Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Frank Lautenberg brings the stupid.

Politics: The politics of Hurricane Katrina is off and running with this really idiotic quote from Lautenberg.

Responding to Bush's statement, Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg (news, bio, voting record) of New Jersey said the president should have had troops and supplies on the ground Monday. "President Bush's wake-up call came awfully late," he said.
The hurricane hit monday morning and lasted the whole day/night. That would be a good time to have people standing about to help.

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"Put the Niggers in the Superdome"

US: Out of all the ranting and raving you knew would come out of Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans, this could be the dumbest one of all.

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Just so you know what sort of a fool you are going to read at the Daily Kos.
The people on this website are of a conservative bent and provincial it seems to me. If you want to ban me, you are welcome. It doesn't matter.

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Chirac backs eurocentric search engine

EU: When in doubt, scare up the anglo-saxon tech invasion.

French president Jacques Chirac yesterday pledged to help fund a new European internet search engine to rival Google and Yahoo as he railed against what he sees as the threat of Anglo-Saxon cultural imperialism. In a speech in Reims, Mr Chirac said: "We're engaged in a global competition for technological supremacy. In France, in Europe, it's our power that's at stake." Mr Chirac's intention is to provide forgivable loans to a Franco-German "multimedia search engine for the internet" being developed by French group Thomson and Deutsche Telekom. The plans reflect Mr Chirac's often-expressed concern about the omnipresence of US culture in French society. The government is already pushing to create an online digital library to rival one planned by Google.
I have no problem with any of this, the more information online that you can find with east the better. But pushing the fear the anglo angle brings down a worthwhile project to just bitterness.

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Boeing union calls for strike, Airbus cheers.

Business: As usual, unions come along to screw up what was a resurgence for Boeing at the wrong time.

SEATTLE - Boeing Co. on Tuesday presented what it called its final contract offer to more than 18,000 Machinists, whose leaders promptly urged the workers to reject the proposal and strike. A top Boeing executive warned that a strike would be devastating. In a statement posted late Tuesday on its Web site, the union said the aerospace giant was insisting on concessions and takeaways in a "corporate strategy to break the workers who have built this company." Union members will vote on the three-year offer Thursday, with the current contract set to expire Friday. "I just cannot emphasize enough what a strike would mean to us because we would absolutely be walking away from our commitments to our customers," Alan Mulally, head of Boeing's commercial airplanes division, told a news conference earlier Tuesday after the company released its last offer. "There's just no way we would recover." If the union members vote to strike, Mulally said the company would have no choice but to slowly shut down operations. And he added that customers have been clear that such a disruption could cause them to choose a rival airplane maker — notably European archrival Airbus SAS.
Analyst Richard Aboulafia with the Teal Group said union workers could expect to get other concessions but should expect a tough fight over pensions. That's because pensions represent a huge fixed cost that the company can't scale back in a downturn. "I think they've found the one area that management cannot afford to give in to, just for the long-term health of the company," he said. Still, Aboulafia said the union is in a strong position since Boeing cannot afford a long-term strike that would disrupt airplane production just as business is picking up.
or Boeing could just fire people to cut costs being a business that is slowed down by a strike. No one is in a position to start fighting at this point.

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Monday, August 29, 2005

PM John Howard says I was right about Kyoto!

Kyoto: New Zealand and German businesses are throwing a fit about the cost of Kyoto. New Zealand is in a bind because they sold the agreement as a money maker for them. It turns out the only one making money will be Russia.

JOHN Howard claims he has been vindicated over his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol after business groups in New Zealand and Germany demanded their countries quit the agreement as soon as possible and join the Asia-Pacific climate pact. A coalition of 22,000 New Zealand businesses, under the auspices of the New Zealand Chambers of Commerce and Industry, called on both parties in the New Zealand election to start talks on pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol by 2008 - the earliest possible date to do so. The chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association of New Zealand, Alasdair Thompson, said compliance had cost companies much more than the Government predicted. It has been estimated that New Zealand may have to spend between $600million and $1.2billion to meet its Kyoto commitments on greenhouse gas emissions instead of gaining carbon credits. "The Government's carbon credit calculations were incorrect to begin with, and business concern is growing that the latest calculations on the extent of the liability are still wrong," Mr Thompson said. Germany's industry bodies said last week "the hopes on the Kyoto Protocol were unfortunately not fulfilled" and that consideration for all countries to join the recently agreed six-nation Asia-Pacific Clean Air and Development partnership "after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012". The industry group president, Juergen Thumann, said "we could fully use our potential on new climate conversing technologies in international competition with such an alliance".

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday Night WoWblogging.

Entertainment: Enough of that catblogging, its all about the WoW!
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61 elite and big as a house, this was taken before I realized he can move really really fast for his size.

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Sgt. Dan Kennings death was fake but accurate.

Media: An elaborate hoax pulled off due to lies and general stupidity of everyone involved except the one who created the hoax which is in dispute. The Chicago Tribune broke the story and the AP comes along with the shorter version.

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The student newspaper at Southern Illinois University was taken in by an elaborate hoax in which a child, tricked into thinking she was playing a movie role, posed as the daughter of a man serving in Iraq, the publication said Friday. The tale, which stretched over two years, began to unravel last week when the paper, The Daily Egyptian, heard that the "soldier" had been killed in Iraq and subsequent investigations by the student newspaper and the Chicago Tribune exposed that he didn't exist. "In the course of checking out the details, a troubling problem appeared: The story wasn't true," The Daily Egyptian wrote Friday in an editorial. "What began as a nightmarish possibility became impossible to deny." A woman who pretended to be the child's guardian is a 2004 SIU graduate who says she concocted the story with a former Daily Egyptian editor who denies that allegation and claims he, too, was duped. A man who posed as the serviceman father also says he was an unwitting participant.
Update# This latest media fiasco does fit this description of what American journalism has become these days. (wmv file, copy url into player if it doesn't auto play. ) More reaction from Michelle Malkin, rhymes with right, Marathon Pundit who points out that Southern Illinois University has been in the news before for stupidity.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Bolton to the UN: Yeah, but we think this is better.

Politics: By better he means you are going to do it this way. This is a good since the last thing that is needed with the UN "reforms" is America once again being on the hook for everything. The points the UN are trying to pass is a blatant move to usurp issues that should be left to each country and all should agree on them.

U.N. diplomats pressed the United States on Thursday to be open to compromise or risk sinking a plan for broad U.N. reform that world leaders are supposed to approve at a world summit in New York next month. The calls for flexibility came after the United States suggested the latest 39-page draft of the document be cut down to three pages or negotiated from scratch, line by line, less than three weeks before the start of the Sept. 14-16 gathering of more than 170 world leaders. U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, recognizing the urgency of the situation, called on all U.N. ambassadors this week to accelerate negotiations on the proposals on poverty, development, disarmament and human rights. The United States last week submitted more than 500 proposed amendments to the draft document that diplomats have been negotiating for six months, causing some envoys to panic that agreement might not be reached. ....Bolton said the U.S. proposals should come as no surprise as they were "not that dissimilar from changes that we have been talking about here at the U.N. for months." "Our hope is to have a strong consensus document for the high-level event. We're working on that and we are making our views known, as are other governments," he told reporters. The U.S. proposals would eliminate reference to the Millennium Development Goals approved by world leaders five years ago that set deadlines for reducing extreme poverty, battling AIDS and raising education levels around the world. The amendments also oppose further action on climate change or increasing foreign aid and urge nuclear powers to speed nuclear disarmament. At the same time the amendments seek stronger action against terrorism, a new and stronger U.N. human rights body and a host of U.N. management reforms following the scandal-tainted $67-billion oil-for-food program for Iraq. U.N. General Assembly President Jean Ping of Gabon, who has been leading the negotiations, planned talks on Friday to agree on a way forward, diplomats said.

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UK to start deporting clerics, tells UN to scram.

UK: Charles Clarke is putting up a tough front, but with the court battles I doubt anything of substance will happen.

THE first arrests of extremist clerics planned for next week will test how successfully the Government can swiftly deport the “preachers of hate” under rules announced yesterday. Charles Clarke is preparing to act against a number of individuals despite warnings, including one from a UN official, that the deportations will breach Britain’s human rights obligations. The Home Secretary accused the UN of being too preoccupied with the rights of terrorists when it should be more concerned about their victims. He dismissed criticism by Manfred Nowak, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, of the new powers which will make it easier to get rid of undesirables from Britain. Mr Clarke said: “The human rights of those people who were blown up on the Tube in London on July 7, are, to be quite frank, more important than the human rights on the people who committed those acts.” He announced that a new list of unacceptable behaviours allowing him to deport people is now in force.

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France facing "period of social unrest"

EU: Paul Krugman's idiotic France loving is looking worse and worse.

France could face its worst period of social unrest for a decade, analysts and commentators warned, as Dominique de Villepin's centre-right government returns today from its summer break. With petrol prices soaring, economic growth hesitant, trade unions furious, public confidence in the country and its political leaders at rock-bottom and a string of unpopular reforms still lying ahead, conditions are ripe for what one analyst, Gerard Mermet, called "genuine social upheaval". ....The first mass day of action will be in late September and will mobilise more than 1 million French workers, he said - although the first teachers' strike is scheduled for next week. Such protests can take dramatic turns in France: a massive public campaign against some relatively mild economic reforms in 1995 brought the country to a standstill for several weeks, leading ultimately to the downfall of the previous centre-right government headed by the then prime minister, Alain Juppé. In addition to the jobs problem, Mr de Villepin - who marks 100 days in office on September 8, by which time, he has pledged, he will have "restored the nation's confidence" - also faces widespread discontent at falling spending power (exacerbated by rising fuel prices), as well as stiff opposition to planned education, civil service and health reforms. With economic growth standing at just 0.1% in the second quarter, and Paris under strong pressure from Brussels to bring its deficit back to below the EU's 3% ceiling, the prime minister will also find it almost impossible to finalise a state budget for 2006 without big cuts in public spending - each provoking further unrest. Le Monde warned in a recent editorial that the "rentrée" will Mr de Villepin's "first real test". The sociologist Mr Mermet was more pessimistic: "Things will radicalise," he said. "There is a real risk of explosion: we are in a pre-revolutionary situation."
Via Bloomberg:
Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Camille Grimault-Queret was fired in June as director of the 18-hole golf course in Saint-Germain-les- Corbeil, south of Paris. She wants to find more work -- as long as it's the perfect job. Grimault-Queret, 31, can afford to be picky. She will collect a monthly unemployment check worth 57 percent of her former salary for as long as 23 months, and says she won't look at anything that isn't ``attractive'' until at least November. France's generous jobless benefits, about three times those of the U.S. and the U.K., help explain the country's 10.1 percent unemployment rate -- double the rates in those countries. The benefits are among a set of labor policies that may pose the biggest obstacle to President Jacques Chirac's efforts to rekindle the economy and restore his tattered popularity. Chirac's government has proposed to cut benefits for people who turn down jobs and to offer a 1,000-euro ($1,223) bonus to those who return to work within a year. The measures don't go far enough, says Eric Chaney, Morgan Stanley's chief European economist in London. ``As long as policy makers do not question the French social model, France will continue to suffer from high unemployment,'' he says.
This is the problem in a nutshell. France has a social system that cannot survive in today's world. There is nothing built to make it adaptable to changing economic/social factors. The population refuses to change and the government does not have the ability or confidence in itself to make the necessary changes. The only way this is going to end is the system collapses and out of that wreckage something better is built.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Northeast states to push Kyoto lite.

Enviro: This is not a well thought out plan.

Officials in nine Northeastern U.S. states have reached a preliminary agreement to cap and then cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 10 percent by 2020, a Delaware official said on Wednesday. If the agreement is made final, it would be the first of its kind in the United States. The Bush administration has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, a greenhouse gas reduction plan that has been adopted by more than 150 other countries. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont came together in 2003 to form a coalition, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, in order to explore a market-driven cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions in the absence of mandatory emissions reductions at the national level. ....A regional emissions control program would likely cause higher energy prices for power company customers in the Northeast, but Cherry said the states had not yet decided on a method to combat rising costs. In cap-and-trade markets, businesses must either trim emissions under set limits or buy credits from companies that have complied with those limits. "We're still not quite sure how the apportionment of the cap is going to occur and how each of the states would then allocate the cap among their affected facilities," Cherry said.
If they were serious about this, it would just be set limits or create incentives(tax breaks/credits) for companies to upgrade their systems to meet goals. This ridiculous buy credit system is nothing more than wealth redistribution. New Zealand is going to have to pay hundreds of millions, maybe even billions to Russia for a similar scheme which in the end will not make New Zealand anymore closer to meeting Kyoto limits. Russia is going to be happy though. That's not even factoring the higher power bills for consumers under this plan which they admit they don't really have a handle on. The same as New Zealand btw.

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Australia: learn and understand our values or clear off.

Australia: Well this is certainly insensitive talk.

MUSLIMS in Australia who don't want to accept local values should leave the country, Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson says. ...."We believe in giving every person a fair go, we don't care where people come from, we don't mind what religion they've got," Dr Nelson said. "But what we want them to do is commit to the Australian constitution, Australian rule of law and basically, people who don't want to be Australians, and they don't want to live by Australian values and understand them, well then they can basically clear off." Treasurer Peter Costello has also raised the prospect of the government asking radical Muslims clerics who put Islamic law above Australian law to leave the country if they are dual citizens. "There might be other countries where the system of law is more acceptable to them," he said. "If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option."

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

NCAA removes Seminoles from hostile list

Sports: More like the NCAA goofed up and backed down from a losing fight. Take that Michael Wilbon, you politically correct hack.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The NCAA removed the Florida State Seminoles on Tuesday from a list of 18 college and university nicknames subjected to restrictions because of their hostility to American Indians. The NCAA said it was recognizing the relationship Florida State has long enjoyed with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which assists the university with its pageantry and celebration of its culture and supports the school's use of its name. "The staff review committee noted the unique relationship between the university and the Seminole Tribe of Florida as a significant factor," the NCAA said Tuesday. "The decision of a namesake sovereign tribe, regarding when and how its name and imagery can be used, must be respected even when others may not agree." Florida State President T.K. Wetherell had threatened to sue the NCAA immediately after its Aug. 5 announcement that the school's highly visible nickname, "Seminoles," was defined as "hostile and abusive" by a committee. The NCAA said it would handle reviews from other schools on a case-by-case basis. The Illinois Illini, Utah Utes and North Dakota Fighting Sioux are among other prominent school nicknames that remain affected by the edict. Under the NCAA restrictions, teams with hostile nicknames would not be able to use them in postseason tournaments or bowl games.

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Timken High School is a baby factory.

Culture: There is a polite version and impolite version answering this op-ed.

Sixty-five — again, 65 — of Timken High School’s 490 girl students are pregnant. That’s a number confirmed by Principal Kim Redmond, whose staff, in less than a week, will inherit a problem it had no part in causing. Whose fault is it that more than 13 percent of Timken’s girls are with child? Some would say fault-finding isn’t a fruitful exercise, but in this case, it’s critical. Suspects range from movies, TV and video games to lazy parents and lax discipline. Only one thing is sure: Schools don’t impregnate children. “This has gotten to horrible proportions,” said Redmond. “I wish I knew the answer to why it’s happening.” She’s not the only one who should wonder. McKinley High’s numbers aren’t rosy, either, and its culture is just as ripe for trouble. I recall a day there last spring, while waiting for an English class to let out, that a roomful of kids lauded a boy, no more than 16 or 17, for having become a “dad” the night before. A paper on the kid’s desk suggested he might struggle to spell that word. According to the Canton Health Department, through July, 104 of 586 babies born to Canton residents in Aultman Hospital and Mercy Medical Center — the county’s largest hospitals — had mothers between 11 and 19. That’s nearly 18 percent, or three times the total number of babies born at the same hospitals to teen parents living elsewhere in Stark County and beyond. These numbers are not aberrations. The non-Canton rate the year before was 7 percent; Canton’s was 15. In 2003, the non-Canton rate was 7 percent and the city’s 18, and in 2002, the county’s rate was 8.5 percent and the city’s just under 17.

The polite version is lack of parenting, morals, values. When you have a setting that a 16 year old is getting cheers for becoming a daddy. Something is wrong within the community. Already you see the don't blame anyone lets help crowd running around. That is a major part of the problem. When no one is willing to condemn obvious destructive behavior, the norms and rules will break down creating a crisis like this.

Now the impolite version. DAMN! There is a whole bunch of hoes and holla back girls in this school district with a bunch of baby daddies run around. Their parents must be proud.

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Another strike against Sir Iqbal Sacranie.

UK: Harry's place brings up the Holocaust Memorial Day boycott by MCB and points out something I did not know.

You will remember the following exchange in Sunday's Panorama, relating to the MCB's boycotting of Holocaust Memorial Day in 2005: Sir Iqbal Sacranie: If you look at the statement, and I would strongly advise you to look at the statement, advise you to look at what was the document which was submitted to the Home Office which made it absolutely clear that it is all atrocities, Rwanda, Bosnia, it happened to be the fact, it is there, the vast majority of atrocities that we have seen in these modern times have been Muslims.

John Ware: You've cited Rwanda in your statement?

Sir Iqbal Sacranie: It is, it was cited there, it's been quoted time and again.

John Ware: In your statement to the Home Office?

Sir Iqbal Sacranie: Indeed it is. It's clearly been mentioned."

John Ware: It's true - the MCB did cite Rwanda - but only after the story broke accusing them of boycotting Holocaust Memorial day.

When the MCB published their letter to the Home Office it mentioned by name only Palestine, Chechnya and Kashmir.

Here is a link to an extract from the letter in question to the Home Office, reproduced on the MCB's own website. I have cut and pasted it below, lest the MCB remove it and then try to deny that it was ever there. And just above it is the second statement, which mentions, for the first time, Rwanda.

If that is indeed a true extract from the letter referred to, Iqbal Sacranie certainly appears to be a liar.

But what are we to make of this statement from the MCB's first news release setting out their basis for boycotting the 2001 Holocaust Memorial Celebration?

1. Firstly, it totally excludes and ignores the ongoing genocide and violation of Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere. 2. It includes the controversial question of alleged Armenian genocide as well as the so-called gay genocide.

Although the massacred Armenians were not Muslims, is it not at least possible that the Nazis murdered some gay Muslims too?

I thought Rwanda was included as a blatant throwaway mention so people would think the MCB was being inclusive and sincere. I did not know it was a second draft to cover the first which had their true feelings. Even though Islam gained converts after the genocide, MCB put it in there to point out Africans more than anything else.

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Saudi translation of Quran to a narrower interpretation.

Culture: This is not surprising and has not been challenged enough. Transcript of the "A question of Leadership" Panaroma show.

John Ware: The $1m gift from the Saudis to the East London Mosque is but a drop in the ocean compared to the billions they've spent spreading their narrow form of Islam around the world. Some of the Saudi millions have been spent on new translations of the Qur'an which are less tolerant of other faiths. Take a look at this popular English version of the Qur'an not translated by the Saudis. It translates this verse as saying: "Those who follow the Jewish (scriptures)¿ and the Christians.. any who believe in Allah¿and work righteousness.." can go to paradise. Now look at this more recent version of the Qur'an, by Saudi appointed translators. The same verse suggests Jews and Christians would only go to paradise if they "believed in Allah ¿and worked righteousness.." Other recent Saudi translations of the Qur'an make the change to the past tense even more starkly. One of the leading British experts on the Qur'an is Professor Neal Robinson. He says this difference in translation may seem subtle, but today casts non Muslims in a completely different light. Professor Neal Robinson, University Louvain, Belgium: The recent Saudi translation gives the impression that only Jews and Christians before the rise of Islam could be admitted to Paradise not Jews and Christians today who believe in God, look to the coming day of judgement and do goods works. John Ware: What do you think of this? Professor Neal Robinson: I think this is a regrettable narrowing. They've not changed the interpretation of the Qur'an, this was the prevalent view in the middle ages; just as mediaeval Christians believed that outside the church there was no salvation." John Ware: Muslims regard the Qur'an as infallible - because they believe the texts are the divine revelations from God. Over the last 20 years, the Saudis have flooded the world with harsher interpretations of the Qur'an, cut price and often free. What message has this missionary zeal reinforced to Muslims about other faiths? Professor Neal Robinson: That a Muslim cannot be a genuine friend of a non-Muslim. Professor Neal Robinson: Their whole ideology is one of Arab and Islamic supremacy and they have little room for other more liberal Arab interpretations of Islam and no room at all for West. The West is just dismissed as decadent and secular. They have no understanding of the way in which modern secular societies have carefully separated the domains of religion and state and kept certain areas of public life free of religious influence."

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Daily Kos vs Hillary.

Politics: Moulitsas Zuniga put the word out today that he has a plan to destroy the DLC, Democratic Leadership Council. I'm amused, but the DLC to this point has tolerated the far left and their rantings. I seriously doubt the DLC is going to take orders from the Kos kids. What will most likely happen is the DLC shows who exactly is in charge. That will not be a pretty sight.

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Boeing owes something to Airbus.

Business: When Airbus was kicking its butt, it finally woke Boeing up to slim down, be more pro-active in its designs and business dealings. Now it seems that is working out with oil prices going higher, Airbus is getting caught up in a sorta perfect storm.

TOULOUSE, France - Airbus SAS has struggled for 20 months to design an intercontinental jetliner to compete with Boeing Co.'s fuel-saving 787. In that time, oil prices have more than doubled and Boeing picked up 185 orders for its jet. Airbus, based in Toulouse, needed three redesigns to come up with a plane it says will cost 4 percent per seat less to fly than the 787. The world's biggest commercial aircraft maker, already spending more than $16.4 billion to develop three other planes, said it will need to invest an additional $5.4 billion to bring the A350 to market. "They need to build it," said Klaus Breil, a fund manager at Adig Investments in Frankfurt, Germany, who helps oversee $6 billion of assets, including shares of Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co. "If they don't, they'll leave this market completely to Boeing." Advertisement ....Airbus initially balked at matching the 787 as it poured $14.5 billion into developing the 555-seat A380 superjumbo, which is intended to reduce traffic at increasingly crowded hub airports. In June, Airbus said deliveries of the A380 would be delayed by six months because of wiring problems in the passenger entertainment system. Airbus plans to ship the first A380 next year, with a cargo version scheduled to enter service in 2008. Airbus also is developing the A400M military transport, which will be delivered to seven countries beginning in 2009. ....The A350 project may strain Airbus' engineering resources, said Mike Turner, chief executive officer of BAE Systems. "Whether we launch it is a question of making sure we have the resources available," Turner said. Airbus plans to hire about 2,500 workers, including 1,000 engineers, said spokesman David Voskuhl. Hiring engineers creates long-term costs for Airbus because European laws make it difficult for the company to dismiss employees, particularly highly skilled workers, said Nick Cunningham, an analyst at Panmure Gordon in London. "It implies you have to create a fixed-cost base that's probably larger than you ideally like," Cunningham said.

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Mbeki finally says something to Mugabe.

Africa: He finally realizes the situation with Zimbabwe is reaching a point where South Africa may not be able to control the fallout.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa warned President Robert Mugabe yesterday that "we sink or swim together" and that economic collapse in Zimbabwe affected the whole region. Delivering rare words of censure to his Zimbabwean counterpart, he urged Mr Mugabe to "understand" that his actions had "an impact" on his neighbours. He has refrained from criticising Mr Mugabe in the past, arguing that he could best influence his behaviour behind the scenes. By issuing this stern public warning, he sent a strong signal that he had lost patience and that South Africa was toughening its policy towards its troublesome neighbour. ....Aziz Pahad, South Africa's deputy foreign minister, has spoken of the danger of a "failed state on our doorstep" and has called for "fundamental changes" in Mr Mugabe's economic policies. Zimbabwe's crisis has caused millions of its citizens to flee to neighbouring countries. Official figures issued in Harare suggest that about 3.4 million people - a quarter of the population - are living abroad. Some 1.2 million have fled to South Africa, more than any other country, and Mr Mbeki fears that if the collapse continues the numbers of migrants will climb further.

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BBC to MCB: Sod off Swampy.

Media: First time in forever I'm actually siding with the BBC.

BBC rejects complaints from Muslims The BBC has defended a Panorama Special on the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), Britain's most powerful Islamic body, after receiving 250 complaints about the TV programme. Sunday night's Panorama accused the MCB of being "in denial" about sectarianism within the religion's communities. It suggested that the MCB should provide a stronger lead and that groups affiliated to it were peddling hard-line views. The MCB is writing to the corporation calling for a public apology about Sunday's programme, which they have branded a "witch hunt" against Muslims in the UK.
MCB is not doing itself any favors with flaying attacks such as this against the BBC. Philip Chaston of Samizdata realizes what the problem is with the MCB.
Buoyed by the popularity of the anti-war movement, they have overestimated the depth of support for their views in Middle Britain, confusing the liberals who marched against the Iraqi war with the hard left. That is why we hear the overconfidence of Muslim anti-Zionists in our midst and a growing realisation in certain parts of the Labour Party that members of the Muslim Council of Britain hold illiberal views.
Instead of trying to logically and professionally refute the program as you would think any group would in an open society. The MCB went for the anti-zionists, jew conspiracy nonsense at the BBC, which is the last thing anyone would think of in regards to the BBC. The MCB has shown to a large degree how mentally stunted they really are. Madeleine Bunting tried to pass it off anti zionist conspiracy talk as just mistakes of a growing minority group searching for a common voice. Hogwash, this is the MCB in all its glory and has shown without a doubt how ill-suited it is to claim it represents the mainstream of UK Muslims.

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AFL-CIO cries after the break up.

Politics: Whining and trying to gain sympathy for a problem you caused over the years is not going to win back anyone.

The United States' largest union federation is struggling to cope with last month's revolt by 4.6 million members and is willing to mend fences with the dissenters, the head of the AFL-CIO said on Monday. "We have put aside our anger and disappointment and we are doing everything in our power to get back together," said John Sweeney, president of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations in a telephone interview with Reuters. "This not the time to be divided," he said. ....The dissenters complained about declining union membership, too much money spent on political campaigning, and a lack of resources devoted to organizing workers. The departure of its three largest member unions took a heavy financial toll on the AFL-CIO, which has to cope with the loss of more than $20 million in annual membership dues, Sweeney said. The federation's budget is some $125 million. "We have had a reduction in staff and we have had to tighten our belts in some of the different programs," Sweeney said. He said AFL-CIO leaders are to meet in two weeks' time to come up with a plan to deal with the financial loss.
20th century organization with 20th century thinking in a 21st century world. Deal with it.

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bunting to the rescue of UK Islam and MCB!

UK: Madeleine Bunting tries so hard to find the good of MCB and bash the Panaroma documentary that she flays around hitting nothing in the process.

A campaign is being orchestrated through the media to destroy the credibility of many of the most important Muslim institutions in Britain, including the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). The impact of this campaign - in the Observer and particularly in John Ware's Panorama documentary last night - will be a powerful boost for the increasingly widespread view that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim: underneath, "they" are all extremists who are racist, contemptuous of the west, and intent on a political agenda. A legitimate and much-needed debate among British Muslims about a distinctive expression of Islam in a non-Muslim country has been hijacked and poisonously distorted. Journalists need to be very careful: we are entering a new era of McCarthyism and, if we are not to be complicit, we need to be scrupulously responsible and conscientious in unravelling the complexity of Islam in its many spiritual and political interpretations in recent decades. The central charge of the campaign is that the MCB, its secretary general, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, and some of its most important affiliates - such as the Islamic Foundation in Leicester, the Muslim Association of Britain and the East London Mosque - condone or even actively promote ideas which, as Ware claimed in Panorama, "feed extremism"; such ideas are a "slippery slope", which "people who become extremists start to go down".
Ladies and Gentlemen, your "moderate" UK Muslims!
Rushdie: "However, this is the same Sacranie who, in 1989, said that "Death is perhaps too easy" for the author of "The Satanic Verses." Telegraph: "Inayat Bunglawala, the media secretary for the Muslim Council of Britain: Mr Bunglawala's past comments include the allegation that the British media was "Zionist-controlled". Writing for a Muslim youth magazine in 1992, he said: "The chairman of Carlton Communications is Michael Green of the Tribe of Judah. He has joined an elite club whose members include fellow Jews Michael Grade [then the chief executive of Channel 4 and now BBC chairman] and Alan Yentob [BBC2 controller and friend of Salman Rushdie]." In January 1993, Mr Bunglawala wrote a letter to Private Eye, the satirical magazine, in which he called the blind Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman "courageous" - just a month before he bombed the World Trade Center in New York. Five months before 9/11, Mr Bunglawala also circulated writings of Osama bin Laden, who he regarded as a "freedom fighter", to hundreds of Muslims in Britain."
Bunting is off to a rip roaring start in her defense. But later in the piece, she says
In that short exchange, Ware revealed his lack of comprehension of the Muslim community. Sacranie only has as much power as the MCB affiliate organisations allow him - the idea of him putting an imam right is ridiculous. The tiny, volunteer-run MCB doesn't have the power to police the views of its disparate membership.
MCB said in defense of how they were portrayed in the documentary.
The most powerful Islamic body in Britain admitted yesterday that it had failed to carry out even basic checks for extremism among its affiliated groups. ...."We do not have time to check the websites of every organisation," Mr Bunglawala said. "As long as they sign a statement saying they agree to abide by the constitution and pay the £25, they are free to join. We can't control what our affiliates say; we are not a policing organisation."
So, the most "powerful" and "important" group in the UK for Muslims is the equivalent of joining the Who's Who book series. Wonderful, they are really representing the Islamic community well. If this is all they really are, then why is everyone talking to them? They can't change anything or help. The MCB is a joke and their whining about this documentary in the face of the evidence already public proves they are too stupid or disconnected from reality to continue to be the face of Muslims. Come to think of it, maybe this is another reason they hated this show, it exposed them for being nothing more than an empty shell.

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Iqbal Sacranie must think people are idiots or

UK: He is so disconnected from reality, he doesn't realize how stupid his reasoning is concerning boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day.

The Observer's editorial condemned the MCB's refusal to attend the Holocaust Memorial Day while neglecting to mention the reason. The MCB has called for a more inclusive 'Genocide Memorial Day' and believes that this would make the 'Never Again' subtext of the day more effective and pertinent in a world where the past few years have witnessed carnage in Srebrenica, Chechnya and Rwanda. By singling out the Holocaust Memorial Day as a central reason to criticise the MCB, The Observer confirmed the MCB's argument that there is indeed an 'Israel test' to which British Muslims are being subjected.
This would be the same as someone asking for all memorials for 9/11 become "Terrorism Memorial Day" The Holocaust was one of the most horrific events to happen in the history of recorded time. It was part of a World War that will forever be remembered. What you want to water down it down because it has way too many Jews for your liking.

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Bainbridge wants instant gratification and that is bizarre.

Politics: Professor Bainbridge offers up this summation which focuses too much on blaming President Bush and not the entire GOP.

It's time for us conservatives to face facts. George W. Bush has pissed away the conservative moment by pursuing a war of choice via policies that border on the criminally incompetent. We control the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and (more-or-less) the judiciary for one of the few times in my nearly 5 decades, but what have we really accomplished? Is government smaller? Have we hacked away at the nanny state? Are the unborn any more protected? Have we really set the stage for a durable conservative majority?
It's sorta hard to accomplish anything when you have a majority controlled Senate and House who have the spines of jellyfish with a judicial system that overrules everything. Take abortion. Partial birth abortion passes and promptly gets thrown out in courts. A parental notification law for minors in New Hampshire gets signed and promptly gets thrown out in the courts. Protecting the unborn is something that must come from society, not the courts. The point was made here in regards to growing up with Roe vs Wade
"What Roe did was create a world in which abortion is legal, and everyone has lived in that world since then," he says. "People started to live their lives - Republicans started to live their lives, conservatives started to live their lives - in ways that assumed that abortion will always be available. "That's in the back of their mind, even people who are pro-life, that it will be there," Graber says. "One thing we know is that among women who had abortions - whether before the unwanted pregnancy they were pro-choice or pro-life - a great many women discover that they are still pro-life. So personally, as long as it is legal, they can say that they are against it."
Government can only do so much, the rest is up to society to change the culture back to protecting unborn babies. That can't happen in 5 years and just because the GOP controls the House, Senate and the White House. It will take decades. Smaller government will never happen because both parties like the pork and unless you vote in people who are willing to cut and take the political heat, it is nothing more than a pipe dream. The best example of this is Trent Lott's quote when Tom Coburn is trying to cut away at pork.
"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. ....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."
Lott is not the only one who knows how to bury goodies in bills for his/her state. It all comes down to who is willing to take the political heat for cutting away at government expense. Something as straightfoward as PBS losing federal funds gets a little play in the press and everyone reverses course. The highway bill is the mother of all pet projects, but every house and senate member benefits from it which will play well for most at home with voters. President Bush can only do so much when you have other GOP members willing to play the pork game. The nanny state is here to stay because like Roe vs Wade, there is a good portion of Americans who like the government giving them "free" stuff and the Democrats who are not nothing more than a poor man's version of a Euro-socialist play that up with class warfare. The last question of have we set the state for a durable conservative majority. The answer to that is yes. Some like Kevin Drum long for the days of the "Rockerfeller" GOP who were useless for conservatives, but great for Democrats. The GOP is not going to be shoved into the political wilderness while being framed by a mainstream media who loathes anyone to the right of center without fighting back. Religious conservatives have also learned not to shut up and be out of the political process which is another source of power for a durable GOP majority. The technical and physically parts of a powerful conservative movement are in place, but unlike the professor who understandly is frustrated by what he sees as wasted opportunities. It will take decades for some issues(abortion) to come around to a conservative's liking. Slow and steady with setbacks along the way is the best course for the conservative movement. Now as for the Iraqi war, I agree with that in some ways it has been fought with incompetent behavior because the White House is trying to fight a politically correct war, while trying to fend off critics who would like nothing more than America to tuck its tail between it legs and crawl home. This is something Victor Davis Hanson has also alluded too as the Professor points out. But other points I disagree with.
The second problem is that the fly paper strategy seems to be radicalizing our foes even more. For every fly that gets caught, it seems as though 10 more spring up. This should hardly come as a surprise to anybody who has watched Israel pursue military solutions to its terrorist problems, after all. Does anybody really think Israel's military actions have left Hezbollah or Hamas with fewer foot soldiers? To the contrary, the London bombing suggests to me that it is only a matter of time before the jihadists strike in the US again, even though our troops remain hung out as fly paper in the Augean Stables of Iraq.
Islamic terrorism has been growing in the middle east for decades and as the world has become smaller thru modernization, the number of radicals has grown in response. The appeal of jihad and fighting for a world ruled by Islam unfortunately appeals to a certain sections of Muslims, especially among the young. At best the Iraq war sped up the process of recruitment, but also exposed the disconnect with various Muslim communities mostly in Europe that allowed this to happen. Israel military solutions to Hamas and Hezbollah up till a couple of years ago I thought misguided. Even the Lebanon invasion did not have the intended results. But then they hit upon precision strikes on various leaders of terrorists groups and it had an effect. Military solutions can work if you have the objective clear in your plans. Hamas and Hezzbollah can have as many supporters and foot soldiers that are dumb enough to join up. But the goal is to make them ineffective as much as possible.
BBC 09/2004: Four years after the eruption of the al-Aqsa intifada, the dominant mood among Palestinians is one of defeat. This is registered not only in enormous human and material losses. It is seen in the progressive collapse of the Palestinian Authority as a central governing body, replaced on the ground by local and increasingly unaccountable militias. The Palestinians are also confronted with the disengagement plan of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a unilateral action in which Israel is set to withdraw from most of the Gaza Strip and four small West Bank Jewish settlements. ....Relentless Israeli military operations have left militias in the West Bank fragmented and on the run. They are headed now by young, inexperienced leaders, sometimes sponsored by PA officials or foreign powers jockeying for status in internal or regional power struggles."
The London bombings and even another strike here is a given. Our societies are open enough that you can stop most plans but someone will get thru, unless you are willing to live like North Korea which is considered the safest place in the world from terrorism. London bombings were not a surprise and were just a matter of time due to it being a safe haven for radical Islamists to operate.

"....Britain's tolerance of exiled dissidents and terrorist sympathizers has sometimes frustrated U.S. officials. U.S. intelligence officers say they respect the sophistication of Britain's intelligence collection among radicals in London, but some question whether its emphasis on monitoring, as opposed to the preemptive disruption often favored by the FBI in the United States, has left the country vulnerable. "I've been preaching London will get hit long before us," said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the subject's sensitivity. "They have a critical mass of a group of radicals operating in an open society."

An 'Inevitable' Attack Until last week, whether London was a target of al Qaeda had been a source of debate. Some experts, like Scheuer, believed that bin Laden had long wanted to hit the city, ever since the arrest of his aide, Fawwaz. Bin Laden blamed the arrest publicly on "British Crusader hatred of Muslims" from his refuge at the time in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. Other analysts, such as Simon, believed that, up until 2001, "Britain was regarded as too valuable a staging area" for al Qaeda to attack. But ever since, it has been a key target."

As for Bin Laden.
It strikes me that catching Osama would have done a lot more to discourage the jihadists than anything we've done in Iraq.
Catching Bin Laden would do more for recruitment than anything else. He would become even more of a cause and a point of inspiration to budding terrorists. A dead Bin Laden would be worse because he becomes a martyr.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

This the fox guarding the henhouse?

UK: This is a bad awful idea.

A Muslim accused of anti-Semitism is to be appointed to a government role in charge of rooting out extremism in the wake of last month's suicide bombings in London. Inayat Bunglawala, 36, the media secretary for the Muslim Council of Britain, is understood to have been selected as one of seven "conveners" for a Home Office task force with responsibilities for tackling extremism among young Muslims, despite a history of anti-Semitic statements. ....Mr Bunglawala's past comments include the allegation that the British media was "Zionist-controlled". Writing for a Muslim youth magazine in 1992, he said: "The chairman of Carlton Communications is Michael Green of the Tribe of Judah. He has joined an elite club whose members include fellow Jews Michael Grade [then the chief executive of Channel 4 and now BBC chairman] and Alan Yentob [BBC2 controller and friend of Salman Rushdie]." The three are reported to be "close friends… so that's what they mean by a 'free media'." In January 1993, Mr Bunglawala wrote a letter to Private Eye, the satirical magazine, in which he called the blind Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman "courageous" - just a month before he bombed the World Trade Center in New York. After Rahman's arrest in July that year, Mr Bunglawala said that it was probably only because of his "calling on Muslims to fulfil their duty to Allah and to fight against oppression and oppressors everywhere". Five months before 9/11, Mr Bunglawala also circulated writings of Osama bin Laden, who he regarded as a "freedom fighter", to hundreds of Muslims in Britain. ...Mr Bunglawala's job at the Home Office will be to help to organise a programme to tackle radicalism and extremism among young Muslims. News of his appointment comes 10 days after he wrote to Mark Thompson, the BBC Director General, accusing a forthcoming BBC1 Panorama programme of possessing "a pro-Israeli agenda". Although the programme had yet to be completed, Mr Bunglawala said that the BBC had allowed itself to be used by "highly placed supporters of Israel in the British media to make capital out of the July 7 atrocities in London".
So much for thinking UK officials had a clue.

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MCB in "denial" over extreme groups among its members.

UK: I don't think Muslim Council of Britain or Sir Iqbal Sacranie is in denial at all. They know exactly what is going on and who says what. What they are mad about is the BBC didn't try to sugarcoat it.

Britain's most powerful Islamic body is "in denial" about the prevalence of extreme views among its members, one of its founders has told the BBC. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) pledged to tackle extremism "head on" after the 7 July attacks in London. But in a BBC Panorama special, Mehbood Kantharia and other prominent British Muslims question the MCB's commitment to meeting this challenge. The MCB has branded the programme "deeply unfair" and a "witch-hunt". ....Mehbood Kantharia was a member of the MCB's central working committee between 1997 and 2004, but has since left the organisation. He told Panorama: "It is my personal view that because they are in a state of denial they cannot become real, you know, sort of like, forthright, really forthright about wanting to do something about the kind of extremism that prevails." The MCB, an umbrella organisation of about 400 mosques and other Islamic groups, is seen as representing mainstream Muslim opinion in the UK. On Saturday the council said Mr Kantharia had informed it that his remarks were not referring to the MCB. ....But an investigation by Panorama reporter John Ware found groups affiliated to the MCB promoting anti-Semitic views, the belief that Islam is a superior ideology to secular British values and the view that Christians and Jews are conspiring to undermine Islam. In an interview with Mr Ware, Sir Iqbal refused to disown a group known as Al-e-Hadith, which says the ways of Christians and Jews "are based on sick or deviant views" and that "imitating the Kuffar [non-Muslims] leads to a permanent abode in hellfire". Suicide bombers Commenting on the group, Sir Iqbal said "we must accept the reality" of the diversity within the Muslim community in the UK. He also praised the work of the Islamic Foundation, which promotes the teachings of Jamaa'at Islami founder Sayid Mawdudi. Mr Mawdudi wrote Islam was a "revolutionary ideology which seeks to alter the social order of the entire world". In a wide ranging interview, Mr Ware also tackled Sir Iqbal on his decision not to attend the Holocaust Day Memorial and his attendance of a memorial service for Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who supported suicide bombers in Israel. Asked what kind of signal his presence at Sheikh Yassin's memorial service sends to young British Muslims, Sir Iqbal said: "If your whole question is based upon one aspect of that person's belief in terms of supporting it, we look into the wider picture. The suicide bombing that you're referring to is one aspect of the whole struggle." But Sir Iqbal condemned suicide bombings by British Muslims anywhere and said there was no difference between the life of a Palestinian and the life of a Jew and that all life was sacred. In a separate interview, a senior spokesman for one of the MCB's main affiliates, the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), appeared to condone the glorification of suicide bombers.
No, Sir Iqbal, that is not diversity. If you claim to represent the mainstream(which you do not) then groups like Al-e-Hadith need to be shoved out. Your refusal only fuels the suspicion that the MCB and you are full of it. It's no wonder the MCB went nuts about this show, it exposes them. Update# More from the Guardian.
"....The Observer understands that the MCB's secretary general, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, called from abroad to approach contributors critical of the organisation. The MCB's media spokesman, Inayat Bunglawala, also called critics after he was passed a transcript of the documentary, entitled 'A Question of Leadership'. One senior source close to the programme told The Observer: 'The BBC is aware that the MCB have been making unorthodox approaches to a number of contributors, putting pressure on them to withdraw.' The escalation of the feud, first revealed in The Observer last week, has caused astonishment at the corporation, which was last week accused of a 'pro-Israeli' agenda by the MCB."

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Al-Qaeda group launches media jihad.

Media: In other news, the London Guardian, CNN are nervous about this competition and Democratic Underground applauds their new media partners.

Dubai - An al-Qaeda linked-group has launched what it calls a media jihad, or holy war, to "terrorise" United States-led forces in Iraq and their families by bombarding them with e-mails and by posting gruesome photos online. The group, calling itself the "Brigade of Media Jihad", called on its militants to "post terrifying pictures on the internet in order to terrorise the enemy", said a statement on an Islamist website whose authenticity could not be verified. "Our objective is to undermine the morale of our enemies, dash their hopes and dreams and reveal the truth of what is happening in Iraq. The media war is an integral part of the war on the ground," said the statement.

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I have no idea who Richard Posner is.

Media: But if he gets on the nerves of Bill Keller, Bill "The Gay Hunter" Moyers and Eric Alterman, he must have been correct in his reviews. Read Posner's review first and then read Keller's whine.

“The saddest thing is that Judge Posner's market determinism leaves no room for the other dynamics I've witnessed in my 35 years in newspapers: the idealism of reporters who think they can make the world better, the intellectual satisfaction of puzzling through a complicated issue, the competitive gratification of being first to discover a buried story, the pride in striving to uphold a professional code of fair play, the quest for peer recognition and, yes, the feedback from attentive and thoughtful readers. He makes no allowance for the possibility that conscientious reporters and editors are capable of setting aside their personal beliefs or standing up to their advertisers (and the prejudices of their readers) to do work they believe in.”
Bill Keller is either clueless or dishonest, he points out why people think papers like the NYTIMES are pushing a liberal agenda. It's all about making the world a "better place" instead of just reporting the news. It's about getting recognition from fellow liberals in the press instead of doing your job. Keller is defensive over something he admitted was a problem.
Mark Tapscott: "Things are definitely improving in some key areas, but a review of a response by The New York Times top editor to a recent update by the paper's Credibility Committee of its original recommendations contains evidence the outlook remains grim on other vital issues. Among the most surprising - and thus far almost totally unnoticed - aspects of this story is the admission by executive editor Bill Keller that "even sophisticated readers of The New York Times sometimes find it hard to distinguish between news coverage and commentary in our pages." That in a nutshell is what critics across the political spectrum have said of the Times for decades."
Why should Posner make an allowance for something you admit is not happening?

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Bob Costas tells CNN No to Holloway case.

Media: Another rumor is that Joe Klein's spine still has not been found.

NEW YORK -- While some cable TV hosts are making their living off the Natalee Holloway case this summer, Bob Costas is having none of it. Costas, hired by CNN as an occasional fill-in on "Larry King Live," refused to anchor Thursday's show because it was primarily about the Alabama teenager who went missing in Aruba. Chris Pixley filled in at the last minute. "I didn't think the subject matter of Thursday's show was the kind of broadcast I should be doing," Costas said in a statement. "I suggested some alternatives but the producers preferred the topics they had chosen. I was fine with that, and respectfully declined to participate." Costas' manager declined to elaborate on what Costas didn't like about the topic. ...."There were no hard feelings at all," Costas said. "It's not a big deal. I'm sure there are countless topics that will be mutually acceptable in the future." Wendy Walker, senior executive producer of "Larry King Live," described it as a mutual decision for Costas not to do the show because he was uncomfortable with the subject matter. "We love having Bob ... and since `Larry King Live' covers an extremely extensive palate of subjects, there will always be shows that he will enjoy hosting," she said. The NBC Sports personality, also host of "Costas Now" on HBO, had agreed to be host for about 20 editions of "Larry King Live" this year. He's done six, the network said.
Here are some problems with this. Bob Costas is unprofessional for deciding at the last minute not to do the show. It also reflects badly on CNN that a part time host can just up and tell them he is not doing a show of the subject matter. If Joe Klein was a leader of any kind, he would fire Costas.

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Mbeki finally grows a pair about Mugabe.

Africa: Maybe he realized that a Zimbabwe crash is not exactly an event South Africa could handle.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has privately conceded that his "quiet diplomatic" approach towards Zimbabwe has failed to yield results, opening the way for a more forceful policy towards the regime of Robert Mugabe. The signs from South Africa now suggest that the African leaders - who for decades have refused to criticise abuses among their number - are for the first time seriously considering breaking the taboo and taking Mr Mugabe to task for the destruction of his own country. The South African leader has sacrificed much of his international reputation by declining to criticise President Mugabe's excesses. Instead, South Africa has tried to influence Zimbabwe's regime with behind-the-scenes talks. Yet the country's descent into economic collapse and political repression has continued unabated, leading Mr Mbeki to think again. "Our President has eventually agreed that the quiet diplomatic approach has not yielded the results that were expected," said Devikarani Jana, a diplomat who received a briefing on Zimbabwe from South African officials on Wednesday.

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Democrats turn up heat on US pump prices

Politics: This is interesting, what proposals are the Democrats going to talk about? More domestic oil drilling like in ANWR? Cutting gas taxes?

Meanwhile, Democrats urged the White House to act. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Friday said the Bush administration should require U.S. oil companies to disclose their fuel pricing policies and production costs. In a letter to the White House, Reid also said the Federal Trade Commission should investigate instances where a state's retail prices rise 20 percent in any given week "to determine if the price of gasoline is being artificially manipulated." Past FTC probes into U.S. oil company pricing policies have found no sign of abuse. "This one has already being done," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said. "The FTC and the Justice Department have been keenly watching for this type of activity for the past two years."
Ah the big oil company conspiracy, what else you got?
"Separately, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said the White House should ask oil companies for a voluntary, temporarily freeze on prices that they charge gasoline distributors."
Price controls...wonderful. I'm sure this works well in other places like India and China. Oh, it doesn't?

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Hagel sucks up to the Mullahs, Specter sucks up to Chavez.

Politics: Between these two living bowls of jelly, is it any wonder we can't make any headway?

FT: " In a letter to Mr Rumsfeld, Mr Specter noted the defence secretary's comments about Mr Chávez. “I suggest it may be very helpful to US efforts to secure Venezuela's co-operation in our joint attack on drug interdiction if the rhetoric would be reduced,” he wrote. Mr Specter said his meeting had led to an agreement between the US ambassador and Venezuela's interior minister to meet early next week to try to resolve the dispute over the DEA. A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment about Mr Specter's letter. “I'm sure the secretary will respond directly to Senator Specter,” he said."
The response will be a nice but clear rebuttal that Specter is wrong to trust the Mugabe loving Chavez on any level because he is not going to do anything that will not be in his interests. The response should be tellin Specter to shut the hell up and stay out of issues you have no understanding about. Hagel tries so hard to be middle ground he heads up looking like a coward.
Reuters: "In an interview with Reuters during a trip across his home state on Wednesday, Hagel said the United States should greet the new Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a bold diplomatic stroke. "You've got a new president, a new opportunity to do something bold here. Why not take that opportunity and do something bold? Iran is going to be a major influence in the future of Iraq. It already is. Who are we kidding when we think that they're not? They are. "I would start engaging with American face-to-face dialogue. We're not at negotiations yet, but opening that dialogue. This is a process. This needs to work. Every side has to give something here," said Hagel, who is a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is seen as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2008. ....Hagel's response to that implied threat was completely dismissive. "Quite frankly, what is the military option, what are we talking about here? We lose credibility in the face of the world when we say things like, 'Well just don't forget what happened to Iraq could happen to you Iran. We could invade you, we could bomb you.' "Oh come on now. First of all, where are we going to get the troops? Who's going to go with us? Where are our partners going to be with Iran?" The United States has been working through its allies, France, Britain and Germany, in an effort to persuade the Iranians to freeze their nuclear program. This week, the Iranians resumed operations at their uranium conversion facility at Isfahan. Hagel, who has also been highly critical of the Bush administration's Iraq policy and would like to see Washington end its embargo of Cuba, said the current policy of working through surrogates made no sense. "I don't understand how we think we're going to make progress by staying on the outside using surrogates, our allies France, Britain and Germany, to go to the table and work with them while stand back and don't want to get our hands dirty," he said. "You need to move towards something and what are we moving towards here? I don't see where we're moving towards anything. In fact, I think we're eroding a base of strength that we still have here. We have got to get inside this thing, because this is a very dangerous problem," Hagel said. "I think we're actually losing altitude, I think we're actually making it more dangerous."

But in a speech in Tokyo, Japan 2002:

Senator Calls for Multilateral Approach in Dealing with Mideast U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (Republican from Nebraska) said the Middle East has moved "from periphery to center" in the U.S. foreign policy strategy and called on U.S. leaders to develop "a fabric of global alliances and coalitions" to deal with the region. "America can no longer hover 'over the horizon' to defend and promote its interests in the Middle East. America must work through a multilateral, long-term coalition," said Hagel, speaking to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations December 16. The Chicago Council is one of the main foreign policy forums in the midwestern United States. Hagel, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recently returned from a visit to Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Qatar, and Northern Iraq with the committee's outgoing chairman Senator Joseph Biden (Democrat from Delaware). Hagel drew his audience's attention to a new generation of reformers and activists in the region, especially in Iran, who "wage an uphill daily struggle for freedom, human rights, and open societies" against "authoritarian regimes and deadening bureaucracies."
I guess he doesn't like the multilateral coalition given our backing of Europe in talks against Iran. Hagel wants to have America talk to Iran but undercut anything of substance we can use to come from a position of strength. What he wants is America to cater to the demands of Iran and Cuba. This is bold diplomacy along the lines of Neville Chamberlain. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn't seem the type to go along with Hagellain's sucking up plan.
When he became mayor of Tehran, the former revolutionary guard curtailed many of the reforms put in place by the moderates who had run the city before him. Iran's outgoing reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, barred Mr Ahmadinejad from attending cabinet meetings, a privilege normally accorded to mayors of the capital. The mayor shut down fast-food restaurants and required male city employees to have beards and long sleeves. And he took down an advertising campaign showing UK footballer David Beckham - the first Western celebrity used to promote a product in the country since the revolution. ....He has been cautious about re-establishing formal ties with the US, which were broken in 1979. "America's unilateral move to sever ties with the Islamic Republic was aimed at destroying the Islamic revolution... America was free to sever its ties with Iran, but it remains Iran's decision to re-establish relations with America."
Knock yourself out there Hagellain. I'm sure he will treat your and your proposal the same way they treated the EU-3.

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Illegal aliens Win Arizona Ranch in Court

What?

DOUGLAS, Ariz., Aug. 18 - Spent shells litter the ground at what is left of the firing range, and camouflage outfits still hang in a storeroom. Just a few months ago, this ranch was known as Camp Thunderbird, the headquarters of a paramilitary group that promised to use force to keep illegal immigrants from sneaking across the border with Mexico. Now, in a turnabout, the 70-acre property about two miles from the border is being given to two immigrants whom the group caught trying to enter the United States illegally. The land transfer is being made to satisfy judgments in a lawsuit in which the immigrants had said that Casey Nethercott, the owner of the ranch and a former leader of the vigilante group Ranch Rescue, had harmed them. "Certainly it's poetic justice that these undocumented workers own this land," said Morris S. Dees Jr., co-founder and chief trial counsel of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., which represented the immigrants in their lawsuit. Mr. Dees said the loss of the ranch would "send a pretty important message to those who come to the border to use violence." The surrender of the ranch comes as the governors of Arizona and New Mexico have declared a state of emergency because of the influx of illegal immigrants and related crime along the border. Bill Dore, a Douglas resident briefly affiliated with Ranch Rescue who is still active in the border-patrolling Minuteman Project, called the land transfer "ridiculous." "The illegals are coming over here," Mr. Dore said. "They are getting the American property. Hell, I'd come over, too. Get some American property, make some money from the gringos." .....Mr. Mancía, who lives in Los Angeles, and Ms. Leiva, who lives in the Dallas area, have applied for visas that are available to immigrants who are the victims of certain crimes and who cooperate with the authorities, Ms. Bruner said. She said that until a decision was made on their applications, they could stay and work in the United States on a year-to-year basis. Mr. Mancía and Ms. Leiva were caught on a ranch in Hebbronville, Tex., in March 2003 by Mr. Nethercott and other members of Ranch Rescue. The two immigrants later accused Mr. Nethercott of threatening them and of hitting Mr. Mancía with a pistol, charges that Mr. Nethercott denied. The immigrants also said the group gave them cookies, water and a blanket and let them go after an hour or so. The Salvadorans testified against Mr. Nethercott when he was tried by Texas prosecutors. The jury deadlocked on a charge of pistol-whipping but convicted Mr. Nethercott, who had previously served time in California for assault, of gun possession, which is illegal for a felon. He is now serving a five-year sentence in a Texas prison. Mr. Mancía and Ms. Leiva also filed a lawsuit against Mr. Nethercott; Jack Foote, the founder of Ranch Rescue; and the owner of the Hebbronville ranch, Joe Sutton. The immigrants said the ordeal, in which they feared that they would be killed by the men they thought were soldiers, had left them with post-traumatic stress. Mr. Sutton settled for $100,000. Mr. Nethercott and Mr. Foote did not defend themselves, so the judge issued default judgments of $850,000 against Mr. Nethercott and $500,000 against Mr. Foote. Mr. Dees said Mr. Foote appeared to have no substantial assets, but Mr. Nethercott had the ranch. Shortly after the judgment, Mr. Nethercott gave the land to his sister, Robin Albitz, of Prescott, Ariz. The Southern Poverty Law Center sued the siblings, saying the transfer was fraudulent and was meant to avoid the judgment. Ms. Albitz, a nursing assistant, signed over the land to the two immigrants last week. "It scared the hell out of her," Margaret Pauline Nethercott, the mother of Mr. Nethercott and Ms. Albitz, said of the lawsuit. "She didn't know she had done anything illegal. We didn't know they had a judgment against my son."

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Democrats getting the look tough on illegal aliens message.

Politics: What a difference a couple of months makes, considering that Nunez is one of the most pro-illegal immigration advocates around.

4/20/2005: "SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the nation's policy on preventing illegal immigration is too lax, telling a group of newspaper publishers the United States needs to "close the borders." "Close the borders in California and all across Mexico and in the United States," Schwarzenegger said Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Newspaper Association of America. "Because I think it is just unfair to have all those people coming across, have the borders open the way it is, and have this kind of lax situation." ....In a statement, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, said Schwarzenegger's comments reflected badly on the state's "productive" relationship with Mexico. "The Governor should ratchet down his rhetoric and retreat from this narrow-minded approach to immigration policy," Nunez said. "Closing our borders to commerce and culture is an idea that comes from political extremists, not rational policy-makers."
Now today Nunez says.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The state Assembly leader called on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to make California the third state to declare an emergency along its border with Mexico. New Mexico drew national attention last week when its governor declared a state of emergency, citing lawlessness, drug smuggling and human trafficking along the border. The governor of Arizona did the same this week. Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez said Thursday that California needs to pressure the federal government to stop drug running and illegal immigration. "The timing is good," he said. "The governors of Arizona and New Mexico have done this, and there's an opportunity for three states to have a joint effort in lobbying the federal government."

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EU's Chinese clothing quota not thought out too well.

EU: It seemed like a good idea at the time, just no one thought of the retailers who already ordered in advance.

Barred Chinese clothing shipments are piling up at European ports, prompting warnings of retail stock shortages and higher store prices just weeks after the EU moved to stem an import surge deemed a threat to jobs. Amid concern that the European import quotas are doing more economic harm than good, Brussels is facing growing calls for their relaxation, even from France - one of the strongest supporters of the original textiles clampdown. Unless the Chinese quotas are loosened, retailers are warning, consumers could end up paying more this autumn for clothes hastily sourced from elsewhere - as well as enjoying less choice. ....Earlier this month, Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson won backing from EU states to increase the 2005 quotas for pullovers as stranded shipments mounted, and Krietemeyer said possible quota relaxation for other garments would be discussed at a meeting of trade officials next week. "We know the situation is very serious for the importers and we're trying to help them," Krietemeyer said. But importers also bear some responsibility for the chaos, he added. "The retailers knew about the quotas but ... they continued to order articles from China without any licenses." The CNSH French clothing retailers' association - which represents retailers including Etam and Kookai - blamed the EU for the disruption. Retailers had built the long-agreed liberalization of Chinese textile imports into their sourcing plans, said CNSH Executive President Jean-Marc Genis. "Companies went to China to buy more goods, then all the rules changed. The orders had been placed and paid for last year."

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Florida and Michigan: The tale of two states.

Politics: Here is the post hurricane boom, tourist hotspot and low taxing attractiveness growth of Florida.

Florida's unemployment rate dipped to 3.8 percent in July, the lowest since November 2000, driven downward by a construction boom caused by a robust housing market and the rebuilding of hurricane-ravaged areas. Most job sectors gained over the year, but the 11.5 percent growth in construction employment led the way, according to figures released Friday by the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation. Unemployment went up in only a few types of jobs, among them waterborne-shipping, and a few types of manufacturing. By percentage, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers and Bradenton-Sarasota areas had the biggest job creation, boosting employment by 4.7 percent. Both areas were hit by Hurricane Charley last year and have seen growth in construction-type jobs. Economists have also credited post-hurricane rebuilding with the jump in employment in the western Panhandle, hard-hit last year by Hurricane Ivan. The hurricane-pummeled Fort Walton-Crestview-Destin area saw 4.3 percent job growth from July 2004 to July 2005, agency figures showed. Employment in the Pensacola area grew over the year by 1.8 percent. Jobs were easiest to come by along the western Panhandle largely due to growth in housing and tourism. Walton County had the state's lowest unemployment rate at 2.5 percent, followed by neighboring Okaloosa County at 2.8 percent.
Here is the sucktitude that is the high taxes, union filled state of Michigan.
Michigan's job picture worsened in July and a wave of expected layoffs throughout the auto industry and other sectors could mean things will get worse before they get better. As most of the nation saw strong job growth, Michigan's unemployment rate climbed to 7 percent in July from 6.8 percent in June. The nation's jobless rate is 5 percent. "Overall, it looks like a real struggle here for a while," said Dana Johnson, chief economist for Comerica Inc. The July numbers are a snapshot that doesn't fully reflect the storm clouds hovering over Michigan's economy. Major auto companies including General Motors Corp.and Ford Motor Co. plan to cut thousands of jobs in the coming months and years, and possibly close local plants. By the end of the summer, GM will have shuttered a plant in Lansing, and other plants may be vulnerable. Ford's Wixom plant appears likely to close after 2007, industry analysts say. The world's largest auto supplier, Troy-based Delphi Corp. is threatening bankruptcy, and rival Visteon Corp. in Van Buren Township is preparing to shed 24 plants and thousands of jobs. Delphi has 14,700 workers, and Visteon employs 6,000 salaried workers and thousands of hourly workers. Kmart is moving its headquarters to Illinois due to its merger with Sears Roebuck Co., which means the loss of nearly 2,000 jobs in Troy. And Farmer Jack has only closed six of its planned dozen store closures in Michigan. "Look at the data: There is no turnaround. There is no other major growth in other sectors that can offset the losses," or the impact of more layoffs, said Lansing-based economist Patrick Anderson.
I will leave the whole Florida led by Jeb Bush vs Michigan led by Granholm and union thing alone since it is sorta explains itself.

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Latinos not happy about illegal immigration.

Politics: This is only a shock if you hold the idiotic view that Latinos are some monolithtic group who wouldn't mind illegals crossing the border unchecked.

"....80 percent of Latinos said immigrants strengthen the country. Within that group, how ever, more foreign-born supported that view (89 percent) than U.S.-born (65 percent). A third of U.S.-born Latinos said illegal immigrants hurt the economy by driving down wages, while just 15 percent of foreign-born Latinos felt that way. Bans on driver's licenses for illegal immi grants were widely approved by U.S.-born Latinos (about 60 percent), while just 29 per cent of foreign-born Latinos favored such restrictions. Robert Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center, which con ducted the survey of 2,400 adults in Mexico, said the disparities also underscore the differences be tween most first-generation immi grants and their offspring. "You move further from the im migrant experience. It's less in your life it's in your parents' or your grandparents' life so there's less of an immediate sym pathy. It's a somewhat different world with different concerns," he said. Jones-Correa called it "a sign of incorporation, of assimilation," among U.S.-born Latinos. "They're reflecting the kinds of views of American society more broadly." But noting that in a 2004 survey of all Americans only 45 percent reported a favorable view of immi grants, Suro said U.S.-born Lati nos still have more positive out looks than the general population. "What you're seeing is an over all positive feeling, but it's not au tomatic and it's not universal," he said. "These two important parts of Latino population are sort of go ing in opposite directions." Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advo cates restrictions on all immigra tion and tougher measures to com bat illegal immigration, said he isn't surprised by the differing generational attitudes. "In general, most American-born citizens understand that mass immigration has an impact on their daily lives," he said. "Probably Hispanic-Americans more so than most because more often illegal immigrants move into their neighborhoods."

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Tebbit attacks 'unreformed' Islam

UK: I have no idea who this Lord Tebbit is but on Multicult, I'm agreeing with him.

Islam is so unreformed there have been no real advance in art, literature, science or technology in the Muslim world in 500 years, Lord Tebbit says. Multiculturalism is in danger of undermining British society, the former Conservative Party chairman also tells the e-politix website. In the 1980s he questioned the loyalty of immigrants who backed cricket teams from their countries of origin. Now he says if he had been heeded it might have stopped the London bombings. "I do think had my comments been acted on those attacks would have been less likely," Lord Tebbit told the website. "What I was saying about the so-called 'cricket test' is that it was a test of whether a community has integrated. Multicultural society "If a community was looking back at where it had come from instead of looking forward with the people to whom they had come to, then there is going to be a problem sooner or later." Lord Tebbit said multicultural society was "an impossibility" because if there were two cultures there would also be two societies. "A society is defined by its culture. It is not defined by its race, it is not a matter of skin colour or ethnicity, it is a matter of culture. "If you have two societies in the same place then you are going to have problems, like the kind we saw on 7 July, sooner or later," he said. He warned London was "sinking into the same abyss that Londonderry and Belfast sank". Lord Tebbit also criticised Islam for holding back progress in countries where it was the dominant faith. "The Muslim religion is so unreformed since it was created that nowhere in the Muslim world has there been any real advance in science, or art or literature, or technology in the last 500 years," he said.

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Listen to the radicals! says Kim Beazley.

Australia: Who seems to live in a world where common sense and logic have no place.

Prime Minister John Howard should meet with representatives from Australia's entire Muslim population and not just the voices of moderate Islam, Opposition Leader Kim Beazley says. Islamic leaders from across Australia will meet Mr Howard in Canberra on Tuesday to discuss how to stop religious leaders from inciting violence and terrorism. However, some of Australia's more radical Muslim leaders were not invited to the summit, with the government saying it wants to marginalise extremism. Mr Beazley said Mr Howard would miss out on a valuable opportunity if he did not address the community as a whole. "He needs to be able to address the whole Muslim, Islamic community in this country and we need to be able to have a dialogue that produces something fruitful at the end of it," Mr Beazley told reporters in Sydney today. "I would be interested in talking to them all ... and ensure that the dialogue was conducted in an effective and temperate way."
Here is an explanation, they don't care to have their mind changed, they are not going to help you in any way. It would be a waste of time. Thankfully, Australia has a real leader and not a fool.
Mr Howard said he chose not to invite extremist or fundamentalist leaders to the meeting, because he wanted to marginalise such groups. "My purpose is to marginalise extremism, that is the best way," he told ABC radio today. Advertisement: "The best way of defeating extremism is to point out to those people who might be influenced by it, that they are in fact, leading them up the wrong path. "And the purpose of this gathering is to identify ways to further enforce and entrench the moderate mainstream view." Mr Howard said it was important to promote the values shared by all Australians. "We want to promote the ideal of moderation and identification with the values that all Australians share," he said. "To invite people who represent an extreme point of view is to give them disproportionate and unmeritorious recognition, which would anger people who are trying to do the right thing. "And the overwhelming majority of Australians who are Muslims are wonderful Australians, who are as concerned as you and I are about terrorism and want to work with the Government."

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