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Thursday, March 31, 2005
  How stuffing clasified documents in your socks can be qualified as an 'honest mistake' is beyond me
(background)
Yahoo! News - Berger to Plead Guilty to Taking Materials: "WASHINGTON - Former national security adviser Sandy Berger will plead guilty to taking classified material from the National Archives, a misdemeanor, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Berger is expected to appear in federal court in Washington on Friday, said Justice spokesman Bryan Sierra.

The former Clinton administration official previously acknowledged he removed from the National Archives copies of documents about the government's anti-terror efforts and notes that he took on those documents. He said he was reviewing the materials to help determine which Clinton administration documents to provide to the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

He called the episode 'an honest mistake,' and denied criminal wrongdoing.

Berger and his lawyer, Lanny Breuer, have said Berger knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket and pants and inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio. He returned most of the documents, but some still are missing.

The charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.

The materials related to a 2000 report on how government reacted to the terror threat prior to the millennium celebrations.

Berger stepped down as an adviser to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's campaign last July after The Associated Press reported that the Justice Department was investigating the matter.

Many Democrats, including former President Clinton, suggested politics were behind disclosure of the probe only days before the release of the Sept. 11 commission report, which Republicans feared would be a blow to President Bush's re-election campaign."
 
  The Future is Now: Robotic Death from Above
TCS: Tech Central Station - Robotic Death from Above: "You can forget about pilot fatigue since controls can easily be handed off to somebody else. Pilot error will be greatly reduced since the controller will never be worrying about losing his own skin.

Amazingly, several types of new robot combat aircraft could be in action within just five years.

One, General Atomic's Predator B called the 'Hunter-Killer,' is already here. While several versions are under development, they all should be able to fly at 50,000 feet -- twice the altitude reachable by the original. The B can also carry ten times the munitions load. Its turboprop engine allows it to fly faster than 300 miles per hour and stay aloft for as many as 32 hours. That equals a third of the ground phase of Operation Desert Storm.

Instead of merely carrying two Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, the Hunter-Killer can carry a variety of weapons, including both satellite -- and laser-guided bombs. Its radar, cameras, and sensors will also be upgraded, allowing it to instantly track and attack moving vehicles. The Air Force already has six combat-ready Predator Bs and plans to soon acquire 14 more, according to General Atomics. The company will soon be able to pump out two a month.

The X-45 is jet-powered and will fly just below the speed of sound. It resembles something of an oblong pancake with wings. At only 39 feet long, the latest configuration (X-45C) is little over half the length of America's top fighter, the F-15 Eagle, albeit with a slightly larger wingspan. Most amazingly, at four feet tall you'd have to stack four of them to equal the height of the F-15.

The latest versions, the X-45C and its Navy variant the X-45CN, will carry as many as 4,500 pounds of missiles and bombs, fly at 40,000 feet, and can strike targets 750 miles away. The first X-45 flew three years ago and the more capable C version should take to the skies in 2007, such that the jets may enter service by 201"
 
  Oh Crap!
Goldman sees oil price 'super spike' to $105 a barrel - UPDATE 3 Messenger | Yahoo! Finance-: "NEW YORK (AFX) - Oil prices have entered the early stages of trading that could lead to a 'super spike' with the potential to move prices to $105 per barrel, enough to meaningfully reduce energy consumption, according to a Goldman Sachs analysis.
The call, which would mean a possible doubling of oil prices from their current level, sent crude back above $55 per barrel for the first time in a week. The contract for May delivery was last quoted up 2.4 percent at $55.30, having earlier touched a high of $55.55.
'The strength in oil demand and economic growth, especially in the United States and China, following a year of $40-$50 per barrel WTI oil has surprised us... The reason for this adjustment in view is that persistent high prices are improving the financial position of key oil exporting countries and could serve to keep potential revolution at bay,' said analyst Arjun Murti.
Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Alaron.com, said $105 oil is technically possible but not likely for at least 3 years and only if a major supply disruption, such as a halt to imports from Saudi Arabia, occurred."
 
  Why the anti-war left can Kiss My Ass
Medal of Honor Memorial defaced: "Vandals left the Medal of Honor Memorial looking like it had been through its own battle Tuesday, and repairs are expected to take at least six weeks.

Memorial officials estimate repairs could cost $6,000 to $8,000 in materials alone.

'It's not so much the money, it's the fact that someone would do this dishonor to people who have gone above and beyond in protecting the rights of American citizens,' said Susan Hanafee, a member of the IPALCO Foundation board responsible for the upkeep of the memorial on the Downtown Canal.

The attack on the memorial also upset and surprised visitors out enjoying the spring-like weather.

'It's shocking,' said Harold Cleaver, 34, as his sons, Logan, 7, and Ethan, 6, moved through the memorial. Both children were old enough to understand the significance of the memorial, a series of green glass panels inscribed with the names of the soldiers who received the country's highest honor for bravery during war."
 
  The Wolfowitz has entered the hen house
The Australian: Wolfowitz named World Bank chief [April 01, 2005]: "THE World Bank today announced it had appointed US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz as its next president to succeed Australian-born James Wolfensohn from June.

'The executive directors unanimously selected Mr Paul Wolfowitz, effective June 1, 2005, to succeed Mr Wolfensohn as president of the World Bank, when the latter retires on May 31, 2005,' the bank said in a statement. "
 
  Hanoi Jane, too little too late.
DRUDGE REPORT FLASH 2004®: "Jane Fonda has no regrets about her trip to North Vietnam in 1972 - with one big exception: her visit to a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun site used to shoot down U.S. pilots.Ê She says her appearance there, which earned her the epithet 'Hanoi Jane,' was a 'betrayal' of the U.S. military, its soldiers and 'the country that gave me privilege.'Ê She regards the event as one of the biggest mistakes of her life. Fonda speaks to Lesley Stahl in her first interview about her upcoming autobiography, Jane Fonda: My Life So Far, for a 60 MINUTES report to be broadcast Sunday, April 3 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Ê

Ê'The image of Jane Fonda, Barbarella, Henry Fonda's daughter...sitting on an enemy aircraft gun was a betrayal...the largest lapse of judgment that I can even imagine,' says Fonda.Ê She does not regret, however, visiting the enemy capital, Hanoi, or being photographed with American prisoners of war there - despite the propaganda value it afforded the enemy.Ê 'There are hundreds of American delegations that had met with the POWs,' says Fonda.Ê 'Both sides were using the POWs for propaganda....It's not something that I will apologize for,' she says. Ê

ÊNor is she sorry for the broadcasts she made on Radio Hanoi, something she asked the North Vietnamese to do.Ê 'Our government was lying to us and men were dying because of it, and I felt I had to do anything that I could to expose the lies and help end the war,' she tells Stahl.Ê She went on Radio Hanoi at least 10 times, speaking directly to American pilots and criticizing their bombing of North Vietnam.Ê Fonda insists she did not ask the pilots to disobey orders. Ê'I'm asking them to consider [not bombing North Vietnam],' says Fonda. She wouldn't make similar broadcasts in Iraq today, however, saying, 'I don't think it's the same situation at all. When I went [to North Vietnam]...we had been fighting in Vietnam for eight years. The majority of Americans...[and] Congres"
 
  Suge gets the pimp-hand from the Man
Entertainment: People Article | Reuters.com: "LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rap impresario Marion 'Suge' Knight has been ordered to pay $107 million to a woman who said she helped found his ground-breaking music label, but was pushed out after Knight realized how valuable Death Row Records was.

A Los Angeles judge ordered Knight to pay Lydia Harris $47 million in economic and noneconomic damages and $60 million in punitive damages, according to a March 9 order.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Sohigian issued the default judgment after ruling Knight and his attorneys failed to comply with his order to share evidence with Harris and her attorneys in preparation for trial.

Neither Knight's lawyer, Dermot D. Givens, nor his publicist could be reached for comment.

David Casselman, an attorney for Harris, said his client faced a new battle in trying to collect from Death Row and Knight."
 
  Heh
Local10.com - News - Man Sentenced For Attacking Girlfriend For Supporting Kerry: "FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- An 18-year-old man was sentenced to 90 days in jail Wednesday for attacking his girlfriend after learning she planned to vote for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry last fall.

Steven Soper pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery and resisting arrest without violence.

In addition to three months in the Broward County Jail, Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga sentenced Soper to five years of probation and 100 hours of community service.

The judge also ordered Soper to write a letter of apology to 18-year-old Stacey Silveira, who said she and Soper dated for two years.

Soper is also required to complete a batterers' intervention program, undergo psychological and substance abuse evaluations and complete any recommended treatment, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

Silveira's neighbor called 911 on Oct. 26 after seeing Soper carrying Silveira as she screamed 'no, no, no,' Assistant State Attorney Tim Beckwith said. Soper pointed a knife at Silveira and threatened to kill her, Beckwith added.

The couple's relationship had been volatile at times, defense attorney Michael Salnick said, but it became violent when Soper learned of his girlfriend's decision to support Kerry over President Bush."
 
  The TurboTax defence, I will need to remember this one
TaxProf Blog: IRS Grants Relief to Taxpayer Who Used TurboTax to Prepare His Tax Return: "In a not-yet published private letter ruling obtained by Tax Analysts, the IRS granted relief to a taxpayer who claims he overlooked a tax election worth over $70,000 because he used TurboTax software to prepare his return:

In the March 22 ruling provided to Tax Analysts by the taxpayer's enrolled agent, the IRS considered and granted a request to make a late election to treat capital gains as investment income under § 163(d)(1) and 163(d)(4)(B). By making the election, the taxpayer will be able to deduct otherwise disallowed investment interest expense. The IRS determined that when the taxpayer filed his return he did not understand that the option to make the election existed or would affect his liability."
 
  The Pothole Strikes Back
WPVI.com: Hole Swallows Pothole Patcher: "The crew had a rough morning on the job along Vassar Street.

Already, Philadelphia city crews have repaired about 9,600 potholes so far this year using pothole patching trucks and three-man crews. But one crew ran right into a big problem this morning. As they were moving their truck after fixing a hole on Vassar Street, a larger hole opened up, swallowing part of the truck."
 
  How far is too far: This far
LancasterOnline.com: Ind. Business Told to Hide Nude Statues: "EDINBURGH, Ind. (AP) - The Venus di Milo had better wear a top and Michelangelo's David should put on some pants if they're going to be seen at a yard art business.

Bartholomew County officials told the business near Interstate 65 that it must move cement copies of the classical statues — and about 10 others — out of public view because they are obscene under Indiana law.

'It's not fair to point out our business, and personally, I don't find them offensive,' Ginger Streeval, a co-owner of White River Truck Repair and Yard Art, told the Daily Journal of Franklin for a story Wednesday.

Frank Butler, the county's zoning inspector, disagreed.

'They have nudity ... and that should not be in the view of a minor,' he said.

Indiana's obscenity law prohibits the display of nudity where children might see it, he said.

The law also stipulates that such material is harmful for minors if, 'considered as a whole, it lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors.'"
 
  Unintended consequences: In banning the Hijab, France is encouraging their Muslims to further detach from society
The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily: "PARIS: France’s ban on religious symbols in state schools, a move meant to check a feared spread of radicalism, is prompting some Muslims to pull out of the system and launch their own schools and tutoring services.

Representatives of new projects around the country turned up at France’s largest Muslim convention at the weekend, canvassing for money and support to educate girls who have dropped out or been expelled from school for insisting on wearing headscarves."
 
  Penis or War Memorial....
Backpage Article Display: "Wageningen - A Dutch war memorial that goes up and down, and spurts flames may be scrapped after complaints that it looks like a giant penis.

The Liberation Monument is a giant copper obelisk that rises and falls depending on the level of sunlight, and spurts flames out of the top during important festivals.

It is due to go on show in the village of Wageningen where the German capitulation was signed at the end of the Second World War 60 years ago.

In full sunlight, the erection reaches a height of ten metres, shrinking back to just six metres when the light dims.

It was due to be exposed to the public at an official ceremony in May but now village councillors say it should either be scrapped or radically redesigned.

A spokesperson said: 'Any association with a phallus is undesirable, whether justified or unjustified, and is to be avoided at all costs.' - Ananova.com"
 
  Could Egypt be the next domino to fall?
Middle East Online: "Egypt's pro-reform protestors are finding growing courage to make their voice heard and for the first time are challenging the once near-sacred aura surrounding veteran President Hosni Mubarak.

Supporters of the Kefaya (Enough) movement took to the streets on Wednesday in an unprecedented coordinated nationwide push directly targeting the 76-year-old ruler, who could yet seek a fifth mandate in elections later this year.

Numbers were low as Egypt put on a massive show of force to prevent any significant gathering, thwarting a protest in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria altogether and confining demonstrators in the capital to a tiny area.

Egypt has not yet seen a people's revolution of the type that recently swept Ukraine and Lebanon, but commentators say the mood is nevertheless changing in the Arab world's most populous country.

'I feel the atmosphere is opening up. The government is becoming weaker and weaker, while the people are shaking off some of their fear,' said Nawal Saadawi, a long-time opponent of the Egyptian regime and prominent women's rights activist."
 
  Nowhere is safe from the prying eyes of Big Brother, least of all your car
Appeals court says 'black boxes' in cars can be used as evidence against drivers: South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "The little 'black box' in Edwin Matos' car is a reliable source of evidence that he was driving at more than three times the speed limit when he slammed into another vehicle and killed two teenage girls in Pembroke Pines, an appeals court ruled on Wednesday.

In what appears to be the nation's first such appellate ruling in a criminal case, the 4th District Court of Appeal agreed with the trial judge who allowed Broward prosecutors to use evidence gathered from the car's 'black box' in Matos' 2003 trial.

'This is a tool we're going to be using more and more often in traffic investigations,' said Michael Horowitz, the prosecutor who won two manslaughter convictions against Matos. 'It's an objective piece of evidence that can convict or exonerate you.'

Few drivers realize that a silent, technological passenger is riding along with them and could be used as evidence against them.

Every vehicle that has an airbag has a version of the box, which is also known as an 'event data recorder.' Experts describe it as the brain of the airbag system because it records speed and collects other data about how the car is operating and tells the airbags whether or not to deploy in the event of an accident.

While most cars on the road today have the device, Horowitz said that, right now, data can only be usefully retrieved and interpreted from a few makes, including Ford, General Motors and some Isuzu models. He said he expects the technology will be more widely available in the future and will be used in more cases."
 
  The superflush
The Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News - 31-Mar-05 - Ready, get set, flush - 103 times - at new riverfront ballpark: "MANCHESTER � The turf is laid out, the seats are bolted down and workers are putting finishing touches on the new Fisher Cats Ballpark on the Manchester riverfront.

But what if fans can't flush? Could opening day end up awash?

With that remote possibility in mind, an important test � the Super Flush � takes place tomorrow at the new city-owned stadium. And the Fisher Cats management has recruited Little Leaguers to be on hand to flush toilets � all 103 of them � in synchronization.

'Young boys like to flush toilets for whatever reason,' said Shawn Smith, president and general manager of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The Super Flush is advised in order to clear any impurities out of the system.

The stadium has 52 toilets for women. In the men's rooms, there are 19 toilets and 32 urinals. Each flush adds between 1.6 and 1.9 gallons to the city's sewer system. And although the stadium offers many modern conveniences, the toilets do not use electronic sensors. All use the old-fashioned push handles."
 
  Tell me again, why exactly a Sherrif's Office needs an APC?! let alone two
toledoblade.com: "BOWLING GREEN - When Mark Wasylyshyn started cleaning out the garage at the Wood County sheriff's office, he knew he'd find an armored personnel carrier his predecessor had gotten from the U.S. Army.

He had seen the tanklike vehicle in local parades. The surprise came when he learned more than $17,000 had been spent on repairs and that the sheriff's office had a second armored carrier stored on private property.

'We don't need two of them,' he said, quickly adding, 'We don't need one of them.'"
 
  Ask not what you can do for your country, but who you can do for your country.
Yahoo! News - Australia Has Baby Boom After Gov't Push: "CANBERRA, Australia - Australia's government said that having babies is a patriotic duty and promised to pay accordingly — and its citizens appear to have answered the call.

The 133,400 babies born in the six months ending in September were the most in a half-year period in 14 years, according to recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The government — responding to a falling birth rate, looming labor market shortage and shrinking tax base — had offered to give mothers $2,319 for each baby born after July 1 last year.

In announcing the payments in May 2004, Treasurer Peter Costello told the country: 'You go home and do your patriotic duty tonight.'"
 
  Ewwwwwww! or in Fark parlance, He was arrested with a Shit Eating Grin on his face
(via FARK)
CANOE -- CNEWS - Weird News: Potty-mouth man can't fool science: "An allegedly drunk driver with a taste for trickery failed to foil a police breathalyzer machine after stuffing his mouth full of feces. 'I don't think alcohol alone would make you do something as disgusting as that,' South Simcoe Police Insp. Tom McDonald said.

'I've never heard of anything like this before,' the 28-year veteran said.

Arrested Sunday after his Ford pickup truck was pulled over on Hwy. 11 in Stroud, the 59-year-old driver was loaded into a cruiser and taken to a South Simcoe Police station for testing.

En route, Sgt. James Buchanan said, the prisoner vomited, urinated and defecated in the squad car.

At the station the man grabbed a handful of his own waste 'and placed it in his mouth, attempting to trick the breathalyzer machine,' he said.

It didn't work, Buchanan said."
 
  Mad Mullah's still seeking the Allah Bomb
Yahoo! News - Exiles: Iran Seeks to Obtain Nuclear Warheads: "PARIS (Reuters) - Iran allocated $2.5 billion to obtain three nuclear warheads last year, an exiled opposition group said Thursday, without saying whether Iran had secured any of the warheads.

The group, which has given accurate information in the past on some of Iran's nuclear facilities, also said Iran was speeding up work on a reactor south of Tehran which could produce enough plutonium for an atomic bomb by 2007.

Iran says its nuclear program will be used only to generate electricity. But Washington and European countries fear Iran could use its nuclear plants to produce bombs."
 
  Yep, all ready for Statehood
Yahoo! News - Abbas Orders Crackdown After Attack on W. Bank HQ: "RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered a crackdown Thursday on Ramallah militants who defied demands that they lay down their arms under peace moves he had agreed with Israel.

Abbas took a tougher line after half a dozen gunmen from his own ruling Fatah faction fired at his Ramallah compound on Wednesday night while he was inside and then went on a rampage in the West Bank city, damaging several restaurants and shops.

The militants, among 26 fighters holed up at the battered presidential headquarters since Yasser Arafat gave them refuge at the height of a 4 1/2-year-old uprising, were then barred from the compound, a Palestinian official said.

In another sign of lawlessness plaguing the Palestinian territories, an angry crowd burned down tents used as offices by Palestinian police in the West Bank town of Tulkarm early on Thursday after police shot and wounded three suspects."
 
  Enough! Militarize the Border
Yahoo! News - U.S. boosts border force as private patrols gear up: "Two days before citizen patrols of the U.S. border with Mexico are to begin, the Bush administration on Wednesday unveiled plans to expand last summer's controversial dragnet of illegal immigrants traversing the desert.

While federal officials insisted their move to reassign 534 additional agents along the border in Arizona wasn't a response to the coming Minuteman Project patrols, the dueling events are expected to intensify attention on securing a border that federal officials said remains largely an 'open door' for illegal immigrants and possibly Al Qaeda terrorists.

About 155 agents will be sent immediately to the nation's biggest smuggling route for migrants and drugs--the remote deserts and mountains on either side of the Arizona-Mexico border--and the remainder will be put in place during the year.

In all, 3,000 of the nation's 11,000 Border Patrol agents, or about 1 in 4, would be stationed in Arizona, where more than half of all border apprehensions occurred last year."
 
  Canada raises it's pimp-hand
Yahoo! News - Canada slaps sanctions on millions in US imports over trade dispute: "OTTAWA (CP) - Canada is slapping millions of dollars worth of sanctions on U.S. imports in retaliation for a lingering trade irritant.

The announcement of a 15 per cent surtax on cigarettes, oysters and live swine from the United States came Thursday, just as the European Union took similar measures.

The measures are expected to be worth about $14 million annually.

Canada is joining countries from around the world protesting a U.S. trade measure known as the Byrd amendment, which the World Trade Organization has deemed illegal.

The Byrd amendment allows American companies to keep the proceeds that Washington collects in anti-dumping disputes - something Canada and other countries complain unfairly enriches their U.S. rival firms."
 
  Fifth Column Watch
Ex-Official Faces Terror Charges (washingtonpost.com): "As chief of facilities for D.C. public schools, Kifah W. Jayyousi oversaw painting, toilet repairs and other mundane upgrades to aging buildings. But federal agents now say the engineer had a secret life, as a member of a nationwide network that raised money and recruited Islamic militants for conflicts in Bosnia, Chechnya and other places.

Jayyousi, 43, was ordered held without bond yesterday in U.S. District Court in Detroit on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and to commit violent acts abroad, officials said. His attorney, William Swor, said Jayyousi simply raised money for charitable activities and plans to plead innocent to the charges."
 
  KGB plotted to kill the Pope in '81
(via smash)
Yahoo! News - 1981 attack on pope planned by Soviets: report: "ROME (AFP) - New documents found in the files of the former East German intelligence services confirm the 1981 assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II was ordered by the Soviet KGB and assigned to Bulgarian agents, an Italian daily said.

The Corriere della Sera said that the documents found by the German government indicated that the KGB ordered Bulgarian colleagues to carry out the killing, leaving the East German service known as the Stasi to coordinate the operation and cover up the traces afterwards.

Bulgaria then handed the execution of the plot to Turkish extremists, including Mehmet Ali Agca, who pulled the trigger."
 
  World's dumbest crooks (continued)
(via Ace)
Yahoo! News - Thief Steals Poop From Woman Walking Dog: "SAN DIEGO - This mugger was left holding a bag he didn't really want.

Police said they were searching for a gunman who ran up to a woman while she was walking her dog Monday night and grabbed the bag she was holding. It contained poop.

When the gunman discovered what was in it, he threw it down in disgust, pointed his gun at the 32-year-old woman and demanded money, San Diego police detective Gary Hassen said.

He then aimed his .22-caliber semiautomatic at the dog, named Misty, and pulled the trigger twice but the gun didn't fire, Hassen said. The robber, who was believed to be in his 20s, ran to a waiting small, silver car and fled, police said."
 
  As much as I loathe the ACLU, they are going to evicerate that idiot sheriff, and rightly so.
newsobserver.com | Local & State: "A Pender County dispatcher forced to quit her job last year after the sheriff discovered she had a live-in boyfriend is suing to overturn a N.C. law that makes living together a crime.

Sheriff Carson Smith told Debora Lynn Hobbs, 40, that she would have to marry, move or leave her job, said Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina.

'I just didn't think it was any of my employer's business whether I was married or not, as long as I was good at my job,' Hobbs said in a statement. 'I couldn't believe that I was being given this ultimatum to choose between my boyfriend or my livelihood because the sheriff wanted to enforce a 200-year-old law that clearly violates my civil rights.'

The sheriff did not respond to a message left Tuesday. Last year, Smith said he doesn't dispatch deputies to enforce the law, but that he tries to avoid hiring people who live out of wedlock, according to The Associated Press.

Living together as an unmarried couple is a misdemeanor punisha"
 
  Why the Pali's continually get a free pass on the Terror front is beyond me
Yahoo! News - Philippines Arrests Terror Trainer Suspect: "MANILA, Philippines - Philippine authorities have arrested a Palestinian man who allegedly has trained al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf guerrillas and returned to the Philippines for a possible terror mission, officials said Thursday.

Fawaz Zi Ajjur, whom security officials suspect may be an al-Qaida operative, was arrested Saturday in the southern city of Zamboanga after a circuitous journey that took him to Russia, Thailand, Malaysia and before arriving in the Philippines, the officials said.

Ajjur did not have a visa and was taken into custody by immigration agents at the Zamboanga airport, Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez Jr. said.

He was later allegedly identified by two captured Abu Sayyaf guerrillas as one of the foreign militants who trained them in bomb-making near Patikul town on the southern island of Jolo island a few years ago, a security official said on condition of anonymity.

Ajjur strongly denied the allegation and any terrorism links, the official said."
 
  The WaPo sides with the 'undocumented migrant worker'
Immigration Opponents To Patrol U.S. Border (washingtonpost.com): "LOS ANGELES -- The call went out last autumn the way they do these days, in Internet forums and forwarded e-mails: Are YOU interested in spending up to 30 days along the Arizona border as part of a blocking force against entry into the U.S. by illegal aliens early next spring?

The men who put out the call -- a small-town Arizona newspaper publisher and a retired Southern California accountant -- were frustrated by what they viewed as the federal government's inability to police its vast desert border with Mexico. So, they argued, why not enlist volunteers to help?

Michael King of American Border Patrol, a citizen watchdog group that posts images from the U.S.-Mexico border to draw attention to illegal immigration, rides along the border in Arizona. (Paul Connors -- AP)

The Minuteman Project, set to begin tomorrow in Tombstone, Ariz., had no trouble finding any. About 1,300 people are expected to show up for some part of the month-long protest, say the organizers, who hope to place them at half-mile intervals to monitor a 23-mile stretch of border said to be the most porous in the nation.

'You sit here on a hilltop, and you watch people walk unabatedly into this country,' organizer Chris Simcox said. 'It's shocking.'

But the project's unexpected popularity is raising serious safety concerns among federal and local officials and watchdog groups fearing it will attract extremists or spark violent confrontations. Postings about the event have been spotted on white-supremacist Web sites, and fliers "
 
  Lou picks up a bat and wacks the WH around for a while
USNews.com: Lou Dobbs: No more border games (1/31/05): "President Bush has again vowed to spend his political capital to grant legal status to the millions of illegal aliens who live and work in this country. The president rationalizes his guest-worker program by constantly referring to the nation's need to match willing workers with willing employers. The president's 'proposed reform' has already met stiff resistance from the 109th Congress, which is apparently ready to finally take on the critically important issue of illegal immigration.
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Many from the president's own party say they'll fight his guest-worker proposal, and many of our elected officials are finally grasping the importance of representing the views of working Americans--which, after all, is their responsibility. The latest USA Today /CNN/Gallup poll shows only 34 percent of those surveyed approve of President Bush's immigration policies.

'The American people don't want open borders; they don't want amnesty,' says Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican. 'It's a message that is beginning to get through to the Congress. We've just got to get it through to the president.'

That message has gotten through to one of the administration's most cheerful and energetic loyalists on Capitol Hill, Rep. David Dreier of California. After ignoring the realities of illegal immigration for nearly all of his long tenure in Congress, Republican Dreier now says he will introduce legislation to stop American businesses from hiring illegal aliens, using a photo-embedded Social Security card, which employers would be required to check with a national database to determine whether the job applicant is legal or illegal."
 
  When Gamers go mad
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Harsh reality of China's fantasy craze: "When Qiu Chengwei reported the theft of his 'dragon sabre' he was laughed out of the police station. So the 41-year-old online games player decided to take matters into his own hands.

Swapping virtual weapons for a real knife, he tracked down the man who had robbed him of his prized fantasy possession and stabbed him to death.

Mr Qiu is now facing a possible death sentence in a Shanghai court case which has highlighted concern about the social, psychological and economic impact of one of China's fastest-growing industries.

Article continues
A spate of suicides, deaths by exhaustion and legal disputes about virtual possessions have been blamed on internet role-play games, which are estimated to have more than 40 million players in China.

Mr Qiu's favourite game was Legend of Mir III, a South Korean game which is a huge hit throughout Asia.

It took him hours in front of a computer to win the dragon sabre, one of the game's most valuable weapons.

He used a feature of the game to lend it to Zhu Caoyuan, who reportedly sold it on without his permission for 7,200 renminbi (£480).

Although this is considerably more than the average monthly wage, the police told Mr Qui that they could do nothing because the law does not recognise virtual property."
 
  Scroll down and read the whole sorrid, nasty, FUNNY, thing
Straight White Guy: "Did you know that if you try to be a good, polite house-guest and empty an ashtray into a plastic garbage can when a butt is still smoldering in the tray, you can start a fire? Yeah, I knew that, too--- but I didn't realize that my last cigarette wasn't completely extinguished. Eric must keep fresh batteries in his smoke alarm, because that motherfucker is LOUD when it goes off.

I was somewhat disoriented from raiding the liquor cabinet again and I forgot all of the extensive Fire School training I received over the years. I grabbed that pot on the stove and tossed the contents on top of the fire in the trash can.

Hell... I couldn't see well because of all the smoke and I thought the pot was full of water. How was I supposed to know it was grease? Bejus! I wonder how long it's going to take to grow my eyebrows back? I was thinking about shaving the moustache anyway, so that's no big deal, but Eric doesn't have the kitchen he once did.

Well, he's still got what's left of the kitchen, but that trash can had to be removed with a shovel while it was still bubbling like volcanic lava. I threw that out on the deck and I'll be damned if the deck didn't catch fire, too. Did you know that treated outdoor wood burns REALLY GOOD? Well, trust me. It does.

A cat came running up from under the steps and I grabbed it by the tail and used the cat to beat down the flames, until its tail came off in my hand. I put out the fire, but I don't think the cat likes me at all now. Its hairless, tail-less scorched and half-cooked ass hisses at me every time it sees me now.

I can explain away all the fire damage and the missing trash can. I don't know how I'm going to do that yet, but I've still got a couple of days to make up a story to explain the truth. I'm going to try to blame everything on the cat.

Meanwhile, it's back to the liquor cabinet for me."
 
  DHS Spins on RFID
Wired News: RFID Cards Get Spin Treatment: "Conspiracy theorists and civil libertarians, fear not. The U.S. government will not use radio-frequency identification tags in the passports it issues to millions of Americans in the coming years.

Instead, the government will use 'contactless chips.'

The distinction is part of an effort by the Department of Homeland Security and one of its RFID suppliers, Philips Semiconductors, to brand RFID tags in identification documents as 'proximity chips,' 'contactless chips' or 'contactless integrated circuits' -- anything but 'RFID.'

The Homeland Security Department is playing word games to dodge the privacy debate raging over RFID tags, which will eventually replace bar-code labels on consumer goods, said privacy rights advocates this week."
 
  The Future is Now: BCI
Guardian Unlimited | Life | Meet the mind readers: "There's a hand lying on the blanket on Matt Nagle's desk and he's staring at it intently, thinking 'Close, close,' as the scientists gathered around him look on. To their delight, the hand twitches and its outstretched fingers close around the open palm, clenching to a fist.

In that moment, Nagle made history. Paralysed from the neck down after a vicious knife attack four years ago, he is the first person to have controlled an artificial limb using a device chronically implanted into his brain.

The experiment took place a few months ago as part of a broader trial into what are known in the business as brain-computer interfaces. Although it is early days, aficionados of the technology see a world where brain implants return ability to those with disability, allowing them to control all manner of devices by thought alone. There are huge hurdles ahead. No one knows how much information we can usefully decipher from the electrical fizz of the brain's 100bn neurons. More importantly, scientists are still in the dark as to what effect, if any, long term implants will have on the human brain, or how its circuitry will cope with the new tasks demanded of it."
(break)
Nicolelis says his goal is to use brain implants to allow the disabled to walk again. He has already started designing a wearable robotic "exoskeleton" that could help power paralysed legs - think Wallace and Gromit's The Wrong Trousers, only with better control. Nicolelis is also developing something called "shared control" in which a robotic limb is triggered by a basic command from the brain, but refines and carries out the movement itself, using pre-programmed intelligence. "The hurdles ahead, after finding even better electrodes, are developing prosthetics that are more amenable to brain control," he says.
 
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
  Jihadwatch stands up against the Dhimni attitude at NRO
(via lgf)
Jihad Watch: Lowry speaks about CAIR and NR: "So, to clarify: I am not in the least interested in discrediting Muhammad and Islam as an end in itself. Nor do I think that such a discrediting would be of much use in anti-terror efforts. The importance of critical examination of Muhammad and Islam comes from the fact that jihad terrorists around the world -- from Osama bin Laden to Omar Bakri in England and Abu Bakar Bashir in Indonesia and everywhere in between -- invoke Muhammad and Islam to explain their goals and justify their actions, as well as to win recruits among Muslims. When they do that, it becomes important for non-Muslims, and in particular those in government and law enforcement positions, to know how they do it, so that such efforts to invigorate and expand the jihadist ranks can be effectively countered. In that case, a refusal to acknowledge these unpleasant elements of Islam becomes a hindrance to anti-terror and human rights efforts."
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Also, by removing the books, NR has tacitly acknowledged that CAIR was right: all they were was anti-Muslim hate speech. That seems to be established also by Lowry's Corner post above. This is extremely important -- and disastrous -- because, as I show in my article, everything with which CAIR took issue can be readily established from Islamic sources. That suggests that CAIR is trying to keep Americans from knowing unpleasant truths about Islam, which will also keep them from guarding themselves effectively from Muslims who are acting upon those unpleasant directives. It also gives CAIR a victory in their efforts to silence all criticism of Islam as "hate speech" -- and again, it looks as if Lowry obliged them because he agrees that any examination of the Islamic roots of jihad violence is out of bounds in anti-terror efforts.

Yet right now, somewhere in the world, someone is explaining from the Qur'an and Sunnah why Muslims must wage jihad against unbelievers. But let's not think about that. Let's just roll over and go back to sleep.
 
  Let no aspect of a student's life go unmanaged
Bill Would Legislate Maryland Students' Use of Sunscreen (washingtonpost.com): "Montgomery County schools require a doctor's note for children to use sunscreen. Howard County requires a note from parents, and the lotion must be stored in the nurse's office. Anne Arundel students, by contrast, may carry and apply sunscreen with impunity.

A bill pending in the Maryland legislature, however, would require school health officers to make sure students are allowed to wear sunscreen when they go outdoors on sunny days, a right that is not universally recognized in schools, according to cancer prevention advocates.

The American Cancer Society asked Del. Anne Healey (D-Prince George's) to draft the legislation after a survey of the 24 Maryland school systems in fall 2003. The survey, conducted by the Coalition for Skin Cancer Prevention in Maryland, found a jumble of inconsistent policies toward sunscreen, a product that many school systems treat as if it were an over-the-counter medicine.

Four school systems require a doctor's order for students to apply sunscreen. Eleven require at least a parent's note. Eight systems require students to leave the product with the school health officer. Rules can vary from school to school within each system."
 
  This just in: EUnuchs are schtooooopid
CNN.com - Poll: Iran not a nuclear threat - Mar 30, 2005: "LONDON, England (CNN) -- Almost six out of 10 adults in Britain, France and Germany say that Iran does not pose a nuclear threat to Europe, according to the findings of a new CNN/TIME poll.

Iran says its nuclear program is nothing for the world to fear and will only be used to generate much-needed electricity. But Washington and the EU fear Iran could use its nuclear plants to produce bombs.

In his State of the Union Address in February, U.S. President George W. Bush named Iran as 'the world's primary state sponsor of terror.'

He said the United States must 'confront regimes that continue to harbor terrorists and pursue weapons of mass murder,' citing Iran and Syria.

In February, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said an attack on Iran over its alleged nuclear program is 'not on the agenda at this point.'

Adults in France were more likely to think Iran posed a nuclear threat (34 per cent) than in Germany (30 per cent) and Britain (27 per cent.)

Of those adults surveyed who did believe Iran posed a nuclear threat, 59 per cent said diplomacy was the best way to handle the situation."
 
  Diversity means never having to worry if your candidate is qualified
JS Online: Jones discriminated, jury finds: "Seventeen white men from the Milwaukee Police Department won their discrimination lawsuit against former Chief Arthur Jones and the City of Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon, prompting backslapping and hugs in a federal courtroom.

I believe that it is a blow to diversification, and I think that's very important to a municipal police department, especially here in Milwaukee.

The verdict: An eight-member federal jury decided that the Milwaukee Police Department, under former Chief Arthur Jones, discriminated against 17 white male lieutenants who were passed over for promotions.

What’s next: The jury will reconvene Monday at 9 a.m. for the penalty phase of the trial. Testimony in this phase is expected to last three days. The plaintiffs are each seeking $300,000 in compensatory damages plus punitive damages and promotions to captain.

Other cases: A number of discrimination suits against the department and city are pending from the Jones era, including two filed against the city by Jones himself. Jones is seeking $2 million in damages in each of his suits.
Recent Coverage

'Total victory,' proclaimed lead plaintiff Steven Alexander, a police lieutenant, into his cell phone after the verdict, which could cost the city millions and force i"
(break)
Horwitz argued that Milwaukee's police chiefs have long exercised subjective judgment over selecting captains, but the jurors found many specific times where they believed discrimination influenced Jones' choices.

In a possible glimpse into how damages could be allocated, a chart filled out with the verdict shows the jury unanimously believed the 17 white men had collectively been skipped over 144 times when Jones deigned to name less-qualified minority members to captains.

Included in that number were three lieutenants promoted to captain - Darryl Winston, Mary Hoerig and Andra Williams - who jurors believed benefited from Jones' discrimination against all 17 of the plaintiffs, a total of 51 instances of discrimination.
 
  Every time I think Oregon could not get any more stupid(left) they reach down deep and take it to the next level
KATU 2 - Portland, Oregon: "Salem, Ore. - A picture of a Marine holding an assault rifle has sparked a wave of controversy at a Salem high school.

The problem began when the Marine's sister brought the picture to McKay High School to post on a classroom bulletin board.

The assignment was to show McKay graduates at work.

However, the principal of the school, Cynthia Richardson, would not allow the picture to go up because of the school's zero tolerance policy on weapons.

'What message am I sending to my students if I post that picture?' she asked."
 
  Warner signs measure denying public benefits to illegal aliens - The Washington Times: Metropolitan - March 30, 2005
Warner signs measure denying public benefits to illegal aliens - The Washington Times: Metropolitan - March 30, 2005: "Virginia Gov. Mark Warner yesterday signed into law a measure that denies illegal aliens public benefits, including access to Medicaid, welfare and local health care services.
'I have signed this legislation into law but will ask the Latino Advisory Commission to study and monitor the legislation to ensure that it is fairly implemented and does not impose undue costs on local governments,' said Mr. Warner, a Democrat who is in his last year in office. "
 
  Dear Leader may have a problem
N. Korea struggling to curb bird flu: "SEOUL, March 30 (UPI) -- North Korea has vowed to prevent the spread of deadly bird flu beyond the poultry farms where the outbreak happened, saying it has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of chickens and was taking countermeasures to contain the disease.

But officials and experts in South Korea raise concerns that the outbreak may be extensive enough to wipe out the impoverished country's poultry industry and spread into neighboring South Korea and China, given Pyongyang's poor quarantine equipment and technology.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said on Sunday that bird flu had broken in 'two to three' chicken farms, including one in the Pyongyang. On the following day, the state's two major radio stations repeated news of the outbreak.

It was the first time North Korea officially confirmed that bird flu, which caused serious health risks in Southeast Asia and China, has hit the isolated communist state. North Korea has said it was free of the disease up until two weeks ago, when South Korean media reported the outbreak of the animal disease in North Korea."
 
  S&M Health Care
ThisisLondon: "It may sound a bit kinky but everything from depression to alcoholism can be cured with a beating on the bare bottom, scientists claim.

Spanking is more effective than exercise at keeping the blues at bay, say Russian researchers who carried out tests on caning.

They recommend that people receive 30 weekly sessions of 60 of the best. High levels of pain make the body produce endorphins or 'happy chemicals' and this leads to feelings of euphoria.

Endorphins also boost the immune system, release sex hormones and reduce appetite.

Dr Sergei Speransky, who now charges patients £57 for treatment at Novosibirsk Institute of Medicine, said: 'The treatment works. I'm not sadistic, at least not in the classical sense, but I do advocate caning.'"
 
  Welcome to America
CNN.com - Visiting Afghan women's van, crafts stolen - Mar 30, 2005: "CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) -- A delegation of 10 Afghan women who are visiting Ohio to make business contacts lost $10,000 worth of crafts when their rented van was stolen.

The group represents 2,000 craftswomen who make purses, shawls, jewelry and other wares.

'We arrived to find a market for these products,' said one of the women, Parwana Wafa. 'Instead of help, we lost everything.'"
 
  Why the move to force the BSA to accept gay scout leaders is important
Yahoo! News - Boy Scouts Official Faces Porn Charges: "DALLAS - A former high-ranking Boy Scouts of America official has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. Douglas Sovereign Smith Jr., 61, who as program director coordinated scouting programs with schools and churches, was accused of receiving images over the Internet in February of children engaging in oral sex, intercourse and other sexually explicit conduct.

Related Links
• Criminal Information: U.S. v. Douglas Smith, Jr. (FindLaw)


The charges were filed by federal prosecutors March 21.

'We're shocked and dismayed to learn of this,' said Gregg Shields, national spokesman for the Boy Scouts, based in the Dallas suburb of Irving. 'Smith was employed by the Boy Scouts for 39 years and we had no indication of prior criminal activity.'"
 
  Syria training terrorists
AP Wire | 03/29/2005 | Hamas recruit says he was trained in Syria: "ASHKELON, Israel - A 20-year-old Palestinian recruited from a mosque in Gaza by Hamas militants told The Associated Press in a jailhouse interview Tuesday that he received weeks of military training in a Hamas camp in Syria this year.

The allegations by Osama Mattar, now in Israeli custody, mark the first time a Palestinian has spoken publicly about being trained in Syria, and contradict repeated Syrian denials.

The training base outside Damascus was far from secret and was once even inspected by Syrian intelligence agents, Mattar said.

'They know very well about the presence of Hamas,' he said. 'What they may not have known about was the presence of a guy from Gaza coming to train at the training camp in Syria.'

Israel has long accused Syria of allowing Palestinian militants to train there and offered up Mattar - arrested March 2 as he tried to cross back into Gaza - as proof."
 
  The Washington Times takes Bush to the woodshed
Gangs and Minutemen - The Washington Times: Editorials/OP-ED - March 29, 2005: "The notorious crime syndicate Mara Salvatrucha is threatening Arizona's Project Minuteman and reportedly plans to teach it 'a lesson' once the Minutemen begin fanning out along Arizona's border regions this weekend. This probably was not the bedfellow that President Bush, the U.S. Border Patrol and the American Civil Liberties Union were counting on when they began criticizing the civilian border-surveillance group in recent weeks. But the president, law enforcement officers and activist groups have unintentionally ended up on the same side of the issue as a violent criminal gang targeted by coordinated raids just two weeks ago. "
 
  Too little too late
U.S. adds 500 to patrol Ariz. border: "WASHINGTON - More than 500 additional Border Patrol agents are being assigned to beef up patrols along the Arizona-Mexico border, with as many as 150 to 200 officers already headed there, federal officials and others said Tuesday.

That news comes just days before civilian volunteers, calling themselves the Minuteman Project, are to begin their own monthlong patrols for immigrants crossing the border.

Organizers have said they expect at least 1,000 people to participate. "
 
  King of the RINO people
Newsday.com - New York City News: "Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg hinted strongly last night he would endorse Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton next year for re-election - aiming yet another Democrat-friendly signal at city voters.

'I think that I've said as many times as I could both Senator Schumer, the senior senator, and Hillary Clinton, the junior senator, have worked very hard and very effectively for New York City,' he said."
 
  Wankers
International News Article | Reuters.com: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States voiced support for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday but some officials said they were unsure if he would survive in his post after a critical inquiry into the U.N. oil-for-food program.

The independent probe led by former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker on Tuesday cleared Annan of interfering in the award of a contract under the scandal-plagued U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq to a firm that employed his son.

However, the investigation faulted Annan for not having investigated possible conflicts of interest properly.

'Secretary-General Annan and the United States share a common commitment to working together to reforming the United Nations, and we will support him in his efforts to do that,' State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said when asked if the U.S. government had confidence in Annan.

'This is a very serious matter,' said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. 'Congress has been looking into it as well. We continue to support the United Nations. We continue to support Secretary-General Annan in his work at the United Nations.'

Privately, U.S. officials said Washington did not know how the investigation would play out and the administration would therefore be circumspect in its comments about Annan."
 
  Democracy Mugabe Style
Telegraph | News | Zimbabwe opposition's 'tell a friend' plan to foil vote riggers: "'Write down the result, tell a friend, then run like hell!' This was the order to polling agents for Zimbabwe's opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, before they began moving off to monitor more than 8,000 polling stations ahead of tomorrow's general election.

It is designed to spread a word-of-mouth picture of the results at each polling station before they are fed into a central election office in Harare controlled by some of President Robert Mugabe's most loyal aides.

MDC secretary Paul Themba-Nyathi
MDC official Paul Themba-Nyathi

The octogenarian president is said to have everything in place to ensure victory. Critics say polling stations will be run by cowed officials, with voter rolls bloated with phantom voters.

In isolated rural areas and farms, villagers have been threatened with being denied food or being sacked if they are found voting for the opposition. The media dare not stray from supporting him.

Officially, four large groups of foreign observers will monitor the election but they are all linked to supporters of Mr Mugabe, while any organisations critical of the regime have been banned.

Three are dominated by members of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, whose leader, President Thabo Mbeki, supports Mr Mugabe."
 
  Dhimni at NRO
Conservative Magazine Removes Ads for Controversial Books -- 03/30/2005: "(CNSNews.com) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations says the conservative National Review magazine apparently has removed advertisements for two 'virulently anti-Muslim books' it is selling in its online store.

This follows CAIR's grassroots campaign against the way National Review was promoting the books.

'The Life and Religion of Mohammed,' according to the magazine's review, exposes 'the ugly truth about the founder of the world's most violent religion'; and 'The Sword of the Prophet' 'gives the unvarnished, 'politically incorrect' truth about Islam -- including the shocking facts about its founder, Mohammed; its rise through bloody conquest; its sanctioning of theft, deceit, lust and murder.'

CAIR said hundreds of concerned Muslims, at CAIR's request, have contacted both the National Review and Boeing Co., one of the magazine's advertisers, to express their concerns about the 'Islamophobic views' in both books."
 
  Our medicated nation.
Medical - Use of drugs to treat mental illness soars - sacbee.com: "Sacramento campaign consultant Mark Capitolo credits a daily dose of anti-anxiety drugs with helping him stay 'relatively sane' and out of the hospital during a difficult time in his life.

'The drugs are not going to make you happy. You are on your own in that regard. But they provide you physically with a safety net. I came around to the fact that it is no big deal to use that safety net,' said Capitolo, who was first diagnosed with an anxiety disorder 15 years ago."
 
  Show trial(s)
Scotsman.com News - International - Sudan vows to put 164 on trial for atrocities: "SUDAN’S government yesterday said it will put 164 people on trial for abuses committed in Darfur, a move which is designed to undermine calls for those responsible for atrocities in the region to be tried in international courts.

The pledge came on the eve of a United Nations vote today on whether to prosecute those accused in the International Criminal Court.

Khartoum repeated its insistence yesterday that none of its citizens would be tried outside its borders, in direct defiance of a call by the UN earlier this year for 51 Sudanese - including some high-ranking government officials - to be tried by the international community."
 
  At least she did not end up at the bottom of the Chappaquiddick
CNN.com - Joan Kennedy hospitalized with broken bones - Mar 30, 2005: "BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- Joan Kennedy, the former wife of Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, is in the hospital recuperating from a concussion and a broken shoulder after a passer-by found her lying in a street, according to her son."
 
  Birds of a feather
BBC NEWS | Europe | Chavez arms sale row splits Spain: "Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is attending a four-nation summit in Venezuela that also brings together Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

The arms deal is expected to be signed on Wednesday.

On the eve of the signing, Mr Rajoy, who leads Spain's opposition Popular Party, told local television: 'I think that what we are doing today in Venezuela in selling arms to Chavez is a monstrous error that the Spanish government should absolutely not make.'

He added: 'It's something that has met with blanket criticism across the whole of the Venezuelan opposition... who suffer under the Chavez yoke.'

But Socialist Party manager Jose Blanco said the sale would provide employment for Spanish workers - including those at the publicly-owned Navantia shipyards, which he said had been left 'techn"
 
  The Religion of Peaceful Co-Existance
CANOE -- CNEWS - Weird News: Tourists stabbed for kissing: "CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - An Egyptian stabbed a Hungarian man and woman, slightly wounding them, after the couple kissed while pausing for a photograph near a mosque at Cairo's popular tourist bazaar, police said Tuesday.

Hesham Mohammed, 36, apparently was upset by the kiss Monday in front of Al-Hussein Mosque, a security official said on customary condition of anonymity. The mosque is adjacent to the Khan el-Khalili market where fo"
 
  Michelle Malkin: The ACLU vs. America
Michelle Malkin: The ACLU vs. America: "'Do you want to be heard without fear? I am not an American who believes that questioning or criticizing my government is unpatriotic.'

Uh-huh. 'Dissent is patriotic,' the Left likes to preach. Except, apparently, if the questioning and criticizing deals with the government's abject failure to enforce immigration laws. Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist has been harassed by open-borders activists at his home. The group is reportedly being targeted by savage illegal alien gangsters from Mara Salvatrucha (a.k.a. MS-13). Mexican government officials are lobbying American law enforcement officials to suppress the Minutemen's rights to speak and assemble.

But instead of coming to the defense of the Minutemen who are challenging our government, the ACLU has warned the 1,000 volunteers that it will send monitors to document the Americans' activities. Moreover, the ACLU has already threatened lawsuits against the American dissenters for exercising their rights.

This bullying of pro-immigration enforcement activists comes as no surprise to those of us who have followed the ACLU's aggressive open-borders agenda -- from its support for driver's licenses for illegal aliens, to its opposition to detaining illegal alien terror suspects after 9/11 and profiling foreign visitors from terror-friendly countries, to its efforts to stop local and state law enforcement officers from helping federal homeland security efforts.

ACLU of Arizona spokesman Ray Ybarra argues that the mere presence of the Minutemen at the border constitutes 'unlawful imprisonment' of illegal (excuse me, 'undocumented') aliens (excuse me, 'migrants'). Ybarra told the Washington Times that the ACLU will have lawyers on standby ready to file civil cases against the volunteers. He warned that the Minutemen could 'come to our state as 'vigilantes' and end up leaving as 'defendants.''"
 
  Bradley swings wide of the mark, but it was still somewhat interesting
The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: A Party Inverted: "A party based on charisma has no long-term impact. Think of our last charismatic leader, Bill Clinton. He was president for eight years. He was the first Democrat to be re-elected since Franklin Roosevelt. He was smart, skilled and possessed great energy. But what happened? At the end of his tenure in the most powerful office in the world, there were fewer Democratic governors, fewer Democratic senators, members of Congress and state legislators and a national party that was deep in debt. The president did well. The party did not. Charisma didn't translate into structure.

If Democrats are serious about preparing for the next election or the next election after that, some influential Democrats will have to resist entrusting their dreams to individual candidates and instead make a commitment to build a stable pyramid from the base up. It will take at least a decade's commitment, and it won't come cheap. But there really is no other choice."
 
  More on Bush's allies in the border fiasco
Trial Witness in MS-13 Case Flees but Is Apprehended (washingtonpost.com): "A key witness in the upcoming trial of four members of the Mara Salvatrucha street gang who are charged in the slaying of another federal witness will appear in court today after he fled and was tracked down by U.S. marshals, court papers and government officials said.

Joaquin Grande-Chavez, who had been missing for several weeks, was arrested on a material witness warrant Thursday in Northern Virginia, said U.S. Marshal John F. Clark. It is rare for witnesses to run away before trial, Clark said.

Grande-Chavez is the brother of Oscar Antonio Grande, one of four members of Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, accused in the stabbing death of Brenda Paz.

Paz, 17, who was pregnant, was a federal witness in another MS-13 slaying case. Her body washed up on the banks of the Shenandoah River in 2003, shortly after she left the witness protection program."
 
  Importing and teaching Jihad in our schools
What Are Islamic Schools Teaching? -- 03/29/2005: "Then there are four leading Islamic schools in the Washington, D.C., area:

-- The Muslim Community School in Potomac, Maryland, imbues in its students a sense of alienation from their own country. Seventh-grader Miriam told a Washington Post reporter in 2001, 'Being American is just being born in this country.' Eighth-grader Ibrahim announced that 'Being an American means nothing to me.'

-- A textbook used at the Islamic Saudi Academy of Alexandria, Virginia, in 2004, authored and published by the Saudi Ministry of Education, teaches first graders that 'all religions, other than Islam, are false, including that of the Jews [and] Christians.' An ISA class valedictorian, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was recently indicted for plotting to assassinate President Bush.

-- The U.S. government revoked the visas in 2004 of sixteen people affiliated with the Institute for Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America, of Fairfax, Virginia. In the words of the Washington Post, 'That decision followed accusations that the institute, a satellite campus of al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, was promoting a brand of Islam that critics say is intolerant of other strains of the religion as well as Christianity and Judaism.' In addition, the IIASA is under investigation for ties to terrorism.

-- The Graduate School of Islamic Social Sciences of Ashburn, Virginia, referred to as a 'purported' educational institution in an affidavit justifying a raid on the school, had its financial records seized in 2002 on suspicions of links to terrorism.

Nor are schools the exception among Islamic institutions in North America. A recent study by Freedom House found a parallel problem of venomous anti-Jewish and anti-Christian materials in U.S. mosques.

The most prominent American Muslim organizations, especially the Council on American-Islamic Relations, spew anti-Semitism and ho"
 
  Now that JJ has arrived on the scene, we can get this down to the next level of farce
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Jesse Jackson Visits Schiavo Hospice: "PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — As Terri Schiavo (search) entered her 12th day without food or water, Jesse Jackson (search) paid a visit to her hospice Tuesday to show support for her parents and said her case 'transcends politics and family disputes.'

Jackson called the treatment of the severely brain-damaged woman an 'injustice' and said denying her nourishment and water was 'unnecessary.'"
 
  Super Fingerprint detector
News: "LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) - Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists are using a new technique to see fingerprints on surfaces that typically make them invisible.

The method uses a technology called mini-X-ray fluorescence to detect chemical elements in fingerprints without altering them, said Christopher Worley, a scientist on the project.

``The conventional methods are meant to bring out fingerprint patterns with regular light - and they have to treat those with powder, which alters them,'' Worley said. ``With this you don't have to alter it or treat it at all. We can determine the elements in a fingerprint and get a pattern at the same time.''

The technology focuses a tight beam of X-rays on surfaces with fingerprints and creates a computer picture out of those scans.

The equipment costs about $175,000. "
 
  Can't wait until the SCOTUS screws this one up as well
Yahoo! News - Supreme Court Weighs in on File-Sharing: "WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court expressed concerns Tuesday over allowing entertainment companies to sue makers of software that allows Internet users to illegally download music and movies, questioning whether the threat of such legal action might stifle Web innovation.

During a lively argument, justices wondered aloud whether such lawsuits might have discouraged past inventions like copy machines, videocassette recorders and iPod portable music players — all of which can be used to make illegal duplications of copyrighted documents, movies and songs.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the same software that can be used to steal copyrighted materials offered at least conceptually 'some really excellent uses' that are legal.

Justice Antonin Scalia maintained that a ruling for entertainment companies could mean that if 'I'm a new inventor, I'm going to get sued right away.'"
 
  So, how soon will the Right to Die crowd start wanting to pull his feeding tube?
Las Vegas SUN: Pope Getting Nutrition From Feeding Tube: "Pope John Paul II is getting nutrition from a feeding tube through the nose, the Vatican said on Wednesday, shortly after the frail pontiff appeared at his window in St. Peter's Square and unsuccessfully tried to speak."
 
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
  How does Blogger Piss Me Off, Let Me Count The Ways
For god's sakes, why does Blogger decide to go south on every news rich day? There were a plethora of stories that were news worthy today. Did my loyal reader get to read them, NO. Blogger decided to be a butt-munching monkey licker and prevent any updates. Crapolazoloa, news was happening, and I was prevented from sharing it. Oh Blogger why do you assail me so?
 
  Vodka Pundit agrees: Battlestar Galactica kicks ass
Thanks to the magic of P2p I am enjoying the first season of BSG back to back in my home on my terms. This is one of the best series that I have seen in a long time. The only down side(?) is the massive amount of cable ready skin that prevents me from enjoying it with my son.
BSG is extremley well written. The plot without compare among contempary SciFi. If you haven't seen it too date, you are missing out.
If you know me, get a copy. If you don't, get it somehow else. This is first order quality SciFi.

Vodkapundit - All the News That's Fit to Drink: "For those of you who haven't been watching, you're missing out on the most intelligent dramatic series that's running today. If you want a comparison, 'Battlestar Galactica' is for televised science fiction what 'Hill Street Blues' was for cop shows. It redefines the entire genre for a grown-up audience. Even better, Sci-Fi is going way beyond the call of duty with additional content at their web site, including deleted scenes , making-of features, and even full-episode podcast audio commentaries from series creator Ronald Moore--the kind of stuff you'd normally have to wait for (and pay for) in a DVD set."
 
  If the coffin don't fit, you must........
My Way News: "LOS ANGELES (AP) - Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., who became a legal superstar after helping clear O.J. Simpson during a sensational murder trial in which he uttered the famous quote 'If it doesn't fit, you must acquit,' died Tuesday. He was 67.

Cochran died of a brain disorder in Los Angeles, said law partner Randy McMurray.

'Certainly, Johnnie's career will be noted as one marked by celebrity cases and clientele,' his family said in a statement. 'But he and his family were most proud of the work he did on behalf of those in the community.'"
 
  Can't wait until the SCOTUS screws this one up as well
Yahoo! News - Supreme Court Weighs in on File-Sharing: "WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court expressed concerns Tuesday over allowing entertainment companies to sue makers of software that allows Internet users to illegally download music and movies, questioning whether the threat of such legal action might stifle Web innovation.

During a lively argument, justices wondered aloud whether such lawsuits might have discouraged past inventions like copy machines, videocassette recorders and iPod portable music players — all of which can be used to make illegal duplications of copyrighted documents, movies and songs.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the same software that can be used to steal copyrighted materials offered at least conceptually 'some really excellent uses' that are legal.

Justice Antonin Scalia maintained that a ruling for entertainment companies could mean that if 'I'm a new inventor, I'm going to get sued right away.'"
 
  More on MS-13 - Bush's allies against US citizens
Gangs and Minutemen - The Washington Times: Editorials/OP-ED - March 29, 2005: "The notorious crime syndicate Mara Salvatrucha is threatening Arizona's Project Minuteman and reportedly plans to teach it 'a lesson' once the Minutemen begin fanning out along Arizona's border regions this weekend. This probably was not the bedfellow that President Bush, the U.S. Border Patrol and the American Civil Liberties Union were counting on when they began criticizing the civilian border-surveillance group in recent weeks. But the president, law enforcement officers and activist groups have unintentionally ended up on the same side of the issue as a violent criminal gang targeted by coordinated raids just two weeks ago. "
 
  Now that JJ has arrived on the scene, we can get down to the next level of farce
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Jesse Jackson Visits Schiavo Hospice: "PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — As Terri Schiavo (search) entered her 12th day without food or water, Jesse Jackson (search) paid a visit to her hospice Tuesday to show support for her parents and said her case 'transcends politics and family disputes.'

Jackson called the treatment of the severely brain-damaged woman an 'injustice' and said denying her nourishment and water was 'unnecessary.'"
 
  Crap, does this mean I have to start working out again.
Scotsman.com News - Top Stories - Exercise 'best cure' for depression: "DEPRESSED patients should be offered exercise 'on prescription' by their GPs in place of drugs, according to a report by mental health campaigners published today.

Studies have shown that exercise can produce significant and comparable improvements in patients relative to those who only take anti-depressant medication.

It has also been shown that those who continue to exercise after completing an initial trial were much less likely to experience a return of depression than those in the group taking anti-depressants.

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) said GPs should be offering all patients with de"
 
  Chirac wants your money, it's for the kids, how can you hard hearted assholes refuse
Chirac seeks airline taxes to help fight epidemics: "TOKYO President Jacques Chirac of France called Monday for a tax on airline fuel and tickets by the end of the year to fight epidemics including AIDS in Africa, saying the proposal could save three million lives a year.
.
The proposal could be a test of more far-reaching ideas backed by the French leader, including a tax on international financial transactions to support development.
.
France and Germany together are calling 'for the creation by the end of the year, along with all countries that wish, for a first international solidarity tax' on jet fuel and airline tickets to fund the fight against AIDS and 'the great pandemics that are decimating Africa,' Chirac said.
.
'More than three million lives saved each year: That's what is at stake,' Chirac told a French-Japanese economic forum in Tokyo."
 
  Worse than imagined, a whole industry of Ward Churchills
College Faculties A Most Liberal Lot, Study Finds (washingtonpost.com): "College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined, a new study says.

By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.

Harvard's faculty of arts and sciences hit President Lawrence Summers with a vote of no confidence after he privately wondered about the abilities of women in science and math. (Steven Senne -- AP)

The disparity is even more pronounced at the most elite schools, where, according to the study, 87 percent of faculty are liberal and 13 percent are conservative.

'What's most striking is how few conservatives there are in any field,' said Robert Lichter, a professor at George Mason University and a co-author of the study. 'There was no field we studied in which there were more conservatives than liberals or more Republicans than Democrats. It's a very homogenous environment, not just in the places you'd expect to be dominated by libe"
 
  Too little too late
U.N. Decides Not To Pay Legal Bills Of Ex-Oil Official (washingtonpost.com): "UNITED NATIONS, March 28 -- The United Nations reversed a commitment to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees for a senior U.N. official who was accused of ethical lapses while administering the $64 billion oil-for-food program in Iraq.

The U.N. decision Monday came after U.S., British and Iraqi officials expressed concern about U.N. plans to use surplus Iraq oil revenue to defend Benon Sevan against accusations that he improperly steered lucrative Iraqi oil contracts to an Egyptian businessman."
 
  Boo(freaking)Hoo: Az Star shills for 'rights' for illegals
Abusive acts vs. entrants are ignored, activists say | The Arizona Daily Star ®: "The stories of illegal entrants abused by Cochise County vigilantes are buried in sheriff's deputy reports - complaints of guns drawn, dog bites, shouts and humiliation - in official language, using terms such as aggravated assault and disorderly conduct.

Since 1999, the Mexican consul in Douglas, Miguel Escobar, has documented 65 cases in which illegal border crossers reported being detained by U.S. citizens in Cochise County.

In at least six reports taken by Cochise County Sheriff's Department deputies, illegal entrants have reported being kicked, shouted at, bitten by dogs and had guns pointed at them - yet there's never been a single Cochise County resident prosecuted in these cases.

Human-rights activists say it's because there's a culture of looking the other way when it comes to illegal-entrant abuse. Cochise County law enforcement officials say it's because the victims - illegal entrants - choose not to pursue charges. And without witnesses, there are no cases.

The debate has led to civil lawsuits involving millions of dollars. And it has fueled concerns by activists that lax enforcement will allow participants in the upcoming Minuteman Project to abuse illegal entrants without fear of prosecution in Cochise County.

The Minuteman Project is being touted now as a 'political assembly' promising to bring 1,022 people to the banks of the San Pedro River for a monthlong protest of border enforcement, starting Friday. But activist groups point to elements within the group and cite a potential for violence."
 
Monday, March 28, 2005
  Mein Kampf, a best seller in Turkey
International news from swissinfo, the Swiss news platform: "ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's government has played down soaring sales of Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic book 'Mein Kampf'
('My Struggle') and said there were no racists in the large Muslim country.

Booksellers say 'Mein Kampf', or Kavgam in Turkish, has featured among the top 10 bestsellers in the past two months, to
the dismay of the country's small Jewish community and of the German embassy in Ankara.

Asked to comment on the phenomenon, government spokesman Cemil Cicek said on Monday: 'We cannot allow prejudice
against people for belonging to a certain race.'

'We have never had such an attitude in our culture, nor in our history, and we do not have it now ... It's not possible for people
to choose their races ... Turkish society's idea about this issue is clear. There is no racism in this country.'"
 
  More fun and games from New Orleans
Closing Arguments in Suit Charging New Orleans Prosecutor Discriminated Against Whites - from TBO.com: "NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The city's first black district attorney was compensating for 'good old boy' hiring practices by his predecessor when he dismissed large numbers of white employees, his lawyer argued in closing arguments Monday in a discrimination trial.

In January 2003, eight days into his term, District Attorney Eddie Jordan fired 53 of 77 white workers who were not lawyers - investigators, clerks, child-support enforcement workers - and replaced them with blacks.

Months later, 44 of the whites sued him, and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission later made a preliminary finding that Jordan had been racially biased.

Following a three-week trial, Jordan's lawyer told a jury of eight whites and two blacks Monday that Jordan had a right to hire and fire whomever he wanted, adding that his desire to make his office reflect more nearly the racial breakdown of the majority black city was 'innocuous.'

He derided what he called the 'good old boy' hiring practices of Jordan's predecessor, Harry Connick Sr., which produced a staff that was overwhelmingly white."
 
  Very good strategic location, positioned to worry the ChiComs and AQ long into the future
U.S. Bases in Afghanistan Get Upgrade: "The United States is pouring $83 million into upgrading its main military bases in Afghanistan, an Air Force general said Monday in a sign that American forces will likely be needed in the country for years to come as al-Qaida remains active in the region.

Meanwhile, in a reminder of the instability still facing the 25,000 foreign troops in the country, a roadside bomb hit a Canadian Embassy vehicle and another car in Kabul, injuring at least four people."
 
  Mugabe's electioneering
Ghost voters, rigged ballots and food bribes - the Mugabe route to power - World - Times Online
Village chiefs have been told to accompany their people to the voting stations to put pressure on them to vote for Zanu (PF). Voters have been told that it will be easy to see who they voted for, as the new ballot boxes are transparent.

There have been repeated reports of food being used as a way of forcing people to vote for the ruling party. In some areas it is difficult to buy grain without a Zanu (PF) membership card.

Pius Ncube, the Archbishop of Bulawayo, accused President Mugabe’s regime on Saturday of using food in the drought-ravaged Matabeleland region in southwest Zimbabwe to coerce the electorate to vote for it in Thursday’s general elections.

Yesterday the President responded by calling Archbishop Ncube a mad, inveterate liar. “He has been lying for the past two years,” he said.

But some people say that some of the rigging has already started. Three million Zimbabweans who have left the country – and could be expected to support the Opposition – have been banned from voting. The 200,000-strong uniformed services have already voted by postal ballot. Party election agents and observers are barred from the process.
 
  Democracy Mugabe style
Telegraph | News | Out of sight, Mugabe thugs revert to their old election tactics: "Mr McCormick's campaign is conducted by youths on ancient bicycles and older men in a couple of trucks, village to village, hut to hut. 'It started in earnest when the election period began on Feb 25,' he said. 'Over Easter it got too bad and we have pulled out. I hope I have got most guys out although a couple are still in police cells.' He drove into Harare shortly before dawn yesterday.

As the campaign began three weeks ago one MDC activist, Noah Chirembwe, was hanged from a tree by his wrists locked together in police handcuffs, with burning logs under his dangling feet.

'When the branch eventually broke, he fell, rolled over into a ditch and stayed there in blistering heat,' Mr McCormick said. 'Then he crawled away at night. Eventually we found him and brought him to hospital in Harare, and he's OK now.' Mr McCormick said the latest round of attacks began on Saturday.

'One of our guys, Elphas Mhamiti, was abducted from outside the Grain Marketing Board at Mushumbi Pools (in the Zambezi Valley) and taken away. He was left for dead. We went in at midnight and sent him to Harare as he was coughing blood. He is recovering.

'I have reported to the police and given them the names of the four war veterans, two Zanu-PF councillors and the newly appointed local chief, Chisungo, who were in the forefront of the Easter attacks.'"
 
  Baby steps, who would have thunk it from the the Saudi controlled press
We Can Do It and We Will
Yes, a Muslim or a Momin (faithful person) has to be optimistic. We can go ahead if we will only learn from our mistakes, accept differing views, be tolerant and empower others. In the Arab world there is no lack of talent. What is lacking is the opportunity to develop and use it. Our young men and women are intelligent, dedicated and have the will to realize their goals and visions which will put them on par with their contemporaries in Asia, Europe and the US. We could become tigers, just like the Asian ones but in order to do so, we must have the right atmosphere and that means an atmosphere conducive to progress. And an atmosphere conducive to progress will only be produced by a civil society free from religious extremism, free from the imposition of only one view or interpretation and free of intolerance toward all who are different in any way.

We must do away with the excessive red tape and bureaucracy that stifles everything and remove the suspicion that exists in the minds of the public sector about the role of the private one.

Look for a minute at the young entrepreneurs in the Arab world. Despite all the restrictions and obstacles — political, social and economic — they have managed to brand themselves. Let them flower. Do not snuff the life out of them. Economic necessities should decide our future and good economics, they say, make good politics.

“But can you people do it? Can you carry it off?” he wondered.
 
  Molestation, it's not just for Catholics anymore
Muslim cleric up for sex abuse: "Dhaka - A Muslim cleric who ran an Islamic religious school for girls in Bangladesh has been accused of having sex with his students and forcing those who became pregnant to have abortions, a news report said on Monday.

The Bangladesh Observer quoted local police in northern Lalmonirhat district as saying a criminal case of rape was filed against Maulana Nazmul Haq after a 15-year-old female student of the madrassa, or Islamic school, went for an abortion.

The female student reportedly told police that Haq had regular sexual relations with several resident students.

Local police officer Zakir Hossain said at least nine girls were sexually violated by Haq, with two of them forced to abort their pregnancies.

The Islamic school is located in the remote village of Tongbhanga in Lalmonirhat district 430km north of Dhaka. - Sapa-dpa"
 
  D'oh!
Family mistakenly donates Grandma's secret nest eggs: "MANITOWOC, Wis. - The Salvation Army was on an unusual Easter egg hunt this weekend, desperately searching for the person who bought toys that a family mistakenly donated before realizing a deceased grandmother had stuffed them full of cash.

Thrift Store manager Paul Kolb said a woman came into the store this month looking for plastic Easter eggs that had been among her grandmother's possessions, which the family donated after she passed away in January.

The woman had kept only one of her grandmother's possessions: her diary.

After flipping through it, she found out too late what a special Easter her grandmother had planned.

'Grandmother was planning for the Easter egg hunt of hunts,' Kolb said.

'The eggs this year were filled with cash instead of candy.

'She had carefully packed them full and recorded everything in her diary.'

The woman, who did not want to be named, did not reveal how much cash was in the plastic eggs, but she told Kolb it was 'a considerable amount.'"
 
  The tide of freedom, Bush's legacy
While Bush continues to bitterly dissapoint on the domestic front; his foriegn policy continues to shake the world on it's axis.
USATODAY.com - 'Kifaya': A word, a movement: "Whether by accident or by design, President Bush's calls for democracy and tough handling of Arab rulers are provoking reform. Bush drove out the Taliban extremists in Afghanistan, where elections have been held. He pushed Egypt and Saudi Arabia to announce some form of representative elections and promise more. He forced Syria to announce a timetable for withdrawing its troops from Lebanon, pressured Kuwait to allow women to vote in upcoming elections and convinced Libya's Moammar Gadhafi to give up sponsoring terrorists and cough up all his secret files on connections with terror groups around the world.

Amid these crosswinds, the region is witnessing an overflow of anger at dynastic tyrannies handed down from father to son, massive theft of public funds and an extremely reactionary interpretation of religion that spews hatred against women, infidels of every kind and modernization in general. To all these, Arabs have for some time said kifaya in varying degrees of protest.

The events of Lebanon and Egypt, however, suggest that, like a rain forest awakening to a new dawn, a thousand stronger, bolder, sounds are rising from the ground across this vast Arab landscape. Arabs are questioning their conditions in all Arab societies.

This contagious process is coupled with another morphing of the proverbial Arab street as it re-examines its views toward America."
 
  Muslim Brotherhood and free elections in Egypt
Yahoo! News - Egypt's Islamist opposition makes voice heard ahead of elections: "CAIRO (AFP) - Buoyed by recent democratic overtures, Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood is muscling back into the political game in a bid to prove it is still the country's largest opposition force ahead of landmark elections.

Hundreds of the movement's supporters defied a government ban and took to the streets on Sunday, but stopped short of provoking the security services by attempting a full-fledged demonstration.

Although dozens of brotherhood officials were detained, the movement has a long experience of maneuvering on the political scene and on Monday it laid out its conditions for supporting President Hosni Mubarak (news - web sites) in upcoming elections.

'The brotherhood will support the candidacy of president Mubarak or his son Gamal, if measures are taken to ensure a smooth presidential election and the state of emergency is lifted,' the movement's second-in-command Mohammed Habib told AFP.

He stressed that the Muslim Brotherhood was not opposed to the concept of hereditary power, which has been one of the main grievances of the burgeoning opposition reform movement."
 
  PlayStation in the dock as Sony gets spanked by the courts
ABC News: Sony Ordered to Halt PlayStation Sales: "Immersion, a small, California-based developer of digital touch technologies, claimed Sony Computer Entertainment infringed on its technology that makes a game controller vibrate in sync with actions in games, the Japanese game maker said.

The $90 million awarded by the court is more than triple Immersion's total revenues of $23.8 million in 2004 and represents two-thirds of the company's current market value of around $135 million.

The court's decision confirmed a ruling by a California jury last year that ordered Sony to pay $82 million in the case. The amount was raised to slightly more than $90 million due to interest.

Immersion's stock rose 36 percent to $7.85 on the Inet electronic exchange, from its $5.75 close on Thursday."
 
  Mugabe and the upcomming election (farce)
News: "At an election rally in Bulawayo, supporters of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, are trying out their new slogans. In an abandoned playground, surrounded by a broken roundabout and swings with no seats, they raise their hands to shout out: 'A new beginning, A new Zimbabwe. March 31, Freedom Day.'

But despite the sunshine and MP Dave Coltart's best efforts to rally the crowd, there is something lacklustre about the cheers and the cries.

For most people in Zimbabwe, the general election, to be held this Thursday, has already been lost. The police and the army have been placed in charge of manning the 8,300 polling stations around the country. New, imaginary names have appeared on voter rolls in rural areas, where support for President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is strongest. In a remote rural constituency in Mashonaland East, 14,000 new people have registered to vote here since 2002, compared to just 3,600 in the urban Bulawayo South area. The ruling party used to add the names of dead people and children to the voters list - now, it simply fabricates the names.

People know an election is coming, but it does little to change their mood. 'This country is becoming darker and darker,' said a Zimbabwean woman who was raped during the Gukurahundi, a government-sponsored massacre of people who opposed Zanu-PF in Matabeleland in the early 1980s. 'In my neighbourhood a doctor was killed when we need doctors so desperately, people are afraid to talk, even if their parents have been killed or they have been starved by this government.' The woman, who was too afraid herself to give her name, has reason to be pessimistic. The last general election held in 2000 was dominated by government-sponsored violence. The MDC managed to win 57 out of the 120 seats in parliament, but opposition supporters were routinely arrested, beaten up and tortured by Mr Mugabe's youth militias, who set up their notorious 'Green Bomber"
 
Current events with a sprinkle of opionion.

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