Sunday, July 31, 2005

Washington Post looking out for black people!

Media: Awesome, now I know when to look for accurate information about suspected murderers, don't read the Washington Post.

"There was no avalanche of mail or phone calls last week about the journalism surrounding any particular subject. But as so often happens, it is that individual e-mail or call from one or two readers that focuses on an issue going to the heart of what news organizations do and how they do it. Such was the case last Tuesday when a powerful and tragic story was spread across the top of the Metro section. The headline said, "2 Killed, 2 Robbed in Prince George's; Band of Four Men Sought in Attacks." The story, by reporters Allison Klein and Philip Rucker, reported that one of the robbers shot and killed Herminio Moscoso, a 26-year-old father of two, as he came to the aid of his younger brother, who had a gun put to his head by one of the four men who had surrounded him. About 15 minutes later, the men fatally shot William Everette Miller, a 46-year-old mechanic, as he tried to get away from the robbers at a gas station where he had gone to get cigarettes. After the two murders, the four men committed two more robberies that same morning. The story reported that: "Police are looking for the gunmen, described as being in their late teens or early twenties, driving a newer-model tan or light-colored sedan." The news release put out by the Prince George's County Police Department was more specific. It said: "The four suspects are described as black males, possibly late teens or early twenties. One of the suspects is about 5'7", 22-25 years old, wearing a gray long sleeve T-shirt, and cornrow hairstyle. The suspect's vehicle is described as a newer model tan or beige/light colored sedan." The Post did not report the race of the suspects or the details that were available on one of them. When I asked editors about this, they cited the paper's guidelines on race and relevancy. The guidelines say: "In general, race and ethnic background should not be mentioned unless they are clearly relevant. They are obviously relevant in stories about civil rights issues, the problems or achievements of minority groups, cultural history and racial conflict. They are also relevant and should be used in crime stories when we have enough specific identifying information to publish a police description of a suspect who is being sought." Metro editors said it was their "view that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of black men about 5'7" with cornrows between ages 22-25 in Prince George's and (nearby) D.C. That is not specific enough detail to avoid a mass of innocent black men being 'suspects.' " Metro's top editor, Robert McCartney, said, "This strikes me as a judgment call: How specific does the description need to be before we provide the identifying information?" Our experienced editors, he said, "thought this call was the right one, given Post Stylebook guidelines." Here's what a reader in Prince George's County said: "There are evidently four violent murderers of random civilians at large in the county in which I live." He then cited The Post's description of the suspects and added, "That is not true. The police are looking for people using a more specific description than that, one that includes race. The Post took that information out. I know The Post usually defends this practice by saying that 'four white teenagers' [or African American or Asian American or Latino teenagers] provides information that is no more useful than saying 'two teenagers.' Maybe. The police certainly disagree. I think I do, too. But once you've added the fact that the murderers are driving a 'newer model tan or light-colored sedan,' any additional descriptive factor at all becomes powerful, enough for investigators to do effective work with. It's also useful information for those of us filling up our gas tanks at 7 a.m. near where the robbers/murderers prowl. "The Post's decision to strip useful identifying information out of its crime stories strikes me not only as empirically wrong but also paternalistic," he said. "I suppose it would be ad hominem for me to add that those of us who live in the areas suffering waves of violent crime care more about this stuff than do senior editors."
In a world that is harsh and cruel, the Washington Post looking out for the black man is much appreciated. Lord knows if you put information that describes cornrows and black men as suspected killers from police reports, there would be protests all over the place. Thank you Washington Post for looking out for us, the same way you do a pet. Michael Getler as the ombudsman, you do know you can take a stance against Post reporters for stupidity such as this. The middle of the road hand wringing gets old.

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NYTIMES: Being a radical Muslim has a positive side.

Terrorism: A fawning " understand why they became suicide bombers" piece by Amy Waldman with this piece of information.

"Mr. Khan, Mr. Tanweer and Mr. Hussain were part of a larger clique of young British-raised South Asian men in Beeston, a neighborhood of Leeds, who turned their backs on what they came to see as a decadent, demoralizing Western culture. Instead, the group embraced an Islam whose practice was often far more fundamentalist than their fathers', and always more political, focused passionately on Muslim suffering at Western hands. In many ways, the transformation has had positive elements: the men live healthier and more constructive lives than many of their peers here, Asian or white, who have fallen prey to drugs, alcohol or petty crime."

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Economist Blames Aid for Africa Famine

Africa: James Shikwati of the Inter Region Economic Network gets quoted on how Aid is a cause for Africa economic problems in this case Niger.

"In Niger, a desert country twice the size of Texas, most of the 11 million people live on a dollar a day. Forty percent of children are underfed, and one out of four dies before turning 5. And that's when things are normal. Throw in a plague of locusts, and a familiar spectacle emerges: skeletal babies, distended bellies, people too famished to brush the flies from their faces. To the aid workers charged with saving the dying, the immediate challenge is to raise relief money and get supplies to the stricken areas. They leave it to the economists and politicians to come up with a lasting remedy. One such economist is James Shikwati. He blames foreign aid. "When aid money keeps coming, all our policy-makers do is strategize on how to get more," said the Kenya-based director of the Inter Region Economic Network, an African think tank. "They forget about getting their own people working to solve these very basic problems. In Africa, we look to outsiders to solve our problems, making the victim not take responsibility to change." ...."It doesn't make sense when they can't even allow their neighbors to feed them. They have to wait for others in Europe or Asia to help," he said. "We don't have any excuses in Africa. We can't blame nature. We have to tell our leadership to open up and get people producing food."
Shikwati had an excellent interview with Spiegel talking about Africa aid that goes in depth about all the problems caused by it. A must read.
"....SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty. Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor. SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox? Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid."

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Thomas Hearns wins his comeback fight.

Sports: The man is 46 years old, how can you license him to fight again?

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Saturday, July 30, 2005

We French are pathetic losers, says ad chief.

France: Given the choice of Paul Krugman or Maurice Lévy, you decide who you think has the pulse of France.

Paul Krugman:" O.K., I'm oversimplifying a bit. There are several reasons why the French put in fewer hours of work per capita than we do. One is that some of the French would like to work, but can't: France's unemployment rate, which tends to run about four percentage points higher than the U.S. rate, is a real problem. Another is that many French citizens retire early. But the main story is that full-time French workers work shorter weeks and take more vacations than full-time American workers. The point is that to the extent that the French have less income than we do, it's mainly a matter of choice. And to see the consequences of that choice, let's ask how the situation of a typical middle-class family in France compares with that of its American counterpart. The French family, without question, has lower disposable income. This translates into lower personal consumption: a smaller car, a smaller house, less eating out. But there are compensations for this lower level of consumption. Because French schools are good across the country, the French family doesn't have to worry as much about getting its children into a good school district. Nor does the French family, with guaranteed access to excellent health care, have to worry about losing health insurance or being driven into bankruptcy by medical bills.

Perhaps even more important, however, the members of that French family are compensated for their lower income with much more time together. Fully employed French workers average about seven weeks of paid vacation a year. In America, that figure is less than four. So which society has made the better choice?"

Maurice Lévy at Telegraph: "The President of one of the world's biggest advertising agencies has issued a damning state-of-the-nation assessment that describes France as being in steep decline and his countrymen as "narrowed and stunted". Maurice Lévy, the head of the media giant Publicis, whose company owns Saatchi and Saatchi and has offices in 100 countries across six continents, said France had failed to get the 2012 Olympics because the world now saw it as a nation of perdants - "losers". For good measure, he described the 35-hour week as "absurd" and the wails of complaint that followed Paris's loss of the Games to London as "pathetic". His forthright critique was published in the opinion section on the front page of the respected daily newspaper Le Monde. It was in stark contrast to the slick advertising campaigns dreamed up by Publicis to promote its international clients, which include BMW, Renault, Coca-Cola, L'Oréal, and Club Med. Such campaigns helped earn the company net profits of €130 million euros (£90 million) for the first six months of this year. "....What I wrote was hard, but true. France is not in a crisis, it's worse than that. A crisis is usually sudden and short, while we are in an endemic situation," he said. "I've just had enough and wanted to say what I felt." In the article, Mr Lévy said the French had only themselves to blame for losing the Olympics, and that the country needed a wake-up call. "We have narrowed and stunted ourselves and we paint ourselves as losers, and no one wants to be among the losers. It's time we opened our eyes wide, took an icy shower and looked reality in the face: we are in decline, going down a slippery slope. "The Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry has reminded us of our [public] debt and the fact that we are living beyond our means. We knew the figures, yet no government for the last 20 years has wanted to draw a conclusion from them. The figures that attest to our decline are known to all." He said that unemployment, at more than 10 per cent, was a "cancer that gnawed at our society", complaining that companies had lost their competitiveness and that job creation had broken down. "In the global economy we give the impression of being a Gaulois village, but unlike those in Astérix, it doesn't make us laugh and it will raise even less of a smile among our children and grandchildren in 20 years' time," he said. "The general gloom is based on the idea that nothing can be done and nobody seems to have a solution. In fact our politicians have long played fathers of the nation, protecting their flock and hoping to save we the children from crises. It's praiseworthy and generous. Thank you. But it doesn't prepare us for the harsh realities of life. "Remember the day after the first petrol shock, when the Dutch took to their bicycles to save petrol while our good president explained to us that we could (and deserved to) set off in our cars for our weekends away. "Later, when it was necessary, alas, to make redundancies, the compensation was set at 90 per cent, therefore allowing those made redundant to earn yet more without working. Why in that case, make any effort to find a job? In doing this, trying to avoid any difficulties for them, we have turned the French into children. "The final straw has to be the absurd decision to introduce the 35-hour working week when we were told repeatedly that we could work less and earn more. How on earth in this context can we expect the same French people to accept necessary reforms?"

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Scott Burgess makes hometown paper.

Media: Nice write up in the Times Picayune about Burgess getting the scoop on the whole Aslam affair.

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Friday, July 29, 2005

Guardian editor quits over Aslam firing?

Media: via Daily Ablution, Scott Burgess gets word that Albert Scardino, Guardian executive editor has quit.

"Posted at 12:36 BST: Last night I was informed by a journalist that Albert Scardino, the Guardian's executive editor for news, has resigned as a direct result of Sassygate. My impression from that source's report is that his position had become untenable because of the split between Mr. Aslam's supporters and those who wanted him fired (the latter including, to his credit, Ian "Clark County" Katz). According to that source, Alan Rusbridger has conceded that the Aslam affair and its internal repercussions constitute a significant crisis for the paper. Today a second source, with close connections to the Guardian, has independently confirmed Mr. Scardino's resignation. This person also cites the Aslam situation as the primary factor. More to come - including, I hope, the identity of "a staff reporter".
My money on "staff reporter" is Seumus Milne. Update from Times Online.
"Albert Scardino has stepped down from the post of executive editor of the Guardian newspaper, just a week after the controversial dismissal of trainee journalist Dilpazier Aslam over his undeclared Islamist interests. Rumours had circulated last night that Mr Scardino was about to leave, but sources at the newspaper today were at pains to point out that the departure was entirely unconnected with the Aslam affair. Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, said: "Albert Scardino, executive editor for the home and foreign departments, has decided to leave the Guardian in October, at the end of his second annual contract, to pursue online and entertainment projects. We wish him well for the future." ....At the NUJ meeting, Mr Aslam was asked questions about the anti-Semitism of Hizb'ut Tahrir. The chapel, chaired by Matt Seaton, discussed three separate motions. The first motion authorised chapel officers to continue to represent Dilpazier Aslam, if required by him, at an appeal against his dismissal should he choose to pursue one. The second motion, which was overwhelmingly passed, called on him to repudiate the 2002 Hizb'ut Tahrir Jenin leaflet, which falsely accused Ariel Sharon of a massacre in the Jenin refugee camp. The third motion regretted "the precipitate action" taken by Guardian Newspapers. Mr Aslam was sacked after a meeting with chief executive Carolyn McCall. Mr Scardino, an American, is the husband of Marjorie Scardino, the chief executuive of Pearson, the media group that owns the Financial Times. Some of the blogs which "outed" Mr Aslam have also claimed that he was appointed by Mr Scardino under a scheme to bring under-represented ethnic groups to the paper. But Guardian sources today were stressing that while Mr Scardino "was very loosely responsible" for recruitment issues, he had not interviewed Mr Aslam and had not involved "in any way" in the decision to grant him a place on the diversity scheme."

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Guardian journalists condemn firing of Aslam.

Media: It's not shocking that Guardian employees condemn the firing of one of their own, union power and all that. But I doubt the reasoning by the people that voted for Aslam was just about the way he got fired and there is support for him personally.

LONDON – Guardian journalists have condemned the sacking of Muslim journalist Dilpazier Aslam, who was revealed by bloggers to be a member of the anti-Semitic Islamic group Hizb'ut Tahrir. His sacking was discussed at a National Union of Journalists meeting, at which Aslam was present. According to political blog Harry's Place, part of Aslam's defence was his surprise at the outrage caused by his 7/7 article in The Guardian, in which he called the suicide bombers who killed 52 people "sassy". Aslam said that he had worked closely on the piece with Guardian comment editor Seumus Milne, who he said had suggested certain phrases that appeared in the controversial article. At the NUJ meeting, Aslam is understood to have been asked several pointed questions about the anti-Semitism of Hizb'ut Tahrir. Aslam is reported not to have given satisfactory answers to these questions. Despite this, the meeting still narrowly backed him and condemned his sacking by Guardian Newspapers chief executive Carolyn McCall. However, a senior editor added an amendment that passed, which noted that Aslam had not satisfactorily answered the questions raised about anti-Semitism. The site further reported that Aslam was appointed by executive editor Albert Scardino, husband of Pearson chief executive Majorie Scardino, under a scheme to bring under-represented ethnic groups to the paper. It is understood that Scardino suggested to Milne that Aslam write the "sassy" comment piece. Before being sacked by The Guardian, Aslam was offered the chance to leave Hizb'ut Tahrir, but refused.
Nice to know the Guardian thinks a member of a radical Islamic group is representative of the Muslim community. The most interesting tidbit is Aslam saying the comment editor Seumus Milne helped him with the sassy piece suggesting words to use. I believe we found our anonymous bitter ranter who said he was fired because of right wing bloggers. Update# Well look at this, no wonder Aslam and Seumus Milne worked together.
09/13/01: "....As Mahatma Gandhi famously remarked when asked his opinion of western civilisation, it would be a good idea. Since George Bush's father inaugurated his new world order a decade ago, the US, supported by its British ally, bestrides the world like a colossus. Unconstrained by any superpower rival or system of global governance, the US giant has rewritten the global financial and trading system in its own interest; ripped up a string of treaties it finds inconvenient; sent troops to every corner of the globe; bombed Afghanistan, Sudan, Yugoslavia and Iraq without troubling the United Nations; maintained a string of murderous embargos against recalcitrant regimes; and recklessly thrown its weight behind Israel's 34-year illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as the Palestinian intifada rages. "
Birds of a feather?

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Reporter illegally taped Art Teele before he shot himself.

Florida: This story takes a weird turn as a Miami Herald reporter gets fired for illegally taping a conversation with Teele hours before he shot himself.

"....During a 15-year political career, Teele became one of Miami-Dade's most influential politicians, serving on both the Miami City Commission and the County Commission. But his life ended in a cascade of arrests and humiliating disclosures that reached a crescendo in recent weeks. Two weeks ago, Teele was indicted on 26 federal charges of fraud and money laundering -- his third arrest in a year. On Tuesday, a probation officer filed papers seeking to revoke his probation from an earlier conviction and send Teele to jail. Wednesday brought the latest embarrassment: The New Times weekly published an excruciatingly detailed, 14-page spread describing Teele's alleged sordid relationships with crooked contractors, drug dealers and -- what bothered Teele the most -- a transvestite prostitute. The front-page headline: Tales of Teele: Sleaze Stories. In addition, Teele was buckling under chronic debts and legal bills; a neighbor said Teele recently asked him for a $200,000 loan. And Teele knew that state prosecutors were planning to file additional corruption charges against him, perhaps in the next few weeks. Moments before the shooting, Teele spoke on the lobby phone with DeFede, one of two conversations Teele had with the columnist in the final 90 minutes of his life. In the first discussion, the former commissioner spoke emotionally about his legal and financial problems. ''Who did I piss off in this town?'' Teele asked. ''He was very upset,'' said DeFede, who has known Teele for 14 years. ``He was not crying. But I would say the emotion in his voice was as if he's crying.'' In their last call, Teele told DeFede he was at The Herald and leaving him a package. He did not sound particularly upset, DeFede said. 'I said to Art, `Well is it urgent? Do you want me to come down there right now? Is it something I need to see tonight?' '' Teele replied no and rang off. He shot himself moments later. ''He was here less than 10 minutes,'' said Nazco, a 14-year Herald employee. Late Wednesday night, DeFede was dismissed by The Herald after he admitted to editors that he had tape recorded one of his phone conversations with Teele without Teele's knowledge. Under Florida law, it is illegal to do so.
More here on DeFede firing.
"....Both Publisher Jesús Díaz Jr. and Executive Editor Tom Fiedler said they fired the popular Metro writer because it is illegal for anyone to tape a conversation with another person without that individual's consent in Florida. DeFede told them that during his interview with Teele, he turned on a tape machine to record his conversation as the politician confided in him about his public corruption charges, financial problems and other sensitive issues, according to Díaz. At one point, Teele told the columnist that he was not speaking on the record -- but DeFede continued to record him anyway without his knowledge, Díaz said. Díaz said that The Herald had no choice but to dismiss DeFede because his conduct was potentially a felony crime and unethical. ''With all of our sources, we have to treat them with respect and dignity,'' Díaz said. ``I don't think we did that in this situation.'' ''The public's trust is at stake as a result of Jim's actions,'' Díaz said. ``We have to make sure that the public understands that trust is the most important value that the community bestows upon us.'' Fiedler, who was in San Jose, Calif., at The Herald's parent company, Knight Ridder, said the decision to fire DeFede was difficult. ''Jim has been a strong and valued voice at The Miami Herald and his departure will leave a significant void,'' Fiedler said in a statement. ``I am personally heartsick about this. But we must hold ourselves to the highest standard of integrity if we are to maintain the trust of our readers and those with whom we deal.'' Herald editors decided not to publish DeFede's column based on his interview with Teele because it was obtained under possibly illegal circumstances. DeFede, a Herald columnist since June 2002 who had previously worked at the Miami New Times, stunned colleagues with the news of his firing as editors were editing the final Teele stories for Thursday's paper. ''As Teele was becoming unglued [on the phone], I turned on a tape recorder because I could tell that he was distraught and bouncing off the walls,'' DeFede told more than a dozen staffers in the newsroom. ``I made an illegal tape and the company decided to fire me.'' DeFede, who did not want to comment further, issued a prepared statement: ''In a tense situation I made a mistake,'' he said. ``The Miami Herald executives only learned about it because I came to them and admitted it. ``I told them I was willing to accept a suspension and apologize both to the newsroom and our readers. Unfortunately, The Herald decided on the death penalty instead.''
Sheesh, even when caught reporters want to make a martyr out of themselves. Local reaction from the black community is that Teele was not a choir boy, but he did good and the media especially the Herald pushed him to kill himself.

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UK: Doctors do not have to follow patient's demands

UK: First read, it gives off the impression that doctors can blow off your demand for treatment as a patient, but it seem the ruling hinges on the hope certain scenarios do not happen.

" The General Medical Council won its appeal today against a court ruling which enabled terminally-ill patients to force doctors to give them life-saving nutrition where there is a disagreement over treatment. Leslie Burke, 45, who has a degenerative brain condition, won a ruling last year in the High Court to stop doctors withdrawing food and drink. But today a panel of three judges headed by Master of the Rolls Lord Phillips set aside the decision of Mr Justice Munby, which was hailed as a landmark for terminally-ill patients at the time. The GMC argued that the original ruling put doctors in "an impossibly difficult position" as it would oblige a doctor to provide treatment that the patient demands, even if the professional is that it would be futile. The GMC believes that a patient does not have the right to demand any particular form of treatment. ....Lawyers acting for Mr Burke said the appeal court ruling may have been a technical win for the GMC but was a "significant and practical victory" for their client and other patients like him. His solicitor, Paul Conrathe, said: "Mr Burke brought this case because he wanted to be sure that he would be provided with food and water until he died of natural causes. "He was concerned that doctors would deny that request. "The Court of Appeal have confirmed that patients like Mr Burke who want food and water have to be given it. "Failure to do so would constitute murder. This is a significant matter for him." Lord Phillips, giving the ruling of the court, said: "Where a patient indicates his or her wish to be kept alive by the provision of artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH), any doctor who deliberately brings that patient’s life to an end by discontinuing the supply of ANH will not merely be in breach of duty but guilty of murder." Where the Court of Appeal disagreed with Mr Justice Munby was over a situation where a patient’s request for ANH was against a doctor’s judgment that it would cause distress to the patient. "Ultimately, however, a patient cannot demand that a doctor administer a treatment which the doctor considers is adverse to the patient’s clinical needs. "This said, we consider that the scenario that we have just described is extremely unlikely to arise in practice."
Right to life groups are not happy because it doctors get an out.
"Joyce Robins, co-director of human rights campaign group Patient Concern, which helped argue Mr Burke should have the right to food and water, said the decision was a disappointment and "a huge step backwards" She said: "Doctors again have extraordinary power over us, making decisions on how and when we die. "This is a huge step backwards for patients. "The right to food and water is a right to simple basic sustenance but because they are considered treatment, they can now be taken away. "We feel the judges are completely out of touch with the feelings of people in Leslie’s position. "Patients are entirely at the mercy of doctors making the decision over whether they live or die, which is obviously an intensely personal decision."

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Ted Kennedy accuses White House of giving info to blogs.

Politics: Via USnews.

"Senate Democrats and Judiciary Committee minority staffers are miffed that conservative bloggers appear to have more information about Bush Supreme Court nominee John Roberts than they do. "They've got material out there that we don't know about," complained Sen. Edward Kennedy, who's leading an effort to force the White House to turn over any documents it has on Roberts. Other Democrats said that they believe the White House is providing supportive bloggers with information that paints Roberts only in a positive light. Kennedy, speaking to reporters last Friday, said that he was unaware of the prolific GOP blogging on behalf of Roberts until his wife pointed it out. Kennedy has said that while he doesn't want to mount a fishing expedition into Roberts's past, he will demand paperwork on most of the cases he has handled as a judge and lawyer."
It is called Google, Lexis Nexis and the absurd amount of lawyers or people with legal connections on the right side of the blog.

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UK police asks media not to show nail bombs.

Terrorism: Since this is the British press, of course they are not going to follow those demands.

"Police have asked news organisations "in the strongest possible terms" not to publish pictures obtained by ABC News of unexploded bombs discovered in a car in Luton. The US broadcaster has shown pictures of the bombs, flatpacked like pancakes in a car believed to have been rented by the suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer."
BBC Paper front page round up.

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And he is the moderate cleric!

Terrorism: This would be the same as asking your best man to speak and he rails against the bride as a whore who does lots of inanimate objects.

"The most senior Islamic cleric in Birmingham claimed yesterday that Muslims were being unjustly blamed in the war on terrorism and that the eight suspects in the two bombing attacks on London "could have been innocent passengers". Mohammad Naseem, the chairman of the city's central mosque, called Tony Blair a "liar" and "unreliable witness" and questioned whether CCTV footage issued of the suspected bombers was of the perpetrators. He said that Muslims "all over the world have never heard of an organisation called al-Qa'eda". Mr Naseem, who was speaking after police seized Yasin Hassan Omar in Birmingham, delivered his unprompted outburst when he was invited to a press conference with West Midlands police and Birmingham city council to help calm fears of racial or religious tension after the arrest. It was held near the police cordon in Heybarnes Road, where Omar was arrested. His comments shocked senior police officers."
The Telegraph is not amused.
"....Thus, what should have been an occasion to celebrate sound investigative police work descended into farce. The police were visibly embarrassed by Dr Naseem's outburst. Supt Russ Smith suggested that the cleric might be suffering from shock brought on by "the unusual events of the last few hours". That may be true, but we nevertheless welcome Dr Naseem's comments because of the clear light they shine upon the absurdity of much official reaction to the current terrorist campaign. The day after the July 7 atrocities, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick of the Metropolitan Police rebuked a reporter who had asked about the nature of the threat by saying: "Islam and terrorism don't go together." When senior police officers go to great lengths to make such prim and dubious politically correct statements, then it is not surprising that Muslim leaders such as Dr Naseem end up believing them, and expect to be taken seriously when they take those assertions to their logical conclusion. Vigilance, clarity of thought and strength of purpose are the correct responses to a terrorist threat. These are the qualities that most people have displayed in the past three weeks. The stakes are simply too high these days for anyone in authority to say anything that encourages the half-witted utterances of the likes of Mohammad Naseem."

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Beyond Kyoto

Enviro: China, India, America, Australia and South Korea says pffffft to Kyoto to make their own emissions pact.

"CANBERRA (Reuters) - The world's top polluter, the United States, is set to unveil a pact to combat global warming by developing energy technology aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions, officials and diplomats said on Wednesday. China and India, whose burgeoning economies comprise a third of humanity, as well as Australia and South Korea are also part of the agreement to tackle climate change beyond the Kyoto protocol. Kyoto requires a cut in greenhouse emissions by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12 but the United States and Australia have never ratified the protocol because it excluded major developing nations such China and India. Diplomats in the Laotian capital Vientiane said the pact would be formally announced on Thursday when U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick holds a press conference attended by representatives of the other signatories. Zoellick is attending a regional forum in Laos. Details of the pact remain unclear but it appears to echo recent comments by U.S. President George W. Bush who advocated the use of technology in curbing growth in greenhouse gas emissions rather than setting targets he believes threaten the U.S. economy. Australian Environment Minister Ian Campbell said on Wednesday that the five countries had been quietly working on the pact for months. "It's quite clear the Kyoto protocol won't get the world to where it wants to go ... We have got to find something that works better -- Australia is working on that with partners around the world," Campbell told reporters on Wednesday."
The dirt lovers are really unhappy about it.
"....Greenpeace is blockading Newcastle Harbour, the world's largest coal export port, to highlight Australia's role in global warming. "Environment Minister Ian Campbell concedes a comprehensive agreement involving all major emitters is needed," Greenpeace energy campaigner Catherine Fitzpatrick said. "Skulking around making secretive, selective deals will not accomplish this. Signing up to the Kyoto Protocol will." Ms Fitzpatrick said the Federal Government had no doubt been cooking up the scheme for a while to cover its failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and try to prove that developing countries were abandoning Kyoto. "This is not the case. Unlike Australia, we see China, India and South Korea have all ratified Kyoto and are moving forward to implement their commitments," she said. "The suggested scheme is, unlike Kyoto, a voluntary scheme and all evidence shows that voluntary schemes do not work."
China and India?
Reuters: "NEW DELHI, July 14 (Reuters) - India will be unable to commit to greenhouse gas emission targets when the first phase of the Kyoto treaty ends in 2012 as its energy-hungry economy is developing fast, the top U.N. climate expert said on Thursday. Under the Kyoto climate change protocol which came into force in February, developed countries will try to reduce greenhouse gas output by 5.2 percent of 1990 levels by 2008-12. But developing countries such as India and China are exempt from the treaty's emission targets because they say their economies will take a serious hit if they change their energy policies."
Whatever you say lady.

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Why is Walter Pincus allowed to write on the Plame case?

Politics: Considering they are associates, close enough that he calls up Wilson to warn him "They are coming after you." He seems to deliberately not put in information in his articles to give the whole story as he does in the latest here. Read the whole thing and you get the anti_Bush feel. But what I want to zero in is this part of the article.

"In a 2002 trip to Niger at the request of the CIA, Wilson found no evidence to support allegations that Iraq was seeking uranium from that African country and reported back to the agency in February 2002. But nearly a year later, Bush asserted in his State of the Union speech that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa, attributing it to British, not U.S., intelligence."
Now the fact the Senate inquiry had this to say
Washington Post July 10, 2004 : "Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, dispatched by the CIA in February 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq sought to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program with uranium from Africa, was specifically recommended for the mission by his wife, a CIA employee, contrary to what he has said publicly. "....Wilson's assertions -- both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information -- were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report. The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address."
Considering the Butler Inquiry Report in the UK had this to say(summary via Wikipedia)
"The report indicated that there was enough intelligence to make a “well-founded” judgment that Saddam Hussein was seeking, perhaps as late as 2002, to obtain uranium illegally from Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo (6.4 para. 499). In particular, referring to a 1999 visit of Iraqi officials to Niger, the report states (6.4 para. 503): “The British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger's exports, the intelligence was credible.” This intelligence (which had controversially found its way into George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech) had previously (before September 2003 [C. May, 2004]) been thought to rely on forged documents. The Butler Review stated that “the forged documents were not available to the British Government at the time its assessment was made.” (6.4 para. 503) Taking into account the American intelligence community’s findings on the matter, it is true that in December 2003, then CIA director George Tenet conceded that the inclusion of the claim in the State of the Union address was a mistake. (CNN.com, 2003) However, Tenet believed so, not due to any compelling evidence to the contrary, but rather because the CIA (criticized concerning this matter by the Senate Report of Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq [Schmidt, 2004]) had failed to investigate the claim thoroughly; however again, the Butler Review states (6.4 para. 497) in 2002 the CIA “agreed that there was evidence that [uranium from Africa] had been sought.” In the run-up to war in Iraq, the British Intelligence Services apparently believed that Iraq had been trying to obtain uranium from Africa; however, no evidence has been passed on to the IAEA apart from the forged documents (6.4 Para. 502). (Times Online, 2003)
Also this report in June 2004 via the Guardian June 2004 about the Iraqi visit to Niger, Wilson had this to say.
"The Iraqi official who visited the African state in 1999 was Wissam al-Zahawie, who at the time was Iraq's ambassador to the Vatican. It has since emerged that, during the same visit, al-Zahawie also visited three other African countries: Burkina Faso, Benin and Congo-Brazzaville. He has claimed that the sole purpose of these visits was to extend an invitation from Saddam Hussein for their heads of state to visit Baghdad. He said: 'My only mission was to meet the President of Niger and invite him to visit Iraq. The invitation, and the situation in Iraq resulting from the genocidal UN sanctions, were all we talked about. I had no other instructions, and certainly none concerning the purchase of uranium.' Former US diplomat Joseph Wilson, who visited Niger in 2002 on behalf of the CIA to probe a possible uranium link with Iraq, said al-Zahawie's visit was common knowledge. 'It's perfectly reasonable to assume that the Iraqis weren't interested in Niger's millet or sorghum, but it's a real leap of faith to say that, through this visit, Iraq was seeking to purchase significant quantities of uranium from Niger,' Wilson said. 'It's not even circumstantial evidence.' Al-Zahawie's name also appears as a signatory of documents addressed to Niger diplomats in Rome, confirming a deal whereby Iraq would purchase 500 tons of uranium 'yellow cake' ore. These documents have proved to be forgeries and accepted as fakes by Washington and the IAEA. "
Interesting deal about Burkina Faso, Benin and Congo-Brazzaville, they are all connected with Uranium exporting/mining. The odds that the Iraqi official would just visit those four countries and invite them to Iraq seems quite amazing. Why didn't this to Joe Wilson is a mystery. Lastly via Daily Howler this recap of Wilson's outting as a liar and blowhard just a couple of weeks afterwards.
"FINALLY! “I never claimed to debunk the allegation!” In our view, Wilson’s letters to the Committee and the Post are fake, evasive, insincere, misleading. Correctly, Getler burned Wilson’s Straw Men in his ombudsman column, and similar Straw Men littered the letter Wilson sent to the Committee itself. But here is the most amazing thing Wilson says in his “rebuttal” to the Committee. Take a seat. Strap yourselves in. Try to believe that he said it: "WILSON (letter to the Intelligence Committee): My article in the New York Times makes clear that I attributed to myself “a small role in the effort to verify information about Africa's suspected link to Iraq's nonconventional weapons programs.”...I went to great lengths to point out that mine was but one of three reports on the subject. I never claimed to have “debunked” the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa. I claimed only that the transaction described in the documents that turned out to be forgeries could not have occurred and did not occur." Amazing, isn’t it? I never claimed to have “debunked” the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa! Readers, what has the last year been about if Wilson didn’t claim to debunk Bush’s claim? (Think hard—we know you’ll come up with something.) Let’s compare two important statements—Bush’s famous 16 words, and Wilson’s amazing new admission: BUSH: The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. WILSON: I never claimed to have “debunked” the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa. Finally! This is what we’ve always told you—Wilson had no way of knowing if the 16-word statement was right or wrong. He had no way to debunk it! But throughout his thrilling and best-selling book, he calls this statement a “lie-lie-lie-lie,” over and over and over again. But then, grinding overstatement like that has been the problem with Wilson all along (as the three senators correctly note). And now, alas, Dems will start to pay a price for investing so much in his presentations. "
Now with all this juicy back story and Washington Post article of Wilson last year. Don't you think Pincus could do better than to paint Joe Wilson out falsely as being 100% correct? Maybe Pincus fears his narrative would suffer if he had to portray Wilson correctly instead of the hero. All I'm asking is for complete reporting on a subject with all the information laid out. That too much to ask?

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

IRL drivers unhappy with Danica Patrick. Poor babies

Sports: These are people who obviously did not follow the way the PGA rode Tiger Woods coat tails.

"According to a report in the Indianapolis Star, four Andretti Green Racing's drivers — Indianapolis 500 winner and IRL points leader Dan Wheldon, defending IRL champion Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta — boycotted a mandatory autograph session Saturday night at the Wisconsin State Fair Park because organizers of the fan-friendly event created a different waiting line for Patrick. According to the report, AGR drivers haven't been pleased with the way the IRL has promoted Patrick over the other drivers. "It's a serious issue and we need to talk (with league officials) about it," AGR co-owner Kevin Savoree told the Star. The drivers will likely be fined for the protest, and maybe even lose some championship points, although IRL president Brian Barnhart told the Star that scenario wasn't likely. "This is a very serious situation because the autograph session is vitally important as we try to reach out to the fans," Barnhart told the Star. "The attention Danica has drawn to this series — none of which she asked for — has risen the tide for all of our ships, and everyone needs to understand that." AGR drivers have grown tired of all the media attention that Patrick has received since the Indy 500 in May, where she finished fourth. Kanaan and Herta, who have taken shots at Patrick after recent races, chose not to comment about the boycott after Sunday's A.J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile. Savoree, however, said the issue is something the IRL has to deal with. "We don't have an issue with Danica at all," Savoree said. "She's a great young talent and she's proven it every weekend. But we've got some things to talk to the IRL about."
At least the IRL president realizes what is going on and the drivers have done is show everyone they are ignorant spoilt brats.

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Union meeting over Dilpazier Aslam firing.

Media: It seems the Guardian did not follow union procedures when they got rid of Aslam.

"Union members at The Guardian were holding a meeting at the newspaper's Farringdon Road offices today to discuss what action to take over the dismissal of Dilpazier Aslam, the trainee reporter who was dismissed last week when he refused to resign from the Islamist party, Hizb ut-Tahrir. The chapel, or local branch, of the National Union of Journalists called the meeting over concerns that the usual disciplinary procedures had not been followed in Mr Aslam's case. Mr Aslam, 27, a Yorkshire-born Muslim, had written widely on Islamic news stories for the newspaper while on a one-year trainee contract. ....Today, the Guardian said that it had not been contacted by Mr Aslam, or his representatives, in connection to any possible legal action over his dismissal. Some Guardian staff are understood to have expressed their unease at working with Mr Aslam because of his views. However, the union meeting was convened because while Mr Aslam only recently joined the NUJ, he did not have any representation present at his disciplinary meetings. The Guardian's statement on the subject read: "The matter was subsequently treated under the paper's grievance and disciplinary procedure. Aslam was invited to a meeting with GNL's chief executive, Carolyn McCall, at which he repeated his refusal to leave the organisation or repudiate its material."

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Nicolas Sarkozy lays hammer down on radical clerics.

EU: France showing why they have the reputation of the toughest terror laws and it helps Sarkozy for his future Presidential run.

"PARIS Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy of France defended on Monday the deportation of an Algerian cleric as part of France's new zero-tolerance policy toward radical Muslim preachers following the London terror attacks. Abdelhamid Aissaoui, 41, who was convicted for his role in an attempted terrorist attack 10 years ago and has preached occasionally in a mosque in Lyon, in central France, was returned to his home country on a French plane on Saturday. He became the first of a dozen radical imams currently under observation by the French intelligence services to be expelled from France since Sarkozy pledged 10 days ago to clamp down on extremist preachers. While cautiously welcomed by France's moderate Muslim organizations, in parts of the country's large Muslim community the new policy has sparked concerns that by targeting clerics it risks stigmatizing all practicing Muslims. But Sarkozy on Monday stood firm. "We will not keep people on our territory who issue calls to hatred, to violence and to the disrespect of our democratic values," the minister told reporters. "They will leave the territory, and they will leave quickly. In this area, we don't intend to tolerate anything." "....The minister's strategy is two-pronged. He plans to accelerate deportations of imams seen to be inciting their audience to hatred and violence, and he wants to step up measures to improve training for imams in France. Twenty mosques in France are run by extremists, according to France's domestic intelligence service, the Renseignements Généraux. Most of the Muslim clerics currently under surveillance are in Paris, Lyon and Marseille in southern France. Ten radical imams have been expelled since September 2002, according to France's chief of police. Aissaoui served a four-year prison sentence in France after being convicted of providing logistical support to a terrorist cell planning to bomb a high-speed TGV train in 1995, an attack that was foiled. He was ordered to leave France after his sentence, but the intelligence services found that he had stayed in Lyon, where he was believed to replace the imam of a local mosque on occasion. Aissaoui was arrested last Monday and expelled over the weekend after his request for asylum was formally rejected."

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Welcome Michelle Malkin and Mudville Gazette readers

Thanks for stopping by.

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Mel Gibson's new movie filmed in obscure Mayan dialect

Entertainment: Variety with the slap against the New York Times as well.

"...."Apocalypto" hardly fits the traditional definition of a summer film. Set 500 years ago, pic will be filmed in an obscure Mayan dialect, presumably with the same kind of subtitles Gibson reluctantly added to "The Passion of the Christ." It will star a neophyte cast indigenous to the region of Mexico where Gibson will shoot in October. And it likely will carry an R rating, unless Gibson tempers the onscreen depiction of violent scenes he wrote in his script. Since Gibson's bankrolling his pic and will sell foreign himself, studios were offered only a rent-a-system deal, such as George Lucas had with 20th Century Fox for his last three "Star Wars" films. And because "Apocalypto" is not a religious pic, there's no guarantee of an encore turnout of the church groups and hardcore Catholics who made "The Passion of the Christ" a nearly $1 billion box office/DVD bonanza. 'Passion' prediction At least three studios passed on the project before Disney bought it. Nevertheless, the fact that more than one studio bid for the project shows Gibson's viability and makes laughable last year's prediction by the New York Times that Gibson would be blackballed by Jewish executives after the "Passion" controversy. That charge never really had much traction, said sources within Gibson's agency, ICM. There was a post-"Passion" pile of scripts with $20 million-plus offers for Gibson's acting services. While that paper piled up on ICM co-prexy Ed Limato's desk, Gibson was accumulating pages of his own, scribbling "Apocalypto" in his office and becoming so passionate about it that he changed his plans to star in the Icon-produced drama "Under and Alone" for Warner Bros."

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Timesonline writes about Dilpazier Aslam

Media: Unlike the Independent who tried to take credit, Timesonline rightly gives the credit to Scott Burgess at the Daily Ablution, doesn't cover new ground, but an excellent summary of events.

"The Guardian has terminated a reporter's one-year training contract after a blogger revealed the writer was a member of a extremist Islamist political party and had not declared his interest to the newspaper when he wrote for its comment pages after the July 7 attacks. The Guardian's move - according to the newspaper, taken after reporter Dilpazier Aslam refused to resign from the party, Hizb ut- Tahrir - echoes recent media oustings in America, but is the first time a British journalist has been forced to step down after coming under fire from bloggers - independent web diarists. Scott Burgess, who runs the Daily Ablution blog, revealed Mr Aslam’s ties to Hizb ut-Tahrir, which operates legally in Britain but is banned in several other countries.

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John Roberts and the Federalist Society

Politics: In the absence of anything bad so far showing up in Roberts career and personal life(disregarding Daily Kos commentator if Roberts son who is 4 years old was gay) They are trying to make a big deal out of the Federalist Society in the Washington Post and AP.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federalist Society has close ties to the Bush administration and top legal leaders, including two Supreme Court justices. The group, formally called the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, was founded in 1982 as a debating society by students who believed professors at the top law schools were too liberal. Early advisers were Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Justice Antonin Scalia, a former law professor at the University of Chicago. Spencer Abraham, the Bush administration's former energy secretary, was a founder of the Harvard Law School chapter. The group is named after the "Federalist Papers," in which James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay argued for ratification of the Constitution. Conservatives and libertarians mainly make up the 25,000 members. The group does not take positions on issues, but members have been promoting Bush's Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts."
Washington Post: "....In conservative circles, membership in or association with the society has become a badge of ideological and political reliability. Roberts's membership was routinely reported by news organizations in the context of his work in two GOP administrations and legal assistance to the party during the contested 2000 presidential election in Florida. But the society's alignment with conservative GOP politics and public policy makes Roberts's relationship with the organization a potentially sensitive point for his confirmation process because many Democrats regard the organization with suspicion. Yesterday, a liberal organization that has been skeptical of Roberts's nomination said that the White House's description of his relationship with the society showed the need to take a close look at his background. "As this episode makes clear, the Senate needs to go behind the glowing accounts of Roberts's record to figure out what he really thinks and what he really did," said Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, a liberal organization that has been critical of the Roberts nomination. "What matters is whether he hung out with them and not whether he signed the form or wrote the dues check," said David Garrow, a law professor at Emory University. "What's important is the intellectual immersion."
I would pay money to see Dick Durbin say at the hearings, " Are you, or have you ever been, a member of the Federalist Society?" No one whined that Ruth "international law rocks" Ginsburg worked with the ACLU. Considering Durbin seems to be pushing a "Are you, or have you ever been, a Catholic" question, he just might.(via Powerlineblog.)

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Denmark not happy with Canada over island visit.

Canada: If I were the Danes, I would be careful. Canadian General Rick Hillier will slap the taste out of your mouth.

"A visit by the Canadian defence minister to a barren island in the Arctic has sparked a row with Denmark. Bill Graham landed on Hans Island, which is claimed by Canada and Denmark, during a tour of Canadian military outposts in the region. The status of the island - an outcrop barely 100 metres wide between Canada's Ellesmere Island and Greenland - has been disputed for more than 30 years. The Danish government says it will send a letter of protest to Canada. The dispute started in 1973 when Denmark and Canada drew a border down the Nares Strait, between Canada's Ellesmere Island and Greenland, a semi-autonomous Danish territory. The sovereignty of Hans Island was left to be determined later. Bottle exchange "We consider Hans Island to be part of Danish territory and will therefore hand over a complaint about the Canadian minister's unannounced visit," head of the department of International Public Law at Denmark's Foreign Ministry, Peter Taksoe-Jensen, told Reuters. In 1984, a Danish minister, Tom Hoeyem, caused a stir when he visited the island and raised the Danish flag. Mr Hoeyem also buried a bottle of brandy at the base of the flagpole and left a note saying welcome to Denmark. The UPI news agency reported that Canadian troops landed on the island a week before Mr Graham's visit, planted a Canadian flag and built an Inuit stone marker. Reports say Canadian troops leave whiskey at the flagpole on their incursions. "
All joking aside something has to be worked out soon, because there are potential lucrative oil, water and traffic rights that would be a boon to either country.

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Navigator Kilpatrick plays the race card in Detroit.

Politics: Detroit is 82% black and he is playing the race card. Tremendous.

"But with the mayoral primaries just 10 days away it is Kilpatrick's image that is proving a liability as his reputation for living a hip-hop lifestyle, including wild parties, lavish spending and a posse of wayward security guards, has left him struggling to keep his job. "The problem is that all the stories have been about him and how he keeps acting up," says Ed Sarpolus, head of the polling firm Epic/MRA in Lansing. "Sooner or later the public starts saying, 'when are you going to start thinking about the city?'" It didn't help that the stories were less than flattering. There were accusations that strippers were invited to the mayor's official residence, and that his bodyguards were drink-driving and failing to report accidents they were involved in. And then there was the "bling thing". He leased a luxury SUV for his family with city funds and lived large while travelling on city business with his mayoral credit card. Kilpatrick initially denied all the allegations. But with the exception of the strippers and the drink-driving (he created another scandal by firing the policeman investigating those allegations), he ended up conceding many others, and paid back money he had spent on the mayoral credit card. "I think some of them might have been exaggerated," says Kamau Marable, director of political communications and public affairs for the Urban Consulting Group in Detroit. "But those were the perceptions and perceptions have a way of becoming reality." Kilpatrick has alleged a combination of racism and ageism. "If I was 60 years old," he told one newspaper, "if I came from the country club community, if I came out of an established private firm or something like that, none of these would get the lift that they have."
But don't think he is down for the count when he has supporters like this.
"....Views in the city are mixed. "I voted for him and I'd vote for him again," says Courtney Atkins. "I know he may have done some crazy stuff but I think the reason his SUV and spending is a problem is because young black men aren't supposed to have stuff like that. I mean aren't mayors supposed to have good cars?" Others feel that the very thing he used as an attribute - his youth - has now become a flaw. "I think he was too young and too inexperienced," says a woman who gives her name as Sharon. "He employed his friends, who also had no experience. I think the job was too big for him and things got out of control.' National views are similarly mixed. In the week that Time magazine named him one of the nation's three worst big-city mayors, Harvard University honoured him as the country's most innovative. Even his critics agree that Kilpatrick got many of the small things right - getting the grass mowed, the snow ploughed and the rubbish picked up - which so often tarnish municipal leaders' careers."
There is a slogan. "THE GRASS WILL BE MOWED ON TIME!"

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Iman tells Ottawa to back off Muslims or else

Terrorism: This Iman is taking cues from his UK counterparts in using the fear of Islamic terrorism to get the Ottawa government to bow down to his demands. You read and hear complaints about the media blaming all Muslims and pushing the image every Muslim as out of control. But so-called Islamic leaders such as Hindy and others around the world do a better job of that than any media outlet.

"A controversial Toronto imam warned Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan at a closed-door meeting to stop "terrorizing" Canadian Muslims. "If you try to cross the line I can't guarantee what is going to happen. Our young people, we can't control," Aly Hindy, the head of Scarborough's Salaheddin Islamic Centre, recalls telling the minister at the May meeting she held in Toronto with dozens of Muslim leaders. The meeting was part of an effort by Ms. McLellan to reach out to Canadian Muslims amid complaints that the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service are engaging in racial profiling. The minister and her officials have been meeting community leaders to explain they are not targeting Muslims generally, only individuals with possible terrorist links." "....Toronto's Coalition of Muslim Organizations arranged the meeting, and said about 100 Muslim leaders attended. While COMO president Adam Esse noted that, "some people, when they talk, they get a little heated," he said the ministerial visit was "a sign of respect" and was worthwhile overall. "If you talk, you remove a lot of misconceptions, a lot of misunderstandings." A spokesman for Ms. McLellan agreed. "We feel it was constructive, positive," Alex Swann said. Even Mr. Hindy said that despite his differences with security agencies "the Deputy Prime Minister, she was very understanding." In the wake of the London bombings, Ms. McLellan has said that Canadians must become "psychologically prepared" for such an attack. She has also suggested such strikes are not related to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, in which Britain is a strong partner. Mr. Hindy believes the war in Iraq has caused young Muslims to want to fight against the United States and Britain. "I always say the No. 1 recruiter of al-Qaeda is George W. Bush," he said. The imam said six or seven young men have approached him to discuss "fighting overseas" in place such as Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he told them "people fighting in Iraq, they don't need more people." Instead, Canadian Muslims can wage non-violent jihads (holy struggles) at home. "You have a very good chance to serve Islam here," he said he told them. "

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Democrats run to the center using the Clinton playbook.

Politics: Considering by the end of the 90's, Democrats controlled no branches of government, that may not be the best move. But having moveon.org and Daily Kos being the face of your party could be worse.

"July 25 (Bloomberg) -- Top national Democrats, including several of the party's likely 2008 presidential contenders, are returning to the well of ideas from the centrist group that helped fashion President Bill Clinton's agenda in the 1990s. The Democratic Leadership Council's two-day session in Columbus, Ohio, which opened yesterday, features speeches by New York Senator Hillary Clinton, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and Virginia Governor Mark Warner, all potential presidential nominees. Titled ``Heartland Values, Bold Solutions: An American Reform Agenda,'' the gathering comes at a time when Democrats find themselves with political opportunities, mostly because of President George W. Bush's difficulties on Social Security, the economy and Iraq rather than greater public acceptance of Democratic ideas. Although polls show U.S. voters are increasingly wary about the direction of the country under Bush, ``alarmingly, the president's deep troubles have produced no rise in positive sentiment about Democrats,'' Democratic consultant and former Bill Clinton campaign manager James Carville wrote in a July 6 memo to fellow Democrats. ``Rather than defending the status quo, which we seem to be pretty good at, we really ought to be articulating the case for reform,'' Vilsack, the DLC chairman this year, said in an interview. ``Our party has got to do a better job of defining itself, of branding itself, so our candidates are not at a disadvantage.''
Read the article as it shows the centrists trying to appeal to the center and making themselves look tougher on a number of subjects including the military.
"The DLC's blueprint for change, distributed in Columbus, includes proposals for: -- Increasing the size of the U.S. military by 100,000 personnel and assuring the services can recruit on college campuses. Taxes, Energy -- Altering the tax code to provide a $3,000-a-year college tax credit, a universal home mortgage deduction for people who don't itemize their taxes, an expanded family tax credit for couples with children and a universal pension that replaces 16 existing IRA-style accounts with one portable retirement account. -- Cutting oil imports by 25 percent by 2025 and converting government vehicles to the use of hybrid engines by 2010. -- Reducing congressional and non-defense federal government staff by 10 percent, cutting government consultants by 150,000, slashing ``excessive'' highway spending 50 percent and bringing back limits on discretionary spending. -- Enacting tax cuts that encourage investment and setting up a Corporate Subsidy Reform Commission that cuts $30 billion in business subsidies at year for the next decade. -- Lowering health care costs by investing in technology and research to find cures for diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. -- Adopting a uniform ratings system for ``entertainment media'' that market products to children. -- Cracking down on government corruption by forbidding members of Congress and administration officials from becoming lobbyists when they leave office."
It is either the Democrats realizing this far left move is idiotic or they are trying to dress up a pig making it look beautiful to fool voters. Hillary is already making her move to the center by supporting John Roberts showing why she is the smartest woman in national politics.

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Dianne Feinstein asks Muslims leaders to issue fatwa.

Politics: Coming from Feinstein, this is a surprise.

"A top US Senator urged Muslim leaders across the world to issue a slew of religious edicts denouncing terrorism and warned that mosques in "many places" are enabling terrorists. Senator Dianne Feinstein spoke in the wake of Saturday's bombings in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where 88 people were killed, and the July 7 attacks in London, where 52 people and four suicide bombers died. A new attack in London failed Thursday. "I think until the mosques in the Muslim world and the imams in the Muslim world in a major way issue fatwa after fatwa denouncing jihad and denouncing terror that we're not going make any progress," the California Democrat told CNN. "I don't see many, if any, major imams throughout all of the Muslim countries coming together and saying: Enough of this. Stop. This is not Islam. You know, we object to it," she said. "Until there is something like an excommunication that would take place in the Catholic Church where, if you are going to engage in this thing, do not frequent our mosques, you don't see this," Feinstein said. She added: "What you see in many places is that the mosque becomes an enabler one way or another."

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Gov. Ed Rendell to apologies for Knoll..sorta.

Politics: Following up on this incredulous stunt by Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, the Governor is sending a letter of apology, but not exactly showing remorse for the gutless behavior displayed by Knoll.

"Written apologies will be sent to a fallen Marine's relatives angered by Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll's uninvited appearance at the soldier's funeral and her criticism of the war in Iraq, Gov. Ed Rendell said Sunday. Rendell said he will send a personal letter to the family of the late Marine Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, of Westwood, and will ask Knoll to do the same. Goodrich, 32, a police officer and infantry unit leader, died July 10 in a mortar attack in Hit, Iraq. Rendell said he hadn't spoken with Knoll about the incident, but was disturbed by the family's charge that she made a political statement against the war. "It's not the business of state government to support the war, but our state supports the men and women who are fighting this war," Rendell said during an appearance in Mt. Washington. Knoll's actions and words offended Goodrich's family and friends, along with others. "I'll never vote for her," said Lynn Profeta, of Collier, who took her two sons to watch the military and police tribute paid to Goodrich outside St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Carnegie. "That family is grieving." "....Goodrich's sister-in-law, Rhonda Goodrich, of Indiana County, said Knoll sat next to Goodrich's aunt, Linda Kubiak of Bethel Park, in the church and gave her a business card, explaining that she "attends 90 percent of these 'functions' across the state." Rhonda Goodrich said Knoll also told Kubiak "that the (state) government was against the war." Knoll spokesman Sean Pendrak did not comment on the family's allegations, but said the lieutenant governor supports troops at war and extends condolences to all families who have lost loved ones in the fighting. "I'm going to talk to her," Rendell said. "I think she should send a letter to the family, clarifying (her intentions). As head of the state, I'm going to also send a letter."
Update# The story has hit the AP wire and a statement will be released this afternoon.
"....Knoll's spokesman, Sean Pendrak, told The Associated Press on Monday that the lieutenant governor's office would be releasing a statement on the matter later in the day."

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

That former CIA officials letter about Plame

Politics: To say the signatures on the letter are an interesting bunch of people would be an understatement as Red State puts up the backgrounds of some of them. I would say they are less concerned about if Plame was an agent or not than it being an opportunity to bash the Bush admin again. One of the signers was Ray Mcgovern who got some fame during Conyers little play hearing for this quote.

"The session took an awkward turn when witness Ray McGovern, a former intelligence analyst, declared that the United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel and military bases craved by administration "neocons" so "the United States and Israel could dominate that part of the world." He said that Israel should not be considered an ally and that Bush was doing the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "Israel is not allowed to be brought up in polite conversation," McGovern said. "The last time I did this, the previous director of Central Intelligence called me anti-Semitic." Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), who prompted the question by wondering whether the true war motive was Iraq's threat to Israel, thanked McGovern for his "candid answer."

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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Pa. Lt. Governor shows up at funeral to campaign against war.

Politics: What the hell? I think this would fall into the classless category.

"The family of a Marine who was killed in Iraq is furious with Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll for showing up uninvited at his funeral this week, handing out her business card and then saying "our government" is against the war. Rhonda Goodrich of Indiana, Pa., said yesterday that a funeral was held Tuesday at a church in Carnegie for her brother-in-law, Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, 32. She said he "died bravely and courageously in Iraq on July 10, serving his country." In a phone interview, Goodrich said the funeral service was packed with people "who wanted to tell his family how Joe had impacted their lives." Then, suddenly, "one uninvited guest made an appearance, Catherine Baker Knoll." She sat down next to a Goodrich family member and, during the distribution of communion, said, "Who are you?" Then she handed the family member one of her business cards, which Goodrich said she still has. "Knoll felt this was an appropriate time to campaign and impose her will on us," Goodrich said. "I am amazed and disgusted Knoll finds a Marine funeral a prime place to campaign." Goodrich said she is positive that Knoll was not invited to the funeral, which was jammed with Marines in dress uniform and police officers, because the fallen Marine had been a policeman in McKeesport and Indiana County. "Our family deserves an apology," Rhonda Goodrich said. "Here you have a soldier who was killed -- dying for his country -- in a church full of grieving family members and she shows up uninvited. It made a mockery of Joey's death." What really upset the family, Goodrich said, is that Knoll said, 'I want you to know our government is against this war,' " Goodrich said. She said she is going to seek an answer from Gov. Ed Rendell's administration if it opposes the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan."

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Aslam looking to sue the Guardian.

Media: As the Independent revels in the Guardian's misery.

"A trainee journalist at The Guardian newspaper is considering legal action after being sacked for refusing to give up membership of a radical Muslim organisation, first revealed in The Independent on Sunday. Dilpazier Aslam, 27, was sacked on Friday after refusing to give up membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir. The organisation is banned in Germany and elsewhere. Although Hizb ut-Tahrir is non-violent and legal in this country, The Guardian said it considered the organisation to be anti-Semitic. "The Guardian considered ... that membership was not compatible with being a Guardian trainee," the newspaper said. The row follows a comment article written by Mr Aslam after the 7 July bombings in which The Guardian did not make Mr Aslam's political affiliations clear. Within hours, the online community was attacking Mr Aslam for his membership. The Guardian says that its comment editor was unaware of his membership. However, colleagues say he made no secret of it in the newsroom. "There was a failure of understanding about what this organisation was," a Guardian source said. "It just shows the media's lack of understanding of Muslim life. It was much more Guardian cock-up than conspiracy."

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"Death Wish" director says time to stop playing cricket.

Terrorism: Via Timesonline.

"For many people this morning's shooting at Stockwell Tube must have sounded like a scene from a Hollywood movie: a man chased down a subway escalator by armed police, cornered in a train and shot five times at close range. For Michael Winner, the film director who sent Charles Bronson out to clean up the streets of New York 30 years ago in Death Wish, it was a sign that Britain is finally coming to terms with the challenge of terrorism. Terrorism experts said that the South London shooting was an unavoidable use of lethal force, the first result of new rules of engagement given to the security forces to deal with the threat of suicide bombers: shoot for the head, not for the body, in case you detonate explosives on the suspect's body. If officers thought the man was carrying explosives, they had no choice. Mr Winner, chairman of the Police Memorial Trust, went further than that. He told Times Online: "I think the police shooting the terrorist was absolutely right. "Our whole approach to terrorism is absurd. We need new laws to detain people without trial - we are at war. We are playing cricket and they're playing mass murder. Police powers should be massively increased, as well as police numbers." ....And the fact that the suspected suicide bomber was shot so many times also caused some disquiet today - even before the dead man was identified. The Muslim Council of Britain said it had received a number of phone calls from ordinary Muslims worried that the police had adopted a "shoot-to-kill" policy. Inayat Bunglawala, a Council spokesman, said: "There may well be reasons why the police felt it necessary to unload five shots into the man and shoot him dead, but they need to make those reasons clear. We are getting phone calls from quite a lot of Muslims who are distressed about what may be a shoot-to-kill policy." Mr Winner was unrepentant: "The so-called politically correct liberals have on their hands the blood of many of our citizens already. Tragically, the number will vastly increase before anything sensible is done about it."

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Spike back on the WB network.

Entertainment: Smallville is actually looking up next season as James Marsters joins the show. Now if they can cut out every show ending with Lois and Clark looking at each other. Spoilers ahead!

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) For all the things vampire Spike was on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," one thing he typically was not was the sharpest stake in the drawer. That's about to change for the man who played him, James Marsters. Marsters will join the cast of "Smallville" this season, playing a classic villain from the DC Comics universe: Professor Milton Fine, better known as Brainiac. The WB confirmed a percolating rumor of Marsters' casting Friday (July 22) at the Television Critics Association press tour. ....In addition to Brainiac, the fifth season of "Smallville" -- which moves to the ultra-competitive 8 p.m. ET Thursday spot this fall -- will feature an appearance by fellow DC hero Aquaman (not played, unfortunately, by "Entourage" star Adrian Grenier, who's on the verge of filming an "Aquaman" movie in that show). ....Also this season, Tom Wopat will reunite with his former "Dukes of Hazzard" co-star, John Schneider, for an episode. Wopat will play a childhood friend of Jonathan Kent's (Schneider) who's now a state senator.

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Dilpazier Aslam rocks himself out of a job.

Media: The Guardian fires Aslam and then admits the obvious.

"Trainee journalist Dilpazier Aslam had his contract with the Guardian terminated today. The move followed an internal inquiry into Aslam’s membership of the political organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir. A statement said: “The Guardian now believes continuing membership of the organisation to be incompatible with his continued employment by the company.” “Mr Aslam was asked to resign his membership but has chosen not to. The Guardian respects his right to make that decision but has regretfully concluded that it had no option but to terminate Mr Aslam’s contract with the company.” The inquiry followed a piece written by Aslam for the Guardian’s comment pages entitled “We rock the boat”. The statement added: “The Guardian accepts that it should have explicitly mentioned Mr Aslam’s membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir at the end of his comment piece.” A correction will appear in the paper’s Corrections and Clarifications column. -- Background: the Guardian and Dilpazier Aslam
But remember the initial report from the Independent.
"It is understood that staff at The Guardian were unaware that Mr Aslam was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir until allegations surfaced on "The Daily Ablution", a blog run by Scott Burgess. Speculation is mounting that it may have been a sting by Hizb ut-Tahrir to infiltrate the mainstream media. "....Sources in The Guardian said that Mr Aslam was employed to increase ethnic diversity within the newsroom under The Guardian's one-year traineeship scheme. One source said: "There was a feeling that we genuinely wanted more diversity, and like all national newspapers we were still a bit 'pale and male' so we were keen to recruit from different backgrounds."
The Guardian thought it could ride it out by not saying anything and lying about Aslam employment, but the heat got too much. When they hired they had to know about his membership and what he has written beforehand. Now they are trying to cover their behind. Update# Read the background story because it is either poorly written or it they can't get their story straight.
"....Dilpazier Aslam is a 27-year-old British Muslim from Yorkshire. After university he studied journalism at Sheffield University with the help of a bursary from the Sheffield Star. He was a journalistic trainee on the Matlock Mercury in 2004. He won the NUJ George Viner award for promising black journalists in 2003. He was selected to be one of the Guardian trainees under its diversity scheme and began the year-long programme in October 2004, working in many editorial departments across the paper, including research, photos, graphics, Guardian North, G3s, Guardian Unlimited and the city office. On his 15-page application form he did not mention that he was a member of the Islamist political party, Hizb ut-Tahrir, despite being invited to describe any participation in public affairs or political campaigning. "....Subsequent to joining the Guardian, Aslam made no secret of his membership of this political party, drawing it to the attention of several colleagues and some senior editors. On July 12 - the day it was announced that the July 7 London bombs had been placed by young British muslims from west Yorkshire - Aslam was asked to write a piece for the comment page. His 560-word article, "We rock the boat: today's Muslims aren't prepared to ignore injustice", was published the following day. In editing the piece the Guardian did not make it clear - as it should have done - that the author was, in addition to being a Guardian trainee, a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir. The Comment editor was not aware of this fact. After the article was published a number of people drew attention to a document Hizb ut-Tahrir posted in March 2002, on its British website, Khalifah.com, of which the Guardian was previously unaware.
I guess the excuse is that some people knew and others did not, which doesn't explain the editors. If they knew and I would think they look over the paper and website to make sure everything is correct, they would have mentioned it and corrected it the next day. But when the Daily Ablution and the Independent picked up the story, this cover story was made up. Update#2: Thanks to Stwefe in the comment pointing out a number of articles regarding Aslam in the Guardian Media section.(Go to Bugmenot if you need to sign in)
Dilpazier Aslam leaves Guardian Background to the story Aslam targeted by bloggers Background: Hizb ut-Tahrir
The Aslam targeted by bloggers article is great just for the bitterness that shines thru blaming his firing on right wing bloggers.
"Rightwing bloggers from the US, where the Guardian has a large online following, were behind the targeting last week of a trainee Guardian journalist who wrote a comment piece which they did not care for about the London bombings. The story is a demonstration of the way the 'blogosphere' can be used to mount obsessively personalised attacks at high speed. Within hours, Dilpazier Aslam was being accused on the internet of "violence" and belonging to a "terrorist organisation" - both completely untrue charges. One blogger appealed for "some loyal Briton to saw off your head and ship it to me". Another accused Aslam of being guilty of "accessory before the fact to murder." These ravings were posted alongside more legitimate questions as to whether a newspaper should employ a reporter who belongs to a controversial political group linked to the promotion of anti-semitic views. "....In the Independent on Sunday, Shiv Malik, also briefly a Guardian intern, accused the hapless Aslam of mounting "a sting by Hizb ut-Tahrir to infiltrate the mainstream media". And in the tabloid Sun, their attack-dog columnist, Richard Littlejohn, took the opportunity to claim: "A Guardian journalist has been unmasked as an Islamist extremist". Many bloggers repeated Malik's untrue assertion - made in the Independent on Sunday - that the Guardian was "refusing to sack" Aslam. The episode was a striking illustration of the way that blogs and bloggers can heat up the temperature and seek to settle scores - as well as raise legitimate concerns about journalism and transparency - when something awful happens in the streets of London.
This might be the first blogger-induced British MSM firing, now onward to the BBC! More reaction from Spartac, Foreign Dispatches, Harry's Place, Martin Stabe and Daily Ablution

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UK Muslims leaders using terror attacks as leverage.

Terrorism: Via the Evening Standard, UK Muslim leaders as I predicted are now "asking kindly" that the UK change its foreign policies not only in Iraq but elsewhere. Once again the UK Muslim leadership fails to be leaders and come off as opportunists. The condemnations press releases were a farce, UK Muslims leaders see this as a prime spot to make demands, while pushing along the image of Muslims as reactionary second class beings who can only be satisfied if you do what they say. If you do not, then everyone gets blown up. These leaders are an affront to Muslims the world over.

"Senior Muslims have warned the Government that it needed to revise British foreign policy if it wants to put an end to the violence. Dr Azzam Tamimi, from the Muslim Association of Britain, said the country was in real danger and that this would continue so long as British forces remained in Iraq. He described the July 7 bombings and the attempted attacks in London on Thursday as "horrifying" but said it was not enough to simply unite in condemnation of the bombers. Dr Tamimi, speaking after a Sky News debate in Birmingham, said: "The latest developments very clearly show this is a very big thing. It's not just a few individuals from Leeds. I think it's time everybody got serious and engaged in an attempt to prevent it. Part of that would be to understand what's going on. "7/7, 21/7, and God knows what will happen afterwards, our lives are in real danger and it would seem, so long as we are in Iraq and so long as we are contributing to injustices around the world, we will continue to be in real danger. "Tony Blair has to come out of his state of denial and listen to what the experts have been saying, that our involvement in Iraq is stupid." His comments were echoed by the marketing manager for The Muslim Weekly newspaper. Shahid Butt said he believed the threat to Britain would reduce if it pulled its troops out of Iraq. He said: "At the end of the day, these things [violent incidents] are going to happen if current British foreign policy continues. There's a lot of rage, there's a lot of anger in the Muslim community. "We have got to get out of Iraq, it is the crux of the matter. I believe if Tony Blair and George Bush left Iraq and stopped propping up dictatorial regimes in the Muslim world, the threat rate to Britain would come down to nearly zero." Massoud Shadjareh, chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, also called on the Government to take responsibility for creating the "political environment" in which these attacks have happened. He said: "Now we know this wasn't a one-off, we need to look at ways of addressing the underlying factors that created it. I feel it's urgent to start addressing these before there is further loss of life."

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