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Friday, April 29, 2005
  How far is too far: This far
HoustonChronicle.com - Homeowners association sells woman's house: "Pamela Bernhardt was close to completing renovations on a house she owned and hoped to sell. She had installed a new roof, new granite tops in the kitchen and new tiles in the bathroom.
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Earlier this month, she arrived at the house on the 14200 block of Swallowfield in southwest Houston and found a small, yellow note stuck to the front door.

The handwritten note said that the house had been sold at a foreclosure sale seven months earlier. The local homeowners association had sold the house, valued at about $250,000, saying Bernhardt failed to pay a $420 assessment fee.

'It was so devastating,' Bernhardt said. 'I was just stunned.'"
 
  The Scarlet Letter in Ohio
Pink Plates Proposed For Ohio Sex Offenders: Legislation and Court Decisions at Officer.com: "COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Some Ohioans convicted of drunken driving can be seen driving vehicles with yellow license plates. If one Ohio lawmaker has his way, sexual predators could soon have to drive vehicles with pink license plates, NBC 4's Erin Tate reported.

The bright yellow license plates help law enforcement officers recognize drivers with multiple DUI convictions."
 
Thursday, April 28, 2005
  And yet the Donk's oppose any effort to deter this threat
Print Story: North Korea capable of firing nuclear-armed missile at US: US official on Yahoo! News: "North Korea has the capability of mounting a nuclear warhead on its missiles that could hit the United States, a senior US defense official said.

Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, gave the assessment during a Congressional hearing.

Asked by Senator Hillary Clinton whether North Korea had the ability to arm a missile with a nuclear device, Jacoby said: 'The assessment is that they have the capability to do that, yes, ma'am.'

He said that North Korea also had the ability to deploy a two-stage intercontinental missile that could successfully hit US territory.

'Assessed to be within their capacity, yes,' Jacoby told Clinton during the hearing on the defense intelligence budget of the US Senate Armed Services Committee.

North Korea said this month it had shut down its nuclear power plant at Yongbyon and was preparing to reprocess the plant's spent fuel, a move that could result in the production of enough plutonium to build up to six more nuclear bombs.

Reports quoting a US official said last week that the United States believed North Korea was planning to test a nuclear weapon and has asked China to intervene."
 
  But of Course. Anyone that still supports this hump should take a long hard look in the mirror
Annan Takes No Action on Aide Who Shredded Papers - Yahoo! News: "UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan decided to take no action against his former chief of staff for shredding three years of files related to the oil-for-food inquiry, his spokesman said on Thursday.
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The Independent Inquiry Committee, led by former U.S.
Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, said in its March report that Iqbal Riza, who retired in January, had shredded at least two documents that were not duplicated elsewhere.

But after reviewing the findings in the Volcker report in March, Annan found there was 'no ground for disciplinary action' against Riza, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Annan, in his own letter to Riza, dated April 19, said, 'While those actions were careless, I do not believe they can be construed as deliberate attempts to impede the work of the Independent Inquiry Committee.'

Riza, a 70-year-old Pakistani, had been close to Annan for more than a decade. He was his deputy when Annan headed peacekeeping operations, from 1993 to 1996. He became chief of staff in 1997, when Annan became secretary-general, and retired in January."
 
  Death
Jury Returns Death Sentence in GI Killings - Yahoo! News: "FORT BRAGG, N.C. - A military jury sentenced a soldier to death Thursday for a deadly grenade and rifle attack on his own comrades during the opening days of the
Iraq invasion, a barrage that prosecutors said was triggered by religious extremism.

Sgt. Hasan Akbar, who gave a brief, barely audible apology hours earlier, stood at attention between his lawyers as the verdict was delivered. He showed no emotion."
 
  Clanking Brass Balls
Belgian Doctors Bill U.S. for Treating Iraqi Girl - Yahoo! News: "BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian doctors sent an Iraqi girl home on Thursday after treating her for leg wounds caused by a bomb during the U.S. invasion -- and sent the 51,570 euro ($66,650) bill to the U.S. embassy.

'We haven't heard from them yet,' said Bert De Belder, coordinator of the humanitarian agency Medical Aid for Third World which brought the girl to Belgium.

'I'm curious to know their reaction,' he told Reuters. 'We're giving them 10 days to respond ... I don't think they will pay it.'

The girl, 15-year-old Hiba Kassim, smiled to reporters as she waited for her flight to Jordan to meet her father.

'Thank you, Belgium,' she said.

Doctors brought Kassim to Belgium last year to try to save her left ankle, seriously injured by a cluster bomb that also killed her brother in Baghdad in 2003.

After five operations and weeks of physiotherapy, Kassim is able to walk again, but with a slight limp.

De Belder said he sent the bill to the U.S. embassy because international law dictated that an occupying force was responsible for the well-being of the country's people. U.S. embassy officials were not immediately available for comment. ($1=.7737 Euro)"
 
  Frist musters up his courage, puts his testicle in a thimble for safe keeping and steps out onto the floor to hit the Dem's with his purse.
Frist Won't Budge on Filibuster Demands - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON - With a showdown looming, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist refused to budge Thursday on his demand that Democrats forego filibusters against all of
President Bush's past or present nominees to federal appellate court benches or the Supreme Court.
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Frist offered to retain the right to filibuster district court nominees in exchange for 100 hours of debate and guaranteed confirmation votes on the nation's highest judgeships.

The Senate's top Republican also said that under his plan, senators would no longer be able to block nominees in the Judiciary Committee.

'Judicial nominees are being denied. Justice is being denied. The solution is simple, allow senators to do their jobs and vote,' Frist said in a speech on the Senate floor.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said he would look at Frist's offer, but wasn't all that charitable in his description. 'It's a big wet kiss to the far right,' he said."
 
  A date with the noose is what he should be facing
Sergeant Apologizes for Grenade Attack - Yahoo! News: "FORT BRAGG, N.C. - A soldier convicted of murdering two officers in a grenade attack on his comrades in Kuwait quickly and quietly said he was sorry Thursday to the jury that will decide whether he lives or dies.

'I apologize for my actions. ... When I did that, I felt my life was in jeopardy and I had other problems,' Sgt. Hasan Akbar told the 15-person military jury.

Akbar spoke for less than a minute, making an unsworn statement that could not be cross-examined. He testified in such a low voice that even prosecutors sitting nearby had trouble hearing, with one lawyer even cupping his ear."
 
  Celebrate Diversity
ZWNEWS.com - linking the world to Zimbabwe: "President Robert Mugabe's regime has directed national parks officials to kill animals in state-owned conservation areas to feed hungry rural peasants - a move that could wipe out what remains of Zimbabwe's impalas, kudus, giraffes, elephants and other species. The directive is a major blow to efforts by conservationists to try to rehabilitate the wildlife sector which was devastated after Mugabe ordered his supporters to invade and confiscate white-owned farms in 2000. The chaotic farm invasions saw party militants storming into conservation areas - both private and state-owned - to slaughter animals. Unscrupulous South African hunters also joined in the looting, paying hefty kickbacks to politicians to go into conservation areas and shoot lions, leopards and cheetahs for trophies. But because of the general abundance of certain species of wildlife in southern Zimbabwe and the establishment of the transfrontier park, which allows animals from Mozambique and South Africa's world-famous Kruger National Park to move freely into and out of Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou (home of the elephants) National Park, there have been high hopes among conservationists that Zimbabw"
 
  More on Ward
DenverPost.com - LOCAL NEWS: "University of Colorado at Boulder officials have asked embattled professor Ward Churchill to respond in writing to questions of plagiarism and ethnicity within two weeks, Churchill said.

'My response was, 'I had hoped you'd have the integrity to drop the ethnic thing, but since you haven't, I will provide you with information that's already public record,'' said Churchill, who has asked for an extension of the deadline.

'I don't know what these guys who are supposed to be faculty members do for a living, but I teach,' he said. 'I can't put a response together and grade papers for 200 students in the middle of finals. Nice timing, guys.'"
 
  Israel to Iran: Soon
Haaretz - Israel News: "The Pentagon notified Congress on Tuesday of a proposed sale to Israel of 100 guided bunker-busting bombs, a weapon which would significantly upgrade the Israel Air Force's offensive operational capability and one which analysts said could prompt concerns about a unilateral Israeli strike against Iran.

In a notice required by law for government-to-government military sales, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said Israel had requested the sale of the Lockheed Martin Corp. GBU-28s, worth as much as $30 million.
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The GBU-28 was developed for penetrating hardened command centers located deep underground and would be used by the Israeli Air Force on their U.S.-built F-15 aircraft, the agency said.

Experiments have shown the two-ton bomb capable of penetrating as deep as 30 meters below the ground surface or a six meter-thick cement wall. The laser-guided bomb was originally developed during the first Gulf war, when it was first put in action.

Israel has denied speculation that it might make a military strike on Iran to prevent it from producing an atomic bomb."
 
  The next arms race, Gaydar and Gaydar defense, heh
(via wizbang)
Weekly World News: "GOOD NEWS for closet gays! A California company is marketing an amazing new spray that makes homosexuals invisible to the sixth sense some folks have for spotting them, commonly known as gaydar.

The manufacturers of Gaydar-Beater claim that the wonder product works on the same basic principle as the B-2 Stealth Bomber used by the U.S. Air Force.

'Even the most flamboyant gay man can blend unnoticed into a straight environment after spraying on Gaydar-Beater, which is odorless, invisible and earth-friendly,' says a spokesman for the San Diego company, Advanced Pheromones Technologies.

'Given the current political climate and the nationwide backlash against homosexuals, the need for many gay men to appear straight as arrows has never been more pressing.' "
 
  I guess we should start a countdown clock measuring the time until Abbas is assasinated by his own party.
The Washington Times: AP: "JERUSALEM (AP) -- Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas threatened to use 'an iron fist' against anyone who violates a cease-fire with Israel, his toughest warning against militants since taking office in January.

In a speech to Palestinian police, Abbas also pledged to maintain quiet during the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip planned this summer. 'We have to give them a calm departure,' he said, according to a summary of the speech published Thursday by the Palestinian government news agency Wafa.

Abbas has been under heavy pressure from Israel and the United States to rein in Palestinian militants, who had a relatively free hand under Abbas' predecessor, the late Yasser Arafat. But so far, Abbas has preferred to negotiate with the armed groups.

Abbas last month won the agreement of most militant groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to observe a truce with Israel. While there has been a sharp drop in violence, militants have fired several rockets at Jewish settlements in Gaza and an Israeli border town in recent days.

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One salvo landed near a large gathering of Israeli demonstrators in a Gaza settlement on Wednesday, lightly wounding one soldier. Early Thursday, Palestinian militants fired an anti-tank missile at a settlement and opened fire at an army base in Gaza, causing no injuries, the army said.

Abbas said such violence cannot be tolerated."
 
  More from the 'It's only illegal when a Republican does it file'
Media Monitor - Fake News Under Bill Clinton - April 28, 2005: "If the media is truly so outraged about these VNRs, why were they not outraged during the Clinton adminstration? Worse, why are they continuing to engage in hypocrisy by failing to report the details? Back in 1996, journalism and public relations expert Glen T. Cameron wrote a landmark study of a Clinton VNR. It was billed as an informative first look at the way broadcast television news stations use VNRs. Since that study occurred almost 10 years ago, you'd think media would've caught up by now, and reported on some Clinton VNRs."
 
  In other news Sharon was just impaled by 4 foot of nose (ala Pinocchio)
Putin Defends Missile Sales to Syria: "Russian President Vladimir Putin faced down Israeli criticism Thursday, saying Russia's planned sale of anti-aircraft missiles to Syria and supply of nuclear components to Iran does not threaten Israel's security."
 
  Hear Hear
Legislators set to pass limits on Mexican IDs: "The credit card-size ID issued to more than 102,000 Mexicans living in Arizona soon could be useless for public business such as getting water service, library cards or help from community health centers.

The Legislature is expected to send Gov. Janet Napolitano as early as today a measure banning cities, towns and state government from accepting the Mexican ID cards issued by the Mexican Consulate as valid identification.

Known as matricula consular and considered to be evidence of Mexican nationality, the card is the latest legislative tool in the thorny battle over illegal immigration and Arizona's security. It has become an essential part of the daily routine for increasing numbers of Arizonans, primarily undocumented immigrants who can't get an Arizona-issued ID card. Many say they could not get by without it. "
 
  Yeah, this will end well, phaw!
ABC News: Friends Find $75,000 in Backyard Treasure: "It was a rainy day that prevented Crebase and friends Barry Billcliff and Matt Ingham go to their roofing job, so they began digging around his Methuen yard to dig up a shrub whose roots were creeping into a nearby set of stairs.

About a foot down, Crebase said, he hit some soft wood. More digging cracked open a can and he saw the cash.

After grabbing it, Crebase said he ran screaming to show Billcliff and Ingham, and they helped him uncover about eight remaining cans. The total stash was about 1,800 bills dating between 1899 and 1929 and piles of gold and silver certificates. Exactly who buried it at the home in Methuen, about 30 miles north of Boston and why is unknown.

But at least Crebase and Billcliff disagree about who controls the treasure, estimated to be worth as much as $75,000.

Crebase, 24, says he's the one who made the find and has the final say about the money, though he'll do what's best for everyone.

'I'm the one who found it,' Crebase said. 'Without my decision, nothing's going to happen.'

But Billcliff, 27, said that's not true.

'If one penny is spent, we all have to agree on its use,' he told The Associated Press in a separate interview on Wednesday. 'The truth was, I handed him the shovel, I told him where to start digging.'

Despite the dispute over who controls the money, the friends appear to agree on what they should do with at part of it: putting some of it into Ingham's rock band, called Till We Die. Both say the band, which Crebase described as 'aggressive rock,' can make it big with some help.

'Once they get big, they're going to take care of me,' Crebase said."
 
  The Party of Civilized Discourse
BostonHerald.com - the Edge: Assassination joke: A felony if it's as lame as this one: "There apparently are certain things in life that you just can't joke about - like assassinating the president.
Syndicated Air America talk-show host Randi Rhodes apologized yesterday for a segment that did just that.
Rhodes' program, heard locally on WXKS-AM (1430) and WKOX-AM (1200) from 6 to 10 p.m., opened Monday night with an announcer saying, ``A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he's going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp.''
Listeners next heard four gunshots followed by, ``Just try it, you little bastard,'' and the sound of a gun being cocked.
``What is it with all the killing?'' a laughing Rhodes said after the clip aired.
The White House was not amused. Spokesman Scott McClellan called the bit ``very inappropriate and over the line,'' and the Secret Service was looking into it, according to the online media site The Drudge Report.
Rhodes was contrite yesterday. ``It was a bit. It was bad. I apologize a thousand times,'' she said. "
 
  A tiny step in the right direction
U.S. to alter passport design because of privacy fears: "Frank Moss, deputy assistant secretary of state for passport services, said in an interview Tuesday that government tests confirmed privacy advocates' suspicions that the electronic passport might be vulnerable to so-called skimming from a greater distance than officials had previously said, meaning a matter of three or so feet instead of inches, or about one meter instead of eight centimeters.

'You do perhaps face a risk of a reading without the knowledge of the passport bearer, and that is obviously something we want to protect against,' Moss said.

To prevent that, the special electronic passport readers used by customs officials in the United States and their counterparts around the world would use data printed on the new passport to effectively unlock the radio chip before it would transmit the personal electronic information it holds, Moss said.
"
 
  We will see if the Pubbie's can hitch up their skirts, cinch up their stones, and actually get something done
Bolton foes seen as U.N. backers - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - April 28, 2005: "The White House yesterday accused Senate Democrats of opposing reform of the scandal-plagued United Nations by blocking the nomination of John R. Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the world body.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee predicted that the panel will confirm Mr. Bolton when it reconvenes May 12. Democrats earlier this week said their Senate leaders have not decided whether to filibuster the Bolton nomination if it is approved by the committee. "
 
  More Dem Outreach: You all are the AntiChrist
AP Wire | 04/27/2005 | Salazar backs off 'Antichrist' comment: "Colorado Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar, locked in a bitter tussle with a conservative Christian group over President Bush's judicial nominees, referred to the group as 'the Antichrist.' He backed off Wednesday, saying he regretted using the term.

Salazar attacked Focus on the Family during an interview Tuesday with KKTV in Colorado Springs, saying, 'From my point of view, they are the Antichrist of the world.'

In a statement Wednesday, Salazar said he has been relentlessly and unfairly attacked by the group and that 'I meant to say this approach was un-Christian, meaning self-serving and selfish.'"
 
  Soon(?) Fusion
CNN.com - Study: Nuclear fusion created in lab - Apr 27, 2005: "In fusion, light atoms are joined in a high-temperature process that frees large amounts of energy. Fusion produces virtually no air pollution and does not pose the safety and long-term radioactive waste concerns associated with modern nuclear power plants, where heavy uranium atoms are split to create energy in a process known as nuclear fission.

In the UCLA experiment, scientists placed a tiny crystal that can generate a strong electric field into a vacuum chamber filled with deuterium gas, a form of hydrogen capable of fusion. Then the researchers activated the crystal by heating it.

The resulting reaction gave off an isotope of helium along with subatomic particles known as neutrons, a characteristic of fusion. The experiment did not, however, produce more energy than the amount put in -- an achievement that would be a huge breakthrough."
 
  What more do you need to know about the UN than this.
International News Article | Reuters.com: "UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Zimbabwe was re-elected to the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Commission on Wednesday, prompting immediate protests from the United States and other nations.

Fifteen countries, including Zimbabwe, were chosen for the 53-member commission, the main U.N. rights body, to replace those whose three-year terms had expired.

The candidates, elected by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in New York, were nominated by regions and all but one ran unopposed. The United States was also re-elected.

William Brencick, the deputy U.S. representative to ECOSOC, told the council that Zimbabwe should never have been put forward by African nations because of its 'repressive controls on political assembly and the media' amid a climate 'where the opposition fears for its safety.'

'How can we expect the Government of Zimbabwe to support international human rights standards at the Commission on Human Rights when it has blatantly disregarded the rights of its own people?' Brencick asked.

Australia and Canada also raised objections."
 
  Geez, I guess we should just be happy he wasn't touching little boys
Official Says Vatican Priest Was Informer: "The priest in charge of caring for Polish pilgrims at the Vatican was an informer for the communist secret police in the 1980s when John Paul II was the pope, an official said Wednesday.

An investigation into communist-era persecution of the Roman Catholic church in Poland turned up documents showing that the Rev. Konrad Stanislaw Hejmo 'was a secret collaborator of the Polish secret services under the names of Hejnal and Dominik,' said Leon Kieres, head of the state-run National Remembrance Institute, which investigated Nazi and communist crimes in Poland."
 
  Most military bases are hopelessly contaminated already, this is a good idea.
Yahoo! News - Bush Wants Refineries at Ex-Defense Bases: "In remarks to small business leaders, Bush will urge using closed military bases as sites for new oil refineries. The Energy Department is being ordered to step up discussions with communities near such bases to try to get refineries built.

'We know we have a capacity problem,' White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Wednesday. 'We haven't built a new refinery since the early 1970s. A lot of what we are importing now has been refined outside the United States.'

Bush also will call on Congress to provide a 'risk insurance' plan to insulate the nuclear industry against regulatory delays if they build new nuclear power plants. And he will endorse giving federal regulators final say over the location of liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals."
 
  A public hanging would be appropriate
Finger Points To Litigious Suspect: From The Tampa Tribune: "I f she's found guilty, Anna Ayala deserves to spend time in prison.

You remember Ayala. She's the woman who claims to have bitten down on a finger while eating a steaming bowl of chili last month at a Wendy's restaurant in San Jose, Calif.

She's the woman who says she doesn't know how the finger got there.

She's the woman with a history of suing big corporations who quickly hired a lawyer to go public with her story.

She's also the woman who dropped the lawsuit threat after suspicion fell on her. She maintains her innocence, but police think she attempted to ``give the finger'' to the restaurant chain and so have charged her with attempted grand theft. She could get seven years.

Ayala is the new poster girl for tort reform, having cost Wendy's restaurants in the San Jose area some $2.5 million in business in the last month. Some workers lost their jobs. Others have had their hours cut.

Whether guilty or not, she has hurt every legitimate claimant who comes forward with accusations against businesses."
 
  Pre-Mugabe Zimbabwe was a net exporter of food
International news from swissinfo, the Swiss news platform: "HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition party said on Wednesday the country had virtually run out of the staple maize grain and urged President Robert Mugabe's government to launch an appeal for foreign donor aid.

Aid agencies say around 4 million people, a third of the population, will need food aid this year after a poor harvest due to drought and inadequate support to peasants who largely benefited from the government's controversial land reforms.

Renson Gasela, shadow agriculture minister for the Movement for Democratic Change, said the party estimated maize output from the just ended cropping season at about 500,000 tonnes against domestic requirements of 1.8 million tonnes.

Gasela told a news conference the country did not have adequate stocks to see it through to the next harvest and that some districts in drought-prone areas were already out of food.

'In simple terms ... the country has run out of maize and this is a fact,' Gasela added, bemoaning what he called failure by the government to quickly approach international donors.

'A lead time of three months is required to land maize in the country if such maize comes from South America, for example. From South Africa the lead time is two months,' Gasela said, adding that millions of Zimbabweans could not wait that long.

Mugabe has repeatedly denied that his policy of seizing large tracts of white-owned farms to redistribute to blacks has resulted in food shortages."
 
  UN seeks to keep feckless idiot (at best, at worst Islamist abbetor) for another term
Top News Article | Reuters.com: "VIENNA (Reuters) - The United States is alone on the board of the U.N. nuclear watchdog in opposing a third term for agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, diplomats said on Wednesday.

Heeding a U.S. request, the 35-nation governing board of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delayed a decision until June on whether to give ElBaradei a third term at the high-profile agency, which he has headed since 1997.

'The United States is the only country against ElBaradei,' a diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

The United States, which supported ElBaradei in 1997, turned against him because of what it sees as a lack of cooperation in Iraq and Iran, while most IAEA members see him as the only reasonable choice for a job no one else has come forward for.

Allies Canada and Australia have deserted Washington and are pressuring the Americans to accept the 62-year-old Egyptian lawyer for another 4-year team."
 
  Our Government in action. 3 years in prison for P2P users. It's nice to see that our congress critters have their priorities in order.
Newsday.com: House bill calls for up to 3 years in prison for illegally distributing unreleased movies, songs: "The bill, which awaits the president's signature, also calls for up to 3 years' imprisonment for anyone who illegally distributes a copyrighted work for profit, distributes pirated material worth more than $1,000 or videotapes movies in theaters. Subsequent offenses carry up to 10 years in prison for copyright infringement of pre-release movies for financial gain.

That means someone who has a movie on his or her computer that can be shared via a file-sharing software could face up to 3 years in prison, said Fred von Lohmann, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based organization supporting civil rights online. 'It seems to me that that's not likely to be the first priority, but it is theoretically possible,' he said."
 
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
  Captain's Quarters has the unreported scoop on OFF and Annan
Captain's Quarters: "In an interview aired yesterday with Fox News, Mr. Volcker took direct issue with Mr. Annan's insistence that he had been exonerated by investigators probing both his role in overseeing the Iraq aid program and conflicts of interest involving a key contract awarded to a Swiss firm that employed Mr. Annan's son.

'I thought we criticized [Mr. Annan] rather severely,' Mr. Volcker said of his panel's interim report, released March 29. 'I would not call that an exoneration.'

Asked point-blank whether Mr. Annan had been cleared of wrongdoing in the $10 billion scandal, Mr. Volcker replied, 'No.'"
 
  If this were M$ the wailing and gnashing of teeth would deafen the dead
My Way News: "SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) has retaliated against the publisher of an upcoming unauthorized biography about chief executive Steve Jobs by removing dozens of other technology books sold by the publisher from Apple stores around the world.

Apple removed the books last week from all 104 of its stores after failing in a monthlong attempt to persuade John Wiley & Sons not to release 'iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business,' which is to go on sale within the next six weeks, the publisher said.

The book-spurning is only the latest attempt by Apple executives to crack down on writers who publish or distribute unauthorized or secret information about the computer maker. It's a strategy that experts in brand management say is likely to backfire, only adding to the notoriety of Apple's critics and encouraging sales in countless other bookstores.

'Pulling books off the shelf is a little draconian,' said Rob Frankel, a brand consultant. 'It reeks of repression.'"
 
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
  NASA finds gooey stuff in outer space
Cassini Finds Organic Material on Titan: "A close flyby of Saturn's big moon Titan by the international Cassini spacecraft revealed an upper atmosphere brimming with complex organic material, a finding that could hold clues to how life arose on Earth, scientists said Monday.

Cassini flew within 638 miles of Titan's frozen surface on April 16 and discovered a hydrocarbon-laced upper atmosphere.

Titan's atmosphere is mainly made up of nitrogen and methane, the simplest type of hydrocarbon. But scientists were surprised to find complex organic material in the latest flyby. Because Titan is extremely cold — about minus 290 degrees — scientists expected the organic material to condense and rain down to the surface.

'We are beginning to appreciate the role of the upper atmosphere in the complex carbon cycle that occurs on Titan,' said Hunter Waite, a professor at the University of Michigan.

Scientists believe Titan's atmosphere may be similar to that of the primordial Earth and studying it could provide clues to how life began."
 
  Sowell lays it out
OpinionJournal - Featured Article: "Slavery also cannot explain the difference between American blacks and West Indian blacks living in the United States because the ancestors of both were enslaved. When race, racism, and slavery all fail the empirical test, what is left?

Culture is left.

The culture of the people who were called 'rednecks' and 'crackers' before they ever got on the boats to cross the Atlantic was a culture that produced far lower levels of intellectual and economic achievement, as well as far higher levels of violence and sexual promiscuity. That culture had its own way of talking, not only in the pronunciation of particular words but also in a loud, dramatic style of oratory with vivid imagery, repetitive phrases and repetitive cadences.

Although that style originated on the other side of the Atlantic in centuries past, it became for generations the style of both religious oratory and political oratory among Southern whites and among Southern blacks--not only in the South but in the Northern ghettos in which Southern blacks settled. It was a style used by Southern white politicians in the era of Jim Crow and later by black civil rights leaders fighting Jim Crow. Martin Luther King's famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 was a classic example of that style.

While a third of the white population of the U.S. lived within the redneck culture, more than 90% of the black population did. Although that culture eroded away over the generations, it did so at different rates in different places and among different people. It eroded away much faster in Britain than in the U.S. and somewhat faster among Southern whites than among Southern blacks, who had fewer opportunities for education or for the rewards that came with escape from that counterproductive culture.

Nevertheless the process took a long time. As late as the First World War, white soldiers from Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi scored lower on mental "
 
  I don't know how much credence to give this report, until the US is able to actually survey the Bekka Valley
Report Finds No Evidence Syria Hid Iraqi Arms: "U.S. officials have held out the possibility that Syria worked in tandem with Hussein's government to hide weapons before the U.S.-led invasion. The survey group said it followed up on reports that a Syrian security officer had discussed collaboration with Iraq on weapons, but it was unable to complete that investigation. But Iraqi officials whom the group was able to interview 'uniformly denied any knowledge of residual WMD that could have been secreted to Syria,' the report said.

The report, which refuted many of the administration's principal arguments for going to war in Iraq, marked the official end of a two-year weapons hunt led most recently by former U.N. weapons inspector Charles A. Duelfer. The team found that the 1991 Persian Gulf War and subsequent U.N. sanctions had destroyed Iraq's illicit weapons capabilities and that, for the most part, Hussein had not tried to rebuild them. Iraq's ability to produce nuclear arms, which the administration asserted was a grave and gathering threat that required an immediate military response, had 'progressively decayed' since 1991. Investigators found no evidence of 'concerted efforts to restart the program.'

Administration officials have emphasized that, while the survey group uncovered no banned arms, it concluded that Hussein had not given up the goal of someday acquiring them.

Hussein 'retained the intent and capability and he intended to resume full-scale WMD efforts once the U.N. sanctions were lifted,' Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said yesterday. 'Duelfer provides plenty of rationale for why this country went to war in Iraq.'"
 
Monday, April 25, 2005
  Good News!
ABC News: Official: Zarqawi Eludes Capture; Computer Discovered: "'Zarqawi always has someone check the waters,' said the official.

A pickup truck about a half-mile behind the car then quickly turned around and headed in the opposite direction. Officials now believe Zarqawi was in the fleeing truck. U.S. teams began a chase, but when the truck was pulled over several miles later, Zarqawi was not inside.

Zarqawi's Computer Discovered

What the task force did find in the vehicle confirmed suspicions that Zarqawi had just escaped. The official said Zarqawi's computer and 80,000 euros (about $104,000 U.S.) were discovered in the truck.

Finding the computer, said the official, 'was a seminal event.' It had 'a very big hard drive,' the official said, and recent pictures of Zarqawi. The official said Zarqawi's driver and a bodyguard were taken into custody.

The senior military official said that they have since learned Zarqawi jumped out of the vehicle when it passed beneath an overpass, presumably to avoid detection from the air, and hid there before running to a safe house in Ramadi."
 
  While Bush kowtows to Fox, the US is being overrun
Illegal Immigration Fears Have Spread: "Department of Homeland Security figures show that from 1990 to 2000, the illegal immigrant population in Alabama went from 5,000 to 24,000; in Nebraska the number grew from 6,000 to 24,000, and in Arkansas from 5,000 to 27,000.

Though these statistics motivate many grass-roots operations, their real inspiration has come from Kathy McKee. She launched Proposition 200, which passed overwhelmingly last year in Arizona. The measure requires evidence of legal residence before people can vote or get state welfare services.

'The reason for this movement is that people have lost hope that the government is going to do its job,' she said. 'The people in Washington are listening to their contributors who are businesses, and businesses, almost without fail, want illegal immigration.'

McKee started Protect Arizona Now and also runs Protect America Now. Like many, she was stunned by the numbers and wanted to do something about illegal immigration. There are between 8 million and 10 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Southeast Arizona is the busiest corridor of entry, with about 500,000 arrests last year.
"
 
  Chavez takes it to the next level, seeing how far he can dare the US before he gets quashed.
Yahoo! News - Chavez Announces Detention of Americans: "CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez said a military exchange program with the United States was canceled because U.S. officers in Venezuela were spreading a negative image of his government to the soldiers they were training.

He also announced the detention of several Americans and said the United States might be planning to invade his country.

The U.S. Embassy on Friday said Venezuela had abruptly and without explanation ended the 35-year-old military exchange program. Ambassador William Brownfield said the five U.S. officers in Venezuela involved in the program had been notified.

Some 90 Venezuelan military personnel were in the United States as part of the program, the embassy said. It was not clear how they would be affected.

During his weekly television and radio show, Chavez complained the U.S. officers 'are sent here to turn our boys against us.'

'It's best that they leave, until someday we can have transparent, clear relations and cooperation with the civil and military institutions of the United States, the way we do with almost all governments in the planet,' Chavez said Sunday.

Chavez said that a woman in the U.S. armed forces had been detained by authorities while taking pictures of military installations in central Venezuela. He did not identify her or say whether she had been released.

'If she or any other U.S. official does this kind of activity again, they will be imprisoned and face trial in Venezuela,' he said.

Chavez also said several American journalists were detained taking pictures of a refinery 60 miles west of Caracas. He did not elaborate except to say they were released.

Chavez said the cases indicated the U.S. might be planning to invade Venezuela."
 
  RoP in Jordan
Sister shot for phone photo: "Amman - A Jordanian man shot dead his divorced sister after seeing her photo on his friend's camera-equipped cellphone in the latest 'honour' killing in the kingdom, hospital officials said Monday.

The unidentified man shot the 31-year-old mother twice in the head Sunday night and then turned himself in to police saying he committed the murder to 'cleanse his family's honour'.

The incident is the fifth example of a so-called honour killing in Jordan this year. Those found guilty usually face sentences of a maximum of one year in jail under Jordanian law.

Last month, a man stabbed his sister to death after finding out she had agreed an unofficial marriage with a man who subsequently disappeared.

At least 19 women"
 
  How far is too far: This far
WMTW.com - News - Auburn Man Ordered To Pay Support For Child That's Not His: "AUBURN, Maine -- Maine officials are coming after a 35-year-old man who they said owes thousands in back child support for a child that is not his.

They said Geoffrey Fisher owes about $11,000 in child support to cover the time from the child's birth until paternity tests proved that Fisher was not the father.

They say Fisher failed to file a court motion three years ago that would have relieved him or any financial responsibilities for the child.

But Fisher said he's flabbergasted that the state sent him a letter seeking payment even though DNA tests have proven he isn't the father.

His attorney, James Howaniec, said he plans to file a motion to relieve Fisher of parental responsibilities. But he said Fisher could still be held responsible for past child support."
 
  Scary
Pictures, The New Pope's Darker Side at Kontraband: "The New Pope's Darker Side
I knew i'd seen him somewhere before - Scary !"
 
Sunday, April 24, 2005
  The Biased Broadcasting Corporation at it again.
Telegraph | News | Tory fury as BBC sends hecklers to bait Howard: "The BBC was last night plunged into a damaging general election row after it admitted equipping three hecklers with microphones and sending them into a campaign meeting addressed by Michael Howard, the Conservative leader.

The Tories have made an official protest after the hecklers, who were given the microphones by producers, were caught at a party event in the North West last week. Guy Black, the party's head of communications, wrote in a letter to Helen Boaden, the BBC's director of news, that the hecklers began shouting slogans that were 'distracting and clearly hostile to the Conservative Party'.

These included 'Michael Howard is a liar', 'You can't trust the Tories' and 'You can only trust Tony Blair'.

Mr Black's strongly-worded letter accused the BBC of staging the event 'to generate a false news story and dramatise coverage. . . intended to embarrass or ridicule the leader of the Conservative Party'. The letter said that BBC staff were guilty of 'serious misconduct'. At least one of the hecklers was seen again at a Tory event in the North East, Mr Black added.

Last night, the BBC claimed that the exercise was part of a 'completely legitimate programme about the history and art of political heckling' and said that other parties' meetings were being 'observed'. However, The Telegraph has established that none of Tony Blair's meetings was infiltrated or disrupted in similar fashion."
 
Saturday, April 23, 2005
  Putin also promises to lay an appropriately sized wreath over the smoldering ruins of Israel
BBC NEWS | Europe | Putin reassures Israel over Iran: "Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the nuclear collaboration between his country and Iran is merely for 'peaceful uses' of atomic energy.

Mr Putin was talking to Israel's Channel 1 ahead of a historic trip to Israel - the first by a Russian leader.

He also said Russian missiles sold to Syria would not fall into the hands of anti-Israeli militants."
 
  The Party of Class: Howard 'Screamin' Dean reaching out to the Red Staters
'Positive' Dean calls GOP 'brain dead' - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - April 23, 2005: "Howard Dean, who promised to change the way Democrats speak about the issues, has accused Republicans of being 'evil,' 'corrupt' and 'brain dead,' attacks that are reminiscent of the angry language he used against the Republican Party in the 2004 campaign.
The fiery former presidential candidate and Vermont governor was elected to run the Democratic National Committee after promising to reach out to voters, especially in Republican states, with a new and more positive outreach message aimed at expanding his party's shrinking base. "
 
  Customer Service, bah! who needs to provide customer service
Elevator company refused to help, stuck passengers claim: "?
?

A man who was stuck in an elevator at the Walker Arts Center during its grand opening last Sunday said an elevator company employee hung up on his wife when she asked for help.

A company spokesman confirmed that it would not call 911 on behalf of the 16 to 20 people stuck in the elevator for up to 35 minutes, but he tossed out the suggestion that they hung up on anyone.

'We most certainly did not,' said Silvio Albino, senior manager of communications for Otis Elevator Co."
 
Thursday, April 21, 2005
  RoP: If you vote you will burn in hell
Guardian Unlimited Politics | Election 2005 | Islamists step up campaign to stop Muslims voting: "
The extreme Islamist group accused of threatening George Galloway and hijacking a meeting of moderate Muslims is planning to step up its direct action campaign to stop fellow believers from participating in the election.

The Guardian can reveal that the gang of youths who stormed two election meetings this week are members of al-Ghuraaba, an offshoot of the now disbanded radical organisation al-Muhajiroun.

The group's east London campaign is being run by Abdul Mueed, a student, who promised yesterday that al-Ghuraaba would continue to disrupt events and target candidates to get across its message to Muslims that they will go to hell if they vote on May 5."
 
  One would think that we have learned enough from the past, and to stop these two idiots before the legislate again
Yahoo! News - McCain, Kennedy to Propose Fining Illegals: "WASHINGTON - Sens. John McCain and Edward M. Kennedy are putting together an immigration bill that would subject illegal immigrants to fines, but allow them to remain in the United States and earn a chance to apply for permanent residency.

The measure is an alternative to President Bush's guest worker proposal sought by employers but opposed by many conservatives.

Speaking Thursday at the Naval Academy, McCain, R-Ariz., said he and Kennedy, D-Mass., hoped to introduce their legislation next week.

Under their proposal, illegal immigrants would get three-year visas that could be renewed once. After completing six years of work, the immigrants would be eligible to 'get in the back of the line' to apply for permanent legal residency, McCain said.

Deporting the 10 million to 12 million illegal immigrants in the country is not practical, McCain told midshipmen during a guest lecture.

'There are some who say send them back to their countries,' McCain said. 'It's not possible. It's not going to happen.'"
 
  The bank of the RoP
Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World: "The New York branch of the Arab Bank was instrumental in financing Hamas, Al-Qaida and dozens of other terrorist groups, and some of those transactions were also handled by banks in the United States and Israel, according to a report in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal.

Arab Bank funneled more than $20 million to and from terrorist groups and charities affiliated with terrorist groups, including payments to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers who perpetrated attacks in Israel, the report said. The bank now may be subject to criminal charges for not disclosing to the US government suspicious transactions that resulted in the financing of terrorists."
 
  This just in: Nothing is safe
Hot dogs may raise risk of pancreatic cancer - Other Cancer News - MSNBC.com: "LOS ANGELES - A diet containing lots of processed meats, like hot dogs and sausages, raises the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a large multiethnic study.

The researchers found that heavy consumers of processed meats -- 40 grams a day or more -- were 67 percent more likely to develop cancer of the pancreas than study participants with the lowest intake.

In addition, a diet rich in pork and red meat -- 70 grams a day or more -- also increased pancreatic cancer risk by about 50 percent, according to the survey-based study."
 
  Utah, it seems to be where everyone wants to go
Yahoo! News - Utah May Be One of Fastest-Growing States: "SALT LAKE CITY - With a big influx of retirees and lots of fertile, family-minded Mormons, Utah is projected to be one of the five fastest-growing states over the next three decades.

The Census Bureau said Thursday that Utah's population is expected to increase 56 percent, or by more than 1.2 million people, between 2000 and 2030. Nevada and Arizona are expected to double in population, and a gain of nearly 80 percent is projected in Florida and almost 60 percent in Texas.

One reason for the boom in Utah is the Mormon church. It is estimated at least 70 percent of the state's 2.2 million residents are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Because of the church's emphasis on big families, Utah's fertility rate is 2.56 children per woman of childbearing age, the highest in the nation. (The national rate was 2.03 in 2001.) The state also has the nation's highest average of people per household, 3.13, and the lowest median age, 27.5.

It also has one of the nation's fastest-growing older populations. Its 65-and-older population has climbed 27 percent in the past 10 years, and will rise an additional 28 percent in the next decade, according to the Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services.

Retiring baby boomers — many of them from California — are moving to Utah, often drawn by the red-rock beauty of the southern part of the state."
 
  Followed by a speedy execution one could hope
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Akbar Convicted of Murder in Grenade Attack: "FORT BRAGG, N.C. — An Army sergeant was convicted Thursday by a military jury of premeditated murder and attempted murder in a grenade and rifle attack that killed two of his comrades and wounded 14 others in Kuwait during the opening days of the Iraq war.

Hasan Akbar (search), 34, now faces a possible death penalty, which the same 15-member jury will consider at a hearing that begins Monday.

Prosecutors say Akbar told investigators he launched the attack because he was concerned U.S. troops would kill fellow Muslims in Iraq. They said he coolly carried out the attack to achieve 'maximum carnage' on his comrades in the 101st Airborne Division (search).

The verdict came after only 21/2 hours of deliberations following seven days of testimony in the court-martial — the first time since the Vietnam era that an American has been prosecuted on charges of murdering a fellow soldier during wartime."
 
  We have the right to force you to stay in business
TheStar.com - Employees sue Quebec Wal-Mart over closure: "MONTREAL (CP) — An employee at a unionized Wal-Mart store in Saguenay, Que., filed a request today for a class-action suit against Wal-Mart Canada over its planned closure of the store.

Alain Pednault, who will lose his job when the store closes on May 6, is asking for $10,000 in damages for himself and about 180 store employees for stress inflicted since the closure was announced.

He's also asking for another $10,000 for himself and each of the 180 employees in exemplary damages for unlawful closure of the store.

Lawyer Gilles Gareau said the suit alleges the store closing violates the freedom of association guaranteed under the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The claims have yet to be proven in Quebec Superior Court.

'The closing of the store is an event that violates fundamental rights and therefore it entitles those affected to redress for the resulting moral and material damage,' Gareau said in a statement.

In February, after Saguenay employees voted to unionize, the retail giant announced the store would close in May because it is unprofitable."
 
  The UN, worse than useless
BBC NEWS | Africa | UN body fails to condemn Sudan: "The United Nations Human Rights Commission has approved by consensus a resolution condemning human rights violations in Sudan.

The resolution, which was agreed after long negotiation, does not condemn the Sudanese government by name for atrocities committed in Darfur.

It does, however, call on all parties to immediately end all violence.

At least 180,000 people have died and two million fled their homes, in what some say is genocide against non-Arabs.

The Sudan government denies accusations that it armed the Janjaweed militias blamed for the worst atrocities."
 
  D'oh!
Carnegie Mellon Says Computers Breached: "Carnegie Mellon University is warning more than 5,000 students, employees and graduates that their Social Security numbers and other personal information may have been accessed during a breach of the school's computer network.

Carnegie Mellon discovered the breach on April 10. Spokesman Mike Laffin said that as of Wednesday, the school had no clear idea how long the system had been vulnerable. Officials say they have no evidence that anyone had used the personal information.

The affected computers had personal information for people who got graduate degrees from the Tepper School of Business from 1997 to 2004."
 
  Hear Hear
OpinionJournal - Featured Article: "This smear campaign is all the more offensive because it is designed to avoid a genuine policy debate. Mr. Bolton, who has worked as a diplomat in two different Administrations, is being sent by Mr. Bush to lead a reform of the U.N. that desperately needs it if it is going to be effective. His skills helped repeal the U.N.'s 'Zionism is racism' resolution in the early 1990s, and more recently he ran the successful and innovative Proliferation Security Initiative that helped put Libya out of the WMD business. But Democrats don't want to debate that record, because they know they'd lose. So they have set about to destroy Mr. Bolton personally instead.

Look closely at Mr. Bolton's accusers, and you can see through the agendas. There is former State Department career official Carl Ford, who claims Mr. Bolton rudely disagreed with his policy positions. There is also Latin America-specialist Fulton Armstrong, whom Mr. Bolton allegedly tried to have fired. Never mind that Mr. Bolton was not the only senior State Department official to complain about Mr. Armstrong. Or that Mr. Armstrong's forgiving assessments of Cuba's Fidel Castro were influenced by the work of Ana Belen Montes, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst convicted in 2002 of spying for Cuba. This is the testimony of career analysts who disagree with Bush Administration policy and want to show that any official who disagrees with the bureaucracy will have his own career ruined in Senate confirmation.

All of this is being orchestrated by Senate Democrats Chris Dodd and Joe Biden, who represent the foreign-policy views that lost the last election. More than that, they are carrying water for a foreign-policy establishment that tried desperately to defeat Mr. Bush and failed, but now wants to pin an embarrassing defeat on the President by humiliating a nominee closely associated with his policy. This is the same establishment that so believes in the myt"
 
  Trespassing, very creative use of the law by the local sherrif
The Telegraph Online: "NEW IPSWICH - In the latest twist of his public battle against illegal immigrants, Police Chief Garrett Chamberlain has taken what may be a unique legal approach: He has charged a man from Mexico with criminal trespass because he was in town without legal documents.

“He’s in the country illegally so obviously he’s in New Ipswich illegally,” said Chamberlain of the arrest, which was made on the shoulder of Turnpike Road after a routine inquiry Friday.

As defined in state law (RSA 635:2), a person is guilty of criminal trespass “if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place.”

Jorge Mora Ramirez, 21, who is living in Waltham, Mass., but is from Mexico, admitted to police that he was in the country on forged documents, Chamberlain said. Therefore, the chief said, Ramirez knew he wasn’t “licensed” to enter or remain in New Ipswich and so was guilty of criminal trespass.

“This is a state law we’ve had for a long time, but I’m the first to use it this way, so far as I know,” Chamberlain said Monday. “Basically, what it is, (federal immigration authorities) expressed no interest in taking custody of (Ramirez), so we’ve elected to address it by ourselves. . . . I knew of the law and figured we’d try this and see what happens.”

Immigration law is generally a federal matter that doesn’t come under the jurisdiction of local police departments. But Chamberlain has often expressed frustration with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the past."
 
  Art Night (update)
Local News - The Idaho Statesman - Always Idaho: "A local strip club owner who attempted to get around Boise's nudity ban by giving his patrons pads and pencils said earlier this month he was irate that his dancers were cited by Boise police but he wasn't.

That changed Tuesday when Erotic City owner Chris Teague was charged with three misdemeanor counts of aiding and abetting three of his dancers to break the public nudity ordinance.

Teague, who said April 5 he had the support of 'billions of people' and was looking forward to challenging Boise's anti-nudity ordinance in court, was mailed a summons for the charges Tuesday, Assistant Boise City Attorney Alison Tate said.

Teague was not available for comment Tuesday.

The club owner will have several weeks to respond to the summons and appear in court, where a jury trial date will be set. Three Erotic City dancers, who were cited earlier this month for dancing nude at the club, have jury trials set to begin Sept. 1.

Teague was charged with the misdemeanors because 'it appears he was encouraging these girls, if not pushing them, to violate the law,' Tate said. 'He is probably more culpable than they are.'

If found guilty of the misdemeanors, Teague could be sentenced to up to six months in jail and fined $300 for each charge. The dancers face the same possible penalty.

The charges stem from an Erotic City promotion Teague called 'Art Night.' Boise's anti-nudity ordinance allows exceptions for art of 'serious artistic merit' — such as dance, theater and artistic drawing — as long as it isn't in a business that has 'entertainment which is intended to provide sexual stimulation or gratification.'"
 
  Report: private screeners outperform government workers - Fosters
Report: private screeners outperform government workers - Fosters: "WASHINGTON (AP) — A congressional investigation found airport screeners employed by private companies do a better job detecting dangerous objects than government screeners, according to a House member who has seen the classified report.

The Government Accountability Office found statistically significant evidence that passenger screeners, who work at five airports under a pilot program, perform better than their federal counterparts at some 450 airports, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. and chairman of the House aviation subcommittee, said on Tuesday.

“You get a statistically significant improvement if you go to federal supervision with private screening companies,” Mica said.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Congress ordered every commercial airport but five to switch from privately employed screeners to a government work force."
 
  As far as we know.....
NBCSandiego.com - Health - Missing Samples Of Dangerous Flu Virus Located: "GENEVA -- The World Health Organization said all samples of a killer flu virus that were mistakenly sent to more than a dozen countries have been located.

The agency said all but one of them have been destroyed.

The samples included a strain of a virus that killed between 1 million and 4 million people in 1957. It was included in kits sent to 61 laboratories in 18 countries outside the United States.

As of Tuesday, five samples were still missing -- one sample sent to Lebanon, one to Mexico and three to South Korea. The laboratories said they never received them.

Health officials said the only sample yet to be destroyed was one sent to Lebanon. They said that one had been missing but was found at a Beirut airport. They said it 'will be destroyed soon.'"
 
  The Senate shows a rare sign of spine
Senate rejects amnesty measure - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - April 20, 2005: "The Senate yesterday turned back a proposed amnesty for up to 1 million illegal immigrant agricultural workers and their families, though it gained support of more than half the chamber.
In the first major vote on immigration policy in almost a decade, the Senate fell seven votes shy of the 60 required to proceed with the amendment, which would have offered the illegal immigrants a three-step path to citizenship. A vote on a guest-worker program with no path to citizenship also failed, by an overwhelming margin."
 
  The Future is Now: Inhaleable insulin
BBC NEWS | Health | Inhaled insulin 'within a year': "A device which allows people with diabetes to inhale, rather than inject, insulin could be licensed for use within a year, scientists claim.

Tests carried out around the UK and in the US have shown that the device is as effective as conventional injections.

Scientists told the Diabetes UK conference it would offer a choice to the 700,000 people in the UK who currently need to take insulin.

However, they said inhaled insulin would not be suitable for everyone.

The device, which would fit into a handbag, contains a blister pack of insulin in the form of dry powder."
 
  For another year at least
International news from swissinfo, the Swiss news platform: "ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey said Wednesday it would extend for another year an agreement allowing the United States to use its Incirlik airbase for planes supplying U.S. and allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the U.S. embassy in Ankara said it was still awaiting notification and said it remained unclear whether Turkey would grant its request for a widening of the terms of the existing deal, including blanket clearance for all flights.

The current deal expires in June and U.S. diplomats have expressed frustration that Turkey has so far not replied to its request, lodged some 10 months ago, for turning Incirlik into an expanded cargo hub.

'There is no new situation. All that is being done right now is regulating things. It is about extending a previous decision,' Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told a news conference. Gul said the cabinet would issue a decree formally extending the accord very soon. Parliament's approval is not required.

Asked if the decree would meet U.S. demands, Gul said 'yes.'"
 
  CBS News | IDs Sold To Illegal Immigrants | April 20, 2005 22:09:22
CBS News | IDs Sold To Illegal Immigrants | April 20, 2005 22:09:22: "
(CBS) The United States is currently undergoing the largest wave of immigration in over a century. But what makes this wave like no other is that so much of it is illegal.

There are approximately 11 million illegal immigrants now in the United States. That equals the population of Ohio. These immigrants are coming for jobs, of course. But to be hired by an American factory, they need documents.

So a black market of identities for sale has sprung up and has spread from the Southwest, where Hispanic immigrants used to settle, to places in the heartland, which will never be the same."
 
  Blair in the hotseat over immigration.
Bloomberg.com: U.K.: "April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Fixed limits on immigration would do ``tremendous damage'' to the U.K. economy, Prime Minister Tony Blair said, in an attack on the opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties before the May 5 general election.

Both opposition parties are calling for an annual limit on the number of foreign workers allowed into the U.K., to be set by Parliament.

``You'll do tremendous damage to your economy if you start taking out all migrant labor -- or even more absurdly for the Parliament to come along and say `We, Parliament, suddenly know what the needs are in the country,''' Blair told the British Broadcasting Corp.'s ``Paxman Interviews'' program today, according to a transcript released in advance of the broadcast.

The Conservatives argue that Blair has failed to keep immigration under control. An ICM Ltd. poll of 1,012 adults conducted April 7-8 found 36 percent backed Conservative policies on immigration, against 27 percent who supported Labour's. No margin of error was provided.

Under Conservative proposals, employers would have to put up a bond equivalent to half the annual salary of each immigrant worker they employed. Bloomberg has calculated the total cost of these bonds would reach 1.1 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) in their first year, a figure the Conservatives don't dispute."
 
  Keep the big stick handy, as we will be needing it soon
1 - Number One News Resource of Pakistan - The News - Jang Group: "BEIRUT: President George W Bush directly addressed the Arab world late on Tuesday in a television interview, saying the US will keep up the pressure on Syria to get out of Lebanon, end its influence there and stop helping insurgents in Iraq. Bush also said he was pushing for Lebanon’s elections to be held before a May 31 deadline and for the disarming of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group, a force that remains popular in Lebanon.

'The United States can join with the rest of the world, like we’ve done, and say to Syria, get out, not only get out with your military forces, but get out with your intelligence services, too; get completely out of Lebanon, so Lebanon can be free and the people can be free,' Bush said in an 10-minute interview with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. television, a satellite station seen around the region and by Lebanese communities worldwide.

The Syrian withdrawal should include people who 'have been embedded in parts of government' to allow Lebanese, 'not another government, not agents of another government' to decide the country’s fate, he said.

Bush’s news appearance comes as Syria’s 29-year domination of Lebanon is being deeply undermined. Syria was nearing the completion of its troop pullout from Lebanon, launched in March under intense international pressure. A senior Lebanese military official said the remaining 1,000 Syrian soldiers, part of a contingent that once numbered about 40,000 would pull out of Lebanon in seven days.

Lebanon also succeeded in forming a government after weeks "
 
  Congress can't seem to get it's act together enough to pass an Energy Bill, (or a judge) but can sure seem to get its act together when Hollywood call
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Film | US movie pirates face jail terms: "People who secretly video movies in US cinemas face being jailed for up to three years under a bill passed by the US Congress on Tuesday.

The law aims to clamp down on pirates who sell bootleg copies of new films.

Penalties for people who distribute music, movies or other copyrighted works before their official release have also been tightened under the law.

President Bush is now set to sign the bill, which has been passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives.

Movie studios have welcomed the move, with piracy costing the industry an estimated £3.7bn ($7bn) in 2003."
 
  Beijing warns new pope about ties with Taiwan
Beijing warns new pope about ties with Taiwan: "BEIJING China wasted little time before warning the new pope, Benedict XVI, on Wednesday that the Vatican and China could establish formal relations only if the Vatican dissolved its diplomatic links with Taiwan and promised not to 'interfere in China's internal affairs.'
.
The statement signaled that China was unlikely to make any concessions soon that would open the way for formal ties between China and the Vatican"
 
  RoP looses one in PI
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Philippines Troops Rescue Hostages: "Philippines — Government troops on Thursday rescued 13 students and villagers hours after they were abducted in the southern Philippines (search), killing at least two kidnappers in a jungle clash that also left one police officer dead, military officials said.

The freed captives, shaken and bruised after they were forced to hike at gunpoint through a mountainous rain forest near Piagapo town in Lanao del Sur (search) province, were escorted to a military camp, where they were given snacks and a place to rest, marine Brig. Gen. Ben Dolorfino said.

Troops were pursuing at least eight other kidnappers in Lanao del Sur, about 500 miles south of Manila, he said.

The captives, mostly female university students, were traveling in a jeep in nearby Saguiran town, when armed men took control of the vehicle and herded them into a hinterland area while being chased by troops and Muslim guerrillas, marine Col. Arman Melo said.

The gunmen, who were also Muslims, picked out and immediately released eight veiled Muslim women among the 22 passengers. The rest of the Christian captives were taken away aboard the jeep and forced to hike in a mountain jungle, said a freed student, Angelique Arellano."
 
  And while our attention is turned to the ME.....
Yahoo! News - Ecuador President Ousted, Accused of Abuse of Power: "QUITO, Ecuador (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Lucio Gutierrez was ousted by Congress on Wednesday after a week of increasingly violent protests in which he was accused of abusing his power by meddling with the country's top court.

Gutierrez, the third president of the Andean nation to be toppled amid popular unrest in eight years, was replaced by his vice-president after escalating clashes between opposing protesters in which two people were reported killed.

A military helicopter flew Gutierrez from the presidential palace in colonial downtown Quito after 60 congressmen from the 100-seat chamber voted to fire him for 'abandoning his post.'

Brazil's foreign ministry said in a statement issued in Brasilia later that Gutierrez was in the Brazilian embassy in Quito."
 
  The Jihadi Machine keeps cranking them out
KCAL 9: International News: "TEHRAN, Iran (AP) More than 400 young men and women have volunteered to carry out suicide bombing attacks against Americans in Iraq and targets in Israel, a militant group said Wednesday.

The recruiting effort was detailed during a ceremony organized by the Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement, a shadowy group that has been seeking attackers for nearly a year.

The Iranian government has distanced itself from the organization. But the event was attended by Mahdi Rahimian, the head of the Martyr's Foundation and the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee, both quasi-government organizations run by hard-liners loyal to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

``Some 440 volunteers, most of them women, signed up today,'' said group spokesman Mohammad Ali Samadi."
 
  Thanks a bunch Pootie Poot
Haaretz - Israel News: "The SA-18 missiles Russia is selling Syria 'will of course make it difficult to fly over the residence of the Syrian president,' Russian President Vladimir Putin bluntly stated yesterday. 'It will make flying low difficult,' implying what has long been believed to be the reason for the sale of the anti-aircraft missiles: Syrian embarrassment over Israeli air force planes 'buzzing' presidential palaces in Syria to issue warnings to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The Russian president, who gave an interview to Channel One ahead of his historic visit next week to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, said the sale of the missiles to Syria would not upset the balance of power in the Middle East.

Israel has been trying to apply as much pressure as it can to deter the Russians from making the sale, but Putin has not been convinced. He decided to go ahead with the sale after promising Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that the missiles would be vehicle-mounted, and impossible to convert into shoulder-launched rockets that could end up in the hands of one of the terror organizations that Damascus hosts."
 
  Sacre Bleu! When wine makers attack
News: "The grapes of wrath fermenting in the French wine industry boiled over into a mini-riot on the streets of Narbonne yesterday.

A group of 50 young wine producers hurled molotov cocktails, cobble stones, bottles and flares at riot police at the end of a turbulent but mostly peaceful demonstration by 10,000 growers from the French deep south.

Joined by a sprinkling of local anarchists, the young wine-growers taunted and confronted the CRS riot police for nearly two hours across two bridges over a canal in the heart of the town.

At one point a launch crewed by Dutch tourists found itself trapped between the two bridges, on which wheely bins had been set aflame.

The CRS bombarded the rioters with tear gas. The Dutch tourists turned their launch and escaped. Finally, the rain came down and both sides dispersed.

The riot was always more theatrical than violent but demonstrates the growing anger of French wine-growers, especially in the south.

The French low- and medium-quality wine industry has been stricken by the collapse of wholesale prices and a glut on the European and world markets. There have been a series of minor terrorist attacks by extremist wine producers in the French south in recent weeks, including dynamite attacks on three government offices and the hijacking and destruction of lorry-loads of wine."
 
  Hmmm, are the chicken's circling, the roost?
Clinton Case Mystery - April 21, 2005 - The New York Sun: "n the documents reviewed by the Sun, the name of the FBI informant is not disclosed. However, the records offer intriguing clues that suggest the mystery witness operated at the highest echelon of Democratic politics.

'The CW [confidential witness] is related to an extremely prominent and well-known political figure. It can be expected that the fact that CW was working in an undercover capacity for the FBI will become the subject of intense media attention,' prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg wrote in a November 2004 memo asking a federal magistrate to keep the relationship under wraps.

An affidavit filed by a Los Angeles-based FBI agent, David Smith, said the informant began working with the FBI in July 2002.'The CW states that s/he is active in fundraising for the Democratic Party. CW assisted in the U.S. Senate campaign of Hillary Clinton. S/he was involved in the planning of the Clinton Gala,' Mr. Smith wrote in January 2003. 'The CW is the target of an FBI investigation on unrelated bank fraud charges. S/he has since signed a plea agreement, and has agreed to cooperate in this case.'

Mr. Zeidenberg declined to comment for this story. Mr. Smith referred questions to an FBI spokeswoman."
 
  France now openly whoring for the ChiComs
Yahoo! News - France vows to continue pushing for end to EU arms embargo: "BEIJING (AFP) - French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin vowed his government would continue to push for the lifting of the 'anachronistic' and 'discriminatory' EU arms embargo against China.

'France continues to require the lifting of the embargo and does not see what could lead the European Council to change its position on the subject,' Raffarin said in a joint press conference with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

In Beijing for a three-day visit, Raffarin earlier told the Xinhua news agency China was becoming a 'responsible, great nation' and the arms ban in place since the crushing of democracy campaigners in 1989 was outdated.

'This measure is anachronistic, wrongfully discriminatory and in complete contradiction of the current state of the strategic partnership between Europe and China,' he said, according to a transcript seen by AFP."
 
  The latest Google 'feature'
Google Launches Personal History Feature - Yahoo! News: "Google Inc. is experimenting with a new feature that enables the users of its online search engine to see all of their past search requests and results, creating a computer peephole that could prove as embarrassing as it is helpful.

Activating Google's 'My Search History' service, unveiled Wednesday afternoon at http://labs.google.com, requires users to create a personal login with a password. Users of Google's e-mail, discussion groups and answer services can simply use their existing log-ins."
 
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
  Oops!, did I touch that third rail? Welllll now, let me just crawfish around a bit. (So much for the spine)
Schwarzenegger Sorry for Border Comment: "Blaming his faulty English, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday said he misspoke when he suggested that California's border with Mexico should be closed to help solve the nation's illegal immigration problem.

Schwarzenegger made the remark while speaking to newspaper editors and publishers Tuesday. He said he intended to say the border should be secured.

'Yesterday was a total screw-up in the words I used,' the Republican said at a news conference. 'Because instead of closing, I meant securing. I think maybe my English, I need to go back to school and study a little bit.'"
 
  When Lileks is on, he is On!
Newhouse A1: "Republicans (or is it Democrats?) want a procedural vote on a caucus resolution to allow a supermajority to change the rules for the plurality of the quorum unless someone brings kryptonite into the Senate chamber, which saps the supermajority of its strength, thereby requiring a cage match between Sens. Robert Byrd and Bill Frist, no holds barred, unless a simple majority -- so described because they're just stupid, or 'simple' -- votes to ban the sleeper hold, which has caused so many deaths in the British parliament.

Whatever's happening, it's making Sen. Charles Schumer sad and concerned. As the Democrat said on ABC's 'This Week': 'Whenever people try to do this and overreach, the American people sniff something. That's the whole thing that's going on here. Something is in the air. That something is wrong, different than the traditions of America.'

There is something in the air: the spring-fresh aroma of a new Democratic buzzword: 'overreach.' Those mad Republicans are overreaching!

They looked at that election map, awash in red, and assumed they had a mandate to repeal Roe v. Wade, to roll environmental protection so far back that people get a tax break for driving a Hummer over endangered species, to repeal whichever laws of thermodynamics are not found in the Bible.

They're mad with power. Mad! And that's why they want a vote, as the Constitution kindly provides, to show there's bipartisan support for judicial nominees."
 
  That's Kofi, always a hand out to terror country's.
Reuters AlertNet - Annan defied US objections in delaying Syria report: "UNITED NATIONS, April 20 (Reuters) - Secretary-General Kofi Annan overrode U.S. objections when he delayed for a week a report on whether Syria was complying with a U.N. demand to withdraw its forces from Lebanon, diplomats said on Wednesday.

France and Britain also opposed a delay, which had been requested by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the diplomats said.

'The three don't want any backsliding and pushed Annan for the report's immediate release,' said one Western envoy, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and French President Jacques Chirac telephoned Annan on Monday to urge him not to delay the report, the diplomats said.

The Syrian leader, who also telephoned Annan, had sought a significantly longer delay, until a U.N. technical team could verify the withdrawal, U.N. officials said.

Assad has promised to pull all Syrian military and intelligence forces out of Lebanon by the end of the month and has already withdrawn most of them, in line with a resolution adopted by the 15-nation U.N. Security Council last Sept. 2.

Syria has dominated Lebanon politically until recently, stationing 17,000 soldiers there after pouring in troops during the 1975-1990 civil war.

Annan announced on Tuesday, the day the report had been due, that he would miss the deadline by a week."
 
  Cute stunt
Michael Moore sets up scholarship at school that canceled his talk: "Filmmaker Michael Moore has established a scholarship for students who defy the administration at California State University, San Marcos — the same school that canceled his talk last year.

The Michael Moore Freedom of Speech Scholarship will award two $2,500 annual scholarships to Cal State San Marcos students 'who have done the most to fight for issues of student rights by standing up to the administration,' according to a news release issued Wednesday."
 
  Sigh
ABC News: Bush Signs Big Rewrite of Bankruptcy Law: "WASHINGTON Apr 20, 2005 — President Bush signed the biggest rewrite of U.S. bankruptcy law in a quarter century on Wednesday, making it harder for debt-ridden Americans to wipe out their obligations.

'Bankruptcy should always be a last resort in our legal system,' Bush said. 'If someone does not pay his or her debts the rest of society ends up paying them.'

Many debtors will have to work out repayment plans instead of having their obligations erased in bankruptcy court under the law, which will go into effect in six months. The 500-page legislation won final congressional approval last week after being pushed for eight years by banks and credit card companies."
 
  Smokers die 5 years sooner
The Australian: Smokers lose at least five years [April 21, 2005]: "LONDON: The risks of smoking are far greater than most people recognise, new statistics indicate.

Being a smoker at the age of 30 cuts a man's life expectancy by five years and a woman's by more than six, according to research from the Institute of Actuaries.

At any age up to 80, the chances of dying in the next year are almost doubled by being a smoker, the research indicates.

A man aged 60 who is a smoker has a risk of dying in the next year of 106 in 10,000, but if he is a non-smoker the risk is only 48 in 10,000.

For a woman smoker the same age, the risk is 85 per 100,000, while for a non-smoker it is 35 per 100,000."
 
  Cure via transplant eyed for diabetics
news @ nature.com - Mother-to-daughter transplant reverses diabetes - Successful procedure offers fresh hope for patients.: "A woman in Japan has had her diabetes reversed by a transplant of insulin-producing cells from her mother. The procedure has given strikingly fast results and marks a departure from previous operations, which relied on cadaver organs as a source of the cells.

The first successful transplantation of such cells, called islet cells, from the pancreas of a non-living donor to a diabetic patient was performed in 2000. Since then, about 100 people have had their diabetic condition reversed by the procedure.

But waiting for a suitable donor can be a problem, particularly in countries such as Japan, where traditional beliefs against removal of organs from the deceased means that donors are in short supply.

For this reason, a team led by Shinichi Matsumoto of Kyoto University Hospital decided to investigate the possibility of extracting islet cells from a live donor. Their first patient was a 27-year-old woman who had become dependent on daily insulin shots after suffering inflammation of the pancreas at a young age. Her 56-year-old mother was the donor."
 
  And the RINO's take to the streets, running in terror, like little girls
Bloomberg.com: U.S.: "April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee is ``less likely'' to support John Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations because of the allegations he mistreated subordinates, a spokesman for Chafee said.

Chafee's vote against Bolton on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, combined with the united opposition of Democrats, would leave Republicans at least one vote short of recommending his nomination to the full Senate.

White House officials said the allegations against Bolton were ``trumped-up'' and part of the ``ugly side of Washington.'' The administration is ``absolutely not'' considering withdrawing his nomination, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

Bolton, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, is needed at the United Nations as the world body moves forward on reforms, McClellan said. ``He is someone who has a long record of results in getting things done,'' McClellan said. ``And sometimes you get people mad at you when you get things done.''"
 
  Red Ken: All your miles are belong to us
ThisisLondon: "New details have been revealed of plans to charge London motorists up to 80p a mile to drive on city roads.

Hi-tech satellite tracking systems are expected to be introduced in 2015 and will mean significant investment in the transport network.

However, trials of a separate system of an electronic tag and beacon system are to take place in Southwark this year.

In this scheme - expected to be introduced in full in 2009 - 110 cars will be fitted with tags, allowing the cars to be detected by roadside beacons which will then deduct charges.

In the system to be introduced in 2015, Mayor Ken Livingstone wants to equip cars with satellite tracking devices so that drivers could be charged at different rates depending on how close they came to the city centre.

At peak times, the rate from the outskirts of London to the North and South Circulars would be 16p a mile."
 
  Ha!
Ledger-Enquirer | 04/01/2005 | A battle outside the box: "Then the trouble began.

First the Confederates said they wouldn't associate with 'Trekkies,' and the Star Trek fans said they preferred 'Trekkers.' The Confederates all laughed, and 'that right there got things off on the wrong foot,' Lessjo says.

Other missteps followed.

'One of the Trekkers said Starfleet's prime directive wouldn't let the crew introduce superior technology to a primitive culture,' Lessjo says. 'Then a rebel yelled, 'Don't call us primitive, geek!' And the Trekker said Starfleet wouldn't defend a society based on slavery, either.'

That riled the Confederates, provoking one to shout: 'Y'all just go fight for the Yankees then! You're all living in a fantasy world anyway!'

'Yeah, like you're not!' a Trekker retorted.

Both sides abruptly drew their weapons, and Lessjo ducked under a table as the firing commenced, he says. He did not crawl back out until the smoke cleared, and by then the Trekkers had withdrawn from the field.

'It turns out replica Civil War guns use real gunpowder, whereas 'Star Trek' phasers have only a battery-powered bulb that lights up,' says Lessjo. 'You don't go up against a guy with a firearm if all you've got is a flashlight.'

So thinking outside the box yielded an unexpected answer to OTB's hypothetical question: 'We proved Civil War soldiers would win a battle against the crew from 'Star Trek,' ' Lessjo says, chuckling. 'You never would have figured that, would you?'"
 
  It goes around and comes around
China feels a labor pinch: "To much of the world, China's reputation for manufacturing can be summed up in one word: cheap.
.
But on the factory floors here and in the new, neon-lit offices, managers say times are changing - and costs are rising. Skilled workers and technicians are taking advantage of acute shortages to demand double-digit salary increases. Employers are saddled with Asia's highest levels of social charges and forced to offer a host of perks to retain people.
.
The rising labor costs are threatening the model of development - the export zones clustered along the coast - that has brought China the prosperity of the past decade.
.
Chinese wages are still low by European or American standards, but a worker in a sneaker factory in southern China today is paid about 30 percent more than his counterpart in Vietnam and 15 percent more than a worker in Indonesia. (See Workplace column, Page 13) Some big companies are moving production to Vietnam and still others are considering moving inland in China, where labor is cheaper but logistics much more difficult and thus more costly.
.
For consumers around the world, rising costs in China could signal an end to the years of deflationary cycles of cheaper and cheaper products.
."
 
  Hear Hear
New York Post Online Edition:: "April 20, 2005 -- THE hearings on John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, once again highlight the Democratic Party's most glaring weakness: national security.

Assume that everything negative they say about Bolton is true — that as an undersecretary of state he was a 'bully' to his subordinates and overly guarded about the release of information; that his angry, 'in your face' style will further alienate U.S. relations with the United Nations.

Now put it in context: 9/11 was the result of colossal intelligence failures due in large part to bureaucratic turf battles and careerists resistant to reform. The United Nations is a swamp corrupted by the Oil-for-Food scandal, child sex rings run by U.N. 'peacekeepers' and indifference to the ongoing slaughter in Darfur. Should America have an ambassador willing to preserve the status quo — or one who'll press for meaningful reform?

 
  D'oh!
Yahoo! News - 200,000 Ameritrade Client Files Lost: "OMAHA, Neb. - Leading online discount broker Ameritrade Holding Corp. said Tuesday it has informed about 200,000 current and former customers that a backup computer tape containing their personal information has been lost.

The Omaha-based company mailed the notices to its clients last week, spokeswoman Donna Kush said.

The company realized the tape was missing in February, when the package it was in was damaged during shipping between vendors, Kush said. Of the four backup tapes in the package, three were found, but the fourth is still missing, she said."
 
  What next dumbasses, a circular firing squad?
Panel Delays Vote on Bolton Nomination to U.N. (washingtonpost.com): "John R. Bolton's nomination to be ambassador to the United Nations suffered a setback yesterday when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unexpectedly decided to spend three more weeks investigating allegations that he mistreated subordinates, threatened a female government contractor and misled the committee about his handling of classified materials.

The panel's decision -- spurred by Ohio Republican Sen. George V. Voinovich's change of heart during an emotional meeting -- came after Democrats passionately argued that senators and their aides need more time to check out new accusations against Bolton, now the undersecretary of state for arms control. Panel members said they may ask Bolton, who spent a full day testifying last week, to return for more questioning.

The action was a blow to President Bush, who nominated Bolton, a"
 
  Heh
IOL: A Step Beyond: "A police spokesperson said: 'He was always generous with the order, he would demand the best wines and told his female guest to have whatever she wanted.

'But in every case, he would say he had to make an important phone call and needed to go outside where reception was better, and then would simply vanish. In three cases, he even borrowed the girls phone to make the call - and disappeared with that as well.'

Hodoroaba faces two years jail if convicted, and police believe the real number of victims is far larger than the complaints they have received, but say most women would probably be too embarrassed to come forward. - Ananova.com"
 
  D'oh!
KUTV: Runaway Casket Careens Down Highway After Accident: "A Lewiston, Idaho, mortuary owner has been cited for inattentive driving after he hit a guardrail and oncoming pickup truck in an accident that sent a full casket careening down the road.

Richard Vassar was southbound on U.S. Highway 95 last week. He was driving a 2004 Chevrolet pickup truck towing a trailer with four full caskets inside.

Lewis County Sheriff Phil Steen says the trailer began to fishtail and Vassar lost control of the truck, which then hit a guardrail head on.

The left rear of the trailer hit an oncoming 1998 Dodge pickup driven by Marla Leedy of Weiser, Idaho.

One of the caskets broke through the end of the concrete liner and fell onto the highway.

No one was injured. Damage estimates were not available. "
 
  New pope intervened against Kerry in US 2004 election campaign - Yahoo! News
New pope intervened against Kerry in US 2004 election campaign - Yahoo! News: "German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the
Vatican theologian who was elected Pope Benedict XVI, intervened in the 2004 US election campaign ordering bishops to deny communion to abortion rights supporters including presidential candidate
John Kerry.

In a June 2004 letter to US bishops enunciating principles of worthiness for communion recipients, Ratzinger specified that strong and open supporters of abortion should be denied the Catholic sacrament, for being guilty of a 'grave sin.'

He specifically mentioned 'the case of a Catholic politician consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws,' a reference widely understood to mean Democratic candidate Kerry, a Catholic who has defended abortion rights.

The letter said a priest confronted with such a person seeking communion 'must refuse to distribute it.'"
 
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