Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Death of Coretta means the end of the King legacy.

Culture: You think the King kids are going to nuture and protect the King name and his accomplishments? Look at the state of the King center in Atlanta, its going to be like Michael in the Godfather after Vito dies. Total destruction.


Denmark cartoon update.

EU: Everyone is saying sorry for offending, but thankfully still not backing down from freedom of speech, press and expression yet. But we did get the predictable bomb threat.

On Monday, Carsten Juste, the editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the 12 drawings, apologized for the "fact that the cartoons undeniably offended many Muslims." Despite that statement, the offices of Jyllands-Posten in Copenhagen and in the northern town of Aarhus, were evacuated after a bomb threat today, Agence France-Presse reported. "At approximately three minutes past 5, an English-speaking person gave a message that there would be a bomb attack at the Jyllands-Posten offices 10 minutes after," a Copenhagen police spokesman, Flemming Munch, told the agency. The Norwegian publication Magazinet also said today that it "regretted if the drawings offended Muslims." But the Norwegian prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, told a Norwegian news agency, "we will not apologize because in a country like Norway, which guarantees the freedom of expression, we cannot apologize for what the newspapers print." "But I am sorry that this may have hurt many Muslims," he added. In Copenhagen, Prime Minister Rasmussen sought a similar balance, saying: "I want to emphasize that in Denmark we attach fundamental importance to the freedom of expression, which is a vital and indispensable part of a democratic society." "This being said, I would like to stress as my personal opinion that I deeply respect the religious feelings of other people," Mr. Rasmussen added. "Consequently, I would never myself have chosen to depict religious symbols in this way." Though his comments fell short of the official apology sought by governments and Islamic groups abroad, some Islamic leaders in Denmark said the actions by the Danish newspaper and the prime minister were enough. "We will in clear terms thank the prime minister and Jyllands-Posten for what they have done," Kasem Ahmad, a spokesman for the Islamic Religious Community in Denmark, told Reuters.
Flemming Rose puts it more clearly.
THE Danish editor who brought the fury of the Muslim world on his country by printing pictures of the Prophet Muhammad defiantly declared yesterday: “We do not apologise for printing the cartoons. It was our right to do so.” As protests continued for a second day in Gaza with shouts of “Death to Denmark”, Flemming Rose, the culture editor of the centre-right daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten, sat in his book-lined office declaring his surprise at the reaction. He said that he had to stand his ground because, as in the Salman Rushdie affair, freedom of speech was being threatened. “There is a lot at stake. It would be very naive to think this is only about Jyllands-Posten and 12 cartoons and apologising or not apologising. “This is about standing for fundamental values that have been the (foundation) for the development of Western democracies over several hundred years, and we are now in a situation where those values are being challenged,” he said. “I think some of the Muslims who have reacted very strongly to these cartoons are being driven by totalitarian and authoritarian impulses, and the nature of these impulses is that if you give in once they will just put forward new requirements.”


Monday, January 30, 2006

So we voted for Hamas, still give us money.

Middle East: That is not a surprise given Al-Guardian's rep for giving space for the terrorist lovers of the world. But for some reason this guy parrots a line of entitlement logic that never fails to amuse me.

The day Hamas won the Palestinian democratic elections the world's leading democracies failed the test of democracy. Rather than recognise the legitimacy of Hamas as a freely elected representative of the Palestinian people, seize the opportunity created by the result to support the development of good governance in Palestine and search for a means of ending the bloodshed, the US and EU threatened the Palestinian people with collective punishment for exercising their right to choose their parliamentary representatives. We are being punished simply for resisting oppression and striving for justice. Those who threaten to impose sanctions on our people are the same powers that initiated our suffering and continue to support our oppressors almost unconditionally. We, the victims, are being penalised while our oppressors are pampered. The US and EU could have used the success of Hamas to open a new chapter in their relations with the Palestinians, the Arabs and the Muslims and to understand better a movement that has so far been seen largely through the eyes of the Zionist occupiers of our land. Our message to the US and EU governments is this: your attempt to force us to give up our principles or our struggle is in vain. Our people who gave thousands of martyrs, the millions of refugees who have waited for nearly 60 years to return home and our 9,000 political and war prisoners in Israeli jails have not made those sacrifices in order to settle for close to nothing. Hamas has been elected mainly because of its immovable faith in the inevitability of victory; and Hamas is immune to bribery, intimidation and blackmail. While we are keen on having friendly relations with all nations we shall not seek friendships at the expense of our legitimate rights. We have seen how other nations, including the peoples of Vietnam and South Africa, persisted in their struggle until their quest for freedom and justice was accomplished. We are no different, our cause is no less worthy, our determination is no less profound and our patience is no less abundant. Our message to the Muslim and Arab nations is this: you have a responsibility to stand by your Palestinian brothers and sisters whose sacrifices are made on behalf of all of you. Our people in Palestine should not need to wait for any aid from countries that attach humiliating conditions to every dollar or euro they pay despite their historical and moral responsibility for our plight. We expect you to step in and compensate the Palestinian people for any loss of aid and we demand you lift all restrictions on civil society institutions that wish to fundraise for the Palestinian cause.
Lovely, now here is the reality. You did choose Hamas, I got no problem with that, but to believe you still get the aid money without conditions even though you elected a terrorist group to power is moronic. You have no right to aid money, it is given to you on conditions. Electing Hamas doesn't help. As for the Arab and Muslim nations helping out, they haven't stepped up to the plate over the last couple of decades, what makes you think they will start now?


Drudge messing with forces he does not understand

on Drudge. BLOWOUT: EXXON PROFIT BIGGEST IN AMERICAN HISTORY... Oil execs refuse to testify at Senate hearing...


Alito skates by 72-25.

Politics: All that emailing and faxing over the weekend really worked considering this.

Sens. John Kerry and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts are urging fellow Democrats to support a filibuster, citing in part Alito's conservative record on abortion and deference to executive power. Alito's supporters must produce 60 votes to cut off a filibuster; an Associated Press tally shows at least 62. The AP tally also shows that at least 53 Republicans and three Democrats intend to vote to confirm Alito; that is well over the required majority.
Final Tally.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate all but guaranteed Samuel Alito's confirmation as the nation's 110th Supreme Court justice Monday, shutting down a last-minute attempt by liberals to block the conservative judge's nomination with a filibuster. Republican and Democratic senators on a 72-25 vote agreed to end their debate, setting up a Tuesday morning vote on his confirmation to replace retiring moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. With at least 57 votes committed to Alito -- 53 Republicans and four Democrats -- approval by majority vote in the 100-member Senate is now seemingly assured. A bloc of Democrats, led by Massachusetts Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, unsuccessfully tried over the weekend and Monday to persuade other senators to use a vote-delaying filibuster to stop Alito, a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Appeals Court and a former lawyer for the Reagan administration.
Impressive, somehow after all the faxing, emailing and calling, they got more Dems to vote aye. Now the predictable aftermatch via NRO corner.
Now that the Alito filibuster has collapsed, the anger -- anger at Democrats, that is -- is boiling over at the DailyKos. One diatribe from one of the site's "recommended diaries": What I want is a complete list of every scumsucking f--kstick Democratic a--hole senator who voted for cloture. That's what I want. I don't know what to DO with that list, not yet -- but I know for G--DAMNED sure I won't be VOTING for any of them, let alone sending them any g--damned MONEY. Frankly, right now I'd like nothing better than to torpedo the entire lot of them. Just dump them like so much worthless, leaden, VICHY MOTHERF--KING BALLAST. I got nothin', folks. Don't look over here if you want comfort or a nice, uplifting LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY speech. I'M DONE WITH THEM. They are DEAD to me. Yeah. CANTWELL and BYRD and LANDRIEU and BINGAMAN and every last motherf--king one of them, I'm DONE with them. I'm registering Independent tomorrow. You're welcome to join me.
You want to know why the filibuster not only didn't work but shot down worse than anyone could imagine? All the emailing, faxing, calling, blog rantings, threats to DLC members and Democratic Senators in the end means nothing because the party leaders and veterans know the truth. You leftist activists have nowhere else to turn, nowhere else to vote, you need them more than they need you. Steve Elmendorf told you exactly what your role is in the party.
"The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."
Now Kos can rant about any democrats associated with Elmendorf is going to be cut, but where is the machinery and the ability to do it? If you really want the moveon talk about owning the party to be more than show, back up what you talk about. Where is the remove Harry Reid movement, all the Senators that "betrayed" you are going to see their bank accounts dry up? Donations to Byrd going to stop for his upcoming election? The moment you show the leaders where the power lies is when you will be taken seriously and scare them. Right now, you are an ATM and I don't see that changing anytime soon.


Denmark cartoon fury explodes

EU: If this was a social experiment to see who has a spine, who is for freedom of speech, press and expression. It has shown great results.

COPENHAGEN - Denmark warned its citizens on Monday to avoid Saudi Arabia, and gunmen in Gaza said any Scandinavians there risked attack, as Muslim fury mounted over newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Denmark‘s Jyllands-Posten newspaper, which published the cartoons, issued an apology late on Monday in a statement to Arab countries sent to the Jordanian news agency Petra. The drawings, that seemed to portray the Prophet as a terrorist, were published in September, but the row erupted this month after diplomatic efforts to solve the issue failed. One drawing shows Mohammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb. Some Muslims, who deem images of prophets disrespectful and caricatures blasphemous, have threatened Danes and demanded an apology. "The drawings are not against the Danish law but have indisputably insulted many Muslims, for which we shall apologize," the newspaper said in the statement. An Iraqi militant group called on Monday for attacks on Danish and Norwegian targets, according to a statement attributed to the Mujahideen Army. A Norwegian paper has also run the drawings. The Internet statement called on fighters to "hit whatever targets possible belonging to these two countries and others that follow their steps." It could not be authenticated. Denmark has around 530 troops serving in Iraq . A roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi police car driving around 150 metres (500 ft) in front of a Danish forces patrol, wounding one Iraqi, the Danish army said on Monday, adding it had no reason to conclude the attack was connected to the cartoon row. As the diplomatic and economic impact has spread, Saudi Arabia has recalled its envoy from Denmark and its religious leaders called for a boycott of Danish products. Across the Gulf, several supermarkets pulled Scandinavian foods off the shelves after consumers complained. Sudan said it had told a Danish government minister he could not make a planned visit and said it had also called for a boycott of Danish goods. Jamal Ibrahim, a Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said: "This is an insult to the Prophet Mohammad. Furthermore, we have asked our national companies to boycott all Danish goods." Libya has closed its Copenhagen embassy, and thousands of Palestinians marched in protest on Monday. Denmark‘s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the paper‘s apology but did not apologize himself. "The Danish government cannot apologize on behalf of a Danish newspaper. It does not work like that ... and we have explained that to the Arab countries. Independent media are not edited by the government," Rasmussen said.
Bill Clinton being the toady suck up sides against freedom of the press.
Bill Clinton, the former US President, added his voice, telling a conference in Qatar that he feared anti-Semitism would be replaced with anti-Islamic prejudice. He condemned “these totally outrageous cartoons against Islam”. Per Stig Moeller, Denmark’s Foreign Minister, insisted in Brussels last night: “We condemn blasphemy. We want respect for religions. But we cannot intervene. We have sent explanations but, as we have said before, freedom of expression is a matter for the courts, not for the Government.”
Update# EU Austrian presidency has come out in support of freedom of the press and expression.
The EU's Austrian presidency rallied Monday to the defense of the freedom of the press and expression amid growing Muslim anger about controversial Danish cartoons portraying Prophet Mohammed. "We have reiterated our belief and our attachment to the freedom of the press and freedom of expression as part of our fundamental values," Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik told journalists Monday after chairing a meeting with her European Union colleagues. "We have equally referred to the religious beliefs that are to be respected in our societies as fundamental values as well," she added.
Update#2 Speaking of freedom of expression, the idiotic religious hate bill in the UK is being reviewed yet again for more changes. If this whole cartoon fiasco doesn't prove this sort of bill is the worst thing that can happen in the UK, nothing will.
A coalition of politicians, writers and artists is trying to persuade ministers to accept changes made by peers to the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill. Demonstrators are expected outside Parliament when the bill returns to the Commons on Tuesday after being substantially amended in the Lords. Peers voted to restrict terms of the bill to threatening words or behaviour. But ministers want it to include insults and abuse, which critics say could unfairly target comedians. 'Right to criticise' At a press conference on Monday, comedian Rowan Atkinson, who has been a prominent critic of the bill, said: "No one deserves a right to freedom from criticism." Government attempts to include an offence of being "reckless" about stirring up hatred could affect performers, he added. Mr Atkinson said of artistic work: "If it generates dislike of that religion's followers, they need to accept that. "They cannot deny responsibility for their practices. They should defend them, justify them or amend them." ....Labour backbencher Bob Marshall-Andrews said the legislation was "going to have a chilling effect on not just religion but on the whole spectrum of freedom of speech". He said he did not know how many of his party colleagues would vote against the government but that many would "make their minds up very, very late". Liberal Democrat human rights spokesman Evan Harris said Tuesday's vote on the bill would be parliament's last chance to protect free speech. "These freedoms to speak and to argue, to criticise and indeed to ridicule, once lost, are very rarely got back. "And I think it will be a sad day if the opposition parties and indeed some brave backbench Labour rebels are not able to defeat the government and maintain the House of Lords' position on this bill. " He said the new law would create a "chilling effect that would stifle free expression".


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Obama says the democrats sucked during Alito hearings.

Politics: But he will pass the symbolic filibuster vote anyway, but it's just for show.

WASHINGTON - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said he would vote Monday to filibuster Judge Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court, but he conceded the effort would be futile and criticized Democrats for failing to persuade Americans to take notice of the court's changing ideological face. "The Democrats have to do a much better job in making their case on these issues," Obama said Sunday on ABC News' "This Week." "These last-minute efforts - using procedural maneuvers inside the Beltway - I think has been the wrong way of going about it." Despite his criticism, Obama announced his intention to support the maneuver designed to block - or delay - Alito's confirmation this week. The movement, which was launched by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., appeared to lack the 41 senators needed to be successful. Alito, a federal appeals court judge, is poised to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The Senate is scheduled to cast a final vote on Alito's confirmation Tuesday. The threat of a filibuster emerged late last week after liberal activists accused Democratic senators of failing to vigorously oppose Alito's ascension to the Supreme Court. After Kerry began the effort, several liberal groups mounted a campaign by Internet, telephone and fax to persuade other senators to follow suit. "I will be supporting the filibuster because I think Judge Alito, in fact, is somebody who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values," Obama said. "When you look at his decisions - in particular, during times of war - we need a court that is independent and is going to provide some check on the executive branch." But in the next breath, Obama criticized the merits of a filibuster. The senator has worked to avoid being portrayed as walking in lock step with Democratic partisans, but at the same time he is seeking to be responsive to a core constituency. "We need to recognize, because Judge Alito will be confirmed, that, if we're going to oppose a nominee that we've got to persuade the American people that, in fact, their values are at stake," Obama said. "And frankly, I'm not sure that we've successfully done that."
Besides the fact Obama is learning the art of senatoral fence sitting with astounding quickness there are two ways to look at his statement. He believes the democrats didn't make their "case" against Alito because of the press muggers like Biden and Kennedy taking up too much time for their own good. He can't say it that way in public, but this pushes the point. The second is he believes they tried their best, but did not do a good job making a "case" against Alito and they need to work on delivery skills better. The third option which he can't say, but gould be thinking is that they didn't have a case to make against Alito. He wasn't a Robert Bork and their attacks not only didn't resonate with the public, but in some parts turned the public towards Alito. Now all he is doing is trying to save face.


Hamas tells Israel to change its flag.

Middle East: I would have given Hamas a couple of weeks to screw up, they are way ahead of schedule.

(IsraelNN.com) Hamas spokesman Mahmoud Zahar issued a demand Sunday evening that Israel remove the stripes from its flag. "Israel must remove the two blue stripes from its national flag", Zahar said. "The stripes are symbols of occupation – they signify Israel's borders, stretching from the River Euphrates to the River Nile." The Hamas official's comments followed Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's assessment at the weekly Cabinet meeting that the newly elected terror group was "acting responsibly so far." Zahar also told CNN's Late Edition that the world should not be asking Hamas to recognize Israel, but rather demanding that the Jewish State recognize that Muslims are the "owners of the land."


I would like to point out, you voted for them.

Middle East: Just an observation. Somewhere down the road, maybe the palestianians realize this was not the right move, but I got a feeling trying to do a recall is going to be difficult and I am not talking legal wise. 56% liked them, the other 44% I suggest making sure the papers are in order.

JIFNA, West Bank - For more than 40 years, Michel Tabash has made a living selling whiskey, beer, vodka and wine at his small family restaurant nestled in this Christian town between olive groves and a Palestinian refugee camp. The restaurant has survived war, Israeli occupation and the economy-draining Palestinian intifada, or uprising, which forced the family to shutter its doors for nearly four years. Now, 18 months after reopening, Tabash is worried that he may be forced out of business again - this time by the new Hamas-dominated government. After decades of secular leadership under the late Yasser Arafat, many Palestinians are bracing for a seismic social shift as Hamas' new legislators propose imposing conservative interpretations of traditional Muslim values, including no alcohol, separation of the sexes and veils for women. "I'm worried, and I'm not the only one," Tabash said Sunday as he smoked cigarettes in his nearly empty cafe. "I have nothing but this restaurant." Some young Palestinians say they are considering leaving the territories in light of the prospects. "I call this the first true intifada," said Mohammad Al Hamaidi, a Muslim father of six and program manager for a U.S.-run development group in the West Bank. "If they impose strict Islamic laws as we have heard about in Iran or Afghanistan, it won't work here. No way."
Hamas is not trying to hide what they would like to happen.
One of the group's incoming lawmakers wants to see the legislature consider a bill that would require all women to wear modest head-coverings. Another said Sunday that Hamas will press ahead with plans to separate girls and boys in Palestinian schools. "Why do we have immorality in the West?" said Sheikh Mohammed Abu Teir, who was second on Hamas' list of candidates in last week's election. "Isn't it because of co-education? Our society is conservative and when we separate, we bring these children up in such a way that we keep our society clean. The highest levels of sexual perversion are found in the West." Another top Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, also blasted secular society. "Do you think the secular system is serving any nation?" Zahar told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" on Sunday. "Secular system allows homosexuality, allows corruption, allows the spread of the lot of natural immunity, like AIDS." Sitting in the back of Tabash's restaurant drinking beer on Sunday with his family, Palestinian pollster Nader Said, a Birzeit University professor, said Hamas recognizes that most Palestinians in the West Bank wouldn't support such moves. "This is not Afghanistan. This is not Pakistan. This is a very different place," he said.


Denmark again says no apology is coming.

EU: At some point the concept of free speech is going to get thru to people, but in the meantime the more they push for Denmark to bow down, more the public will get behind Denmark.

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark's Prime Minister said on Sunday his government could not act against satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed after Libya closed its embassy in Copenhagen amid growing Muslim anger over the dispute. The newspaper Jyllands-Posten had not intended to insult Muslims when it published the drawings, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, referring to an editorial on the paper's Web site in Danish and Arabic. But while Rasmussen tried to assuage Muslim anger, Libya on Sunday closed its embassy in Denmark in protest at the drawings. Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Denmark and Saudi religious leaders have urged a boycott of Danish products. "Because the Danish media had continued to show disrespect to the Prophet Mohammed and because the Danish authorities failed to take any responsible action on that, Libya decided to close its embassy in Copenhagen," the Libyan Foreign Ministry said in a statement. It also threatened to take unspecified "economic measures" against Denmark. EU trade chief Peter Mandelson met a Saudi minister at a meeting in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos on Sunday and "urged the minister to convey the seriousness of this issue to his government," his spokesman said. "Any boycott of Danish goods would be seen as a boycott of European goods," said spokesman Peter Power.
I get the feeling the loss of Libya is not seen as a negative.
Since Jyllands-Posten published the drawings in September, the Danish government has repeatedly defended the right of free speech. "The government can in no way could influence the media. And the Danish government and the Danish nation as such can not be held responsible for what is published in independent media," Fogh Rasmussen said. The newspaper has not apologised for publishing the drawings, which have caused widespread anger among Muslims around the world. In a demonstration on the West Bank, members of Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades threatened Danes in the area and told them to leave immediately, the Danish news agency Ritzau reported on Sunday. The demonstrators burnt the Danish flag and called on the Palestinian authorities to cut diplomatic ties with Denmark, Ritzau said. "We are sorry the matter has reached these proportions and repeat that we had no intention to offend anyone, and that we as the rest of the Danish society respect freedom of religion," the newspaper's editor-in-chief Carsten Juste said in the editorial. Fogh Rasmussen was speaking at a joint news conference with visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who said he was satisfied with the newspaper's explanation and the Danish government's view. "Prime Minister Rasmussen explained Denmark's position on that (the drawings), which was very satisfactory to me as a Muslim," Karzai said. The Danish government has broad public backing for it stance on the cartoons. An opinion poll showed that 79 percent of Danes think Fogh Rasmussen should not issue an apology and 62 percent say the newspaper should not apologise.


Ted Koppel: You Plebs! I am your God!

Media: I love when these old media types retire because then they let loose with their true feelings and confirm what many thought about them in the first place.

The goal for the traditional broadcast networks now "is to identify those segments of the audience considered most desirable by the advertising community and then to cater to them," Koppel writes. "Most television news programs are therefore designed to satisfy the perceived appetites of our audiences. That may be not only acceptable but unavoidable in entertainment; in news, however, it is the journalists who should be telling their viewers what is important, not the other way around.
This reminds me of a quote from James O'Shea managing editor of the Tribune during the swift boat vets period.
James O'Shea, managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, agreed. But he said the critical approach may have been a bit late, considering that the Swift Boat Veterans ads came out two weeks ago. "I don't think there has been enough scrutiny until now," he said. "Prior to this, we weren't giving it enough attention." But O'Shea also pointed out that giving the anti-Kerry veterans too much attention, in an attempt to hold them accountable, creates a situation of ignoring other issues. He said this may be an instance of a growing problem for newspapers in the expanding media world -- being forced to follow a story they might not consider worthwhile because other news outlets (in this case, Fox News and talk radio) have made it an issue. "There are too many places for people to get information," O'Shea said. "I don't think newspapers can be the gatekeepers anymore -- to say this is wrong and we will ignore it. Now we have to say this is wrong, and here is why."
Koppel wants the old days when he and his fellow workers decided what was important and the people just followed along. Those days are over and the bitterness is tremendous.


UK: Damn you supermarkets for...working well.

UK: The nanny state continues as MPs are trying to get an anti-super mart drive going.

MPs will demand a series of Draconian curbs on the power of the supermarkets in a hard-hitting report into the future of the high street to be published next week. The report by the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group will call for the Office of Fair Trading to trigger a full-blown investigation into the supermarket sector. Of equal concern to the giant retailers will be a series of policy recommendations which go to the heart of the giant retailers' business model. They include: · an end to what MPs will say is the unfair advantage supermarkets derive from offering free car parking while shoppers wishing to use local stores have to pay to park on the high street · the wiping out of advantageous business rates for supermarkets · measures to allow local authorities to find resources to fight planning applications by supermarkets · stiff sanctions if supermarkets exceed the floorspace they are given planning permission for. Earlier this month, a Friends of the Earth report concluded that there is a growing trend for supermarket groups to flout restrictions.
Any reports by the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group and Friends of the Earth groups are sure to be objective and fair-minded.
The fact that MPs are calling for the OFT to trigger a Competition Commission investigation will pile further pressure on the regulator to recommend a probe. It is currently weighing up whether to do so and will decide by the summer. The previous investigation, five years ago, was widely criticised for failing to address the plight of small shops which in the last decade have been severely reduced - with 30,000 going to the wall. A new investigation will be a bitter blow to Tesco in particular. Britain's number one retailer controls more than 30 per cent of the British grocery market, worth £80bn. By 2010, the firm's share of is predicted to be 45 per cent. Campaigners say moves by Tesco and the other supermarkets to launch small, in-town formats in the past five years have redrawn the retail map and raise serious competition issues. Tesco is aiming to double its 600 small stores by 2012.
The horror, you mean the supermarkets are creating stores that fit into the regulations the government set and are being successful? Its called competition, small stores can survive against big competitors by focusing on customer service, goods the bigger stores may not carry and more value for the buck to the consumer.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Canadian Islamic Congress demands Hamas be recognized

Canada: After new PM Harper tells the press this at his conference. Via Blue Blogging Soapbox.

Transcript of his first press conference Question: May I ask a question about Hamas? They've been elected in Palestinian territories. Will the Canadian government recognize them? Harper: I'll address this in more detail when I take office, Bob, but let me just say as you know, we've always maintained that we support a secure Israel and a democratic Palestine but for a nation to be truly democratic, that nation must renounce any use of terrorism.
The CIC comes out with this slap happy press release.
"....CIC is urging the new government of Canadian PM-elect Stephen Harper to respect the results of a vote that could soon see Hamas in political control of Gaza and the West Bank. "Canada should adopt a balanced policy in the region in order to work towards, and ultimately achieve, peace with justice," the CIC statement continued. "Not to deal with the new Palestinian government will be a serious setback to the peace movement and serve only to escalate the violence. The Irish Republican Army's political wing proved itself competent to govern without continuing armed violence; likewise, several former Israeli prime ministers were once labelled terrorists. Hamas should be given the same chance to establish itself in this new phase of Middle East history. We believe that bringing Hamas into the legitimate political process and opening constructive dialogue will help to moderate its policies."
By balance meaning denouncing Israel, Palestinians made their choice but Harper correctly states Hamas has to get rid of the destruction of Israel and stop the terrorist attacks. How is that an unreasonable position to the CIC is mindboggling.


Someone ate their wheaties at the Wash Post

Canada: This is rough stuff for the Post editorial board. The last couple of lines are the best.

ACCORDING TO his opponent, Canadian Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper exposed "an agenda really drawn from the extreme right in the United States." He favored the Iraq war, opposed the Kyoto treaty on global warming, and is a social conservative to boot. He might just become -- heaven forbid -- "the most pro-American leader in the Western world." His victory would -- O, Canada! -- "put a smile on George W. Bush's face." Despite all those scary warnings, Mr. Harper and his party won Canada's election on Monday. That put an end to 12 years of increasingly incoherent and corrupt rule by the Liberal Party -- as well as the cynical and irresponsible attempt of its leader, outgoing Prime Minister Paul Martin, to use anti-Americanism. Mr. Martin becomes the second G-8 leader in four months to exit from office after discovering that anti-U.S. demagoguery is no longer enough to win an election. Gerhard Schroeder, the former German chancellor, also tried to rescue his political career last fall by parading his differences with Mr. Bush; the result was the victory of Angela Merkel, who has moved swiftly to repair relations with Washington. Interestingly, both Mr. Schroeder and Mr. Martin won previous campaigns by playing anti-American cards, in 2002 and 2004 respectively. While it's not clear that the level of ill feeling toward the United States or its president has changed much in Germany or Canada, it's obviously not the foremost concern of voters fed up with domestic mismanagement -- or, perhaps, political venality. Mr. Harper is not as pro-American as the Liberal attack ads made out: He doesn't plan to send Canadian troops to Iraq and will certainly continue to press trade grievances with the Bush administration. But he has stated the sensible position that "we should obviously have good relations whenever possible with our closest ally and our biggest customer." Whatever their feelings about Mr. Bush, most Canadians probably agree with that sentiment. Canada sells 85 percent of its exports to the United States and depends on it for security as well as prosperity -- a fact that Mr. Martin opportunistically overlooked when he refused to join the U.S. missile defense program. His grandstanding merely gave Mr. Bush an excuse to ignore Canada's legitimate complaints about tariffs on softwood lumber and the impact of new border controls due to take effect this year. Mr. Harper can be expected to stop the self-defeating flow of bile, to offer more cooperation on defense, and to seek to be heard on trade and border issues. If he is wise, Mr. Bush will make an effort to listen, and find compromises, as he did this month with Ms. Merkel. Foreign political leaders who stick to a platform of friendship and cooperation with the United States in the teeth of anti-American mudslinging ought to be visibly rewarded. As for Mr. Martin, perhaps he will be tempted again by the example of Mr. Schroeder, who has taken a job as an agent for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Does Hugo Chavez need another lobbyist?
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NSW government/police has a go soft on minorities.

Australia: This story just got a whole lot interesting as everything Debnam claimed is showing to be fact.

Peter Debnam, in the riskiest political move of his five months so far as Opposition leader in NSW, took up the cause. He claimed the state Labor Government of Premier Morris Iemma had encouraged police to go soft on revenge attackers, most thought to be Middle Eastern, because of what he called Labor's political correctness. Bashings of whites in the southern suburbs followed the riots, as did damage to cars and businesses, mostly smashed windows. One youth has been jailed after an Australia flag was torn down and burnt. Debnam expanded the conspiracy theory to say many Labor politicians including Iemma, whose electorate of Lakemba has a large Lebanese population, were "indebted" to that community, in part because of the stacking of local Labor branches with members of Middle Eastern descent. Iemma and NSW police commissioner Ken Moroney described the claims as untrue, outlandish and offensive. Moroney said it had been easy to arrest the whites because of high-quality television video footage. No videos existed of the revenge attacks, he said. Task Force Enoggera, set up with 28 officers to investigate revenge attacks, would do the job. Then all hell broke loose. Channel Nine broadcast a closed-circuit video showing about 30 Lebanese bashing a bystander at Cronulla after the riot. It's debatable just how recognisable the faces are, but it's expected some perpetrators will be identifiable to those who know them. Debnam claimed vindication – the police had the evidence, and did not act on it. Iemma and Moroney had a political problem on their hands. They held a joint news conference at which Moroney announced he'd sacked the Enoggera commander, detective-superintendent Dennis Bray, and replaced him with detective-superintendent Ken McKay. Iemma said he was providing additional resources – quadrupling the size of Enoggera to 100 officers and setting up a permanent Middle Eastern organised-crime task force. But the damage was done – Debnam's conspiracy theory looked credible again.
Bray held on to the video for five weeks.
Malcolm Kerr, a Liberal MP whose seat is Cronulla, says he's had a stream of constituents come into his office complaining of inaction by the police on revenge attacks despite what they said was clear evidence. Some locals may have believed Moroney when he said the lack of video evidence was the problem. "When the video turned up with that guy being attacked, it blew that out of the water," Kerr says. And, says Kerr, the fact that Iemma announced a huge increase in officers for Enoggera shows he did not take the issue seriously enough at the outset. "If the Government now says the task needs much greater resources, they should have put them in at the start five weeks earlier, when the clues were still hot," Kerr says. Iemma and Moroney still say the police have not been soft on Middle Eastern crime. But the evidence suggests otherwise. A notorious police document outlines how, the night after the Sunday riots, "numerous vehicles were sighted congregated in the vicinity of Punchbowl Park [in Sydney's inner southwest]". "These vehicles and the crowd that had been gathered were suspected to be Middle Eastern criminals who have been involved in malicious damage and civil disobedience offences throughout the Sutherland Shire and St George areas," the document says. "A direction was given to police around midnight not to enter the area and antagonise these persons." According to former police officers, it's not unusual. The police don't take on Lebanese gangs. But Debnam has not provided any evidence to back up his assertion that the Government specifically ordered the police to go soft on Middle Eastern crime.
What? They don't go after Lebanese gangs, they don't go after Lebanese rioters, a top cop hides a tape for five week backing up the fact they were not doing their jobs, but no evidence they go soft on Middle Eastern crime. In cases like this, the government doesn't have to send out a damn memo, its understood.
However, some former police officers, such as former police assistant commissioner and ministerial adviser Geoff Schuberg, say that, leaving the wilder elements of Debnam's conspiracy theory aside, there are some real reasons why the police are soft on Middle Eastern crime. One is politicisation of the police force in which police commissioners are less independent from ministers, and police are nervous right down the line of doing something that could be seen as politically incorrect or lead to a complaint of racial targeting. Schuberg says Moroney could stand up more to the gangs and the Government. "As a police commissioner you need to be a bit of a mongrel and give firm direction," he says. "I don't see that in Ken." A second factor put forward by Schuberg, and well-known former detective Tim Priest, is that the skills inculcated in police officers have shifted from an emphasis on old-fashioned street policing to a more cerebral curriculum stressing socially conscious policing. "The old school of police of the past has been replaced with academics, who haven't the stomach," Priest says. The third factor, Schuberg and Priest say, is plain fear of Lebanese gangs that, they say, have absolutely no respect for police, threaten to harm their families and have weapons they are quite prepared to use.
NSW has a fine police force working there serving and protecting themselves.
"There is an old Arabic saying, 'Me and my brother against my cousin, me and my cousin against the world'," says one Lebanese leader. Randa Kattan, the executive director of the Arab Council Australia, believes there was possibly some underlying frustration that spilt over during the revenge attacks. "There is a lot of frustration in the community," she says. "They have had a lot to deal with since the rape stories [referring to infamous court cases]. It is a daily reality grappling with public opinion about Middle Eastern people and it won't go away very soon." Scott Poynting, associate professor at the school of humanities and languages at the University of Western Sydney, says the idea "that good people of Cronulla were sick of bad behaviour of ethnically identifiable groups has been exaggerated to the point of urban myth". "But a much longer-term causal factor is the anti-Muslim, anti-Arab sentiment that has been whipped up in Australia since the Tampa," says Poynting. "The Carr government played up fear and ethnic crime because it was popular and it was successful as an electoral tactic. But it has built up damage."
I knew it, its all whitey's fault. What a pathetic display of a lack of courage, conviction and duty shown by the police force.


Danish paper getting heat from trade group to grovel.

Media: Unlike the cowardly government of Norway who cracked like an egg shell, Denmark's government still believes in freedom of expression and the press. Danish trade group looking after its dollars now wants the paper to grovel.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Denmark's main industry organization, fearing a loss of business in the Muslim world, sought to distance itself Friday from a newspaper that published contentious drawings of Islam's Prophet Muhammad. The Confederation of Danish Industries urged Jyllands-Posten to explain its decision to publish the cartoons on Sept. 30 last year. "Time has come for Jyllands-Posten to use its freedom of speech to explain how it views the fact that the paper's Muhammad drawings have offended large groups of people," the group's head, Hans Skov Christensen, wrote in a letter to the daily. The caricatures have sparked a wave of denunciations across the Islamic world and from Muslim leaders in Denmark. Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet, even respectful ones, out of concern that such images could lead to idolatry. In Iraq on Friday, thousands of people condemned the caricatures during weekly prayer services and demanded legal action be taken against the newspaper. Skov Christensen said Danish companies faced repercussions this week from customers in the Middle East, including product boycotts, dropped orders, and canceled business meetings. The confederation claims the Middle East accounts for annual sales of at least $816 million for Danish companies. Danish-based Arla Foods, Europe's largest dairy group, said it had noted sales dropping in Saudi Arabia because of protests over the drawings. "We are sorry if Muslims have been offended in their faith. It was not the intention," Carsten Juste, Jyllands-Posten's editor in chief, told The Associated Press. "What we did, we did within the constitution, the Danish penal code and international conventions." The paper says it invited illustrators to depict the prophet to challenge what it perceived was a tendency of self-censorship among artists dealing with issues related to Islam. One drawing showed Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb; another portrayed him with a bushy gray beard and holding a sword; and a third pictured a middle-aged prophet standing in the desert with a walking stick in front of a donkey. Denmark's government has repeatedly rejected calls to intervene in the matter, saying the government has no say over media.


The Left honestly thinks the MSM is conservative controlled.

Media: I thought it was some reverse psychology deal going on because it couldn't possible be true. But it is via Media Blog on NRO.

Memo to Lefties: Hire David Copperfield01/26 03:45 PM I think Markos missed the point of my post about the left's revolution against the media. He writes: Watch conservatives fret at our efforts to hold the media accountable. But wait — why should they be worried about our efforts if the media is already as liberal as they claim? Maybe because it's theirs, and they don't want to let go? Yeah, that's it. What would we conservatives do if we lost the New York Times, the Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, most of the major daily newspapers and public broadcasting? Maybe it would have helped if I had called the post "The Civil War Between the Left and the Media." Then my comparison of the media to the Democratic Party in the analogy would have been more clear.

In fact Keith Olbermann is getting heat from the left.... yes that Keith Olbermann of the low-rated Craig Crawford sleeps on the floor in the studio when Keith needs him to snark Countdown show. via Conservative Underground who keeps an eye on democratic underground. This is getting weird.


Friday, January 27, 2006

The left dragging Dems to ruins.

Politics: People warned the Dems after Moveon made the remark they own the party that they should be careful, now carefully planned political moves by the Dems are being blown up because they just aren't left enough for the Kos kids of the world.

Democrats are getting an early glimpse of an intraparty rift that could complicate efforts to win back the White House: fiery liberals raising their voices on Web sites and in interest groups vs. elected officials trying to appeal to a much broader audience. These activists -- spearheaded by battle-ready bloggers and making their influence felt through relentless e-mail campaigns -- have denounced what they regard as a flaccid Democratic response to the Supreme Court fight, President Bush's upcoming State of the Union address and the Iraq war. In every case, they have portrayed party leaders as gutless sellouts. First, liberal Web logs went after Democrats for selecting Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine to deliver the response to Bush's speech next Tuesday. Kaine's political sins: He was too willing to drape his candidacy in references to religion and too unwilling to speak out aggressively against Bush on the Iraq war. Kaine has been lauded by party officials for finding a victory formula in Bush country by running on faith, values and fiscal discipline. Many Web commentators wanted Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), a leading critic of the Iraq war who advocates a speedy withdrawal, to be the opposition voice on the State of the Union night. Most Democratic lawmakers have distanced themselves from the Murtha position. "What the hell are they thinking?" was the title of liberal blogger Arianna Huffington's column blasting the Kaine selection. "Blogs can take up a lot of time if you're on them," Kaine said to reporters Thursday. "You can get a lot done if you're not bitterly partisan." The Virginia Democrat said he will not adjust his speech to placate the party's base. "I'm not anybody's mouthpiece or shill or poster boy for that matter. I'm going to say what I think needs to be said and they seem very comfortable with that."
At least Kaine is not taking them too seriously. You wanted to party with them and they are not going home in the morning like you want them too. John Kerry who is going to run in 2008 realizing that the dem primaries is voted by the base put out his idiotic call for a filibuster on Alito. No chance of working but he has the claim for leading the call. Hillary says she supports the filibuster.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday announced she'll join potential 2008 presidential rival John Kerry in voting to filibuster against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, just as top Democratic leaders predicted the effort is likely doomed. With three Democratic senators pledging support for Alito, the New Jersey conservative seems virtually assured of being confirmed by the full Senate Monday or Tuesday, party leaders predicted Friday. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters in Washington that "everyone knows" Senate Democrats couldn't muster the 40 votes needed to support a last-ditch filibuster. "History will show that Judge Alito's nomination is the tipping point against constitutionally-based freedoms and protections we cherish as individuals and as a nation," Clinton wrote in a statement during a fundraising stop in Seattle.
Being in Seattle for a fundraiser and touting support for something you know won't work is good politics. The left will fall for it by thinking she hopes they made her do it. Feinstein of all people backed down to the voice of Cindy Sheenan to now support a filibuster. Harry Reid and Chucky are not happy about this and an interesting side battle will be how weak will Harry Reid be coming out of this. The man is the party leader and he is getting slapped around, this is twice Kerry has decided to run a mouth and screw up the leader's political plan. The Dem party as a whole seem to think the left bloggers are good for money and trying to keep them out of the way.
"The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."
Its going to be fun to watch.


Norway tucks tail and grovels over cartoons

EU: Not surprising, but they could have least put some dignity into it.

The left-wing government in Norway apologizes to Muslims worldwide for the publication of twelve Muhammad cartoons [see them here] in the Norwegian newspaper Magazinet. Oslo sent out instructions to all the Norwegian embassies on how to respond to queries about the cartoons. Unlike the Danish government, the Norwegian government is not concerned about safeguarding the right to freedom of expression. Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, a leading member of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s Workers’ Party, wrote the following e-mail to the Norwegian embassies: I am sorry that the publication of a few cartoons in the Norwegian paper Magazinet has caused unrest among Muslims. I fully understand that these drawings are seen to give offence by Muslims worldwide. Islam is a spiritual reference point for a large part of the world. Your faith has the right to be respected by us. The cartoons in the Christian paper Magazinet are not constructive in building the bridges which are necessary between people with different religious and ethnic backgrounds. Instead they contribute to suspicion and unnecessary conflict. Let it be clear that the Norwegian government condemns every expression or act which expresses contempt for people on the basis of their religion or ethnic origin. Norway has always supported the fight of the UN against religious intolerance and racism, and believes that this fight is important in order to avoid suspicion and conflict. Tolerance, mutual respect and dialogue are the basis values of Norwegian society and of our foreign policy. Freedom of expression is one of the pillars of Norwegian society. This includes tolerance for opinions that not everyone shares. At the same time our laws and our international obligations enforce restrictions for incitement to hatred or hateful expressions. Opposition politicians reacted to this message with indignation. Jon Lilletun, the spokesman on foreign policy for the Christian-democrat Kristelig Folkeparti, points out that it is not the ministry’s task to express an opinion on the content of the cartoons. Carl I. Hagen, the leader of the Progress Party, fears that freedom of expression is being swept under the carpet.


Canadian Conservatives better get used to it.

Canada: Now that the media's party is out of power, they will take every chance to make Harper look bad or have "mistakes"

The CBC has apologized to a viewer who complained that a news graphic appeared to juxtapose the name of the prime minister-designate with the German word "heil" -- a salute usually associated with Adolf Hitler. The graphic was flashed during Tuesday night's edition of The National. It appeared beneath a shot of a Stephen Harper election sign. In an e-mail to the viewer, the executive producer of The National explained the graphic was a freeze frame of typing intended to promote the show's "campaign confidential" segment. An editor chose to capture part of the word "their" for the graphic and with a cursor before the "r", it seemed to spell heil. "We sincerely apologize for that," the e-mail said.
Harper already asserting Canadian borders.
Prime minister-designate Stephen Harper took aim at the American ambassador's criticism of the Conservatives' Arctic sovereignty plan on Thursday, in the party leader's first news conference since winning a minority government. "The United States defends its sovereignty and the Canadian government will defend our sovereignty," Harper told reporters in Ottawa. "It is the Canadian people we get our mandate from, not the ambassador of the United States." A day earlier, David Wilkins, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, said his government opposes Harper's proposed plan to deploy military icebreakers in the Arctic to detect interlopers and assert Canadian sovereignty over those waters. "There's no reason to create a problem that doesn't exist," Wilkins said as he took part in a forum at the University of Western Ontario in London. "We don't recognize Canada's claims to those waters... Most other countries do not recognize their claim." During the federal election campaign, which culminated in Harper's win earlier this week, the Conservatives promised to spend $5.3 billion over five years to defend northern waters against the Americans, Russians and Danes. "Sovereignty is something, you use it or you lose it," Harper said at the pre-Christmas announcement in Winnipeg.
Well played.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Kerry and Kennedy wants a filibuster

Politics: I am all for a show to the liberal base, its fun to see them hop around like kids on a sugar rush, but you really have to pick and choose which event you want them to get excited about. Kerry and Kennedy are promising a trip to the moon and the base will realize too late they are just going to sheboygan.

Several prominent Democratic senators called for a filibuster of Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s Supreme Court nomination yesterday, exposing a deep divide in the party even as they delighted the party's liberal base. The filibuster's supporters -- including Sens. John F. Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts -- acknowledged that the bid is likely to fail and that Alito is virtually certain to be confirmed Tuesday. But they said extended debate may draw more Americans' attention to Alito's conservative stands on abortion, civil rights, presidential powers and other matters. "Judge Alito will take America backward, especially when it comes to civil rights and discrimination laws," Kerry said in a statement issued by his office. He added: "It's our right and our responsibility to oppose him vigorously and to fight against this radical upending of the Supreme Court." Kennedy said that Alito, 55, "does not share the values of equality and justice that make this country strong," adding: "He does not deserve a place on the highest court of the land." Liberal groups such as People for the American Way have implored Democratic senators to filibuster Alito's nomination, even if it means nothing more than staking their principles and showing that Democrats will fight against a party that controls the House, Senate and White House. But many Republicans have relished the idea of a Democratic-led filibuster, saying it helps them portray the minority party as obstructionist and beholden to left-leaning groups. "Continuing to threaten a filibuster, even after it is crystal clear that Democrats don't have the necessary votes to sustain their obstruction, is needless, strange and at odds with many of their fellow Democrats," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said in a statement. Some Republicans poked fun at Kerry -- the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, who may make another White House bid -- for allowing others to announce the filibuster plan earlier in the day while he was attending an economic conference in Davos, Switzerland.


Michael Jackson setting someone back decades

Entertainment: But I can't figure who just yet.

Michael Jackson, center, wears an abaya, the traditional Arabic women's veil and all-covering gown, and holds the hand of one of his children, also veiled, as they walk toward their car Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2006, behind a shopping mall, in Manama, Bahrain. Jackson, a reclusive resident of the Gulf island country since being cleared of child molestation charges, was accompanied by his sister, Janet, unseen, and two other children on the shopping outing.
I will resist the "Janet Jackson, unseen" line given how the latest pics floating around the gossip sites would make that hard to do. I love Janet, but she is getting up to the unhealthy weight level.


Spielberg continues to blubber on.

Entertainment: At this point he is pretty punch drunk as the article referenced in Reuters earlier this week comes out. I am not going to rehash the entire article because this is the most important part.

"SPIEGEL: You are celebrated enthusiastically by the critics, and you have also been slammed. But rarely has a director been attacked and vilified so personally for a film as you have now. You have been called a blind pacifist, even a traitor to the cause of Israel. Spielberg: Fortunately, the people who write that kind of thing are a small but very loud minority. It saddens me to see how narrow-minded and dogmatic some of the right-wing fundamentalists here in the USA are. I thank God that people who are important to me see "Munich" quite differently. Liberal American Jews, for example, but also some families of the victims from that time in Israel. They have embraced the message of the film. SPIEGEL: The main charge against "Munich" is political or, if you wish, ideological: you are accused of morally equating the Palestinian terrorists with their Israeli pursuers. Spielberg: That is utter nonsense. Those critics are behaving as if we all had no moral compass. Naturally, it is a terrible, despicable crime when, as in Munich, people are taken hostage, people are killed. But probing the motives of those responsible and showing that they are also individuals with families and have their own story does not excuse what they did. Wanting to understand the background to a murder doesn't mean you accept it. To understand does not mean to forgive. Understanding has nothing to do with being soft; it is a brave and very robust attitude to take. SPIEGEL: Your opponents say that you "humanize" terror. Spielberg: Do these critics really mean that terrorists are not human beings? I try not to demonize them. Again, this has absolutely nothing to with relativizing their acts or sympathizing with them. But I do believe that it sullies the memory of the victims if we do not ask questions about the reasons, about the roots of terror. My film is not supposed to be a pamphlet, not a caricature, not a one-dimensional view of things. I refuse to give simple answers to complicated questions. "
Fearfully of demonizing terrorists who kill innocent men, women and children, but no problem demonizing his critics which includes the Israeli government, Mossad agents. But as long as his liberal friends are okay with it, then he must be correct. I already went over here and here in detail. People already know about the terrorist having families and their roots, you are trying to mask your liberal(talk till you are blue in the gills) views as hard hitting commentary that is pushing everyone to talk about the conflict like it hasn't been discussed at length before you came along. That is just arrogant or ignorance. Now a bit of advice.
SPIEGEL: Your film is based on a controversial book written in 1982 by the Canadian author George Jonas called "Vengeance"... Spielberg: ... which I believe to be authentic. I wouldn't have made the film if I hadn't been convinced of my sources. Together with scriptwriter Tony Kushner, I met the former agent described by Jonas and known as Avner, and more than once. We spent many hours together. I trust my intuition and my common sense: the man is not lying, he is not exaggerating. Everything he says is true.
Oprah found out the hard way where that type of attitude can get ya, it would be wise for you to learn.


I am glad Hamas won.

Middle East: Seriously, you had Abbas playing this con on everyone trying to have "peace" with Israel when everyone knew it was bull. Now that Hamas is power, all that smoke and mirrors is gone. You know they hate Israel, Jews and love to suicide bomb and the Palestinians show that decades of Arafat using and abusing them haven't given them a lick of common sense. Everything is out in the open and in your face. Lets see who sides up with who and especially how the Europeans will react with trying to ask Israel to make peace with a terrorist group like Hamas.


Smallville 100th episode: Good lord almighty.

Entertainment: Every complaint about Gough/Miller was in its glory tonight. A milestone episode that was craptacular from beginning to end. But at least these morons didn't get their original idea going.

"....Oddly, the creators of the sci-fi drama did not initially set out to make a show about Superman. Robbins notes that he and Tollin had their eye on a much darker, though equally compelling, comic-book character. "In the early days of our deal at Warner Bros. (Television), we had the idea to do a young Batman," says Robbins, whose production company with Tollin, Tollin/Robbins, is also behind the WB drama "One Tree Hill." Fortunately for Clark Kent, Warner Bros. Pictures already had spoken for Bruce Wayne's caped crusader: The studio then was developing "Batman: Year One," based on Frank Miller's graphic novel, for Darren Aronofsky to direct (though Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" ultimately would restart that film franchise last summer). It was suggested that Tollin and Robbins instead focus their series on Superman, a notion motivated in part by corporate synergy because the studio, the network and DC Comics are all owned by Time Warner."
You thought George Clooney killed the franchise, it would have been history with these guys running it.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ah yes, The David Cameron young pioneers proposal.

UK: This is the leader of the UK conservative party?

School leavers should be forced to do three or four months of community service, David Cameron, the Conservative leader, said yesterday. In a speech to voluntary group leaders, he said he did not want to bring back National Service but wanted young people to have the same feeling of achieving "something we all did together". But his proposals met resistance from student bodies who said many school leavers used the pre-university period to earn a wage so they could meet student debts. Some voluntary organisations were also critical, with one saying privately that the idea of compulsion was "barmy". At present relatively few school leavers do regular voluntary work although about one in 10 takes a gap year which involves working for cash, or travelling and usually taking on unpaid work. Last year the percentage of students deferring university courses rose from seven to 10 per cent, with "helping to conserve giant pandas in China" or "carrying out coral surveys for the Fijian National Trust" some of the more interesting options. Such trips have long been considered the preserve of the rich who can afford such travel then take on university fees. Gemma Tumelty, the secretary of the National Union of Students, said Mr Cameron's ideas would pose genuine difficulties for struggling students. "The massive cost of going to university means that many students may choose to take a gap year in order to save up money before they go. While David Cameron speaks of a universal voluntary scheme, being able to afford to work for free is not an opportunity available to all. Mr Cameron said: "If it [community service] isn't compulsory or if it isn't universal it could tend to be something else that well-off families do because it's good for their kids. "But it would not reach some of the most marginalised families and excluded children who actually would really benefit." The schemes he envisaged should not be "dull and worthy" but range from building hospitals in Rwanda to helping social services in Stepney.


Rev Al tries to ride on Boondocks bandwagon.

Entertainment: As he demands an apology from Cartoon Network for airing the episode where MLK goes off on Black America.

NEW YORK The Rev. Al Sharpton asked for an apology Tuesday for last week's "Boondocks" TV episode that showed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saying the "N" word. Sharpton -- an activist, radio host, and former Democratic presidential candidate -- said in a news release that the Cartoon Network "must apologize and also commit to pulling episodes that desecrate black historic figures. We are totally offended by the continuous use of the 'N' word in [cartoonist Aaron] McGruder's show. While I can appreciate Mr. McGruder and his achievements, this particular episode is over the line. If we don't receive an apology, we will picket the corporate headquarters." The episode depicted Dr. King awakening from a coma around 2000 and being frustrated by some black behavior, including sexually explicit hip-hop videos. A Cartoon Network spokesperson said in a statement: "This episode in no way was meant to offend or 'desecrate' the name of Dr. King. We think Aaron McGruder came up with a thought-provoking way of not only showing Dr. King's bravery but also of reminding us of what he stood and fought for, and why even today it is important for all of us to remember that and to continue to take action." "The Boondocks" has about 300 newspaper and online clients via Universal Press Syndicate, which -- when contacted Wednesday by E&P Online -- referred comment on Sharpton's remarks to those involved with the TV version of McGruder's comic.
You can see the clip here on Youtube.


ACLU wants to lift ban on terrorist supporters to America

Nation: I am not surprised by this since it is the ACLU and hooking up with Tariq Ramadan. Nice.

Citing the case of a prominent Swiss Muslim scholar who has been barred from the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit today seeking to strike down a clause of the USA Patriot Act that bans foreigners who endorse terrorist activity from traveling to this country. The suit was filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan on behalf of the scholar, Tariq Ramadan, and three national organizations of academics or writers who have invited him to speak to their members. The groups, including the American Academy of Religion, the largest American organization of scholars of religion, say Mr. Ramadan has never expressed support for terrorism, and they argue that the Patriot Act clause has been applied to stifle political and academic debate in the United States. Mr. Ramadan, a Swiss citizen, has been denied a United States visa since July 2004, when he was on the verge of moving with his family to Indiana to take up a tenured professor's position at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. In a telephone interview on Tuesday from his office in Britain, Mr. Ramadan said he has never been given a formal explanation why his visa was revoked, after he had traveled frequently to the United States for many years
Tarizq shows off his look at me I am a victim skills here.
SPIEGEL: Your words are like those of a rationalist, an enlightened theologian with purely intellectual ambitions. But in political reality, in France, Great Britain and the United States, you are suspected of secretly promoting the expansion of Islam and sympathizing with violence. Have you been eating chalk? Are you speaking with a forked tongue? Ramadan: Oh yes, I am one of the most maligned Muslim intellectuals. Tariq Ramadan, the slippery trickster. They talk about people like me the way they used to talk about the Jews: He is Swiss and European, but his loyalties also lie elsewhere. He says one thing and thinks something else. He is a member of an international organization -- in the past, it was world Jewry, today it's world Islam. I am disparaged as if I were a Muslim Jew.
What about that whole stoning thing, you know that topic that Sarkozy caught you with live on the air?
SPIEGEL: That's wonderful. Then could you explain to us why you have publicly called for a moratorium on the stoning of women accused of committing adultery. A moratorium, not a clear condemnation! Tariq Ramadan, are you a hypocrite? Ramadan: Once again, Islam can only be modernized from within. If I stand there and state that I condemn the practice of stoning, that this punishment is despicable, it changes nothing. My fellow Muslims will say: Brother Tariq, you became a European, a Swiss citizen, so you are no longer one of us. I want to trigger a process of contemplation and thought within the Islamic community. Critique and attacks from the outside can produce tension. Incidentally, a number of US states have imposed a moratorium on the death penalty, in an effort to buy time to think about the meaning and legitimacy of this penalty.
From these little snips you can read the slippery skills that has earned him bans in America and France. ALso got asked to leave the anti-global movement accused of being an anti-semite.


Racist murder of 16 year old black in Brussels

EU: Over a stolen cellphone and the authorities don't care or more likely scared.

"....Saturday five Moroccan “youths” cut the throat of a 16-year old black boy in the Brussels borough of Molenbeek. The victim, who was born in Niger, bled to death. The Molenbeek blacks say it was a racist murder. They complain about the hatred of the Moroccans for the black Africans. They also complain about the indifference of the Belgian authorities. Three days after the murder the large pool of clotted blood was still visible on the spot in the Heyvaert Straat where the boy had been killed. The authorities did not bother to clean it up. Yesterday Abdelhai and Sedeat, two brothers of the assassinated boy, showed the large black spot with its foamy white edges to a journalist of Het Nieuwsblad. “The blood has been here for more than two days,” Abdelhai said. “Everyone could walk right through it.” Molenbeek, a western borough of Brussels, is Brussels’ most dangerous no-go area. It is the fiefdom of Philippe Moureaux, the leader and kingmaker of the Parti Socialiste (PS), the largest party in Brussels. Moureaux, the mayor of Molenbeek, has sold his borough out to street gangs, prohibiting the police from going in to maintain law and order. The Socialist strongman hopes that the Muslim vote will help the PS achieve an election victory in next Autumn’s local elections. A growing number of moderate Muslims, however, is turning against the mayor. After Saturday’s murder some have gone so far as to openly announce their sympathy for the right-wing Vlaams Belang (VB), a party which the PS regards as “racist.” In today’s De Morgen, a left-liberal Brussels newspaper, immigrant inhabitants of Molenbeek complained about Arab racism towards blacks, about the decay of the neighbourhood and, above all, about the absence of the police. Kamal, a Belgian of Moroccan origin who runs a local café, said: “I put a petition to Moureaux once. We have nothing but problems here: fighting all night. In spite of thousands of signatures the mayor did not even react. The police officers are improbably slack. When I phone them they do not even bother to come.” The immigrants live in a neighbourhood where the pavements have been broken up so the boulders and paving stones can be used for throwing, where the windows of the houses have been smashed, where car wrecks are parked along the curb and the streets are littered with stinking garbage. De Morgen described ‘Moureaux-ville’ today as “a part of Africa in Brussels.” The mayor is losing his sway over his underpriviliged subjects. Souleymane, a black immigrant from Guinea, told the paper that he agrees with the Vlaams Belang that law and order must be restored. “This neighbourhood is rotten,” he says. The boy from Niger was murdered when Moroccan youths tried to sell him a cell phone they had stolen. They demanded 30 euros, the boy wanted to pay only 10 euros. The Moroccans took this as an insult and slit his throat. An 11-year old Arab boy told De Morgen that the black boy had only himself to blame: “He should not have behaved so arrogantly.” The Molenbeek blacks have vowed that they will kill a Moroccan boy in retaliation. “An eye for an eye” is the only law that applies here."

Read the whole depressing article.


Let us celebrate welfare moms and their kids

Culture: ...with Tim Grant of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This is written version of a train wreck with people who have no damn clue.

After teasing each other in class all day, the two young women took their quarrel outside the alternative high school and drew a crowd with their screaming and cursing. Both were in love with the same young man and they had allowed him to get them both pregnant. The two clashed in a war of emotions hinging on which one of them would be his girlfriend. "You don't understand how mad I was," Shanel Wilson, 18, of Duquesne, later told her friends at the Duquesne Family Center. Those friends, who listened to her recount the showdown, are part of a support group which meets weekly to eat, laugh and talk about the often bumpy and difficult road they walk each day as teenage parents. The teenage pregnancy rate is falling nationwide, but in many schools, towns and neighborhoods, some young people still are trading the innocence of carefree youth for the awesome responsibility of raising babies. Some make the trade willingly and without the kind of stigma that used to isolate many pregnant teens. "I already knew I was going to have one eventually, so it wasn't a surprise," said Ashley Pitts, 19, of Duquesne, who became pregnant at 15. "There's no shame in getting pregnant. There's a lot of people who have kids. There are 17-year-olds with two kids."
This is what happens when morals are thrown overboard for no judgement, lets tolerate everything so as not to hurt their feelings society. The best part is later in the article.
"Most of the girls in the Duquesne support group were impregnated by an older man who is no longer in school or in their lives. Some fell in love and wanted to get pregnant. Others didn't want a baby but didn't take precautions or were careless."
At least the kids all have stepbrothers and sisters to play with. The rest of the article is just a depressing glorification of gutter trash behavior that has become acceptable in today's society. I only feel sorry for the kids because most of them will not have a good life thanks to their careless mothers, worthless fathers and the enablers around them.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Google and China... the overview statement may need work.

Internet: Just a suggestion.

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Hey, business is business and I have no problem with Google censoring itself and going against its entire culture it created for itself to become the corporate giant that it is today. But I am waiting for the tiny text to be added to the bottom of the page like a car commercial that contains " certain exceptions as circumstances warrant..."


Kanye West posing as Jesus

Entertainment: The aging crew at Rolling Stone Magazine goes for the controversy with a guy who believes the CIA put crack in black areas, the CIA destroyed the black panthers and the government introduced AIDS to Africa.

Gawker: "Lest you find the cover offensive, remember that it’s okay if a magazine uses a person of color as Jesus — that conveys sympathy and respect. If it were Mark Wahlberg or Piper Perabo tied to the cross, however, that would mean eternal damnation. "
IF KANYE WEST HAD BALLS, he'd pose as Mohammed, instead of Jesus. But he doesn't. Efforts to be controversial have become so predictable. Yawn.
Rolling Stone would never permit the abuse of a religious figure loved by a billion plus people, unless its a Christian figure where the possibility of violence against editors and the subject is much lower.


Book of Daniels cancelled.

Entertainment: Controversy doesn't sell if the show is not good plus low ratings.

LOS ANGELES - The last chapter of the controversial religious drama "The Book of Daniel" has been written at NBC. Although the network stopped short of saying the low-rated show was canceled, a spokeswoman said Tuesday it has been dropped from the schedule. The series, which starred Aidan Quinn as an Episcopalian priest with a pill habit who holds regular conversations with Jesus, has a promiscuous son and a daughter who deals marijuana, proved better at drawing criticism than viewers. Conservative Christian groups condemned the depiction of Jesus as blasphemous, accusing the writers of portraying Christ as tolerant of sin in talks with the priest. Seven NBC affiliates refused to air it. "The Book of Daniel" drew an audience of 6.9 million on its first night. By its fourth airing, the number had dipped to 5.8 million viewers. NBC's move was lauded by the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, which had condemned the show as a sign of what it called the broadcaster's "anti-Christian bigotry."


Washington says buh bye to Paul Martin

Canada: Go play your guitar.

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration had only warm words Tuesday for defeated Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, whose sometimes prickly relations with Washington were an issue in the Canadian election. The White House said President Bush planned to call Conservative leader Stephen Harper to congratulate him, but the administration avoided sounding overly pleased at Martin's ouster. "We certainly wish Mr. Martin well," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "And I believe that he's going to continue to participate in political life. We had a good working relationship with the prime minister." Harper pledged to quickly carry out his campaign promises to cut taxes, get tough on crime and repair strained ties with the United States after his party's victory ended 13 years of Liberal Party rule in Canada. Harper's new government is not likely to be sworn in for several weeks. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice raised eyebrows by putting off a customary get-to-know-you visit to Canada until late in her first year in office last year. Rice's one-day trip in October was dominated by questions about the health of U.S.-Canada relations and a festering trade dispute over Canadian lumber exports.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Conservatives win minority government in Canada

Canada: Outside chance of them getting a majority, but a major breakout in Quebec gaining seats. Now they have to work on this to keep the party from being a one hit wonder. Globe and Mail with the roundup so far. Conservative reaction at Freedominion board and Blog round up at Andrew Coyne, Small Dead Animals, Nealenews and Michelle Malkin. As a service to those who are even with a Minority Conservative government in Canada having stomach pains, some useful sites that may interest you. Venezuela Travel Information Embassies of Cuba Index Bolivia Travel Information Have a nice trip, say hi to Castro for me. Update#

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada took a tentative step to the right in Monday's federal election, ousting the Liberals after 12 years in power and voting in a fragile minority Conservative government, television networks said. Preliminary official figures at 11 p.m. (0400 GMT Tuesday) showed the Conservatives winning or ahead in 122 electoral districts compared to 103 for the Liberals of Prime Minister Paul Martin. The result was a personal triumph for Conservative leader Stephen Harper, a 46-year-old economist who forced through the creation of the party in December 2003 by uniting two squabbling right-wing movements. "It shows that Canadians were looking for change," deputy Conservative leader Peter MacKay told CTV. Support for the Liberals shrank amid voter fatigue and a major kickback scandal which brought down the minority government of Prime Minister Paul Martin in November. How long Harper can stay in power is open to serious question, since he will have nowhere near the 155 seats he needs to hold a majority in the 308-seat House of Commons. The Conservatives have no natural allies in Parliament and will therefore have to govern on an issue-by-issue basis with the backing of other parties. "Minority means we have to be constructive, and we have to be working together and finding common ground," said MacKay.
Paul Martin already got called out by a Lib MP to quit as leader, so the race for the new liberal leader should be fun. Update#2 Robin Williams is among many Hollywood libs who will be unhappy.
Eventually, Mork, who's in town shooting a movie titled Man of the Year, ended up behind the bar taking orders from tickled patrons. I took the opportunity to do an impromptu Q&A. "So, Mr. Williams," I asked, "what is your position on the Canadian election?" "Stay Liberal!" he expounded with the speed of a stand-up. "But our Conservatives are not the same as your conservatives," I rambled back. "Yes, your Conservatives don't kill people," Williams shot back.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Guardian is shocked to find violence on the internet.

Internet: At least on Google Video. Wait till they find out about goatse and for all that is good in the world, do not go searching for that at work or home. Look it up on wikipedia to be somewhat safe.

"It was to have marked the dawn of a new age in entertainment, a democracy where the home movie went hand in hand with the Hollywood classic and where film and TV shows were available at the click of a mouse. The Google Video Store offers users the chance to download everything from basketball games to amateur videos to musty episodes of The Brady Bunch or I Love Lucy. But some of its wares are less savoury than others. Launched last week by the internet search giant, Google Video claims that its "user-generated" content is carefully vetted by both human and software-based censors. However, the new website, video.google.com, currently hosts a number of home movies that contain explicit scenes of apparently non-simulated violence. The company's stated terms of service prohibit films involving "invasions of personal privacy" and "promotions of hate or incitement of violence". One home movie, "Black Dudes Fighting", features a bloody, bare-knuckle brawl between two men in a backyard. Another, boasting the long-winded title "Girls Fighting Punching Kicking Chick Fights Cat Fight", is a 17-minute film of violent altercations, with the combatants egged on by a crowd of onlookers. At the end of one brawl, a teenage girl appears to have been knocked unconscious. Google refused to comment on any problems with its service. "That is not stuff that we want to engage in," a spokesperson for the company said. "Google Video only launched last week and is still in a trial period. Because of that, it is still too early to talk about what we've got right and what we've got wrong." While Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft have all announced plans for a downloadable film service, Google's scheme is regarded as the most far-reaching. Described as a giant internet bazaar, it is open to everyone from Hollywood distributors and TV broadcasters to the amateur camera-phone owner. Some of its films are copy-protected and others are not. Some are free and others must be paid for, with the price set by the owner. "If it all sounds a bit chaotic, you're right," wrote David Pogue in the New York Times. "Google Video's hallmark is its wild inconsistency ... at the moment the site is appallingly half-baked."
First time I agree with someone from the Times, compared to a couple of other video sites, Google video is worthless in finding anything that has to do with what you put in the search field. It doesn't feel easy to use and after a while you just give up. Youtube.com on the hand sorta gets it with the previews, an okay search engine where you are able to sort the videos various ways to find something.

That said the shocking tone of their findings is amusing considering a quick look at the videos they are talking about, some of them have been on the net last couple of years. It would be linked on forums or sent around emails, but now with the video sites, people just upload them to be viewed.

The question of how much to police its open-door policy risks becoming a vexed issue for Google. Some experts suggest that any selection process could undermine the key strength of the company. "The image that Google wants to present is that it is fully democratic, a fully open platform," said Jerome Buvat, senior consultant at Cap Gemini Telecom, Media and Entertainment. "Google is basically the spirit of the internet. I can't see that they will want to change that." But the issue was raised again last week after it emerged that Google lists the British National Party as a trustworthy source on its news page. The search engine's implied endorsement of the BNP website has already been criticised by anti-racist groups. The company states that the sources on Google News are "compiled solely by computer algorithms, without human intervention. As a result, news sources are selected without regard to political viewpoint or ideology". But although Google News provides an aggregate of headlines from around the world, experts are sceptical that it is entirely automated. For its part, Google has consistently refused to explain how it decides which sources are acceptable and which are not.
There are a lot of objectionable sites on Google News, not just the BNP. But if you are going to be the end all of end all of "news" sources, some are going to slip thru the cracks. If you start banning, Google will end up with thousands of request to make a judgement on which sites should be banned. The same goes with Google Video, if its going to be the virtual street bazaar of videos, they are not all going to be to the liking of everyone. If Google starts to curb strongly, some other site will get popular by net users.

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