AUSTIN, Texas — Texans who love guns and pickup trucks with equal fervor could soon have the right to keep them together all the way into the company parking garage.
The Texas Senate gave unanimous approval to legislation Wednesday that would allow people to carry firearms to work and then store them in their parked vehicles outside. Businesses could still keep guns out of their offices and company-owned vehicles.
But the bill, a top priority of the National Rifle Association, would no longer let employers ban guns in company parking facilities — as long as they remain locked up inside an employee's vehicle.
"Here in Texas, people like their firearms," said Republican Sen. Glenn Hegar, author of the legislation. State law already allows Texans to carry concealed handguns in their vehicles, with some restrictions.
The bill drew criticism from business leaders, who called it an affront to property rights. Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business, warned that it could also spark more workplace gun crimes — particularly at a time when more and more people are losing their jobs.
"People could go out to their car, get their weapon and go after their supervisors or co-workers who hadn't been laid off," Hammond said.
Senators engaged in a sometimes lively debate, but — in a state where guns are generally pried away from cold dead fingers — not a single "no" vote was cast. Business groups are hoping to derail the legislation behind the scenes, but if it makes it to the House floor, passage is considered likely there, too.The bill states that Texans carrying legal firearms, including concealed handguns, could store them in locked vehicles in company-owned parking lots.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Fox is teaming with "The Bachelor" producer Mike Fleiss for a new dating-competition series that casts "average-looking" people.
The series, titled “More to Love,” is billed as the first “dating show for the rest of us,” throwing open its doors to overweight contestants.
“For six years it’s been skinny-minis and good-looking bachelors, and that’s not what the dating world looks like,” Fox president of alternative Mike Darnell said. “Why don’t real women -- the women who watch these shows, for the most part -- have a chance to find love too?”
The project has a similar format to "The Bachelor," where a group of woman compete for a relationship with one man (producers describe him as a “Kevin James-type”). "More to Love" also marks the first time Darnell and Fleiss have teamed for a series in nine years. The duo’s previous dating show was the controversial and groundbreaking 2000 special “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?” which set the format template for ABC’s “Bachelor” and a legion of imitators.
“More to Love” was inspired by the recent ratings success of “Bachelor” and the popularity of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” which Darnell credits with shattering an industry assumption that TV viewers only wanted to watch highly attractive people.
“This show is going to get a lot of people talking,” Darnell said. “It may be a little controversial, but I think it will mostly be positive. This is so simple and so obvious, yet it has never been done.”
Broadcast reality-dating shows such as the CW’s “Beauty and the Geek” and NBC’s “Average Joe” have featured less-than-handsome men but paired them with model-esque women.
“Most of the country isn’t a Size 2,” Fleiss said. “It’s the dating show for the rest of us.”
Contestants will do the sort of activities seen on “Bachelor,” but producers suspect Jacuzzi or massage dates will take on a different perspective. “More to Love” will have makeover aspects -- when contestants eat a fancy dinner, for instance -- but Fleiss said the focus will not be on physical improvement.
“We want to send the message that you can be the size you are and still be lovable,” he said. “We aren’t going to thin these girls down so they can find love -- that’s a backwards message.”
Monday, March 30, 2009
President Obama says that "few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than fighting climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear." In fact, many scientists disagree with the "facts," their certainty, and their interpretation. Over 100 of them have signed the statement that appears in the Cato Institute's newspaper ad.
My damn lightbulbs will never be as powerful as the sun, and this lunacy isn't just going to irritate us, it'll bankrupt us.
Sure, let's work towards ending foreign energy dependency and let's work towards "greener" technologies, but there's no crisis happening that fluorescents and windmills are magically going to fix.
Congressional Testimony: ‘Game-Changer’ Article Would Have Connected Campaign With ACORN
By Michael P. Tremoglie, The BulletinMonday, March 30, 2009A lawyer involved with legal action against Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) told a House Judiciary subcommittee on March 19 The New York Times had killed a story in October that would have shown a close link between ACORN, Project Vote and the Obama campaign because it would have been a “a game changer.”
Heather Heidelbaugh, who represented the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee in the lawsuit against the group, recounted for the ommittee what she had been told by a former ACORN worker who had worked in the group’s Washington, D.C. office. The former worker, Anita Moncrief, told Ms. Heidelbaugh last October, during the state committee’s litigation against ACORN, she had been a “confidential informant for several months to The New York Times reporter, Stephanie Strom.”
Ms. Moncrief had been providing Ms. Strom with information about ACORN’s election activities. Ms. Strom had written several stories based on information Ms. Moncrief had given her.
During her testimony, Ms. Heidelbaugh said Ms. Moncrief had told her The New York Times articles stopped when she revealed that the Obama presidential campaign had sent its maxed-out donor list to ACORN’s Washington, D.C. office.
Ms. Moncrief told Ms. Heidelbaugh the campaign had asked her and her boss to “reach out to the maxed-out donors and solicit donations from them for Get Out the Vote efforts to be run by ACORN.”
Ms. Heidelbaugh then told the congressional panel:
“Upon learning this information and receiving the list of donors from the Obama campaign, Ms. Strom reported to Ms. Moncrief that her editors at The New York Times wanted her to kill the story because, and I quote, “it was a game changer.”’
Saturday, March 28, 2009
HH: What did you make of the President’s non-press conference, or non-news conference with the Jumbotron in the back of the room?
MS: I didn’t see the point of it, because there wasn’t any news. I mean, what is becoming clear is that he likes talking. He had some thing today, some cockamamie, you know, pseudo-town meeting, cyber town meeting on the internet. We know he can do that. He did it for a couple of years before last November. We know he can talk. Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal said it’s a time for leadership, not talkership, and that’s what we’re getting from him. Basically, he’s talked and talked and talked, meanwhile all his administration has done is vaporize American wealth now for two months. It’s destroying American wealth, it’s destroying American jobs, it’s destroying the global economy, and all he does is talk, talk, talk.
HH: So I gather you’re not impressed that the Senate voted today to triple the size of Americorps (laughing)
MS: No, and I’ve got no time for that, actually. I’m a bit sick of the government annexation of public spirit. Tocqueville, two hundred years ago, identified America’s great resource in the civic spirit of its citizenry, that they form what they call the little platoons of society, organizational groups. The minute the federal government federalizes volunteerism, it’s just a big bureaucratic boondoggle. I think Americorps should have been abolished. It’s some ludicrous, Clintonian gimmick. The idea that it’s a permanent feature of life now is ridiculous.
HH: Now Mark Steyn, one of the most interesting exchanges in the non-news conference was when Mike Allen of Politico asked about the charitable and mortgage interest deduction scaling back for people above $250,000 dollars of annual income, family-wise. And the President said, despite evidence to the contrary, that it would have no impact on giving. It seems extraordinary that one, he denies the obvious evidence. It would be about $4 billion dollars a year by every study, and number two, that he would want to do anything that would diminish in any way the incentive to give to the private sector, except that it’s consistent with an ever-expanding public sector.
MS: No, I think actually that is the plan. I think he wants to diminish private charity, because if you look, for example, at Europe, Continental Europe, the American individual is the most generous individual in the world. He gives more money to charity than any other Western nation. What happens in Europe is when the government annexes those activities, or makes them less attractive financially, its private charities shrivel. And the way to think about Obama, I’ve concluded, is that essentially he’s not, he doesn’t have a political philosophy or a geopolitical vision. He’s a social engineer. And so his priority is always to grow government at the expense of any rival sources of legitimacy, and that’s what this charitable deduction thing does for him.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
A report about modern militia activity will no longer be distributed to Missouri law enforcement officers after receiving nationwide criticism that it contains political profiling.
The decision came Wednesday, hours after Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder called for Department of Public Safety Director John Britt to be placed on leave because of the report, which said followers of third-party political candidates might be militia members.
But the superintendent of the Missouri Highway Patrol said Britt wasn't to blame. Instead, Col. James Keathley said, the issue is a flawed oversight system, which will be revamped. Keathley said the report was sent to highway patrol members without being reviewed by him or Britt.
Since the report was leaked to the public earlier this month, it has been criticized by conservatives and third-party candidates.
The report was produced by the Missouri Information Analysis Center as a guide for state troopers. The center, created by the Department of Homeland Security after Sept. 11, is a means to share security information between different entities.The report, titled, "The Modern Militia," specifically mentioned 2008 presidential candidates Republican Ron Paul, Libertarian Bob Barr and the Constitution Party's Chuck Baldwin. It said that militia members "most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups."
Britt apologized on Monday to the three candidates for the inartful way in which one section of the report was written.
"Upon review and reflection, it is the judgment of the Department of Public Safety that the report should have made no reference to supporters of Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin or of any other third-party political candidates," wrote Britt, who is a former Secret Service agent.
In the letter to the three candidates, he promised to redact the section in question.
Not so LOL... the whole idiocy should be dumped.
Missouri Libertarian Party spokesman Mike Ferguson said his party is happy with Britt's apology, although they support the efforts of other groups to look at other parts of the report.
The response hasn't satisfied Kinder. He criticized the public safety director's apology for not mentioning another aspect of the report, which included militant anti-abortion as an ideology sometimes espoused by militia members. Kinder pointed to other groups, such as eco-terrorists, not mentioned in the report.
"There was no mention of this, because apparently it's more important to focus on pro-lifers," he said.
Yeah... and never mind the actual real terrorists out there.
* shakes head *
With almost no public attention, both chambers of Congress in the past week advanced an alarming expansion of the Americorps national service plan, with the number of federally funded community-service jobs increasing from 75,000 to 250,000 at a cost of $5.7 billion. Lurking behind the feel-good rhetoric spouted by the measure’s advocates is a bill that upon closer inspection reveals multiple provisions that together create a strong odor of creepy authoritarianism. The House passed the measure overwhelmingly, while only 14 senators had the sense and courage to vote against it on a key procedural motion. Every legislator who either voted for this bill or didn’t vote at all has some serious explaining to do.
Last summer, then-candidate Barack Obama threw civil liberties to the wind when he proposed “a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the regular military. The expanded Americorps is not quite so disturbing, but a number of provisions in the bill raise serious concerns.
To begin with, the legislation threatens the voluntary nature of Americorps by calling for consideration of “a workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people.” It anticipates the possibility of requiring “all individuals in the United States” to perform such service, including elementary school students.
The bill also summons up unsettling memories of World War II-era paramilitary groups by saying the new program should “combine the best practices of civilian service with the best aspects of military service,” while establishing “campuses” that serve as “operational headquarters,” complete with “superintendents” and “uniforms” for all participants. It allows for the elimination of all age restrictions in order to involve Americans at all stages of life. And, it calls for the creation of “a permanent cadre” in a “National Community Civilian Corps.”
But that’s not all. The bill also calls for “youth engagement zones” in which “service learning” is “a mandatory part of the curriculum in all of the secondary schools served by the local educational agency.”
This updated form of voluntary community service is also to be “integrated into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics curricula” at all levels of schooling. Sounds like a government curriculum for government-approved “service learning,” which is nothing less than indoctrination.Now, ask yourself if Congress members who voted for this monstrosity had a clue what they were voting for. If not, they’re guilty of dereliction of duty. If they did, the implications are truly frightening.
There's a great comment at the site ... "Chains we can believe in."
Jimmy Carter is shocked! Shocked, I tell ya!
Yes, Hugo Cheated
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009 4:20 PM PT
Democracy: In a little-noted agency hearing, the CIA admitted that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez rigged his recall referendum in 2004. So why does he still merit global recognition as a democratically elected leader?
Anyone who steals an election has no claim to democracy. But somehow there's an exception for Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, who's still recognized as a "democratically elected" leader by the U.S. and others.
It now comes to light that the CIA cybersecurity experts know he fixed his 2004 recall referendum. Two weeks ago, at a field hearing before the U.S. Election Assistance Commission in Orlando, Fla., CIA's Steve Stigall cited Venezuela, along with Macedonia and Ukraine, as examples of the risks of electronic voting.
Chavez, he said, controlled most voting machines and may have provided the program used to "randomly" select them for audit during a recount, the Miami Herald reported.
The problem went beyond cheating. The referendum was then certified as free and fair by none other than ex-President Jimmy Carter and recognized by the hemisphere as democratic.
That extended Chavez's term in power at a time when the real sentiment of voters was to throw him out. That, in turn, undercut Venezuela's opposition parties as political forces, making it nearly impossible for them to gain ground.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Those who gathered at Kelly Ingram Park in downtown Birmingham were urged to enlist others who share Obama's vision and to stay away from trying to convert naysayers.
"We're looking for supporters," said DeHaven of Hoover, one of the event's organizers. "We're not looking for a fight. That will come later, when we have an army."
The volunteers are part of Organizing for America, the same grassroots, national network credited in large part with Obama's quick rise from obscurity to president. Birmingham and 11 other sites statewide were part of a national push this weekend by Organizing for America to trumpet Obama's spending proposal.
Across the metro area, volunteers gave their opinions about why Obama's plan is good for the country's future. Then they asked those willing to sign a pledge of support for the budget. Supporters' e-mail addresses and other contact information were collected, to keep people engaged and to recruit more volunteers.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Justice Thomas touched on a number of topics during his speech inside Lee Chapel.
He says while most Americans appreciate the constitution they don't exactly know what's in it.
"It is at least as easy to understand that great document as it is to understand a cell phone contract," says Thomas.
Justice Thomas also believes too many Americans expect too much from their government.
"The message today seems more like ask not what you can do for yourselves or your country, but what your country must do for you," says Thomas.
Monday, March 16, 2009
"Irresponsible businesses and irresponsible people should be allowed to fail. That's what is the foundation of our country. You find the bottom, you work your way back up," said tea party supporter George Piper.
Friday, March 13, 2009
To the rescue... ? ...
Posted on Fri Mar 13 12:01:02 2009 by mukraker
According to Ohio Congresswoman Betty Sutton, a bill passed by the House on Thursday March 12, 2009 "will create over 480 million jobs."
from pp H3342-3343 of the Congressional Record, March 12, 2009:
DEBATE - The House proceeded with one hour of debate on H. Res. 235.
H.RES.235 PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 1262, WATER QUALITY INVESTMENT ACT OF 2009 -- (House of Representatives - March 12, 2009)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the rule and the underlying legislation, H.R. 1262, the Water Quality Investment Act of 2009. This bill provides a total investment of $18.7 billion over 5 years for much-needed water and environmental infrastructure. Not only will this bill help provide communities with improved water quality, but it must be remembered that it will create over 480 million jobs....
Thursday, March 12, 2009
March 12, 2009
Bill Clinton to Gupta on CNN: Ok to research embryos if they're not fertilized
Can it be that both these men are so ignorant?
Last night on Larry King Live, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent and former candidate for President Barack Abortion's surgeon general, interviewed former President Bill Clinton on embryonic stem cell research among other things.
After first presenting Clinton as some sort of expert on ESCR, Gupta stood by as Clinton repeatedly, and I mean repeatedly, misstated it is morally acceptable to experiment on embryos as long as they're not fertilized!
Clinton's ignorance is staggering, particularly given the fact he was president of the United States when this issue first came to the fore. He must have been off smoking cigars with interns when the White House primer on embryos was given. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
And where in the world was Gupta? Shame on him for letting that gross misrepresentation of embryos go uncorrected. Or, I wonder, does he even know embryos can only be embryos if fertilized?
This was not some slip. Bill Clinton thinks human embryos are unfertilized eggs. Does this mean when he realizes they are fertilized, he'll oppose embryonic stem cell research?
Watch for yourself...
Here's the transcript:Gupta: Let's talk about something you talked a lot about in the early part of your presidency, stem cells. There was an order today providing federal money for embryonic stem cell research. First of all, let me just ask you, as someone who studied this, is this going to always be as divisive an issue as it is now? Is this going to be the abortion of the next generation? Or are people going to come around?
Clinton: I think - the answer is I think that we'll work it through. If - particularly if it's done right. If it's obvious that we're not taking embryos that can - that under any conceivable scenario would be used for a process that would allow them to be fertilized and become little babies, and I think if it's obvious that we're not talking about some science fiction cloning of human beings, then I think the American people will support this....
Gupta: Any reservations?
Clinton: I don't know that I have any reservations, but I was - he has apparently decided to leave to the relevant professional committees the definition of which frozen embryos are basically going to be discarded, because they're not going to be fertilized. I believe the American people believe it's a pro-life decision to use an embryo that's frozen and never going to be fertilized for embryonic stem cell research....
But those committees need to be really careful to make sure if they don't want a big storm to be stirred up here, that any of the embryos that are used clearly have been placed beyond the pale of being fertilized before their use. There are a large number of embryos that we know are never going to be fertilized, where the people who are in control of them have made that clear. The research ought to be confined to those....
But there are values involved that we all ought to feel free to discuss in all scientific research. And that is the one thing that I think these committees need to make it clear that they're not going to fool with any embryos where there's any possibility, even if it's somewhat remote, that they could be fertilized and become human beings.
Put pride aside, Rendell urgesBy Mike Wereschagin
Thursday, March 12, 2009
To those hurt by the recession but too proud to seek government help, Gov. Ed Rendell says: If not for yourself, do it for your country.
He urged people to view food stamps not as welfare, but as economic stimulus.
"Think of it this way: If you avail yourself of these sources of government relief, you'll have money to spend in the economy, and that's exactly what we need to reboot the economy," Rendell said Wednesday at Brashear High School in Beechview. His 45-minute address was televised live to gatherings in six other cities.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Btitain's top civil servant has revealed how hard dealing with the US has become since the handover to Barack Obama's administration, with the G20 summit a particular problem.
He said No 10 was even having trouble getting in touch with key personnel at the American treasury department. “There is nobody there,” he told a civil service conference in Gateshead. “You cannot believe how difficult it is.”
For starters... who wrote that title? Is Palin mistreating 0bama?
As far as drama goes, this article has it all:
"[W]orst possible news for wolves."
"[T]he eerie thud of steel jaw traps closing on the legs of wolves or the report of semi-automatic gun fire targeting these remarkable animals."
"State fish and wildlife agencies "still in the grip of the hunting lobby".
Ashley Judd has, thus far, apparently been unavailable for comment.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
A list by Loran Montgomery. Excerpted.
1. The first firearm in any home should be the American standby, the twelve-gauge pump shotgun. There are numerous makes and models on the market, but the best is the venerable Remington 870...
2. The second firearm in a home should be a high-quality pistol. The pistol should be in a caliber no smaller than 9mm Parabellum. Anything smaller than that is simply ineffective for anything other than target practice. Although oceans of ink have been printed on the best pistol for personal and home use, most of the arguments come down to either a revolver of some sort, something in the Glock family or a Colt 1911-style pistol. My choice is the Glock 17, which is the full-size Glock in 9mm...
3. Every home should have a good quality .22 rifle. The Ruger 10-22 is quite simply the best in class...
4. The last firearm in a home should be a high-quality, hard hitting semi-auto rifle. A good rifle should be able to both put meat on the table and to protect you and your family. The second requirement generally disqualifies bolt-action rifles. As a former Army infantryman, I'm personally partial to the semi-auto versions of the American M16 / M4 family of rifles, but they are cost prohibitive and require significant training to maximize their usefulness. As much as I hate to admit it, a semi-auto AK47 style rifle is the best for all-around use.
James Hider, Rafah
Monday, March 09, 2009
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon said Monday that Chinese ships shadowed and maneuvered dangerously close to a U.S. Navy vessel in what appeared to be an effort to harass the American crew.
The Obama administration is protesting to the Chinese government. The protest will be delivered to Beijing's military attache on Monday.
The Defense Department said in a statement that a Chinese intelligence ship and several others surrounded the USNS Impeccable, an unarmed vessel with a civilian merchant marine crew. The U.S. vessel was conducting ocean surveys Sunday in international waters in the South China Sea.
The statement said the Navy sprayed one ship with water from fire hoses to force it away and the Chinese crew members stripped to their underwear and continued closing within 25 feet.
A convoy led by the maverick MP George Galloway carrying supplies for Gaza has been attacked in Egypt, apparently injuring several people travelling in his party.
The convoy, carrying aid worth £1 million, was pelted with stones and vandalised with anti-Hamas slogans after it stopped overnight in El-Arish, a small town around 28 miles from the Rafah border crossing with Gaza.
The attack comes weeks after Mr Galloway, of the Respect party, described Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak as a "tyrant" and "criminal" and demanded that he be overthrown by his country's armed forces.
Mr Galloway's party confirmed that Egyptian officials had also become embroiled in a dispute with the party over what type of goods they would be allowed to take into the territory through the Rafah crossing.
They were due to cross over into the Hamas-run territory today, but were so far believed to have been detained at Rafah this morning for more than an hour.
The biggest attack faced so far by the the 110-vehicle convoy, organised and led by the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, came after it arrived in El-Arish on Saturday.
During a power cut – which is a frequent occurrence in the town – children had pelted the convoy with stones, a security official said.
"It's an absolute disgrace,'' convoy organiser Yvonne Ridley told the AFP news agency. "The power was cut. Under cover of darkness members of our convoy were attacked with stones.
"Vandals also wrote dirty words and anti-Hamas slogans. Several people in the convoy were injured in the attack."
The convoy had been held up in El-Arish after a dispute arose between organisers and Egyptian officials over the inclusion of non-medical aid in the convoy.
Socialism is when the government buys a business and runs it into the ground. Communism is when the government seizes a business and runs it into the ground.
His government announced it had taken control of 3,700 acres owned by the Dublin-based Smurfit Kappa Group.
Socialist leader Chavez said he was making the move because the land was being used to grow eucalyptus, a cardboard component, instead of food in violation of Venezuelan law.
The land-grab, affecting an estate in Venezuela's western state of Lara, is the second high-profile nationalisation in as many days.
Earlier this week Chavez ordered the takeover of a Venezuelan unit of US agriculture giant Cargill.
Speaking of his latest move against Smurfit Kappa on state TV, he said: "We are going to use all the eucalyptus wood sensibly and harvest other things there, beans, corn, sorghum, cassava and yam."
Public works minister Diosdado Cabello added: "The multinational Smurfit harvests a specific type of wood. It absorbs almost all the water in the subsoil and the only beneficiaries of the harvest are the owners of the company."
Chavez launched a nationwide land reform after taking office in 1999.
Venezuela's Chavista-dominated Nationality Assembly passed a law two years later giving the state power to seized underused farmland.
The takeover coincides with deepening shortages of food supplies in Venezuela and comes less than a month after Chavez won a referendum that will allow him to run an unlimited number of times for presidency.
Thatcher famously said that socialism only lasts until you run out of other people's money...
Looks like Chavez is going to run out of other people's land, too.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
London aghast at President Obama over gifts given to Prime Minister Brown
BY David Saltonstall
Daily News Senior Correspondent
Updated Saturday, March 7th 2009, 2:03 AMEdmonds/AP
President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown walk from the Oval Office of the White House.
You'd think President Obama had booted the Brits out of America — again!
London newspapers are howling over a string of alleged snubs by Obama to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown during his visit to Washington last week — including a squabble over presidential gift-giving.
The list of complaints is longer than the Magna Carta: Obama canceled a planned, podium-to-podium news conference with Brown (actually, none was ever scheduled); he recently removed a bust of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill from the Oval Office; and he gave gifts to the Brown family that were "about as exciting as a pair of socks," one Fleet Street wag whined.
That last bit might be true. After Brown presented Obama with a pen holder crafted from the timbers of the 19th century British warship HMS President (whose sister ship, HMS Resolute, provided the wood for the Oval Office's desk), Obama offered up ... 25 DVDs of American movie classics.
"Oh, give me strength," wrote one appalled Daily Telegraph staffer. "We do have television and DVD stores on this side of the Atlantic."
Never mind that Brown is blind in one eye and may have a hard time seeing the stars in "2001: A Space Odyssey," or that American DVDs are usually incompatible with British players.
The offending souvenirs? Toy models of Marine One, the President's helicopter — gifts no doubt plucked from the White House gift shop at the last minute, The Times decided.
Brown's wife, Sarah, by contrast arrived with dresses for Sasha and Malia from the UK's trendy Top Shop (with matching necklaces) and a selection of books by British authors.
"A bit of thought had clearly gone into choosing them," crowed The Daily Mail. "Lovely."
The Brits have blown up the alleged snubs into new evidence that the "special relationship" between the two nations is no longer quite so special.
The hand-wringing began last month when Obama removed a bust of Churchill from the Oval Office and replaced it with his hero, Abraham Lincoln.
The Times of London immediately traced Obama's "disdain" for Churchill to Kenya, where Obama's grandfather was caught up in the Churchill-led suppression of the 1950s Mau Mau Rebellion that left thousands of
"It's not surprising that Mr. Obama didn't want Churchill looking over his shoulder," explained one correspondent.
At this point, the two sides seem to be in full repair mode. The White House let it be known that Obama and Brown shared a chummy phone call as the prime minister was headed home.
And Friday, it was revealed that Obama would be granted a private audience with Queen Elizabeth when he is in London next month.
Quipped one reader of The Sun, "I hope Her Majesty likes DVDs."
Friday, March 06, 2009
What's going on? "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," said Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. "This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before."
Things. Now we know what they are. The markets' recent precipitous decline is a reaction not just to the absence of any plausible bank rescue plan, but also to the suspicion that Obama sees the continuing financial crisis as usefully creating the psychological conditions -- the sense of crisis bordering on fear-itself panic -- for enacting his "Big Bang" agenda to federalize and/or socialize health care, education and energy, the commanding heights of post-industrial society.
Clever politics, but intellectually dishonest to the core. Health, education and energy -- worthy and weighty as they may be -- are not the cause of our financial collapse. And they are not the cure. The fraudulent claim that they are both cause and cure is the rhetorical device by which an ambitious president intends to enact the most radical agenda of social transformation seen in our lifetime.
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) - A Canadian judge ruled Thursday that a man accused of beheading and cannibalizing a fellow Greyhound bus passenger is not criminally responsible due to mental illness.
The decision means Chinese immigrant Vince Li will be treated in a mental institution instead of going to prison. The family of victim Tim McLean dismissed the trial as a "rubber stamp" that allows Li to get away with murder.
"A crime was still committed here, a murder still occurred," said Carol deDelley, McLean's mother. "There was nobody else on that bus holding a knife, slicing up my child."
The judge said Li should not be held criminally accountable for stabbing McLean dozens of times last July and dismembering his body while horrified passengers fled.
Justice John Scurfield said Li's attack was "grotesque" and "barbaric" but "strongly suggestive of a mental disorder."
"He did not appreciate the actions he committed were morally wrong. He believed he was acting in self-defense," Scurfield said.
Both the prosecution and the defense argued Li can't be held responsible because Li was suffering from schizophrenia and believed God wanted him to kill McLean because the young man was a force of evil.
He will be institutionalized without a criminal record and will be reassessed every year by a mental health review board to determine if he is fit for release into the community.
DeDelley said a yearly hearing is ridiculous, and that Li should be locked up for the rest of his life.
Li's trial barely lasted two days and only heard from two witnesses, both psychiatrists, who testified he is mentally ill.
That Li killed the 22-year-old carnival worker was never in question at the trial. Li has admitted he killed McLean but pleaded not guilty.
Witnesses said Li attacked McLean unprovoked as their bus traveled at night along a desolate stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway.
An agreed statement of facts between the prosecution and defense detailed how passengers stood outside the bus as Li stabbed McLean dozens of times and beheaded and mutilated his body. Finding himself locked inside the bus, Li finally escaped through a window and was arrested.
Li then apologized and pleaded with police to kill him.
Police said McLean's body parts were found throughout the bus in plastic bags, and the victim's ear, nose and tongue were found in Li's pocket.
A psychiatrist called by the prosecution Wednesday testified that Li cut up McLean's body because he believed that he would come back to life and take revenge.
McLean's family is vowing to turn their attention to fighting the law that allows people who are found not criminally responsible to be released into the community once they are deemed well, without serving a minimum sentence in jail.
DeDelley said her son didn't die in vain. His death highlights concerns about the justice system, she said.
"Now people are aware that there is a problem," she said.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Posted on Mon Feb 16 20:59:38 2009 by kristinn
The American Spectator's Prowler column published today has a disturbing report on the plans by the Democratic Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Henry Waxman to regulate political speech on the Internet.
In addition to details of methods Waxman is considering to rein in conservative talk radio, The Prowler reports on Waxman's desire to use the power of the federal government to investigate amd control political content on the Internet.
The article quotes an unnamed committee staffer as saying of Waxman's power grab:
"Does one heavily trafficked Internet site present one side of an issue and not link to sites that present alternative views? These are some of the questions the chairman is thinking about right now, and we are going to have an FCC that will finally have the people in place to answer them."
"Internet radio is becoming a big deal, and we're seeing that some web sites are able to control traffic and information, while other sites that may be of interest or use to citizens get limited traffic because of the way the people search and look for information. We're at very early stages on this, but the chairman has made it clear that oversight of the Internet is one of his top priorities."
"This isn't just about Limbaugh or a local radio host most of us haven't heard about. The FCC and state and local governments also have oversight over the Internet lines and the cable and telecom companies that operate them. We want to get alternative views on radio and TV, but we also want to makes sure those alternative views are read, heard and seen online, which is becoming increasingly video and audio driven. Thanks to the stimulus package, we've established that broadband networks -- the Internet -- are critical, national infrastructure. We think that gives us an opening to look at what runs over that critical infrastructure."The article reports that Waxman intends to work with Democratic Party President Barack Hussein Obama's nominee to be chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski, who is awaiting confirmation by the Democrat controlled Senate, to investigate and regulate free speech on the Internet.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
CARACAS, March 4 (Reuters) - President Hugo Chavez seized a unit of American food giant Cargill on Wednesday and threatened to take over Venezuela's largest private company, renewing a nationalization drive as the OPEC nation's oil income plunges.
Chavez's clash with the food companies, demanding they produce cheaper rice, came less than three weeks after he won a referendum on allowing him to run for reelection and marked his first nationalization in seven months.
"I warn you this revolution means business," said Chavez, whose government has struggled with lower oil income and minor food shortages this year.
The anti-U.S. president, who has nationalized swaths of the economy, is popular among the poor for pressuring companies to produce cheap goods and for government programs that provide subsidized food in city slums.
The moves to tighten the government's grip over the food supply were criticized by the private sector and many economists who say the state distorts the supply chain and contributes to food shortages.
Chavez, an ally of communist Cuba, recently seized some rice mills belonging to Polar, Venezuela's largest private business, after accusing the food industry of skirting his price controls and failing to produce enough cheap rice.
U.S. company Cargill [CARG.UL], which operates one rice mill in Venezuela, said earlier in the week it was expecting a visit from officials even though it does not produce the type of rice that is at the center of the dispute.
Chavez said he ordered the takeover because Cargill -- one of the largest privately owned U.S companies -- avoids producing basic rice that is subject to government price controls.
"Prepare the decree, we are going to expropriate Cargill. We are not going to tolerate this," Chavez said.
THE alleged abduction and gang rape of a woman was dismissed as harmless fun by a female defence lawyer in a Bahrain trial yesterday.
Three men accused of the attack should be acquitted because young people often commit crimes for "fun", without criminal intent, said lawyer Fatima Al Hawaj.
The men, aged 19, 20 and 21, are accused at the High Criminal Court of snatching a Filpina off the street as she walked home from work at night, last September.
They allegedly drove her to an isolated area in Askar, gang raped her and then abandoned her, after stealing her mobile phone and purse.
All three deny abduction, rape and theft.
Ms Al Hawaj told judges that her clients were youngsters and that "minors' often committed crimes for fun, without ill-intent.
"It is general knowledge that youngsters commit crimes for the fun of it and not with the intention to harm others and I request the court to take that into consideration and clear my clients of the charges," she argued.
The 24-year-old woman failed to show up in court yesterday for cross-examination despite knowing about the session.
Attorney Mohammed Al Mutawa stepped in mid-session, saying he represented her and pledged to bring her to the next hearing.
"I am representing her in this case and she knows about the hearing, but couldn't make it due to personal reasons. I pledge to personally bring her to the next session," he told judges.
The woman was allegedly walking home from the hotel she works in Manama when the men, who were driving a rented car, followed her.
Prosecutors claim they grabbed her hands and dragged her into their car, drove her to a secluded area in Askar and gang-raped her.The men then allegedly stole her mobile phone and purse, which contained cash and dumped her in the middle of the desert. She later managed to identify her abductors' car and the rape kit results were positive for the defendants' DNA, said the prosecution.
By Jeffrey Lord on 3.4.09 @ 1:06PM
Talk about too clever by half.
According to today's Politico story by Jonathan Martin, the entire decision to go after Rush Limbaugh was cooked up by supposedly clever White House aides and outside advisors. Says Martin in his story:
David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager last year and a member of his inner circle still, will publish an op-ed in Wednesday's Washington Post chiding Republicans for being "paralyzed with fear of crossing their leader.”
A senior White House aide has been tasked with helping to guide the Limbaugh strategy.
With the certainty that only a political idiot could not see, Rush has just taken these bozos up and called them out.
He has challenged Obama to a one-on-one debate on his radio show, no teleprompters please.
With an ineptness that leaves one breathless, the Obama team has now effectively labeled Obama himself as "paralyzed with fear" if in fact the President doesn't have the guts to accept Limbaugh's challenge. After all, if they claim that GOP chair Michael Steele and "Republicans" are cowards for not taking on Rush, Obama himself will surely have the guts to do what they claim Steele and Republicans do not: take on Rush Limbaugh one-on-one.
Not since 1981 when the striking Air Traffic Controllers Union dared Ronald Reagan to fire them has such a potentially momentous challenge occurred. In that showdown, union leaders smugly assumed Reagan would not have the guts to fire them as he promised. They guessed wrong. The resulting mass firings of thousands not only wrecked the union, historians later realized that it sent a sharp and chilling message to the leaders of the Soviet Union that Reagan was not to be fooled with. The event raised the stakes in the Cold War and famously resulted in sending the entire USSR to the ash heap of history.
Learning nothing from history, the Obama crowd has now set up a breathtakingly stupid proposition: either Obama debates Rush one-on-one or he is, in the words of his own staff, paralyzed with fear. Now there's a message to send to al Qaeda. The President of the United States has no guts.