Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Remember this self-affected frenchie foreign minister who spouted Chirac's anti-American propaganda before and during the Iraq war?
PARIS (AP) -- Shaken by the defeat of the European Union constitution, President Jacques Chirac appointed Dominique de Villepin, a loyalist who was France's voice against the Iraq war, as prime minister on Tuesday.
Villepin, formerly the interior minister, replaces Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who was dumped after voters on Sunday roundly rejected the EU charter in a referendum.
Villepin, 51, arrived at the presidential Elysee Palace just minutes after Chirac bid farewell to Raffarin with a handshake on the palace steps. Chirac charged Villepin with the task of forming a new government.
Villepin was Chirac's foreign minister during the Iraq war. He is best known for his eloquent defense of the French stance against a U.S.-led invasion.
More at The Washington Times.
U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints near the Mexican border are essential in stopping the flow of illegal aliens and drugs into America, say law-enforcement authorities, but permanent checkpoints in southern Arizona are not allowed.
While Border Patrol agents in Arizona accounted for more than half of the 1.15 million illegals caught last year, Congress -- led by Rep. Jim Kolbe, Arizona Republican -- steadfastly has approved appropriation bills that prohibit permanent checkpoints along a 260-mile section of the Arizona border known as the Tucson sector.
Tucson is the only one of 20 Border Patrol sectors nationwide not permitted to set up permanent checkpoints.
Last year, according to the Department of Homeland Security, agents working at permanent checkpoints in the other 19 sectors detained more than 51,000 illegal aliens -- about 140 a day -- and seized nearly 450,000 pounds of marijuana and cocaine, valued at more than $700 million.
Mr. Kolbe, senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, has vigorously argued that permanent checkpoints are not the best use of available Border Patrol resources, saying: "If it's permanent, then everyone knows where the checkpoint is and they just go around it."
In helping to draft legislation blocking the creation of permanent checkpoints in the Tucson sector, which he represents, Mr. Kolbe has said taxpayer funds could better be used "towards additional vehicles, night-vision gear, sensors, lights, fencing or other needed equipment."
While Mr. Kolbe has endorsed the use of "tactical mobile checkpoints that move from place to place," Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar, who formerly headed the Tucson sector, told a Senate subcommittee last month that permanent checkpoints south of Tucson would help agents apprehend more illegal aliens trying to sneak into the United States.
Mr. Aguilar testified before a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee that agents "cannot control our borders by merely enforcing the line," adding that the Border Patrol strategy "incorporates a defense-in-depth component" to include permanent checkpoints away from the border.
"Checkpoints are critical to our patrol efforts," he said. "Permanent checkpoints allow the Border Patrol to establish an important second layer of defense."
Border Patrol field agents in Arizona said the state's terrain, coupled with a limited number of highways, creates "choke points" ideal for permanent checkpoints, and that illegals who attempt to go around are targeted by mobile Border Patrol units routinely assigned as a part of a checkpoint operation.
They also said temporary checkpoints offer little if any protection against the elements, including temperatures in Arizona that often exceed 110 degrees, and that permanent checkpoints allow for the installation of improved radio and telephone communications.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Robert C. Bonner, who oversees the Border Patrol, told a House committee this month that permanent checkpoints are "critical" in controlling illegal immigration, adding that CBP cannot secure the border unless "our apprehensions demonstrate the futility of attempting to enter the United States illegally."
In testimony before the House Government Reform Committee, Mr. Bonner said permanent checkpoints "deny major routes of egress from the borders to smugglers intent on delivering people, drugs and other contraband."
The issue of permanent checkpoints is under review by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and a report is due shortly. Kristen Hellmer, spokeswoman for Mr. Kolbe, said the GAO review is continuing and that the congressman had met with investigators.
In 1997, Mr. Kolbe successfully killed a $1 million allocation by Congress for the construction of a permanent checkpoint on Interstate 19 north of Nogales, after area residents complained it would disrupt traffic and lead to increased numbers of illegal aliens crossing through residential areas.
From The Washington Times.
I wonder if she was wearing white?
Doctors had to be called to separate the bride and best man after they were caught in the act during a wedding in Croatia.
The couple were trapped together by a muscle spasm after a friend of the groom walked in on them as they had sex in the toilets.
Unable to be pulled apart, the couple had to endure a procession of wedding guests who came to see what they had been doing before doctors could turn up.
Unable to help, they had to transport the pair on a stretcher to the local hospital where she was given an injection to relax her muscles, allowing the best man to get free.
The wedding party in Varazdin, Croatia, continued after the groom announced the celebrations were to mark his divorce rather than his wedding, reported daily Slobodna Dalmacija.
Monday, May 30, 2005
According to American Border Patrol residents living near the San Pedro River and the Mexican border in Cochise County, Arizona, encountered heavily armed Spanish- speaking people last night. In one incident, when a resident turned on an exterior light the intruders fired a burst from an automatic weapon. The light was extinguished. Another resident encountered a man in his yard carrying an automatic weapon. The man said, with a heavy Mexican accent, "go inside!" "The Border Patrol wouldn't get near these guys." one resident reported. "A UAV was orbiting the action, however," he added.
The History of Memorial Day
It was 1866 and the United States was recovering from the long and bloody Civil War between the North and the South. Surviving soldiers came home, some with missing limbs, and all with stories to tell. Henry Welles, a drugstore owner in Waterloo, New York, heard the stories and had an idea. He suggested that all the shops in town close for one day to honor the soldiers who were killed in the Civil War and were buried in the Waterloo cemetery. On the morning of May 5, the townspeople placed flowers, wreaths and crosses on the graves of the Northern soldiers in the cemetery. At about the same time, Retired Major General Jonathan A. Logan planned another ceremony, this time for the soldiers who survived the war. He led the veterans through town to the cemetery to decorate their comrades' graves with flags.
It was not a happy celebration, but a memorial. The townspeople called it Decoration Day.
In Retired Major General Logan's proclamation of Memorial Day, he declared:
"The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country and during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit."
The two ceremonies were joined in 1868, and northern states commemorated the day on May 30. The southern states commemorated their war dead on different days. Children read poems and sang civil war songs and veterans came to school wearing their medals and uniforms to tell students about the Civil War. Then the veterans marched through their home towns followed by the townspeople to the cemetery. They decorated graves and took photographs of soldiers next to American flags. Rifles were shot in the air as a salute to the northern soldiers who had given their lives to keep the United States together.
In 1882, the name was changed to Memorial Day and soldiers who had died in previous wars were honored as well. In the northern United States, it was designated a public holiday. In 1971, along with other holidays, President Richard Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday on the last Monday in May.
More at this site.
I thought a little history lesson might be in order to help us give thanks for all the men and women who protect us and keep our freedoms secure. Thank you and may God bless the United States of America.
French voters overwhelmingly rejected the European Union's first constitution yesterday, dealing a potential death blow to the historic effort to unite the continent.
The vote was a stinging rebuke to President Jacques Chirac, who had urged voters to vote "oui" and whose approval ratings have plunged to 39 percent.
Chirac, 72, had said he will not resign, but the "non" vote could kill his chances at a third term.
Are we really going to allow this looney tune to have nukes? He's been wearing Elton John specs, now he has the shoes too.
Kim Jong Il's gone up in the world and backwards in fashion.
Sporting a pair of platform shoes, the diminutive leader - whose exact height is kept secret - can add about 12 centimetres to his stature, judging by a recently acquired picture of him with Russian President Vladimir Putin taken in 2002 and published in the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper.
Without the platforms - which were very trendy in the 70s, particularly with lesser statured rock stars such as Elton John - he is said to be between 155 and 165 centimetres tall.
"Platform shoes are an essential item for Kim Jong Il who fears being ignored when he meets outside leaders and Westerners", said Sohn Kwang-joo, chief editor of the Daily NK, a website that follows North Korean news.
"What would North Koreans think if their leader was such a short man? That's why Kim feels he deserves to wear platform shoes, even if they kill his ankles," he said.
A complaint filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday alleges Tarik Ibn Osman Shah and Rafiq Sabir offered to provide assistance to al Qaeda during multiple meetings with a confidential source and an undercover FBI agent posing as an al Qaeda operative and recruiter, the Justice Department said in a statement.
During the course of the investigation, Shah and Sabir allegedly pledged their support and loyalty to al Qaeda and its leader, Osama Bin Laden, in conversations that were recorded with their consent, the statement said.
Shah allegedly agreed to provide training in martial arts and hand-to-hand combat to al Qaeda members and associates while Sabir allegedly agreed to provide medical assistance to wounded jihadists in Saudi Arabia, the statement said.
Shah was arrested by FBI agents in the Bronx area of New York this weekend while Sabir was arrested in the area of Boca Raton, Florida. Both were expected to be arraigned on Tuesday. If convicted, each could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail and a fine of $250,000, the Justice Department said.
The complaint further charges that "Shah repeatedly indicated his desire to train Muslim brothers in the martial arts in order to wage jihad and also regularly discussed his desire to find people who were willing to press the fight."
Why is the maximun sentence only 15 years? There are not many crimes worse than betraying your nation. If guilty, these guys should get the death penalty. This law needs to be changed.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Only in California! Where were you the night the chicken crossed the road?
RIDGECREST, California (AP) -- A chicken that got a ticket for crossing the road has clawed his way out of it.
The $54 citation for impeding traffic was dismissed Friday after Linc and Helena Moore's attorney argued that the fowl was domesticated and could not be charged as livestock.
State law restricts livestock on highways, but not domestic animals.
The chicken was ticketed March 26 for impeding traffic after it wandered onto a road in Johannesburg, a rural mining community southeast of Ridgecrest.
The Moores said they got the ticket because they were among several people who complained that deputies have done little to curb noisy off-road vehicle riders.
"For the last two and a half years, no one has been able to stop the kids riding their bikes in the middle of the road or the neighbors' dogs running around our neighborhood," Linc Moore said. "But when our chicken escaped and crossed the road once it became a huge issue."
Sheriff's officials said the ticket had nothing to do with the Moores' complaints.
NASHVILLE (AP) — A mother faces criminal charges after she hired a stripper to dance at her 16-year-old son's birthday party.
Anette Pharris, 34, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and involving a minor in obscene acts. The boy's father, the stripper and two others also face charges.
"I tried to do something special for my son," Pharris said. "It didn't harm him."
About 10 people under the age of 18 were at the birthday party in September, including minors who were not related to the family, authorities said.
Police spokesman Don Aaron said minors are not permitted in adult establishments.
"A person shouldn't be allowed to circumvent that law by hiring a stripper, a lady who took all her clothes off and spent a good amount of time dancing around minors," he said.
Anette Pharris took photos at the party and tried to have them developed at a nearby drug store. Drug store employees notified authorities, police said.
"Who are they to tell me what I can and can't show to my own children?" the mother said.
Story from USATODAY.
Mao: the Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday
Stone, who won best director Oscars for "Platoon" and "Born on the Fourth of July," was released on Saturday morning after posting $15,000 bond, said Sgt. John Edmundson, a spokesman for the Beverly Hills police department.
Police arrested Stone, 58, on Friday night at a checkpoint on Sunset Boulevard near the border of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, he said. Stone, driving a Mercedes, was one of nine arrests at the checkpoint set up as part of a statewide crackdown on drunken driving during the Memorial Day weekend.
Police would not release details of an intoxication test on Stone or the type of drugs in his possession.
A local court ordered Stone into a rehabilitation program after a 1999 arrest on driving while intoxicated and drug possession charges.
This explains much about Oliver, a member of the hollywood Fidel Castro fan club and paranoid purveyor of conspiracy theories.
This guy once said about Castro, "We should look to him as one of the earth's wisest people, one of the people we should consult."
These spoiled, rebellious hollywood seniors just won't sober up or grow up for that matter.
Last week's Senate compromise that averted a showdown over filibustered judicial nominees was actually the opening salvo of the 2008 presidential campaign, several veteran political observers say.
The unexpected consequence of the filibuster compromise is to give a boost to the presidential prospects of Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican.
"Allen was very vocal in support of changing the rules to eliminate the filibuster of judicial nominees and took the right position in condemning the compromise," said Free Congress Foundation President Paul M. Weyrich.
With Mr. McCain alienating the conservatives who dominate Republican primary voting, and by making Mr. Frist look like an ineffective leader, the filibuster compromise helped Mr. Allen by default.
"McCain is now dead meat, and Frist is hurt," said Mr. Weyrich.
The compromise was hailed as a victory by Democrats, and many conservatives questioned Mr. McCain's motives in recruiting other Republican senators to join an ad-hoc coalition — now derided by some critics as ?the Seven Dwarfs? — in support of the deal.
"McCain could not bear to see Frist as the big winner, so he got his buddy [South Carolina Sen.] Lindsey Graham and [Ohio Sen.] Mike DeWine involved in this," Mr. Weyrich said. "That's what this is all about."
More in The Washington Times.
Could a rapprochement between Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden be in the works?
That was the speculation recently in Toronto, where the former couple had a reunion of sorts.
She spoke to hundreds of jubilant fans and was escorted by Hayden, who was in town for a panel discussion on U.S. war resisters.
Fonda urged her fans to attend Hayden's speech at the University of Toronto.
She called on Canadians to offer refuge to war resisters who refuse to fight in Iraq.
If you thought things were bad now, just wait. Wars will be fought and governments will topple as nations scramble for the black gold.
Could the petroleum joyride — cheap, abundant oil that has sent the global economy whizzing along with the pedal to the metal and the AC blasting for decades — be coming to an end? Some observers of the oil industry think so. They predict that this year, maybe next — almost certainly by the end of the decade — the world's oil production, having grown exuberantly for more than a century, will peak and begin to decline.
And then it really will be all downhill. The price of oil will increase drastically. Major oil-consuming countries will experience crippling inflation, unemployment and economic instability. Princeton University geologist Kenneth S. Deffeyes predicts "a permanent state of oil shortage."
More at Yahoo.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
(CNSNews.com) - The thought that John Bolton might be confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations brought one Republican senator to the brink of tears on Wednesday.
Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) choked up on the Senate floor, as he urged his colleagues to vote against Bolton's nomination on Thursday:
''I'm afraid that when we go to the [Senate] well, that too many of my colleagues -- (voice breaking) -- that too many of my colleagues are not going to understand that this appointment is very, very important to our country," Voinovich said.
And now for something completely different.
Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky officials trying to win federal money to repair or replace the Brent Spence Bridge got some encouraging news on Friday.
Ohio Sen. George Voinovich, a Cleveland Republican, will sit on the conference committee responsible for putting together the final transportation bill in which money for the project could be included.
"Having Senator Voinovich on the conference committee is terrific for this region," said Steve Stevens, spokesman for the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. "He understands our needs, especially the vital significance of the Brent Spence Bridge."
Voinovich is the only local lawmaker who will sit on the joint House-Senate panel.
Voinovich has said that he would try to get as much funding for the project as possible, but will push for at least $50 million to complete preliminary design and environmental work.
From the Cincinnati Post.
If the GOP is smart it will see that Voinovich fails to deliver this bridge or anything else his constituents may desire. Maybe then we'll see some real crying and wailing. Make yourselves heard. Tell your senators and representatives to kill George's bridge.
Twenty years for smuggled pot. Read on.
Indonesia's attorney-general says Schapelle Corby should have received life in prison instead of just 20 years for trying to smuggle marijuana into his country and supports a prosecution appeal to have her sentence increased.
Claims by cabinet minister Abdul Rahman Saleh that the 27-year-old Gold Coast woman has been punished too lightly underscore the gamble her defence team might be taking by launching its own appeal to have the conviction and sentence quashed.
In Indonesia, an appeals court can raise a sentence if it is dissatisfied with an appeal.
Not long ago there was another trial in Indonesia.
The accused leader of an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group was sentenced to 30 months in jail by an Indonesian court for conspiracy charges related to the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing that killed 202 people, including seven Americans.
Riddle me this. Why only 30 months for conspiracy that resulted in the deaths of over 200 people but 20 years for possession of pot? Read about the Indonesian corrupt system at The Sydney Morning Herald.
1996President Bill Clinton's former business partners in the Whitewater land deal, James and Susan McDougal, and Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, were convicted of fraud.
Just a reminder of how long the Clinton Gang has been thieving and robbing.
Hopefully, all the cheating and fraud of the Gregoire gang will be reversed.
Wenatchee, Wash. -- A judge declined Friday to dismiss a Republican lawsuit seeking to remove Gov. Christine Gregoire from office because of alleged fraud and illegal votes in her election last year.
The judge, John E. Bridges of Chelan County Superior Court, said Democrats would have to present their case before he ruled on the merits of either party's arguments.
In denying the Democrats' request for a dismissal, which came immediately after Republicans rested their case here Friday, Bridges said he was seeking to create a robust record in a trial that could have repercussions that might include the removal of a sitting governor or a change in the state's election procedures. Whatever the outcome, the decision is certain to be appealed to the State Supreme Court.
One of John Bolton's leading Republican backers, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, signaled his support on Friday for a compromise in which the White House might allow Senate leaders access to highly classified documents in return for a final vote on Bolton's nomination as U.N. ambassador early next month.
But the White House showed no sign that the administration might change course.
"The Democrats who are clamoring for this have already voted against John Bolton," said Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman. "This is about partisan politics, not documents. They have the information they need."
Friday, May 27, 2005
You have to admire the resolve of men like this and wonder how our lack of national will may cause us to lose the war we face right now. I have the greatest respect for our soldiers, it's the jackals at home that I fear.
TWO men claimed to be Japanese soldiers who refused to surrender at the end of the Second World War could finally return home, 60 years later, after they were found living in the hills of a Philippine island.
The soldiers, identified as Yoshio Yamakawa, 87, from Osaka, and Tsuzuki Nakauchi, 83, from Kochi, apparently want to lay down their weapons - or what remains of them.
The two former members of the Imperial Japanese Army are believed to have spent the last six decades living in remote hills in the south of the Philippine island of Mindanao.
They were due to meet Japanese diplomats yesterday who had hoped to verify their identities. But the meeting in the port town of General Santos was delayed by an intermediary until today after the island was besieged by local media after the story of the men's discovery appeared in the Japanese press.
From the Scotsman.
Where are the separation of church and state folks now? Go to Conyers site and express yourselves. This guy is in CAIR's back pocket, a tool of the enemy.
Following are just some sample snips of his resolution:
Whereas the word Islam comes from the Arabic root word meaning “peace” and “submission”;
Whereas the Quran is the holy book for Muslims who recite passages from it in prayer and learn valuable lessons about peace, humanity and spirituality;
recognizes that the Quran, the holy book of Islam, as any other holy book of any religion, should be treated with dignity and respect;
I love my pets, but this is so completely over the top that it is beyond decadent. If this is how you are spending your money, it is time to review your values and perhaps opt for some eternal ones.
A British airline is targeting a growing market in pet travel by launching a special frequent flyer scheme for jet-setting dogs, cats and other animals.
Thus far, four dogs and a cat have been signed up to Virgin Atlantic's Flying Paws reward scheme since it was launched earlier this month, a spokeswoman for the airline said today.
Despite the cost - flying a pet from London to New York in the hold of a plane can cost around £400 ($962) - Virgin carried 1250 animals last year, twice the number of the year before.
In a bid to tempt fussy pets onto their flights, dogs taking their first Virgin trip will be given a T-shirt and dog tag, while cats receive a toy mouse, and ferrets - a surprisingly popular animal companion for Britons - get a flying jacket and collar tag.
Once pets have notched up five "paw prints" in their frequent flyer book they can acquire other goodies such as hand-made food bowls, while yet more trips win pedicures or Burberry, Prada and Gucci pet clothing.
Another "holy action" brought to you by the religion of peace and tolerance. Indonesia is a major center of Muslim terror and treachery. They also export a variety of products to America, everything from clothing to canned mushrooms. Why feed the hand that bites you, boycott their goods.
A web page viewed by The Associated Press offers chilling instructions of how to attack a US Embassy with a rocket launcher or suicide bomb.
And it also includes a partial diagram of the facility including the ambassador's office.
It wasn't clear when the instructions were posted but their discovery came a day after the United States closed all of its diplomatic facilities in Indonesia until further notice, citing a security threat which it did not specify.
In an e-mailed statement, diplomats said the embassy would be closed along with the consulates in Surabaya, Medan and the island of Bali. Other American government offices would also be shut.
They also reaffirmed earlier warnings that the threat of terrorism in Indonesia "remains high", but did not say what led to Thursday's closings.
"Attacks could occur at any time and could be directed against any location, including those frequented by foreigners and identifiably American and other Western facilities or businesses in Indonesia," it said.
The web page http://www.istimata.co.nr includes the floor plan of what appeared to be the ambassador's office, staff room as well as the locations of camera and metal detectors of a US Embassy, possibly in Jakarta.
The instructions on how best to carry out the "holy action" came from the previously unknown Brigade Istimata International.
"Using a grenade launcher is an effective measure that can go through the parking area and blast the side of the building that is situated next to the ambassador's room," the instructions said.
"The use of the suicide bomber is possible if using ... 150 kilograms of TNT which could produce a blast impact more than 30 metres wide."
A spokesman for the embassy said they were aware of the web page but refused to comment further.
The instructions in Indonesian did not mention the Jakarta embassy by name but the web address is almost identical to one used by one of the Bali bombers to boast of his role in the attack in 2002 that killed more than 200 people.
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks in America, the United States has closed its embassy for brief periods because of potential security threats. It also evacuated non-essential staff and family members for six months after the Bali bombings and joined other countries - including Britain and Canada - in issuing a string of travel advisories against visiting Indonesia.
The Bali attack was blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, which also is believed responsible for the August 5, 2003 bombing of the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta which killed 12 and last year's attack at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in which 10 people perished.
Dozens of militants have been convicted in the Bali and Marriott attacks but many top terror suspects - including Malaysians Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top - remain free and are believed to be somewhere in Indonesia. Police have repeatedly warned that they are planning additional attacks.
Why do we keep shooting ourselves in the foot. We know you can't trust Mexican law enforcement. The government is corrupt. So, why do we continue to interface with them as if our agendas are the same?
WASHINGTON – Elite Mexican commandos, trained by U.S. forces to combat the drug cartels have switched sides and are working for the drug smugglers in the border area posing a special hazard to American law enforcement and Border Patrol agents, according to a U.S. Justice Department memo.
The commandos, trained by the U.S. Army at Fort Benning, Georgia, are known as "Los Zetas."
The Justice Department warning was sent to law enforcement agencies throughout the Southwest.
There are reports of the commandos making cross-border runs into U.S. territory in military-style vehicles, armed with automatic weapons.
Read the entire article at WorldNetDaily.
And you thought you had problems.
A strike in the paper industry in Finland has left the country desperately short of toilet paper.
Shops have been selling out of loo roll up and down the country and people stock up.
One store manager in Helsinki said: "We have been sold out for days, and on the rare occasions when stores get a fresh delivery it is sold as fast as it can be put on the shelves."
The four week strike has meant that holidaymaking Finns have been returning home with suitcases full of toilet paper rather than souvenirs.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
France and the Netherlands should re-run their referendums to obtain the "right answer" if their voters reject Europe's constitutional treaty in imminent national ballots, Jean-Claude Juncker, the holder of the EU presidency, said on Wednesday.
The Luxembourg prime minister said all 25 EU member countries should continue their attempts to ratify the treaty whatever the outcome of the French and Dutch votes.
His comments reflect a mood of deepening pessimism among Europe's leaders about the outcome of the referendums.
"The countries which have said No will have to ask themselves the question again. And if we don't manage to find the right answer, the treaty will not enter into force," he said in an interview with the Belgian Le Soir newspaper.
If you have the time, read the entire article.
(I have only a small portion of it here)
Democrats said they will try to filibuster John R. Bolton, the president's nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations, if the Bush administration does not turn over two final sets of documents.
"If the administration doesn't give us this information, then I want a 60-vote requirement here so that senators can express their views on this issue of the documentation that we need," said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee who has been among Mr. Bolton's strongest critics.
Republicans say there are enough votes to confirm Mr. Bolton once those objections are overcome, but they first must win a cloture vote set for this evening to stop the filibuster.
Mr. Dodd said he actually supports an up-or-down vote on Mr. Bolton, but is being forced into a filibuster as a protest against the administration.
Mr. Dodd said he knows how a filibuster might look to voters, given how a coalition of senators headed off a showdown earlier this week on filibusters of judicial nominees, but said Democrats must demand the administration's cooperation.
He and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, are seeking e-mails and other documents that would answer whether Mr. Bolton tried to influence intelligence analysts who were working on congressional testimony about Syria's weapons programs.
From The Washington Times.
ROME -- Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, who has made waves by denouncing Islam in her books, is to face trial for purportedly insulting the Muslim faith in her latest work, a court in Northern Italy ruled yesterday.
A judge refused a request by prosecutors to throw out the case, brought by the president of the Muslim Union of Italy, Adel Smith, and ordered magistrates to proceed in the matter, Agence France-Presse reported.The magistrates have until tomorrow to formally charge Miss Fallaci, the author of "The Rage and the Pride," a post-September 11 polemic over the dangers of Islamic extremism, with "insulting religion."
The accusations stem from her last book called "La Forza della Ragione," ("The Force of Reason"). Mr. Smith says the book -- not yet available in English -- contains "words that are without doubt offensive toward Islam."
Miss Fallaci, who is known for her provocative style of writing, got into trouble two weeks after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, when she published the strongly pro-American and anti-Islam book "The Rage and the Pride."
Miss Fallaci, 74, who lives in New York, writes in her latest book that Europe is turning into "an Islamic province, an Islamic colony" and that "to believe that a good Islam and a bad Islam exist goes against all reason."
The attorney for the Muslim Union, Ugo Fanuzzi, said Miss Fallaci would have to answer first to the charge of insulting a religious faith, but he did not exclude that she could face charges of inciting hatred of religions.
Miss Fallaci was sued in 2002 over "The Rage and the Pride" in a French court and accused of violating anti-racist laws. The case was dismissed on a technicality.
Speaking to a Washington audience in October 2002, Miss Fallaci said the Islamic world is engaged in a cultural war with the West.
"The hate for the West swells like a fire fed by the wind," she said. "The clash between us and them is not a military one. It is a cultural one, a religious one, and the worst is still to come."
Tight security was in place for the speech at the American Enterprise Institute after death threats were issued against her and her attorney as a result of "The Rage and the Pride."
In her prime, Miss Fallaci was famed as a belligerent journalist and argumentative interviewer, who had unprecedented access to the world's most reclusive and wary leaders.
A partisan in the Italian resistance in World War II and a lifelong leftist, she once became so disgusted while interviewing Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that she ripped off her head scarf and threw it in his face.
The act of defiance was considered an unpardonable sin in the ayatollah's Iran.
"The Rage and the Pride," originally published in an Italian newspaper and then as a book, has sold more than 1 million copies in Italy and has been popular in Germany and France as well. All three nations have large Muslim immigrant populations.
From The Washington Times.
Detainees at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, alleged in 2002 that guards mistreated the Quran, according to some of the hundreds of FBI documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU obtained the documents from the FBI through a federal court order in a lawsuit based on a Freedom of Information Act request. Most of them are records of detainee interviews with FBI agents.
According to the documents, released Wednesday by the ACLU, a detainee interviewed in August 2002 said guards had flushed a copy of the Quran in a toilet.
Others reported the Quran being kicked, withheld as punishment and thrown on the floor.
Prisoners also complained about "non-believers" touching the book, according to the documents.
A senior Pentagon official said Wednesday that on May 14 camp officials re-interviewed the detainee who made the flushing claim and he failed to substantiate it.
The senior official also denied allegations by detainees that interrogators desecrated Qurans to intimidate them.
FBI officials said the documents released Wednesday merely reflect allegations made by individuals interviewed by the FBI.
The FBI did not investigate the allegations and said that would be the responsibility of the Defense Department.
In addition to complaints about the treatment of the Quran, detainees told FBI agents about alleged beatings, planned suicides, hunger strikes and sexual assaults, according to the documents.
"The United States government continues to turn a blind eye to mounting evidence of widespread abuse of detainees held in its custody," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero in a news release.
What was she like when she was fifty years younger?
An 86-year-old woman has been arrested for calling emergency services because she couldn't get a pizza delivered.
Dorothy Densmore, of Charlotte, North Carolina, spent two nights behind bars after dialling '911' 20 times in 38 minutes.
Angry she could not get the meal delivered to her home, she demanded police arrest the pizza proprietors, reports the BBC.
She told police that she had been called a "crazy old coot" by someone at the pizza shop.
A police spokeswoman said the octogenarian scratched, kicked and bit the hand of the officer.
She has now been released from jail, pending a court appearance in July, after a judge ordered a medical evaluation.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
WASHINGTON - New York's junior senator yesterday was sharper in her criticism of the Palestinian Authority than Israel's Likud prime minister at the annual policy conference for America's largest pro-Israel lobby.
Before thousands of activists of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Senator Clinton, a Democrat of New York, criticized Palestinian textbooks and other materials that "infect" young minds with anti-Semitism. "Using children as pawns in a political process is tantamount to child abuse," she said to cheers from activists. "And we must say it has to end now."
Ms. Clinton was attacked in her 2000 Senate campaign by many in the pro-Israel community for being too close to Yasser Arafat. She had to explain hugging Suha Arafat when she was first lady and her decision to allow an Arafat associate, Hani Masri, to host a private fund-raising event on her behalf. On her December 11, 1999, visit to Gaza, Ms. Arafat accused Israelis of poisoning Palestinian water supplies and causing cancer in women and children, with Mrs. Clinton at her side. At the time, Mrs. Clinton was blasted by American Zionists for her silence. Since then, Mrs. Clinton has worked diligently to reinvent herself on the question of Israel. She has held hearings on the issue of anti-Semitism in Palestinian and Arab textbooks and state-run press, an issue that was barely noticed in the 1990s when she was first lady. Ms. Clinton often chose to frame her remarks with "we" and "us" including herself among the group of activists before they went to Congress to encourage their representatives to sign a letter calling on the White House to press Mr. Abbas to follow through on his pledge to dismantle terrorist cells in the Gaza before Israel leaves it. "We must also demand that President Abbas dismantle the structures of terror," the senator said. From The New York Sun.
Ms. Clinton was attacked in her 2000 Senate campaign by many in the pro-Israel community for being too close to Yasser Arafat. She had to explain hugging Suha Arafat when she was first lady and her decision to allow an Arafat associate, Hani Masri, to host a private fund-raising event on her behalf. On her December 11, 1999, visit to Gaza, Ms. Arafat accused Israelis of poisoning Palestinian water supplies and causing cancer in women and children, with Mrs. Clinton at her side. At the time, Mrs. Clinton was blasted by American Zionists for her silence.
Since then, Mrs. Clinton has worked diligently to reinvent herself on the question of Israel. She has held hearings on the issue of anti-Semitism in Palestinian and Arab textbooks and state-run press, an issue that was barely noticed in the 1990s when she was first lady.
Ms. Clinton often chose to frame her remarks with "we" and "us" including herself among the group of activists before they went to Congress to encourage their representatives to sign a letter calling on the White House to press Mr. Abbas to follow through on his pledge to dismantle terrorist cells in the Gaza before Israel leaves it. "We must also demand that President Abbas dismantle the structures of terror," the senator said.
From The New York Sun.
London — Amnesty International branded the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay a human rights failure Wednesday, releasing a 308-page report that offers stinging criticism of the United States and its detention centres around the world.
As a superpower, the United States has shirked its responsibility to set the bar for human rights protections and has instead created a new lexicon for abuse and torture, Amnesty Secretary-General Irene Khan said for the London-based group's annual report launch.
“The United States . . . sets the tone for governmental behaviour worldwide,” Ms. Khan said.
“Attempts to dilute the absolute ban on torture through new policies and quasi-management speak, such as 'environmental manipulation, stress positions and sensory manipulation,' was one of the most damaging assaults on global values.”
The U.S. government says it continues to be a leader in human rights, treating detainees humanely and investigating all claims of abuse, according to Navy Lieutenant Commander Joe Carpenter, a spokesman for the Department of Defence. He had not seen the report and declined comment on it.
At least 10 cases of abuse or mistreatment have been documented and investigated at Guantanamo. There are several other cases that are pending.
“During the year, released detainees alleged that they had been tortured or ill-treated while in U.S. custody in Afghanistan and Guantanamo. Evidence also emerged that others, including Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and the International Committee of the Red Cross, had found that such abuses had been committed against detainees,” the report said.The Geneva-based ICRC is the only independent group to have access to the Guantanamo detainees. Amnesty has been refused access to the prison camp, although it was allowed to watch the pretrial hearings for the military commissions.
From the Globe and Mail.
Washington — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that it is unconstitutional to force capital murder defendants to appear before juries in chains and shackles.
Justices, on a 7-2 vote, threw out the conviction of Carman Deck, who was shackled in leg irons and handcuffed to a chain around his belly when he faced a Missouri jury that put him on death row.
The court had already held that people on trial can be shackled only if prosecutors have a strong argument for it. Monday's decision involves sentencing hearings in capital murder cases.
Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the court, said that shackling indicates to juries “that court authorities consider the offender a danger to the community.”
“It also almost inevitably affects adversely the jury's perception of the character of the defendant,” he wrote.
The decision left room for court personnel to handcuff defendants, but only if they pose a special security risk.
In a dissent, Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia said the ruling “all but ignores the serious security issues facing our courts.”
“The need for security is real. Judges face the possibility that a defendant or his confederates might smuggle a weapon into court and harm those present, or attack with his bare hands,” Judge Thomas wrote for the two.
Mr. Deck was convicted of killing James and Zelma Long during a robbery in 1996.
From The Globe and Mail.
OK, how close do they have to get before we shut the borders down. If they're in Nicaragua, they may as well be in San Diego. What is the government waiting for?
Nicaragua’s National Police have declared an alert for two suspected members of the al Qaida terrorist network, officials said today.
An Interior Ministry news release identified the two as Ahmad Salim Swaydan, who was suspected of involvement in an April 2002 plot against the US Embassy in Thailand, and a Yemeni man known only as Altuwiti.
A photo released by Nicaraguan authorities matched that of a man on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorist list: Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan, a 36-year-old Kenyan who was indicted on December 16, 1998, for alleged involvement in the 1998 bombings of US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
The US State Department has offered a reward of up to £2.7 million for information leading to his arrest.
Nicaragua’s Interior Department said it had imposed an ”immigration alert” at all border posts.“We must guarantee that our country is not the scene for the presence of elements linked to international terrorism or organised crime,” the department said.
From the Scotsman.
In a recent effort to tackle race relations, some county social workers were sent to New Orleans to a conference held by the National Association of Black Social Workers.Brian Parnell said he and his co-workers attended the conference, but Parnell said he wasn't allowed inside because of the color of his skin.
Parnell is Caucasian, and he said he never made it in the conference.
"I approached the registration table and was greeted by a very friendly fellow who looked me in the eye and said, 'Are you black?'" said Parnell. "I told him that I'm not and he told me that the conference was only for people who were black and so I wasn't able to register to attend the conference."
Convinced the individual had mis-spoke, Parnell said he contacted his fellow co-workers and his superior in Bakersfield.
"I was able to speak with a conference chair at the conference who basically reiterated to me the same thing that Brian has been told," said, Parnell's supervisor, Pat Cheadle.
"I was shocked," said Parnell. "I was surprised that in 2005, I could be singled out because of the color of my skin."
The organization's website is down, but the Dallas Chapter website is running. While it doesn't overtly exclude other races, it does focus on empowering the black community.
Local attorney Richard Papst said since the organization is non-profit and tax-exempt, if the discrimination occurred, there could be huge consequences.
"They could lose their tax-exempt status and then be subject to all the usual tax obligations that everybody else has," said Papst.
Parnell hasn't decided whether to take legal action, but he has filed a civil rights claim with the federal government.
No one from the National Association of Black Social Workers were available to comment at this time.
PARIS (Reuters) - A cook at a Paris children's hospital was killed in a sword attack on Saturday evening by a man he met on the Internet, police sources said on Sunday.
The fatal attack took place at around 1630 GMT inside the Necker hospital, after a disagreement between the 34 year-old victim, who has not yet been named, and his attacker.
"He stabbed him. The security team and one of his colleagues tried to intervene, but were unable to do anything," Isabelle Lesage, director of the hospital, told Reuters.
The attack was carried out with a short Japanese sword, known as a "katana," a police source said.
"The cook suffered one or more sword blows, particularly in the area of the carotid (artery), which caused a quick death," a police spokesman said.
A police source said the attacker, a male in his 50s, then went to a police station with the weapon, and told police he had just killed someone.
This is my favorite line of the story.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
"The Working Families Party is a coalition of concerned individuals, community organizations and union members fighting for issues important to ordinary New Yorkers: quality public schools for our children, affordable health care and child care for everyone, good jobs at a living wage, campaign finance reform. We think politics should belong to all of us, not just big business and special interests. Through energizing, mobilizing, and organizing voters across the state, we help elect pro-labor, pro-community candidates to public offices and hold them accountable to the concerns of working families."
WASHINGTON - President Bush's trip to Rochester today to sell his plan to revise Social Security is generating plenty of opposition, as well as support.
Among those holding demonstrations and news conferences in the Rochester area are AARP, other retiree advocacy groups, the Democratic State Committee and Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport. AARP will conduct a forum opposing the privatization of Social Security. And a group known as "In This Together," an affiliate of the Working Families Party, will hold a rally in downtown Rochester.
From The Buffalo News.
Nice move, John, just wanted you to know it cost you the vote of at least one registered Republican.
Also, your "immigration" bill with your buddy Teddy is not what the people of Arizona want, although we can see how much you care about the majority opinion.
If you think this is going to buy you the white house, you have sold your soul in vain.
No need to reply, I am as interested in your thoughts as you are in mine.
I never thought the day would come when I would side with Al Sharpton but here it is.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Attempts by Mexican President Vicente Fox to play down a comment widely perceived as racist have further offended U.S. blacks and threaten to harm race relations, U.S. civil-rights activist Al Sharpton said after meeting the Mexican leader on Monday.
Calling for Fox to issue an apology after meeting he described as "blunt," the one-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination said on Monday the comments had caused "outrage" among U.S. blacks.
Fox, a former Coca-Cola executive, angered the U.S. government and civil-rights leaders when he said in a speech 10 days ago that Mexican immigrants do jobs "that not even blacks want to do there in the United States."
Fox has since refused to apologize and said his comments were misinterpreted.
"There was no misinterpretation. It is very clear what he said and it is very clear that we understood what he said," Sharpton told reporters.
"If I step on your toe, I should apologize. I should not say that I regret that you think your foot hurts," Sharpton said."It has increased a sense of discomfort that we do not need, I think that Mexicans and African Americans and Latino Americans need to be on the same side," he said.
From My Way News.
A man who allies himself with Byrd and Kennedy and ignores the will of his constituency in dealing with illegal aliens, is not getting my vote. A man with no soul is a man with no conscience.
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona
"This agreement is meant in the finest traditions of the Senate ... trust, respect and mutual desire to see the institution of the Senate function in ways that protect the rights of the minority."
Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia
"We have lifted ourselves above politics and we have signed this document in the interest of the United States Senate -- in the interest of freedom of speech, freedom of debate and freedom to dissent in the United States Senate."
How long did it take for someone to question this? I'd like to see this Clinton era letter and find out who authorized it and if they are still in the government.
Sexual predators and convicted rapists will no longer qualify for free, taxpayer-funded Viagra.
Red-faced officials at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services withdrew the freebie yesterday - and blamed the mess on a Clinton administration foulup.
"The Medicaid program should not pay for the cost of erectile dysfunction drugs for sex offenders," spokesman Gary Karr said.
Notices were to go out to states as early as yesterday - less than 24 hours after state Controller Alan Hevesi revealed that 198 of New York's most dangerous sex fiends were getting reimbursed for the impotence drug, courtesy of Medicaid.
Karr said state officials were apparently unaware they didn't have to include Viagra as part of the sex offenders' Medicaid coverage because they were "confused" by a 1998 Clinton-era letter. That letter listed Viagra as a drug that could be covered by Medicaid.
Hevesi's disclosure of the bizarre drug benefit prompted Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to draft federal legislation banning Viagra coverage for all sex offenders on Medicaid. His fellow Democrat Sen. Hillary Clinton also put out a statement decrying the free Viagra for fiends.
"It comes with the territory," said Kyle Trudelle, an easygoing Napa High School senior. "If you stand up for what you believe in, you will be persecuted."
Even so, the latest battle took him by surprise. Alleging he was blurring the separation between church and state, a few students said a mural he's painting outside the art room on campus looks like heaven, with its brick steps leading to a castle in the sky.
Trudelle contended that the stairway could be leading to any pleasant place, even to Neverland. "It's not a religious thing. It's more of a spiritual thing," he said.
Nationally, as the squabble about displays of the Ten Commandments in government buildings around the country continues to unfold -- on the heels of myriad debates over prayer in public schools and God in the pledge of allegiance -- the Napa High incident proves how delicate church-state issues continue to be.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on a Ten Commandments case in the coming weeks.
Though sorted out peacefully, the controversy at Napa High saw a short-lived petition circulate. Students withdrew the petition shortly after Trudelle agreed to change the painting.
Now, the stairs will lead to a sunspot in the sky, and a castle will be moored to the ground instead of planted in clouds. "I don't want to cause anyone to get upset," Trudelle said. "If they had asked me before, I would have changed it."
Some students and school officials are asking why no one has complained about an adjacent mural that depicts the Virgin Mary, or the Lady of Guadalupe, an important figure for many Latino students with a Catholic background. The petitioners had said that image was part of a mural about Hispanic heritage, not a single ideal, as in Trudelle's mural.
OK, does this scream double srandard at you or what? How unbalanced does your judgment have to be to believe that Our Lady of Guadalupe is not religious but a castle in the sky is? This is blatant bigotry and racism.
Monday, May 23, 2005
“Most Arabs already regard the West as barbaric and backward as a consequence of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and now Bagram. These photographs of Saddam will simply help to confirm that belief.”
This is like having Teddy Kennedy preach to you about your drinking problem. All I can say is consider the source. We all know how civilized the arab world has demonstrated itself to be. Nothing like beheadings, homicidal human bombs, killing of innocents, Jew hating to show how culturally elite you are and that's only a partial list of some of their wonders.
By Evan Thomas and Michael Isikoff
May 30 issue - What really happened at Guantanamo? Last week, amid the heat of the controversy over NEWSWEEK's retracted story, new details about the issue of alleged mistreatment of the Qur'an emerged.
If there's anyone who wants to peruse this trash, it can be found here. Be sure to wear a gas mask.
For instance, while a Japanese edition of Newsweek dated Feb. 2 published a cover story featuring an American flag in a trash can under the headline, "The day America died," and the international edition featured a photo of President Bush with the headline, "America Leads ... But Is Anyone Following?," the U.S. edition cover story was an "Oscar Confidential" featuring Hilary Swank, Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Japanese edition of Feb. 2 Newsweek
Why doesn't Newsweek show America what it's saying to the rest of the world? These treasonous saboteurs must be held accountable. Voice your disgust to this anti-American rag. Demand that those who have done this be brought before the public and made to answer for their venom. God, protect our nation from people such as these.
Whole article at WorldNetDaily.
The deployment of 36,000 National Guard troops or state militia on the U.S.-Mexico border would stop the illegal flow of foreigners into America, says a congressional report that credits the Minuteman Project with proving that additional manpower could "dramatically reduce if not virtually eliminate" illegal immigration.
The 33-page report, written by investigators for the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, said the Minutemen — who shut down a 23-mile stretch of the Arizona border last month — served as a model for a government effort to reclaim the southern border of the United States.
"The tide of illegal crossings on the borders of the United States is beyond unsatisfactory; it is catastrophic. It does not ebb and flow — it only grows. It is rising without measure and eroding the very fiber of our safety, life and culture," the report said.
"As we wage the war on terror in foreign lands, we have all our doors and windows open at home. ... The insanity of such a policy, or silent toleration of such a policy is almost criminal in itself," it said. "The Minuteman Project demonstrated that illegal immigration on America's southern border can be dramatically reduced to manageable levels."
The report, to be released today, also said the U.S. Border Patrol failed "through no fault of its rank-and-file enforcement officers" to protect the United States from an influx of illegals.
It said the agency's uniformed leadership should be pointed in a "new direction" as it is in "total denial of the magnitude of the disaster" and — as currently organized, staffed and supported — "cannot be relied upon" to remedy the situation soon.
"The Border Patrol needs new direction from the Department of Homeland Security if it is to shake off the lethargy from years of undermanned frustration," the report said. "The patrol needs to empower its outstanding field officers to act as necessary to accomplish the patrol's mission ... to energize its leadership to think outside the box."
The report said Congress and the states could sustain the success of the Minuteman Project — whose members were lightly armed, had no arrest powers, were not paid and traveled to Arizona at their own expense — with the deployment of National Guard troops or state militia working in coordination with the Border Patrol.
The report said that sufficient reinforcements exist in current National Guard units and could be put on the border by governors and the secretary of defense within one month, if the political will exists.
As an alternative to using existing powers and forces, the report said, a $2.5 billion annual initiative coordinated through the states for the issuance of Homeland Security grants could authorize and fund state militia, or state defense forces, to assist the Border Patrol.
State militia units already exist in 22 states, including Maryland and Virginia. Militia units also are located in the border states of California, New Mexico and Texas.
The report also called on Republican Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Democratic Govs. Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Bill Richardson of New Mexico to immediately request federal funding from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for the mobilization of 36,000 National Guard troops within 30 days.
"The primary impetus to stimulate the Minuteman Project is a border out of control; not for months, not for years, not just since September 11, but for many, many years," the report said. "Social and legal costs and cultural cohesion far outweigh supposed economic benefit. At a time of terror threat, the cost of irresponsibly unsecured borders can be horrific."
The report also noted that Border Patrol supervisors said the Minutemen had little or no effect on illegal immigration, attributing apparent decreases during the vigil to increased enforcement efforts by the agency, along with the increased presence of Mexican military and police south of the border.
"However, nearly every individual Border Patrol officer who spoke off-the-record in the field to the Caucus team said that illegal immigration virtually stopped in the sector patrolled by the Minutemen as a direct result of Minutemen activity and publicity," the report said.
"The individual officers were highly appreciative of the impact the Minutemen made in the area, had good working relations with the project unofficially and felt the project had made a valuable contribution to the cause of the rank-and-file officer — protecting the border against impossible logistical challenges," it said.
Despite contrary claims by the supervisors, the report said, illegal immigration dropped significantly in the areas east and west of Naco, Ariz., targeted by the Minutemen. It said the decline "put to rest the historic immigration reform myth that it is impossible to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the border with any reasonable amount of additional manpower."
"The Minuteman Project demonstrated that illegal immigration on America's southern border can be dramatically reduced to manageable levels," the report said. "What is missing is not the means to control; it is the will. With a will, there is a way."
The 71-member caucus led by Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican, sent investigators to the Minuteman vigil with instructions to interview "any and all sources both on and off the record" and report their findings to Congress.
The report was written by Col. Frederick A. Peterson III, a retired U.S. Marine who serves as senior homeland defense adviser for Mr. Tancredo, and John E. Stone II, a captain in the Virginia Defense Force and deputy chief of staff for the House Education and the Workforce workforce protections subcommittee chaired by Rep. Charlie Norwood, Georgia Republican.
From The Washington Times.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Newsweek has announced plans to limit the magazine's use of anonymous sources following a scandal in which one of its stories was blamed for deadly protests in Afghanistan.
In a letter to readers appearing in Monday's edition, Newsweek Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Richard Smith apologized for the original report and said the magazine will raise standards for unnamed sources.
Two of the magazine's top editors will be assigned sole responsibility for approving the use of such sources, and the magazine will stop using the phrase "sources said" to attribute information in stories, Smith said. "We got an important story wrong, and honor requires us to admit our mistake and redouble our efforts to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again," he wrote.
I feel a whole lot better now. As if Newsweek understood the concept of honor. You have to believe in moral absolutes for words like that to mean anything and I'm sure Smith, Isikov and cronies have a definition of honor that is capable of morphing as their needs demand; much as their standards of verification.
A one-year-old baby was arrested and spent the night in prison in Mexico.
The baby was arrested in Puerto Progresso when his father, Roger Sagundo was caught trying to rob 6 vodka bottles from a supermarket La Cuarta reports.
Mr Sagundo put the bottles on the baby trolley and tried to leave the supermarket, but was caught by security.
Police spokesperson said: "The policeman who got there first thought it was the right thing to do to list the baby as an accomplice, because the bottles were in his trolley."
"Father and son were sent to prison but only in the next morning the policeman on duty at prison realised the son was a baby."
What's next? Will they find an old flat tire he changed or an unfinished danish? If you're bidding on this crap, it's God's way of telling you, you have too much money.
An apartment once lived in by Pope Benedict XVI has been put up for sale on eBay with a starting price of just 70 pence.
The Pope lived in the flat on Wurzerstrasse in Bonn between 1959 and 1963 when he taught theology at the University of Bonn.
Advertised as "the property with religious history", the current owner, who has not been named, has attached a page out of the telephone book at the time with the entry: "Ratzinger, Joseph, Dr, Uni-Professor, Wurzerstr. 11".
The sale of Pope Benedict XVI memorabilia reached fever pitch in Germany last month with the sale of the Holy Father's former Golf car.
Its owner Benjamin Halbe, 21, made £130,000 from the auction.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
The boys at the UN want more of our money but less of us. I wonder why. I love Rohrabacher's comment at the end of the article. It looks like the UN is the topic of the day here at SSOA.
UNITED NATIONS - Stating that the United Nations needs "nothing less than a transformation," the organization's chief of staff, Mark Malloch Brown, told Congress yesterday that reform could be achieved only by increasing funding and reducing American interference at Turtle Bay.
Mr. Malloch Brown told the House International Relations Committee that Secretary-General Annan is intent on making changes, and that he has introduced more U.N. reforms than "any of his predecessors." He said that in order for Mr. Annan to realize future reform, he must be "given back the power to manage" the world body and member states, including top contributor America, must fund the organization "properly."
Indicating weariness with promises of reform, Republican committee members such as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, said America would have to take the lead in dictating future change. "We are told we have to give up all our leverage," Mr. Rohrabacher told The New York Sun. He said that he was not impressed by the reform package developed at the United Nations and introduced to the committee by Mr. Malloch Brown.
The various U.N.-related hearings on Capitol Hill "are building up to a point where a certain reform package is going to be presented in Congress," Mr. Rohrabacher said, and further funding will depend on its implementation. America is the largest single-nation U.N. donor, providing 22% of the organization's annual budget.
"We in the United Nations secretariat are acutely aware of the reform issues raised by events of recent months," Mr. Malloch Brown said. Among the "troubling revelations" he counted were the oil-for-food scandal, under investigation by the Volcker committee and Congressional investigations, sexual exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers in Africa and elsewhere, and inaction in Darfur.
Mr. Malloch Brown ended his speech with a call for better relations between America and Turtle Bay, but some members of the committee were cautious."No one is opposed to the U.N.'s role in facilitating diplomacy, mediating disputes, monitoring the peace, feeding the hungry, "the committee's chairman, Rep. Henry Hyde, a Republican of Illinois, said. "But we are opposed to legendary bureaucratization, to political grandstanding, to billions of dollars spent on multitudes of programs with meager results, to the outright misappropriation of funds represented by the emerging scandal regarding the oil-for-food program."
Others were more sympathetic to Mr. Malloch Brown's message. While blasting the United Nations' "pathological persecution" of Israel, Rep. Tom Lantos, a Democrat of California, said, "If an over-arching international organization did not already exist, we would have to invent it." He called on Republicans "to resist the powerful temptation to withhold the payment of our dues in an attempt to leverage needed changes at the United Nations."
Mr. Rohrabacher, one of the most vocal U.N. critics on the committee, said that "before we continue to pump money into the organization," Congress must "set some standards." He said that America should reconsider whether to continue to act as a "major player" at the United Nations - and perhaps reconsider its role as host nation.
"I don't think U.N. bureaucrats should take it for granted that their headquarters will forever be in New York," he told the Sun. "Maybe they should move to a place where they can feel philosophically comfortable, like a third-world dictatorship."
Complete article at The New York Sun.
These are your holier-than-thou European debauchers showing their true colors. Come on, Jean and Kofi, let's hear the call for catching the culprits and dealing with these inexcusable crimes. What time is the press conference?
Four French peacekeepers are being investigated over accusations of sexual abuse against a girl in Ivory Coast.
The French army said it received a complaint that the four abused the girl at Madinani village, in northern Ivory Coast, earlier this month.
Neither the girl's age or identity, nor the soldiers' names, were disclosed.
Some 4,000 French soldiers are serving alongside 6,000 UN troops in the former French colony, which has been divided by a two-and-a-half year rebellion.
The French said there was as yet no evidence to confirm the allegations.
"We will treat this affair with the greatest seriousness if the facts are established," army spokesman Colonel Henry Aussavy told Reuters news agency.
It is the first allegation of its type against French soldiers in Ivory Coast. UN peacekeepers have recently been accused of sex crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
From the BBC.
If this isn't the height of hypocrisy, I don't know what is! Here is the UN, that has molested more kids than Michael Jackson, talking about someone else's "inexcusable crimes". This is an organization steeped in corruption from top to bottom demanding action against "culprits". To underscore it all, the representative assigned to speak for the international community is a Frenchman whose government is bathed in the oil for food scandal.
If there were abuses, they need to be addressed but not by the UN, the biggest abusers of our time.
A report of US military abuse of detainees in Afghanistan is deeply disturbing and those involved should be punished, the United Nations said on Sunday.
The abuse, including details of the deaths of two inmates at an Afghan detention centre, took place in 2002 and emerged from a nearly 2000-page file of US Army investigators, The New York Times said on Friday.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, speaking before leaving on a US trip, said on Saturday he was shocked and was demanding action against the culprits as well as custody of Afghan prisoners and supervision of US military searches.
Jean Arnault, special representative of the UN secretary-general in Afghanistan, said the abuse reported in the New York Times was unacceptable and an affront to everything the international community stood for.
"The gravity of these abuses calls for the punishment of all those involved in such inexcusable crimes, as demanded by President Karzai," Arnault said in a statement.
Complete article at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Why didn't they think of this earlier? I'm sure Arafat would have joined them. Is there no end to the insanity?
Two gay Israeli men have installed a huge double bed in a New York art gallery and are inviting Arab men to become their "lover" as part of an exhibition called Sleeping With The Enemy.
But the artists, who like to be known simply as Gil and Moti, talk about the project in romantic terms, saying it's about "falling in love" rather than sex.
"The bed is for us to live in. Artistically, three pillows symbolise unity of three people which goes along with the whole concept of make love not war," Gil said.
From The Sydney Morning Herald.
The worst part about this is the complaining parent is actually a teacher. By her logic, everytime I don't see a Caucasian represented, I should take it as a racist message. What a crock. And instead of laughing her out of the office, the school officials entertain her complaint. They've all gone mad.
A Mckinney ISD parent is calling a new logo symbolizing the district's preschool program a form of racism.
The logo depicts a fair-skinned child doing a cartwheel in front of the earth. But Leslie Moore, a McKinney teacher whose child is in the preschool program, took exception.
"It sends the wrong message," Moore said. "It's telling me that every other ethnic race other than Caucasian is inferior to the Caucasian race."
Moore sent an e-mail to preschool director Kristina Perez, who wrote back, "The intention was never to make any ethnicity feel left out."
Perez also wrote, "T-shirts are already in print, along with bags for the children. We have also designed letterhead. At this point, I don't think it would be feasible to make changes." "I would like to see that every child is being represented on the logo," Moore said. "That they are worthy of making the face of a t-shirt." McKinney ISD administrators told News 8 they have stopped all printing of the logo. They'll meet with Moore next week to discuss other options, including another logo that depicts diversity with three children. "We have a very diverse school district, and we're very proud of that," said McKinney ISD spokeswoman Diana Gulotta. "There was never any intent at any point to offend anybody. We're sorry that Ms. Moore was offended, and that's why we want to meet with her." From WFAA.com.
"I would like to see that every child is being represented on the logo," Moore said. "That they are worthy of making the face of a t-shirt."
McKinney ISD administrators told News 8 they have stopped all printing of the logo. They'll meet with Moore next week to discuss other options, including another logo that depicts diversity with three children.
"We have a very diverse school district, and we're very proud of that," said McKinney ISD spokeswoman Diana Gulotta. "There was never any intent at any point to offend anybody. We're sorry that Ms. Moore was offended, and that's why we want to meet with her."
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a corporate tuition tax-credit bill on Friday, torpedoing a plan that rival GOP leaders had brokered with her in order to reach a budget deal.
Republicans were so upset at her veto that they launched into the most personal attack on Napolitano in her three-year tenure. This veto, one of a string of rejections of their key bills, likely will become a war cry for the GOP in the 2006 gubernatorial race. It also could mean a special session of the Legislature to work out new agreements.
An angry Jim Weiers, the House speaker who worked with Napolitano to break the budget impasse, wrote, "There is only one way to put this: 'The governor lied to me.' "He and other Republican legislative leaders believed that in exchange for allowing the governor to expand her all-day kindergarten program she would give the go-ahead for the tax credit that would allow companies to get tax relief for donating money for scholarships in private schools.
"The governor's legacy can only be dubbed 'Promises made, promises not kept; excuses made, excuses continued,' " Weiers said.
Napolitano also riled Republicans by vetoing their key immigration bills meant to deny certain public benefits to undocumented immigrants and make it easier for law enforcement to deport them. She called the package of bills an "undue impact on people who are lawfully in the state of Arizona."
Full article at azcentral.
Muslim protesters today called for the bombing of New York in a demonstration outside the US embassy in London.
There were threats of "another 9/11" from militants angry at reports of the desecration of the Koran by US troops in Iraq.
Some among the crowd burned an effigy of Tony Blair on a crucifix and then set fire to a Union flag and a Stars and Stripes.
Led by a man on a megaphone, they chanted, "USA watch your back, Osama is coming back" and "Kill, kill USA, kill, kill George Bush". A small detail of police watched as they shouted: "Bomb, bomb New York" and "George Bush, you will pay, with your blood, with your head." Demonstrators in Grosvenor Square, some with their faces covered with scarves, waved placards which included the message: "Desecrate today and see another 9/11 tomorrow." The protest was organised by groups including the Muslim Council for Britain and the Muslim Parliamentary Association of the UK. Their protest follows fury in the Islamic world over the claims in a Newsweek magazine that US soldiers at Guantanamo Bay had abused the Koran. The magazine later withdrew the article and apologised but not before it triggered riots in Afghanistan in which 17 people died and 100 people were injured. Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Martin Mubanga told the crowd he had seen a copy of the Koran "desecrated" during his time at Camp Delta. He said: "This was one of the methods they used, throwing the Koran, my Koran, on the floor in my cell." One of the protesters called for the release of radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza. He shouted: "Your so-called democracy will fall under the sword of Allah. The day of judgment is coming." The demonstration coincided with protests across the world. On the West Bank 2,500 Palestinians streamed out of mosques shouting "Death to America". In Calcutta, India, protesters burned, spat and urinated on the US flag. And in Somalia thousands chanted anti-US slogans. From This is London.
Demonstrators in Grosvenor Square, some with their faces covered with scarves, waved placards which included the message: "Desecrate today and see another 9/11 tomorrow."
The protest was organised by groups including the Muslim Council for Britain and the Muslim Parliamentary Association of the UK. Their protest follows fury in the Islamic world over the claims in a Newsweek magazine that US soldiers at Guantanamo Bay had abused the Koran.
The magazine later withdrew the article and apologised but not before it triggered riots in Afghanistan in which 17 people died and 100 people were injured.
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Martin Mubanga told the crowd he had seen a copy of the Koran "desecrated" during his time at Camp Delta.
He said: "This was one of the methods they used, throwing the Koran, my Koran, on the floor in my cell."
One of the protesters called for the release of radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza. He shouted: "Your so-called democracy will fall under the sword of Allah. The day of judgment is coming."
The demonstration coincided with protests across the world. On the West Bank 2,500 Palestinians streamed out of mosques shouting "Death to America". In Calcutta, India, protesters burned, spat and urinated on the US flag. And in Somalia thousands chanted anti-US slogans.
From This is London.
Hey somebody tell Jack Nicholson to call his "genius" buddy Fidel and find out what's going on. Or, better yet, hey Chevy Chase is this the working socialism you were talking about?
Now, listen to the Czech Karel Schwarzenberg who knows a repressive regime when he sees it.
Hundreds of Cuban dissidents chanted "freedom, freedom" and "down with Fidel Castro" at the start of a gathering of pro-democracy campaigners held near Havana.
But the opening of the convention, held in an orchard, was overshadowed by a wave of arrests and the expulsion of visiting European parliamentarians and journalists, as President Castro's secret police acted against the island's first multi-party democracy conference.
Five European legislators, with several journalists and human rights activists from the Czech Republic, Germany and Italy, were seized. At least six Poles were believed to be in Cuban jails.
Among those expelled was Karel Schwarzenberg, formerly an aide to the Czech president, Vaclav Havel. The central European aristocrat and parliamentarian described the arrests as "the typical behaviour of a totalitarian regime". The Cuban's exaggerated response was indicative of "the nervousness of a regime that is visibly unsure of itself", he said.
An attempt to hold a similar congress nine years ago was called off after the participants were arrested.
About 200 activists demanding the release of Cuba's political prisoners attended the meeting of the Assembly to Promote Civil Society. The organiser, Martha Beatriz Roque, told the gathering: "No state, no regime, no party has the right to control a whole nation. That is why we are here."
The organisers said the state had prevented many would-be delegates from attending the meeting.
Participants then heard a video-taped message from President George W Bush, who hailed their attempt to bring freedom to the island. Cuba's dissident community, which has been subjected to 46 years of harassment since the communist takeover, is far more sympathetic to the United States than to Europe, where they believe that there is a lingering romantic attachment to President Castro.
From the telegraph.