Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The work place of tomorrow.

I can't be the only shuck still taking flights on business trips am I?
Well maybe I guess.

Imagine a work world with no commute, no corporate headquarters and perhaps not even an office in the physical world at all.

For Bob Flavin, a computer scientist at IBM; Janet Hoffman, an executive at a management consulting firm; and Joseph Jaffe, a marketing entrepreneur, the future is already here.

"These days we do so much by teleconference it really doesn't matter where you are," Flavin said.

Like 42 percent of IBM's 350,000 employees, Flavin rarely comes in to an IBM office.

"We don't care where and how you get your work done," said Dan Pelino, general manager of IBM's global health care and life sciences business. "We care that you get your work done."

IBM says it saves $100 million a year in real estate costs because it doesn't need the offices.

Head to Work, in Cyberspace

On the day we met Flavin, he was collaborating with computer scientists in British Columbia and Beijing from the on-call room of the local ambulance corps where he works as a volunteer.

The work force at the Accenture management consulting firm is so mobile not even the CEO has an office with his name on the door.

With no corporate headquarters, if you need a work space, you reserve it like a hotel room — checking in and out at a kiosk.

"Having a big desk as a sign of status with lots of family photos and you know, carpeting that's fluffy and nice, that is a vision of the past," said Hoffman, executive vice president of Accenture.

In the future, more companies with scattered work forces and clients may do what the marketing firm Crayon is doing: making its headquarters in cyberspace.

Crayon's workers rarely meet in the physical world — some are in Boston, others are in Nutley, N.J. — but their online alter egos in the virtual world gather once a week.

We never met Crayon's CEO in person but we spent a couple of hours together in cyberspace.

"Our belief is if we bring like minds together no matter where they are in the world we can actually create that connectedness as if we're actually at the same place at the same time," said Jaffe, Crayon's CEO.

The future is rapidly approaching and the move towards a real true GLOBAL enterprise with action flowing and work being done on all levels around the globe is getting closer and closer. Great stuff.

The head of the National Counterterrorism Center speaks out on Al Qaeda's

A very interesting interniew with John Redd head of the Nation Counter Terrorism Center. Now if we can only get a Jack Bauer on that CTU team.

Aug. 27, 2007 - Al Qaeda has an active plot to hit the West. The United States knows about it but doesn’t have enough tactical detail to issue a precise warning or raise the threat level, says Vice Admiral (ret.) John Scott Redd, who heads the government’s National Counterterrorism Center. In an interview at his headquarters near Washington, D.C., Redd told Newsweek’s Mark Hosenball and Jeffrey Bartholet that the country is better prepared than ever to counter such threats. But he also believes another successful terror attack on the U.S. homeland is inevitable. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: People in various agencies have said that since Tora Bora in 2001, they at no time have had even 50-percent confidence that they knew where Osama bin Laden was on any particular day, and therefore they have been unable to mount any operations to go get him. Is that wrong?

Redd: What I’ll tell you about bin Laden is if we knew where he was, he’d either be dead or captured. It’s that simple. [He’s] obviously a tough target. That whole area is a tough target. And my standard answer on OBL is: remember [convicted Atlanta Olympics bomber] Eric Rudolph. Nobody likes to hear it but, I mean, here’s a guy [who was on the run] in the United States of America. We had unlimited access—the FBI, local law enforcement—and the guy hid out for an awful long time just by keeping a low profile. One reporter said the other day, “Well, gee, you’ve got all this great overhead stuff and various surveillance things.” I said, “Yeah. I’d trade those for about three great human sources.”

Why do people believe bin Laden’s still alive?

Well, I guess the question is, why do you believe he’s dead? I think we’re into the longest period we’ve gone without hearing from him, but we’ve done this before. Back in ’05, I think [the length of time we didn’t hear from bin Laden] may have been a week shorter than [the period of his silence] now. So, yeah, we haven’t heard from him [since spring 2006]. People are starting to say, “He’s dead. He’s dead.” Quite frankly, we think that if he had died it would have become known. It would be very hard to keep that from leaking out.

Also, there are periodic rumors about him suffering from this disease or that disease, needing dialysis, having to get some exotic drug. Is any of that credible?
The short answer is, we don’t know. There are those sporadic reports indicating illness, indicating incapacitation, but nothing firm.

Ayman al-Zawahiri seems to have much more freedom of expression, as it were, which implies more freedom of movement. His tapes now are reasonably well produced.
We saw almost a 300-percent increase in media stuff in 2006 out of all of Al Qaeda, and I think this year we are heading toward that mark already, or getting ahead of that. They are becoming more sophisticated. They are not relying on Al Jazeera or you folks to get the message out. They are using the Internet. They’ve got a fairly well-oiled, if you will, media group. They are doing things like going after a different audience or going after a larger audience, by using subtitles.


German, Italian, a number of different things. So they have become more sophisticated.

So they actually upload this stuff on the Internet directly?
Well, Ayman al-Zawahiri doesn’t sit there and say, “Press and upload.”…But you know, what you see is sort of a desire to put themselves on the map. So Zawahiri, I think he had 15 videos last year—and he’s almost there [this year]. He’ll certainly get there this year, if not more, but you’re also seeing a broader spectrum of [Qaeda] people talking about subjects. To be crass about it, it kind of reminds me of a CEO in a start-up company in Silicon Valley. What do you want to do? You want your name out there. So you put out press releases. It helps your funding base—in that case, capitalists, in this case, people who fund Al Qaeda.

While we’re on this topic, what can you tell us about Pakistan’s release of Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, who allegedly was a top Al Qaeda communications and computer guy and is now roaming free?
Obviously, we’re not exactly happy about that. We have a legal system, and the Pakistanis have a legal system, which was designed for a different era. I won’t go into their legal system because I am not an expert on it, but the [Pakistani] Supreme Court said, “You’ve got to release this guy,” and, you know, he’s out for a variety of reasons.

What does the progression of terror cases in Britain tell you? Two years ago terrorists actually managed to kill some people. This year it’s these two clowns in Glasgow. They were doctors and engineers who seemed to have some connection to Pakistan and/or Iraq, yet they couldn’t build a bomb. What does this tell you about the evolution of the organization, the evolution of the front-line terrorists?
It shows you the advantage of having a safe haven—a place where you can take someone and not just say, “Here is the formula. Godspeed and go do something,” but rather, “Let’s [try] it. Let’s make it. Let’s see it go bang.”

Iraq is a giant university for bombmakers.
But, see, they don’t have to [make] it there. They just buy the explosives. It’s HBX or C4. There’s so much explosive material around there.

But if they wanted to teach people, they certainly could.
But you don’t have to make C4. You put a detonator in it with a 99-percent likelihood that sucker is going to go off. And they are very good at that.

Is there evidence, though, that they are training people in Iraq to do operations abroad?
AQI has done—certainly under Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi—“external operations” [in Jordan]. I am not going to comment on the most recent U.K. thing and whether there was a connection.

The Europeans have been concerned about traffic between Iraq and Europe.
There’s always a concern. Frankly, with what is going on inside Iraq right now, it is probably fair to say that Abu Ayyub al-Masri [the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq] pretty much has his hands full, although not completely.

Tell us about the threat that emerged earlier this year.
We’ve got this intelligence threat; we’re pretty certain we know what’s going on. We don’t have all the tactical details about it, [but] in some ways it’s not unlike the U.K. aviation threat last year. So we know there is a threat out there. The question is, what do we do about it? And the response was, we stood up an interagency task force under NCTC leadership. So you have all the players you would expect: FBI, CIA, DHS, DIA, DoD, the operators—the military side comes into that—participating in an integrated plan, but integrated in a much more granular and tactical way than we’ve ever done before. This is my 40th year in government service, 36 in uniform and almost four as a civilian. This is revolutionary stuff, and it is affecting the way we do business.

Earlier this summer, there was talk that people were picking up chatter that reminded them of the summer before 9/11. The Germans basically said this is like pre-9/11. They said, “We are very worried.” What do you make of this?
We have very strong indicators that Al Qaeda is planning to attack the West and is likely to [try to] attack, and we are pretty sure about that. We know some of the precursors from—

Attack Europe?
Well, they would like to come West, and they would like to come as far West as they can. What we don’t know is…if it’s going to be Mark Hosenball, and he’s coming in on Flight 727 out of Karachi, he’s stopping in Frankfurt, and he’s coming on through with his European Union passport, and he’s coming into New York, and he’s going to do something. I mean, we don’t have that kind of tactical detail. What we do have, though, is a couple of threads that indicate, you know, some very tactical stuff, and that's what—you know, that’s what you’re seeing bits and pieces of, and I really can’t go much more into it.

But this did not affect our threat level. We didn’t change our code.
We’re pretty high-threat right now. Until you know something that is going to make a difference, you know, you don’t necessarily change the threat level. What that does is really stir a lot of people up and get them ticked off, but it probably doesn’t accomplish very much.

And you don’t as of today see any particular reduction in that threat?
It’s still there. It’s very serious, you know, and we’re watching it. We’re learning more all the time, but it’s still a very serious threat.

Last thing: Are we winning or losing the war on terrorism?
This is a long war. People say, “What is this like?” I say it’s like the cold war in only two respects. Number one, there is a strong ideological content to it. Number two, it is going to be a long war. I’ll be dead before this one is over. We will probably lose a battle or two along the way. We have to prepare for that. Statistically, you can’t bat 1.000 forever, but we haven’t been hit for six years, [which is] no accident.

I will tell you this: We are better prepared today for the war on terror than at any time in our history. We have done an incredible amount of things since 9/11, across the board. Intelligence is better. They are sharing it better. We are taking the terrorists down. We are working with the allies very carefully. We are doing the strategic operational planning, going after every element in the terrorist life cycle. So we have come a long way. But these guys are smart. They are determined. They are patient. So over time we are going to lose a battle or two. We are going to get hit again, you know, but you’ve got to have the stick-to-itiveness or persistence to outlast it.

Iraq Weapons Are a Focus of Criminal Investigations

The inefficiencies of govt become pretty clear when this sort of thing happens.

BAGHDAD, Aug. 27 — Several federal agencies are investigating a widening network of criminal cases involving the purchase and delivery of billions of dollars of weapons, supplies and other matériel to Iraqi and American forces, according to American officials. The officials said it amounted to the largest ring of fraud and kickbacks uncovered in the conflict here.

The inquiry has already led to several indictments of Americans, with more expected, the officials said. One of the investigations involves a senior American officer who worked closely with Gen. David H. Petraeus in setting up the logistics operation to supply the Iraqi forces when General Petraeus was in charge of training and equipping those forces in 2004 and 2005, American officials said Monday.

There is no indication that investigators have uncovered any wrongdoing by General Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, who through a spokesman declined comment on any legal proceedings.

This article is based on interviews with more than a dozen federal investigators, Congressional, law enforcement and military officials, and specialists in contracting and logistics, in Iraq and Washington, who have direct knowledge of the inquiries. Many spoke on condition of anonymity because there are continuing criminal investigations.

The inquiries are being pursued by the Army Criminal Investigation Command, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, among other agencies.

Over the past year, inquiries by federal oversight agencies have found serious discrepancies in military records of where thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces actually ended up. None of those agencies concluded that weapons found their way to insurgents or militias.

In their public reports, those agencies did not raise the possibility of criminal wrongdoing, and General Petraeus has said that the imperative to provide weapons to Iraqi security forces was more important than maintaining impeccable records.

In an interview on Aug. 18, General Petraeus said that with ill-equipped Iraqi security forces confronting soaring violence across the country in 2004 and 2005, he made a decision not to wait for formal tracking systems to be put in place before distributing the weapons.

“We made a decision to arm guys who wanted to fight for their country,” General Petraeus said.

But now, American officials said, part of the criminal investigation is focused on Lt. Col. Levonda Joey Selph, who reported directly to General Petraeus and worked closely with him in setting up the logistics operation for what were then the fledgling Iraqi security forces.

That operation moved everything from AK-47s, armored vehicles and plastic explosives to boots and Army uniforms, according to officials who were involved in it. Her former colleagues recall Colonel Selph as a courageous officer who was willing to take substantial personal risks to carry out her mission and was unfailingly loyal to General Petraeus and his directives to move quickly in setting up the logistics operation.

“She was kind of like the Pony Express of the Iraqi security forces,” said Victoria Wayne, who was then deputy director of logistics for the overall Iraqi reconstruction program.

Still, Colonel Selph also ran into serious problems with a company she oversaw that failed to live up to a contract it had signed to carry out part of that logistics mission.

It is not clear exactly what Colonel Selph is being investigated for. Colonel Selph, reached by telephone twice on Monday, said she would speak to reporters later but did not answer further messages left for her.

The enormous expenditures of American and Iraqi money on the Iraq reconstruction program, at least $40 billion over all, have been criticized for reasons that go well beyond the corruption cases that have been uncovered so far. Weak oversight, poor planning and seemingly endless security problems have contributed to many of the program’s failures.

The investigation into contracts for matériel to Iraqi soldiers and police officers is part of an even larger series of criminal cases. As of Aug. 23, there were a total of 73 criminal investigations related to contract fraud in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, Col. Dan Baggio, an Army spokesman said Monday. Twenty civilians and military personnel have been charged in federal court as a result of the inquiries, he said. The inquiries involve contracts valued at more than $5 billion, and Colonel Baggio said the charges so far involve more than $15 million in bribes.

Just last week, an Army major, his wife and his sister were indicted on charges that they accepted up to $9.6 million in bribes for Defense Department contracts in Iraq and Kuwait.

Investigations span the gamut from low-level officials submitting false claims for amounts less than $2,500 to more serious cases involving, conspiracy, bribery, product substitution and bid-rigging or double-billing involving large dollar amounts or more senior contracting officials, Army criminal investigators said. The investigations involve contractors, government employees, local nationals and American military personnel.

Questions about whether the American military could account for the weaponry and other equipment purchased to outfit the Iraqi security forces were raised as early as May of last year, when Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia and then the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a request to an independent federal oversight agency to investigate the matter.

But federal officials say the inquiry has moved far beyond the initial investigation of hundreds of thousands of improperly tracked assault rifles and semiautomatic pistols that grew out of Senator Warner’s query. In fact, Senator Warner said in a statement to The New York Times that he was outraged when he was briefed recently on the initial findings of the investigations.

“When I was briefed on the recent developments, I felt so strongly that I asked the Secretary of the Army to brief the Armed Services Committee right away, which he did in early August,” Senator Warner said in a statement.

An Army spokesman declined to comment on the briefing by the secretary of the Army, Pete Geren. In a sign of the seriousness of the scandal, the Defense Department Inspector General, Claude M. Kicklighter, will lead an 18-person team to Iraq early next month to investigate contracting practices, said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary.

Mr. Morrell said Mr. Kicklighter, a retired three-star Army general, would stay in Iraq indefinitely to investigate contracting abuses, and was empowered to fix problems on the spot or take action if his team identified potential criminal activity.

Congressional officials who have been briefed on the Defense Department inspector general’s inquiry said Monday that one focus would be on weapons, munitions and explosives. In addition, Mr. Geren, the Army secretary, is expected to announce later this week the creation of a panel of senior contracting and logistics specialists to address any systemic problems they identify.

Senator Warner’s request last May for an independent federal oversight agency to investigate the accountability of weapons and equipment given to Iraqi security forces unde0rscored concern about the issue.

That federal agency, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, responded with a report in October 2006 that found serious discrepancies in American military records of where thousands of the weapons actually ended up. The military did not take the routine step of recording serial numbers for the weapons, the inspector general found, making it difficult to determine whether any of the weapons had ended up in the wrong hands.

In July 2007, the Government Accountability Office found even larger discrepancies, reporting that the American military “cannot fully account for about 110,000 AK-47 rifles, 90,000 pistols, 80 items of body armor, and 115,000 helmets reported as issued to Iraqi security forces as of Sept. 22, 2005.”

Iran Prepared to Fill Iraq Power Vacuum

You would think this is exactly what the left in this country wants, Iran to further put a grip on another nation besides Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and now they have their sites on Iraq. The push to the Islamic Caliphate is on with this mad man and his Ayatollah.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Tuesday that a power vacuum is imminent in Iraq and said that Iran was ready to help fill the gap.

"The political power of the occupiers is collapsing rapidly," Ahmadinejad said at a press conference in Tehran, referring to U.S. troops in Iraq. "Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in the region. Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap, with the help of neighbors and regional friends like Saudi Arabia, and with the help of the Iraqi nation."

Although Ahmadinejad did not elaborate how Iran could fill a power gap, his bold remarks reflected what may be perceived as Iran's eagerness for an increasing role on its neighbor's political scene.

Earlier this month, during a visit here by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Iranian leaders said that only a U.S. pullout would bring peace to Iraq and pledged their government would do its best to help stabilize the country.

Ahmadinejad accused the United States of interfering in Iraq's internal affairs, and dismissed U.S. criticism of al-Maliki's unsuccessful efforts to reconcile the country's Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

"They rudely say (the Iraqi) prime minister and the constitution must change," Ahmadinejad said. "Who are you? Who has given you the right" to ask for such a change, he added, addressing the U.S. critics of al- Maliki, who is also a Shiite.

Ahmadinejad dismissed the possibility of any U.S. military action against Iran.

"I tell you resolutely that there is no possibility, whatsoever, of such a decision in the U.S.," Ahmadinejad told reporters. "Even, if they were to decide to do so, they would be unable to carry it out."

U.S. has accused Iran of being behind attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq—a claim the Iraqi government has only partially backed, saying Iran could have a role in the attacks. Iran has denied the accusations.

We pull out its just a matter of time before the process is complete.
THE ONLY way to stop anything like this from happening is to create a very stable govt that does not need Iran and can serve instead as an example for Iranians that are every growing frustrated with the Politics in Iran and their Presidents thirst for blood.

France's Sarkozy raises prospect of Iran airstrikes

A French leader with ballz?
This has to be proof that evolution does exist.

France's Sarkozy raises prospect of Iran airstrikes

In his first major foreign policy speech, French president says diplomatic push by world's powers to rein in Tehran's nuclear program is only alternative to 'Iranian bomb or bombing of Iran'

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday a diplomatic push by the world's powers to rein in Tehran's nuclear program was the only alternative to "an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran."

In his first major foreign policy speech, Sarkozy emphasized his existing foreign policy priorities, such as opposing Turkish membership of the European Union and pushing for a new Mediterranean Union that he hopes will include Ankara.

He also presented some new ideas, such as possibly renewing high-level dialogue with Syria and expanding the Group of Eight industrialized nations to include the biggest developing states.

Sarkozy said a nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable and that major powers should continue their policy of incrementally increasing sanctions against Tehran while being open to talks if Iran suspended nuclear activities.

"This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran," he said, adding that it was the worst crisis currently facing the world.

Tehran says it only wants to generate electricity but it has yet to convince the world's most powerful countries that it is not secretly pursuing nuclear weapons.

Sarkozy criticized Russia for its dealings on the international stage. "Russia is imposing its return on the world scene by using its assets, notably oil and gas, with a certain brutality," he said.

"When one is a great power, one should not be brutal."

Energy disputes between Russia and neighbors such as Belarus and Ukraine have raised doubts in Europe about Moscow's reliability as a gas exporter. It supplies Europe, via its neighbors, with around a quarter of its gas demands.

Sarkozy had warm words for the United States, saying friendship between the two countries was important. But he said he felt free to disagree with American policies, highlighting what he called a lack of leadership on the environment.

Franco-Syrian dialogue

Breaking with the policy of his predecessor Jacques Chirac, Sarkozy said he was prepared to hold high-level talks with Syria if it backed French efforts aimed at ending the political crisis in Lebanon. "If Damascus committed itself to this path, then the conditions for a Franco-Syrian dialogue would be in place."

But he stuck to his predecessor's stance in demanding that a timeline be drawn up for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Sarkozy said the only option for Turkey's accession talks with the European Union was a form of privileged partnership short of EU membership, and said he wanted a Mediterranean Union to take shape next year.

Turkey has said that project should not be an alternative to Ankara joining the European Union.

Sarkozy proposed setting up a "committee of wise men" to consider the future of Europe, including the Turkish question.

He criticized Beijing's management of its currency, which he says is too low and gives it an unfair advantage on export markets. He said China and other developing powers Mexico, South Africa, Brazil and India should eventually join the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations to become the G13.

Never thought I would agree with a French President in my lifetime. But look at that!

Poverty Rate Registers First Significant Decline Since 2000, Census

Ohh this was way too good to pass up.
Seeing as all liberals cry about is how the rich are getting richer and more people are staying poor. Ohh baby I can't WAIT for the spin that is going to come from this one.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nation's poverty rate dropped last year, the first significant decline since President Bush took office.

The Census Bureau reported Tuesday that 36.5 million Americans, or 12.3 percent -- were living in poverty last year. That's down from 12.6 percent in 2005.

The median household income was $48,200, a slight increase from the previous year. But the number of people without health insurance also increased, to 47 million.

The last significant decline in the poverty rate came in 2000, during the Clinton administration. In 2005, the poverty rate dipped from 12.7 percent to 12.6 percent, but Census officials said that change was statistically insignificant.

The poverty numbers are good economic news at a time when financial markets have been rattled by a slumping housing market. However, the numbers released Tuesday represent economic conditions from a year ago.

The poverty level is the official measure used to decide eligibility for federal health, housing, nutrition and child care benefits. It differs by family size and makeup. For a family of four with two children, for example, the poverty level is $20,444. The poverty rate -- the percentage of people living below poverty -- helps shape the debate on the health of the nation's economy.

The figures were released at a news conference by David Johnson, chief of the Census Bureau's Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division.

The poverty report comes five years into an uneven economic recovery, and well into a presidential campaign that still has 14 months to go.

Poverty has not been a big issue in the campaign, and political scientists said they doubted the new numbers would change that.

"The poor are politically mute," said Larry Jacobs, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota. "What rational politician would listen to the poor? They don't vote, they don't write checks, why care?"

Democrat John Edwards has made fighting poverty a centerpiece of his campaign. But, Jacobs noted, "He's struggling to raise money and he's lagging in the polls."

Evelyn Brodkin, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, said she expects the rising number of people without insurance to get more attention in the campaign.

The share of Americans without health insurance hit 15.8 percent last year, up from 15.3 percent the previous year. Johnson said the increase in the percentage of uninsured was mostly fueled by a decline in employer-provided health coverage.

"It affects people in the middle, and it affects corporations," Brodkin said. "Especially those who compete globally, they are really hurting because they have to compete with companies that don't have huge health insurance bills for their labor force."

Median household income -- the point at which half make more and half make less -- was above the U.S. median in 18 states and the District of Columbia, while 29 states were below it. As for individual earnings, in each of the 50 states, women had lower median earnings than men in 2006.

Lyndon Johnson was the last president to launch a major initiative aimed at eradicating poverty, said Sheldon Danziger, co-director of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan.

Danziger said low unemployment in 2006 helped lower the poverty rate. But, he noted, the rate was slow to drop despite five years of economic growth.

"For three decades we have had an economy where workers with a high school diploma or less have hardly kept up with inflation," Danziger said.

Low-wage workers have been hurt by the nation's declining manufacturing sector, which has lost more than 3 million jobs since Bush took office.

Once again the bold area highlights the importance of higher education!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fred Thompson in the Midwestern Republican Leadership Conference

INDIANAPOLIS — Fred Thompson thinks the country faces a tough road ahead and he's not glossing over the problems we face. In fact, he's anxious to outline the daunting litany and appears to be basing his forthcoming campaign on the assumption that his party shares the same outlook.

In a 25-minute after-dinner speech to attendees of the Midwestern Republican Leadership Conference here, Thompson offered a stark assessment of what he described as America's perilous condition.

"I simply believe that on the present course that we're going to be a weaker, less prosperous, more divided nation than what we have been," Thompson told the crowd in a deep baritone that rarely strayed from an even tone. "I do not say that lightly, but I think it's the truth. And I think the American people are ready for the truth."

There are three major challenges, Thompson said, and none are being given appropriate attention or sufficient commitment. National security ("our country's in danger; it's going to be that way for a long time to come"), the economy ("we are doing steady damage to our economy, that if we don't do things better it's going to result in economic disaster for future generations") and the polarization, cynicism and incompetence gripping the capital ("in order to have leadership you got to have somebody who's going to follow; our people follow, but they don't have any confidence in what's being said or who's saying it").

And Thompson's tonic for these thorny matters?

Well, befitting his still not yet being a formal candidate he didn't have specific solutions. Instead he returned to what he calls "first principles."

"I don't think the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States are outmoded documents," Thompson declared, finally giving the crowd something to clap about after the gloomy bill of particulars was laid out. Federalism or devolving power to the states would help, he said. Also, the rule of law, the market economy, respect for private property, free trade and competition came in for praise — hardly dangerous ground among conservative activists.

Perhaps recognizing that all his rhetoric was depressing a crowd that given him a loud and extended welcome, Thompson said it was very much possible for things to turn around. "We know how to do that, we've done it so many times before," he reminded.

But in an acknowledgment that his speech wasn't the typical rah-rah fare party activists are used to hearing from their after-dinner speakers, Thompson said "some might say, 'well, Fred, you haven't done much talking about the Republican Party tonight.'"

"My friends, that's exactly what I've been talking about," he argued. "Because I think that's what the Republican Party believes, I think that's what we've stood for, that's the kinds of things we must stand for and if we do that we will be successful and we will deserve to lead this nation, we will lead this nation."

It was a sober-verging-on-somber talk, but Thompson's advisers think that a depressed GOP recognizes the difficulties it's in and wants somebody who won't sugarcoat things. Still, when he concluded his address the crowd did not appear as much as energized as alerted.

Laurie Wilson, a Hoosier I chatted with after the speech, thought the easy-going "Law & Order" star would have a smoother delivery, but said he still resonated.

"I appreciated his honesty," Wilson said, conceding that his analysis was "a downer."

"But where the country is right now is a downer," she added. "And the way the political outlook for 2008, unless things change, is a downer."

Another friendly local, Mary Walters, said she thought Thompson had a "message that appeals to the American people," but she also had a polite message of her own for the still-not-announced candidate.

"If he, and should he, would he please let us know what he is going to do?"

The headline of this is a bit misleading but I will let what Thompson actually said speak for itself.

Check it out here

Interesting to see his tone.

I thought of this over 7 years ago.

Back when I lived in NYC I would travel the trains regularly. Like any New Yorker. In the late 90's the subway trains made a switch in the way they placed advertisements in the cars. They switched from a cardboard with a plastic strip holding it up to a tamper proof plastic. It was mainly designed for vandals that would take the plastic clips and use them to lock doors in between subway cars or even flip the advertisements and "tag" graffiti on them.

In any case when I FIRST saw that my initial reaction was wow this is really cool looking. The ads were brighter, the material they used was lit from behind and I thought DAMN this would be PERFECT on an airplane so airlines could get ad dollars. Unfortunately I was too young to try and market the idea but someone else has.

LONDON, Aug. 26 — “Please return your seatbacks and tray tables to their upright and locked position — and start reading the advertisement that is staring you in the face.”

O.K., you won’t actually hear that last part as the flight attendants prepare an aircraft for landing. But as airlines look for new sources of revenue to offset rising fuel costs, more carriers are turning planes into marketing vehicles, installing advertising in hard-to-miss places.

Several American carriers, including US Airways and AirTran, recently started selling advertisements on napkins or stickers that appear on open tray tables. Over the summer, Ryanair, the European low-cost carrier, has gone further, installing advertising panels on the covers of the overhead luggage compartments and on the backs of closed tray tables.

Ryanair and the companies behind this advertising say it offers marketers an effective way to reach consumers who have cash to spend and who are increasingly difficult to influence via traditional media like television and newspapers.

InviseoMedia, which sold the seatback advertisements to Ryanair and to another European low-cost carrier, Germanwings, says the system provides an average of 40 minutes of “dwell time” during a typical flight. In other words, the only ways for passengers to avoid the advertisements, which are placed behind tamper-proof plastic shields, is to open the tray or get up and stretch their legs. And when they do that, they are confronted with the advertisements on the overhead bins, which are being sold by a separate company, Fourth Edition.

Although their plan is a bit different from what I imagined back then its the same concept. Ads to fliers that aren't doing much of anything other then staring at the back of a seat awaiting their arrival.

Good idea. Too bad I didn't get it out there first. LOL

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fla. Charter School Stops Hebrew Classes


A charter school has been ordered to temporarily suspend Hebrew classes while officials try to determine whether teachers are advocating the Jewish faith.

Broward Schools Superintendent James Notter sent a letter to officials at the Ben Gamla Charter School in Hollywood on Wednesday advising them to halt Hebrew classes until the school board could further examine the curriculum.

"If it comes up in the course of conversation, that is one thing, but if it comes to promoting religion or proselytizing, we don't want it to happen," said Keith Bromery, a spokesman for the Broward schools.

School founder Peter Deutsch, a former Democratic congressman, said he told teachers Thursday to halt the Hebrew classes. Deutsch said he shared Notter's aim to ensure religion doesn't enter the new, publicly funded school, which started operations this week.

"His goal and my goal are really exactly the same," Deutsch said.

The ban on Hebrew will extend at least until Sept. 11, when the board next meets. Until then, time that would have been spent on language instruction will be used teaching Israeli geography and Jewish history and culture.

Deutsch said he believes the school has every right to continue Hebrew classes, but decided to stop them to ease concerns. Both he and school board member Eleanor Sobel, in whose district Ben Gamla is located, have described their efforts as "bending over backwards" for one another.

Ben Gamla presented its curriculum to the board for a third time Tuesday, but Sobel said it still had religious overtones.

"We're going into the fourth round now and maybe that's what it takes to get it right," she said.

Ben Gamla, which has about 400 students in kindergarten through eighth grades, has generated controversy since it was proposed. Students follow state curriculum, but also were to take a Hebrew language course, and one of their core subjects _ math or physical education, for example _ was to be taught bilingually as well.

The school takes its name from a Jewish high priest, serves kosher food, and its director is a rabbi.

Now if only that public school in New York that teaches Islam would go through the same process. Something tells me it wont though. Seeing as we have become slowly a nation of appeasement.

An admission of her weakness?

Is this Hillary Clintons Admission or realization that the democratic party is weak on defense of this nation? Hmmm...

August 24, 2007 -- WASHINGTON - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday raised the prospect of a terror attack before next year's election, warning that it could boost the GOP's efforts to hold on to the White House.

Discussing the possibility of a new nightmare assault while campaigning in New Hampshire, Clinton also insisted she is the Democratic candidate best equipped to deal with it.

"It's a horrible prospect to ask yourself, 'What if? What if?' But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world," Clinton told supporters in Concord.

"So I think I'm the best of the Democrats to deal with that," she added.

The former first lady made the surprising comments as she explained to supporters that she has beaten back the GOP's negative attacks for years, and is ready to do so again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

So you want more Ethanol huh?

Well this is what you get when you replace what we EAT with what you drive with your CARS!! More proof that liberals really do NOT understand basic economics!

Why are food prices rising?

It's partly because of corn prices, driven up by congressional mandates for ethanol production, which have reduced the amount of corn available for animal feed. It's also because of tougher immigration enforcement and a late spring freeze, which have made farm laborers scarcer and damaged fruit and vegetable crops, respectively. And it's because of higher diesel fuel costs to run tractors and attractive foreign markets that take U.S. production.

The Labor Department’s last detailed survey of consumer spending, in 2005, showed that Americans spent about 12.8 percent of their income on food. A bit more than 7 percent of their income was spent on food at home, and 5.7 percent was spent on food away from home.

These percentages suggest that higher food prices, while unwelcome, won’t break the bank for most consumers. But for retirees such as Jacqueline Wilson, 60, of Upper Marlboro, Md., rising food and fuel prices take a big bite out of fixed income. “I make every dollar count,” said Wilson, outside a Giant supermarket. “I cut back. … I get only as much as I need. I don’t buy it because it is 10 for $10, but so that I’m using it and not wasting my money.”

Asked about her view of the economy, she answered, “Terrible.”

In broad terms, the economy isn't terrible. Unemployment is near record lows, and the second quarter posted a strong 3.4 percent growth rate. But it is for those Americans who are pinched by rising food and gasoline costs, and that’s a lot of folks. Half the nation’s families earn below the median family income of about $56,000. Three-fifths of American families report income under $70,000.

At the Al-Mara farm in Midland, Va., Jeff and Patty Leonard run a large dairy operation where about 600 cows produce 19,000 pounds of milk each day. They plant about 1,000 acres of corn, so they don’t face all of the rising feed costs like some farmers. But they sympathize with consumers because the costs of nitrogen fertilizers and diesel fuel have all gone up sharply, raising production costs by nearly 30 percent.

“That’s how your farmer feels here at home when we’re trying to buy soybean meal, food for our cows and trying to maintain our equipment,” said Patty Leonard. “I can understand exactly what the shopper is going through.”

Milk prices aren’t set on the farm. That’s done by marketing cooperatives, which this year have been successful in passing on higher production costs after several dismal years of prices that took dairy farmers back to the 1970s.

“It’s pretty much a realignment of the actual value of milk in today’s dollar,” Patty Leonard said. “Milk has been cheap for a long, long time.”

Globalization also explains higher milk prices. Australia, a leading milk exporter, is struggling through a drought, and European governments are pulling back dairy subsidies. So U.S. farmers, aided by a weak dollar, are stepping in to meet growing demand for milk products in China and India. That’s pinched supply at home and abroad, driving up prices.

“U.S. per capita dairy consumption is the highest it’s been since 1987,” said Chris Galen, vice president of the National Milk Producers Federation, pointing to rising U.S. demand for cheese, made from milk. “Americans are eating more cheese than ever — not just volume but per capita.”

To make more milk, or raise more chickens that lay more eggs, farmers need feed corn and other feed products. But corn prices have soared over the past year as Congress pushes ethanol, a renewable fuel made from corn. Fields that previously grew soybeans are now yielding corn, and that’s driven up the price of soybeans as they become scarce.

Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development shocked the farm sector earlier this summer with a report that corn farmers are expected to lock in prices of $4 a bushel through 2010, about double what corn fetched two years ago.

“You will probably be seeing these prices rise for quite a long time and stabilizing, maybe, but not going back to the $2-a-bushel corn,” said Jacinto Feitosa, co-director of the center in Ames, Iowa.

Simple economics that goes right over the head of Liberal Idealogue's hell bent on making Ethanol the NEXT BIG WAVE! Idiots!

U.S. Studying Two Dozen 'Clusters' of Possible Homegrown Terrorists

From the no shit sherlock files!
Took them long enough to make a report!

U.S. law enforcement officials say they have identified more than two dozen "clusters" of young Muslim men in the northeast United States who are on a path that could lead to homegrown terror, ABC News has learned.

"Any one of those clusters may be capable of carrying out a terrorist action that will result in fatalities," Rand Corporation terrorism expert Brian Jenkins tells ABC News.

In a report to be made public today, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly concludes the 9/ll attacks were an "anomaly" and the most serious terror threat to the country comes from clusters of "unremarkable" individuals who are on a path that could lead to homegrown terror.

The report by the NYPD intelligence division, "Radicalization in the West and the Homegrown Threat," plots "the trajectory of radicalization" and tracks the path of a non-radicalized individual to an individual with the willingness to commit an act of terror, multiple sources say.

"The threat is real; this is not some bogey man we are creating here. There are individuals who are proselytizing, inciting angry young men to go down this path," said Jenkins, who reviewed and contributed to the NYPD report.

The report identifies mosques, bookstores, cafes, prisons and flop houses as what it calls "radicalization incubators" that provide "extremist fodder or fuel for radicalization."

The leader of an American Arab civil rights group labeled the NYPD report as "unfortunate stereotyping" and at odds with federal law enforcement findings that the threat from homegrown terrorists was minimal.

"It is completely un-American; it goes against everything we stand for," said Kareem Shora, executive director of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. "We do not want to alienate any segment of any community, and by using that language you are actually aiding the extremists in their recruiting efforts."

The NYPD report, ABC News sources said, concludes that while al Qaeda can provide inspiration and an "ideological reference point," instances of command and control by al Qaeda are the exception rather than the rule.

It states that most or many terrorist attacks and attempted attacks in Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States have been thought up by and planned by local residents seeking to attack their own country of residence.

The report, in its conclusions, asserts that the most significant threat to the homeland is not al Qaeda but the spread of the ideology promulgated by violent extremist Muslims, such as those belonging to al Qaeda, into the United States where it helps to radicalize residents.

The report is seen by several individuals familiar with it as filling a large gap in the most recent National Intelligence Estimate, which was released July 17 and contained little to no explicit discussion of homegrown terrorism.

"We assess that al-Qa'ida is and will remain the most serious terrorist threat to the Homeland," the NIE states in its "Key Judgments."

"We assess that the spread of radical -- especially Salafi -- Internet sites, increasingly aggressive anti-U.S. rhetoric and actions and the growing number of radical, self-generating cells in Western countries indicate that the radical and violent segment of the West's Muslim population is expanding, including in the United States," the NIE says in its most significant paragraph on the topic.

"We assess that this internal Muslim terrorist threat is not likely to be as severe as it is in Europe, however," is the paragraph's close.

The NYPD report cites at least 10 well-known recent cases where local authorities, the FBI and European police and intelligence agencies have thwarted plots developed either wholly or in a very large part by homegrown "actors," with little or no support from al Qaeda.

According to multiple sources familiar with the classified version of the NIE, the body of that document does little to expand on the analysis of the issue of homegrown terror.

High-ranking local and regional law enforcement in several North American jurisdictions tell ABC News that while it is important to acknowledge the links to al Qaeda -- whether inspirational, through the Internet or through travel -- it is far more important, from a law enforcement perspective, to try to identify at what points an individual might be ready to embrace violence.

Using the NYPD matrix, those officials say there are at least two dozen "clusters," or "pockets," of individuals in the region who are at various places along the path of radicalization.

In an Intelligence Assessment published at the end of June, New Jersey officials at the state's Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness noted, "Through its ongoing review of extremist Web logs, the Intelligence Bureau has identified numerous pockets of radical youth existing in New Jersey communities and especially on N.J. campuses."

The purpose of the structure proposed by the NYPD is to create a tool enabling authorities to measure whether these "pockets" are moving from sanctioned activities toward violence.

Other law enforcement efforts to arrive at a prescriptive approach to homegrown terrorism are underway, and law enforcement officials are conscious that while these activities seem essential, they touch on thorny political issues in many jurisdictions and have to be carefully orchestrated to avoid conflict with constitutional protections in the U.S. But, Jenkins says, those protections have an outer limit.

"Freedom of speech, freedom of religion does not provide a defense against planning and preparation for violence," he tells ABC News.

In West Yorkshire, England, a "community mapping model" is underway seeking to identify potential high-risk pockets in the region, which includes Leeds, home to several alleged conspirators of the four bombers in the July 7, 2005 attack on London's transportation system that killed 52 people.

In at least one major U.S. city, a similar pilot study is under consideration.

The New Jersey Intelligence Assessment identified prisons, the Internet, universities and religious/cultural institutions as the places where "radicalization in New Jersey appears to occur."

That report also spells out the key concern behind the intense law enforcement effort to make an effort to identify individuals who might be moving toward violence.

"There is evidence that radicalization is taking place in the U.S...Studies of this phenomenon in Europe have shown that these individuals are virtually indistinguishable from the population in which they live. Certain risk factors such as age and personality type may be identified, but they are not predicative," the New Jersey report says.

The dense, 90-page NYPD analysis is the nation's first full analysis of the potential for increased homegrown terror in the United States and the first to develop a matrix on which to plot the course of "unremarkable" people as they move toward the potential for violent action, multiple persons familiar with the report told ABC News.

Months in the drafting, the report makes use of a novel "cluster" model to determine where on the path from preradicalized and self-identification to indoctrination and jihad an individual and immediate peer group may be. As such, it is a valuable tool for assessing individuals that come to law enforcement's attention and in making cogent arguments in court cases, sources who reviewed the report's drafts told ABC News.

Council Seeks New Ban on Smoking by Parents in Cars

Talk about government OVER REACHING its power!
First it was anywhere in public, then it was bars and clubs, now its your OWN CAR! Basically what liberals think is, you are too STUPID to do things right so we will legislate it for you.

Wake the hell up folks.
Plus they are putting cameras all over NYC and banning people from using cameras themselves. Hell just last month they banned bitch and hoe too. You can't even SAY shit now in New York.

Smokers have already been banned from New York bars and restaurants, and soon they could be prohibited from lighting up in cars carrying minors, an idea giving added fuel to critics who say the city has become a nanny state.

A City Council member of Queens who is chairman of the council's Environmental Protection Committee, James Gennaro, said he is planning to introduce the smoking bill next week.

"I am just seeking every opportunity I can to denormalize smoking and to try to put it out of the reach of kids," Mr. Gennaro said. "I've lost family members to lung cancer and I've seen what happens."

If enacted, smoking in cars with riders under the age of 18 would join a growing list of activities barred by the city, including making too much noise at night, serving trans fats in restaurants, and allowing students to carry cell phones in school.

Mayor Bloomberg, who has spearheaded worldwide anti-tobacco initiatives, used the health risks associated with second-hand smoke to argue for a ban on smoking in bars.

A spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, Stuart Loeser, declined to comment, saying the mayor had not yet seen the bill.

When asked in January about a similar proposal in Rockland County, Mr. Bloomberg said people should have the right to smoke in their own cars, but "if it's a child in the car, who doesn't have the ability to speak up and protect themselves, then society does start to have an interest."

While he admitted he didn't know how such a proposal would be enforced, the mayor said, "We do have a responsibility to provide a health environment for our children and I would just urge anybody, if you have children at home, don't smoke at home, don't smoke in your car with your child; you really are damaging your child's health."

Mr. Gennaro's proposal calls for fines of $200 to $400 for a first smoking violation, $500 to $1,000 for a second violation in a single year, and between $1,000 and $2,000 for a third violation in a year. The New York Police Department would get the task of enforcing the law.

In Rockland County, which in June approved a measure to ban smoking in cars with minors, critics called the law an invasion of privacy and a violation of personal liberties. Mr. Gennaro dismissed those arguments.

"Boo-hoo," he said. "You can't subject kids to 43 carcinogens and 250 poisonous chemicals and claim privacy. Get over it. Their right to privacy doesn't extend so far as to poisoning kids."

But to liberals it does extend cutting out a baby and throwing it into a bio waste pile! That is all about a womans privacy right? LOL.. Ohh god the Irony.

Remember folks this is a LIBERAL city council NOT a Conservative one.

Russians get day off to procreate, then win prizes?


Moscow - A Russian region of Ulyanovsk has found a novel way to fight the nation's birth-rate crisis: It has declared Sept. 12 the Day of Conception and for the third year running is giving couples time off from work to procreate.

The hope is for a brood of babies exactly nine months later on Russia's national day. Couples who "give birth to a patriot" during the June 12 festivities win money, cars, refrigerators and other prizes.

Ulyanovsk, about 550 miles east of Moscow, has held similar contests since 2005. Since then, the number of competitors, and the number of babies born to them, has been on the rise.

Russia, with one-seventh of Earth's land surface, has just 141.4 million citizens, making it one of the most sparsely settled countries in the world. With a low birth rate and a high death rate, the population has been shrinking since the early 1990s.

In his state-of-the-nation address last year, President Vladimir Putin called the demographic crisis the most acute problem facing Russia and announced a broad effort to boost Russia's birth rate, including cash incentives to families that have more than one child.

Ulyanovsk Gov. Sergei Morozov has added an element of fun to the national campaign.

The 2007 grand prize went to Irina and Andrei Kartuzov, who received a UAZ-Patriot, a sport utility vehicle. Other contestants won video cameras, TVs, refrigerators and washing machines.

Don't use the PEOPLES money wisely.....

That would be silly. INSTEAD tax the living CRAP out of them in any way possible.

Mayor Daley (DEMOCRAT) is a bottled water guzzler who's often seen hydrating after heated news conferences. He's also an avowed environmentalist who's determined to make Chicago the "greenest city in America."

Tuesday, the environment won the internal conflict. Daley all but endorsed a proposal by one of his staunchest City Council supporters to slap a tax of anywhere from 10 to 25 cents on the cost of every bottle of water sold in Chicago.

"Money-wise, it's a good idea. Environmental-wise, it's a good idea, too....There's so much plastic in our lives. It's amazing. Every time you look, there's plastic all over," Daley said Tuesday.

Asked whether it was fair to punish people for following doctors' advice to stay hydrated, the mayor said, "Well, it all depends what effect you're having upon the environment -- not just upon their body, but upon the environment."

At a news conference to announce another cabinet shakeup, newly appointed Environment Commissioner Suzanne Malec-McKenna said she's not concerned that a bottled water tax would discourage the healthy habit.

"The bottom line is, we want people to drink water and we have some of the best water in the United States that you just turn on in your tap....There are a lot of different ways to hydrate," she said.

Concerned that the tax debate may be going too far, Daley jumped in to rescue Malec-McKenna.

"We're not going to have a headline that, the first day, everybody announces a tax on bottled water. You're not going to get that headline," he said.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier this week that Ald. George Cardenas (12th) wanted to tax bottled water to reduce landfill costs, encourage consumers to drink tap water and close a $217.7 million budget gap.

The International Bottled Water Association responded by saying that what would be a first-in-the-nation tax unfairly singles out the bottled water industry for a much larger environmental problem caused by packaging of all kinds. Association President Joseph Doss also warned that the added cost might force consumers to "make a less healthy choice."

Bottled water has been under siege from environmentalists across the country. Oil is used to make and transport plastic bottles. Empty bottles fill municipal landfills.

Earlier this year, San Francisco and Los Angeles jump-started the campaign against a drink that has come to epitomize good health -- by banning non-emergency city purchases of bottled water. Ann Arbor, Mich., followed suit.

New York is encouraging a return to tap water in a "Get Your Fill" campaign that offers consumers who agree to boycott plastic water bottles a free stainless steel container to fill at the tap.

In 1992, the Chicago City Council slapped a penny-a-can tax on soda pop as part of a smorgasbord of new revenues designed to cut Daley's $48.7 million property tax increase in half. The pop tax, which generated nearly $11 million last year, now stands at 3 percent of gross receipts on cans and bottles and 9 percent for fountain soda.

A bottled water tax would likely be far more lucrative. Last year, Illinois ranked No. 7 in the country for bottled water consumption -- with every resident drinking an average of 21 gallons. That amounted to a 48 percent increase over five years.

What a joke. Just tax and spend the money that the Citizens give you. Brilliant!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Before Gore

D.C. resident John Lockwood was conducting research at the Library of Congress and came across an intriguing Page 2 headline in the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of The Washington Post: "Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt."

The 1922 article, obtained by Inside the Beltway, goes on to mention "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."

"This was one of several such articles I have found at the Library of Congress for the 1920s and 1930s," says Mr. Lockwood. "I had read of the just-released NASA estimates, that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually in the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all."

Really? So you mean to tell me that Ice Melts and comes back as a normal cycle then in the earths weather? WOW? That is a new development I am sure!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Democrats Say Leaving Iraq May Take Years? HYPOCRISY MUCH?

What a far cry from what they were saying not 30 days ago?
Must be because of those new Zogby polls that gives the senate a 4% approval rate.

DES MOINES, Aug. 11 — Even as they call for an end to the war and pledge to bring the troops home, the Democratic presidential candidates are setting out positions that could leave the United States engaged in Iraq for years.

John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, would keep troops in the region to intervene in an Iraqi genocide and be prepared for military action if violence spills into other countries.

gee didn't republicans say that?)

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York would leave residual forces to fight terrorism and to stabilize the Kurdish region in the north.

(wow I could have sworn Reps have been saying that too?)

And Senator Barack Obama of Illinois would leave a military presence of as-yet unspecified size in Iraq to provide security for American personnel, fight terrorism and train Iraqis.

(LMFAO, Umm basically what Bush has done so far.)
So wait I thought that terrorism was just a bumper sticker?

These positions and those of some rivals suggest that the Democratic bumper-sticker message of a quick end to the conflict — however much it appeals to primary voters — oversimplifies the problems likely to be inherited by the next commander in chief. Antiwar advocates have raised little challenge to such positions by Democrats.

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico stands apart, having suggested that he would even leave some military equipment behind to expedite the troop withdrawal. In a forum at a gathering of bloggers last week, he declared: “I have a one-point plan to get out of Iraq: Get out! Get out!”

On the other side of the spectrum is Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, who has proposed setting up separate regions for the three major ethnic and religious groups in Iraq until a stable central government is established before removing most American troops.

Still, many Democrats are increasingly taking the position, in televised debates and in sessions with voters across the country, that ending a war can be as complicated as starting one.

“We’ve got to be prepared to control a civil war if it starts to spill outside the borders of Iraq,”

WHAT? So now the thinking is that they will follow us here if we leave to soon? Damn I could have sworn Bush said the same thing!

Mr. Edwards, who has run hard against the war, said at a Democratic debate in Chicago this week. “And we have to be prepared for the worst possibility that you never hear anyone talking about, which is the possibility that genocide breaks out and the Shi’a try to systematically eliminate the Sunni. As president of the United States, I would plan and prepare for all those possibilities.”

Actually many republican senators have said this. In fact I think the president has said this as well.

Most of the Democratic candidates mention the significant military and logistical difficulties in bringing out American troops, which even optimistic experts say would take at least a year. The candidates are not only trying to retain flexibility for themselves in the event they become president, aides said, but are also hoping to tamp down any expectation that the war would abruptly end if they were elected. Most have not proposed specific troop levels or particular rules of engagement for a continued presence in Iraq, saying the conditions more than a year from now remain too uncertain.

In political terms, their strategies are a balancing act. In her public appearances, Mrs. Clinton often says, “If this president does not end this war before he leaves office, when I am president, I will.” But she has affirmed in recent months remarks she made to The New York Times in March, when she said that there were “remaining vital national security interests in Iraq” that would require a continuing deployment of American troops. The United States’ security, she said then, would be undermined if part of Iraq turned into a failed state” that serves as a Petri dish for insurgents and Al Qaeda.”[/b]

Its amazing to see an entire Newspaper cover for a Presidential Candidate.

So while the senators’ views expressed on the campaign trail do not conflict with their votes in Congress, particularly to set a deadline for withdrawal, they are grappling as candidates with the possibility of a sustained military presence in Iraq, addressing questions about America’s responsibility to Iraqi civilians as well as guarding against the terrorism threat in the region.

Among the challenges the next president could face in Iraq, three seem to be resonating the most: What to do if there is a genocide? What to do if chaos in Iraq threatens to engulf the region in a wider war? And what to do if Iraq descends into further lawlessness and becomes the staging ground for terrorist attacks elsewhere, including in the United States?

LMFAO WTF have Conservatives been telling you?
This is a new revelation to you liberals? REALLY?

“While the overwhelming majority of Americans want to bring the troops home, the question is what is the plan beyond that?” said Gov. Chet Culver of Iowa, a Democrat. “The first candidate running for president, I think on either side, who can best articulate that will win.”

Four years after the last presidential race featured early signs of war protest, particularly in the candidacy of Howard Dean, a new phase of the debate seems to be unfolding, with antiwar groups giving the Democrats latitude to take positions short of a full and immediate withdrawal. Neither MoveOn.org nor its affiliated group, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, have sought to press Democrats here in Iowa to suggest anything short of ending the war immediately.

Yes they have! From the article:

DISPLAYING ABSTRACT - It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit. Like many Americans, we have put off that conclusion, waiting for a sign that President Bush was seriously trying to dig the United States out of ...

Hell Code Pink and moveon.org are interchangeable!

“Of course we would like to get them out right now. That sounds wonderful,” said Sue Dinsdale, who leads the Iowa chapter of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq and has seen nearly all of the Democratic candidates. “I don’t think that people realize what their specific plans are and what they are saying about it, but just that they are working to end the war.”

The leading Republican candidates have largely chosen not to wrestle publicly with Iraq policy questions, instead deferring to President Bush and waiting until Gen. David H. Petraeus delivers a progress report next month on the troop buildup this year.

While the Democrats talk exhaustively about Iraq, a review of the remarks they have made during campaign stops over the last six months leaves little ambiguity in their message: If the president refuses to end the war, they will.

To accomplish that goal, they all discuss a mix of vigorous diplomacy in the region, intensified pressure on the Iraqi government and a phased withdrawal of troops to begin as soon as possible. But their statements in campaign settings are often silent on the problems of how to disengage and what tradeoffs might be necessary.

“It is time to bring our troops home because it has made us less safe,” Mr. Obama said to a throng of supporters, cheering wildly despite the pouring rain, at a campaign stop in New Hampshire last month.

Mrs. Clinton has been equally vocal in making “bringing the troops home” a central theme. In February, she said her message to the Iraqi government would be simple: “I would say ‘I’m sorry, it’s over. We are not going to baby-sit a civil war.’ ”

Both candidates, in interviews or debates, have said that they would not support intervening in a genocidal war should the majority Shiites slaughter Sunnis — and Sunnis retaliate — on a much greater scale than now takes place.

Mr. Edwards, who has suggested that he would intervene in a genocide, has tried to position himself as the more forceful antiwar candidate by criticizing both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama for not pushing hard enough in the Senate to bring the troops home.

“There are differences between us,” Mr. Edwards said in a June debate. “I think there is a difference between making very clear when the crucial moment comes, on Congress ending this war, what your position is and standing quiet.”

Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut has called for the United States military to “begin redeploying immediately.” In a debate this week in Chicago, he said: “We can do so with two and a half divisions coming out each month, done safely and reasonably well.”

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq has created its “Iraq Summer” campaign to persuade members of Congress to support legislation changing course in Iraq. While the group is focusing on Republicans across the country, including deploying a blimp to fly above the Iowa straw poll on Saturday, it has not weighed in on the Democratic side of the presidential race and the fact that several Democratic candidates call for an extended but limited military commitment in Iraq. “We are in a good position when leaders are debating the best way to bring our troops home,” said Moira Mack, a group spokeswoman, “rather than whether or not to bring them home.”

I would LOVE to hear the BULLSHIT that the left has to say now that their darling Presidential Candidates have made it clear and also know what REALITY IS THERE and the situation!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Sicko" Gets no show in Cuba

Michael Moore gets no love in Cuba for his latest propaganda film "Sicko", that praises Cuba's healtcare system. Read the story here courtesy of townhall.com.
For the story in its original spanish version go here.

So why no love for the film in Cuba?

Although it might look contradictory, the propaganda used in the film to discredit the USA health system while trying to highlight the excellence of the Cuban health system, turned out to be considered “subversive” by the Cuban regime. It so happens that he based his arguments on gross lies that do not represent at all the Cuban health drama.

NAH, you don't say!!! lol

I particularly enjoyed this part of the article highlighting the fact that Cuba's elite travells to other countries for their healthcare needs.
It is well known over the world that Fidel Castro went to look for a Spanish doctor when he had a health crisis. A few years ago the Under Secretary of Health, Abelardo Ramirez, went to France for medical treatment where he underwent surgery for a gastric cancer that eventually took his life. In the same manner, the neurosurgeon Domingo, a doctor who is part of Fidel Castro’s personal medical team and Chief of the CIMEQ Hospital, went to England to avail himself of Ophthalmologic services for surgical treatment for his eye problems, periodically returning there for checkups.

Hilarious isn't it!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Protest against "Islamisation" banned

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Brussels mayor Freddy Thielemans has banned a protest against the "Islamisation" of Europe planned for 11 September, the anniversary of the suicide attacks on the US, his spokesman said Thursday.

The "Stop the Islamisation of Europe" (SIOE) group last month announced its intention to organise a protest in front of the European parliament building, six years after the suicide plane attacks in New York and Washington.

The group, which started in Denmark, considers Islam "a tool for introducing Islamic imperialistic politics."

On its website it argues: "Islam and democracy are incompatible due to teachings within the Koran itself."

The group hopes to bring thousands out onto the streets of the Belgian capital on 11 September. It is organising other protests to take place simultaneously around the world, notably in the United States, Canada and Australia.

But the mayor's spokesman Nicolas Dassonville said: "The danger to public order is too high," to allow the Brussels protest to go ahead.

"The sizeable foreign community living in the area could react to the action," he added.

The city of Brussels authorities receive between 500 and 600 requests to hold protests each year. In the last five years only six have been banned, said Dassonville.

Appeasement is a International problem I guess.

More below in Video:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Britain has a very SERIOUS problem.
And it is just a matter of time before it hops over the "pond".
Keep your eyes shut folks that is when shit hits the fan.

Told Ya So!!!

The war is lost! We can't win the war in Iraq! The Iraqis don't want us there! The war in Iraq has done nothing but fuel more suicide bombers!

Sounds familiar?

Those are words said by Democrat leadership in Congress, analysts, and media myrmidons.

Why do I care?

Because while they are right in some parts of their opposition of the war, they are wrong in others. They are right in saying that the war has fueled anti-American sentiment with worldwide muslims. In fact two studies were done detailing where and numbers of suicide bombers from other countries. In other words, the majority of suicide attacks is not from Iraqis but, from insuregnts bent on destabilizing our attempt to get the young democracy in it's fragile infancy.

Suicide bombers in Iraq mostly foreigners, two new studies say
Attackers have twin goals: destabilizing the government and driving the U.S. out.

Suicide bombers in Iraq are overwhelmingly foreigners bent on destabilizing the government and undermining U.S. interests there, two independent studies have concluded.

The studies report that the number of suicide bombings in Iraq has now surpassed those conducted worldwide since the early 1980s. The findings suggest that extremists from throughout the region and around the world are fueling Iraq's violence.

"The war on terrorism -- and certainly the war in Iraq -- has failed in decreasing the number of suicide attacks and has really radicalized the Muslim world to create this concept of martyrs without borders," said Mohammed Hafez, a visiting professor at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and the author of one of the two studies.

Hafez, whose new book is "Suicide Bombers in Iraq," has identified the nationalities of 124 bombers who attacked in Iraq. Of those, the largest number -- 53 -- were Saudis. Eight apiece came from Italy and Syria, seven from Kuwait, four from Jordan and two
each from Belgium, France and Spain. Others came from North and East Africa,
South Asia and various Middle Eastern and European countries. Only 18 -- 15 percent -- were Iraqis.

In the second study, Robert Pape, a University of Chicago professor who runs the Chicago Project on Suicide Terrorism, identified the nationalities of 55 suicide bombers in Iraq. Sixteen were Saudis, seven were Syrians and five were Algerians. Kuwait, Morocco and Tunisia each supplied three. Thirteen -- 24 percent -- were Iraqi Sunni Muslims.

Hafez and Pape said Iraqi Shiite Muslims hadn't carried out suicide attacks so far and instead had restricted their role in the sectarian violence to militia activity.

Pinning down the nationalities of suicide bombers can be tricky because they leave few physical remains, and extremist groups often don't claim the attacks until much later. The U.S. military says it does some DNA testing to investigate the bombers' identities.

Both researchers relied on extremist Web sites, "martyr" videos, news reports and statements to compile the data on nationalities. Hafez also gathered some information from online chats and discussion forums.

U.S. intelligence estimates -- based on interviews with detainees and captured documents -- indicate that most suicide bombers in Iraq are non-Iraqi.

Suicide attacks more than doubled each year from the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to 2005, Pape said. In 2006, he said, they jumped just under a third. The American military has reported more than 1,400 since January 2004.

Before the U.S.-led invasion, there had never been a suicide bombing in Iraq.

Pape attributed the attacks to the presence of American troops, which now number 162,000, in Iraq.

The notion that most of the suicide bombers are foreigners engaged in a global movement is exaggerated, he said, since about 75 percent come from the Arabian Peninsula, which is close to the U.S. forces in Iraq.

"The Americans have all the capability and are right there," Pape said. "That's what allows terrorist leaders to build a sense of urgency."

U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded that al-Qaida in Iraq operates for the most part independently of the broader al-Qaida terrorist group.

According to Hafez, extremist groups in Iraq conduct suicide bombings against fellow Muslims rather than U.S. troops in a campaign to destabilize the government and spark sectarian warfare.

The groups' objectives in Iraq differ from those in "other places like in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or in Lebanon," he said.

In Lebanon, Shiite suicide bombers helped drive U.S., British, French, Italian and Israeli troops out of the country with a series of attacks in the early 1980s. Sunni Palestinian suicide bombers have attacked in Israel and the Palestinian territories in an effort to loosen Israel's grip on what they say are Arab lands.

Most experts say that while the American presence in Iraq has radicalized Muslims, withdrawing the troops may not stem the number of suicide attacks, at least not right away.

Extremist groups in Iraq have a common goal of expelling foreign occupiers and destabilizing what they see as a U.S.-controlled government, Pape said. But if the Americans withdraw, insurgent organizations probably will engage in a bloody power struggle, he added.

"If we stay, that tends to encourage people to flock to Iraq," Hafez said. "Leaving will mean genocidal violence for the Iraqi people. It will mean a failed Iraqi state. The jihadists will declare, 'We drove out America.' "

Please read that last line again libs! Maybe it'll sink in this time.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Global Warming and Earthquakes

The fact that I am even putting these two together is ridiculous in and of itself.
But new from the global warming scare crowd, not only can we expect man made global warming to effect us in the air, with food, rain, blah blah. But NOW we can also see a spike in Earthquakes and Volcanoes.


Unlike most apparently intractable problems, which have a tendency to go away when examined closely and analytically, the climate change predicament just seems to get bigger and scarier the more we learn about it.

Now we discover that not only are the oceans and the atmosphere conspiring against us, bringing baking temperatures, more powerful storms, floods and ever-climbing sea levels, but the crust beneath our feet seems likely to join in too.

Looking back to other periods in our planet's history when the climate was swinging about wildly, most notably during the last ice age, it appears that far more than the weather was affected. The solid earth also became restless, with an increase in volcanic activity, earthquakes, giant submarine landslides and tsunamis. At the rate climate change is accelerating, there is every prospect that we will see a similar response from the planet, heralding not just a warmer future but also a fiery one.

Several times in the past couple of million years the ice left its polar fastnesses
and headed towards the equator, covering much of the world's continents in ice sheets over a kilometre thick, and sucking water from the oceans in order to do so. As a consequence, at times when the ice was most dominant, global sea levels were as much as 130m lower than they are today; sufficient to expose land bridges between the UK and the continent and Alaska and Russia.

Each time the ice retreated, sea levels shot up again, sometimes at rates as high as several metres a century. In the mid 1990s, as part of a study funded by the European Union, we discovered that in the Mediterranean region there was a close correlation between how quickly sea levels went up and down during the last ice age and the level of explosive activity at volcanoes in Italy and Greece.

The link was most obvious following the retreat of the glaciers around 18,000 years ago, after which sea levels jumped back up to where they are today, triggering a 300% increase in explosive volcanic activity in the Mediterranean in doing so. Further evidence for a flurry of volcanic action at this time comes from cores extracted from deep within the Greenland ice sheet, which yield increased numbers of volcanic dust and sulphate layers from eruptions across the northern hemisphere, if not the entire planet.

Read the full content……

But how can rising sea levels cause volcanoes to erupt? The answer lies in the enormous mass of the water pouring into the ocean basins from the retreating ice sheets. The addition of over a hundred metres depth of water to the continental margins and marine island chains, where over 60% of the world's active volcanoes reside, seems to be sufficient to load and bend the underlying crust.

This in turn squeezes out any magma that happens to be hanging around waiting for an excuse to erupt. It may well be that a much smaller rise can trigger an eruption if a volcano is critically poised and ready to blow.

Eruptions of Pavlof volcano in Alaska, for example, tend to occur during the winter months when, for meteorological reasons, the regional sea level is barely 30cm (12in) higher than during the summer. If other volcanic systems are similarly sensitive then we could be faced with an escalating burst of volcanic activity as anthropogenic climate change drives sea levels ever upwards.

Notwithstanding the recent prediction by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that sea levels in 2100 will be a measly 18-59cm (7-23in) higher, Jim Hansen – eminent climate scientist and director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies – warns that we could see a one to two metre rise this century and several more in the next. Other climate scientists too, forecast substantially greater rises than the IPCC, whose prediction excludes any consideration of future changes in polar ice sheet behaviour. A worst-case scenario could see a return to conditions that prevailed around 14,000 years ago, when sea levels rose 13.5 metres (44ft) - the height of a three-storey house - in the space of about 300 years.

Such a dramatic rise in coming centuries would clearly spell catastrophe for our civilisation, with low-lying regions across the planet vanishing rapidly beneath the waves. Just a one metre (3.28ft) rise would threaten one third of the world's agricultural land, two metres (6.56ft) would make the Thames flood barrier redundant and four metres (13.12ft) would drown the city of Miami, leaving it 37 miles (60km) off the US coast.

As sea levels climb higher so a response from the world's volcanoes becomes ever more likely, and perhaps not just from volcanoes. Loading of the continental margins could activate faults, triggering increased numbers of earthquakes, which in turn could spawn giant submarine landslides. Such a scenario is believed to account for the gigantic Storegga Slide, which sloughed off the Norwegian coast around 8,000 years ago, sending a tsunami more than 20 metres (66ft) high in places across the Shetland Isles and onto the east coast of Scotland. Should Greenland be released from its icy carapace, the underlying crust will start to bob back up, causing earthquakes well capable of shaking off the huge piles of glacial sediment that have accumulated around its margins and sending tsunamis across the North Atlantic.

The Earth is responding as a single, integrated system to climate change driven by human activities. Global warming is not just a matter of warmer weather, more floods or stronger hurricanes, but is also a wake-up call to Terra Firma. It may be no coincidence that one outcome of increased volcanic activity is likely to be a period of falling temperatures, as a veil of volcanic dust and gas reduces the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface. Maybe the Earth is trying to tell us something. It really would be worth listening before it is too late.

Bill McGuire is the director of the Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre. His book Surviving Armageddon: Solutions For a Threatened Planet is published by OUP. His next book, What Everyone Should Know About the Future of Our Planet: And What We Can Do About It, is published by Orion in January next year.

I mean seriously. Tectonic plates are now effected by weight on the crust? Really? So where is this huge spike of earthquakes in say, highly developed San Francisco or Japan? What are those buildings couple hundred thousand tons? Hell why are is Mount Everest still growing with all that weight pushing back down on it?


What up Bitch!?

It’s a Female Dog, or Worse. Or Endearing. And Illegal?

The New York City Council, which drew national headlines when it passed a symbolic citywide ban earlier this year on the use of the so-called n-word, has turned its linguistic (and legislative) lance toward a different slur: bitch.

The term is hateful and deeply sexist, said Councilwoman Darlene Mealy of Brooklyn, who has introduced a measure against the word, saying it creates “a paradigm of shame and indignity” for all women.

But conversations over the last week indicate that the “b-word” (as it is referred to in the legislation) enjoys a surprisingly strong currency — and even some defenders — among many New Yorkers.

And Ms. Mealy admitted that the city’s political ruling class can be guilty of its use. As she circulated her proposal, she said, “even council members are saying that they use it to their wives.”

The measure, which 19 of the 51 council members have signed onto, was prompted in part by the frequent use of the word in hip-hop music. Ten rappers were cited in the legislation, along with an excerpt from an 1811 dictionary that defined the word as “A she dog, or doggess; the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman.”

While the bill also bans the slang word “ho,” the b-word appears to have acquired more shades of meaning among various groups, ranging from a term of camaraderie to, in a gerund form, an expression of emphatic approval. Ms. Mealy acknowledged that the measure was unenforceable, but she argued that it would carry symbolic power against the pejorative uses of the word. Even so, a number of New Yorkers said they were taken aback by the idea of prohibiting a term that they not only use, but do so with relish and affection.

“Half my conversation would be gone,” said Michael Musto, the Village Voice columnist, whom a reporter encountered on his bicycle on Sunday night on the corner of Seventh Avenue South and Christopher Street. Mr. Musto, widely known for his coverage of celebrity gossip, dismissed the idea as absurd.

“On the downtown club scene,” he said, munching on an apple, the two terms are often used as terms of endearment. “We divest any negative implication from the word and toss it around with love.”

Darris James, 31, an architect from Brooklyn who was outside the Duplex, a piano bar in the West Village, on Sunday night was similarly opposed. “Hell, if I can’t say bitch, I wouldn’t be able to call half my friends.”

They may not have been the kinds of reaction that Ms. Mealy, a Detroit-born former transit worker serving her first term, was expecting. “They buried the n-word, but what about the other words that really affect women, such as ‘b,’ and ‘ho’? That’s a vile attack on our womanhood,” Ms. Mealy said in a telephone interview. “In listening to my other colleagues, that they say that to their wives or their friends, we have gotten really complacent with it.”

The resolution, introduced on July 25, was first reported by The Daily News. It is being considered by the Council’s Civil Rights Committee and is expected to be discussed next month.

Many of those interviewed for this article acknowledged that the b-word could be quite vicious — but insisted that context was everything.

“I think it’s a description that is used insouciantly in the fashion industry,” said Hamish Bowles, the European editor at large of Vogue, as he ordered a sushi special at the Condé Nast cafeteria last week. “It would only be used in the fashion world with a sense of high irony and camp.”

Mr. Bowles, in salmon seersucker and a purple polo, appeared amused by the Council measure. “It’s very ‘Paris Is Burning,’ isn’t it?” he asked, referring to the film that captured the 1980s drag queen scene in New York.

The b-word has been used to refer to female dogs since around 1000 A.D., according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which traces the term’s derogatory application to women to the 15th century; the entry notes that the term is “not now in decent use.”

But there is much evidence that the word — for better or worse — is part of the accepted vernacular of the city. The cover of this week’s New York magazine features the word, and syndicated episodes of “Sex and the City,” the chronicle of high-heeled Manhattan singledom, include it, though some obscenities were bleeped for its run on family-friendly TBS. A feminist journal with the word as its title is widely available in bookstores here, displayed in the front rung at Borders at the Time Warner Center.

Robin Lakoff, a Brooklyn-born linguist who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, said that she despised the word, but that enforcing linguistic change through authority “almost never works,” echoing comments from some New Yorkers who believed a ban would only serve to heighten the word’s power.

“If what the City Council wants to do is increase civility, it would have to be able to contextualize it,” said Ms. Lakoff, who studies language and gender. “You forbid the uses that drive people apart, but encourage the ones that drive people together. Which is not easy.”

Councilman Leroy G. Comrie Jr., the Queens Democrat who successfully sponsored a symbolic moratorium on the n-word that was adopted Feb. 28, said he supported Ms. Mealy’s measure, but acknowledged that the term had many uses.

“We want to make sure the context that it’s used is not a negative one,” Mr. Comrie said yesterday.

Back at the West Village piano bar on Sunday evening, Poppi Kramer had just finished up her cabaret set. She scoffed at the proposal. “I’m a stand-up comic. You may as well just say to me, don’t even use the word ‘the.’ ”

But at least one person with a legitimate reason to use the word saw some merit in cutting down on its use.

“We’d be grandfathered in, I would think,” said David Frei, who has been a host of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York since 1990. The word is a formal canine label that appears on the competition’s official materials. But Mr. Frei said he worried about the word’s impact on some viewers, especially younger ones.

“I think we have to take responsibility for that word on the air. The reality is it’s in the realm of responsible conduct to not use that word anymore.

Thought Police in FULL SWING!
So what is the fine for saying this in public?