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Wednesday, September 28, 2005
  The Religion of Murdering Women and Kids
New Jersey Coalition for Self Defense - Kashmiri Women Take Up Arms For Self-Protection: "Women in Jammu and Kashmir have now picked up guns against Islamic militants to protect their homes.

At least 30 Muslim women in the disputed region to the north of India and Pakistan have constituted a separate all-women Village Defense Committee (VDC) and are operating with the Indian army in the forested mountains of Surankote in the Poonch district bordering the Pakistani side of Kashmir to fight militants.

'Now militants do not dare enter our village,' said 18-year-old Nishat Bee, the youngest member of the group. Her companion, however, corrects her by saying, 'In fact militants have not been this way since we picked up guns against them.'

On a visit to the twin villages of Marah and Kulali, one finds tall, slender Muslim women sporting rifles on their shoulders while grazing cattle alone in deep forests or standing on top of the roofs of their homes to keep a watch on militants.

'I am proud to fight a Jihad [holy war] against marauders who have cheated us of our dignity and honor,' says Shamima Akhter, the 30-year-old commander of this particular women's group.

'Militants who would force us to provide them shelter, food and at times to entertain them physically were harassing us physically and mentally. If we opposed them they would commit rapes or kill our family members. We wanted to confront them and the only way to do it was to acquaint ourselves with the basic functioning of guns and grenades,' she added.

The majority of the men of this border belt work in Gulf countries leaving their women, children and elderly back in remote mountainous villages, the access to majority of which is through hours of rough walks that make the women soft targets.

It is common practice for the militants to seek shelter, food or seek sexual favors from these women, and in case of refusal, it is not unusual to rape or even kill them, using loca"
  Get your house in order GOP!
BREITBART.COM - Just The News: "A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, an indictment that could force him to step down as House majority leader.

DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee.

GOP congressional officials said the plan was for DeLay to temporarily relinquish his leadership post and Speaker Dennis Hastert will recommend that Rep. David Dreier of California step into those duties.

Some of the duties may go to the GOP whip, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri. The Republican rank and file may meet as early as Wednesday night to act on Hastert's recommendation.

The indictment against the second-ranking, and most assertive Republican leader came on the final day of the grand jury's term. It followed earlier indictments of a state political action committee founded by DeLay and three of his political associates.

The grand jury action is expected to have immediate consequences in the House, where DeLay is largely responsible for winning passage of the Republican legislative program. House Republican Party rules require leaders who are indicted to temporarily step aside from their leadership posts.

However, DeLay retains his seat representing Texas' 22nd congressional district, suburbs southwest of Houston.

DeLay has denied committing any crime and accused the Democratic district attorney leading the investigation, Ronnie Earle, of pursuing the case for political motives."
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
  Hopefully Sharon won't bow to the hand-wringers in the State Department and will keep on untill either the Pali's surrender or they run out of rounds
Israel Unleashes Barrage in Gaza City: "Israel pressed ahead with its offensive against Palestinian militants, unleashing a barrage of missiles against targets throughout Gaza City early Wednesday, knocking out power and plunging the city into darkness. No injuries were immediately reported.

Missiles from Israeli aircraft landed in at least three locations, including the impoverished Tufah neighborhood and the Bureij refugee camp, just south of the city. One airstrike hit a two-story building used by the ruling Fatah party. The offices provide tutoring lessons to school children, and cash and food assistance to families in Tufah.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said the army would attack militants relentlessly to force them to stop firing rockets at Israeli towns."
  One less incompetent in NOLA
Leader of New Orleans Police Resigns: "NEW ORLEANS — Police Superintendent Eddie Compass resigned Tuesday after four turbulent weeks in which the police force was wracked by desertions and disorganization in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.

'I served this department for 26 years and have taken it through some of the toughest times of its history. Every man in a leadership position must know when it's time to hand over the reins,' Compass said at a news conference. 'I'll be going on in another direction that God has for me.'
(enlarge photo)
New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass, right, turns away from the microphones as Mayor Ray Nagin, left, looks on after Compass announced his retirement in New Orleans, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2005. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

As the city slipped into anarchy during the first few days after Katrina, the 1,700-member police department itself suffered a crisis. Many officers deserted their posts, and some were accused of joining in the looting that broke out. Two officers Compass described as friends committed suicide.

Neither Compass nor Mayor Ray Nagin would say whether Compass was pressured to resign.

'It's a sad day in the city of New Orleans when a hero makes a decision like this,' Nagin said. 'He leaves the department in pretty good shape and with a significant amount of leadership.'"
  The next wave of enforcing environmental zones: Fill them with land mines. (h/t The Jeffery)
CNN.com - Penguins stay snug and secure in minefields - Sep 27, 2005: "Argentina, which puts the number of remaining mines closer to 15,000, is offering to help clear more fields to adhere to an international treaty on land mines.

Falkland Islanders, however, are not pressing on the issue, and most believe it is better not to fiddle with the fields.

'There is a risk that only 95 percent would be removed,' said Falkland Islands Gov. Howard Pearce. 'You would bring a sense of complacency to the community and increase rather than reduce the chance of injury.'

Besides, he noted, 'The environmentalists like them.'"
  The tiny minority of extremists in our midst.
Terror suspects eyeing up Paris metro, airport - Yahoo! News: "ARIS, (AFP) - Terror suspects detained in France had been eyeing up the Parisian metro network, an airport and the headquarters of the domestic intelligence service as possible targets, sources close to the investigation said.

The suspicions were based on an intelligence tip-off from Algeria and from telephone surveillance, although there is no hard evidence they had settled on a particular target, they said.

Nine people were detained by police early Monday in a series of raids west of Paris in what officials said was a crackdown on suspected Islamic terrorist activities."
  Interesting article on Identity Theft
Stealing your ID can be as easy as ABC - The Boston Globe: "Her shock was warranted. I had just called her on an unlisted cellphone number and informed her that I had her Social Security number, Visa card number, bank account and personal identification numbers, and eBay account name and password.

If I chose, not only could I drain her bank account and rack up charges on the Visa, but with her Social Security number, I could probably open new credit cards -- maybe even a mortgage -- long before she discovered a problem. Ultimately, she would likely not be responsible for the charges, but it might take days -- or months -- to rectify her credit.

Martin was not a victim of identity theft. But the information was in the hands of a self-proclaimed identity thief. I received the information during an interview with someone who goes by the online nickname Bart Maza. He said he is an 18-year-old high school dropout in Russia. In total, he gave me the data of 17 people."
  Dog bites man: Congress unprepared to make spending cuts.
With 'small government' Republicans a fading memory. The current crop of congress-critters shoveling pork as fast as their porcine little fingers can type, and Delay infamously declaring victory on budget fat. One years for the clarity of Gingrich and his tilting at windmills approach to the budget.
FOXNews.com - Politics - Congress Unprepared to Make Spending Cuts: "ASHINGTON — Some fiscal conservatives on Capitol Hill say they are worried that President Bush, who has never vetoed a spending bill, will find it hard to hold back a tide of congressional largesse in the wake of the massive hurricanes that have devastated the Gulf Coast.

No one knows how much it will cost to rebuild or how many years it will take. Lawmakers are debating from where the cuts would come if Congress is forced to tighten its belt.

Some lawmakers want to delay the January start of the president's Medicare prescription drug benefit for one year, saving $30 billion."
  Does this mean that my rhetorical knee-jerking was misplaced:?
Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy - Los Angeles Times: "BATON ROUGE, La. — Maj. Ed Bush recalled how he stood in the bed of a pickup truck in the days after Hurricane Katrina, struggling to help the crowd outside the Louisiana Superdome separate fact from fiction. Armed only with a megaphone and scant information, he might have been shouting into, well, a hurricane.

The National Guard spokesman's accounts about rescue efforts, water supplies and first aid all but disappeared amid the roar of a 24-hour rumor mill at New Orleans' main evacuation shelter. Then a frenzied media recycled and amplified many of the unverified reports.

'It just morphed into this mythical place where the most unthinkable deeds were being done,' Bush said Monday of the Superdome.

His assessment is one of several in recent days to conclude that newspapers and television exaggerated criminal behavior in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, particularly at the overcrowded Superdome and Convention Center.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune on Monday described inflated body counts, unverified 'rapes,' and unconfirmed sniper attacks as among examples of 'scores of myths about the dome and Convention Center treated as fact by evacuees, the media and even some of New Orleans' top officials.'

Indeed, Mayor C. Ray Nagin told a national television audience on 'Oprah' three weeks ago of people 'in that frickin' Superdome for five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people.'

Journalists and officials who have reviewed the Katrina disaster blamed the inaccurate reporting in large measure on the breakdown of telephone service, which prevented dissemination of accurate reports to those most in need of the information. Race may have also played a factor.

The wild rumors filled the vacuum and seemed to gain credence with each retelling — that an infant's body had been found in a trash can"
  A weak start, but a start none the less. A public flogging and execution would have been better.
USATODAY.com - Eleven priests in Chicago area removed: "CHICAGO (AP) — Eleven priests suspected of sexual misconduct with minors more than 20 years ago have been barred from clerical work, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago said Monday.

The men cannot present themselves as priests, engage in public ministries or act as an agent of the archdiocese, although they have not been removed from the priesthood, said Chancellor Jimmy Lago.

Lago would not disclose specific allegations or the priests' names or parishes.

The 11 were among a group of 14 priests whose alleged sexual misconduct was forwarded to Vatican officials two years ago by Cardinal Francis George, archdiocese officials said. One of the priests has died and two other cases will be decided by pending canonical trials.

The Vatican studied the cases last year and authorized George to conduct a review that included opinions from advocates for the priests and advisers, Lago said.

'Cardinal George has determined, based on the information presented, that sexual misconduct did occur,' he said.

The sexual abuse, which allegedly took place 20 to 30 years ago in all of the cases, was reported both to the parishes and civil authorities, Lago said.

The statue of limitations has expired in all the cases, officials said.

Victim advocates said the church should have made the priests' names public.

'I think that this begrudging, long overdue action ... does not relieve Cardinal George of his responsibility,' said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. 'There's 11 known child molesters out there that are not going to be found on any sex offender registries.'"
  And what is Zapatero going to do, other than fellate Castro?
Newsday.com: Wives of Jailed Cubans Appeal to Spain: "
HAVANA -- The wives of jailed Cuban dissidents called on the Spanish prime minister on Monday to pressure the Cuban government to release its political prisoners.

In a letter delivered to the Spanish embassy in Havana, the women said the dozens of activists imprisoned in a government crackdown on dissent in early 2003 committed no crime and should be released from prison immediately.

They asked Spanish Prime Minister to Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and other Spanish and European leaders to remember the dissidents, as well as what they called harsh prison conditions, when meeting with Cuban leaders at an upcoming summit in the Spanish city of Salamanca.

Zapatero's Socialist government has led efforts to increase dialogue with Cuba, while still underscoring human rights concerns. Earlier this year, the European Union lifted sanctions imposed on Cuba after the 2003 crackdown, which put 75 activists behind bars.

Under the sanctions, European nations reduced high-level governmental visits and participation in cultural events in Cuba, while their embassies invited dissidents to national day events in Havana. "
  Anti-War, My Foot - The phony peaceniks who protested in Washington. By Christopher Hitchens
Anti-War, My Foot - The phony peaceniks who protested in Washington. By Christopher Hitchens: "To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as 'antiwar' when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side. Was there a single placard saying, 'No to Jihad'? Of course not. Or a single placard saying, 'Yes to Kurdish self-determination' or 'We support Afghan women's struggle'? Don't make me laugh. And this in a week when Afghans went back to the polls, and when Iraqis were preparing to do so, under a hail of fire from those who blow up mosques and U.N. buildings, behead aid workers and journalists, proclaim fatwahs against the wrong kind of Muslim, and utter hysterical diatribes against Jews and Hindus.

Some of the leading figures in this 'movement,' such as George Galloway and Michael Moore, are obnoxious enough to come right out and say that they support the Baathist-jihadist alliance. Others prefer to declare their sympathy in more surreptitious fashion. The easy way to tell what's going on is this: Just listen until they start to criticize such gangsters even a little, and then wait a few seconds before the speaker says that, bad as these people are, they were invented or created by the United States. That bad, huh? (You might think that such an accusation—these thugs were cloned by the American empire for God's sake—would lead to instant condemnation. But if you thought that, gentle reader, you would be wrong.)"
  Clanking Brass Balls. Abusing the State's constitution like this should draw heavy sanctions from the legislature, then jail for the DUI.
Legislator claims he has immunity from DUI charge | ajc.com: "After Rep. David Graves was charged with drunken driving for a second time, he and his lawyer offered a surprising defense:

As a lawmaker, Graves cannot break the law — at least not while the Legislature is at work.

The Macon Republican is using an obscure provision in the state constitution to argue that he should not be prosecuted for a DUI he received in Cobb County in February, during the 2005 session of the General Assembly.

The centuries-old provision holds that a lawmaker cannot be arrested during sessions of the General Assembly, legislative committee meetings or while they're 'in transit,' except in cases of 'treason, felony, or breach of the peace.' Such provisions were generally written to protect lawmakers from political intimidation.

Cobb State Court Judge Irma B. Glover is expected to make public her ruling today on Graves' 'legislative immunity' defense. His trial is set for today.

Graves — chairman of the House committee overseeing laws governing the alcohol industry — has said that on Feb. 15, he and other committee chairmen went from the Capitol to a dinner meeting, where they conferred about the status of legislation and plans for the next legislative day. His lawyer, William C. 'Bubba' Head, argues Graves should have been granted immunity from arrest because he was leaving a gathering that was tantamount to a committee meeting, according to legal filings.

Gary Jones, the assistant solicitor in Cobb State Court assigned to prosecute the cases, said his office is fighting the contention.

'Just because you're having dinner with other politicians does"
Monday, September 26, 2005
  Even CNN 'gets it' (h/t The Jeffery)
CNN.com - It's a 'new era' of hurricanes - Sep 23, 2005: "(CNN) -- Hurricanes aren't behaving like many of us are used to them behaving. They're bigger and meaner, and more numerous than many people have seen.

Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne tore up parts of Florida last year. After tweaking Florida, Katrina and Rita are wreaking havoc this year along the Gulf Coast from Alabama to Texas.

But don't rush to blame it on global warming, experts warn.

Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, told a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday that we're in a period of heightened hurricane activity that could last another decade or two.( See scientists collect data -- 1:33)

'The increased activity since 1995 is due to natural fluctuations (and) cycles of hurricane activity driven by the Atlantic Ocean itself along with the atmosphere above it and not enhanced substantially by global warming,' he testified."
  Jihad-TV whines about AQ agent, er I mean Al-Jazeera broadcaster being convicted in Spain
Reuters AlertNet - Jazeera condemns conviction of reporter in Spain: "Arab satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera denounced the sentencing of its correspondent in Spain on Monday to seven years in jail on terrorism charges.

Tayseer Alouni, 50, was found guilty by Spain's High Court of collaborating with a terrorist group but acquitted of being a member of al Qaeda. He was among 18 people sentenced at the trial, the biggest of suspected Islamist militants in Europe.

'This is a black day for the Spanish judiciary which has deviated from all the norms of international justice,' Al Jazeera news editor Ahmed al-Sheikh told the station.

'It is a verdict that is based on circumstantial evidence at best. This verdict is a big shock for us. We are convinced of Tayseer's innocence,' he added from Madrid, where he attended the sentencing."
  Leaving the job half-done. Al-Sadr should be pushing up daisy's, not running free to gin up trouble
Telegraph | News | US forces clash with Mahdi Army: "American troops and the Mahdi Army militia of Moqtada al-Sadr clashed in the slums of Baghdad yesterday, raising fears for the future of a year-long US truce with the fiery Shia cleric's gunmen.

The fighting came as insurgent attacks took the lives of at least 31 people, including 13 commandos from the elite Wolf Brigade, the Iraqi army's showcase anti-terrorism unit, killed when a suicide bomber rammed into their convoy in the south-east of the capital.

Mahdi Army gunmen opened fire on US forces that entered their stronghold in Baghdad's Sadr City slums to arrest three of their colleagues accused by the Americans of running a 'kidnap and torture' cell.

Coalition forces in Iraq appear to have run out of patience with the Mahdi Army after what one US officer described as 'repeated provocation' in recent months.

The crackdown began last week when British officers arrested three senior Mahdi Army officials in Basra on suspicion of carrying out attacks on military targets in southern Iraq.

Iraq factfile

The arrests caused a week of tension in the southern city between British forces and Sadr's outlawed Mahdi Army, which was suspected of having taken captive two undercover British soldiers who were later arrested.

US forces said they killed between five and eight Shia gunmen, although they did not capture the three suspects."
  Good Grief! Second Chance left defective body armor in the field
Faulty Body Armor May Have Endangered Bush: "Prosecutors have gathered documents showing that Second Chance was alerted as early as 1998 by the Japanese material maker, Toyobo Co., that Zylon had trouble maintaining its protective properties.

By 2001, Second Chance's research chief, Aaron Westrick, was pleading unsuccessfully with his company's president to replace the vests after his own tests showed them degrading, the memos show.

'Lives and our credibility are at stake,' Westrick wrote then-Second Chance president Richard Davis in a Dec. 18, 2001, memo. 'We will only prevail if we do the right things and not hesitate. This issue should not be hidden for obvious safety issues and because of future litigation.'

Westrick urged Davis to 'immediately notify our customers of the degradation problems,' let those with pending orders cancel them and cease all executive bonuses to save money so the company could pay for a replacement initiative, the memo shows.

But Second Chance customers were not alerted to the problems until September 2003 — after a California police officer was shot to death wearing the vest and a Pennsylvania officer was seriously wounded."
  Dear Leader financing his regime through counterfeit $100 bills
Washington Times Weekly Edition: ". He said investigations are proceeding.
Balbina Hwang, a researcher at the Heritage Foundation, says the North Korean government has been making and circulating forged $100 bills for more than a decade.
“They produce some of the best quality supernotes,” she says, adding that the North Koreans make $250 million a year from the bills.
The British Broadcasting Corp. reported last year that North Korea is producing supernotes with a high-quality printing press known as Intaglio, similar to presses used by the United States to print its currency. The BBC said it learned of the North Korean role from a defector from Pyongyang.
The counterfeiting profits support the North Korean government’s drug trafficking, money laundering and gambling, Miss Hwang says. On a strategic level, the North Koreans think that circulating supernotes will help destabilize Western economies, she says, noting that the U.S. Treasury redesigned the $100 bill in part because of North Korean counterfeiting.
China is linked to the counterfeiting by North Korean use of Chinese territory and criminal gangs, she says. The Beijing government is probably aware of the official role in North Korean counterfeiting and is not doing enough to stop it.
According to the indictment, Mr. Wu told an undercover FBI agent posing as a buyer of fake bills that he could provide $1 million in high-quality counterfeit $100 bills and arranged for the agent to telegraph a payment of $25,000 to another man, who has been charged in the case in a third country."
  If Frist is dirty on this, Hang Him. There is no place in the leadership for white collar crooks, ala Martha
CNN.com - Documents: Frist knew contents of blind trust - Sep 26, 2005: "WASHINGTON (AP) -- Blind trusts are designed to keep an arm's-length distance between federal officials and their investments, to avoid conflicts of interest. But documents show that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist knew quite a bit about his accounts from nearly two dozen letters from the trust administrators.

Frist, R-Tennessee, received regular updates of transfers of assets to his blind trusts and sales of assets. He also was able to initiate a stock sale of a hospital chain founded by his family with perfect timing. Shortly after the sale this summer, the stock price dived.

A possible presidential contender in 2008, Frist now faces dual investigations by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission into his stock sales."
  When a liberal hack like Shields comes down on the Donk's paymasters you know it's bad
CNN.com - Democrats' special interest problem - Sep 26, 2005: "In explaining his opposition to Judge Roberts, Reid told the Senate he had been 'very swayed' by the public testimony of, and his private meeting with, those civil rights and women's groups.

Enter Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, one of the groups with enormous influence in Democratic Party councils and whose organization had called President Bush's nomination of John Roberts, in measured language, 'an outrage and an insult to the women of this country.'

Did Gandy tell the press that Harry Reid, a pro-life Democrat from the Red State of Nevada, deserved praise for making an unpopular political decision? Of course not. NOW's president attributed Reid's move not to internal character, but to outside muscle, telling The New York Times, 'He got the message loud and clear, didn't he?'

With friends like Kim Gandy, Harry Reid and the Democrats don't need any enemies."
  Local Dems to distance themselves from Dean and the lunatics in charge
Freudenthal says national Dem leaders too liberal for Wyoming: "State Democrats should distance themselves from liberal national party leaders whose agenda frequently differs from Wyoming, Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal told state party members at a meeting attended by a Democratic National Committee vice chairman.

Wyoming Democrats should instead focus on local issues that relate to Wyoming residents, Freudenthal told about 75 state Democrats Saturday night.

'This is a party that's not afraid of firearms,' Freudenthal said. 'It's a party where people are interested in whether the governor managed to shoot an antelope with one shot.'

'I don't care about Howard Dean,' he said, referring to the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

DNC Vice Chairman Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., who attended meeting, acknowledged that the national organizations had slipped.

'We lost touch at the federal level,' Honda said. 'Our job is to correct this with you.'

But Honda was careful to outline a role for the party in future elections, including placing those like Dean in context.

He said Democrats have learned a lot of hard lessons in the last few years and are ready now to move forward.

'We have a hard time deciding what our core values are and what are issues,' he said. 'Howard Dean gets that. He's going around the country talking to people.'

Local policy variances are also something that the DNC can accommodate, he said."
Sunday, September 25, 2005
  How long until we get the balls to 'step' on Junior?
Telegraph | News | US forces clash with Mahdi Army: "American troops and the Mahdi Army militia of Moqtada al-Sadr clashed in the slums of Baghdad yesterday, raising fears for the future of a year-long US truce with the fiery Shia cleric's gunmen.

The fighting came as insurgent attacks took the lives of at least 31 people, including 13 commandos from the elite Wolf Brigade, the Iraqi army's showcase anti-terrorism unit, killed when a suicide bomber rammed into their convoy in the south-east of the capital.

Mahdi Army gunmen opened fire on US forces that entered their stronghold in Baghdad's Sadr City slums to arrest three of their colleagues accused by the Americans of running a 'kidnap and torture' cell.

Coalition forces in Iraq appear to have run out of patience with the Mahdi Army after what one US officer described as 'repeated provocation' in recent months.

The crackdown began last week when British officers arrested three senior Mahdi Army officials in Basra on suspicion of carrying out attacks on military targets in southern Iraq."
  Mad Mullah's threaten $100 per barrel oil
Iran warns of confrontation over EU atomic proposals: "In Tehran, the head of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards warned Friday that the imposition of sanctions on the Islamic republic over its nuclear programme could push the price of oil to 100 dollars a barrel.

'Any sanction against Iran can make the oil price reach 100 dollars a barrel,' General Yahya Rahim Safavi said in a speech to worshippers attending Friday prayers in Tehran.

Iran is OPEC's second largest producer.

'Any economic and political pressure on Iran from any power ... will result in a harsh reaction from Iran,' he added."
  Dolphins with frickin laser beams /Dr. Evil
The Observer | International | Armed and dangerous - Flipper the firing dolphin let loose by Katrina: "It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing."
  Another condemnation of that useless debating society, the UN
Independent Online Edition > UK Politics : app6: "David Davis has laid bare divisions in the Conservative party over Iraq by insisting Britain should have toppled Saddam Hussein without pressing ahead with United Nations diplomacy before the war.

The Tory leadership front-runner said British influence over the operation in Iraq 'was squandered by an obsessive insistence on prolonging UN-based diplomacy that could obviously yield no result'. He added: 'How much better it would have been to concentrate on ensuring planning for peace matched the planning for war.'

His hawkish comments, echoing neo-conservative right in Washington, clashed with Kenneth Clarke and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who have criticised the decision to go to war. They also highlight the deep split between the right- and left-wing sections of the party on the issue, which may now become a major theme in the Tory leadership campaign.

Mr Davis even suggested critics of the war were exposing Britain to increased threats from terrorism. He said: 'Those who complain that our closeness to America, in particular our support of the US in Iraq, has made us a target of terror, should think before they speak.

'Such remarks are a signal to extremists that we will adjust our foreign policy in response to their threats, which merely invited further attacks."
  Triangulating toward the right. (This week)
New York Post Online Edition: news: "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday dealt a crushing blow to the International Freedom Center planned for Ground Zero, saying she wants the project canned for failing to listen to the 9/11 families.

'I cannot support the IFC,' Clinton declared last night in a strongly worded statement in response to an inquiry from The Post.

Her tough comments are Clinton's first significant remarks about the controversy raging at Ground Zero over the Freedom Center, which 9/11 families and other critics fear will become a center of anti-Americanism.

'While I want to ensure that development and rebuilding in lower Manhattan move forward expeditiously, I am troubled by the serious concerns family members and first responders have expressed to me,' Clinton said.

'The LMDC [Lower Manhattan Development Corp.] has authority over the site and I do not believe we can move forward until it heeds and addresses their concerns.'

The family members of victims, as well as unions representing the city's cops and firefighters, want nothing less than the Freedom Center being booted from Ground Zero.

Given her influence, Clinton's hard line could spell doom for the Freedom Center's hopes of remaining at the World Trade Center site."
  ABC News: IRA Ready to Dispose Arms in Peace Move
ABC News: IRA Ready to Dispose Arms in Peace Move: "The outlawed Irish Republican Army is ready to dispose of its stockpiled arms in a long-sought peace move, possibly within the next week, Sinn Fein and Irish government leaders said Friday after their first meeting in eight months.

On July 28, after years of diplomatic pressure from the British, Irish and U.S. governments, the IRA announced it had formally renounced violence for political purposes and would disarm fully in cooperation with John de Chastelain, a retired Canadian general.

Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, leaders of the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party, spent two hours discussing the still-secret IRA decisions and their consequences with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and senior Cabinet ministers."
  Musharraf cracking down on his homegrown asshats? (this week)
BBC NEWS | South Asia | Pakistan madrassa row 'resolved': "Pakistan says it has resolved a dispute with religious schools and they will now register with the government.

President Pervez Musharraf enforced his registration demand following the London bombings in July and also said all foreign students must be expelled.

The madrassas had refused to co-operate unless a demand that they disclose their funding be withdrawn.

A senior religious affairs ministry spokesman told the BBC the madrassas would not need to disclose funding.

President Pervez Musharraf says his registration policy is aimed at checking the activities of a handful of madrassas that preach hatred and extremism.

One of the London bombing suspects visited a madrassa in Lahore shortly before the attacks."
Saturday, September 24, 2005
  Mad Mullah's threatened with ''eventual' referral to the security council.
UN nuclear body passes EU resolution on Iran - Yahoo! News: "VIENNA (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog passed a resolution on Saturday requiring
Iran to be reported to the Security Council over a failure to convince the agency its nuclear program was entirely peaceful.

'The resolution was adopted,' an IAEA spokeswoman told reporters.

International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) governing board approved it despite Iranian threats to begin enriching uranium if the U.S.-backed resolution, drafted by the EU's three biggest powers, that could eventually lead to
U.N. Security Council sanctions against Tehran was passed.

With 22 votes for the resolution, 12 abstentions and only one vote against, the outcome highlighted the split between rich Western nations and poorer developing nations led by Russia, China, South Africa, which disagree with Washington and Europe on how to deal with Iran.

In what EU diplomats said was a victory for Western efforts to ratchet up the pressure on Tehran, both China and Russia, which had strongly opposed the EU's proposed resolution, abstained. Venezuela was the only country to vote against it.

India, which had opposed the EU resolution, voted for it.

Iran denies seeking atomic bombs and says its nuclear program is only for generating electricity. However, it concealed its atomic fuel program from the IAEA for 18 years.

Russia, which is building a $1 billion nuclear reactor at Bushehr in Iran and has much to gain from Iran's plans to develop atomic energy, has long been an opponent of referring Iran's program to the Security Council.

China, which needs Iran's vast energy resources for its own booming economy, also opposes the Western drive against Iran.

Both countries fear a U.N. referral will cause the standoff over Iran's program to escalate into an international crisis."
Friday, September 23, 2005
  Our shrinking world
The Australian: Know-all parking meters for LA [September 23, 2005]: "This ploy no longer works, because short-term parking spaces are equipped with GPS-enabled cameras that scan number plates and know how long a car has been in a particular spot, chalk or no chalk.

Pacific Grove, a coastal resort town, has taken parking meter innovation one step further. Its machines are programmed to increase parking fees over time, so that quick errands cost only a few cents, while longer stays can cost several dollars. A wire grid under the tarmac triggers a sensor when a car pulls in. The information is then beamed to traffic wardens, so they know when time runs out on any parking spot in town. The city is leasing 100 such meters for $US45,000 ($58,400) a year.

To help pay for the technology, the city has taken a rather more old-fashioned approach. It has told its traffic wardens to work on Saturday afternoons."
  Looks like the Brit's are going to have to Rotor-Rooter Basra
Cleric's growing power leaves British isolated - World - smh.com.au: "British troops in Basra looked more isolated than ever after the province's Governor, once a crucial ally, withdrew all co-operation until he received an apology for the prison raid that freed two SAS soldiers.

About 500 Iraqi police officers and civilians chanting: 'No, No to Occupation' marched through the southern city's streets as the Governor, Mohamed al-Wa'eli, again condemned Britain's 'barbaric act of aggression'.

The withdrawal of co-operation was a unanimous decision taken at an emergency meeting of the Basra provincial council late on Wednesday.

A source in Basra's provincial government said the Governor had little choice but to take a vehement anti-British stance after recent political manoeuvrings had left Mr Wa'eli beholden to the Mahdi army militia of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The British Army says it staged Monday's raid to free the two men after police handed them over to Mahdi militiamen instead of obeying orders from Baghdad to free them.

Police and government sources say up to 90 per cent of Basra's police force has been infiltrated by the private armies of religious and political factions. The two men were held in a building belonging to the shadowy internal affairs department.

Until the northern spring, internal affairs was controlled by the Badr Brigade, a militia tied to the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the main Shiite party in Iraq's ruling coalition.

But a senior official in Basra's police force said the agency had effectively been taken over by the Mahdi army, Iraq's most radical Shiite armed group."
  The Fifth Column
FBI: Terror suspects targeted SoCal sites for shooting rampage: "FBI Director Robert Mueller, appearing in Los Angeles, praised police agencies that uncovered an alleged terrorism plot in July while investigating a string of gas station robberies.

'Terrorist threats against the city and county of Los Angeles ... were prevented,' Mueller said Thursday.

Three men charged in a terror investigation were planning shooting rampages at Los Angeles-area military sites to retaliate for what they called the oppression of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to court documents.

Levar Haley Washington, 25; Gregory Vernon Patterson, 21; and Hammad Riaz Samana, 21, were indicted last month on federal charges of conspiring to wage war against the U.S. government through terrorism. All three pleaded not guilty.

According to an FBI affidavit unsealed Sept. 12, Washington told authorities he was the leader of a 'council' of Muslims who planned to carry out operations in Southern California as part of a jihad against the United States.

The suspects allegedly targeted military recruitment centers in Southern California, estimating that 10 attacks could kill as many as 40 people, the affidavit said.

Samana told investigators the three men planned to storm a facility with firearms in September or October, then flee in a vehicle, the affidavit said."
  Flaw in the Airbus landing gear design?
7 Airbus Jets Had Landing Gear Trouble - Los Angeles Times: "The problems with JetBlue Flight 292 marked at least the seventh time that the front landing gear of an Airbus jet has locked at a 90-degree angle, forcing pilots to land commercial airliners under emergency conditions, according to federal records.

No one has been injured in the incidents, which span about a decade. There are more than 2,500 planes from the Airbus 320 family, which includes the Airbus 318, 319 and 321 models, in operation worldwide. Aviation safety officials Thursday said the planes have a good safety record."
  400 Nepalese children kidnapped by Commies
1 - Number One News Resource of Pakistan - The News - Jang Group: "ATHMANDU: Suspected Maoist rebels have abducted hundreds of students and teachers from dozens of schools in northwest Nepal, a human rights group said on Thursday.

The abductions happened between Saturday and Wednesday in Accham district 400 kilometres northwest of the capital Kathmandu. The students and teachers, mainly from secondary schools, were forcibly marched to an undisclosed location for indoctrination by the rebels, a human rights official said.

'We have received information from our bureau that the Maoists have abducted hundreds of students, teachers and other civilians from scores of villages in Achham district,' said Subodh Pyakurel, president of the Informal Sector Service Centre human rights group. Pyakurel said 'they were taken as flocks of sheep to undisclosed locations.' Police also reported the abduction of 60 students from a school in Dolpa district, 475 kilometres northwest of Kathmandu on Wednesday.

'The Maoists selected 60 sturdy looking boys and girls of grades six to 10 and abducted them,' police said after a teacher at the school reached the district headquarters Dunai on Thursday.

The rebels, who are fighting to install a communist republic, regularly abduct students for indoctrination sessions and normally release them several days later. Local human rights groups and the United Nations Children’s Fund have routinely condemned the abductions and have received pledges from the Maoists to halt the practice. Pyakurel appealed to the rebels to release the children."
  Take the Mad Mullah's at their word. This is one of the reasons we need a ballistic missle defense system
Scotsman.com News - International - Iran displays military might: "As in previous years the highlight of the parade, which included tanks, jets and troops, were six trailer-mounted Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, capable of hitting Israel, United States bases in the Gulf and parts of south-eastern Europe.

'If the 'global arrogance' wants to attack Iran ... [we] will destroy their countries with these missiles,' the parade announcer said.

Some of the huge missiles, which have a range of 1,250 miles, bore banners proclaiming 'Israel should be wiped off the map' and 'We will trample America under our feet'.

Washington broke diplomatic ties with Iran shortly after the 1979 revolution and the Islamic state officially refuses to recognise Israel's right to exist."
  Ballistic missile defense coming along
Japan to be part of US missile project - Breaking News - World - Breaking News: "Japan is ready to design a nosecone for an interceptor missile in a joint project with the US to develop a ballistic missile defence system, a news report said.

The two nations are expected to soon decide on the matter and include it in a joint development agreement to be concluded possibly by the end of the year, Kyodo News agency said.

The project involves a larger and upgraded version of the Standard Missile-3 interceptor to be deployed on an Aegis vessel to defend against ballistic missiles."
  Opposition to the Blame America 9/11 'memorial'
New York Post Online Edition: postopinion: "Lower Manhattan Development Corp. Chairman John Whitehead gave the International Freedom Center until today to prove itself suitable for a spot at Ground Zero.

If it failed, he said, 'we will find another use or tenant — consistent with our objectives — for that space.'

Guess what? It failed.

Time to find another tenant.

Failing that, it's up to Gov. Pataki (and his MIA partner, Mayor Bloomberg) to put the IFC out of its misery.

Wednesday, the center made one last-ditch pitch — leaking a 47-page statement of its plans to the sympathetic New York Times. Nice try, guys.

Alas, there isn't a word in that report to assure anyone that the IFC won't 'denigrate America,' as Pataki demanded.

Just the opposite: It reaffirms fears that its facilities would please America-haters. Setting the stage for fiery political theater. And assertions that America got what it deserved on 9/11."
  Sense from Scalia
My Way News: "NEW YORK (AP) - The government can decide what artwork is worthwhile without being accused of censorship as long as it is funding that art, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told an audience Thursday at the Juilliard School.

'The First Amendment has not repealed the ancient rule of life, that he who pays the piper calls the tune,' Scalia said.

The justice, who limited his discussion to art issues, said he wasn't suggesting that government stop funding the arts, but that if it does fund artwork, it is entitled to have a say in the content, just like when it runs a school system.

The high court and Scalia have weighed in on the issue before.

In the late 1980s, the National Endowment for the Arts sparked a public and political uproar when it helped fund exhibits of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe's homoerotic images and a photograph by Andres Serrano of a crucifix immersed in urine.

Critics contended the NEA was financing obscenity, and Congress passed an arts-funding law in 1990 requiring public values be considered when handing out grants.

The Supreme Court upheld that law in 1998, ruling that the government need not subsidize art it considers indecent. Justice David H. Souter was the only dissenter, saying the law was overbroad and had 'a significant power to chill artistic production and display.'

Scalia said Thursday he believes the government did not violate the First Amendment in the case of the Serrano photo - it did not pass any law to throw the 'modern day DaVinci' into jail nor did it stop him from displaying his art, he said"
  'Land Reform' Zimbabwae inspired farm grabs
BBC NEWS | Africa | S African white farm to be seized: "But he added that South Africa must speed up land reform or face chaos.

Eighty per cent of agricultural land is owned by white South Africans, who make up only 10% of the population - the legacy of apartheid laws.

Since coming to power in 1994, the current government has adopted a 'willing buyer, willing seller' approach to land redistribution, paying market prices for land that white owners are prepared to sell, and then distributing it to landless blacks.

But Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says the pace of reform should be speeded up - as in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where most white-owned land has been seized by the state.

'There needs to be a bit of oomph. That's why we may need the skills of Zimbabwe to help us,' she said. "
  Frist Sold Stock Along With HCA Insiders
Frist Sold Stock Along With HCA Insiders: "WASHINGTON -- When Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist asked a trustee to sell all his stock in his family's hospital corporation, a large-scale sell-off by HCA Inc. insiders was under way.

Shares of the Nashville, Tenn.-based hospital company were near a 52-week peak in June when Frist and HCA insiders were selling off their shares _ just about a month before the price dropped.

Information about the insiders' moves was publicly available through disclosures required by the Securities and Exchange Commission."
Thursday, September 22, 2005
  Great Moments in Justification
My Way News: "A Mexican bishop sparked a row with the government on Tuesday after he admitted the Catholic Church accepted alms from drug traffickers and that they were 'purified' when they reached its coffers.

Ramon Godinez, the bishop of Aguascalientes in central Mexico, said donations from drug gangs occurred 'everywhere' in the country, adding that it was 'not up to us to investigate where the money comes from,' daily Reforma newspaper reported.

'You don't have to burn the money just because it's bad. It's better to transform it ... I've known of cases (where) it's been purified,' he added."
  See if you are poor and a hyphenated American, the law does not apply to you.
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Half Katrina Refugees Have Records: "State police did criminal background checks (search) on every refugee and found that more than half had a criminal arrest records — a third for felonies. Murph was the only one with an outstanding arrest warrant, for larceny and other crimes.

Around the nation, state and local authorities are checking refugees' pasts as they are welcomed into homes, schools, houses of worship and housing projects. In some states, half the refugees have rap sheets.

'It's a balancing act,' said Kyle Smith, deputy director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (search). 'We don't want to treat them like criminals after they have been traumatized, but we want to make sure they are in no danger nor the families they are housed with.'

Civil libertarians call the checks thinly veiled race and class discrimination against people who have suffered already. The checks are made on those evacuated or forced to seek help from charities or others — in other words, people who are often black and poor."
  More fun and games from Somalia on the Gulf Coast
Storm Donations Found at Official's Home - Yahoo! News: "BATON ROUGE, La. - Police found cases of food, clothing and tools intended for hurricane victims at the home of the chief administrative officer for a New Orleans suburb, authorities said Wednesday.

Officers searched Cedric Floyd's home because of complaints that city workers were helping themselves to donations for hurricane victims. Floyd, who runs the day-to-day operations in the suburb of Kenner, was in charge of distributing the goods.

Police plan to seek a charge of committing an illegal act as a public official against Floyd, and more charges against other city workers are possible, police Capt. Steve Caraway said.

The donations filled a large pickup truck four times. 'It was an awful lot of stuff,' Caraway said.

The donated materials must be processed as evidence but eventually will be distributed to victims. 'We have lots of families that are begging for these supplies,' said Attorney General Charles Foti, whose office assisted in the investigation."
  EUnuchs ready to deliver a stern tut-tutting to the Mad Mullah's
Europeans Drop Harsher Stance on Iran - Yahoo! News: "VIENNA, Austria - The
European Union on Thursday offered to delay its drive to bring
Iran before the
U.N. Security Council for its suspect atomic activities if Russia and China will agree to a new resolution that criticizes Tehran for violating nuclear commitments.

If an agreement is not reached, however, the EU, backed by the United States, planned to force a vote on the tougher resolution.

The new U.S.-backed European offer was contained in a text threatening Tehran only with referral to the Security Council at a later date. The previous EU draft resolution — which also remained on the table — urged the 35 nations on the
International Atomic Energy Agency board of directors to report Iran to the U.N.'s highest decision-making body during the board's current session.

Neither version mentions sanctions, in recognition that veto-wielding Security Council members Russia and China were opposed."
  Pali Founding Fathers and their Statesmenship
Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World: "Hani al-Hassan, a former interior minister in the Palestinian Authority, escaped an assassination attempt on his life Tuesday night when a group of masked men fired several shots at him during a visit to Nablus.

Hassan, who is a member of the Fatah central committee, was not hurt. Sources in the city said the assailants belonged to Fatah's armed wing, Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

Hassan had arrived in Nablus to discuss preparations for next January's parliamentary elections. The attack took place as he was preparing to meet with local Fatah leaders to discuss the vote.

The Aksa Martyrs Brigades have issued several threats against Hassan in the past, accusing him of suspending their salaries when he served as interior minister under Yasser Arafat.

The group also warned Hassan against entering Nablus, saying its members would not hesitate to attack him.

The assassination attempt is yet another sign of growing tensions in the ruling Fatah party ahead of the parliamentary elections. The party has been witnessing a bitter power struggle between veteran leaders who came with Arafat from Tunis in 1994 and grassroots activists from the West Bank and Gaza Strip representing the young guard."
Good ship P2P burns to the waterline | The Register: "In the space of one week, many of the P2P filesharing networks are on the verge of exiting the business either to offer a legal version with paid downloads, or selling up or simply closing up shop.

If none of them have the stomach for a doomed legal fight, then by the end of the year millions of youngsters all over the world could be shut out from free music and the world order in piracy may be restored. It is unlikely that the public will be grateful for the outcome and it is yet to become clear just what effect, if any this will have on the fortunes of the recording labels and the films studios. A huge wave of resentment may hit them as the world’s youth are reluctant to return to traditional retail music channels."
  McCain to give creedence to Mama Moonbat ahd her anti-American screeds
Hillary, McCain to Meet with Cindy Sheehan: "2008 presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and John McCain have agreed to meet with anti-American war protester Cindy Sheehan when Sheehan travels to Washington, D.C. this weekend to cap her national tour.

Sheehan has meetings scheduled with an array of left-wing Democratic officeholders, including Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman - as well as Clinton and McCain, the Village Voice reported Thursday.

Sen. Clinton's decision to meet with Sheehan flies in the face of her attempts to reposition herself as a pro-defense Democrat - although lately she's been scrambling to appeal to her party's left-wing base.

The McCain meeting, however, is completely inexplicable.
  Pootie Poot aiding and abetting the Mad Mullah's and their quest for the Allah bomb
Telegraph | News | Russia tells West to step back over Iran A-bomb: "Russia put up a defensive wall around Iran yesterday, saying no action should be taken over moves that western countries fear amount to a covert attempt by Teheran to make an atomic bomb.

The announcement could derail a move by Britain, France and Germany to report Iran to the United Nations Security Council over its refusal to come clean about key aspects of its nuclear programme.

As the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan threw their weight behind the diplomatic campaign, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said the move would be 'counter-productive'.

His position threatens to split the governing council of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is meeting in Vienna this week, into a confrontation of 'the West v the rest'.

Western countries believe they have a majority on the board to push through a British-drafted resolution calling for 'Iran's many failures and breaches of its obligation' to comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to be reported to the Security Council.

But they fear that unless they have an understanding with Moscow, the issue will be blocked by a Russian veto in the council and open up another damaging international rift.

'While Iran is co-operating with the IAEA, while it is not enriching uranium and observing a moratorium, while IAEA inspectors are working in the country, it would be counter-productive to report this question to the UN Security Council,' Mr Lavrov said."
  How exactly do you intend to enforce your demands without a viable military to back you up? Use harsh language? A stern tut tutting?
Canada demands justice over photographer murdered in Iran - Yahoo! News: "UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew said he had told his Iranian counterpart that Ottawa expected justice to be rendered in the murder of Canadian-Iranian photographer Zahra Kazemi.

Pettigrew had a rare meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki here Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

'I have indicated to him that Canada was determined in going to the bottom of Madame Kazemi's case,' he told reporters.

'That lady was raped, beaten and killed,' he said. 'Justice must be rendered... They owed it to Madame Kazemi, they owed it to the international community as well.'

Kazemi, who was 54, died in custody in Tehran in 2003 July after being arrested for photographing a demonstration outside a Tehran prison. Family lawyers have accused the Iranian judiciary of a cover-up, a charge backed by Ottawa.

Iran's previous reformist government acknowledged Kazemi was violently beaten in prison, although the judiciary has also said she may have died after a fall.

'This is before the court. The (Kazemi) family has asked for an appeal. I told the minister yesterday that we expected that appeal to take place, to stop dragging their feet,' Pettigrew said."
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
  Hey tree-huggers, Weather is cyclical.
Welcome to Business Insurance: "WASHINGTON—The current period of above-average hurricane activity could last another 20 years or even longer, according to the director of the National Hurricane Center.

'The 1940s through the 1960s experienced an above-average number of major hurricanes, while the 1970s into the mid-1990s averaged fewer hurricanes,' said NHC Director Max Mayfield on Tuesday.

'The current period of heightened activity could last another 10 to 20 years or more. This increased activity is due to natural cycles of hurricane activity, driven by the Atlantic Ocean itself along with the atmosphere above it,' he told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee's Subcommittee on Disaster Prevention and Prediction."
  Hacks of questionable talent demonstrate their mastery of politics
RollingStone.com: Dave Matthews Band : New York Goes New Orleans : News: "Political chatter was kept to a minimum at both events, with performers mostly sticking to the program: championing aid for New Orleans. But a few artists angrily denounced government officials for their slow response to Katrina's devastation. 'I Wish New Orleans was dry and Washington was underwater,' said Tom Waits. Bette Midler had even stronger words: 'I got a letter from the Republican Party the other day. I wrote back, 'Go fuck yourself.'' She then added, 'George Bush is a fan of mine -- he came to see me in the Seventies. His coke dealer brought him.'"
  PC run amok
Telegraph | News | Neutral crystal symbol may join traditional Red Cross emblems: "Moreover, the International Committee of the Red Cross would use the red crystal instead of the red cross in areas of religious conflict where its emblem might be taken as a Christian symbol. The red cross was adopted to identify medics and ambulances in war zones in 1863. The emblem was the reverse of the Swiss flag, a long-standing symbol of neutrality."
  Acoustical keystoke sniffing
Berkeley Researchers Sniff Out Passwords From Keyboard Clicks - from TBO.com: "If spyware and key-logging software weren't a big enough threat to privacy, researchers have figured out a way to eavesdrop on your computer simply by listening to the clicks and clacks of the keyboard.

Those seemingly random noises, when processed by a computer, were translated with up to 96 percent accuracy, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

'It's a form of acoustical spying that should raise red flags among computer security and privacy experts,' said Doug Tygar, a Berkeley computer science professor and the study's principal investigator.

Researchers used several 10-minute audio recordings of people typing away at their keyboards. They fed the recordings into a computer that used an algorithm to detect subtle differences in the sound as each letter is struck.

On the first run, the computer had an accuracy of about 60 percent for characters and 20 percent for words, said Li Zhuang, a Berkeley graduate student and lead author of the study. After spelling and grammar checks were deployed, the accuracy for individual letters jumped to 70 percent and words to 50 percent.

The software learned to improve as researchers repeatedly fed back the same recordings, using results of spelling and grammar checks as a gauge on correctness. In the end, it could accurately detect 96 percent of characters and 88 percent of words.

'If we were able to figure this out, it's likely that people with less honorable intentions can - and have - as well,' Tygar said.

Researchers said there is some limitation to their technique. For one, their work did not take into account the use of a computer mouse or the 'shift,' 'control,' 'backspace' or 'caps lock' keys. They did, however, describe approaches for taking those into account."
  Pigs take to wing: Leahy to vote aye on Roberts
Leahy to Back Roberts for Chief Justice - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON - The senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee announced Wednesday he will vote to confirm John Roberts for chief justice of the United States after leading lawmakers met with
President Bush to discuss candidates for the other high court vacancy.

The announcement by veteran Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record) came amid virtually unprecedented executive-legislative branch jockeying over not one, but two high court openings, seats left vacant by the death of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and the retirement of Associate Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor.

Roberts' confirmation was virtually assured even before Leahy's announcement. The Vermont senator's decision, made public shortly after he and three other leading senators met privately with Bush at the White House to discuss candidates for O'Connor's place on the bench, came on the eve of the Judiciary panel's vote on whether to favorably recommend Roberts' confirmation.

Four leading senators including Leahy earlier floated several names to Bush for O'Connor's job, but the president kept his own list to himself at a White House breakfast. O'Connor has said she'll remain on the court until her replacement is seated.

Leahy said he still has some concerns about Roberts. 'But in my judgment, in my experience, but especially in my conscience I find it is better to vote yes than no,' he said. 'Judge Roberts is a man of integrity. I can only take him at his word that he does not have an ideological agenda.'

With 10 Republicans and eight Democrats, Roberts is assured of getting a majority of the committee's support before moving on to the full Senate for confirmation next week.

Moments after Leahy spoke, Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record) of Massachusetts, who also serves on the Judiciary Committee, announced he would vote against"
  This kind of crap wasn't ok when The Bent One did it, and it's definitely not ok for Bush to do it. Get a clue!
Michelle Malkin: Not another homeland security hack: "My fellow conservatives in Washington refuse to learn two vital homeland security lessons, one from 9/11 and the other from Hurricane Katrina.

Lesson Number One: If you neglect immigration enforcement, you will regret it.

Lesson Number Two: If you appoint political cronies in times of crisis, you will regret it.

The Bush administration has barely rebounded from the resignation of horse show organizer Michael 'Heck of a job' Brown from FEMA, and yet is pushing forward with the nomination of another inexperienced bureaucrat to a key post at the Department of Homeland Security.

If this is supposed to be a shining example of Karl Rove's political genius, get him some stupid pills quick.

The new crony waiting in the wings is attorney Julie Myers, the White House pick to head the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). At the risk of stating the painfully obvious, the agency Myers would spearhead deals with 'enforcement' of 'immigration' and 'customs' laws and policies. Myers has practical and managerial experience in none of the above.

Zip. Nada. Nil.

As I've reported many times over the past several years, one of this country's greatest vulnerabilities is its disgraceful lack of clear and consistent interior enforcement of our immigration laws. The detention and deportation system remains in shambles. Rank-and-file ICE agents are undermined routinely by open-borders superiors.

So, what exactly are the 36-year-old lawyer's main credentials to solve these dire national security problems? Her uncle is Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Her husband is DHS chief Michael Chertoff's current chief of staff, John F. Wood. Chertoff was also Myers' former boss for a short spell at the Justice Department's criminal division. Myers also worked at the Department of Commerce on export control policy under Michael Garcia, "
  Ladies and Gentlemen: The Religion of Peace
Scotsman.com News - International - Honour killing plea to Pakistan's leader: "A 15-YEAR-OLD Pakistani living in fear of becoming an honour killing victim yesterday begged Pervez Musharraf, the president, to protect her from her husband's relatives.

Lakhmira Shar's husband tried to cut off her nose after attempting to take her before a tribal council to be declared an adulteress in a district of the southern Sindh province, where the practice of honour killing persists.

'I want President Musharraf and human rights organisations to take up my case,' she said from her hiding place in the marshes outside Daharki town. Although my husband is in jail, his relatives have vowed to kill me.'

Lakhmira was accused of having an affair with a man she says she has never seen. Her husband, Dilawar Dilbar, 40, has been arrested on charges of attempted murder. Police have also released her father, who was falsely accused of assault by Dilbar and his clan.

'Even though my husband is in jail, he and his relatives are insisting I should go before a tribal council headed by the sardar,' the teenager said. 'If I do that, either I will be killed or they will sell me off.'

President Musharraf is expected to return this week from a trip to the United States, where he kicked up a storm of protest after being quoted saying many Pakistanis believed the fastest way to make money and get a visa to Canada was by crying rape. The Pakistani leader, who says he is a staunch advocate of women's rights, claims he was misquoted.

Rape is particularly prevalent in rural areas of Pakistan, but local media has become more active in following up stories since a notorious gang-rape generated massive publicity at home and abroad when the victim spoke out.

Mukhtaran Mai, now an icon for human rights in Pakistan, was gang-raped three years ago on the orders of a village council after her brother, then 12, was judged to have befriended a woman of a powerful clan.

While the governmen"
  It's from the Toe-Sucker so take it with a big ole grain of salt
New York voters won't fall for Hillary's dodge: "Armed with the doubts of New Yorkers about Hillary’s fealty and protected by her social liberalism, Pirro will make a very effective challenger. She will almost certainly make the race closer than the 12 points that separated Hillary from her 2000 Republican challenger, Rep. Rick Lazio. And Pirro will make her work hard and spend tens of millions of dollars.

And she might just beat Hillary. Which raises the question: Why is Hillary running for reelection to a job she wants to leave? New Yorkers will all be asking, so Hillary might want to ask herself."
  As if the naked pics of her leaked on the internet were not bad enough
New York Daily News - Home - Out of Frey-ing pan: "Scott Peterson mistress Amber Frey has more man trouble.

Well, actually, this time it's the men who have Amber trouble.

More than four years after Frey swore that a 29-year-old Fresno, Calif., man fathered her first child, and she nailed him for child support, a DNA test says it isn't so.

Hairstylist Anthony Flores is off the hook for $175-a-month in kiddie maintenance after a genetic test showed a local nightclub owner is actually the 4-year-old girl's daddy.

Neither Frey nor real papa Christopher Funch, who owns Porky's in Fresno, could be reached for comment yesterday.

An employee at the bar said, 'He's got no comment. He's trying to stay away from you guys."
  More fallout from the Brit's Basra raid.
CNN.com - Iraq official questions UK action - Sep 21, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's national security adviser has raised sharp questions about the way British forces handled the rescue of two of its undercover troops in Basra earlier this week and voiced concern about the infiltration of security forces by insurgents.

In London, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari discussed the incident with British Defence Secretary John Reid. Al-Jaafari said he did not know details of what happened but an inquiry was under way.

Reid defended the actions of British troops.

'We stand by the action of our forces on the ground. They did what they judged appropriate at the time and I commend their swift and decisive action in very difficult circumstances,' he said in a statement.

Al-Jaafari stressed the row over the incident would not affect relations betwen Iraq and Britain.

Basra remained tense after a British armored vehicle escorted by a tank crashed into a detention center and later rescued two undercover troops apparently held by Shiite militia."
  Jobs wacks the 'Music' Industry on the nose
Rocky Mountain News: Technology: "PARIS - Apple boss Steve Jobs vowed Tuesday to repel 'greedy' record companies' demands for higher music download prices, warning that any such move would encourage piracy.

Jobs, speaking before the opening of the Apple Expo in Paris, said some music majors were pushing for an increase in prices on Apple's online iTunes Music Store.

Apple's co-founder and CEO said record companies already earn more profit from songs sold through iTunes - cutting out costs of manufacturing, marketing and returns - than from those sold on CD.

'So if they want to raise the prices, it just means they're getting a little greedy,' he said.

As their contracts with Apple come up for renewal, music companies are seeking to improve their take from sales through the U.S. iTunes site, which charges 99 cents per song. Prices are typically higher in Europe, Japan and other regions."
United Press International - Pentagon gags 'Able Danger' team: "WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Defense Department lawyers have blocked members of a data-mining intelligence team from testifying Wednesday before a congressional committee probing their claims that they identified the ringleaders of the Sept. 11 hijackers more than a year before the attacks.

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary sought testimony from several members of the team -- code-named Able Danger -- as part of their investigation into claims that the project identified Mohamed Atta and three of the other 18 hijackers as linked to al-Qaida in early 2000, according to Senate staffers.

Mark Zaid, an attorney representing a liaison to the team, Army reserve Col. Tony Shaffer, told United Press International that a letter to his client gave no reasons for blocking the testimony.

The letter was signed by the principle deputy general counsel for the Defense Intelligence Agency, Robert Berry.

Zaid said the team members 'were told verbally that they would not be allowed to testify,' and that he had requested the decision about his client be put in writing.

He said that the team leader, Navy Capt. Scott Philpott, a civilian analyst named James Smith and other members of the team had all been denied permission to testify.

No one at the Department of Defense or the Defense Intelligence Agency returned calls for comment Tuesday."
  The next pandemic
BREITBART.COM - Just The News: "JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia called an outbreak of bird flu in its teeming capital an epidemic on Wednesday as health and agricultural experts from around the world converged on Jakarta to help control the virus.

Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari said the emergence of sporadic human cases of bird flu in recent months in and around different parts of Jakarta, home to 12 million people, warranted the epidemic tag.

She was speaking before announcing that an initial local test on a five-year-old girl who died on Wednesday after suffering from bird flu symptoms was negative for the virus.

'This can be described as an epidemic. These (cases) will happen again as long as we cannot determine the source,' Supari told reporters, but she insisted it would be wrong to label it a 'frightening epidemic.'

Four Indonesians are already confirmed to have died since July from the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has killed a total of 64 people in four Asian countries since late 2003 and has been found in birds in Russia and Europe.

Six other patients are still in a government-designated hospital in Jakarta suspected of having avian flu.

The U.N. World Health Organization last week warned bird flu was moving toward a form that could be passed between human beings and the world had no time to waste to prevent a pandemic, an outbreak that spreads far more widely than an epidemic."
  The Pope bans gay priests, this will get their panties in a wad.
Newsday.com: Report: Pope bans gay seminarians: "Pope Benedict XVI is said to have approved a document saying that homosexual men should not be ordained as Roman Catholic priests, a conservative Catholic Web site reported yesterday.

The long-anticipated document, prepared at the request of the late Pope John Paul II, reportedly calls on bishops to bar even chaste homosexuals from seminaries because their orientation is rooted in a personality disorder that may undermine their capacity to minister, according to Catholic World News."
  The Legacy of The Bent One
My Way News: "BEIJING (AP) - A rubber company in China has begun marketing condoms under the brand names Clinton and Lewinsky, apparently seeking to exploit the White House affair that led to the impeachment of America's 42nd president.

Spokesman Liu Wenhua of the Guangzhou Rubber Group said the company was handing out 100,000 free Clinton and Lewinsky condoms as part of a promotion to raise consumer awareness of its new products.

He said that after the promotion ends, the Clinton condoms will go on sale in southern China for 29.8 Yuan ($3.72) for a box of 12, while the Lewinsky model will be priced at 18.8 Yuan ($2.35) for the same quantity.

'The Clinton condom will be the top of our line,' he said. 'The Lewinsky condom is not quite as good.'

Liu said the company had chosen to use the Clinton name because consumers viewed the former president as a responsible person, who would want to stress safe sex as an effective way to prevent the spread of the HIV virus.

'The names we chose are symbols of people who are responsible and dedicated to their jobs,' he said. 'I believe Bill Clinton cannot be unhappy about this because he's a very generous man.'"
  The perfidity of the Donks
Democrats got Steele's credit report - Metropolitan - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper: "Two members of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have resigned after admitting they obtained Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's credit report.
Phil Singer, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), said the two staffers told committee officials in July what they had done. He said the committee began an internal investigation and determined it was an isolated incident.
'The DSCC immediately ensured that Mr. Steele's credit report was not used or disseminated to anyone,' Mr. Singer said, 'It also reported this incident to the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C.'
He said the employees, who were not identified, were cooperating with authorities.
A source familiar with the investigation said the employees were 'senior staff' members in the research department of the DSCC. "
  HAMAS getting into the Cheat and Retreat game ala the Mad Mullah's
: "NABLUS, West Bank (Reuters) - Hamas could one day amend a charter calling for the destruction of Israel and hold negotiations with the Jewish state, a political leader of the Islamic militant group in the West Bank said.

'The charter is not the Koran,' Mohammed Ghazal told Reuters in an interview in Nablus on Tuesday.

'Historically, we believe all Palestine belongs to Palestinians, but we're talking now about reality, about political solutions ... The realities are different.'

The unprecedented comments by Mohammed Ghazal clashed with recent pronouncements of more senior Hamas officials in Gaza.

But they reflected an apparent shift in Hamas toward the political mainstream and to winning greater world acceptance in the run-up to Palestinian parliamentary elections and after Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip.

Ghazal said it was still early to talk about recognizing Israel 'while Israel doesn't recognize me as the victim.'"
  The perfidity of the Donks
Words That Will Haunt: "IN ANNOUNCING his opposition yesterday to the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to be chief justice of the United States, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) made a remarkable statement: 'The president is not entitled to very much deference in staffing the third branch of government, the judiciary.' Leave aside the merits of the Roberts nomination, which we support; if Mr. Reid regards Judge Roberts as unworthy, he is duty-bound to vote against him. But these are dangerous words that Democrats will come to regret.

This country has only one president at a time. That president, right now President Bush, is tasked with naming judges. The Senate has the role of providing advice and consent on the president's choices, which is a significant constitutional task. But if the presidential election means anything in this arena, it must mean that the president's choice has a heavy presumption of confirmation. That is the way the system works. Why else would Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Stephen G. Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg have received only a handful of no-votes among them? During the Clinton administration, we deplored the way that the Senate treated the president's judicial nominees during six years of Republican control over the Senate. Yet during those six years, the Senate confirmed 245 of President Bill Clinton's judges. If Republicans had been applying Mr. Reid's standard, they would have been within their rights to reject them all.

Do Democrats really want the American confirmation system to move in that direction? Republicans may still be in the majority the next time a Democratic president"
Current events with a sprinkle of opionion.


A prematurely crusty South Park Republican, with a raging addiction to internet news and current events.

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