Saturday, April 30, 2005
If no one who is close to this lady realized that she was, shall we say, poorly adjusted, then this group has got to be as dysfunctional as the Kennedy clan.
Her fiance, John Mason, said "everybody has a right to make a mistake."
This was not a mistake! She knew what she was doing. She chose to do it. Stop being an enabler!
And what is this "corrupt" employees crap? These people are traitors. They have endangered every man, woman and child in this country. If there is no way to prosecute them under the Patriot Act, then we need new legislation that will cover crimes like this.As far as I'm concerned selling out your country should be a capital crime.
From USA Today.
Corrupt employees in the Florida motor vehicles department illegally sold driver's licenses to more than 2,000 people, some of whom used the credentials to drive 18-wheelers and haul hazardous materials, federal authorities charged Thursday.
Federal agents were scrambling to track down people who bought the licenses and can now use them to board airplanes, cross U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada and drive potentially lethal cargo around the country.
Of the more than 2,000 licenses issued, 36 were for commercial drivers to operate trucks, and six to transport hazardous materials, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesman Dean Boyd.
"These cases are important because a driver's license is a bad guy's ticket in," Miami U.S. Attorney Marcos Jimenez said at a news conference. "It allows someone to operate heavy equipment, which can do a lot of damage," he said.
The licenses were all sold within the past two years, Boyd said.
Florida driver's licenses figured in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Nine of the 19 hijackers held Florida licenses and three others had identification cards issued by Florida.
After the attacks, Florida redesigned its licenses to make fraud more difficult, but Jimenez said problems remain with fraudulent access.
In the recent case, the falsely obtained commercial driver's licenses allowed several illegal aliens to claim they held U.S. citizenship, said Jesus Torres, the top ICE agent in Miami. He said 11 licenses ended up in the hands of drivers who later got into traffic crashes involving injuries, including one fatality.
None of those known to have bought the illegal licenses has shown up on a terrorist watch list, but "this type of criminal activity poses a national security and public safety risk," Torres said.
So far, federal agents have arrested 52 people on criminal and immigration charges stemming from the illegal license scheme. Three of those are driver's license examiners who allegedly falsely certified people as U.S. citizens and sold them licenses for $100 to $200 each. Authorities also arrested five recruiters who allegedly charged from $1,500 to $3,000 to hook people up with the examiners.
They and some of those who bought the licenses are among 23 people criminally charged. An additional 29 face immigration charges. They are from countries all over the world, including the Middle East.
Agents are working to find the illegal license purchasers, starting with those who bought commercial licenses to haul hazardous materials.
"There's a tremendous public safety issue here," said Michael Garcia, head of ICE, which is part of the Homeland Security Department.
Garcia said some of the licenses were sold to people who have no training in how to drive trucks and who now may be creating a "very, very dangerous" situation on the nation's highways. The case, which is the third involving illegal identification documents in little more than a week, also has "homeland security implications," he said.
Someone who gets a driver's license and leaves the United States wouldn't need to apply for a visa to get back in, because he or she could simply fly to Mexico or Canada and use the license to drive across the border, Garcia said.
On April 22, ICE agents arrested three people in Maryland, including a current and a former employee of the state's Motor Vehicle Administration. They are charged with selling fraudulent state documents that would allow people into the country. And on April 20, agents in Dearborn, Mich., arrested four people for allegedly trafficking in fake state driver's licenses.
Although the holders in the Florida case shouldn't have the licenses because they're in the country illegally, the licenses themselves are real. That makes it impossible for border agents or police to recognize that there's a problem.
That's why a driver's license is a "highly sought-after document," Garcia said.
All I'm going to say is this. Should someone this immature and unbalanced be marrying anyone? Has anyone else noticed her eyes in the pictures? What's with those Felix the Cat eyes?
And I hope she will be billed for the cost of the search.
The U.N.-appointed commission probing the oil-for-food scandal shelved two highly critical drafts of its report on business conflicts involving Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his son, it was revealed yesterday.
The explosive news of a potential whitewash was disclosed by a source close to Robert Parton — the man who handled the investigation of Kofi and Kojo Annan — who quit the U.N. Independent Inquiry Committee headed by Paul Volcker.
Parton authored the two hushed-up reports before leaving in protest that Volcker's inquiry was too soft on Kofi Annan.
A source speaking for Parton said he and Miranda Duncan, granddaughter of tycoon David Rockefeller who also resigned last week, wrote two earlier drafts of the commission's report that were far more critical of Annan than what was contained in the final version released by Volcker on March 29.
The final report said no evidence was found that Annan played any role in the selection of the Swiss firm Cotecna that employed Annan's son Kojo, although it criticized him for meeting with company executives and for failing to fully investigate the matter.
Annan used the report's conclusions to declare with great fanfare that he had been exonerated. With Congress trying to pick up this new trial of intrigue, Volcker personally called the chairmen of three committees investigating the $64 billion scandal to inform them that his U.N.-appointed independent committee will invoke immunity over Parton and Duncan, preventing them from being subpoenaed. "We draw the line at exposing an investigator during an ongoing investigation," said Volcker spokesman Mike Holtzman. "They have important things to say, and it's unfortunate the U.N. chose not to waive the agreement," said Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), head of the Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security.
With Congress trying to pick up this new trial of intrigue, Volcker personally called the chairmen of three committees investigating the $64 billion scandal to inform them that his U.N.-appointed independent committee will invoke immunity over Parton and Duncan, preventing them from being subpoenaed.
"We draw the line at exposing an investigator during an ongoing investigation," said Volcker spokesman Mike Holtzman.
"They have important things to say, and it's unfortunate the U.N. chose not to waive the agreement," said Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), head of the Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security.
From the NY Post.
What is it with these pacifists that allows them to throw non-violence out the window if they don't get their way?
Phnom Penh: A fight between an elderly woman and a Buddhist monk over an allegedly magic turtle landed the monk in court on charges of impersonating a god.
The monk, Khong Chantha, 26, sold a turtle with Buddhist inscriptions carved into its shell to the woman for the equivalent of $1.60. But when the monk heard the woman had begun a business with the turtle, claiming it invoked miracles, he tried to reclaim it by force, and there was a fight, police said.
The woman reported the monk to police, who found a forged letter purportedly signed by the Prime Minister, Hun Sen, in the monk's possession giving government backing to Chantha's claim he was a reincarnation of Buddha.
The monk was released with a caution.
Friday, April 29, 2005
Two senior investigators examining the Iraqi oil-for-food programme have resigned, complaining that their findings on the United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan were toned down.
Now it appears that Volcker has let the US Senate know that they cannot subpoena these two gentlemen because of UN immunity. What kind of cover-up crap is this? How long do we have to put up with the UN nonsense? What will it take to get us removed from this corrupt and inept organization? Can we bulldoze the UN along with the ACLU?
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Zimbabwe was re-elected to the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Commission on Wednesday, prompting immediate protests from the United States and other nations.
William Brencick, the deputy U.S. representative to ECOSOC, told the council that Zimbabwe should never have been put forward by African nations because of its "repressive controls on political assembly and the media" amid a climate "where the opposition fears for its safety."
"How can we expect the Government of Zimbabwe to support international human rights standards at the Commission on Human Rights when it has blatantly disregarded the rights of its own people?" Brencick asked.
Australia and Canada also raised objections.
I have nothing to add to this.
A man, armed with a knife, has stolen a life-size inflatable doll from a Moscow sex shop.
The man, in his 40s, burst into the shop and threatened a clerk before making off with the doll and some sexy lingerie.
The owner of the shop, located opposite Gorky Park, estimated the value of the stolen goods at $US387 ($500), RIA Novosti news agency said, quoting a police source.
A composite sketch was distributed to police and a search for the suspect was under way.
From the Sydney Morning Herald.
I'm trying to figure out how anyone could take this woman seriously. People actually wasted time and money entertaining this complaint?
OTTAWA - Canada's highest court has refused to hear arguments on whether the word "Kemosabe" – a term used in The Lone Ranger TV series – is a racial slur.
Nova Scotia's Human Rights Commission had turned to the Supreme Court of Canada to clarify the use of the word in the workplace after a woman filed a complaint.
Dorothy Kateri Moore complained to the commission in 1999, saying her boss and a co-worker at Play it Again Sports in Sydney discriminated against her by calling her Kemosabe.
The term was the name Tonto gave the Lone Ranger on the 1950s TV show.
The commission appointed a board of inquiry to look into the complaint. In February 2004, the board ruled that Moore hadn't clearly shown she was offended by the remark so discrimination didn't take place.
The commission argued that the board of inquiry erred in placing an undue burden on Moore to prove she found the term offensive, and appealed the ruling to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.
The three-member appeal court panel upheld the board's decision, writing that Moore had not shown the word was "notoriously offensive."
But the commission appealed that decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, hoping it would clarify what the term "notoriously offensive" meant.
"We're disappointed," Mayann Francis, chair of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, said in a release. "We thought this case might help establish clearer guidelines for dealing with discrimination and the cultural differences one finds in a diverse workplace."
"This is about much more than the use of one word. It's about establishing standards that are clear to employers and to employees, standards that protect and encourage diversity," Francis said.
Ann Smith, a lawyer for the human rights commission, said that "people need to understand what that phrase means in order to determine what is or is not considered acceptable behaviour in the workplace."
"What I consider 'notoriously offensive' you may not. We wanted some legal standard that would help people," she said.
Since the highest court in Canada will not hear the appeal, she added, the commission will look for other ways to clarify the parameters.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
I saw Dr. Mike Adams on Fox today. Check out the webpage he references below. The following is an excerpt from his post.
For weeks, I have toyed with the idea of writing a column about Ward Churchill. I just can't seem to muster the energy. Maybe it's because there are so many professors here in North Carolina who are every bit as crazy and incompetent as the now infamous Colorado professor.
For example, there is Jane Christensen who teaches at North Carolina Wesleyan College. One look at her webpage makes me proud to be a Methodist.
But the letter has gotten the inmate into even more trouble, because it contained pot leaves.
In the letter, San Juan County prisoner Craig Hopkins apologized for violating his probation. After the pot was discovered, guards carried out a six-hour shakedown of Hopkins' cellblock.
But authorities say they didn't find the source of the marijuana and Hopkins isn't talking. Hopkins already faces charges ranging from possession of a controlled substance to DWI.
How long before we start rocketing the "Loved One" into space?
After more than 15 years of trying, a plan to bury bodies standing up will finally be able to go ahead in south-western Victoria.
The Victorian Planning Minister has approved land earmarked for a cemetery near Derrinallum, to be rezoned from rural to public use.
The vertical burials will reportedly be the first of their kind in Australia.
Corangamite Shire's Sophie Segafredo says funeral company Palacom has overcome a number of hurdles to achieve the approval.
"It has been a long time coming," she said.
"The people who have been pursuing the project have been working on it for 10 or 15 years, so it's now a relief I'm sure to them that the rezoning is finally taking place.
"I'm not sure when they're intending to start burials there, but there's no further impediment to getting on with the project."
The managing director of Palacom says the company is delighted with the approval.
Tony Duplix says the Darlington cemetery trust will run the new cemetery.
Mr Duplix says he expects the project will now proceed quickly.
"It's really just housekeeping issues now, at the moment the land is effectively a paddock and the trust will just go ahead with fencing, signage, access, issues like that and then they'll be open for business which means that we too will be open for business," he said.
From ABC News.
Now, this is what I call justice.
Bangladeshi customs officials have found luxury cars, large-screen television sets and refrigerators in a container declared to be carrying scrap metal - so they made it just that at a public ceremony on Monday.
Reuters reports that hundreds of people watched as officials from the National Board of Revenue used bulldozers to crush a Mercedes-Benz and a Toyota and other luxury goods at a railway container terminal in Dhaka.
A trading firm had sought to evade customs duties by falsely declaring that the container carried iron scrap.
From The Sydney Morning Herald.
San Francisco, where else would you get this garbage?
UCSF's Center for Gender Equity hosts its annual "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" on Thursday -- but judging from the list of activities being offered, the gender equity program is anything but equal.
For example, the 9- and 10-year-old daughters are being invited to participate in 17 hands-on activities such as working with microscopes, slicing brains, doing skull comparisons, seeing what goes on in the operating room, playing surgeon, dentist or nurse for a day, and visiting the intensive care unit nursery, where they can set up blood pressure cuffs and operate the monitors.
They can learn about earthquake and disaster preparedness, how to use a fire extinguisher, how to operate several types of equipment -- even fire a laser.
And what do the boys get to do?
Learn about "gender equity in fun, creative ways using media, role playing and group games" -- after which, the boys can get a bit of time in with a microscope or learn how the heart works.
"It's ridiculous," says one UCSF doc, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation from the university. "I have no problem with the Center for Gender Equity, but just make it equitable."
Longtime center director Amy Levine, however, tells us the program isn't intended to give boys and girls the same learning opportunities -- nor, she says, is it a career day.
"It's about dealing with effects of sexism on both boys and girls and how it can damage them," she said.
Hence, while the boys undergo gender sensitivity training, the girls focus on their capabilities -- be it handling a scalpel or microscope.
UCSF tried mixing the boys with the girls a few years back, but Levine says it just didn't work out.
"It mirrored the same sexism that occurs in the classroom daily," she said, "where boys raise their hands more often, demand more attention and have discipline problems."
So now the boys have their own gender sensitivity program, where "they learn about violence prevention and how to be allies to the girls and women in their lives," Levine said.
Southern Illinois University Carbondale history Professor Jonathan Bean isn't comfortable speaking candidly until the heavy yellow door to his Faner Hall office fully closes.
Bean's History 110: 20th Century America class, an SIUC core curriculum course of roughly 270 students, studied the usual litany of readings by Rosa Parks, Malcom X and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for its section on the Civil Rights era at the beginning of April.
Bean also distributed what he said were additional, optional reading handouts through his three graduate assistants assigned to the course. Among those papers was an abridged article from James Lubinskas of FrontPageMagazine.com titled, "Remembering the Zebra Killings," which recounted a series of 71 murders perpetrated by a group of black men against white civilians in San Francisco between 1972
and 1974. FrontPageMagazine.com also hosts writer David Horowitz, who visited SIUC last year on the subject of academic freedom at universities.
Bean had pulled the article from the FrontPageMagazine.com Web site and thought it would be material students could possibly go over in the course discussion sections.
"It sparked what I called "handout hysteria," he said. "I handed it out on Tuesday. On Friday afternoon I'm called into the department chair's office, with a hysterical department chair waving the handout at me."
Bean said at that point he wasn't sure what had caused the problem.
"What I took away from it, the concern was about sensitivity," he said.
History Department Chair Marjorie Morgan declined to make any on-record comments about the exchange and said she might issue a written statement later on the situation. Morgan is leaving SIUC at the end of the semester.
College of Liberal Arts Dean Shirley Clay Scott, who oversees the History Department, said two of Bean's three History 110 graduate assistants, both of whom are black, complained the Lubinskas article alluded to racist material.
Scott said she reassigned the two black graduate students to other courses, because they felt uncomfortable continuing with Bean.
The full Lubinskas article, as it appears on FrontPageMagazine.com, contains a link to the European American Issues Forum, an Internet site, devoted to the matters and heritage of European-Americans in the U.S. Lubinskas mentions the EAIF in the story because the group leaders have pledged to ensure the individuals convicted in the Zebra killings spend life in prison.
Bean edited out the passage that mentions the EAIF in his handout for brevity's sake, he said.
A new McCarthyism?
Bean said he sent an e-mail apology, by request, to the department chair, the dean, history faculty and graduate students immediately after learning the article created a controversy. He also e-mailed his students, telling them to disregard the Lubinskas article.
That weekend, April 9 and 10, Bean received the university's Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award for his department and was honored with a plaque.
When he returned to work the next Monday, however, Bean was notified the dean had dropped two of his teaching assistants and that eight fellow history professors had written a letter to be published in the campus newspaper trying to distance themselves from what they said was a practice of distributing racist propaganda to students.
Bean said he began to suspect something bigger was afoot. Then, he began to examine where exactly he stood in the picture of the history department at SIUC.
"I am a lone libertarian-conservative on a campus that lacks ideological diversity," Bean said he concluded.
Bean contends 90 percent of all liberal arts faculty are Democrats by past primary election voting records. He is traditionally known to be more conservative, although he admits he did not vote Republican in the last two presidential elections.
Bean said he suspects he is an ideological underdog in a department rife with liberal viewpoints, and he now suspects the incident surrounding the Lubinskas article is a cover for a new practice of departmental McCarthyism by some history professors.
"McCarthyism is keeping the victim in the dark, forcing apologies based on hysterics, and then not accepting the apology," Bean said.
Bean said he was never given a clear explanation as to what needed an apology. Even though he agreed to cancel the Lubinskas handout, he said several faculty members still publicly chided his perceived practices.
The letter the eight faculty members wrote didn't specifically name Bean as the subject.
Tenured history professor Robbie Lieberman was one of the faculty members to issue the letter. She said Bean has been combative with colleagues on the subject of the handout from the beginning and has made what she said are unfounded claims of a witch hunt and McCarthyism against those who criticized him.
"I know what McCarthyism is," Lieberman said. "I teach McCarthyism. It's absurd; there are no elements of it in this."
Lieberman said no one is attacking Bean's views or even his right to discuss controversial topics in class. The main problem, she said, with Bean's handout is it came from an Internet source that had questionable ties.
Using the Internet as a source of material in the history department is generally frowned upon, Lieberman said, because its validity is not always certain.
"I don't personally let students with research papers get things off the Internet," she said.
Lieberman said the situation surrounding Bean is an example why department officials don't often distribute Internet sources for class readings.
Liberal arts dean Scott said there is nothing sinister about her actions with Bean.
"I'm certainly not out to get him," Scott said. "I was the one who recommended he become a full professor a few years back."
As far as fellow faculty publicly chastising Bean's alleged motivations, Scott said a letter in the student newspaper probably wasn't the best outlet to voice inter-departmental concerns.
"If they had asked me about it, I would probably have told them not to do it," she said. "But they didn't ask me."
Defending a good name
Bean contends the faculty members, the history department chair and the liberal arts dean have all rushed to a judgment that has both hurt his reputation and disrupted the students in his History 110 course.
Bean sits in his Faner Hall office, behind the security of the thick, yellow closed door and points out his believed dissenters sit in offices all around him.
The tension is tangible in the third floor hallway that houses most history faculty at SIUC. Up to this point, Bean said, he has been passive.
"My name, my family's potential livelihood, my students and my career are under attack," said the 42-year-old professor, a father of two young children. "My wife and I talked about how to respond to this. She quoted me the passage in the Bible about turning the other cheek."
Bean says he felt he turned the other cheek by apologizing and by withdrawing the article with little more said. The onslaught from those in his own department, he claims, keeps coming.
Bean said his defenses, and his family's, are starting to wear down.
"My wife, Alice, broke down crying when another newspaper reporter contacted her last week," he said. "She had an apparent panic attack."
Bean has documentation of everything that has been said, publicly and privately, on record and is keeping it in a file.
By all indications, Bean looks like a man ready to take legal action, a point he was at first hesitant to make but eventually admitted.
"I am speaking with local and national legal counsel to defend my good name," Bean said.
Jane Adams, an anthropology professor and personal witness to the effects of the Zebra killings mentioned in the Lubinskas article, said the matter goes beyond Bean's academic freedom as a professor to discuss controversial material.
"He didn't get due process," Adams said.
She said the university has channels through which these kinds of questions flow. They were not used in this case, she said, and it should disturb all campus professors who could find themselves in a similar case.
"I don't think there is any one of us who haven't been accused of something at one time or another," Adams said.
Adams said in her 18 years on campus, however, she has never seen almost a whole department turn on one of its own faculty members, as she said is being done in the case with Bean.
"I think this is a really serious breach of collegiality," Adams said. "One of the things I am appalled by is his (Bean's) reputation has been publicly smeared. That is all we have as professors."
Complete article at the Southern Illinoisan.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
NEW DELHI -- An Indian who became a man to marry a female relative was dumped after the surgery, a newspaper reported on Monday.
Twenty-nine-year-old rubber tapper Kuttiyamma, born with both male and female genitals, had been in love with the relative, Laura, 25, for 15 years before having surgery to become a man and change her name to Binu, the Hindustan Times reported.
But Laura became engaged to another man and Binu is suing her for breach of trust after spending 50,000 rupees ($1,150) on the sex change in southern Kerala state.
"She had agreed to marry me after the surgery," the paper quoted Binu saying in the petition. "I took loans to pay the hospital bills."
Laura's fiance has since backed out of the wedding after hearing of Binu. The paper did not say how Laura and Kuttiyamma/Binu are related.
FRESNO, Calif. - Getting locked in a car trunk is bad enough, but locking yourself in the trunk of the car you're trying to rip off is worse.
A spokesman for the Sheriff's Department said investigators captured "the dumbest criminal of the day'' on Sunday.
A security guard in Fresno called police when he heard banging coming from the inside of a car trunk and authorities figured a crime victim was locked inside. But police said it turned out to be who they believe is the perp.
According to investigators, the man crawled into the trunk while he was ransacking the car. But he managed to lock himself inside as he was trying to climb out.Police have not released the suspect's name. He's been booked on two counts of theft.
If I was him I'd pay the police to keep my name out of it.
MEXICO CITY - As drug gangs continue fighting a violent turf war in northern Mexico, the U.S. State Department on Tuesday issued a new travel advisory warning Americans about the risks of crossing the Rio Grande.
The advisory, which replaces a three-month warning issued in January, alerts Americans to dangers along the entire border. But it singles out the city of Nuevo Laredo, across the river from Laredo, as a hot spot.
"More than 30 U.S. citizens have been kidnapped and/or murdered in the past eight months (in Nuevo Laredo) and public shootouts have occurred during daylight hours near frequented shopping areas and on streets leading to the international bridges," the warning says.
"One of the shootouts spilled onto the Mexican side of the bridge itself."
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Mexico was working to improve border security and suggested the State Department had overreacted. "Imprecisions and generalizations that hurt the spirit of cooperation in law enforcement and the fight against organized crime should be avoided," the statement said.
The warning, which is in effect until July 29, stops short of advising Americans not to visit Mexico. However, it recommends they take extra precautions, such as visiting only during daylight hours and avoiding red-light districts and neighborhoods where street drug dealing occurs.
"We recognize that thousands of U.S. citizens cross the border each day and have no trouble," said the U.S. consul to the city of Matamoros, John Naland, who helped write the advisory.
The January travel warning hurt businesses in northern Mexico, many of which rely on U.S. customers for a sizable chunk of their income.
In the historic center of Nuevo Laredo, the number of U.S. shoppers has dropped by half in recent months, according to Higinio Ibarra, president of Nuevo Laredo's Shop Owners Association.
In an interview last week, Ibarra said he would be infuriated if the U.S. government re-issued the warning.
"Why doesn't our government warn Mexicans about visiting the United States?" Ibarra said. "There are plenty of murders there. But American businesses rely on Mexican customers."
President Vicente Fox recently vowed to fight "the mother of all battles" against Mexican drug cartels, which analysts estimate make over $40 billion per year smuggling cocaine, marijuana and heroin into the United States.
Under Fox's government, the police have arrested record numbers of high-profile gangsters. But his efforts have sometimes inadvertently helped cause more violence, as rival gangs try to take over smuggling routes controlled by mobsters who have been jailed or killed.
"A power vacuum within criminal organizations resulting from the imprisonment of several of their leaders along the Mexico-U.S. border continues to contribute to a deterioration of public safety in the region," the new advisory states.
In recent months, the government has sent hundreds of federal police and soldiers onto the streets of border cities, including Nuevo Laredo, to bolster security.
However, the extra police presence has failed to stop the bloodshed. There have been nearly 400 drug-related killings in northern Mexico since January, according to Mexico City's El Universal newspaper.
Tuesday's travel advisory warns that In some cases, assailants wore full or partial police uniforms and used vehicles that resemble police vehicles, suggesting that some elements of the police might be involved.From the Houston Chronicle.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Three state Education Department employees have been fired and a fourth has been told she will be fired for sending lewd e-mails to colleagues.
Suggestive e-mails were received by about 25 Education Department employees from Jan. 14 to Feb. 14, and some were from employees at other state agencies. The e-mails tracked by investigators included nude videos and pictures, lewd animation, profanity and suggestive remarks.
The firings follows a report last week that the city of Tampa put disciplinary letters in the files of 44 employees for sending e-mail containing sexually explicit and suggestive photographs on their work computers.
CARROLL, Iowa - City officials are perplexed over the discovery of mysterious chunks of flesh that have been clogging up city water lines. A month ago, city officials sent a hunk of meaty-fatty tissue to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for identification.
As they wait for those results, three similar chunks of fleshy material were found on Thursday in another water main during routine flushing, Public Works Director Randy Krauel said.
A city worker discovered the blockage when a diffuser on a fire hydrant became clogged, Krauel said.
Additional flushing removed two other chunks from water mains, he said.
"Again, we're really not sure what it is," he said. "The pieces kind of looked like the first one. There was no hair and no real bone. There were varying degrees of the substance, whatever it is."
He speculated that the flesh likely belonged to an animal that crawled into a water main somewhere.
The new chunks also were sent to a state lab for identification.
Krauel said drinking water was not affected by the blockages and is safe to drink.
Chlorine levels have been temporarily increased as a precaution, he said.
Thanks to NY Daily News.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled people convicted of crimes overseas can own guns in the United States.
U.S. law bars felons who have been convicted in "any court" from owning guns, but Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the majority, reasoned the law should not apply to foreign convictions because courts abroad often have fewer procedural protections for defendants.
Breyer was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
He wrote, "We have no reason to believe that Congress considered the added enforcement advantages flowing from inclusion of foreign crimes, weighing them against, say, the potential unfairness of preventing those with inapt foreign convictions from possessing guns."
Breyer argued that Congress can rewrite the law if it intended foreign convictions to apply.
Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, argued in dissent that Congress was literal in its intent that "any" court conviction applied.
The paragon of virtue and integrity, the Senator says:
"The sad anniversary of the Abu Ghraib torture scandal is now upon us. It's an appropriate time to reflect on how well we've responded as a nation. The images of cruelty, and perversion are still difficult to look at a year later."
On July 19th will Sentator Kennedy give us a speech on the Chappaquiddick anniversary?
How about this senator ?
"The sad anniversary of Chappaquiddick is now upon us. It's an appropriate time to reflect on how well I've responded as a human being. The images of cruelty, and perversion are still difficult to look at years later."
Lecture us on this. Let that accented shrill voice fill the hall breaking at the appropriate points as you tell us why you left Mary Jo to drown. Tell us how you were you too drunk, too scared, to save her? Explain how if it were not for your family connections you might just be getting out of prison now. Speak to us of that anniversary you blood stained, whiskey laden, pathetic excuse for a man. We'll wait to hear from you on July 19th. Until then shut the hell up!
The civilian agents of the Sûreté de l'Etat, the equivalent of Britain's MI5, are already among the most powerless intelligence operatives in the Western world, with no right even to tap telephones.
Now, they have had their handguns confiscated on the orders of their general administrator, Koen Dassen, a Belgian newspaper reported. A working group has been established to work out who is armed and why, after Mr Dassen realised that controls were "worse than approximate".
Saar Vanderplaetsen, the chief spokesman for Laurette Onkelinx, the justice minister, confirmed that Sûreté agents had had to hand in their weapons, pending new rules and regulations.
She was unable to confirm reports that officers had gone on a virtual work-to-rule since being disarmed, including avoidance of risky missions. The exact numbers and missions of Sûreté agents are kept confidential.
Miss Vanderplaetsen said: "For the moment, everybody has had to hand in their guns because we had this incident, in October or November last year, during which an agent shot at another."
Mrs Onkelinx was reportedly distressed that she only learnt of the incident, in which no one was hurt, from the press four months after it took place in Brussels.
The agent suspected of firing his gun in the general direction of his colleague's head was said by the media to be an alcoholic with a dependency on anti-depressants.
Belgium's internal security arrangements have proved a source of frustration for their Western counterparts.
Lax passport security helped Tunisian militants based in Brussels to supply fake Belgian passports to the men who killed Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Afghan commander and enemy of the Taliban, in 2001.
How do we treat Belgian passports here, with a wary eye I would hope.
Monday, April 25, 2005
I just heard Will Marshall, the president of the Progressive Policy Institute deliver a message regarding the following.
The 2004 election revealed a striking gap in the political leanings of people who are married with children: They favored the Republican, President George W. Bush, over the Democrat, Sen. John Kerry, by nearly 20 percentage points -- 59 percent to 40 percent. This married parent gap must now take its place in the popular political lexicon alongside previously established voter gaps such as the gender gap (in which women generally lean Democratic and men lean Republican) and the race gap (in which minorities lean heavily Democratic and whites lean heavily Republican).
It was not always like this. Democrats were successful in competing for married parents in the very recent past. Bill Clinton only narrowly lost them in 1992, and then narrowly won them in 1996. Bush opened up a 15-point married parent gap over Al Gore in the 2000 election (winning the group 56 percent to 41 percent). But Clinton's success shows that Democrats should be able to compete for married parents again in the future -- or even win them.
Many Democrats have come to realize in the aftermath of their defeat last November that they must strike out beyond their traditional base of support if they want to start winning national elections again. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), for example, has begun to appeal to pro-life voters. And newly elected Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean has pledged to reach out to evangelical Christians.
But Democrats will not do better with married parents until they recognize one simple truth: Parents have a beef with popular culture. As they see it, the culture is getting ever more violent, materialistic, and misogynistic, and they are losing their ability to protect their kids from morally corrosive images and messages. To be credible, Democrats must acknowledge the legitimacy of parents' beef and make it unmistakably clear that they are on parents' side.
Notice, there is nothing here about believing in what you're saying, but merely acknowledging the other side. If I don't buy into your beliefs, I can acknowledge all I want but it doesn't really put me on your side. This is more of the "I'm ok you're ok" bullcrap!
Howard Dean can reach out all he wants but as long as he advocates positions that are anathema to my beliefs we are at an impasse politically. For heaven's sake believe in something for its eternal value, not for how many votes it will get you!
SAN FRANCISCO Sierra Club members today rejected a proposal to change the group's stance on immigration.For the second time in two years -- members of the environmental group voted to stay neutral on U-S immigration policy.Club officials say more than 15 percent -- or 122-thousand-308 members -- voted. They ran five-to-one in opposition of the proposal.A network of club activists seeking to limit immigration backed five of their own candidates and pushed a "yes" vote. They say Americans are the world's biggest consumers, and that when immigrants come to this country they significantly increase their consumption.
But opponents argued that wading into the politics of immigration will alienate allies such as labor unions and civil rights groups, and won't slow population growth worldwide.
I see, it's screw the Americans but ok for illegals! These guys are too dumb to know they are being used.
Article from the Sydney Morning Herald.
An Afghan man killed his daughter for allegedly committing adultery, officials said on Sunday, but denied reports that she was stoned to death.
Two officials said Mohammed Aslam killed his daughter Amina on Thursday in a remote village of Badakhshan province called Gazan, about 310 kilometres north-west of Kabul.
Media reports said the woman was stoned by villagers who caught her in the home of a man other than her husband - a punishment allowed under Islamic law and more commonly reported under the former Taliban government.
But police said the reports were mistaken and that Aslam carried out the killing alone.
"With the fundamentalists and the hardline mullahs who are in that area, these things are not impossible," said Shah Jahan Noori, the provincial police chief, told The Associated Press. "But I know that in this case she was not stoned."
Deputy Governor Haji Shamsul Rahman said the woman went to the house of a man called Mohammed Karim last Wednesday evening.
He said Karim's father had spied the couple, locked them in the house and called people from the village to witness their supposed crime.
Mohammed Aslam was then summoned.
"According to our report, when Amina's father took his daughter back home, the father killed his daughter out of shame," Rahman told AP.
Neither he nor the police chief knew exactly how she was killed.
Karim was beaten by the villagers "as a lesson to the other young people" but escaped with his life, Rahman said.
The officials said a team was on its way to the village to detain Mohammed Aslam, Mohammed Karim, Karim's father and the woman's husband, who had recently returned from Iran.
Noori said a woman had been stoned to death in the same village in the 1990s, when the Taliban ruled much of Afghanistan - but not the far north-west where this week's slaying occurred.
"People seem to assume because it happened once, it must have happened again," Noori said. "But we have a new government now in Afghanistan, and the judges, not the people, should decide who was at fault."
I get the feeling that some of these people think that as long as she wasn't stoned, the rest is ok. I know, it's a different culture. The truth is, it's outright barbarism.
The 58-year-old disclosed yesterday that she has had problems confronting the reality of ageing and spoke out against the double standards afforded to ageing male pop stars.
Faithfull, who has two grandchildren, has been told by her manager and partner not to discuss her "granny status" in interviews because it reminds people that she is growing old.
"I'd like to know about Bob Dylan's grandchildren but you wouldn't ask about them as he is a man," she said. "If I were a man you wouldn't ask me about such questions."
The 1960s star admitted seeking help in order to come to terms with her fading beauty. "It's very hard having been so beautiful when young," she said. "It's the first time I've seen a psychiatrist since I came off drugs."
She struggled for many years with a heroin addiction and during the 1970s made several suicide attempts. Since she stopped taking drugs 20 years ago her only vice, she said, has been smoking.
What the heck is she smoking? She has trouble with the "reality of ageing"? She obviously has trouble with reality period. Another hippie who never grew up, she blames the media for her lack of self esteem. If you were a man, Marianne, you'd still be self centered and shallow. The only change would be in your plumbing.
Thanks to the telegraph.
Norway's Supreme Court supported decisions refusing Conoco Phillips the right to fire two workers who surfed the Internet for pornographic images on company time.
This concept of looking at court decisions in other countries to help make rulings here is a very dangerous development. I'm sure the liberals would love to have a rainbow coalition of jurisprudence that would incorporate elements from Cuba, China and Iran. Let's get Jimmy Carter working on that right away, shall we. I'm sure Ramsey Clark, Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte would be eager to join the panel along with the usual suspects.
People will also be banned from dyeing their pets' fur or "any form of animal mutilation" for merely aesthetic motives such as docking dogs' tails, under the law about to be passed in the northern Italian city.
"In Turin it will be illegal to turn one's dog into a ridiculous fluffy toy," the city's La Stampa daily reported.
Italians can already be fined up to 10,000 euros and spend a year in prison if found guilty of torturing or abandoning their pets, but Turin's new rules go into much greater detail.
Dogs may be led for walks by people on bicycles, the rules say, "but not in a way that would tire the animal too much."
Il Duce would be proud.
Thanks to CNN.
Chavez said that the other detained Americans were journalists caught while taking pictures of El Palito refinery, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Caracas. They were released, Chavez said.
This guy has mad dictator disease or something. Paranoia is running rampant. Or is it that he wants, like his idol Fidel, to keep his ugly face in the news? These pathetic little attention cravers may someday get their wish. It would behoove them to remember that picture of Saddam after he was pulled from his nest.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
This article from the Sydney Morning Herald:
A Muslim sheik told followers at a public meeting in Bankstown that women who were raped had incited men's lust by dressing immodestly and only had themselves to blame.
Sydney-born Sheik Faiz Mohamad, 34, a former boxer who teaches at the Global Islamic Youth Centre in Liverpool, made the comments during a lecture for more than 1000 people at Bankstown Town Hall.
The Sun-Herald has a recording of the March 18 speech in which Sheik Faiz said: "A victim of rape every minute somewhere in the world. Why? No one to blame but herself. She displayed her beauty to the entire world . . .
"Strapless, backless, sleeveless, nothing but satanic skirts, slit skirts, translucent blouses, miniskirts, tight jeans: all this to tease man and appeal to his carnal nature."
He compared a woman dressed in such a way to a sheep. "Would you put this sheep that you adore in the middle of hungry wolves? No . . . It would be devoured. It's the same situation here. You're putting this precious girl in front of lustful, satanic eyes of hungry wolves. What is the consequence? Catastrophic devastation, sexual harassment, perversion, promiscuity."The invitation to the $15-a-head lecture stipulated modest dress and "strict male and female segregation". It was promoted as a lecture about "death" in flyers and on the website of the ICRA Youth Centre in Lidcombe, an Islamic community group which sponsored the evening.
The ICRA and Faiz's Global Islamic Youth Centre have broken away from the Lakemba Mosque, the main place of worship for Sydney's Lebanese Muslims, because, a former associate says, Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali, 64, is too moderate.
Sheik Faiz also exhorted Muslim women to wear the hijab head covering as "a liberation from male scrutiny".
"It's sad to see today how young girls are being brought up," he said. "The way they dress, their hairstyles . . . layers of make-up, which they just shovel on in order to remove afterwards, tanning out in the sun, bronzed, shiny so she can shine the lustful eyes of men; extreme dieting, working out. Why? So she can get the best figure, but not for her husband."
He also condemned the soap opera Days Of Our Lives, which he said made wives negative towards their husbands, and said "premarital sex is fashionable, that manipulation, deceit, cheating, lying falsehood are all essential ways to get the man or lady of your dreams".
Sheik Faiz declined to be interviewed. No doubt, he probably had to hit the showers. And what about that sheep adoration analogy? I'll bet there are a few lambs following him going Daaad. This is a sick, sick culture. These guys need therapy, I mean a trip straight to Vienna, stat.
Think NOW or any other liberal women's group will jump on this? Not likely!
The rivalry between John Kerry and Hillary Rodham Clinton turned testy last week when the failed presidential candidate angrily chewed out a fellow senator for touting the former first lady as the next American president.
The multimillionare Dayton has a reputation as a bit of a colorful figure on Capitol Hill.
Thanks to Boston Herald.
The bleeding heart organizations are decrying the Army's findings that exonerate our generals of abusing prisoners in Iraq. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the ACLU all jumped on the "I hate America" bandwagon. But, I particularly enjoyed this quote.
The abuse has "tarred America's image in the world community," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero.
If anything has tarred America's image, it is this subversive organization that gnaws at the underpinnings of our great republic.
For ways to combat this pernicious and insidious group please go to Stop the ACLU.
From the NY Daily News:
Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, star of a new flick about the aftermath of 9/11, believes the United States "is responsible in some way" for the devastating terror attacks.
Gyllenhaal, 27, made the comments at the Tribeca Film Festival, where her new movie "The Great New Wonderful" - which has a plot centered on the destruction of the World Trade Center - premiered Friday.
"I think what's good about the movie is that it deals with 9/11 in such a subtle, open way that I think it allows it to be more complicated than just, 'Oh, look at these poor New Yorkers and how hard it was for them,'" Gyllenhaal told the NY1 cable channel.
"Because I think America has done reprehensible things and is responsible in some way and so I think the delicacy with which it's dealt allows that to sort of creep in," she added.
A lower East Side native, Gyllenhaal's new film focuses on a handful of New Yorkers coping with their pain about a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror strike.
The 27-year-old vaulted to stardom after appearing in "Secretary" as a mousy assistant.
The film festival where Gyllenhaal spoke was launched by actor Robert De Niro in 2002 as a way to help scarred lower Manhattan rebound.
Entitled The media Meltdown it is well worth reading.
April 24, 2005 -- IF you awake before dawn you probably hear a daily sound that may become as anachronistic as the clatter of horses' hooves on urban cobblestones. The sound is the slap of the morning paper on the sidewalk.
The circulation of daily U.S. newspapers is 55.2 million, down from 62.3 million in 1990. The percentages of adults who say they read a paper "yesterday" are ominous:
65 and older: 60 percent.
50-64: 52 percent
30-49: 39 percent
18-29: 23 percent
Americans 8 to 18 spend an average of 6 hours and 21 minutes a day with media of all sorts, but just 43 minutes with print media. The combined viewership of the network evening newscasts is 28.8 million, down from 52.1 million in 1980. The median age of viewers is 60. Hence the sponsorship of news programming by Metamucil and Fixodent. Perhaps we are entering what David T.Z. Mindich, formerly of CNN, calls "a post-journalism age." Writing in The Wilson Quarterly, in a section on "the collapse of big media," he rejects the opinion of a CBS official that "time is on our side in that as you get older, you tend to get more interested in the world around you." Mindich cites research showing that "a particular age cohort's reading habits do not change much with time." Baby boomers who became adults in the 1970s consume less journalism than their parents did. And although in 1972 nearly half of those 18 to 22 read a newspaper every day, now less than a quarter do. In 1972 nearly three-quarters of those 34 to 37 read a paper daily; now only about a third do. This means, Mindich says, "fewer kids are growing up in households in which newspapers matter." The young are voracious consumers of media, but not of journalism. Sixty-eight percent of children 8 to 18 have televisions in their rooms; 33 percent have computers. And if they could only have one entertainment medium, a third would choose the computer, a quarter would choose television. They carry their media around with them: 79 percent of 8-to-18-year-olds have portable CD, tape or MP3 players. Fifty-five percent have hand-held video game players. Sony's PlayStation Portable, which plays music, games and movies, sold more than 500,000 units in the first two days after its March debut. Also writing in The Wilson Quarterly, Terry Eastland, publisher of The Weekly Standard, notes that the old media establishment "emerged at a time when Americans generally respected those in authority." When that respect began to recede, establishment media actually gained strength. But the liberal coloration of the big media provoked the emergence of such rivals as Rush Limbaugh (1988) and Fox News (1996). Consumers of news now understand that, as Eastland says, "news is a thing made, a product, and that media with certain beliefs and values once made the news and then presented it in authoritative terms, as though beyond criticism. Thus did Walter Cronkite famously end his newscasts, 'And that's the way it is.' That way, period." When, after the misreported Tet offensive of 1968 (a U.S. military victory described as a crushing defeat), Cronkite declared Vietnam a "stalemate," he spoke, as Mindich says, to "a captive audience." Nearly 80 percent of television sets in use at the dinner hour were tuned to one of the three network newscasts, and Cronkite had the largest share. If that had been the broadcast marketplace in 2004, John Kerry would be president: The three networks reported the Swift boat veterans attacks on Kerry only after coverage of the attacks by cable news and talk radio forced Kerry to respond. The networks were very interested in charges pertaining to a Vietnam-era story about George W. Bush's alleged dereliction of National Guard duties — until bloggers, another manifestation of new, small and nimble media, shredded it. The fragmentation of the media market by technology is especially dramatic in radio. Just a blink ago the widespread lament was that a few providers, such as Clear Channel with 1,200 U.S. stations, were producing homogenized programming for a single mass market. Suddenly there is satellite radio. XM's more than 150 channels include Fungus ("punk/hardcore/ska"), Squizz ("hard alternative") and NASCAR2 ("in-race driver audio"). Sirius' more than 120 channels include one that is all Elvis, 24/7. The future of the big media that the young have abandoned is not certain. But do you remember when an automobile manufacturer, desperately seeking young customers, plaintively promised that its cars were "not your father's Oldsmobile"? Do you remember Oldsmobiles?
The combined viewership of the network evening newscasts is 28.8 million, down from 52.1 million in 1980. The median age of viewers is 60. Hence the sponsorship of news programming by Metamucil and Fixodent. Perhaps we are entering what David T.Z. Mindich, formerly of CNN, calls "a post-journalism age."
Writing in The Wilson Quarterly, in a section on "the collapse of big media," he rejects the opinion of a CBS official that "time is on our side in that as you get older, you tend to get more interested in the world around you." Mindich cites research showing that "a particular age cohort's reading habits do not change much with time."
Baby boomers who became adults in the 1970s consume less journalism than their parents did. And although in 1972 nearly half of those 18 to 22 read a newspaper every day, now less than a quarter do. In 1972 nearly three-quarters of those 34 to 37 read a paper daily; now only about a third do. This means, Mindich says, "fewer kids are growing up in households in which newspapers matter."
The young are voracious consumers of media, but not of journalism. Sixty-eight percent of children 8 to 18 have televisions in their rooms; 33 percent have computers. And if they could only have one entertainment medium, a third would choose the computer, a quarter would choose television. They carry their media around with them: 79 percent of 8-to-18-year-olds have portable CD, tape or MP3 players. Fifty-five percent have hand-held video game players. Sony's PlayStation Portable, which plays music, games and movies, sold more than 500,000 units in the first two days after its March debut.
Also writing in The Wilson Quarterly, Terry Eastland, publisher of The Weekly Standard, notes that the old media establishment "emerged at a time when Americans generally respected those in authority." When that respect began to recede, establishment media actually gained strength. But the liberal coloration of the big media provoked the emergence of such rivals as Rush Limbaugh (1988) and Fox News (1996).
Consumers of news now understand that, as Eastland says, "news is a thing made, a product, and that media with certain beliefs and values once made the news and then presented it in authoritative terms, as though beyond criticism. Thus did Walter Cronkite famously end his newscasts, 'And that's the way it is.' That way, period."
When, after the misreported Tet offensive of 1968 (a U.S. military victory described as a crushing defeat), Cronkite declared Vietnam a "stalemate," he spoke, as Mindich says, to "a captive audience." Nearly 80 percent of television sets in use at the dinner hour were tuned to one of the three network newscasts, and Cronkite had the largest share.
If that had been the broadcast marketplace in 2004, John Kerry would be president: The three networks reported the Swift boat veterans attacks on Kerry only after coverage of the attacks by cable news and talk radio forced Kerry to respond. The networks were very interested in charges pertaining to a Vietnam-era story about George W. Bush's alleged dereliction of National Guard duties — until bloggers, another manifestation of new, small and nimble media, shredded it.
The fragmentation of the media market by technology is especially dramatic in radio. Just a blink ago the widespread lament was that a few providers, such as Clear Channel with 1,200 U.S. stations, were producing homogenized programming for a single mass market. Suddenly there is satellite radio. XM's more than 150 channels include Fungus ("punk/hardcore/ska"), Squizz ("hard alternative") and NASCAR2 ("in-race driver audio"). Sirius' more than 120 channels include one that is all Elvis, 24/7.
The future of the big media that the young have abandoned is not certain. But do you remember when an automobile manufacturer, desperately seeking young customers, plaintively promised that its cars were "not your father's Oldsmobile"? Do you remember Oldsmobiles?
Saturday, April 23, 2005
L'Chayim! (To Life).
Briefly, the holiday's name Pesach meaning passing over or protection in Hebrew, is taken from the direction given, by God, to Moses. To free the Israelites from Egypt, God planned to kill the first born of both man and beast. To protect themselves, the Israelites were instructed to mark their homes with lamb's blood so that God would pass over them. (Exodus 12:23).
Obviously, this also has great significance to Christians. Washed in the blood of the lamb, death will pass over us. He is risen!
The Hobart Anzac Day committee says there are alternatives to german shepherd dogs participating in the march on Monday.
Annette Batchelor wanted to march wearing her grandparents' medals, with her two shepherds to honour dog handlers and their animals.
But she was rejected on the grounds the breed was used to patrol prisoner-of-war camps and some former POWs or people from other cultures may be offended.
The president of the Hobart Anzac Day Committee, Mike Priest, says instead Ms Batchelor is marching with her dogs in the Glenorchy parade.
"The committee's made a decision, there's nothing I can do about that.
"But if she likes to contact me after this parade in Hobart, I'm sure we can work out a banner that would be appropriate with recognising the dogs and that could be paraded."
From the Denver Post:
An edited version of the Pledge of Allegiance has raised a controversy at Everitt Middle School in Wheat Ridge.
Eighth-grade counselor Margo Lucero, filling in for absent principal Kathleen Norton, changed a portion of the Pledge from "one nation under God" to "one nation under your belief system," while on the public- address system Wednesday morning.
"She said, 'Yes, I said that because I believe that there should be separation between church and school. I believe that everybody should have their own beliefs and that we shouldn't have to say, 'under God.'
Everyone needs something to believe in, Margo, I believe you shouldn't be allowed near children, never mind allowed to teach them.
Why would we allow someone who can't follow rules to teach our children. If she disagrees with something there are appropriate forums in which to express yourself. She chose not to do that either out of rebellion or stupidity. Either one is an inappropriate role model for students. Then we wonder what's wrong with our school system. Clue #1. Margo Lucero.
Ok, I know it happened in England, but how long before we get a stupid ruling like this here? Can anyone say, "Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals"? How about the Supremes quoting this as precedent? It could happen!
Using the word "immigrant" can justify treating an assault as racially aggravated, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.
The court decided that a judge should not have thrown out a charge of racially aggravated assault against a woman who attacked a GP after referring to him as "an immigrant doctor".
Under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, an offence is racially aggravated if the offender demonstrates hostility based on the victim's membership of a racial group. Judge Breen decided at Luton Crown Court in January that the word "immigrant" did not meet this definition. But three appeal judges said yesterday he should have left the matter to the jury. The case was referred to the Court of Appeal on a point of law by the Attorney General.
The court heard that the defendant, Mrs D, took her three-year-old son to a surgery because he had a rash. Dr Hair Newal said she should come back if the symptoms developed. When Mrs D demanded a diagnosis, he suggested she find another doctor.
She replied: "I can't find another doctor. All the good doctors are taken up by asylum seekers and I am left with an immigrant doctor."
Thanks again to the telegraph.
The following article on China's interest in the Sudan and its support of an abomination of a government should indicate that we are on a collision course with this communist nation. North Korea and Iran pale in comparison to the enormous threat posed by China. The battle for resources is on and I'm afraid China is winning. Please read the article below.
A metallic maze of chimneys, pipes and vents glitters on the horizon in the desert outside Khartoum, dominating the landscape for miles around. This new oil refinery is the jewel in the crown of Sudan's military regime. It forms the vital artery of a thriving oil industry that poured £1 billion into government coffers last year.
Without this windfall gain - likely to be far larger this year - President Omar al-Bashir could not maintain his military machine, let alone wage war against rebels in the western region of Darfur. Nor could he hope to withstand the international pressure that his bloody campaign in Darfur has brought upon him.Moreover, the oil that started to flow as recently as 1999 has given President Bashir an indispensable international ally.
Almost unnoticed by the outside world, China has become the key player in Sudan's oil industry.
Beijing has invested £8 billion in Sudanese oil through the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), a state-owned monolith. The cost of Khartoum's new refinery alone was about £350 million.
Freshly painted billboards in Khartoum carry pictures of smiling Chinese oil workers and the slogan: "CNPC - Your close friend and faithful partner". But this faithful friend is secretive about its stake in Africa's largest country. China's embassy in Khartoum and its commercial office declined to talk about oil.
A CNPC spokesman said: "We are a shareholder in a number of operating companies here. We conduct our operations through them. If you want to learn more, you must contact the mines and energy ministry."
Yet CNPC's annual report discloses that about half of all its overseas oil comes from Sudan. It deployed 10,000 Chinese workers to build a 900-mile pipeline, linking Heglig oilfield in Kordofan province with Port Sudan on the Red Sea.
The company's report trumpets this achievement as its "first long-distance crude pipeline constructed and operated abroad".
In fact, China shamelessly curried favour with Mr Bashir by speeding up this mammoth project so it could be finished in June 1999 - the tenth anniversary of the coup that brought him to power.
China is now dependent on Sudan for seven per cent of all its oil imports. Hence Beijing has gone to great efforts to shield Mr Bashir.
Last September, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1564, threatening Sudan with oil sanctions unless it curbed the violence in Darfur. But China immediately rendered this meaningless by pledging to veto any bid to impose an embargo.
Critics accuse China of being Sudan's chief international protector.
"It's very clear that's what is happening," said Georgette Gagnon, the deputy director of the Africa desk at Human Rights Watch.
"China is now the largest foreign investor in Sudan so it has an economic interest in ensuring that the Sudanese government is not penalised too harshly. It has been opposed to sanctions from day one."
Beijing needs Sudan because its appetite for oil is insatiable.
China's economic boom means that oil consumption is forecast to grow by at least 10 per cent every year for the foreseeable future. If so, China's domestic reserves will be depleted in the next two decades.
So the quest for overseas oil is one of Beijing's central goals. On Thursday China signed a "strategic partnership" with Nigeria, a major oil exporter, and has oil interests in at least three other African countries.
In its scramble for Africa, China portrays itself as a more benign partner than the colonial powers and the modern-day multinational companies.
President Hu Jintao told an Asia-Africa summit in Jakarta yesterday: "In pursuit of world peace and common development, China will always stand by, and work through thick and thin, with developing countries." America has already snapped-up the world's largest reserves. Saudi Arabia and Iraq - with 370 billion barrels between them, 45 per cent of the world's total - are effectively closed to China.
Sudan, by contrast, is a no-go area for western oil companies. American investment was officially banned in 1997 and European multinationals steer clear of the avalanche of protest that would accompany any dealings with Mr al-Bashir's regime. China, however, has no such scruples.
So far, Sudan has only 563 million barrels of proven reserves, but the energy ministry estimates that at least five billion barrels lie beneath its deserts.
Sudan's few independent voices say this has brought disastrous consequences. "The crisis in Sudan is being fuelled by the issue of oil," said William Ezekiel, editor of the Khartoum Monitor. "The government is ready to ally with Satan if it can protect its own interests."
Spain presented the papacy of Benedict XVI with its first big challenge yesterday when the Vatican and the Socialist government of the Roman Catholic country traded blows in a heated row over its plan to legalise homosexual marriage.
The dispute erupted after the government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero drove a bill through the Cortes on Thursday that will allow homosexuals to marry and adopt children.
The Vatican hit back yesterday by advising Spanish Catholic civil servants to refuse to officiate at homosexual wedding ceremonies, even if it meant risking losing their jobs.
Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, the head of the Pontifical Council on the Family, said the legislation was iniquitous.
"A law as profoundly iniquitous as this one is not an obligation, it cannot be an obligation. One cannot say that a law is right simply because it is law,'' he told the Corriere della Sera newspaper. Cardinal Trujillo said that municipal officials asked to perform homosexual marriage ceremonies should object on grounds of conscience.
"I am talking of every profession linked to implementation of the law,'' he said.
NEW DELHI -- Only a quarter of condoms made in India are used for sex, most of the others are used to make saris, toys and bathroom slippers, a newspaper reported Saturday.
Sari makers also turn the condom's inside out, place them on their fingers and use the high-quality lubricant to polish gold and silver threads used in the traditional Indian women's outfits.India manufactures more than 1 billion condoms annually to check population growth and curb the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Friday, April 22, 2005
Arizona State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has charged the U.S. Border Patrol with having a double standard when it comes to prosecuting individuals who cross the U.S. border with Mexico illegally. During a visit this week to the Mexico-U.S. border, the ABC Radio Networks syndicated talker and Fox News personality stepped over a fence into Mexico and moments later stepped back over into the U.S. Sinema charges that action means Hannity broke U.S. law by reentering the U.S. illegally and that although the Border Patrol saw Hannity's action agents took no steps against him or made any attempt to arrest him. Hannity was in Arizona this week to highlight the crisis of illegal immigration between the U.S. and Mexico. Shows the utter hypocrisy and the willingness to use any club which comes to hand so typical of leftwing tactics these days. In the end, I can't imagine there being much result from this other than a yet firmer conviction on the right that the left has become alarmingly stupid.
Well said, and here's a little info on this left wing nut case.
A former Green Party member, Sinema sought the legislative seat in 2002 as an independent. Now a registered Democrat, she's been visible for several years because of her involvement on a variety of issues, including abortion rights and protesting the war in Iraq.
"My political stance has never changed," Sinema said of her decision to join the Democratic Party. "The party's platform is right in line with my beliefs."
Kyrsten has been a school social worker for seven years, working with children and families in Phoenix's Sunnyslope community. She currently operates a Family Resource Center at Shaw Butte Elementary School, with a focus on community development, adult and community education, advocacy for undocumented families, and writing and administering grants. She earned her M.S.W. from ASU's School of Social Work. In addition to her career as a school social worker, Kyrsten is active at the local and state levels as a progressive political activist. In the 2000 election cycle, she worked as the campaign manager for a Clean Elections candidate for the State House of Representatives. She was the state media contact for Ralph Nader's 2000 Presidential Bid, and has ran for Phoenix City Council and the Arizona House of Representatives. She is a member of many organizations fighting for social justice, including ACLU, NOW, Planned Parenthood, League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, AZ Women's Political Caucus, Arizona Citizen's Action, Independent Progressive Politics Network, and the AZ Alliance for Peaceful Justice.
What a resume for leading looney of Arizona.
Democrats in the House are blocking the Ethics Committee so they can protect their own, Speaker Dennis Hastert told Sean Hannity.
"There's a reason that they don't want to go to the ethics process and as long as they can keep someone dangling out there like they have with Tom DeLay, they take great glee in that," the Illinois Republican said.
The following update was on CNN.
Three sources close to House GOP leaders said the Democrats being targeted include Pelosi, of California, Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio and Rep. Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania.
Pelosi was fined by the Federal Election Commission in November 2002 for improperly operating two political action committees.
McDermott has been the subject of a long-running court case triggered by a 1998 eavesdropping incident involving Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio.
The Washington Times reported House documents show a 2001 trip Tubbs Jones took to Puerto Rico was improperly paid for by lobbyists. A spokeswomen for Tubbs Jones denied the charge and blamed the documentation on "human error."
Republicans say charges against Kanjorski date to 1998, when the 11-term congressman helped two Pennsylvania-based companies owned and run by his four nephews and daughter by earmarking more than $9 million in federal contracts and grants for the two firms.
Kanjorski insisted he has not profited personally from those deals. The companies, Cornerstone Technologies and Pennsylvania Micronics, research water-jet technology.
Kanjorski's controversial ties to the companies nearly resulted in House GOP leaders filing ethics charges against him in 2002.
Two senior investigators examining the Iraqi oil-for-food programme have resigned, complaining that their findings on the United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan were toned down.
The resignations left the UN-appointed inquiry into the conduct of the $64 billion (£35 billion) programme in disarray. Not only did it reveal serious dissent within the independent inquiry, but it will also fuel angry criticism from Washington over the conduct of the investigation, led by the former United States Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.
Nile Gardiner, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a critic of the UN, said yesterday: "If Mr Volcker's own top investigator no longer has confidence in the handling of the inquiry, then the Volcker commission no longer has an ounce of credibility."
One of Mr Volcker's fellow commissioners, Mark Pieth, a Swiss criminologist, acknowledged that two American members of staff had departed.
Mr Pieth agreed that they had been frustrated. "You follow a trail and you want to see people pick it up," he said of the two investigators. Mr Pieth explained that while last month's report on the dealings of Mr Annan and his son Kojo "told the story" that investigators had unearthed, the three man committee had "made different conclusions than they [the investigators] would have".
The investigators had not been censored, he said. The two had become "personally very involved" in the investigation. The two staff members were understood to be Robert Paton, a lawyer and former Federal Bureau of Investigation officer, and Miranda Duncan, a member of the Rockefeller family. Mr Paton was the senior investigative counsel in charge of the inquiry into allegations of impropriety against the two Annans. Ms Duncan worked on his team.
The report on the Annans was released last month. It found that Mr Annan had failed to ensure a rigorous inquiry after it emerged that his son was continuing to be paid by a firm called Cotecna, which had a multi-million pound UN contract to monitor oil-for-food shipments. It catalogued the longstanding relationship between a senior Cotecna employee, Michael Wilson, and the Annans and said that Mr Annan had asked Mr Wilson to get his son a job.
It also revealed that Mr Annan had lunch with his son and a French-Lebanese businessman called Pierre Mouselli. The younger Mr Annan and Mr Mouselli had earlier met a senior Iraqi diplomat in the hope of securing work connected to the oil-for-food programme, the report related.
The report also said that Kojo Annan had "intentionally deceived" his father, found that he was "not forthcoming" to the inquiry on secret payments from Cotecna, that he had "failed to cooperate fully" with the inquiry and that he has "refused to answer questions" about records he "belatedly" made available.
Kojo Annan was also found to have "actively participated in efforts by Cotecna to conceal the true nature of its continuing relationship with him". Within hours of the report being released, Kofi Annan said its findings amounted to an exoneration. But Mr Pieth and another commissioner, Justice Richard Goldstone, said that they did not.Thanks to the Telegraph.
Human rights advocates plan a series of boycotts and blockages from the Valley to the U.S.-Mexico border to protest legislation moving through the Arizona legislature and the Minuteman Project.
Activists from Riverside, Calif., plan to block the border between Douglas and Agua Prieta, Sonora, on May 1 to protest the Minuteman Project, a civilian border patrol that started in April in southeastern Arizona.
Despite objections from the mayors of the cities of Douglas and Agua Prieta, protest organizer Armando Navarro said he plans to bring 50 to 100 protesters to the border to call attention to the anti-immigrant sentiment growing in Arizona and across the country. The blockade is planned for "several hours," he said, at the port of entry on the Mexican side of the border.
Also May 1, activists plan to meet in Phoenix to organize a boycott of Arizona Cardinals football games to show opposition to anti-undocumented immigrant legislation moving through the state Legislature. The Cardinals are scheduled to play a football game in Mexico, and organizers plan to pressure the Mexican government to pick a team from another, more immigrant-friendly state, said Phoenix-based organizer Salvador Reza.
I wonder if the ACLU will be back to watch these guys or maybe they got so stoned while they were here they're still stumbling around in the desert.
The Minuteman Project was peaceful, let's see what happens with this bunch.
I say we give these California kooks a special Arizona welcome and treat them to a sample of the sentiment they're so interested in protesting.
I love Arizona. After living in New York and California it is a breath of fresh air in more ways than one. God bless Arizona.
This in from WorldNetDaily:
The Army reservist who was jailed for holding seven illegal aliens at gunpoint until Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff's deputies arrived will not be prosecuted as the action was determined to be a legal citizen's arrest.
County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced his decision today that Sgt. Patrick Haab did not commit a crime. He had been charged with seven counts of aggravated assault.
"This is a unique case with a very unique set of circumstances, and after a full analysis of the issues involved and the applicable law, prosecution is not appropriate," said Thomas.
Haab said he was acting in self-defense.
Arizona law conveys the legal right to make a citizen's arrest if a felony is being committed in the citizen's presence or a felony has been committed and the citizen has reasonable grounds to be believe the subject has committed it.
Thomas pointed out that one of the individuals arrested by Haab, has been charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office with engaging in human smuggling. The other six engaged in felony conduct by conspiring with the alleged "coyote."
The Mexican aliens gave differing accounts of the April 10 incident. While all seven said they were held at gunpoint and ordered facedown to the ground, their stories about what happened earlier conflict.
"They seem to be all over the place," said David Cantor, defense attorney for Haab, who is stationed Kalamazoo, Mich.
Some said Haab, who served two tours in Iraq, took the keys from the Chevy Suburban in which they were sitting, while others said another man Haab summoned took the keys.
One of the immigrants said a second man, whom authorities are still trying to find, pointed a gun Haab gave him at the group.
Haab was released from jail Thursday night on $10,000 cash bond.
Haab told authorities that he drew a pistol to stop a group of men from rushing him at an Interstate 8 rest stop. The men later were determined to be illegal aliens from Mexico.
Haab is from New Paris, Ind., and is assigned to the Army's 415th Civil Affairs Battalion from Kalamazoo, Mich. He currently lives in the Phoenix area suburb of Mesa.
Thomas pointed out that the force used to make a citizen's arrest must be reasonable under the circumstances. The illegal aliens were running and had access to a vehicle, he said. Haab's use of a firearm was determined to be in accordance with applicable Arizona law.
"This is not a green light to intimidate, threaten or detain anyone merely suspected of being in this country illegally," said Thomas. "Mere presence in the U.S. illegally is a crime, but not in itself a felony, so other factors must be present in order to justify a citizen's arrest. In this case, the other factor was the human smuggling."
Thursday, April 21, 2005
John Kerry(D-Mass.) and Byron Dorgan(D-N.D.) bring you a sinister amendment to do what Kerry likes to do...cover up questionable activity. Dorgan is another piece of work, with no real career in the private sector, he has fed at the public trough his whole life. An infamous pork barreler Dorgan also voted against eliminating the marriage penalty.
Here's the article.
WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats are quietly trying to kill a 10-year legal probe that implicates several senior Clinton administration appointees for obstruction of justice, the Daily News has learned.
The Democrats, saying that the $21 million investigation by Independent Counsel David Barrett should have ended long ago, succeeded in attaching an amendment to a spending bill Tuesday to cut off his funding by June 1.
But two sources close to the investigation said that if the legislation becomes law, it will thwart Barrett from making public a final report that names senior officials in the Clinton Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service who allegedly buried a tax fraud case involving former cabinet member Henry Cisneros.
"It's about obstruction of justice," said one of the sources. "People are willing to take drastic actions to kill this report."
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who introduced the amendment with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), said last week that the disgraced HUD secretary paid a $10,000 fine in 1999 for lying to the FBI and that then-President Bill Clinton pardoned Cisneros, so the probe "should have ended years ago."
Barrett's probe began in 1995 by looking into allegations that Cisneros, who was Clinton's secretary of Housing and Urban Development, lied to the FBI about payments to his mistress. It expanded years ago into a broader obstruction case involving alleged tax fraud, according to the sources.
The report will allege that Justice Department officials snuffed out a tax case against Cisneros and that the IRS sometimes audited Clinton critics without good cause.
Barrett's investigation was wrapped up two years ago, and his 400-page final report was submitted to a three-judge panel last August, said two sources.
Because those named in the report have until the end of June to refute Barrett's findings, Kerry and Dorgan's amendment would prevent its release.