Sunday, October 23, 2005

UK riots looking like Compton in the early 90s.

UK: More on the race riots that happened in Birmingham, UK. The 300 Muslims wanting to come in for payback is either a nice touch at storytelling or a scary scene in the making if British authorities step in and say enough.

"....The rape allegation appears to have crystallised the growing ill feeling between certain sections of both communities. Since the Handsworth riots, the Lozells area has changed. Many white and more affluent African-Caribbean residents have moved out. In the meantime, the Pakistani community has put down roots and built itself an economic base. On the Lozells Road there are Pakistani-owned bookshops, cash and carry groceries and jewellery stores. As well as catering for their own community, they sell foodstuffs and cosmetics favoured by the African-Caribbean community. That rankles with some of the local African-Caribbean traders, who see their customer base eroded. Mohammed Saleem, of the Birchfield Traders Association, said Pakistani shopkeepers had closed their shops for an hour on Saturday afternoon as a mark of respect. "We put out a statement making it clear that if it [the rape] happened, we condemn it wholeheartedly, but you have to go by the evidence. We think the protests are basically an economic thing to stop people trading with the Asians." Another Pakistani trader, who did not wish to be identified for fear of reprisals, said: "Four days ago black boys stood outside my shop. They had rocks and they were telling me to close the shutters. They were using abusive language. All the black community leaders did was to arrange another protest. They went to the church and afterwards youths were throwing stones, breaking windows and attacking the local mosque. Then some Asian kids came to protect the mosque, but were driven away by the police." He added: "Black people say that we have taken all their businesses. They say we are taking over, including the African shops that sell beauty products to black people. These used to be run by black people, now they're run by Pakistanis. They want to shut us down." A British-born Pakistani Muslim who runs a decorating shop on Lozells Road, said the violence could have been worse. "In Aston, which is about half a mile away, around 300 Asian lads were ready to come to Lozells, but the police stopped them from coming down here." He said the violence was terrifying. "We just saw black youths running up and down the road, smashing things up and kicking things over. You can smash up as many shops as you like and people will put up with it, but when you start attacking a mosque, people aren't going to tolerate that. "There are about 300 Muslims waiting for orders, but the imam stopped them from doing anything." Maxie Hayles said the problem transcends economics. "Afro-Caribbeans have been spending money in Asian shops for many years now, but they don't give them enough respect. They don't employ black people in their shops and it is about the way they treat their customers. The way they look at them." Dr Frank Reeves, chief executive of Race Equality West Midlands, said both groups were "severely disadvantaged and in competition with each other for jobs and other opportunities." Amid the confusions and all the accusations, he said, the wider causes stand out. "It's about anger, discontent and jealously."


Brazil rejects gun ban

South America: This ban had 80% approval rating about a month ago and was rejected 64-36%

With more than 92 percent of the votes counted, 64 percent of Brazilians were opposed to the ban, while 36 percent backed it, said election officials, giving the 'no' position an insurmountable lead. The proposal would have prohibited the sale of firearms and ammunition except for police, the military, some security guards, gun collectors and sports shooters. It would complement a 2003 disarmament law that sharply restricts who can legally purchase firearms and carry guns in the street. That law, coupled with a government-sponsored gun buyback program, has reduced deaths from firearms by about 8 percent this year, the Health Ministry said. But the referendum backfired for proponents. Earlier this year, support for the ban was running as high as 80 percent. But in the weeks before the referendum, both sides were granted free time to present their cases on prime-time TV, and the pro-gun lobby began to grow. Analysts said the pro-gun lobby benefited from equal time on television in the final weeks of the campaign and that they cannily cashed in on Brazilian skepticism of the police. "They ask the question: 'Do you feel protected and do you think the government is protecting you?' and the answer is a violent no," said political scientist David Fleischer of the University of Brasilia. The combination of Brazil's high gun-death rate and the nature of the debate over the right to gun ownership has drawn parallels to the gun debate in the United States. "The whole campaign (against the ban) was imported from the United States. They just translated a lot of material from the NRA," said Jessica Galeria, a Californian who researches gun violence with the Viva Rio think tank, referring to the National Rifle Association. "Now, a lot of Brazilians are insisting on their right to bear arms, they don't even have a pseudo right to bear arms. It's not in their Constitution." NRA public affairs director Andrew Arulanandam called the proposal's defeat "a victory for freedom." "It's a stunning defeat for the global gun control movement. They poured millions of dollars and millions more man hours trying to enact this gun ban and they failed. The aim of this gun ban movement was to use Brazil as the rallying point to enact gun bans in the United States. We're happy they were defeated," he said.
Okay, let me smack Peter Muello of the AP for citing people like Jessica Galeria as just a researcher helping out some local "think tank".
What is IANSA? The International Action Network on Small Arms is the global network of civil society organisations working to stop the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW). World attention is increasingly focused on the humanitarian impact of these weapons, and IANSA brings together the voices and activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and concerned individuals across the world to prevent their deadly effects. Founded in 1998, IANSA has grown rapidly to more than 500 participant groups in nearly 100 countries, with representation from many gun-affected regions. IANSA is composed of a wide range of organisations concerned with small arms, including policy development organisations, national gun control groups, research institutes, aid agencies, faith groups, victims, human rights and community action organisations. Jessica Galeria (IANSA Regional Coordinator, Rio de Janeiro), Google search on Jessica.

The people did not buy the pie in the sky nonsense the gun grabbers like Jessica and others were pushing.

"I don't like people walking around armed on the street. But since all the bandits have guns, you need to have a gun at home," said taxi driver Mohammed Osei, who voted against the ban. ....Some Brazilians said they resented the referendum because they feel the government is ducking its responsibility to keep the peace. "It's immoral for the government to have this vote," said Pedro Ricardo, an army officer in Sao Paulo. "They're putting the responsibility on us, but ... the way to cut down on violence is to combat the drug trade and patrol our borders." ....``I turned in my gun (during the gun buyback) but what I don't want is the government to take my gun away from me. Voting 'yes' would open the door to another 'yes' that one day could limit my right to a car, to property'' said retiree Vicente Martinelli.
This vote also showed a incredible lack of confidence in the government and the police force when it comes to take care of the violent crime problem. They are tired of the violence, but they are not stupid enough to give up the best means to protect themselves just because the government says trust us. Update# Via Reuters who along with AP seem unhappy by the result.
Only 36 percent supported the ban, even though some 36,000 people were killed by guns last year in Latin America's largest country. Full results were expected on Monday. "We didn't lose because Brazilians like guns. We lost because people don't have confidence in the government or the police," said Denis Mizne of anti-violence group Sou da Paz.
You lost because people did not buy into the thinking "take the guns away and violence will die down." The lack of confidence in the government and the police is a part of the reason, not the only reason. Update#2 This is an irritating quote.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his wife Marisa Leticia both voted for the ban. "I think that for an ordinary person to have firearms is not going to give security, so I voted 'Yes,'" Lula said.
I don't think an "ordinary person" has the option of not carrying a gun and having bodyguards like you do to protect them 24/7. Update#3 This was pointed out on Instapundit and Volokh but this vote at the very least slowed down an international gun grabber movement.
Bloomberg: ``In the sad situation that the ban is not approved, we will be wasting a precious opportunity to take arms out of circulation,'' said Denis Mizne, executive director of Sou da Paz institute, in a phone interview before the balloting. ``A victory of the ban would be helpful to accelerate a world agenda on disarmament.''


Boston Globe asks for Sympathy for suicide bombers.

Entertainment: This paragraph puts you into the mind of a liberal who believes everything is "understandable" and its the victim's fault.

By Damon Smith, Globe Correspondent October 23, 2005 NEW YORK -- Are American audiences ready to see films that get under the skin of suicide bombers and then ask us, with some trepidation, to identify with them? Given the deadly assaults on Sept. 11, the recent bombings in London, Madrid, and Bali, and the ongoing suicide-terror campaigns in Israel and Iraq -- which have killed thousands of innocent people doing nothing more warlike than going about their daily lives -- the idea that people may not be ready or willing to see the enemy depicted as complex, flesh-and-blood, three-dimensional human beings is perfectly understandable. Since the Twin Towers attacks, many remain skittish even about the use of 9/11-like scenarios in Hollywood films, as Steven Spielberg learned after the summer release of ''War of the Worlds." But art, as we know from the high-quality paranoid thrillers of the '50s and '60s -- which channeled anxieties about nuclear annihilation and the Communist menace into febrile cinematic reverie -- is often born of cultural strife. As a visual form of storytelling, film has the power to go beyond warspeak, fear mongering, and political rhetoric. Terror is not abstract, nor does it emanate from some nebulous ''evil": It has a face, a name, a personal history, and, ostensibly, a rationale, however disfigured by political or religious extremism. ....Besides, he says, underscoring an implicit theme of ''Paradise Now," Palestinian suicide attacks are born not of religious fervor but of hopelessness and the daily humiliation of living under the occupation. ''What you are saying is, 'I am not a coward, I am very brave,' and 'I am not impotent, I am very strong.' These kinds of actions have been used when there was no hope for a solution, no political hope." Abu-Assad, born in Nazareth and now living in Holland, says he was intrigued by stories he'd heard about various bombers, details that weren't widely reported in the media -- ''it's amazing how shocking reality is, more so than film" -- and began scripting Said's character with his co-writer and producer, Bero Beyer, based on his research. But he curtly dismisses the suggestion that ''Paradise Now," in connecting the would-be bombers' profound sense of despair to living under the shadow of Israeli force, inadvertently makes him an apologist for terror tactics. ''Was Francis Ford Coppola, when he made 'The Godfather,' an apologist for crime? Nonsense."
First off, War of the Worlds didn't make anyone skittish with a 9/11 scenario, Tom Cruise's behavior and Spielberg's upcoming terrorist sympathizing Munich film will make people skittish. Second, could you see this being applied to Nazis, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin as much as it is applied to suicide bombers? We must see the "human" being inside of them..what nonsense. Suicide bombers are cowards, how hard is it to blow up people in a club or at a bus stop? They are the lowest of low in terms of fighters, mindless fools who have been manipulated by smarter people who use them to push their own plans. Bombers are the people who rationalize in their minds thru their spamming of their parents, equals and "leaders" that the world they are in was caused by Jews. They lose their intelligence, humanity, common sense and moral values. I wonder if Abu touches on the fact the main reason a political situation was so out of reach was because of so-called Palestianian leadership who was too busy stealing money and using the population for their own needs? I can't wait for the updated ending where Israel has pulled out of Gaza which fell into chaos because now the world sees the warring factions who could care less about the people and more about their own power.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

BBC brings the politically correct to a riot.

UK: Here is the BBC version which is striking in how outdated it is and something more interesting.

Last Updated: Saturday, 22 October 2005, 18:52 GMT 19:52 UK Clashes follow 'attack' meeting Disturbances have taken place in Lozells in Birmingham after a meeting among residents about an alleged sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl. Bricks and bottles were thrown at riot police following the meeting, which was addressed by two senior police officers and the local MP, Khalid Mahmood. There were no reports of injuries or arrests following the disturbance. Earlier, about 200 people attended a rally in Perry Barr held in aid of victims of crime, police said. Tensions have risen in the area after the alleged incident, when a teenage girl was said to have been sexually assaulted by a group of men.
Now this is the story making the rounds in Scotsman, Observer, Reuters, Independent and other in one form or the other.
At least one man was killed last night in rioting in Birmingham over an alleged sex assault on a black girl by youths of Asian descent. One man was stabbed to death at a take­away food outlet in the Lozells area of the city. Unconfirmed reports said another man also died when a minicab was set alight. ....Dozens of youths smashed property and attacked police. Bricks and bottles were thrown, and about 10 injured people, including a police officer, were taken to hospital. In one incident, an ambulance was attacked by a gang wielding sticks. A police spokesman said: "A large crowd of people gathered at a fast-food business and a violent brawl broke out, during which one person was stabbed in the chest and is certified dead." The disturbances broke out after a week of tension over the alleged sexual attack on a 14-year-old Jamaican girl. Several arrests have been made, but no charges brought as no one has come forward to lodge an official complaint. Police have carried out forensic science tests, house-to-house inquiries and distributed thousands of leaflets to try to find the alleged victim, who may be an illegal immigrant. Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, said that he believed that one man had died in the minicab fire. Another vehicle was also set ablaze by the mob. He said: "There are kids driving round and smashing things up and then disappearing before the police can get there." Alex Thompson, a reporter with the Press Association news agency who drove into the Lozells area, had her car attacked by a running gang of "more than 100 hooded youths with baseball bats". She said: "They hit my car with the bats and kicked it. They also attacked other passing motorists on the main road. They were running past me. I could see police with shields following them." ....Lozells is not new to racial tension. There is a strong Afro-Caribbean presence - the biggest contingent among the black population originating from Jamaica. Asian gangs have also grown up in the area, and there has been simmering tension between the two racial groups. Often trouble has related to drugs - mainly heroin - and gun crime.
BBC reports the what, but leaves out the why which puts the whole story in focus.


Palm Beach chief helps reporter get gotcha interview.

Media: By help I mean telling an officer to stop the guy for anything to give the reporter time to get there. That builds trust in the force.

BOCA RATON — Police Chief Andrew Scott, already under fire for releasing a wealthy friend from custody, in August ordered a traffic stop on a city resident so a Miami TV news reporter could interview him, according to a memo written by the sergeant who reluctantly followed the command. Scott ordered two assistant chiefs to have an officer help WPLG-Channel 10 reporter Julie Summers get an interview with a contractor who had been dodging her attempts to speak with him, according to the memo obtained by The Palm Beach Post. ....On Friday, Kelly confirmed he wrote the memo and had discussed its content with Deputy City Manager George Brown. Kelly said he could not comment on the traffic stop because "it's under investigation." In his memo, Kelly wrote, "Being a new sergeant on probation... I said I would do it. It wasn't right, but I would do it if this is what the chief wanted done." At around 11 a.m., on Aug. 30, Kelly parked his unmarked police car near a stop sign at Forest Hill Lane, the memo notes. Summers and her cameraman were in an unmarked car nearby. When contractor Henk Schiffer drove away in a blue Cadillac, Summers called Kelly's cellphone and told him the contractor was driving east on Forest Hill Lane, the memo says. Kelly stopped Schiffer when the car rolled through a stop sign. "While I was on my stop, Ms. Somers (sic) with cameraman in tow, swooped in and started drilling Schiffer with questions," Kelly wrote. "I quickly wrote out a traffic warning ticket for the violation and left." When Kelly returned to the police department, Scott called him into his office and thanked him, the memo says. ....Dave Skrabec, president of the city's police union, said the executive board learned about the incident on Oct. 11 and brought it to the deputy city manager's attention the following morning. "The Fraternal Order of Police membership feels that it was improper and unprofessional and most likely violated several department policies, in addition to possibly infringing upon someone's civil rights," Skrabec said Friday.


Friday, October 21, 2005

Californian paper was warned 6 months ago about Nada Behziz

Updated information 11/16/05 here. Media: I said earlier that some fault with Behziz article going to print had to go to the editors who did not do their job. Now we get some info that a doctor wrote into paper on an earlier Behziz article saying she stole most of the info from the New York Times.

Six months before a Californian reader alerted editors to a stolen quote that ran in a front-page story Sunday -- a story that turned out to contain plagiarized passages and fabricated sources -- a letter from a local doctor indicated another story by the same reporter contained plagiarized information. But the tip, in a 21/2-page letter documenting inaccuracies in the article due to technical differences between CT scans and ultrasounds, went unnoticed. Had anyone checked, they would have found Nada Behziz's April 10 article largely plagiarized a New York Times story. The story also included a local physician and a cancer survivor, neither of whose existence can yet be verified. Here's the unnoticed tip, which hung at the bottom of the second page of a letter from Dr. Girish Patel, a Bakersfield radiologist who heads Truxtun Radiology Medical Group: "Ms. Behziz has 'quoted' Dr. Kramer and Dr. Brant-Zawadzki in her story. However, she failed to credit the source of those comments, which came from an article 'Rapid Rise and Fall for Body-Scanning Clinics' by Gina Kolata in (the) New York Times and linked by Free Republic" -- an online news site -- "on January 23, 2005." But Patel's complaints, including the larger issue in his letter about alleged technical errors, fell through the cracks. Logan Molen, The Californian's managing editor, a senior position in the newsroom, took charge of responding to the letter. Molen said Thursday he "scanned" the letter but did not carefully read every word. "It's pretty dense," Molen said, referring to technical descriptions of medical devices. What's more, later discussions between Molen, Behziz and other editors revolved around bulleted items that Patel's letter called the "three major points." Those related to whether providers of mobile ultrasound services were fraudulently advertising their product as body scans, which use X-ray technology. "I don't recall anybody specifically raising the plagiarization question or any kind of ethical concerns," Molen said. Rather, he said, he and others were "trying to wrestle with the facts of the scan issue." When asked if the paragraph about unattributed quotes from another news organization would have raised red flags had he read it, Molen said: "I would have chased it. I would have followed up to make sure somebody ... looked into it."
What? How can warning lights not pop up when the doctor clearly wrote the quotes came from a New York Times article? Did Molen space out when Free Republic came up and dismiss the letter? Molen did not do his job.


This is the kind of dishonesty I hate from the MCB.

UK: The latest news about the idiotic Religious hate bill being pushed mainly by MCB to use against anyone who in their mind offends Islam.

But the Muslim Council of Britain defended the law, disputing claims that it would lead to a loss of free speech. "People like Rowan Atkinson have created a media frenzy by claiming that the proposed law will ban criticism of religious beliefs. It certainly will not," said Sher Khan, chairman of its public affairs committee. "The idea that there will be self censorship leading to a loss of free speech is contradicted by the evidence from the application of existing racial incitement laws that already cover both Jewish and Sikh faith groups. "It has not stopped criticism or ridicule of the Jewish and Sikh faiths." A Home Office spokesman said: "We have seen and will consider the proposals and respond to them in due course."
He leaves out the part where rioting by some Sikhs over a play in Birmingham shut down the production after the police said they couldn't stop it and the MP defended the reaction.
One of the examples cited by opponents is the play Behzti which depicts abuse happening within a Sikh temple. The play opened at the Birmingham Rep theatre - and was forced to close after protests from the Sikh community which the police said they could not control. Critics predict that even if the legislation does not ban such works, it creates space within which those opposed to artistic expression will believe they have a charter to act.
Now the MCB knows this, but plays dumb about it.


UK university bans bible.

UK: It could have been potentially offensive to students of different faiths.

EDINBURGH University is set to ban Bibles from its student halls of residence amid concern that the Holy Book is “discriminatory” and makes students of other faiths feel unwelcome. The move is the result of protests from the students’ association and is being considered in an effort to pursue a policy of “evenly supporting all faiths”, a university spokesman said yesterday. A Gideon Bible is traditionally placed in every new student’s room at the start of the academic year and there are currently around 2,000 Bibles in the Pollock Halls campus on the edge of Holyrood Park. Their distribution is now seen as inappropriate and potentially offensive to non-Christians. The student body is drawn from 120 countries and represents a broad spectrum of faiths, it is argued. Ruth Cameron, president of the Edinburgh University Students’ Association, said yesterday that it was important that students from different cultures were made to feel welcome. “The student association strongly believes in the importance of ensuring that students of all faiths feel at home in their university accommodation,” she said. “We simply don’t want to be seen promoting one religion over another. This is not about attacking Christianity. It is about respecting diversity.”
Exactly, you respect diversity by banning the bible and Christianity. Just think that one day you will be working with or for someone with that sort of intelligence.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Oh wait, you work for the Guardian? Our bad!

Media: This ought to be an interesting backstory to this very soon.

Guardian journalist freed in Iraq Rory Carroll, the 33-year-old Guardian journalist kidnapped yesterday in Baghdad, was freed tonight. The news of his freedom came in a telephone call from Carroll to his parents, Jo and Kate, at their home in Dublin. His father Jo said: "He told me that he had been released, that he was perfectly OK and in an Iraqi government compound having a beer. "He just said: 'I am safe and well and I have all my limbs on. I was in my cell and representatives of the Iraqi government came for me, they had a government car waiting. I have been in Baghdad all the time'."
Very interesting backstory indeed...
Carroll, who has been in Iraq since January, had been interviewing a family in Baghdad on Wednesday about the start of Saddam Hussein's trial before gunmen abducted him. He said he did not know who was responsible for snatching him. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi was present when he was released after a day and a half in darkness. "I don't know who took me," Carroll said. "I was released about an hour ago. I'm fine. I was treated reasonably well," he added. "I spent the last 36 hours in the dark. I was released into the hands of Dr Chalabi." Chalabi, a wealthy secular Shi'ite who returned from exile after the fall of Saddam and then fell out with his former sponsors in Washington, has built up powerful links with leading Shi'ite clerics. A British government source said he believed Carroll was released after two Iraqi prisoners were freed in southern Iraq. "I understand there was a swap, so it was something that was done by the Iraqis which resulted in his release and a couple of others being released who had been arrested a while ago," the source said. ....Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said the British and Irish governments had helped secure the release. Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said "a number of friends and partners" had helped. "The government is deeply grateful to all who helped achieve this happy outcome," he said in a statement. "I am utterly delighted for Rory Carroll and his family."
Update# The Guardian report gives a bit more credence to a hostage swap.
"'....Last night he was under the protection of the Iraqi government in the heavily fortified Green Zone. "I'm sitting having a beer and I feel absolutely fine - both physically and psychologically. I've been very well treated, apart from a bit of initial roughness when they first took me," he said. Carroll, 33, who has been in Iraq for nine months, had been in Sadr City, a Shia-dominated district of Baghdad on Wednesday, interviewing a victim of Saddam Hussein. He was snatched by gunmen as he was leaving the home of the interviewee. "They took me in a car and after 20 minutes switched me to the boot of another one. They stripped me of all my own clothes and dressed me in old clothes." He said he had been handcuffed and held in a room beneath a family home in Baghdad for 36 hours. "It was a darkened room, a concrete passageway beneath the ground floor. I only had a rug and pillow. They allowed me out twice for food." "They were Shia," he said. "At one point I was told I would be used as a bargaining chip in exchange for [Shia cleric Moqtada] al-Sadr people taken in Basra. My fear was that I would be sold on to the Sunni or Islamist groups." Speaking about his release last night, he said: "I heard a captor in the corridor answer his mobile. He laughed and sounded relieved and opened the bolted door and said, 'I am going to let you go'."
Couple of amusing quotes near the end.
There were warm wishes from unexpected quarters too. The Iranian government had issued a rare plea calling for his immediate release. The government, whose relations with the US and Britain have been more strained than usual during the past few months, had offered its prayers for his safe release. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a prominent cleric based in Qatar, said the Union of Islamic Scholars, which he presides over, "has always denounced these kidnappings, especially those carried out against journalists". He added: "The Guardian newspaper is well-known for its professional reporting and its fair coverage of the rights of oppressed peoples and just causes around the world." Inayat Bunglawala, a representative of the Muslim Council of Britain, had joined the calls. "All leading Islamic authorities have made it clear that kidnapping journalists is unhelpful and harmful to the Iraqi people," he said. "The Guardian is deeply respected within the British Muslim community for its balanced coverage of the Middle East and for providing a platform for a range of voices."
unexpected quarters.. It would be unexpected if they didn't say anything in praise of the Guardian.


Bono is the voice of those who cannot fight.

Culture: The power of his ego moves him.

Bono told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview before they dined that he had no fear of meeting Bush or any other world leader. "They should be afraid, because they will be held accountable for what happened on their watch," Bono told the magazine for an article on newsstands Friday. "I'm representing the poorest and the most vulnerable people. On a spiritual level, I have that with me. I'm throwing a punch, and the fist belongs to people who can't be in the room, whose rage, whose anger, whose hurt I represent. "The moral force is way beyond mine, it's an argument that has much more weight than I have. So I'm not feeling nervous."
In earlier news.
"Unfortunately U2 can't be with us here today, as BONO is in the Holy Land curing lepers with his touch." Host JONATHAN ROSS mocks Bono's charity work.


Poll shows Brazilians would vote against gun ban

South America: Yeah, it may have been 80% for a while ago, but you start thinking about it, people realized this is kinda dumb.

Some 52 percent of nearly 2,000 people surveyed in 11 cities would vote "no" to the ban and 34 percent "yes", the poll by Toledo and Associates said. A further 10 percent were undecided. The survey shows a swing away from sentiment in favor of a ban in this country where bloodshed and violent crime is a daily worry for many citizens. Some 36,000 people were killed by guns last year. Just two months ago polls showed 80 percent of voters would opt for a prohibition of guns and ammunition sales in Sunday's nationwide referendum. About 120 million people in Latin America's largest country are expected to vote. Supporters and opponents have waged fierce campaigns on radio and television and in the press. Those wanting to see gun sales banned say it will contribute to cutting down the violence that has given Brazil an annual death toll from firearms that is higher that many war zones. Opponents, similar to the gun lobby in the United States, say it is a citizen's right to carry a gun and that criminals will still be able to get their hands on weapons anyway. Conservative legislator Alberto Fraga, head of an anti-ban lobby group said: "We knew it would change because people are realizing that the right to legitimate defense is an essential right. That's the crux of the question." Sociologist Josephine Bourgois, of the pro-ban human rights groups Viva Rio, said that the "no" lobby was gaining because of lavish funding on publicity by the gun-making industry. "The "no" campaign began to manipulate the real fears of Brazilians about insecurity," she said.
Manipulating them by saying if the government takes the guns away from you, criminals will still have their own? HORRORS!
Gun violence pervades Brazilian society from the beaches of Rio de Janeiro to the remote Amazon jungle. Heavily armed drugs gangs control the slums of Rio and other big cities. Motorists stuck in urban traffic jams are often robbed at gun point, while in the vast interior land disputes and other scores are settled by hired gunmen known as "pistoleiros". The situation is not helped by a police force that is widely derided as ruthless, corrupt and inefficient. If Brazil votes in favor of the ban, all sales of guns and ammunition will halt although police, judges, military personnel and private security firms will still be able to buy them.
If its not the criminals, its the police. But the exceptions who will be allowed guns dovetails into this piece in Bloomberg.
The referendum's backers include rappers, stars such as Oscar-nominated actress Fernanda Montenegro and actors from soap operas on TV Globo, Brazil's most-watched channel. They've been joined by private groups and international voices including 10 Nobel Peace Prize winners, among them Desmond Tutu, who signed a joint statement urging Brazilians to vote for the ban. Opposition comes from farmers, some lawmakers with police experience and even crime victims who say the law would deprive Brazilians of their right and ability to defend themselves.
Which group can afford the private security firms? The farmers or the rappers,actors and actresses? What does Tutu's opinion matter, does he live in Brazil year round? No. Classic case of the haves telling the "little" people to go screw.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Memo to the USHCC

Nation: That would be the Unites States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. If you are going to rebuke Nagin on his "make sure that New Orleans is not overrun by Mexican workers,’" comments, it would help to do so in a more timely manner. Almost two weeks after is weak sauce.


Turkish backing for honour crimes

EU: This would not be a good selling point for Turkey to get into the EU.

A survey by a university in Turkey has shown almost 40% support for the practice of "honour killing". The results come days after a court in Istanbul gave a life sentence for the murder of a girl by her brothers for giving birth to a child out of wedlock. Turkish law, which used to be lenient on "honour crimes", was heavily revised as part of the country's preparation for EU accession proceedings. Turkey has started talks with the EU but is not expected to join for years. The survey was conducted in the conservative south-eastern city of Diyarbakir. Disfigured It questioned 430 people, most of them men. When asked the appropriate punishment for a woman who has committed adultery, 37% replied she should be killed. Twenty-five percent said that she deserved divorce, and 21% that her nose or ears should be cut off. The survey group was small but the results are a reminder that "honour killing" - a practice where women are murdered for allegedly bringing shame on their family - still has significant support in parts of Turkey. There are no reliable statistics on how many women die this way, but Turkey has made major strides fighting such violence. Research panel Since the penal code was reformed last summer a man can no longer claim he was provoked as his defence. That used to lead to light sentences. But last Friday a court in Istanbul sent a man to prison for life for murdering his sister in her hospital bed. He shot her for giving birth to a child outside marriage. And there is evidence the authorities here are committed to taking the reforms further. A commission has just been established in parliament to research the whole issue for the first time. Its 12 members are expected to report back in December.


This is why I hate the NBA dress code.

Sports: I knew it would make reporters look for the opinions of NBA players who are going to say something stupid. I haven't been disappointed so far.

The Nuggets' Marcus Camby, who makes about $8 million a year, said players should get a stipend. "Guys who haven't been wearing suits and don't own suits," Camby told the Rocky Mountain News Oct. 6. "It will be really hard to get them in time for the season."
I have a feeling that custom made suits for NBA players can be made in quick order by various companies who want to make money. As for getting a stipend, that quote is almost as good as Sprewell' rejecting a contract for 7 million a year because it wasn't enough to feed his family.
Players no longer can arrive at or leave games wearing headphones, sunglasses while indoors, T-shirts, shorts, sleeveless shirts or chains, medallions or pendants. They're also forbidden to wear replica or throwback jerseys and baseball caps to postgame news conferences. And if a player doesn't suit up for a game, he must wear a sports coat on the bench. Most Pistons disagree with the new rule. "Most people dress according to their culture and their ethnic background," said Dale Davis, a 14-year veteran. "You almost embrace the culture, and now it's taken away. That's tough." Guard Richard Hamilton said the NBA has marketed throwback jerseys for many years, and only in recent years has it become a fad. Rasheed Wallace is a big fan of them. So is former Pistons coach Larry Brown. Now they can't wear them. One reporter told Hamilton the NBA stands for No Bling Allowed. Hamilton smirked. "It's crazy though, every young guy that comes through the NBA, that's the first thing they get is a chain," Hamilton said. "That's going to be kind of different. But you can't control what people wear around their neck."
Indiana Pacers guard Stephen Jackson, contending that a league ban on chains worn over clothing is "a racist statement" from the league, wore every long, diamond-studded chain in his collection Tuesday night as a protest. Jackson voiced no opposition to the bulk of the "business casual" demands in the NBA's new dress code, but he described the jewelry ban as "attacking young black males." "I think it's a racist statement because a lot of the guys who are wearing chains are my age and are black," said Jackson, 27. "I wore all my jewelry today to let it be known that I'm upset with it. "I'll wear a suit every day. I think we do need to look more professional because it is a business. A lot of guys have gotten sloppy with the way they dress. But it's one thing to [enforce a] dress code and it's another thing if you're attacking cultures, and that's what I think they're doing."
When I think of Black culture which has spawned greatness like W.E.B. Du Bois, Benjamin Banneker, Lewis Latimer, Louis Armstrong , inventors, musicians, African culture, empires that have come and gone. The fact some fool making millions of dollars cries racism because he can't wear his bling bling looking like a poor man's Mr.T annoys me. If bling bling and looking like a street thug is now an important part of Black culture, something has gone very wrong in Black society. You get paid like a professional, you look and act like a professional. Update# Forget everything I said, Here is a picture perfect example of why the dress code is needed.
MIAMI - OCTOBER 12: (R-L) Dwyane Wade #3, Dorrel Wright #1 and Jason Williams #55 of the Miami Heat arrive at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on October 12, 2005 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Another reporter fired for faking quotes.

Media: This time from the Bakerfield Californian.

MIKE JENNER, Executive Editor: For more than two years the journalism world has been rocked by revelations that reporters at some of the nation's most respected newspapers had plagiarized other publications, "lifted" quotes or facts from other published stories without proper attribution, and even quoted from sources that could not be found. Such transgressions are poison to a profession based on the values of accuracy and truth. I shook my head at each of these foolish acts that ruined the careers of the perpetrators and damaged the credibility of the organizations they represented. I said to myself, "It can't happen here." I was naive. And I was wrong. On Sunday's front page, The Californian published a story that committed all of these cardinal journalistic sins.
Let the drama queen angst begin! Someone needs to point out that naivety and blinders is not an excuse for not being vigil.
They were discovered when a reader e-mailed me Sunday night to tell me that a quote in our story attributed to a 10-year-old girl was identical to a statement attributed to a 4-year-old girl involved in a study of what preschoolers think about cigarettes and smoking. A simple Internet search revealed that the reader was correct. The quotation appeared not only in a summary document about the survey, but in an Associated Press story that was published in many newspapers. In his message to me, the reader suggested that it looked to him like "sloppy reporting at best, and unethical twisting of facts at worst." I believe he was right on both counts.
The reader should have asked why are you doing a story that seems to have been covered by the AP already when all you did was lower the age limit? They also have to go back and go over previous articles written by this reporter and see they are kosher.
In her defense, Behziz says she did not commit an intentional act of plagiarism. "To me it was sloppy journalism. It wasn't intentional." She also emphatically states, "I did not fabricate sources." She says her notes support the existence of the sources we could not find, and that they said what she quoted them as saying. She also said she felt a lot of pressure to perform under deadline. "I was stressed out," she said.
Fake but accurate?
So why didn't we uncover these flaws before we printed the story? The primary editor involved, Lois Henry, saw no red flags as she edited the story. In the editing process, the story went through several revisions. At one point Henry, a senior editor, told Behziz the story lacked the voices of ordinary people, especially teen smokers. The reporter resubmitted the story with plausible comments from people who were ostensibly "real." There are checks and balances in The Californian's news-gathering process. Reporters are required to double-check all verifiable information and to note in the story that the information is correct. And editors are expected to question reporters about their premise, their word choices, their facts. Stories like this are reviewed by multiple editors before seeing print. But from beginning to end, the system depends on trust. Because not every fact can be checked or re-reported, editors must rely on reporters and the other journalists in the organization to be accurate and ethical. In this case, Henry trusted Behziz to follow the rules -- interviewing real people and quoting them accurately.
You cannot have it both ways. If you have checks and balances but can be bypassed because you "trust" a reporter,your system is broken. This is the same reason why Mitch Albom got caught lying because his editor let stuff slide on the basis of his position in the paper. I guarantee if you did a spot check on these type of stories with the people angle in it around the country, you will find fake/copied quotes. These are the articles every editor should be checking before going to print.
As the reader wrote in his e-mail: "If I'm right, I'm sad to admit it lessens my faith in the newspaper. "How many other 'facts' are twisted up and slid into other stories, and to what purpose? Here, the error, if there was one, seems harmless. But I want to have trust in what I read in news stories. If I want to read fiction, I can go to that section of the library or bookstore."
The Easter Bunny is also not real. Update# Let me be fair and include this part.
This extraordinary matter requires an extraordinary response. We have begun a thorough examination of our internal procedures. All aspects of the news-gathering and editing process will be subject to this review. The review will include our hiring practices and our training. The entire news staff will be involved in this effort. In addition, we have detached a senior reporter, Gretchen Wenner, to begin the painful and painstaking task of checking all the stories published by the reporter involved in this matter. As we have done here, we will report back to you when we have completed that investigation.
Disregarding the drama queen language, they are taking the obvious steps, but one other person has to be suspended at least and that is the editor Lois Henry. Poor judgement on her part let the story to print, who knows how many other stories have passed her to print?


Trinidad has some smart people in government.

Trinidad: This won't make a tense situation worse at all. Manning to show he and the government are on top of the bombings in Trinidad goes out and makes this statement which will only tick off or scare people more in the country.

Name "Mr Big". That was the challenge thrown out yesterday by UNC political leader Winston Dookeran to Prime Minister Patrick Manning. Dookeran, Opposition leader Basdeo Panday and Opposition Senator Sadiq Baksh all condemned Manning yesterday for the "Mr Big" statement he made in relation to the bombings. In his statement in Parliament on Monday, Manning said: "Listen carefully to what I have to say. The Government has a good idea of who "Mr Big" is in this matter ... and let me say there is a difference between information and evidence. Under our Constitution you need much more than information to be able to bring people to justice." In response yesterday, Panday said that statement has made the entire situation worse that it was before. "The statement puts the population in a position where they are even more frightened than before, that is an irresponsible act," he said. He called on Manning to apologise to the nation for that statement which he said was an admission that the government was "totally incompetent" and "totally without a clue". Panday added: "They know the bomber and they can't arrest him, they can't charge him. So I think he has made the situation worse by that statement he has made." Dookeran said it was "the most irresponsible statement ever made by a Prime Minister on such a sensitive area of national security". Manning is also chairman of the National Security Council. Dookeran said Manning was effectively telling "an already terrorised nation that he can identify the perpetrator of the bombings occurring in the country but does not have sufficient evidence to conduct an arrest." Dookeran said this "preposterous and irrational" statement gives the population more of an insight into the incompetence of the government than it provides any logical explanation.


Shocking news: Divorce makes kids unhappy.

Culture: There has to be a better way to write this lead without looking like you just graduated from journalism school.

Oct. 24, 2005 issue - While everyone knows divorce is tough on kids, researcher and writer Elizabeth Marquardt says even when the split is amicable, kids still suffer. For her controversial new book, "Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce," Marquardt spent three years interviewing 1,500 young adults—half from divorced families—who described the painful emotional, moral and spiritual dilemmas they faced. Marquardt talks with NEWSWEEK's Peg Tyre about the pain children of divorce may be harboring and what parents can do about it.
Who knew that even if you breakup all nicey nicey, your kids will still feel pain about it? How controversial!


Wash Post stating the obvious about New Orleans.

Nation: In a ridiculously long overdone article Blaine Harden writes about the changing demos in New Orleans.

Affluent Can Go Home Again Long-standing differences in income, opportunity are shaping the repopulation of New Orleans. The Economics of Return Class, Color May Guide Repopulation of New Orleans By Blaine HardenWashington Post Staff WriterWednesday, October 19, 2005; Page A01

No Duh, let me try and sum up in 5 lines what Blaine takes 5 pages to do. 1) The ones who have the resources to come back and rebuild will. 2) The ones who were evacuated out of the state to other states do not have the resources to come back. 3) The ones who left places like the ninth ward see a chance to build a new life elsewhere won't be back. 4) There will be more whites(resources), less blacks(less likely to have resources), and more latinos(rebuilding the city) and you cannot stop the upcoming changing demographics of the new New Orleans. 5) It took 5 pages to write this report on subjects and facts already covered elsewhere and in your paper? Okay 4 lines and a question. But there are some paragraphs that are stunning in its naivety .

"....In the Lower Ninth Ward, where more a third of residents lived in poverty and 6 percent had a college degree, a hastily rebuilt levee failed in late September to hold back the storm surge of Hurricane Rita. Most of the place was again submerged. ....Anger over the possible razing of portions of the Ninth Ward is fueled by the neighborhood's high home ownership rate, which is nearly 60 percent, and by its many years of residential stability. Despite long-standing problems of crime, drug abuse and inferior public schools, families stayed in the community for generations, anchored by churches and block parties and friendship. Until the storm hit, nearly three-quarters of families in the Lower Ninth Ward had been in the same house since 1995. In this respect, the neighborhood was considerably more stable than Lakeview, where over the past decade 57 percent of families had been in the same house."
I think the reason the lower ninth was more "stable" is because they could not afford to get the hell out of there. I don't know of many people who faced with drug abuse, bad schools and crime think its a good thing to stay in that place. Read the whole thing for the people angle on this but it doesn't break any new ground. Previous stories here, here, here, here, here.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

School Segregation aka bring whitey back now plan.

Culture: Yesterday I talked about this voluntary busing idea in the UK, now in the America Jonathan Kozol wants to stop "School Segregation."

Kozol's message, apparently, has a following. At Politics & Prose, he drew a crowd of hundreds last month for a promotional event just before the book's publication. He made an unusual encore visit yesterday at the store's invitation, drawing another standing-room audience. C-SPAN cameras were on hand to transmit the talk on cable television. "Sorry to be so grim tonight," Kozol said as he launched into a plea for "elemental racial justice." He added: "In the inner-city schools I visit, I never see white children. Segregation has returned with a vengeance." In the Washington area, many public schools serve populations that are mostly white or mostly black, a split typical of what Kozol describes in his book through observations of 60 schools in 11 states. In Prince George's County, for example, 77 percent of students are black, 12 percent are Latino and 7 percent are non-Hispanic white. In many of the county's schools, the racial and ethnic gaps are far wider. That is also true in the District's public schools. Kozol notes that some of the most segregated schools in the country are named for civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Thurgood Marshall, 51 years after the Supreme Court ruled in Brown that separate educational facilities are "inherently unequal." Few educators would dispute Kozol's central contention: that many mostly black schools are in worse shape, physically and academically, than their counterparts in mostly white neighborhoods. "The main reason I wrote this book," Kozol said in an interview yesterday, "is to inspire Americans to look very hard at the virtually complete apartheid in increasing numbers of our school districts -- including in Prince George's County -- and to address it courageously. They should ask themselves honestly: Is this the kind of country they want to live in?" To those who point out that segregation today is not imposed by law, Kozol replied: "Whether the causes of school segregation are residential, social factors, economic factors, whatever they may be, segregated schooling is the oldest failed experiment in American social history. It didn't work in the past century. It's not going to work in the century ahead." Kozol's solution -- not likely, he conceded, to be enacted soon -- is to repeal No Child Left Behind, establish universal public preschool for needy children, drastically reduce class sizes in schools that serve the poorest children (to 18 or fewer students per teacher) and give white suburban schools financial incentives for a new racial integration initiative with massive, but voluntary, systems of crosstown transportation. Kozol said he wanted to spark an urban-school uprising. "We need a movement by people who actually get chalk dust on their hands every day because they spend their lives with children," he said.
This is not a racial problem as it was before Brown vs Board of Education, this is a social/economic problem that has led to segregated schools. People by nature want to be in areas that will feel comfortable to them. That is based on type of ethnic group,color, economic/societal standing or a combination. Kozol solutions is nothing more than obnoxious social engineering that would be resisted by parents. Their primary concern is their children get the best education possible. They are not going to send their child to a bad school so we can get that happy multicult world he envisions.


Broussard and Jefferson Parish sued for flooding.

Nation: They are seeking class-action status.

Jefferson Parish residents are suing Parish President Aaron Broussard and the parish, claiming their east bank homes flooded after drainage pump operators were sent out of town before Hurricane Katrina hit. Broussard and the parish "owed a duty to operate the drainage pumps" and "breached that duty by failing to man and operate" them, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna. The plaintiffs, who are seeking class-action status, want unspecified damages and want the case to be decided by a jury. The lawsuit is assigned to Judge Henry Sullivan. Only two plaintiffs are named: Zoe Aldigé, of Metairie, and Chicago Properties Interests, a Metairie company formed in March 2003 by Mark Marzoni, according to Louisiana secretary of state records. "We have many, many more (plaintiffs), as you well might imagine, given the enormity of the problem," said E. Carroll Rogers, one of three plaintiffs' attorneys. An assistant in Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson's office said parish officials were not aware of the lawsuit.
Same time, Broussard has taken out full page ads to defend himself.
Facing a steady barrage of criticism and now a lawsuit from owners of flooded property, Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard has launched his most overt -- and possibly most expensive -- public relations venture since Hurricane Katrina, an attempt to explain his decisions during the storm and to lay out plans for the parish's future protection. In four full-page ads in The Times-Picayune costing $38,000 total, Broussard's administration discusses, in its own words, the steps it took before the Aug. 29 landfall and its plans for how to staff pump stations and fortify Jefferson's drainage system for future hurricanes, said Greg Buisson, a political consultant to Broussard who has been working as an administration spokesman. In the aftermath of the catastrophe, the direct communication likely aims to serve dual purposes: to educate the public on policies rarely discussed in stable times, and to temper political fires easily stoked in an atmosphere of silence, longtime observers of Louisiana politics said. "They probably figure they have to do something," said Ed Renwick, director of the Loyola University Institute of Politics. "Obviously, they have a monumental political problem, and you can't just sit back and never say anything. You either have to apologize or you have to explain (that) the decision you made was rational.


More Davis-Bacon act talk in New Orleans.

Nation: The suspension doesn't seem to be creating slave wages as some would put it.

Prevailing wages Neither Bravo nor Luna would discuss their legal status, but in other ways their experience seemed atypical. Many more laborers are part of crews who have worked with subcontracting companies like Full Scope after past hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. Those companies have the men's contact information in their Rolodexes; they bring the crews here and put them up. Alfonso Lopez, 22, a roofer also staying at the Days Inn but working for different companies, said he and other laborers are making about $12 a yard, the unit of payment for putting up the familiar blue tarps on damaged roofs. "On many days, I'm making more than $300," Lopez said. "I'm going to stay about one month more, and I'll have made a lot of money here." Rojas, too, is paying his workers reasonably well, and despite the hardship of their living quarters at the London Lodge the crew seemed relatively jolly one day last week. "It's dark at night, there's mosquitoes -- it's like camping," one of them said when asked about the conditions. Rojas has a gas grill for the crews to cook with, and he brings in water. The pay, which ranges from $14 to $17 an hour, is good, despite complaints from several activist organizations that the workers are getting stiffed. "There is a myth out there that these guys are getting paid substandard wages," said David Ware, a prominent immigration lawyer in New Orleans who has temporarily relocated to Baton Rouge. "In fact, most of them are making very good money, close to the prevailing wage or above and there is plenty of work." Fears the labor market would be flooded with underpaid Latino workers were stoked on Sept. 8 when Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon Act, a legislative relic from the Great Depression that was designed in part to lock African-American workers out of job sites but has since morphed into a pro-labor law that requires union rates be the scale. But the prevailing wage for construction labor in New Orleans was about $9 an hour before Katrina, according to federal figures, so the money being paid to drywallers and roofers is above the old norm.


ANC breaking apart over Zuma trial.

Africa: Mbeki may have overplayed his hand in getting rid of Zuma as it ticked off his supporters and is threatening the party future as people are made about jobs and lack of service. ANC and especially Mbeki have been a disappointment since taking office. The lack of leadership not only in South Africa, but as a sign to the rest of the continent

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 17 (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling ANC is fighting to win back grassroots members in revolt over issues from a lack of jobs and crumbling municipal services to the graft trial of popular sacked Deputy President Jacob Zuma. New hotlines at the party's Johannesburg headquarters have been taking calls from members across the country. And on Sunday President Thabo Mbeki took the lead, delighting rural audiences in the Vaal district with a speech denouncing corrupt local officials. But some analysts say it may be too late for Mbeki and his allies to unify the party, not least because the initiative is controlled by the central leadership seen to be detached. "If people are angry because they can't have their way at the branch or regional level and you ask them to phone Johannesburg, I don't see that as making much of a difference," said analyst Keith Gottschalk of the University of the Western Cape. The wave of popular support for Zuma, who was sacked in June and then charged with corruption, has stung the African National Congress (ANC), polarising the 90-year-old movement and exacerbating discontent in the ranks. It is almost impossible to believe it is the same party that launched Nelson Mandela to power in 1994 as South Africa's first black president and cruised to a two-thirds majority in parliament in the last general elections just over a year ago. Popular anger in ANC strongholds over a jobless rate of over 26 percent has spilled into the streets. Township residents protesting poor municipal services have ripped water pipes while commuters angry at delayed trains have set carriages ablaze. ....Local media reported on Monday that the now retired and increasingly frail Mandela was following with concern the damaging rift in his beloved party. "We are heading for a major problem, particularly if he is found guilty," Saunders said. "Even if he is found innocent his members would say... we were right all along in supporting him." Gottschalk says Mbeki made a grave mistake by dismissing Zuma instead of deploying him to some diplomatic mission abroad. "If Zuma was kept in Kinshasa or Bujumbura to do all the negotiation in the Great Lakes, he wouldn't be able to address his supporters in (his stronghold) KwaZulu-Natal Province," he said. "That's the first major flaw I saw, for all the claims that Mbeki has got Machievellian skills of manipulation." He said the ANC's drive to appease disenchanted members was unlikely to work because the Zuma saga had become a trigger for those who resented Mbeki's perceived managerial rather than consultative style on many other previous issues. "This has been like a last straw, so they have come in with complaints against Mbeki's perceived autocratic style rather than perceived merits of Zuma's case," Gottschalk said.
Last time, don't destroy your own stuff especially when it was bad from the start.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Brazil's gun ban vote upcoming, Criminals cheer for a ban.

Brazil: This is amazing stupidity on the part of those who want to ban guns.

Brazil's Oct. 23 vote on whether to ban gun sales, which the government says is the world's first nationwide referendum on firearms, is being watched closely by gun makers and opponents across the globe as a referendum that could set a precedent for campaigns in other countries. Brazil has the highest number of gun deaths in the world, with 36,091 people shot and killed last year, according to government figures. Over 120 million people are expected to vote on the bill in Brazil, where voting is compulsory. Television and radio ads financed by groups on both sides of the debate have bombarded Brazilians. "Those who want disarmament, raise your right hand," read the pro-gun leaflet, alluding to Nazi Germany's decision to ban guns for civilians in 1938. Since the media blitz started several weeks ago, support for the ban has fallen and it now looks like voters are increasingly split on the issue. Just two months ago, polls showed 80 percent would vote for the ban. A survey released on Friday showed that number had plummeted to 45 percent. Even the government is divided. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva endorses the ban. But his vice president and defense minister, Jose Alencar, says the ban would encourage criminals. VIOLENT CRIME Human rights groups endorse the government-proposed ban, dismissing as absurd claims it would be a threat to democracy. But some groups acknowledge the prohibition of legal gun sales would not reduce the arsenals held by dreaded drug gangs and other criminals, as Lima hopes. Almost 60 percent of an estimated 17 million guns in Brazil were obtained illegally, said human and social rights group Viva Rio. Over the past year, violent shootouts between drug gangs armed with assault rifles have often shut the scenic ocean-side road connecting Rio's famous Leblon and Sao Conrado beaches. "The population is unprotected, left at the mercy of armed thugs, while the government is not investing in security," said Alberto Fraga, a legislator who leads the gun lobby. "This vote doesn't disarm the criminals," he said. If Latin America's largest country votes in favor of the ban, all sales of guns and ammunition to civilians will be halted, leaving those who already have registered firearms without bullets. Police, judges, firefighters and security firms will be able to buy guns for private and official use, sales that are likely to sustain local manufacturers like Forjas Taurus whose pistols are also popular in the United States. Taurus exports rose 41 percent last year.
So you are going to take the guns out of the hands of law abiding people, it won't affect the gangs and criminals, the police, not exactly the most trustworthy sort down there are already outgunned. All this is doing is setting yourself up for a really bad future down the road.


Busing to expand in the UK.

UK: Why is it that to have a better education for children stuck in crappy schools, this comes up with the fairness argument being pushed? Why don't you fix the bad schools to begin with or would that force the fair for everyone crowd to judge teachers, students and the system itself? If you do that you might have to take actions that could be seen as racist or unfair.

Free bus travel for children from council estates will be announced next week as part of the Government's effort to end the middle class stranglehold on popular schools. "Choice advisers" will tell parents about schools outside their areas to which they can apply and help them through the admissions process. Groups of schools will be allowed to test children and put them into ability bands, sharing out the most and least able so that their intakes reflect the profile of the local authority or national area. Although the "fair banding" system will not be compulsory, the Government will strongly encourage schools to adopt it to end the so-called admission by postcode lottery, which rewards those families that can afford to move closest to schools with the best reputation. Research has shown that schools in middle class areas have a higher proportion of top band children. Critics of banding say it is the antithesis of parental choice because a child living next door to a school could miss out on a place and end up being taken by bus to one farther away if too many pupils of the same ability lived in their area. ....Sir Cyril Taylor, a Government adviser and chairman of the specialist schools and academies trust, believes that the present system leads to distortions because schools continue to reflect their local areas rather than the wider profile of abilities. Middle class parents have nothing to fear, he said, because a greater social mixture of pupils will improve schools and give them more from which to choose. It would end the unfairness of narrow, shrinking catchment areas which deprive parents living just outside of any choice. Sir Cyril said: "It is not some kind of social diktat or American-style enforced de-segregation but groups of schools working together and children travelling on yellow buses instead of parents having to drive them all over the place, polluting the atmosphere." Middle class parents could also benefit from the greater choice and mobility because good schools in poor areas, such as Government's flagship academies, would be open to them, he said."
I take it that "council estates" is a nice english term for bad area? The problem here is the government sticking its nose where it doesn't belong. Why would a parent in a good area with a good school want to send their kid to a bad area with a supposed good school? Thats why they moved to the good area in the first place. The best scenario is leave the kids where they live and fix the bad schools. Busing in good students is not going to suddenly change the system.


12,000 paid not to work

Bidness: Hey, good deal if you can get it and it may have seemed like a good idea back in the 80's, but now it's yet another expense destroying the auto industry. The UAW is not in any position to defend this successfully.

The jobs bank was established during 1984 labor contract talks between the UAW and the Big Three. The union, still reeling from the loss of 500,000 jobs during the recession of the late 1970s and early 1980s, was determined to protect those who were left. Detroit automakers were eager to win union support to boost productivity through increased automation and more production flexibility. The result was a plan to guarantee pay and benefits for union members whose jobs fell victim to technological progress or plant restructurings. In most cases, workers end up in the jobs bank only after they have exhausted their government unemployment benefits, which are also supplemented by the companies through a related program. In some cases, workers go directly into the program and the benefits can last until they are eligible to retire or return to the factory floor. By making it so expensive to keep paying idled workers, the UAW thought Detroit automakers would avoid layoffs. By discouraging layoffs, the union thought it could prevent outsourcing. That strategy has worked but at the expense of the domestic auto industry's long-term viability. American automakers have produced cars and trucks even when there is little market demand for them, forcing manufacturers to offer big rebates and discounts. "Sometimes they just push product on us," said Bill Holden Jr., general manager of Holden Dodge Inc. in Dover, Del., who said this does not go over well with the dealers. "But they've got these contracts with the union." In Detroit's battle against Asian and European competitors that are unencumbered by such labor costs, the job banks have become a major competitive disadvantage.


Scott McClellan is a big ole meanie baby.

Politics: I have long thought he was a weak link in the media operation of the White House, but you read this and the press corp is just offended he is not being a punching bag for them anymore.

When CBS correspondent John Roberts asked about the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet E. Miers at a White House briefing last week, he expected a boilerplate answer. Instead, press secretary Scott McClellan lectured the reporter: "Let's talk about the way you're approaching things . . . I would encourage you -- I know you don't necessarily want to do this -- but to look at her qualifications and record." Moments later, Roberts accused McClellan of "attacking me." Roberts said in an interview that President Bush's spokesman "has adopted this siege mentality in which the best way to deflect the question is to attack the questioner. I'm not quite sure who he's playing to -- maybe the segment of the Republican Party that believes we're a bunch of liberals who have our own agenda."
As the White House has been forced onto the defensive in recent weeks -- over Hurricane Katrina, the CIA leak investigation, the Iraq war and the Miers nomination -- the daily sparring between McClellan and the press corps has turned increasingly testy. While there has been an element of theater in these sessions since live television coverage began in 1995 -- clips are now routinely posted on the Internet -- McClellan's rebuttals have lately become more personal. "There's been an attempt to put reporters on the spot and question the motivation of reporters," said David Gregory, NBC's White House correspondent. "It is irritating, and I for one think it's an attempt by the White House to change the focus from what is a legitimate question to what the talking point is. It's an effort to cast the media as out for red meat." At the same briefing Thursday at which McClellan challenged Roberts, he lit into Hearst columnist Helen Thomas when she asked about Iraq. After Thomas, who has repeatedly criticized Bush over the war, disputed McClellan's answer by saying that "Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11," McClellan said: "I'm sure you're opposed to the broader war on terrorism." Despite these clashes, many reporters say they like McClellan personally. The morning after their dust-up, Roberts assumed a mock boxing stance upon seeing McClellan. "I don't take it as a personal affront that someone who's an advocate is going to try to present things in the best light," said CNN correspondent Bob Franken. But, he said, "many of us thought Scott had crossed a line by characterizing the motives of the reporters . . . We are foils, because we're riffraff in the eyes of the public, the ink-stained wretches."
At Thursday's briefing, Roberts drew a rebuke for saying that some conservatives had suggested Miers might withdraw her nomination, and asking whether she had the "tenacity" to "withstand all this fire." VandeHei asked McClellan whether he was denying that White House officials had touted Miers's faith and evangelical church membership to conservative activists. "You're putting words in my mouth," McClellan said. VandeHei said later that he was "offended" by the response and that McClellan was engaging in "distortion." McClellan, maintaining that such exchanges are not personal, said some journalists view themselves as above reproach. "My criticisms are extremely mild in comparison to the tone of some of the questions fired in my direction," he said.
Of course the media is out for red meat and the soundbites they can use on broadcasts and I don't have a problem with that. But to whine like this because McClellan is finally hitting back at the reporters who think they are above everyone else proves they are thin skinned. If you want to be treated with respect, start behaving with respect.


AP or ABC news had this headline macroed

Nation: Its not often you see a headline contradicted by the article in the first two paragraphs.

TOLEDO, Ohio Oct 16, 2005 — Protesters at a white supremacists' march threw rocks at police, vandalized vehicles and stores and cursed the mayor for allowing the event. Mayor Jack Ford said when he and a local minister tried to calm the rioters Saturday, they were cursed and a masked gang member threatened to shoot him. At one point, the crowd reached 600 people, officials said. Rioters set fire to 86-year-old Louis Ratajski's neighborhood pub, Jim & Lou's Bar, but he and his nephew escaped the flames.
The Nazis got what they wanted with help from the gangs and other fools who rioted and attacked police/EMTs. I feel bad for the Mayor because legally there was nothing he could do about it.
"They do have a right to walk on the Toledo sidewalks," Mayor Jack Ford said Sunday. An angry mob, some of them gang members, threw baseball-sized rocks at police, vandalized vehicles and stores, and set fire to a neighborhood bar. More than 100 people were arrested and one officer was seriously injured. Much of the anger boiled over because residents were upset that city leaders allowed about a dozen white supremacists to walk through the neighborhood and shout insults. The march was called off after rioting started. "They don't have the right to bring hate to my front yard," said Terrance Anderson, who lives near the bar that was destroyed. Three other businesses were looted or damaged. Others said the neo-Nazis had the right to march. "Too bad the people couldn't ignore them," said Dee Huntley. Police arrested 114 people on charges including assault, vandalism, failure to obey police, failure to disperse and overnight curfew violations.
Via Michelle Malkin.


I don't think this is what the AMFA had in mind.

Bidness: Now Northwest on the other hand has to be grinning. Reuters version here.

The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association members struck on Aug. 20 after rejecting a contract offer that would have preserved 2,750 union jobs and given up to 26 weeks of severance to the others. Northwest promptly brought in 1,200 replacement technicians under less generous terms and managed to fly through the job action. The company also outsourced a number of jobs -- including heavy maintenance, aircraft cleaning and custodian positions -- to third-party vendors, reducing the overall number of positions it needs to fill. Last month, AMFA negotiators rejected a proposal that would have kept 1,080 jobs and given up to 16 weeks of severance pay to those who would be furloughed. Since then, Northwest has permanently hired more than 500 of the replacement mechanics and is on track to reduce its mechanic costs by more than $200 million a year. The airline, the nation's fourth-largest by traffic, later amended the terms of employment for the work group, taking away layoff protection, trimming seniority retention and deciding that the new hires don't have to join the union or pay union dues. "This is not a sellout by AMFA or your negotiating committee," the union said in a message to the strikers on Friday. "This is a chance to vote your destiny...When you look at the details, you will be hard-pressed to find anything 'good.' "
When you go from keeping 2750 people to now 500... You are not winning.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

UN invites Mugabe to hunger debate.

Africa: This would make sense if the UN is trying to figure out the best way to starve people, then Mugabe is your man.

Critics of the Harare regime are appalled that the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), whose mission statement is "helping to build a world without hunger", invited Mr Mugabe to address a conference in Rome marking its 60th anniversary. Tony Hall, the US ambassador to the UN food organisations in Rome, said: "My government is excited about the FAO event which is organised to remind people about hunger. "However my feeling is we shouldn't be inviting someone who has absolutely turned his back on the poor in his own country. He has made a mockery about the hungry and everyone should be upset about this."


AP unhappy about Iraqi vote.

Middle East: Wyclef Jean is probably hurt as well.

Sunnis Appear to Fall Short in Iraq Vote Iraq Constitution Seems Assured of Passage Despite Strong Opposition From Sunni Arabs


I take it Wyclef Jean was a Duvalier fan?

Nation: That is the only reason I can think of him saying a line like this via Michelle Malkin.

145pm EDT. Wyclef Jean, Howard Dean's favorite rapper, sings: "If you not scared of George Bush, you got to stand up." Calls for withdrawal of troops and sympathizes as "Father Saddam cries in prison."
Update# Video of this spectacle here via Stambord.
In this embarrassingly bad ‘freestyle’ (Real Video link from C-Span) at the “Millions More March,” Wyclef Jean of The Fugees extends his sympathy to a genocidal dictator with this odious little couplet (8:40 into the video): “Two sons sittin’…[Unintelligible] So calm, Father Saddam cries in the prison.” - Michael Moynihan


Fear of assassination in Holland over burqa ban.

EU: Rita Verdonk's proposal to ban the burqa is raising fears she could be added to an enemies list targeted for killing.

"....For a country that has legalised gay marriage, prostitution, euthanasia and cannabis, Holland seems in no mood for compromise when it comes to applying tough laws on immigration. A crackdown followed the murder last year of Theo van Gogh, the film-maker shot in Amsterdam in protest against a film he had made about the oppression of women in Muslim communities. In a note skewered to Van Gogh’s chest, Mohammed Bouyeri, the 26-year-old killer who was jailed for life, left a list of “infidels” to be slaughtered, a threat that drove Geert Wilders, the conservative politician, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Muslim MP who appeared in Van Gogh’s film, into hiding. They are under round-the-clock police protection but this has not stopped new death threats in the past few days. Last Friday police arrested seven people suspected of plotting to murder them and carry out other terrorist attacks on November 2, the anniversary of Van Gogh’s killing. One of those arrested was Samir Azzouz, a 19-year-old of Moroccan origin, who in April was acquitted of charges of planning to attack Amsterdam airport and blow up a nuclear reactor. A spokeswoman for Verdonk acknowledged concerns that other supporters of Van Gogh’s killer might have added her name to the hit list. The murder of Van Gogh provoked revenge attacks against mosques and prompted initiatives from Verdonk that have made Holland’s stance on immigration the strictest in Europe. From being considered a bastion of multiculturalism, Holland these days is promoting “Dutchness” for all and penalties for people who refuse to fit in. Verdonk, a former prison warden and head of state security who says her only hobby is work, has introduced Dutch language and culture classes for immigrants, who must pledge to observe the country’s liberal values even if this means respecting the rights of women and homosexuals, a baffling concept for some immigrants. Verdonk, 50, the mother of two teenagers, has further outraged Muslims by expelling imams accused of promoting terrorism; defending a Dutch woman who ran over and crushed to death a Moroccan youth who had snatched her bag from her car; and cancelling a meeting with Muslim leaders who refused to shake her hand because she was a woman. Another aspect of the crackdown was her order to revoke the residency permit of immigrants who commit petty crimes. Until recently the permits could be revoked only for serious offences like murder. Verdonk declared in parliament last week that the “time of cosy tea-drinking” with Muslim groups had passed and argued that a ban on burqas might be needed in some circumstances on grounds of public safety. Police are concerned that a terrorist could use a burqa to conceal weapons or a bomb."


Friday, October 14, 2005

Bangladesh MP calls for mass ass whipping of journalists.

Media: A massive beatdown of journalists who print out false and fabricated reports? Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter, Zahiruddin Swapan.

Oct 13: Blowing hot against journalists Zahiruddin Swapan MP has called for beating them for what he said dishing out false and fabricated reports. "They are terrorists, toll collectors, purchasable at mere two taka," Swapan said while speaking at a puja mandap at Agailjhara on Wednesday. "Give them a mass beating if you find them publishing false and fabricated reports. If you fail, please inform me, I will take action against them," said the viprous tongued lawmaker. Credited for making quick money Swapan, a construction contractor, now owns three marine ships. He is also information and research secretary of BNP. Recalling the past he said journalists had created a sensation by false reporting on repression on the minority community in his constituency following the last general elections. "Very few among you voted for me," he said pointing to the minority community, "despite that I came out successful." Presided over by Amal Chandra Biswas, the function was also addressed by Ranjit Baroi and local BNP leaders.
I admit to laughing at the bolded part.


Ireland looking at paying €600m bill for failing Kyoto.

Swampy: The Kyoto treaty is a fine wealth redistribution tax that is disguised as something useful. Russia is happy because most of this money will be going to them because they have the credits. Probably be a good idea to take this "fine" and reinvest into Ireland. But that would make too much sense.

IRELAND could face a total bill of between €500 million and €600m for failing to meet its greenhouse gas limits under the Kyoto Protocol. But the Government yesterday said it would only have to pay €280m once a series of gas-cutting measures were introduced. A report commissioned by the Department of Environment found Ireland significantly in breach of its limits under the Kyoto agreement. The legally binding treaty sets Ireland to a greenhouse gas emission limit of 13% above 1990 levels by the first commitment period 2008-2012. The report estimates that Ireland will produce 8.1 million more tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum than it is supposed to under the protocol. The Government plans to pay for the violation through an emissions trading system, under which countries breaching their limits can buy credits from countries below their limits.


Speaking of crying Broussard

Media: CJRDaily riffs off a Times Picayune editorial as both rip into Broussard for his non actions for not using the water pumps to keep part of Jefferson Parish dry.


Nagin gets irritated at the state, Blanco and Broussard

Nation: There wasn't much love between the city, the state and various leaders. Now it looks like open warfare is about to happen. There are elections coming up in February in the state, so expect the sniping to get even worse.

A frustrated New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin warned Thursday that it would be in the state's best interest to help the Crescent City jump-start its Hurricane Katrina-riddled economy, saying the impact on the state -- if nothing is done -- will pale in comparison to the layoffs the city recently announced. "You think 3,000 layoffs in New Orleans is a big deal. Just wait,'' Nagin, his sleeves rolled up, said during an evening meeting with The Advocate's editorial board. "I see a state in crisis.'' The mayor pointed out during the Baton Rouge meeting that New Orleans accounts for 35 percent of the state budget.
you know some state official is making a joke about how much of that is expense and how much is that revenue coming to the state. The line at the end about Compass resigning reminds me of another line.
His relationships with Blanco and Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard are less than cozy. "I've been trying to work with the governor. We have very different styles. I'm really at a loss for what else to do,'' the mayor said. "There are some really hard feelings right now,'' he said of his feelings toward Broussard. Shortly after Katrina struck, New Orleans residents who had fled to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center tried to "walk to freedom'' by crossing the Crescent City Connection on foot to make it out of the flooded city, but law enforcement officials in Gretna -- which is in Jefferson Parish -- met them with guns and "attack dogs,'' he said. "And they want me to talk about regionalism. I'm not feeling very regional right now,'' Nagin said. n His idea to create a charter school system of 20 schools that he, rather than the Orleans Parish School Board, would control was prompted by the extreme pressure that the board is under to open schools on the city's east bank. "You have a wonderful opportunity to do something better for these children," he said. n The New Orleans Police Department, which has been rocked by Police Chief Eddie Compass' resignation and an ugly and "unfortunate'' beating incident involving a 64-year-old man in the French Quarter, is "going to go through major change.'' "It's going to be a tough challenge. They're resistant to change,'' he said, adding that the hurricanes exposed "the very good of the police department and the very bad.'' There is a "significant enough number" of bad officers on the force, he said. Asked if Compass came to him and asked to resign, the mayor said, "I wouldn't put it like that.'' He said he suggested to Compass that if he was thinking about starting a "new chapter'' in his life, now would be the time.
Michael: ...Well when Johnny was first starting out, he was signed to this contract with a big-band leader. And as his career got better and better he wanted to get out of it. Now, Johnny is my father's godson. My father went to see the bandleader, with a contract for $10,000 to let Johnny go, but the bandleader said no. So the next day, my father went to see the bandleader again, only this time with Luca Brasi. Within an hour, the bandleader signed the release, with a certified check of $1000. Kay Adams: How did he do that? Michael: My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Kay Adams: What was it? Michael: Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured the bandleader, that either his signature or his brains would be on the contract. Okay, I am stretching it to shoehorn in Godfather lines, but you get the idea Nagin and others were not going to take no for an answer.

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