Monday, February 28, 2011

North Korea threatens Nuclear War

US, S. Korea Begin Drills Despite Threats

No sign of North Korean retaliation

Feb 28, 2011 3:12 AM CST

Bookmark & Share Digg Fark LinkedIn StumbleUpon Delicious Google Buzz Reddit Yahoo Buzz (AP) – South Korean and American troops began annual military drills Monday that North Korea warned could trigger a nuclear war on the divided peninsula. Despite the North Korean threats to retaliate, South Korea and the United States went ahead with their first major combined military exercises since the North shelled a front-line South Korean island in November, killing four people. Some 12,800 US. troops and 200,000 South Korean soldiers and reservists are taking part in the drills.

The main part of the drills, which will involve computer war games and live-firing exercises, will last 11 days, while some field training will continue until late April, according to the South Korea-US joint forces command in Seoul. South Korea's Defense Ministry says there have been no suspicious activities by the North's military, but the country's military is ready to repel any new North Korean attacks.

North korea

How much time do we have in a day (when we subtract work, sleep, eating, laundry, cleaning)? Enough to make over 100 calls a day?

LA Man Busted for Making 18K Crank 911 Calls

Suspect accused of harassing dispatchers with 100 calls daily

Posted Feb 28, 2011 4:42 AM CST

– Police in California say they've arrested a man who appears to have devoted most of his waking hours for six months to making crank calls to 911. Maurice Cruz, 41, is accused of making 18,000 prank calls over the period—around 100 calls a day. He was arrested by California Highway Patrol and Secret Service investigators and charged with misusing 911 emergency lines to annoy or harass, the Los Angeles Times reports. The charge is punishable by a maximum of six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

China: rare minerals are all mine

Now where might China have gotten these minerals from?

Lack of 'Rare Earth' Minerals Could Cause Major Problems

Ira Mellman September 27, 2010

Although they deny it, many around the world are saying that the Chinese have curtailed or halted the supply of what are called "rare earth materials" to Japan, in apparent retaliation for Japan's refusal to issue an apology in its dispute with China over a detained fishing boat captain. No matter the reason, the reduction in the supply of these materials could cause major problems not only in Japan, but around the world.

China mines 93 percent of these rare earth materials, which sell for several hundred dollars a pound. Most of the sales are to Japan. Japan then uses these materials to produce products ranging from making glass for solar panels to the motors used by hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius.

“These are things that some folks in the industry refer to as 'technology metals'," said Jeff Green, a Washington lobbyist trying to coax Congress to make it more affordable for US companies to get back into the mining of these rare earth materials. "These are things that make magnets stronger, make electronics smaller and things move faster, so they are really the next generation of high performance metals. Without these, things like your iPhone wouldn’t be as small as it is and wind turbines wouldn’t produce the power that they do.”

At one time, it was the United States that lead the world in the production of these rare earth materials. But the mines have closed.

Jeff Green says the problem was, and still is the cost of these mining operations. He says the cost of starting such a mining operation now is about half a billion dollars.

Green says there is another reason there is no movement in new mine startups. "The problem in this market is that the Chinese are so dominant that anyone who invests that type of money in the market faces the problem of what the industry saw in the nineties, and that was where a flood of the materials would be dumped on the market, driving the price down, which would upset the economics of those outside of China trying to invest in the system." So, says Green, it’s really the manipulation of this market by the Chinese that makes this a particularly difficult business to get into.

In Beijing, the government controlled China Daily newspaper reports there are 40 percent cuts in export quotas of the rare earth materials for the second half of this year from last. It quotes a rare earth material expert there as saying the reduced quotas have nothing to do with China's dispute with Japan.

The report says due to the need to keep more of the materials for its own use, the export supply has basically been exhausted, meaning China can't export any not only to Japan but to Europe or the United States either.

Lobbyist Jeff Green says the reduction or elimination of the supply of rare earth material would have a major effect, not only on Japan but on the United States as well.

“Certain defense systems may not have material available. For example, guided missiles, radar, all kinds of defense systems. Really it’s difficult to name a system that doesn’t have some kind of rare earths. We’re very concerned about the supply material to support the building and construction of those systems."

Green adds "It also could have grave economic impacts. If you look at the United States trying to go to a renewable energy standard of 20 percent by 2030, there currently isn’t the rare earth material available to build those wind turbines to help build that economy. So, unless the U.S. comes online, we really can’t ever get to a renewable energy standard set forth by the administration.”

Last week, a US House committee agreed and approved a bill that would, among other things, provide loan guarantees for US companies wishing to start up rare earth material mining. Committee Chairman Bart Gordon said it was essential for the United States to start providing its own rare earth materials.During the Committee's markup hearing, Representative Gordon (D-TN) said “I believe it would be foolish to stake our national defense and our economic security on China’s good will, or hope that it will choose to compete in a fair and open global marketplace for rare earth. The stakes are simply too high.”

The US Defense Department is compiling a report on the national security impact of US dependence on the Chinese provided materials and this week, a Senate committee will probe the issue as well.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

They are no Captain Jack, nor are they Captain Morgan - Shoot them

Pirates are not a bunch of misunderstood poor fishermen who have been put out of business fishing and with no choice, have resorted to hijacking boats.

Pirates are not simply criminals behaving badly.  They are not guilty of being bad and consequently need punishment in a jail cell.

Pirates are really bad bad people who need to die.  I don't want them in jail in Mali, Kenya, Sudan, or Yemen.  I want them to die and not just die, die a horrible death - shot and then fall into the ocean to be consumed by the sea, later to become a waste product on the bottom of the sea after a shark digests them.

But they have rights, however bad - we are told.  I suppose.  They have a right to put their weapons down, surrender, and accept arrest by the military and transport to the Hague where they will be tried and imprisoned for no less than 10 years, and where they are not given any right to claim refuge status (I do not want a pirate simply exchanging water for soil and getting into the kidnapping business with a green card).  They may not be taken to the US - Obama would most likely accept their claim for refuge status and give them all citizenship, after which every pirate would be surrendering.   Perhaps the Russian military should be given control of the seas in which they operate - pirates from Africa imprisoned in Siberia.  Not a bad resolution.

Otherwise - arm the ships.  Some ships now have panic rooms, hire 2-3 Israeli special forces, and give them a hose.  Instead, hand them RPGs, grenades, M15s, and provide the best radar equipment (capable of picking up a dolphin).  When the small boat chasing the large ship is spotted, shoot across the front of the pursuing boat as a warning.  If the boat continues - blow it up and sink the boat with all on board. 

Since 2007, pirates have increased their attacks and hijackings - the numbers have risen every year for the last four years.   In 2006-2007, approximately 180-200 people were held for ransom.  In 2010, more than 1000 were held for ransom.  The initial sums paid back in 2007 were several hundred thousand - today, millions per hijacking.  With their illegal and criminal gains, they buy new boats, new weapons, and plot out further efforts to hijack shipping.  This is not a crime like burglary.  This is not like someone stealing your car.  This is terrorism.

The law recognizes (in the United States) that a crime committed at night, in the dark is a qualitatively different crime than one committed during the day, and what is not permissible during the day - shooting someone carrying a plastic gun, would be permissible at night - it is dark.  The ocean is that darkness, perpetual darkness.  One cannot escape from the ocean nor from the consequence of jumping into the sea - shark food.  No policemen or detectives investigating and collecting evidence.  Shoot them.  These ocean terrorists know that if the military are upon them, they throw their weapons overboard.  When the warship stops them, they laugh and say they are fishermen. 

They are terrorists, who, with reasonable evidence - should be treated as such and not released to do it again, but shot and thrown overboard for the sea to recapture.

Captain Jack would expect no less. 


Libya - The Courageous Stand up (now)

The tide is sweeping Africa and the Middle East.  Tunisia - the people saw, if they stood firm, did not collapse and run from the tyrant, that while many would be killed, the army would at some point simply stop shooting (defectors, run out of bullets or because the people became armed).  That when the people pushed back, dictators fled.  Watching those events unfold and in the manner they did, the Egyptians stood up to over 30 years of tyranny, and toppled a tyrant.  In Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Jordan, and China more people stood up and said no more, protests organized and people took to the streets. 

How well they do is for the future to make clear to us, later, but for now we see Libya, unfolding like a desert flower - the throne of Kaddafi, the dictator who was the first to stand up and vomit all over the world, hides from his people, threatening them from the shadows, handing out weapons to thugs and killers, hired assassins, and lunatics to slaughter at will. 

Kaddafi has been a plague on the world since, well, 1970 at the very least.  He grew into a monster from a petulant murderer, and makes Joe Biden sound downright clever and succinct or direct in public speaking.  He is responsible for the murder of American servicemen in Germany, for which the US inflicted bombing damage upon his set of tents (thereafter he seemed rather compliant - even while his murderous retribution continued), and for the deaths of the Concannon family, the Williams family (Eric was 24, his wife 21, and their two children 12 months and 2 months old), along with 262 other people killed when Pan Am 103 blew up over Lockerbie Scotland. 

He murdered in 270 people in 1988.  He ordered a nightclub bombed in Berlin in 1986, killing 3 people and injuring more than 250 others.  He quashed several revolts against his tyranny by killing everyone involved.  He was brutal and punishing in his retribution toward anyone he believed responsible.  He developed an all-woman secret service team to protect him, and his paranoia reached new heights in the late 1990s with the oddest behavior among many nutty dictators.  Yet, we are to believe that until very recently everything he did was the will of the Lybian people and ONLY NOW is he off his rocker.  That until last week or last month he was the sane and compassionate leader of Lybia.

Anytime an American would dare criticize the man we might hear 'tsk tsk, you are so petty you cannot handle someone standing up to the US' ... when in truth and in fact, our disdain was for a monster, regardless of whether he stood up to the US.  He apparently stood up to the US and made a monkey out of everyone else.  Yet only now, only this time, only this moment is when he is not reasonable, not logical, not faithful to his purpose ... every second prior to this last week - he was completely rational and sane.

Yet now we hear the courageous voices (Guardian Feb 25, 2011) -

Envoys to Portugal and Sweden renounced Gaddafi, with the ambassador to Lisbon, Ali Ibrahim Emdored, telling AP he was leaving "due to the killing of my people by this fascist regime".

In Geneva, the Libyan delegation to the UN human rights council called for a moment of silence in the chamber to "honour this revolution".

"We in the Libyan mission have categorically decided to serve as representatives of the Libyan people and their free will. We only represent the Libyan people," one envoy, Adel Shaltut, declared, drawing thunderous applause.


Citi: Have now gone into the business of prophesy (with our tax dollars)

Keep in mind, Citibank is owned (was owned and is still,. although the percentage may be slightly more or less) by the American people (US government) as a result of monies loaned / given to Citi to BAIL THEM OUT of financial messes they were bright enough to climb in and then rolled around in the muck with the rest of the sounder.

From this entity, owned also in part by non-US interests, comes an oracle of insight into the future of world economics.  Going to a psychic may result in having to handle tarot cards, crystals, or otherwise staring at the woman and listening as she tells you your future.  Usually this future revealed to you includes insights ranging in time frame from the minute you walk out of the room to some far off point, 20-30 years into your future. 

The oracle of insight at Citi is prophesying events that will come to be in, oh, about 30 years.  And much like the psychic who takes your money and reveals your precise future, we must take this peddler of brilliance as seriously as we take that psychic.

There are simply too many holes in the below, to even begin explicating why this oracle of future events should change careers.  Someone should inquire as to whether he was involved in the collapse of Citi (what did it get down to $1-2 a share).

US Will Be the World's Third Largest Economy: Citi

25 Feb 2011
Patrick Allen
CNBC EMEA Head of News

The world is going to become richer and richer as developing economies play catch up over the coming years, according to Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citigroup.

"We expect strong growth in the world economy until 2050, with average real GDP growth rates of 4.6 percent per annum until 2030 and 3.8 percent per annum between 2030 and 2050," Buiter wrote in a market research.

"As a result, world GDP should rise in real PPP-adjusted terms from $72 trillion in 2010 to $380 trillion dollars in 2050," he wrote.

As the world watches oil prices rise sharply amid unrest in the Middle East, Buiter's analysis of the world's long-term prospects offer some hope that better times are ahead but if he is right power will shift from the West to the East very quickly.

"China should overtake the US to become the largest economy in the world by 2020, then be overtaken by India by 2050," he predicted.

One Way Bet on Emerging Markets?

Growth will not be smooth, according to Buiter. "Expect booms and busts. Occasionally, there will be growth disasters, driven by poor policy, conflicts, or natural disasters. When it comes to that, don't believe that 'this time it's different'."

The Most Extreme Cases of Hyperinflation, Ever

However, there are some easy wins for poor countries with big, young populations, he said.

"Developing Asia and Africa will be the fastest growing regions, in our view, driven by population and income per capita growth, followed in terms of growth by the Middle East, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the CIS, and finally the advanced nations of today," he wrote.

"For poor countries with large young populations, growing fast should be easy: open up, create some form of market economy, invest in human and physical capital, don't be unlucky and don't blow it. Catch-up and convergence should do the rest," Buiter added.

Buiter has constructed a "3G index" to measure economic progress; 3G stands for "Global Growth Generators" and is a weighted average of six growth drivers that the Citigroup economists consider important:

Using that index the nations to watch over the coming years are Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Mongolia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

"They are our 3G countries," Buiter said.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Catholic Church Ordains a Married Man

There are always exceptions and rarely are they publicized.  Much better to show the defiance of the church and refusal to budge on issues than show exceptions.

Catholic church ordains married man

Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:43am EST

BERLIN (Reuters) - A married father of two was ordained as a priest by the Catholic Church in Germany on Tuesday after receiving an exemption to priestly celibacy from Pope Benedict XVI.

Harm Klueting, a theologian and former Protestant pastor, will not have to adhere to the Church's celibacy law for the duration of his marriage, the diocese of Cologne said.

The case sheds light on a little-known 60-year-old Roman Catholic church law that allows ordained clergy from other Christian faiths to become priests.

"This happens seldom but it's not unusual," diocese spokesman Christoph Heckeley said, adding that it is more usual in Scandinavia.

The 61-year-old converted to Catholicism in 2004 after which he served as a deacon and taught religious history at universities in Germany and Switzerland. He currently teaches at the University of Cologne where he will also serve as a priest.

Last year a married father of four was ordained as a priest in Regensburg, southern Germany.

Klueting's ordination comes as theologians and Catholic politicians in Germany have pressured the Vatican to end priestly celibacy and the German church struggles to overcome a wave of clerical sex abuse scandals and a priest shortages.

The Roman Catholic Church also launched its first ordinariate for disaffected Anglicans in England and Wales this year, which will see it take in bishops, priests and laity.

Five traditionalist Church of England bishops have applied to join the ordinariate, a Church subdivision retaining some Anglican traditions, and about 30 groups of parishioners are due to cross over, Church leaders told journalists.

It was not clear how many priests would convert in the move, prompted by traditionalist opposition to Church of England plans to ordain women bishops. Married Anglican priests will be accepted but married bishops cannot retain their higher status. The ordinariate, announced by Pope Benedict in 2009, allows those Anglicans opposed to women bishops, gay clergy and same-sex blessings to convert to Rome while keeping many of their traditions.


Dear Libya: Please Settle Down.

The Obama Administration has finally figured out how to get U.S. Citizens out of Libya. According to the AP:

"The State Department said late Tuesday it has chartered a ferry boat to evacuate Americans from Libya."

A ferry boat.

I am guessing every plane, ship, helicopter, and other vessel we have in our very large cache, are busy doing other important duties - like, waiting for budget cuts.

Here are some of the evacuation rules:

-- Travelers will be allowed one suitcase and one small carry-on item;

-- Pets will be allowed on the ferry but that they must meet European Union requirements;

-- Those who want be evacuated should be prepared to wait several hours and bring food, water and other necessities to the pier;

-- Those who take the ferry will be expected to reimburse the government for the cost.

Understandably, people in Libya who live and work there, should have had some insight into the potential issues and been aware they live in an unstable country on the verge of total and utter collapse (same for Tunisia, Egypt, and to a lesser degree - Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran) - I do not feel deep anguish for their plight.  After all, we are told we should get out more and visit the world (as if there is a relevance), but our government has stated (until Obama at least) that we do care about American citizens wherever they might be (and that isn't the worst thing we could say or do), yet we now expect reimbursement.  And you wonder why no nation on the planet cares what the U.S. says any more.  
I much preferred the countries of the world afraid of Bush than ignoring Obama.  There was a moment, a brief shining moment, when the 'madman of the Middle East' otherwise known as the 'nutjob from Tripoli' or 'crazy dumb bastard from Libya' ... a brief moment when the guy collapsed - he called Bush up and told him to come to Libya and take all his WMDs and to please leave him alone.  The US obliged - we removed tonnes of chemical and biological canisters, machines, and other products used to manufacturer such weapons.  There was a moment when Khadafi would never touch an American lest he be invaded and bombed. 
Today, no one has that fear, because Obama is here.
What a brave new world we have.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Economic Collapse?

Fear of 'Catastrophic' Crash Rising Despite Bull Market

Published: Friday, 18 Feb 2011
4:53 PM ET
By: John Melloy

In an unprecedented move, the number of investors fearing a catastrophic stock market crash is rising even with the stock market at 2 ½ year highs.

The unusual dislocation comes from two distinct reasons: a lack of trust in the U.S. financial markets following the so-called Flash Crash last May and the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2007.

This means the Flash Crash Advisory Commission that met on Friday has a long way to go in restoring confidence to the point that will bring the individual investor back into a market still ruled by high frequency trading, exchange-traded funds and leveraged hedge funds.

The Yale School of Management since 1989 has asked wealthy individual investors monthly to give the “probability of a catastrophic stock market crash in the U.S. in the next six months.”

In the latest survey in December, almost 75 percent of respondents gave it at least a 10 percent chance of happening. That’s up from 68 percent who gave it a 10 percent probability last April, just before the events of May 6, 2010.

“Even though the market is firing on all cylinders, that fear of big losses still looms large for investors in a way that it didn’t prior to the last bear market,” wrote analysts from Bespoke Investment Group in a report citing the Yale data. “Clearly, the financial crisis and the collapse it caused has impacted investor psyche in a big way.”

In the past, fears of a stock market crash in the Yale survey rose as the market declined because investors lost confidence in the economy and companies as share prices declined, and expected a capitulatory end to a bear market. For example, in March 2009 close to 85 percent of investors gave a crash at least a 10 percent chance of occurring. That record high in distrust and low in confidence marked a 12-½ year low in the S&P 500.

The benchmark has doubled since that low, but investors are not worrying about the prospects for individual stocks as much now now. Instead they are worrying about the still-unchanged system set up by Wall Street and regulators in which equities trade.

The Flash Crash Commission – containing members of the CFTC and SEC – made a series of recommendations for improving market structure Friday, including single stock circuit breakers, a more reliable audit trail on trades, and curbing the use of cancelled trades by high-frequency traders. They still don’t know what actually caused the nearly 1,000-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in a matter of minutes.

“Nine months after the Flash Crash and the committee is just about getting around to discussing a few things,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-founder of Themis Trading and market infrastructure expert. “This is just the way the high-frequency trading community and their supporters like it. Grind that reform train to a halt. After all, the market has come roaring back and if you didn't sell on May 6th, then nobody got hurt.”

For the agile professional investor, fear of another crash is not really a concern right now. Surveys show bullish sentiment high among the pros. Hedge funds have increased leverage again to pre-Lehman levels. Wall Street banks paid out large year-end bonuses and are about to start paying dividends again. This professional confidence has been reflected in a steady stock market climb since the summer that’s barely experienced a major 1-day drop, let alone crash.

“Though we find the current steady, upward grind in the market to be very unusual, it is important to realize that these low volatility conditions can persist,” said Andrew Barber of Waverly Advisors, in a note. “For instance, from January 2004 to July 2007, 90 day realized volatility in the S&P 500 traded in a range roughly bounded by 7 percent to 13 percent, averaging just above 10 percent for most of that period. Yes, this is 3 1/2 years of volatility roughly equivalent to what we are seeing now.”

Overall volume has been very light in the market though, as the individual investor put more money into bonds last year than stocks in spite of the gains. Strategists said this has been one of the longer bull markets (starting in March 2009) with barely any retail participation. Flows into equity mutual funds did turn positive in January and have continued this month however, according to ICI and Yet the fear of a crash persists.

“Belief in a coming Flash Crash is Chicken Soup for the Underinvested Soul," said Josh Brown, money manager and author of The Reformed Broker blog. “They aren't so much expecting one as hoping for one - so they can rationalize buying into a market that's left them behind.”


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How utterly foolish - the Bush White House ...

... certainly could never have said something so idiotic and on a subject that may yet explode into a conflagration.

So – Iranian ships may be sailing through the Suez en route to Syria.

The White House was asked about this …

Reuters' Jeff Mason: Israel said today that Iranian war ships plan to sail through the Suez canal to Syria. Does the United States view that as a provocation and how should Israel react?

Carney: Our position on Iran and the right of way is well known and I would refer you on that specifically to the State Department. I don't have anything for you on the ship in the Suez. There's been a lot of spread of the unrest in Egypt to other areas in the mid east. The president referred to this issue yesterday and said that leaders of those country need to get out ahead of the change.

There is a video at that link.
Re-read what the WH said (Carney is now the White House spokesman) … and does it refer to anything, especially the question asked.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Egyptian Tourism

Plead with visitors to return to Land of the Pharaohs

Pyramid guides urge tourists to return to Egypt

Monday, 14 February 2011


Hundreds of Egyptian tour guides gathered in the shadow of the Great Pyramids on Monday to plead with tourists to return to the Land of the Pharaohs following the fall of Hosni Mubarak's regime.

The upheaval of recent weeks and media coverage of days of violent clashes have combined to scare off visitors and stifle Egypt's key tourism industry, threatening thousands of jobs.

Inspired by the success of political protests in bringing down the regime, workers in several public and private sector industries have launched a wave of strikes to demand pay rises.

But the message from tourism workers was simpler.

"Come back, reviens, komm wieder, vuelve!" they implored, against the postcard backdrop of the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx.

The guides -- whose business has been badly hit by the crisis -- gathered at the plateau site, celebrating St Valentine's Day with banners in English, French, Russian and German reading: "Egypt loves you."

"Tourism is like a delicate bird, it flies off at the slightest sound. But there's nothing to fear here, quite the contrary," insisted 37-year-old guide Hazem Hashem.

Behind them a handful of Egyptian visitors were at the site, but there were no foreigners to be seen and Cairo's hotels and gift shops stand empty.

"We need to make tourism come back to Egypt. We want to send the message to tourists all over the world that they are welcome here," said 27-year-old Hossam Khairy.

Khairy was one of the tens of thousands of protesters who seized central Cairo's Tahrir Square and occupied it for two weeks as part of the nationwide demonstrations that bought down Mubarak.

He feels that rather than scaring off visitors, the revolution should act as a draw, showing the world that Egyptians share the values of freedom enjoyed elsewhere.

"They'll discover a new country, a new people," Khairy said. "Before, when tourists asked me questions about the president, I was ashamed when I had to pretend that we were a democracy."

Politics forgottenSome of those working at the pyramids opposed the revolt, fearing it would harm their trade.

Workers from tourist stables charged the demonstration on horses and a camel during an attack by stone-throwing pro-regime thugs on February 2.

On Monday, however, politics was forgotten and the guides were simply concerned with persuading their foreign guests to return.

"The return of tourists is in our interest, but also in the interest of the entire country," said Hashem.

Some 16,000 unionised tourist guides work on Egypt's ancient sites, earning around 300 to 500 dollars per month in peak times, but most have been without pay now for three weeks, according to 34-year-old guide Oncy Khalil.

"We lost our income to win our freedom," he shrugged.

Tourism accounts for six percent of Egypt's gross domestic product, and February would normally be the height of the holiday season.

The sector brought in $13 billion in 2010, with a record 15 million people taking their holidays in the Land of the Pharaohs.

Alongside the guides, coach drivers, camel handlers, souvenir sellers, hotel waiters and taxi drivers have had a thin few weeks.

Shabula Abzimir shows visitors the ribs of his famished steed, crying out: "There is no business, no Americans. My horse can't eat, my family can't eat. This is not war, come back!"

[You will note he did not say the Euros or the Asians or the Russians.]

Strikes by government employees have erupted throughout the country to demand higher wages and benefits, despite Egypt's newly formed government vowing to raise public sector salaries and pensions by 15 percent.


Sunday, February 13, 2011


Whether they are off by a few gumballs or slightly off on colors ... they are not making up the numbers - the numbers for population are all census.  The immigration and world population numbers are not from, tey are from bank and the UN.

Population:  Immigration Changes

World Population and Immigration


WMDs in San Diego?

Interview Raises Questions Over Weapons Of Mass Effect In SD

Al Hallor Is Assistant Port Director With US Customs And Border Protection

10:00 am PST February 11, 2011

SAN DIEGO -- 10News was granted access to San Diego's seaport for a firsthand look at how Customs and Border Protection officers safeguard against weapons of mass effect.

"Given the open waterways and the access to the Navy fleet here, I'd say, absolutely, San Diego is a target," said Al Hallor, who is the assistant port director and an officer with Customs and Border Protection.

10News investigative reporter Mitch Blacher asked, "Do you ever find things that are dangerous like a chemical agent or a weaponized device?"

"At the airport, seaport, at our port of entry we have not this past fiscal year, but our partner agencies have found those things," said Hallor.

Customs and Border Protection officers clear 80 percent of all cargo before it enters the United States. Congress has mandated that they clear 100 percent of cargo imports by 2012. In San Diego, every cargo container is driven through a radiation detector before leaving San Diego's seaport.

"So, specifically, you're looking for the dirty bomb? You're looking for the nuclear device?" asked Blacher.

"Correct. Weapons of mass effect," Hallor said.

"You ever found one?" asked Blacher.

"Not at this location," Hallor said.

"But they have found them?" asked Blacher.

"Yes," said Hallor.

"You never found one in San Diego though?" Blacher asked.

"I would say at the port of San Diego we have not," Hallor said.

"Have you found one in San Diego?" Blacher asked.

The interview was interrupted before Hallor was able to answer the question.

Customs and Border Protection issued this statement after the interview:

CBP has not specifically had any incidents with nuclear devices or nuclear materials at our ports of entry. CBP is an all-threats agency. The purpose of many security measures is to prevent threats from ever materializing by being prepared for them. And, we must be prepared to stop threats in whatever form they do materialize at the border, whether it’s an individual or cargo arriving by land, air, or sea. Regardless of what the contraband or threat is, we’re being smart, evaluating, and focusing in on anything or anyone that is potentially high-risk.

We were able to show you first-hand one example of how we evaluate segment risk, inspect, etc. in the cargo environment by air and sea here in San Diego. This is one portion of the CBP mission, and hopefully gives you some examples of how much has evolved in the past decade, with the new technologies we have at our disposal. This, coupled with document requirements at the border, advanced passenger and cargo information, better information sharing, and many other measures help us to secure the border - and each measure doesn’t work individually or in a vacuum, but rather in the layered security that we were able to demonstrate one facet of.

Local Security Expert Reacts To Interview

Former Secret Service agent and airline security director Glen Winn watched 10News' unedited interview with Hallor and shared his thoughts.

"This person (Hallor) was, I believe, knowledgeable, has a very important position with the Port and the government, and as such has that knowledge," Winn said.

Winn continued, "You posed some very serious questions as to security gaps and discoveries that perhaps have taken place in this area. I want to know how many and where did you find them so if I'm in that area, driving around and I see something that is out of place, I make a phone call."


Friday, February 11, 2011

Multiculturalism has failed, says French president

Thu Feb 10, 6:10 pm ET

PARIS (AFP) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared Thursday that multiculturalism had failed, joining a growing number of world leaders or ex-leaders who have condemned it.

"My answer is clearly yes, it is a failure," he said in a television interview when asked about the policy which advocates that host societies welcome and foster distinct cultural and religious immigrant groups.

"Of course we must all respect differences, but we do not want... a society where communities coexist side by side.

"If you come to France, you accept to melt into a single community, which is the national community, and if you do not want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in France," the right-wing president said.

"The French national community cannot accept a change in its lifestyle, equality between men and women... freedom for little girls to go to school," he said.

"We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him," Sarkozy said in the TFI channel show.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australia's ex-prime minister John Howard and Spanish ex-premier Jose Maria Aznar have also recently said multicultural policies have not successfully integrated immigrants.

Merkel in October said efforts towards multiculturalism in Germany had "failed, totally."

The comment followed weeks of anguished debate sparked by the huge popularity of a book by a central banker saying that immigrants, in particular Muslims, were making Germany "more stupid."

Britain's Cameron last week pronounced his country's long-standing policy of multiculturalism a failure, calling for better integration of young Muslims to combat home-grown extremism.

He urged a "more active, muscular liberalism" where equal rights, the rule of law, freedom of speech and democracy are actively promoted to create a stronger national identity.

The prime minister, who took power in May 2010, argued that "under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream".

He said this had resulted in a lack of national identity in Britain which had made some young Muslims turn to extremist ideology.

Sarkozy said in his television interview Thursday that "our Muslim compatriots must be able to practise their religion, as any citizen can," but he noted "we in France do not want people to pray in an ostentatious way in the street."

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen late last year came under fire for comparing Muslims praying in the streets outside overcrowded mosques in France to the Nazi occupation.

Marine Le Pen said there were "ten to fifteen" places in France where Muslims worshipped in the streets outside mosques when these were full.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mexican Death Toll Marches On

Young males are killed in US cities, daily.  What makes this different is - it is a common event, one that forces witnesses to flee and seek protection outside the country, where witnesses refuse to say anything, and fear hides the killers.  It happens daily in mexican towns, but with more indiscriminate killing than we witness in most US cities in a years time.

The death toll marches on and Mexico pretends the police are on the job and doing all they can.

This is one case where their best is simply, not enough.

Teens from Texas school killed in Mexico

Friend says two of them were at a party in Ciudad Juarez before slayings


CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Two of the three teenage boys who were shot to death in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez had crossed the border from Texas for a party, then stayed to buy a car, a friend said Tuesday.

The boys were killed at 4:22 p.m. Saturday while looking at cars in a dealership in the city across the border from El Paso, Texas, Chihuahua prosecutors' spokesman Arturo Sandoval said. One was found inside a white Jeep Cherokee and the other two in the courtyard.

Carlos Mario Gonzalez Bermudez, 16, was a sophomore at Cathedral High School in El Paso, said Nick Gonzalez, the Roman Catholic brother who is the principal. Another victim, Juan Carlos Echeverri, 15, had been a freshman at the private all-boys Catholic school last year but left to study in Ciudad Juarez, Gonzalez said.

Both were U.S. citizens, he said.

The third teenager was identified as Cesar Yalin Miramontes Jimenez, 17.

A fourth young man also was with the teens and survived the shooting, but now fears for his life and is seeking refuge in the U.S., Gladys Luna, the grandmother of Echeverri, told The Associated Press.

Luna said her grandson and three friends had stopped at a dealership Saturday afternoon in one of the world's most-dangerous cities, after spotting a car with wheel rims that caught their eye.

"A group of boys or young men, not sure how many, came and asked for the owner of the car dealership," Luna said. "The workers said they didn't know and they started running, hiding."

The group that had asked for the dealership's owner then opened fire at the business that sits not far from the border separating El Paso and Juarez. At least 60 bullet casings were found at the scene.

Luna, who went to Juarez after the shooting Saturday, said she spoke with the survivor, who told her he hid under a car. She said he told her that her grandson was the first one hit by bullets.

"They had nothing to do with this. They had just stopped there to look at cars," Luna said.

Cathedral High student Arturo Yanar said Tuesday that he was friends with Gonzalez and Miramontes, and that they had been at a party together Friday night. He told The Associated Press that he didn't know Echeverri.

He said he returned to the U.S. after the party and that the others stayed because Gonzalez wanted to buy a used car.

Dozens of bullet casings

There were no leads on suspects or a motive, Sandoval said. Two managers were also in the dealership during the attack. One refused to give a statement, while the statement from the other manager was not released because of the pending investigation, Sandoval added. At least 60 bullet casings were found at the scene.

The nationality of the victims was unclear. Echeverri's father, Juan Carlos Echeverri Sr., said his son was a U.S. citizen and asked for justice, the El Paso Times said, citing a voice mail message.

The principal at Cathedral High said Gonzalez Bermudez mainly lived in Ciudad Juarez and commuted each day across the border. He said 20 percent of the 485 students enrolled at Cathedral are from Ciudad Juarez.

Gonzalez said the school's sophomore class had a prayer service Monday and officials planned a rosary service for the entire school later in the week.

"It's a lot of pain, a lot of sorrow, a lot of tears, a lot of coming together as a community to try to hold each other up and to try and make sense today," Gonzalez said. "How do you make sense of this meaningless tragedy? Hopefully this can really empower us to make a positive change in the border community because their deaths will have no meaning otherwise."

Many Ciudad Juarez residents travel across the border on a daily basis for work or study. Some Mexicans live in El Paso for safety reasons and commute to Ciudad Juarez.

"We're in the middle of this crisis in Juarez," Gonzalez told the Times, "And Cathedral opens its arms and its doors to a number of kids who are in this diaspora.

"I'm in awe of their love of Juarez, their anger at the injustice and their determination to survive this and to return and rebuild," he added.

Violent weekend

Ciudad Juarez has become one of the world's most dangerous cities amid a fierce turf war between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels. More than 3,000 people were killed last year in the city of 1.3 million residents.

Gonzalez said students at the school have had a number of relatives killed in the violence in Ciudad Juarez. A graduate of the school was killed last fall, he said.

"Our Juarez kids knew all three" of the teenagers killed over the weekend, he said. "It's a very tight-knit community. A lot of them car pool; that's how they know each other."

The Times report noted that the teens' murder was one of three triple homicides in Ciudad Juarez that weekend.

One shooting at a garage left three dead, including a 13-year-old boy, the newspaper said. The other incident involved a teenager, a woman and a 40-year-old man, the Times reported, citing the Chihuahua state attorney's office.

Three others died in separate shootings, the report said.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chinese Arrogance or Indifference to Truth

There is more to this story - the ramifications of the facts are more than disturbing to the Chinese, they undermine virtually all of Chinese history and mythology, which in turn undermines the authority of the regime in Beijing.

Mystery of the mummy's Chinese travel ban

The Independent
By Clifford Coonan in Beijing
Saturday, 5 February 2011

For her advanced years, she looks remarkable. Despite nearing the ripe old age of 4,000, long eyelashes still frame her half-open eyes and hair tumbles down to her remarkably well-preserved shoulders.

But the opportunity for new audiences in the United States to view the "Beauty of Xiaohe" – a near perfectly preserved mummy from an inhospitable part of western China – has been dealt a blow after it was pulled from an exhibition following a sudden call from the Chinese authorities on the eve of opening. The reason for pulling the mummy and other artefacts from the show remained unclear yesterday (Chinese officials were on New Year holiday) but there were suggestions that the realities of modern Chinese politics may have had a part to play.

The mummy was recovered from China's Tarim Basin, in Xinjiang province. But her Caucasian features raised the prospect that the region's inhabitants were European settlers.

It raises the question about who first settled in Xinjiang and for how long the oil-rich region has been part of China. The questions are important – most notably for the Chinese authorities who face an intermittent separatist movement of nationalist Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim people who number nine million in Xinjiang.

The government-approved story of China's first contact with the West dates back to 200BC when China's emperor Wu Di wanted to establish an alliance with the West against the marauding Huns, then based in Mongolia. However, the discovery of the mummies suggests that Caucasians were settled in a part of China thousands of years before Wu Di: the notion that they arrived in Xinjiang before the first East Asians is truly explosive.

Xinjiang is dominated by the Uighurs, who resent what they see as intrusion by the Han Chinese. The tensions which have spilled over into violent clashes in recent years.

Whatever the reason for the Chinese decision, it has caused great disappointment at the Pennsylvania museum where the "Secrets of the Silk Road" were due to go on show after successful exhibitions in California and Texas without major reproductions.

"It's going to be the rebirth of this museum," Victor Mair, a professor of Chinese language and literature, told the Associated Press last month. "It's going to put it back on the map."


Multiculturalism has failed: David Cameron meet Angela Merkle

5 February 2011

State multiculturalism has failed, says David Cameron

David Cameron said Britain had encouraged different cultures to live separate lives

David Cameron has criticised "state multiculturalism" in his first speech as prime minister on radicalisation and the causes of terrorism.

At a security conference in Munich, he argued the UK needed a stronger national identity to prevent people turning to all kinds of extremism.

He also signalled a tougher stance on groups promoting Islamist extremism.

The speech angered some Muslim groups, while others queried its timing amid an English Defence League rally in the UK.

As Mr Cameron outlined his vision, he suggested there would be greater scrutiny of some Muslim groups which get public money but do little to tackle extremism.

Ministers should refuse to share platforms or engage with such groups, which should be denied access to public funds and barred from spreading their message in universities and prisons, he argued.

"Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism," the prime minister said.

Human rights

"Let's properly judge these organisations: Do they believe in universal human rights - including for women and people of other faiths? Do they believe in equality of all before the law? Do they believe in democracy and the right of people to elect their own government? Do they encourage integration or separatism?

"These are the sorts of questions we need to ask. Fail these tests and the presumption should be not to engage with organisations," he added.

It's time the right hand knew what the far-right hand is doing”

The Labour MP for Luton South, Gavin Shuker, asked if it was wise for Mr Cameron to make the speech on the same day the English Defence League staged a major protest.

Luton Labour MEP Richard Howitt, a keynote speaker at the counter-rally to the EDL demo in Luton, added: "The attack on multiculturalism surrenders to the far-right ideology that moderate and fundamentalist ideas cannot be distinguished from each other, and actually undermines respect and co-operation between peoples of different faith.

"The phrase 'muscular liberalism' in particular sadly endorses the climate of threat, fear and violence which is present on the streets of Luton today."

In a joint statement, Luton council and Bedfordshire police said a "tiny handful" of people from various backgrounds had a message of hate, but the majority in Luton lived in harmony and were not "cut off" from each other.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Council of Britain's assistant secretary general, Dr Faisal Hanjra, described Mr Cameron's speech as "disappointing".

He told Radio 4's Today programme: "We were hoping that with a new government, with a new coalition that there'd be a change in emphasis in terms of counter-terrorism and dealing with the problem at hand.

Bunglawala from Muslims4Uk says Mr Cameron is "firing at the wrong target"

"In terms of the approach to tackling terrorism though it doesn't seem to be particularly new.

"Again it just seems the Muslim community is very much in the spotlight, being treated as part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution."

In the speech, Mr Cameron drew a clear distinction between Islam the religion and what he described as "Islamist extremism" - a political ideology he said attracted people who feel "rootless" within their own countries.

"We need to be clear: Islamist extremism and Islam are not the same thing," he said.

The government is currently reviewing its policy to prevent violent extremism, known as Prevent, which is a key part of its wider counter-terrorism strategy.

A genuinely liberal country "believes in certain values and actively promotes them", Mr Cameron said.

"Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law. Equal rights, regardless of race, sex or sexuality.

"It says to its citizens: This is what defines us as a society. To belong here is to believe these things."

He said under the "doctrine of state multiculturalism", different cultures have been encouraged to live separate lives.

'I am a Londoner too'

"We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values."

Building a stronger sense of national and local identity holds "the key to achieving true cohesion" by allowing people to say "I am a Muslim, I am a Hindu, I am a Christian, but I am a Londoner... too", he said.

Security minister Baroness Neville-Jones said when Mr Cameron expressed his opposition to extremism, he meant all forms, not just Islamist extremism.

"There's a widespread feeling in the country that we're less united behind values than we need to be," she told Today.

"There are things the government can do to give a lead and encourage participation in society, including all minorities."

But the Islamic Society of Britain's Ajmal Masroor said the prime minister did not appreciate the nature of the problem.

"I think he's confusing a couple of issues: national identity and multiculturalism along with extremism are not connected. Extremism comes about as a result of several other factors," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

Former home secretary David Blunkett said while it was right the government promoted national identity, it had undermined its own policy by threatening to withdraw citizenship lessons from schools.

He accused Education Secretary Michael Gove of threatening to remove the subject from the national curriculum of secondary schools in England at a time "we've never needed it more".

"It's time the right hand knew what the far-right hand is doing," he said.

"In fact, it's time that the government were able to articulate one policy without immediately undermining it with another."


Friday, February 4, 2011

Tax Payers

Who exactly is it that pays the taxes and who doesn't?

With the Bush tax cuts in full swing - you know, the ones that only helped the rich..



The top 5 tax states

Taking state tax and an average of local tax for a combined total of:

#1 - Tennessee -  9.44%

#2 - California - 9.08%

#3 - Arizona - 9.01%

#4 - Louisiana - 8.69%

#5 - Washington - 8.65%

So we are not the highest, but far from average.

On the other end, Oregon, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Montana all have 0% tax.
Alaska has a 1.1% tax.

Source: Tax Foundation



On day 1 of selling Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, Verizon Wireless (VZ) sold out in just 2 hours and quit taking pre-orders Thu. night. That was a record for Verizon and ended AT&T's (T)3 years of exclusive iPhone rights. Verizon will start selling iPhones in stores Feb. 10; it could sell up to 12 mil in '11. Big iPhone subsidies could hit Verizon's profit, analysts said.

Investors Business Daily
Gore's Unending Blizzard Of Lies
Investors Business Daily
02/03/2011 06:27 PM ET

Hoaxes: As the nation digs itself out, the grand wizard of global warming comes out of hiding and blames it all on that SUV stuck in your driveway. A blizzard is a terrible thing to waste.

What has been dubbed the Groundhog Day Blizzard has caused Al Gore to poke his head out of his massive carbon-generating mansion in Nashville, Tenn., to blame the 2,000-mile storm on our alleged obsession with fossil fuels.

Sorry, Al, but in Chicago the solar panels were buried under upward of two feet of snow as citizens cranked up those polluting snow blowers, a scene repeated in much of the country. In the middle of blowing snow, blowing smoke does not help. Get our drift?

Fox News icon Bill O'Reilly recently asked rhetorically, "Why has southern New York turned into the tundra?" He said he'd left a message for Gore. Gore replied on his blog Tuesday that "scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe" and that what we are shoveling is a result of "increased evaporation meeting the cold air of winter."

Gore has been relatively quiet in recent months as the hot air of his theories met the cold logic of observable fact. Earth has demonstrably cooled in the past decade as the sun and its solar cycle grew quiet.

The ClimateGate scandal was a direct result of scientists — and we use the term loosely — at Britain's Climate Research Unit and others, such as Michael Mann, conspiring to manipulate data to "hide the decline" in global temperatures.

Mann was the architect behind the famous hockey-stick graph produced in 1999. It really should have been dubbed the hokey stick, since it was developed by Mann using manipulated tree ring data. It supposedly proved that air temperatures had been stable for 900 years, then soared off the charts in the 20th century.

The assessment reports of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been exposed as fraudulent accumulations of anecdotal evidence and speculation.

Case in point was the claim in its 2007 report that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035. It was not based on any scientific study or research. It was instead based on one scientist's speculation in a telephone interview with a reporter.

Some Himalayan glaciers are in fact advancing, and a report by scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Potsdam said there was "no uniform response of Himalayan glaciers to climate change" and highlighted "the importance of debris cover for understanding glacier retreat."

People such as Gore, who used to moan about "global warming" but are now faced with a demonstrably cooling earth, have begun talking instead about "climate change," which covers just about everything under our quiet sun.

As Gore writes in his blog post, climate change "can create all sorts of havoc, ranging from hotter dry spells to colder winters." So if it's too hot or too cold or too wet or too dry, it's all due to climate change.

In 2007, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., warned that we wouldn't have enough snow and that "the most optimistic climate models for the second half of this century suggest that 30% to 70% of the snow pack will disappear."

In 2009, Boxer warned: "Looking at the United States of America, the IPCC clearly warned that unchecked global warming will lead to reduced snow pack in the Western mountains, critically reducing access to water, which is our lifeblood."

Reduced snow? On the Senate floor on March 31, 2002, Sen. Robert Byrd said the lack of snow that winter in the nation's capital showed the need to do something about global warming. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein in 2005 said of Sierra Nevada white stuff: "By the end of the century, the shrinking of the snow pack will eliminate the water source for 16 million people."

Too much snow, too little snow, floods and droughts, all caused by global warming, er, climate change. Al Gore and friends have been doing a lot of shoveling, but it hasn't been the white stuff.

global warming

Dysfunctional Comes to Mind

Some things are just too strange to be fictional.

Son testifies against father in murder-for-hire plot

Feb 2, 2011

To call it a "family affair" is accurate, if an understatement.

Sordid details of what authorities allege was a father's attempt to whack his son over an insurance scam and sexual affairs were recounted Wednesday during a preliminary hearing in Las Vegas Justice Court.

Dominick Harriman, 27, testified his father, Keith Harriman, 48, wanted him dead because he told insurance fraud investigators his father's $160,000 burglary loss claim was a scam to feed his crack cocaine addiction.

Dominick Harriman said his father also was angry because he had slept with both his dad's ex-girlfriend and his ex-wife.

"He said, 'You're gonna pay for this. You're gonna pay for what you did,' " the son testified.

Dominick Harriman was shot at least nine times Aug. 27 at the used car dealership where he worked. The shooter has not been identified.

Keith Harriman's public defender, Gary Guymon, hurled accusations at the son during cross-examination, implying that the younger Harriman's own criminal history was motive for a hit. He suggested that Dominick Harriman might been shot because he was a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informant.

In a dramatic move Wednesday, Dominick Harriman took off his shirt to show the court his entrance and exit wounds from the shooting. His new scars came when he was taking a smoke break at Nice Cars of Nevada, 3401 S. Decatur Blvd., where he sold cars for his uncle.

The gunman, masked with a bandana, came up behind him and fired from less than five feet away.

Dominick Harriman was struck in the chest, both lungs, the abdomen, back and arms, which he had used to shield his face from bullets as he tried to escape. In court he recalled seeing his own intestines ooze out of stomach wounds before a customer who was a nurse helped.

"The nurse was sticking her fingers in the holes," he said. "My guts were coming out of the holes. I felt like I was drowning in my own blood."

Authorities said he was shot nine times, but a physician reported the number was 12, he said.

Harriman testified he thought his father had ordered the hit because of the insurance scam and because he was sleeping with his former girlfriend, Rena Nikolopoulos, 31.

Dominick Harriman also testified he had slept with Keith Harriman's ex-wife, his former stepmother, Amy Nabors.

Though Guymon hammered Harriman about criminality, including armed robbery, drug dealing, gang activity, and fraud, the 27-year-old denied any link between his past and his shooting.

Dominick Harriman has had several other run-ins with the law. In 2005, he was arrested in Pahrump on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, and he pleaded guilty to attempted possession of a controlled substance in Las Vegas.

Two years earlier, he was identified by police as a member of the 311 Boyz gang and was arrested in a rock-throwing incident that maimed teenager Stephen Tanner Hansen. In a plea agreement, Dominick Harriman did not contest a charge of conspiracy to commit coercion and was given one year of probation and a $2,000 fine.

Also testifying Wednesday was Patricia Harriman, Keith Harriman's daughter. She said that months before the shooting, her father had told her he was sending black men to kill Dominick Harriman and warned her not to stand near her brother when he was at work.

A co-worker at the Nice Cars dealership, Miguel Saca, who was shot in the foot during the attack, also testified. He said the gunman was a black man.

After several hours of testimony, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Ann Zimmerman said she would rule next month whether Keith Harriman should face trial in District Court.

The elder Harriman is charged with several felonies including attempted murder. He is on house arrest after posting $500,000 bond.

Zimmerman said the public defender's office no longer could represent him after she ruled in the case, which was expected to happen March 4. Zimmerman ordered the defendant to hire an attorney because he has assets that include his business, the Used Car Factory on South Highland Drive near the Strip.

Prosecutor Giancarlo Pesci had questioned why the public defender's office was representing a man who could afford to post a $500,000 bond.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Today is the Day. What to do????

Will it be the iphone or stay with Blackberry. 

Do I want to plug my phone into a computer to charge it (they have separate chargers now), do i want itunes in control, do I want apple invested on my computer (a non-apple product).  Do I want to change? 

Given all the change we have had for a couple years, I am not sure, but .... if I haven't already, there still may be time!!


Mexico pissed off by the Brits

Mexico complains about BBC show's "offensive" slurs

By Michael Holden
Tue Feb 1, 2011 12:54pm EST

(Reuters) - Mexico's ambassador in London has written a furious letter to BBC bosses to complain about "offensive and xenophobic" comments made by presenters of the popular TV motoring show "Top Gear."

Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora was infuriated by "insults" made by presenters Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May during Sunday's episode of the cult show, which has been sold to television channels around the world.

"Why would you want a Mexican car? Because cars reflect national characteristics don't they?," said Hammond as they discussed the Mexican sports car, the Mastretta.

"Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat."

The trio then described Mexican food as "refried sick" before suggesting Mexicans spent all day asleep.

"That's why we won't get any complaints about this because at the Mexican embassy the ambassador's going to be sitting there with a remote control like this," said Clarkson, pretending to slump in a chair, snoring.

However, the ambassador did complain, demanding the BBC order the presenters to make a public apology.

"The presenters of the program resorted to outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults to stir bigoted feelings against the Mexican people, their culture as well as their official representative in the united Kingdom," he wrote.

"These offensive, xenophobic and humiliating remarks serve only to reinforce negative stereotypes and perpetuate prejudice against Mexico and its people."

The BBC said in a statement: "We have received a letter from the Mexican Ambassador, and shall respond to him directly."

Top Gear is well-known for its edgy banter and its hosts are no strangers to controversy. Hundreds of viewers complained in 2008 about a joke made by Clarkson about murdering prostitutes.

The program was also rapped by the BBC's independent watchdog for showing the presenters drinking while driving a car in the Arctic.

"Although casual banter is an essential component of the program's appeal, humor never justifies xenophobia," Medina wrote.

"It is not a matter of taste but of basic principles."


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dems object to GOP gov't transparency probe

Congressmen say Rep. Issa's inquiry will burden federal agencies

updated 2/2/2011 4:09:04 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Some Democrats in Congress objected Wednesday to early steps taken by the new Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to conduct a broad inquiry into President Barack Obama's promises to improve government transparency.

Reps. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, Gerald Connolly of Virginia and Peter Welch of Vermont complained in a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., that his investigation will burden federal agencies responsible for producing government records under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act requested by citizens, journalists, companies and others. Cummings is the senior Democrat on the House oversight committee.

Issa last week demanded details of every such request during the last five years, plus copies of all letters or e-mails between government workers and people with pending requests. He said the effort would make sure that "all federal agencies respond in a timely, substantive and non-discriminatory manner" to requests for records under the information law.

The five-year window would cover part of the Bush administration and the first years of Obama's presidency.

In their letter to Issa on Wednesday, the Democrats said the investigation would require government offices to turn over perhaps hundreds of thousands of documents. "Without a defined focus, your inquiry will place a significant burden on FOIA offices and divert limited staff from processing requests from the public," they wrote.

Issa's investigation into government transparency under Obama is among the earliest by Republicans since they won control of the House, and targets one of the first pledges Obama made after he moved into the White House.

The investigation was at least partly prompted by reports last year from The Associated Press that the Homeland Security Department had sidetracked hundreds of requests for federal records to top political advisers, who wanted information about those requesting the materials.

In some cases the release of documents considered politically sensitive was delayed, according to more than 1,000 pages of e-mails obtained by the AP.

The Democrats said they were uncomfortable with Issa's request for names of all people who sought federal records, dates of their requests, descriptions of what they asked to receive and whether they ever received anything. They said Issa should modify his request to not include names.

"It is unclear why the committee needs the identities of specific FOIA requesters," they wrote.

Names of people who ask the government for records and details about what they sought under the Freedom of Information Act are generally available publicly, and many are published by federal agencies online.


Egyptians were the Losers with Camp David: Slaves to Peace

I suppose all that humiliation they feel is not tempered by the more than $120 million in trade each year or the 15,000 jobs created as a result of that trade.

The 15,000 employed will be unemployed but not humiliated - assuming the statements in the article are accurate.  They will feel much better, although I suspect they will blame Israel for the loss of their jobs.

'We know that Netanyahu cannot sleep now’

Jerusalem Post

Protesters tell 'The Jerusalem Post' they don't feel Egypt is completely free of Israeli occupation, "Camp David made us a slave."

“After Camp David, all the Arab world sees that we are no longer a leader. Camp David made us a slave”

Like many at Tahir square on Tuesday night, 26-year-old Mohammed Salama of Cairo spoke of an eagerness for Egypt to shelve its nearly three decade old peace agreement with Israel, but insisted he does not want the country to go to war with Israel. In his hands he held a sign reading in Arabic “Netanyahu is worried about Mubarak”, which he said he wrote because “this is my country and my leader, I don’t want him to care about Israel, only about my country.”

Salama spoke moments after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak gave a nationwide speech vowing to hold new elections in six months in which he would not run. Like all of those spoken to by The Jerusalem Post after the speech, Salama said he didn’t feel the speech represented a victory for the movement, only a new ploy by Mubarak to stall and stay in power. Salama and all others spoken to by the Post vowed that they would stay in the square as long as it takes until Mubarak leaves and that the revolution is far from over.

Salama’s friend, Hazan Ahmed, 29, said the years of peace with Israel are tinged with the sting of humiliation, and that Egyptians still feel they’re country is not completely free of the Israeli occupation of the Sinai which ended under Camp David.

“The Egyptian army can’t enter Sinai, we feel that it is still Israel. There are Israeli people there all the time, but when we go, we have to stop at checkpoints and we get turned back. We don’t feel that Sinai is Egyptian.”

Ahmed said he didn’t want Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel completely demolished, but for it to undergo a serious change.

“It should be remodeled. With Mubarak leaving, we know that whoever comes next will remodel the agreement.”

When asked about the fact that Israel and Egypt have not gone to war since the agreement was signed, Ahmed, an unemployed medical school graduate said “yes, we have peace, but we have no dignity.”

Cairene Mohammed Gadi, a 33-year-old sales manager, walked around Tahrir square Tuesday holding a placard of Mubarak with a star of David drawn on his forehead. When asked about the sign, he said he wrote it because “we don’t want to take our orders from Israel anymore. We will keep the peace, but we won’t let Israel or any other country tell us what to do anymore. We don’t need to take orders from the world.”

Abdel Aziz, 27, from Mubarak’s hometown of Kfar El-Meselha, held a sign Tuesday saying “Bollocks to you Mubarak, it’s all over”. When asked about Israel, Aziz said “this is not about Israel, this is about our country first, we don’t care about other countries. This is not why we are doing this.”

Ahmad Ragab, 42, spoke more vehemently towards Israel saying “look, all Egyptian people hate Israel, only Sadat wanted Camp David. We know that Israel will be mad about what is happening here, and we know that Netanyahu can’t sleep now. We know that with the change here, there won’t be peace with Israel. There won’t be a war, but I don’t think there will be an Israeli embassy in Egypt any more, we will have only the most minimal relations.”

Ragab, who studied Chinese and works in Egypt-China business relations, said “we know the revolution will change this and that’s that, we see every day what Israel is doing with the Palestinians.”

At the same time, like all others asked by the Jerusalem Post after Mubarak’s speech about the revolution’s meaning for Israel-Egypt relations, Ragab said the issue was not at all at the heart of the January 25th upheaval.

“People in Egypt have no work, no future, 90% of Egyptian people see they have no future. They are tired.” Mohammed Salama issued a similar remark, saying “I work 20 hours a day in security for 300 Egyptian pounds a month, I feel terrible doing this. I studied law, I am a poet and a writer too, but I have no options and I can’t get married. I have a good education, I deserve a good chance to prove I can be somebody.”

As much as resentment towards Israel or the US, or the violence by Mubarak’s security services and the state police are mentioned by the protesters, their movement appears to be much more driven by exhaustion at a future that promises nothing to a largely destitute citizenry that doesn’t feel they have the ability to support themselves or their families. Among young people especially, the issue of not having a future in the country where they grew up stokes their fury, and drives them to seek the answers in democracy. When asked how democracy will bring prosperity to a country where nearly half the populace lives on less than $2/day, most protesters seemed at a loss for a definitive answer, but all expressed absolute certainty that the removal of Mubarak and his, in their view cleptocratic regime, will surely bring them a greater chance at prosperity.

For Ahmed Khater, a 26-year-old Cairene sitting in the square with the words “Mubarak get the hell out” written on his forehead, the promise of a better future has never been clearer.

“I have a bachelors degree and I get paid 500 pounds a month to be a computer technician. I can’t get married, I have no future. Mubarak’s people, they just steal our money, they keep everything for themselves and they forget that we are the owners of the country.”

“We were sleeping until now, but we are awake,” Khater added.


Make Mine Freedom - 1948

American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.