, I get the feeling that the other world religions are not treated as lavishly as this.

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Brain-Storming is offensive.

Culture: Government officials everywhere have too much time on their hands.

David Brent would never approve. 'Brainstorming', the buzzword used by executives to generate ideas among their staff, has been deemed politically incorrect by civil servants because it is thought to be offensive to people with brain disorders. Instead staff at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) in Belfast will use the term 'thought-showers' when they get together to think creatively. A spokeswoman said: 'The DETI does not use the term brainstorming on its training courses on the grounds that it may be deemed pejorative.' Sources inside the department said there was concern that the term would cause offence to people with epilepsy as well those with brain tumours or brain injuries. But the Campaign for Plain English complained that the decision had 'reached the point of real ridicule'. 'You do sometimes wonder if some people haven't got anything better to do with their time,' said spokesman John Wild. 'Do they just sit down and search out enough words until eventually they can say: "I can make that out to be politically incorrect"? 'Of course there are certain terms that should be deemed out of bounds, but then sometimes things go too far. I am certain that those who dreamt this up are not suffering from any brain disease or injury. They just want to find offence anywhere they can stumble across it'.

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Cut the crap, Barack Obama

Politics: Via Mickey Kaus who links to this hilarious piece by Barack Obama who wants to change his life story.

""In Lincoln's rise from poverty, his ultimate mastery of language and law, his capacity to overcome personal loss and remain determined in the face of repeated defeat - in all this, he reminded me not just of my own struggles. "
Via the BBC:
"Barack Obama, the Democratic Party's candidate for Illinois, is the son of Barack Obama Sr, a senior economist in the Kenyan government, who died in a car accident in 1982. His father herded goats before winning a scholarship to study in the US and grew up in the rural village of Nyangoma Kogalo in Western Kenya, near the shores of Lake Victoria. Arriving in the village, people pointed out the direction of the Obamas' household. "Yes that is the home of the Obamas whose son is contesting a seat in the big American parliament," someone told us. The compound has three houses built from red bricks and corrugated iron - a sign of the middle class in rural areas. The first person we bumped into was Mr Obama Jr's uncle, Said Hussein Obama. He shows us the grave of his late brother, Mr Obama Sr, the decorated slabs of which are already peeling. Said Obama remembers his brother with nostalgia. "The late Dr Barack Obama was well educated. He was social. He always reached out to us wherever we needed him. He even assisted some of us, his brothers, to go to school," he says. "
Via New Yorker:
"Obama was actually born in Hawaii. His father, also named Barack Obama, was a foreign student there. His mother, Ann, was white, and only eighteen when she married his father. She and her parents, originally from Kansas, had moved to Honolulu. When her husband left for Harvard, she and their toddler stayed behind—there was no money in his scholarship for them to go East—and the father ultimately returned alone to Kenya, where he worked as a government economist. Barack’s mother’s second marriage, to an Indonesian oil manager, occasioned a move to Jakarta, when Barack was six. He lived there for four years, and in his book he writes about his time in Indonesia as simultaneously lush and a harrowing exposure to tropical poverty—more harrowing, perhaps, for his mother than for the little boy who barely remembered any other life. Then Barack returned to Hawaii, where he was brought up largely by his grandparents. The family lived in a small apartment—Barack’s grandfather was a furniture salesman and, later, an unsuccessful insurance agent; his grandmother worked in a bank—but Barack managed to get into Punahou School, Hawaii’s top prep academy. His mother always said that he got his brains from his father, and he was raised on tales of his father’s brilliance. The great man wrote to them regularly, but, though he travelled around the world on official business for Kenya, he visited only once, when Barack was ten.
By the time he runs for President, he will be a poor boy from the fields of Africa who barely survived farming. The bigger you try to make yourself, the easier it will be to knock you on your ass.

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Germany gets a boost for security seat at UN.

UN: Yeah, you sorta have to read between the lines.

President George W. Bush and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder highlighted a new warmth in US-German relations as Bush promised the United States would not block a German bid for a Reforms to the United Nations dominated what Bush called "frank" talks at the White House between the two leaders, who had been divided over German opposition to the US war in Iraq. "We oppose no country's bid for the Security Council," Bush said to the obvious delight of the German leader who faces a re-election test in September. Germany has been part of a campaign with Brazil, India and Japan to get permanent seats on the council though it has withdrawn demands for a veto on resolutions that the five current permanent members get.
In the words of Batman to Ra's al Ghul: "I'm not going to kill you. But I don't have to save you."

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Studios say Grokster decision doesn't hurt piracy.

Entertainment: As most people have moved on from programs like Grokster to distributed networks.

HOLLYWOOD -- Hollywood got pretty much everything it wanted from the Supreme Court Monday, but techies and studio insiders agreed there's one thing the Grokster decision likely won't significantly affect: piracy. Illegal downloads, especially of movies, have largely moved to distributed networks like Bit Torrent and open-source applications that aren't run by legal corporations that sell ads and thus can't be targeted by U.S. law. "When you look where most piracy is happening today, there's no there there," observed Marc Morgenstern, VP of piracy tracking company Overpeer. "Piracy will go on unabated." Studio execs uniformly declined to comment on the decision Monday, preferring to leave their message to the MPAAMPAA. Org admitted the decision won't have an immediate impact, but said it could be significant in long term development of the piracy problem.

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Wanna see the beginnings of a lawsuit?

Crime: Step right up.

AURORA, Colo. -- The family of a 19-year-old woman shot to death at the Aurora Mall last week is remembering her as positive person who was headed toward a better life. Krystal Martinez was shot trying to stop her boyfriend, Kyle Douglas Boyd, from arguing with two men inside the mall last Tuesday, police and her family said. Boyd, 23, and a bystander were also shot. Boyd is listed in good condition. Shopper Susan Holyfield, 48, was treated and released the day after the shooting. The Martinez family expressed disappointment that their loss did not warrant personal attention from mall managers. "A phone call is cheap but we haven't heard a word, and it hurts. It leaves a sour taste in my stomach," said Orlando Martinez, Krystal's grandfather. "I am really heartbroken that we have not even received a word of condolence from the mall."
My child dies and one of the things that would bug me is the place where she died didn't call me to say sorry, give me a break. But you can see the mind working on getting a lawsuit going against the mall on some flimsy excuse, as a lawyer in the area reads this story.

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Supreme Court says technology sucks aka no P2P for you!

Technology: This is an awful ruling, the court has taken the BETA case which says you can't hold technology liable and guts it. Now media companies are going to mess with current and future software/hardware where even a hint of being used in a way that could "hurt" their bottom line.

"Internet file-sharing services will be held responsible if they intend for their customers to use software primarily to swap songs and movies illegally, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, rejecting warnings that the lawsuits will stunt growth of cool tech gadgets such as the next iPod. The unanimous decision sends the case back to lower court, which had ruled in favor of file-sharing services Grokster Ltd. and StreamCast Networks Inc. on the grounds that the companies couldn't be sued. The justices said there was enough evidence of unlawful intent for the case to go to trial. File-sharing services shouldn't get a free pass on bad behavior, justices said. "We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by the clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties," Justice David H. Souter wrote for the court. At issue was whether the file-sharing services should be held liable even if they have no direct control over what millions of online users are doing with the software they provide for free. As much as 90 percent of songs and movies copied on the file-sharing networks are downloaded illegally, according to music industry filings. The entertainment industry said it needed protection against the billions of dollars in revenue they lose to illegal swapping. Consumer groups worried that expanded liability will stifle the technology revolution of the last two decades that brought video cassette recorders, MP3 players and Apple's iPod. Companies will have to pay music and movie artists for up to billions in losses if they are found to have promoted illegal downloading. Two lower courts previously sided with Grokster without holding a trial. They each based their decisions on the 1984 Supreme Court ruling that Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE - news). could not be sued over consumers who used its VCRs to make illegal copies of movies. The lower courts reasoned that, like VCRs, the file-sharing software can be used for "substantial" legal purposes, such as giving away free songs, free software or government documents. They also said the file-sharing services were not legally responsible because they don't have central servers pointing users to copyright material. But in Monday's ruling, Souter said lower courts could find the file-sharing services responsible by examining factors such as how companies marketed the product or whether they took easily available steps to reduce infringing uses. "There is substantial evidence in MGM's favor on all elements of inducement," Souter wrote. In the closely watched case, supporting the effort to sue the companies were dozens of entertainment industry companies, including musicians Don Henley, Sheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks, as well as attorneys general in 40 states.

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No 10 commandments in courthouses! Unless you water it down.

Politics: Try to make it as "secular" and non-offensive as possible, this seems like a chicken-bleep ruling since they put so much wiggle room in it. But at least their display is cool.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A split Supreme Court struck down Ten Commandments displays in courthouses Monday, ruling that two exhibits in Kentucky cross the line between separation of church and state because they promote a religious message. The 5-4 decision was the first of two seeking to mediate the bitter culture war over religion's place in public life. In it, the court declined to prohibit all displays in court buildings or on government property. Justices left legal wiggle room, saying that some displays - like their own courtroom frieze - would be permissible if they're portrayed neutrally in order to honor the nation's legal history. But framed copies in two Kentucky courthouses went too far in endorsing religion, the court held. "The touchstone for our analysis is the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion," Justice David H. Souter wrote for the majority. "When the government acts with the ostensible and predominant purpose of advancing religion, it violates tha central Establishment clause value of official religious neutrality," he said. Souter was joined in his opinion by other members of the liberal bloc - Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, as well as Reagan appointee Sandra Day O'Connor, who provided the swing vote.
Update# Yep this is a cowardly ruling. Basically you can have the 10 commandents in the court as long as you dress it up and now on government property which on the face of it looks goofy while banning it in courthouses. What is the requirements to make it less a religious display and more a legal display? On the face of it, it looks easy to get around the banning.
Texas Commandments Ruling In its second ruling Monday on displays of the Ten Commandments, the Supreme Court has ruled that displays of the Commandments are allowed on government land. The justices found that a 6 foot granite monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol does not cross the line between church and state. Opponents challenging the monument on the Texas Capitol grounds and Ten Commandments displays in Kentucky courthouses said they are an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. In 2003, Roy Moore was removed from office as Alabama's chief justice when he refused to obey a federal judge's order to remove a a Ten Commandments monument from the foyer of the Alabama Judicial Building. Defenders responded that such displays, including engravings in the Supreme Court's own building, don't establish religion but merely acknowledge the nation's legal heritage. The justices' ruling could affect thousands of Ten Commandments monuments and displays nationwide.

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South Korean kids draw feel good pictures about Japan.

Japan: If feel-good meant I hate your guts, die Japan die.

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Diana Griego Erwin faked 43 people.

Media: Credit to the Sacramento Bee for the investigation and being open to the public of its findings. But given Erwin won a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 1986, how far back does this sort of fakery go? How many other human interest writers have done so to "capture the mood" of an issue of the week. At least you in this case you understand why her stories always seemed to fit perfectly.

"An internal investigation into the published work of former Bee columnist Diana Griego Erwin found 43 cases in which individuals named by the writer could not be authenticated as real people. Griego Erwin, whose column ran three days a week on The Bee's Metro page, resigned May 11 after she failed to substantiate details from several recent columns. She has denied fabricating any information. The Bee investigation - conducted by reporters, editors and researchers - initially focused on Griego Erwin's work during the previous 16 months. From Jan. 1, 2004, until her final column on April 26, Griego Erwin wrote 171 columns. The Bee's investigation found 30 names in 27 separate columns that could not be verified during that time period. The people could not be found in voter registration rolls, property records, telephone books, identity databases or through scores of phone calls. In light of those findings, the review expanded to include a sampling of columns spanning her 12-year tenure with the newspaper, and 13 additional cases in another 10 columns were found. Many of the columns in question fit a template: essays, often with a surprising O. Henry twist, about a singular person who faces a challenge and surmounts it. Their stories frequently reflect a theme taken from current headlines - wildfires, for example, or prison brutality, school shootings, murderous road rage or a high-profile trial.

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

9/11 Museum fiasco stars a Newsweek personality.

Politics: Wonderful.

"....The debate over the International Freedom Center museum is playing out on talk shows, opinion pages and the Web. Victims' relatives protested the museum last week at ground zero, and more than 16,000 people have signed the Internet petition condemning it. Critics say the institution is being hijacked by left-wing advisers who blame the U.S. for the world's wrongs — and will focus on events with tenuous connection to the terrorist attacks, such as segregation in America and the Holocaust. Creators of the museum say it will offer inspiring stories of mankind's progress toward liberty, and the controversy will dissolve when people understand the museum's goal of highlighting great moments in the worldwide struggle for freedom. ....State officials overseeing the rebuilding process said this past week that the museum should present a patriotic affirmation of America's role in the world. Gov. George Pataki said he was demanding "an absolute guarantee" from ground zero cultural institutions that they would proceed "with total respect for the sanctity of that site." "We're not going to let it turn into something anti-American, anti-freedom or questioning the values of New York, the values of America or the values of freedom," Pataki said. But academic advisers to the museum — who include the heads of the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First — envision something more complex and potentially controversial. Many see the International Freedom Center as a place to vigorously debate past and present issues of freedom, from slavery to the roots of the Sept. 11 attacks. "9-11 should not be something you treat with kid gloves," said Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and a principal adviser to the museum. "It should be something you debate, that you talk about, that we explore, that we use as a way to think about our position in the world."
You want to debate it? Fine, take it somewhere elsewhere in New York, this is a hijacking of 9/11 by groups who see this as an opportunity to put their American hate on display because there is going to be an audience. If they tried to put it elsewhere, it would fail and they know it. You think Zakaria is going to advise putting up displays that show America in a good light and showcasing all the good this country has done? No, people will come there in a sober mood and then be browbeaten by "SEE AMERICA SUCKS! YOU DESERVED 9/11!!." The only things that should be built in and around that site are memorials and places dedicated to the lives and way of life lost on 9/11. Anything else is not needed or wanted.

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The left around the world have lost their minds

Australia: Just because Douglas Wood came home saying God bless America, the Australian left has turned on him to the point where they are saying he was mean to his kidnappers. Karl Rove was right on the money about liberals.

"FIRST they backed Saddam against his victims. Now our cultural elite backs terrorists against Douglas Wood, the Australian they kidnapped. You say I exaggerate? I reply: Andrew Jaspan. Jaspan is editor-in-chief of The Age, Australia's most Left-wing daily newspaper, and on ABC radio on Wednesday said how "boorish" and "coarse" Wood was at his press conference this week when he called his captors "a---holes". You might wonder whether Jaspan, the Englishman whose paper on that same day published a big picture on page one of naked girls from Big Brother, has the right to call anyone else "coarse". But far more shocking was his apparent demand that Wood be more grateful to the men who'd snatched him, kicked him in the head, kept him blindfolded and bound for 47 days, shaved him bald, killed two of his colleagues, made him beg for his life, and -- says a fellow hostage from Sweden -- shot several other prisoners in front of him. Let's run the tape. Said Jaspan: "I was, I have to say, shocked by Douglas Wood's use of the a---hole word, if I can put it like that, which I just thought was coarse and very ill-thought through and I think demeans the man and is one of the reasons why people are slightly sceptical of his motives and everything else. "The issue really is largely, speaking as I understand it, he was treated well there. He says he was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive." The ingrate. I haven't heard much lately more perverse. If what Wood went through is Jaspan's idea of being "treated well", I finally understand why The Age seems so dismayed by the fall of nice Saddam Hussein, who similarly treated his victims so well that more than 300,000 have been found in mass graves. They must have been simply tickled to death to be there. ....Consider Bob Ellis, who has written speeches and slogans for a collective of Left leaders such as Opposition Leader Kim Beazley, NSW Premier Bob Carr and Greens leader Bob Brown. Ellis now praises Wood's kidnappers as "honourable men (with) a well-treated captive". Keysar Trad, spokesman for the Mufti, Sheik Taj el-Din el-Hilaly, also agreed Wood had been "well looked after". But we know what Wood's real offence is, don't we? Yes, he did not do as did SBS journalist and Left hero John Martinkus after his own brief captivity and declare his kidnappers were "not savages", and say Iraq was "on the road to s---". INSTEAD, he roared "God bless America" and praised the US-trained Iraqi soldiers -- Iraq's real freedom fighters -- who saved him, saying he was "proof positive that the current policies of the American and Australian governments is the right one". It seems that to a Leftist, this makes Wood the boorish inferior of the killers who beat him and held him captive. It is why journalist Tracee Hutchinson, in an Age column, calls him a "blustering buffoon", moaning: "It was enough that his words God bless America had been played over and over on his release."

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Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Daley pimp hand is stronger than first thought.

Politics: Dick Durbin realizes now that the Daley pimp hand is greater than him, trying to stop it just makes matters worse via Robert Novak.

DALEY VS. DURBIN Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin may never have apologized for his remarks about the Guantanamo detention camp had his fellow Illinois Democrat, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, not described his comments as a "disgrace." Durbin did not personally call Daley, but his frantic staffers were on the phone to the mayor's office Tuesday asking that Daley tone down or even retract what he said. Daley made clear he would do no such thing. Durbin's staffers claimed that the senator's expression of regret the previous Friday should suffice, but the mayor insisted on a full-fledged apology.
This is rather disturbing and pathetic.
CHILDREN'S CRUSADE In the office of freshman Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, lobbyists burst into tears Tuesday when they heard bad news about prospects for a bill they were pushing. That extraordinary reaction can be explained by the fact that the "lobbyists" were children. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation sent groups of children, some as young as age 5, to lobby senators for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The children were in Washington to attend the foundation's Children's Congress. In order for any child to attend, each parent had to promise, in writing, support for the organization's stem cell research position. The sobbing in DeMint's office came after a lengthy explanation by the senator's aides of why he opposes killing human embryos for research purposes. Another freshman Republican, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, avoided dramatics by coming out of his inner office and giving the children a simple "No."

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Then Trent Lott wonders why other Repubs dislike him.

Politics: Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is at least trying to stop "pet projects" from being made by various Senators to their home states. Trent Lott laughs at this.

"Senators, take heed: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) may have a "hold" on your bill. The freshman is using his power as a Senator to put a hold - or secret filibuster threat - on any bill he believes would create a new spending program, whether it is included in an appropriations bill or an authorizing bill. That means that many a Senator's home-state pet project could be held up indefinitely by a man known for sticking to his guns, even to the point of making enemies. "I don't think we ought to be passing new legislation, spending new money when we can't pay for what we're doing today, and we're not willing to cut what we're doing today," said Coburn in a recent interview. Asked whether he targeted bills going through just the committees he sits on - Judiciary, Indian Affairs, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs - or whether he has any specific criteria for measures he finds objectionable, Coburn said every bill has a potential bull's-eye on it. "I look at everything," he said. Indeed, Coburn spokesman John Hart said his boss is known for personally reading and marking up conference reports and bills, and his staff "is cross-trained to think oversight and examine bills." In addition, Coburn's previous reputation in the House as a relentless budget hawk has caused many outside organizations "to come out of the woodwork" to tip off Coburn's office to potentially objectionable bills and existing programs. ....Today, Coburn is hosting a panel on AIDS funding in the United States. While Coburn, a doctor by trade, supports AIDS funding for communities around the nation, he is concerned that some states and localities are getting more money than they can use, while others are not getting enough, Hart said. Lott said he wasn't aware of Coburn's plan to hold up myriad bills, but said Coburn is "genuinely and legitimately concerned about the size of the deficit." Still, during his more than 30 years in Congress, Lott said he has learned something about how to keep the likes of Coburn from stopping his pet projects from becoming law. "The way I do it is, I fold them into bills where you can't find it," Lott said. "I've been around here long enough to know how to bury it."

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Rebuild the homes which we tore down.

Africa: At least it gives the Army something to do other than beating people up.

"President Robert Mugabe has mobilised Zimbabwe's army to build new houses for those made homeless by his "clean-up" operation that flattened and burnt shanty towns across the country. In a policy U-turn following a seven-hour meeting of his politburo, he announced that the military had been ordered to lead a task force to begin reconstruction. "Building brigades" would start work immediately to build houses, shops and markets to replace those destroyed by the police in Operation Murambatsvina (Drive out the Rubbish), said Ephraim Masawi, the politburo spokesman. According to human rights groups, more than one million of the poorest Zimbabweans have been turned into the streets by special police units bulldozing and setting fire to townships. Many, including the very elderly, women with babies and the disabled have been forced to spend freezing nights in the bush without shelter. At least 46,000 have been arrested. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) described yesterday's move as "a panic reaction by Mugabe" to the international outcry over the destruction of the shanty areas. "Any new development these troops build will be cosmetic to deflect criticism ahead of the G8 meeting and the visit of the UN special envoy next week," a spokesman said.

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Tsunami aid goes everywhere but where it needed to go.

Tsunami: This is shocking, who knew billions of dollars would be corrupted, stolen and given to the wrong people. Just about anyone who has paid attention whenever these disaster relief funds start up. The UN is doing a great job overseeing what is going on.

"Six months after the Asian tsunami, a leading international charity says the poorest victims have benefited the least from the massive relief effort. A survey by Oxfam found that aid had tended to go to businesses and landowners, exacerbating the divide between rich and poor. The poor were likely to spend much longer in refugee camps where it is harder to find work or rebuild lives. Oxfam has called for aid to go to the poorest and most marginalised. They must not be left out of reconstruction efforts, the charity said. ....This poverty gap is worst in Aceh, the Indonesian province which was the most badly affected area, already impoverished by conflict before the tsunami hit. Half a million survivors were homeless. Yet the wealthier among them have already been able to move out of temporary camps. Another survey by a group of British academics monitoring the delivery of aid has found that, six months on, there is little evidence of permanent accommodation being built for most people. It says starkly that these failures would not be tolerated after a disaster in the developed world. All aid agencies, as well as regional governments must share some blame for this failure, our correspondent adds. The unprecedented international response to the tragedy means that the immediate humanitarian demands could be fully funded. Failure to deliver assistance effectively to the poorest, or to plan properly for the future, reveals fundamental weaknesses in the system.

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Friday, June 24, 2005

Women's group angry over beer ad, spokesman calls them fat.

Culture: Politically correctness hasn't reached Venezuela yet.

Beer advert angers women Women's groups are angry with a beer company which said the difference between a wife and a lover was 30 kilos. The line was in a television advertisement by Regional beer in Venezuela, reports El Universal newspaper. Women's rights groups in Venezuela say the advert is a misogynist and are demanding a public apology from the company. Hwowever, Regional beer is standing its ground and says it won't apologise unless it is forced to do so by the courts. A spokesman for the company added: "I bet all these women's groups are run by women who are at least 30 kilos overweight."

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Can't ban beggars in Atlanta because it's racist!

Politics: If you forget that the city is majority black and the political base is majority black, trying to keep a handle on beggars is just wrong.

"....Hoping to boost convention business and tidy up downtown, the City Council is considering a measure to prevent visitors from being hit up for money by homeless people around Olympic Centennial park, CNN Center and some of the South's finest restaurants. But most of the panhandlers are black. And earlier this week, the council sent the proposal back to committee after activists likened the ban to the "Negro removal" policy that they say white downtown business elites pursued in the 1950s. "This is a mean-spirited continuation of what they call the `sanitation' of Peachtree Street," said Joe Beasley, a 68-year-old Atlanta native who heads the regional office of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. "The white folks, their position was that black people were bad for commerce, and if you were black, you just didn't go on Peachtree Street unless you were cleaning up or something." But in the self-proclaimed "City Too Busy to Hate," the panhandling ban's sponsor - who is himself black - said it has nothing to do with race and everything to do with business. "Our No. 1 industry in Atlanta is tourism and conventions. If we don't do something, we run the risk of our downtown becoming a ghost town after dark," said Councilman H. Lamar Willis."
This isn't about race, its about beggars creating an unruly, filthy, disgusting environment to a city/area that businesses,workers and the people of Atlanta depend on for a paycheck. The activist argument is so hollow, it was idiotic to send back the proposal, which is stupid to begin with.
"The Rev. Murphy Davis, a white woman who runs Open Door Community to assist the homeless, dismissed the argument that the panhandling ban cannot be racist because it is backed by black council members and the black mayor, Shirley Franklin, in a city of 425,000 that is more than 60 percent black. "The white business interests still run this city," Davis said. Downtown business owners back the ordinance, complaining that some streets and parks are so overrun with beggars that customers won't visit. "My own wife doesn't come down here," said Alex Nader, owner of European Kitchen Express, which overlooks Peachtree Street and a park. "We've had panhandlers come inside and actually solicit money from people who are eating." He added: "If we call the police, basically they don't do much. They tell them to leave the area, and as soon as the police are gone, they come back. It is very bad for business." Kenneth Strozier, a 46-year-old panhandler sitting in the park across from Nader's restaurant, said: "I understand people don't want to be bothered, but what are we going to do? We got no affordable housing, for one thing. This new law or whatever isn't going to change it." Under the ordinance, beggars could still sit on sidewalks with signs asking for money, but they could not approach people for money downtown. In other parts of the city, panhandling would still be allowed, except within 15 feet of ATMs, bus and train stations and public toilets. The ordinance also makes it a crime for panhandlers to make a "false or misleading" solicitation, such as faking a medical condition or pretending to be from out of town. A first offense carries just a warning, a second offense a possible month of community service, and subsequent violations up to a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail. Marty Collier, a white activist who opposes the ban, said: "Maybe the problem is that seeing panhandling arouses people's guilt. We're just hoping they'll go somewhere else. We need to deal with the underlying problem and not penalize the poor."
No, the problem is people are pissed off that beggars are allowed to harass people and businesses who are working to provide for themselves. How about the city buy the beggars one way bus tickets to the homeless mecca of San Francisco with some spending money. It would cost less in the long run.

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Investment in France/Germany drops, Tony Blair laughs.

EU: Well he should as even more evidence to back up his vision of how the EU should be, since the anti-business rantings from Germany and France scared people off.

Foreign investment in France and Germany fell sharply in 2004, reinforcing concerns that inflexible labour practices and weak domestic demand are driving investors elsewhere. In France, inward investment almost halved from $43bn (€35.44bn) to $24bn, according to figures released yesterday by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the group representing the world’s most industrialised countries. In Germany, foreign investors actually withdrew $39bn, having invested $27bn in 2003. Mark Zandi, chief strategist at Economy.com, the consultants group, said the data showed US companies the main source of direct investment funds in 2004 were spending their cash piles mainly on Asian investments. “US companies are attracted to Asia partly because the currencies remain competitive, but also as low cost bases for production destination and as growing markets in their own right,” he said. “Europe is almost a mirror image of this, with a more expensive currency, weak domestic demand, high labour costs and, now, political uncertainty.” But the weakness of continental Europe did not affect the UK. Foreign direct inflows into the UK more than trebled to $78.5bn. The UK is among the world’s most active countries for direct investment, and is both a large recipient of investment and a big investor overseas."

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Africa Union declines to actually do something about Mugabe.

Africa: No one can be shocked by this, especially South Africa saying they want to continue with their soft diplomacy stance. They are all cowards.

"....More than 200 international human rights and civic groups demanded Thursday that Zimbabwe stop the campaign. They also urged Zimbabwe's neighbors to take action against the country at an upcoming AU meeting in Libya. That plea was echoed Friday by Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who said Mugabe remained in power because of the support of some of the countries around him. Top diplomats from the world's leading industrialized nations - including British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice - also urged African leaders in the region to act against the campaign they described as an outrage. The rights groups released a smuggled video Thursday showing bewildered families sleeping in the open in the winter cold after police torched and bulldozed their shantytown homes. Street markets also were targeted, their stalls left in smoldering ruins. Police prevent journalists from filming the demolitions, so the footage was collected clandestinely by the church-based Solidarity Peace Trust. The Zimbabwean government pledged to build new houses for those it has made homeless. Zimbabwe's neighbors - including regional powerhouse South Africa - have resisted taking a strong public stand against abuses there, preferring a policy of quiet negotiations. AU spokesman Desmond Orjiako said Friday it was "not proper" for the 53-member body to interfere in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe - especially if it is trying to prevent crime or "ensure Harare does not turn into a slum."

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Supreme Court's Mugabe ruling is catching on!

Politics: From the OC Register on the eminent domain ruling.

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Well this is interesting timing.

Australia: On June 23rd, 2005 in Victoria.

"In December, Judge Michael Higgins found the two had made fun of Muslim beliefs and conduct at a March 2002 seminar and in comments on a website and letters. Judge Higgins found that the evangelical Christian group had called Muslims demons, liars and terrorists and said they were training to take over Australia. The case was the first to be heard under the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001, after the Islamic Council of Victoria filed a complaint about the seminar. Yesterday Judge Higgins said the two pastors had passionate religious beliefs which he thought caused them to break the law. "That does not excuse their conduct but does go some way to explain why they acted as they did," he said. Judge Higgins ordered the pastors print apologies with bold headlines in four editions of the Herald Sun and The Age, and leave the apology on their website for a year. Outside the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal a defiant Pastor Nalliah clutched a Bible and a Koran and vowed he would go to prison rather than publish the apology. "This law is a foul law. It causes disunity and as far as we are concerned, right from the beginning we have stated we will not apologise," he said.

.....Father John Dupuche, chair of the Catholic Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission, and Rabbi Jonathan Keren Black, of the Leo Baeck Centre for Progressive Judaism, lent support to the Islamic Council. "This is a clear and fair ruling which emphasised that comments made reasonably and in good faith are perfectly permissible, but that in this case, clearly the purpose was vilification," Rabbi Black said. Catch the Fire Ministries is appealing to the Supreme Court. "

On June 24th, 2005 in Victoria.
"Muslim books of hate sold Liam Houlihan, religious affairs reporter 24jun05 LITERATURE filled with hatred of Christians, Jews and non-Muslims is being sold at a mosque near a Melbourne home raided by ASIO. Books sold at the store attached to the Brunswick mosque tell Muslims they should "hate and take as enemies" non-Muslims, reject Jews and Christians, and learn to hate in order to properly love Allah. The texts say Muslims should learn military tactics and suggest that if a person speaks ill of Islam it is acceptable to kill them. They urge Muslims to strike back against "the barbaric onslaught from their enemies -- the Jews, Christians, atheists, secularists and others".
Somehow I get the feeling the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act won't be coming into play here.

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Oprah gets an apology, too little, too late.

Entertainment: Update on the Oprah/Hermes fiasco as they apologized but did not admit they turned her away because she was "North African."

LATEST: Multi-media queen OPRAH WINFREY isn't likely to return to any of HERMES' stores in the near future after being humiliated by store bosses in Paris, France. The luxury goods company was forced to issue an apology to Winfrey earlier this week (22JUN05), after the talk show host was turned away at the door of the Paris store last week (14JUN05), while she was shopping for a gift for pal TINA TURNER. Security staff informed Winfrey that the store was closed for a public relations meeting, but the TV star's best pal and travelling companion GAYLE KING insists Oprah was treated badly. King says, "People were in the store and they were shopping. Oprah was at the door and she was not allowed into the store... It was one of the most humiliating moments of her life." Winfrey's pal also states that Oprah is upset by the Hermes' apology because "it implies that nothing offensive happened". Winfrey has called the president of Hermes in America, ROBERT CHAVEZ, to inform him she will no longer be shopping in his stores. Oprah has also cancelled a bag she had on order from the store.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Tony Blair goes Thatcher in Brussels

EU: I think Blair is liking taking it to the EU wieners and especially mocking France/Germany.

"Tony Blair urged European leaders yesterday to heed "a wake-up call" from voters, saying they should not kid themselves it was "business as usual" after the No to the EU constitution from France and the Netherlands. In a blunt, at times passionate, 30-minute speech to the European Parliament in Brussels the Prime Minister poured scorn on the EU's habit of responding to crises with navel-gazing and tinkering with its institutions. Visitors in the public gallery likened his address to Margaret Thatcher's 1988 speech in Bruges, when she sounded the alarm about a "European superstate exercising a new dominance from Brussels". They were only half-right. Compared to Lady Thatcher's Bruges oratory, Mr Blair was much ruder, mocking the EU for issuing empty declarations at times of crisis and hinting that France and Germany should tackle their own economic woes before lecturing him. ....Mr Blair presented himself to the European Parliament as an anxious insider, "a passionate pro-European" committed to "Europe as a political project" but bearing an urgent message of reform for his comrades. He made clear he believed himself to be a full member of the European family, with a family member's full rights to criticise. Like all family rows, it quickly became nasty. On point after point, Mr Blair broke Brussels taboos, and said the unsayable. Though he did not name countries, he pointed a finger at runaway French and German unemployment, which is more than double that in Britain. "Some have suggested I want to abandon Europe's social model. But tell me, what type of social model is it that has 20 million unemployed in Europe?" he asked.

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Islamic Leaders failing Muslims in Nashville.

Islam: Why don't these Islamic leaders ever think before talking? A Koran was found defaced at an apartment complex. The police according to these leaders did not respond in a timely manner to calls. Why? It seems that a break-in in progress and a fight involving a police officer shockingly is more important.

"Islamic leaders disturbed by delayed police response Islamic leaders said they notified police six times yesterday before officers arrived at the site of a Koran desecration. Police said the delay was due to an unforeseen number of higher-priority calls, including a burglary and a fight involving an officer. "We can't pick when the calls come in. We have to take the high priorities as they come," Metro police Capt. Mike Hagar said. Three men, including two Islamic religious leaders, phoned for police help throughout the afternoon after a first call at about 2:45 p.m. Three hours after that call, and after a Tennessean reporter told the Police Department spokesman of the delay, police arrived. Spokesman Don Aaron said the communications system had no record of the 2:45 p.m. call and that the first call that the 911 center received came in at 3:46 p.m. No police units were available at that time, he added, so officers were dispatched at 4:53 p.m. But as police headed to the scene, they were pulled off to deal with a break-in that was in progress. The call about the damaged Koran was entered into the system as a "Code 1," or routine call, and other calls superseded it. Islamic leaders said police apologized to them for the delay, though it was little comfort. Police "did not respond in an appropriate manner to this incident," Abdulhakim Ali Mohamed, imam of the Islamic Center of Nashville, said to a crowd of Muslims. "Regardless of their excuse, you need to let them know that you, as a citizen, will not accept that."
Regardless of how important you think you are, I consider a break-in in progress and a fight to be higher on the list of things to take care of. Regardless of how important a holy book is to any group and their religion, a damaged Koran will not and should not take precedent over incidents that could have potential human life at stake. I'm embarrassed any Islamic leader can fail to see this and it reflects badly on Muslims.

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If you didn't know the AP has an agenda.

Politics: Considering the headline and story, I wonder why they would be the Scalia pic when he was against the ruling? via Freerepublic board.

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Supreme Court: All your land doesn't belong to you!

Politics: Nice to see that the Supreme Court zeal for looking at international laws and precedents as a basis for making rulings in America now extends to Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe must be proud.

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- -- The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development. It was a decision fraught with huge implications for a country with many areas, particularly the rapidly growing urban and suburban areas, facing countervailing pressures of development and property ownership rights. The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas. As a result, cities have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes to generate tax revenue. Local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community, justices said. "The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including -- but by no means limited to -- new jobs and increased tax revenue," Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority. He was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. At issue was the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for "public use." Susette Kelo and several other homeowners in a working-class neighborhood in New London, Connecticut, filed suit after city officials announced plans to raze their homes for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices. New London officials countered that the private development plans served a public purpose of boosting economic growth that outweighed the homeowners' property rights, even if the area wasn't blighted. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a key swing vote on many cases before the court, issued a stinging dissent. She argued that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers. The lower courts had been divided on the issue, with many allowing a taking only if it eliminates blight. "Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," O'Connor wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms." She was joined in her opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, as well as Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
More reaction roundup via Instapundit,Arguing with Signposts, Michelle Malkin.

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Gordon Brown: REFORM OR DIE!

EU: Taking lessons from P Diddy no doubt.

"Downing Street last night said the Prime Minister will attempt to reassure MEPs that his vision is "not a purely market Europe" but a union that combines economic reform with strong social policies. That more emollient tone was also marked by an article Mr Blair wrote yesterday in Bild, Germany's biggest newspaper. "Of course the EU is much more than a free-trade area," Mr Blair wrote. "Britain supports a social Europe, but it must be a social Europe which is adapted to today's world." But addressing bankers in London in his annual Mansion House speech, Gordon Brown left little doubt that he expects European leaders to follow Britain's economic example. "Here in Britain, we have had to make and continue to make hard, long-term choices to achieve stability, growth and flexibility," the Chancellor said. "Now to be globally competitive, the European Union must make these long-term choices too." The rapid growth of developing economies such as China's should serve as a warning to Europe, Mr Brown said. "No country or continent, however successful today, can take its long-term prosperity for granted," he said. "History shows how countries which felt invulnerable can experience rapid decline, and the risks are all the greater with the unprecedented pace of change today." Mr Brown did not stop at demanding reform of the CAP, also calling for EU leaders to take urgent steps to open up markets in energy, utilities and financial services.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

James Brown slams modern music

Entertainment: Damn right, none of these fools could hang with Brown.

Soul legend JAMES BROWN has attacked on modern hip hop and R+B, claiming new artists have none of the "vitality, vigour or dynamics" from his day. The 72-year-old claims technology has replaced talent and encourages laziness. He says, "The new school have a way of doing things with computers but they never really do things themselves. It's all done before they get there. "I still prefer to do things the old way, manually. I like to work from the heart and sweat, so you really know it came from a human being."

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Forget about Loonatics, its all about the Marvel Babies.

Entertainment: It's no muppet babies though. From the Punisher fansite in Germany. Check out Superherohype as they have the latest news from the Licensing trade show including pics from the new Fantastic Four anime style cartoon and the new Superman movie press promos. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

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