Thursday, December 30, 2010

Exploding Baggage

Wasn't terrorist in the conventional meaning. Just a reminder of what stupid is.

Not just the guy trying to smuggle primers into Jamaica, but the oppressive firearm and ammo laws in that country.

MIA Bullet Bomb Scare Suspect Will Flee: Feds
Orville Braham was headed to Jamaica from Boston when his luggage exploded

The FBI has identified the man who was arrested Tuesday after TSA officials said his luggage contained volatile ammunition parts, which caused his bag to explode just before it was about to be loaded on a plane.

Orville Braham, 37, had 500 to 700 bullet primers in his luggage. Primers are considered the "spark plugs" of a bullet and ignites the gun powder, projecting it toward the intended target.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcmiami.com/video.



Federal prosecutors argued Wednesday that Braham should be held in detention until trial because he is a high flight risk. He was headed to Jamaica when the bag exploded.

Officials originally said the exploding bag was caused by a hairspray aerosol can.

The Miami-Dade bomb squad was called to the airport around 11:30 a.m. after a baggage handler said he was taking luggage to an American Airlines plane that had just arrived from Boston and a bag exploded, sending pieces of metal flying.

The FBI confirmed the passenger and the exploding checked bag -- as well as a second bag, also containing hundreds of primers -- got on the flight in Boston and the luggage was being transferred to another flight headed for Jamaica.

The 148 original passengers from Flight 2585 had already departed the plane before the incident.

Officials believe when the baggage handler sat the bag down on the ground, it caused one of the bullet primers to rupture and explode, which ignited a chain reaction among the other tiny pieces of metal.

Oh yea, when the bag was sat down.



FULL STORY

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Iran’s Political Hanging

Two men were hanged in Iran, one supposedly for selling military secrets to Israel's intelligence Mossad. The other just because he bellyached over the lousy economy.

Gotta blame somebody, allege spies and activists work.
I wonder why hanging? Do they save stoning for women?

Iran hangs allege spy, militant

The two were arrested years ago. Critics say the executions are part of an attempt by the government to send a message as the public outcry increases over cutbacks in fuel and food subsidies.
Ali Saremi
allegedly distributing CDs and leaflets promoting an outlawed opposition group.


Iran on Tuesday executed a man accused of spying for Israel and another for allegedly distributing CDs and leaflets promoting an outlawed opposition group. The hangings come amid a crackdown on activists that has coincided with unpopular economic austerity measures.

Ali Akbar Siadat was accused of peddling military secrets to Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel. Ali Saremi was an alleged member of the militant group Mujahedin Khalq. Both were hanged at dawn in Tehran's Evin Prison, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

I fully understand executing somebody convicted of spying, but for handing out information critical of the government?

It was not released just where or how Mr Ali Akbar Siadat alleged spy got such information to sell. But then I suppose nobody asked, why risk ones neck for that?

The men were arrested and accused of their crimes years ago, and activists said the government executed them now probably as part of an attempt to send a message to the opposition. Public discontent is growing in the wake of a drastic reduction in fuel and food subsidies that has sent prices skyrocketing.

Those who question the reduction have been accused of "economic sedition" meant to undermine the Islamic Republic.



Khodorkovsky Trial

They say, we say.
All in all looks to me most likely Russia has a ways to go in creating an independent judiciary.

Wonder what if anything the West should do? I am inclined to say it's not our problem.

Russia accuses West of meddling in Khodorkovsky trial



(Reuters) - Russia accused the United States and Europe on Tuesday of trying to influence the trial of jailed former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, calling such efforts unacceptable and warning the West to mind its own business.

Moscow's angry message came as Khodorkovsky, whose imprisonment has been a bone of contention between Russia and the West for years, awaited a new sentence that could keep him in jail until 2017 after being found guilty of theft.

Prosecutors are seeking an additional six-year prison term for Khodorkovsky, the former Yukos oil company CEO who is 10 months from the end of an eight-year sentence imposed after a previous trial during Vladimir Putin's presidency.
_________________________________________________________________________
"Attempts to apply pressure on the court are unacceptable," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement,
_________________________________________________________________________
Western officials said the guilty verdict raised doubts about the Kremlin's commitment to the rule of law and human rights, and warned they were closely watching the case.


FULL TEXT

Putin's Prisoner



VIDEO LINK

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Present Gift Return, Made Easy

In my youth I worked for a big department store in a mall during Christmas.

I thought last minute shopping was crazy, little did I know.
Went to work day after Christmas expecting some calm, call me naive but little did I know.
Before the doors opened an announcement was made over the public announcement system that every returned product would be refunded, without question even if it did not appear to have been bought at that store.
That day was insane.
Never able to understand, unless it was a really an inappropriate present, I do not understand bringing a present to a store for a cash refund.

Not only is it inappropriate, but costly to the merchant.
But then it is about the giving which is the Christmas spirit, or cashing back.
Whatever

Amazon patents procedure to let recipients avoid undesirable gifts

Undoubtedly, the Thread and Bobbin Sewing Kit that Aunt Mildred sent from Amazon.com for Christmas will never see a stitch. The Stallion Stable Music Box might have looked pretty on the computer screen, but under the tree's flickering lights, it is frightful. The polka-dot nightgown has never been a good idea, even with free shipping.


Amazon is working on a solution that could revolutionize digital gift buying. The on line retailer has quietly patented a way for people to return gifts before they receive them, and the patent documents even mention poor Aunt Mildred. Amazon's innovation, not ready for this Christmas season, includes an option to "Convert all gifts from Aunt Mildred," the patent says. "For example, the user may specify such a rule because the user believes that this potential sender has different tastes than the user." In other words, the consumer could keep an online list of lousy gift-givers whose choices would be vetted before anything ships.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

the ’Jesus trail’

It is funny that Arab Muslims reap so much profit from Christian tourists. At least they can look forward to a Merry Christmas.

Curious, Christmas means safety from Muslim terrorists in Bethlehem while the rest of the world sit around awaiting another Underwear Bomber.

Think Christmas is commercial? Wait until you see the 'Jesus trail'
By SHEERA FRENKEL

McClatchy Newspapers

Strains of "Silent Night" stream from the tour bus speakers on what has become known as the Jesus circuit in Nazareth, northern Israel.

Locals here joke that the carols constitute a whole new category of music in the largely Palestinian city, but the bigger joke, they claim, is making money selling Americans their own Christmas music.

"There have always been Christians who come to the Holy Land. But in recent years they come in huge groups, in tour bus caravans, in the thousands!" said Ibrihim Mansouf, a local shop owner in Nazareth. "They want to buy anything, anything that was made in the Holy Land."

A cross is seen backdropped by the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, during a Christmas parade in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Friday, Dec. 24, 2010. Thousands of tourists, pilgrims and clergy converged on Bethlehem on Friday as the town of Jesus' birth prepared to celebrate Christmas Eve.(AP 

Of the 3.5 million tourists that visit Israel each year, 2.4 million travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories for "Christian Tourism" according to the Israeli Tourism Ministry.


It's a billion-dollar industry - one that both Israeli and Palestinian businesses have just begun to capitalize on.

"The Holy Land is becoming the heart of life for people of faith across the entire world. Christmas is a tradition of this land, and all the inhabitants can enjoy the atmosphere and message of peace that the season brings," said Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the custodian of the Holy Land, who oversees Israel and neighboring countries on behalf of the Franciscan Order.

In recent years, there has been a boom in sites and services that mix modern-day tourism with biblical stories. In the north, tourists can visit the "Nazareth Village" a re-creation of life in the time of Christ, complete with wandering shepherds and carpenters who interact with guests.

The "Jesus trail" begins just outside the city, and allows the hardy to walk - quite literally - in the footsteps of Jesus. It's 40 miles long and takes three to five days to cover. Across the north of Israel, Maronite Christian villages offer one-week Aramaic courses based on readings from the New Testament, as well as walks along the hills where Jesus is said to have given the sermon on the Mount.

All of this before tourists even get to Jerusalem or Bethlehem.

"Tourism is a bridge to peace and dialogue among cultures," Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov told reporters recently. In recent years, his office has worked to establish access to tour sites in Israel, as well as in the Palestinian territories, he said.

"If I can bring in three more tourists, and two of them visit the Palestinian areas, they will create employment there. This is a win-win situation for Israel and the Palestinian Authority," said the Russian-born Misezhnikov.

Not everyone feels that Israel's new push to cater to Christian tourists benefits both sides equally.

Victor Batarseh, mayor of Bethlehem, recently lashed out as Israeli Tourism officials for trying to "cash in" on tourists visiting the region.

"Israel takes 95 percent of the benefits (of tourism to Bethlehem)," he said. "Israel uses the name of Bethlehem, since religious tourists go to two places, Bethlehem and Jerusalem."

He argued that years of Israel's military occupation and the separation barrier that winds its way around the city have made it difficult for businessmen in Bethlehem to make ends meet - let along build the type of infrastructure the tens of thousands of tourists would need.

This year, every single hotel room in Bethlehem has been booked - with tens of thousands of tourists spilling out in neighboring Jerusalem for accommodation.

"We don't have enough hotel rooms to deal with these numbers. That's why most of these pilgrims sleep over in Israel. That's why they get most of the profits," Batarseh said. There are five new hotels currently under development in Bethlehem, but Batarseh said that 10,000 to 15,000 additional rooms would need to be built to house the tourists the city sees in one Christmas season.

Misezhnikov said Batarseh is unjustly heaping guilt onto Israel. He pointed out that Israel has endorsed several international conferences in Bethlehem to plan and fundraise for future business projects in the city.

"I would support any plan that would build world-class and innovative tourism accommodations. I have been pushing for this whether it happens in the Palestinian areas or Jewish ones," Misezhnikov said.
Sarah Anderson, a 46-year-old teacher from Chicago, visited Bethlehem and Jerusalem for the first time this week.

"There is a big wall between them, and I was expecting two different worlds," she said. "But I felt the holiness of each place was equal and special and had nothing to do with politics."



FULL STORY: Miami Herald

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ghost Towns in China

This a fascinating story.

The ghost towns of China: Amazing satellite images show cities meant to be home to millions lying deserted

Ghost city: Kangbashi was meant to be the urban centre for wealthy coal-mining community Ordos and home to its one million workers, but its roads are eerily empty and the houses stand vacant

These amazing satellite images show sprawling cities built in remote parts of China that have been left completely abandoned, sometimes years after their construction.

Elaborate public buildings and open spaces are completely unused, with the exception of a few government vehicles near communist authority offices.
Some estimates put the number of empty homes at as many as 64 million, with up to 20 new cities being built every year in the country's vast swathes of free land.

I suspect this a result of central planning and those who do that do not understand what they are doing.

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences:
Of the 35 major cities surveyed, property prices in eleven including Beijing and Shanghai were between 30 and 50 per cent above their market value

That is an incredible statement, or there is something happening in China I just can't comprehend.

Prices equal MARKET VALUE!

No cars in the city except for approximately 100 clustered around the government headquarters

Shi has insisted China will not end up in a worse place than Dubai - where a property price bubble imploded during the global financial crisis.

PRICE BUBBLE represents an inflated MARKET PRICE!

Find out what is causing the bubble and pop it before it causes to much damage!

Back when I sold my house in California it was no secret that prices were inflated and eventually the BUBBLE would pop.

Causes were no less than central planning by liberal wackos like Barney Fag, oops I mean Sen. Barney Frank who helped push quasi government agencies like Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac to guarantee home loans to people who had no business buying a house. Followed by unscrupulous financiers with nothing to loose.

So much for the liberal concept that everybody has a RIGHT to own their own house.

I wonder what the problem in China is.

Is it some philosophical idiotology or simply greed by some who will no matter what profit immensely?

For Full Story and Pictures From the

MailOnline       

CLICK HERE

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

China Leans on North Korea?

I am not making any bets, or holding my breath if this signifies positive news.

Now that's said.
To me it is apparent that when China sighs,  an ill wind engulfs the city of Pyongyang, capital of an ill governed impoverish country.
China calls on N Korea to admit inspectors

Beijing, Pyongyang’s only ally, has refused to criticise it publicly despite being pressed since a North Korean attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in November. “We support North Korea to make peaceful use of nu-clear energy, but it should also respect inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency under the framework of the six-party talks,” said Jiang Yu, a foreign ministry spokeswoman.

 
FT.COM  (FINICIAL TIMES UK)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Commodity Prices Sore, Traders Hoard

Except maybe to get a glimpse of what the future holds I really don't know what to make of this.

No doubt we will be hearing a lot about the global demand for and concentration of raw materials. In that vein I find this story interesting.

Trader Holds $3 Billion of Copper in London
As commodity prices soar to new records, the ability of a few traders to hold huge swaths of the world's stockpiles is coming under scrutiny.


The latest example is in the copper market, where a single trader has reported it owns 80% to 90% of the copper sitting in London Metal Exchange warehouses, equal to about half of the world's exchange-registered copper stockpile and worth about $3 billion.


Copper soared to a new record of $4.2705 per pound on Tuesday in New York, and is up 28.3% this year. Here, the Cerro Verde copper mine in the Atacama desert near Arequipa, Peru.
The report coincided with copper prices soaring to new records on Tuesday. Commodities prices rallied along with stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 55.03 points, or 0.48%, to 11533.16, its highest level since August 2008. Crude oil jumped to its highest level in more than two years and topped $90 a barrel in late electronic trading in New York. Corn and soybeans rose amid worries about hot weather in Argentina.

Copper soared to a new record of $4.2705 per pound on Tuesday in New York, and is up 28.3% this year. The LME's three-month copper contract closed at $9,353.50 a metric ton, up 1.6% on the day, a new record.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. recently had a large position in copper, though it is unclear whether the U.S. bank increased its holdings, or whether a new player has taken dominant position.

"Regardless of who owns it, the only thing of note here is that we are being told that one person has a substantial position," said David Threlkeld, president of Resolved Inc., a metals consultancy.


FULL ARTICLE

Monday, December 20, 2010

Yea! Dream Act Kiled!

It is a shame that our Federal Government will not protect our borders.
Both the Democratic Party and Republican parties, for selfish/political reasons continue to not enforce immigration laws.

It has come to this, a rehensible bill passed by the House of Representatives, called the DREAM Act.
By another name is an AMNESTY bill for illegal immigrants.

Be it for minors or whoever makes no difference. This Act would put preference to ILLEGAL  ACTS.

What message does that give to millions of other people who wish to come to my country?
The law means nothing?

Dream Act Fails in Senate

WASHINGTON—The Senate on Saturday refused to advance a bill aimed at helping the children of illegal immigrants gain legal status, dealing the measure a likely death blow for the foreseeable future.

The Dream Act—which stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors—was aimed at helping people brought into the country illegally when they were 15 or younger. It would have let them obtain citizenship if they attended two years of college or served for two years in the military. To qualify, they also would have had to live in the U.S. for five years and graduate from high school.


The bill failed on a 55-41 vote. It would have required 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.


FULL STORY

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crisis In Iran

Reductions of subsidies for basic needs create turmoil.

One would think that the Mullahs would think more of their domestic problems than fabricating enemies so to pursue nuclear weapons.

Subsidy Cuts Quadruple Gas Prices in Iran
TEHRAN — Gasoline prices nearly quadrupled on Sunday and riot police guarded filling stations around the capital as deep cuts in subsidies on fuel and other essential goods took effect.

And they are sitting atop one of the richest oil reserves on the planet.

After midnight on Sunday, the price of subsidized gasoline jumped to 38 cents a liter from 10 cents a liter. Similar increases went into effect for compressed natural gas and diesel fuel, with subsidy reductions for other commodities expected to be phased in gradually.

Security forces with riot shields took positions at gas stations in Tehran, bracing for a possible repeat of the unrest that followed the introduction of gasoline rationing in 2007, but there were no reports of violence.
______________________________________________________________

He said that the prices of water, electricity and natural gas would increase “gradually,” and that the subsidy for bread would also be gradually eliminated. He predicted that the bottom 60 percent of income earners would be better off under the new plan while the wealthier 40 percent would “need to economize.”

That is a revolutionary concept new to me.

The government tried to cushion the blow by making a one-time payment to each household of about $77. Although the funds were deposited in October, Iranians were not allowed to withdraw the money until Sunday, the day the reductions took effect.

Despite Mr. Ahmadinejad’s call for Iranians to refrain from spending the money immediately in order to help prevent a sharp jump in inflation, witnesses reported that many customers were withdrawing the full amount at once.

“I want to spend it on living costs,” said one bank customer quoted by Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency. “I know that prices haven’t risen yet but I know for sure that they will.”

FULL New York Times STORY

Funny how those kind of gimmicks never seem to work out as expected.

This will be interesting to watch.

Utah May Have State Gun!

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of what arguably is the best handgun ever designed.

John Moses Browning's genius represents the best of American ingenuity.

Utah lawmaker to propose a state firearm


Utah soon could have an official state firearm: the Browning model 1911 .45-caliber handgun, designed by Utah gun maker John Moses Browning.


SALT LAKE CITY — Virtually all states have a state bird, a state flower and a state motto. Utah soon could have an official state firearm: the Browning model 1911 .45-caliber handgun, designed by Utah gun make  John Moses Browning.

State Rep. Carl Wimmer, a former police officer, a life member of the National Rifle Association and an instructor for concealed-weapons classes, wants to take a shot at creating that designation when the Legislature convenes next month. At least one anti-gun-violence group bemoans the move but sees no real harm.

"It would be very appropriate going into 2011 because it is the 100-year anniversary of the Browning model 1911," said Wimmer, a Republican. "It has a rich history. It was in every war from World War I to World War II, Korea, Vietnam and all the recent wars. It is still used by some military units and many police agencies."

When a Pennsylvania lawmaker proposed designating a state firearm there this year (to honor the Pennsylvania long rifle, news stories said that would create the first official state firearm in the country. That effort appears to have failed, so Utah could be the first.

"As to how the outside world views Utah, it again shows how Utah worships guns at all turns of the road," said Gary Sackett, of the Utah Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence.

"But it is probably true that this particular firearm has a historical place, so I don't think the bill goes to the core of what concerns us about firearm safety," he said. Wimmer said he owns a version of the gun, "and Browning was far ahead of his time with this model."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How Stupid?

It is no secret that many thieves are not the brightest of people, otherwise they would just have real jobs.

With that said, how does anybody explain this?

Thieves target Edmonton free store

The owner of an unusual Edmonton store is scratching his head after two men broke in earlier this week to steal things.

Why break in, the owner asks, when everything in the store is free?

The Free Store, located near 84th Street and 118th Avenue, opened earlier this year. People pay a $2 fee to drop off unwanted items, and store customers can take whatever they want for free.

Co-owner Brandon Tyson came into the store on Thursday night and found two men inside. They'd kicked out the front window, leaving a lot of glass to clean up.

"For the most part, being a free store, we wouldn't expect someone to come and rob us because they can come back and get it all free the next day," Tyson said. "But I guess apparently some people do."

Tyson chased the two would-be thieves out of the store, caught one of them and called the police. He said the men were drunk.

Tyson said the entire incident was bizarre.

"We are a free store," he said. "We give absolutely everything we have here completely free back to the community as a way to help keep these resources out of the landfill.

"So it's really funny. It's actually been a joke of ours — to actually have somebody break in here and steal from the free store."

It wasn't known if charges were laid.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/edmonton/story/2010/12/12/edm-free-store-robbery.html#ixzz18Ul5Md8v

Friday, December 17, 2010

North Korean Assassin Assimilates

This is an interesting story. A classic if any from the Cold War.

Failed North Korean Assassin Assimilates in the South

HIS fatal mistake, the North Korean commando soon came to realize, was not killing the South Korean villagers when he had the chance. The orders were clear, if he and his fellow assassins came upon any civilians: kill them immediately, bury them and get on with the mission to slip into Seoul and kill the president.


But this was late January, the high-mountain ground was frozen, and Kim Shin-jo, a 27-year-old special forces lieutenant, did not want to go to the effort of digging graves. Instead he warned the villagers, encountered one night during the journey from the North, not to go to the authorities, after which he and his men continued on toward the Blue House, the presidential residence.

What a lazy malingerer. Don't get me wrong, but he is not the kind of guy I would want to count on.

But the villagers ignored the warning and went straight to the police, who then alerted the military. “That was when it all began to unravel,” Mr. Kim said.

The rest of the story ends well, for Mr. Kim and one other assassin, but not after,

A ferocious gun battle broke out, and dozens of South Korean troops and civilians were killed. A school bus reportedly was caught in the cross-fire, and three American soldiers also were killed.
As the North Korean raiding party scattered and retreated northward, hunted for more than a week, all but two of the attackers committed suicide or were killed. One survivor was a commando who got back safely to the North and later became a general. The other was Mr. Kim.

You can read the rest of the story


I am to far away in time and space to forgive or forget, so I leave that to those he attempted to destroy.

At the same time, I find it regrettable that the New York Times in its front pages takes an editorial position that this murderous assassin is somehow a decent guy after all.

All things considered, has anything really changed in the last 50 years?

'North Korean torpedo' sank South's navy ship


North Korea Threatens More Attacks .

He's Barak Obama


Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Cowboy Santa

Some people just have to much time on their hands.
I really cannot see the point in getting all exercised over a Cowboy Santa Claus.

Gun Toting Santa Draws Fire

Some would say this is political correctness run amok


A painted plywood cut-out of Santa with a cowboy hat and a gun on his belt is causing quite a stir in the town of Turlock.

The Santa is one of many displays that line a Christmas tree lot. Workers said they have been using the same cowboy Santa display for 20 years and have never had a compliant until now.

A woman named Monica Sliva didn't like the idea of Santa packing heat so she asked them to take it down.

”I tried to get the image out of my head all day long and I could not, because Santa is made for love, bringing families together, not carrying weapons,” Sliva told KCRA.

Sliva confronted the workers at the tree lot telling them it sends the wrong message to children.
“It portrays to the kids that it’s OK for Santa to be carrying a gun and therefore it’s OK for them to be carrying a gun,” Sliva said.

“I think it’s pretty crazy, to tell you the truth,” Bobby Vierra said. “I mean, we're just trying to sell trees out here.”

When commotion over the display caused traffic to back up, workers covered the gun on Santa's belt. The display was then temporarily taken down.

Vier said he feels the attention is unfair. "It's just a Santa," he said. "You know, it's just a cowboy."
But just before closing time the display was put back up, his gun still covered. The owner said he has done nothing wrong, so Santa is back.
--KCRA.com
LINK Gun toting Santa

What Ever Happened To, , ,

Doesn't get any better than this.

Entertainment when it was clear who wore the white hat. Where Men were Men. Women were, just that, Women!

THOSE OLD WESTERNS

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Swedish Suicide Bomber!

In a most surprising turn of events, a Swede detonated a car bomb then blew himself up!


How did this turn of event come about!?

Well it seems this Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, an Iraqi-born Swede was upset because,



 emails refer to a Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilks, whose 2007 drawing of the Prophet Muhammad as a dog infuriated Muslims around the world, and to Sweden's 500 soldiers in Afghanistan. "Now your children, daughters and sisters shall die like our brothers and sisters and children are dying," the email warned.

Hey, isn't that enough to kill over?
 
The car bomb caught fire but did not explode and caused minimal damage in a busy Stockholm shopping street. Only one of several bombs Abdaly had strapped to his body blew up, killing him but nobody else.
 
Besides being a fool
 
The fact that the Stockholm attack failed suggests al-Qaida is not in a position to train its supporters properly

FULL TEXT

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Arabs and Israel vs. Iran

I dunno if it is a Persian vs. Arab or Shia vs. Sunni or just regional differences.
My suspicions is it is the religious thing.

What is truly curious is for the "The Enemy of My Enemy" concept breaks down when it comes to cooperation between Arab states and Israel.

So that only adds fuel to my suspicion that it is less an Iran vs. Arabs as Shia vs. Sunni religious sects of Islam.

Iran, Israel and the Arab Contradiction

The WikiLeaks cables reveal that Egypt and Saudi Arabia can't decide if they fear a Shiite bomb more than they hate the Jewish state..

Speaking recently to the heads of his country's major media outlets, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to contain his glee at the revelations from the latest WikiLeaks documents (a reaction that elicited a private protest from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv).



The main reason for Mr. Netanyahu's satisfaction was that the highly classified State Department documents present a picture of an Arab world that despises Hamas, believes that Hezbollah is a danger to Lebanon, and fears Iran. Arab leaders take the last matter so seriously that they even appear to be doing their best to persuade the United States to attack Iran's nuclear installations.


Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, for example, "hates Hamas, and considers them the same as Egypt's own Muslim Brotherhood, which he sees as his own most dangerous political threat," states one February 2009 memorandum to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Another memo, dated July 2008, reports that Mr. Mubarak informed Sen. John Kerry that the Iranians "are big, fat liars and justify their lies because they believe it is for a higher purpose."

Dark green Shia, light green Sunni


Transcripts of meetings between Gulf Arab leaders and U.S. officials show that while Arab hatred and fear of Iran is considerable, hostility toward Israel is just as great. In addition, because the Palestinian problem has not been solved, open Arab-Israeli cooperation is a nonstarter. The documents do confirm the existence of covert intelligence contacts between Israel and certain Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, but the ties are tenuous and cooperation is strictly ad hoc.

Iran, Israel and the Arab Contradiction

Iran's Lost Fortune

How happy are people in Iran?

Rationing Fuels Discontent In Iran

Ahmadinejad Tries To Curb Gas Subsidy

TEHRAN, June 30 -- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who swept to power promising that every family would benefit from the nation's oil wealth, now faces growing domestic discontent over newly imposed fuel rationing and skyrocketing consumer prices.
Rationing Fuel in Iran

How happy would you be if living on a sea of Oil you would be if fuel is rationed? Would seem to me something is going/gone wrong.

Tehran’s pollution menace, déjà vu all over again


By Salman Ansari Javid

Twelve years ago I returned to Tehran after a long extended trip abroad. I was surprised to see people walking in masks on the streets of Tehran. At that point plans for the inauguration of the Tehran Metro along with introduction of Bus Rapid Transportation (BRT) system were being finalized and despite the smog there was hope in the air.


More than a decade later, after the implementation of these plans, Tehran’s traffic remains a nightmare and its pollution levels dangerously high. As a result until recently elementary schools remain closed and many government offices and banks were running on skeleton staff.

Tehran Pollution

Seems odd to me a country rich in oil must conserve that product, much less with that profits from that oil it should be getting to invest in basic quality of life like in breathable air.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court to hear Climate Worriers Power Grab

Climate change Chicken Littles can't seem to push their agenda before the legislatures where laws are suppose to be made. Nonetheless, they are not deterred. Hope springs eternal in the Courts.

Federal Judges are not elected and immune to citizen review. Hopefully the United States Supreme Court will put a stop to this runaround the proper channels.

Supreme Court takes global warming case that targets power companies

A global warming lawsuit aiming to force power companies to curtail carbon emissions will come before the Supreme Court next year. The suit asks for a judicial order to that effect, but would such a move usurp role of other government branches?

Looks like it to me.

The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine a major environmental lawsuit that seeks to force six electric power companies to cap and reduce their carbon-dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

It seeks a judicial order declaring that the fossil-fueled power plants are a “public nuisance.” It also seeks a judicial order capping the plants’ greenhouse gas emissions and requiring the plants to adopt a schedule of reduced emissions in future years.

What makes the lawsuit unusual is that it is an attempt to fill a vacuum in US environmental policy on how best to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming. The issue is a source of substantial controversy and a political hot potato, particularly at a time of high unemployment and a sluggish economy.

I love that one line editorial claiming a vacuum in US environmental policy.

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit on grounds that it raised sensitive policy questions best left to the political branches. But a federal appeals court in New York reversed that decision, allowing the lawsuit to move forward.

The power companies are now asking the US Supreme Court to reverse the appeals court and dismiss the lawsuit.
The Tennessee Valley Authority's Cumberland Fossil Plant near Clarksville, Tenn., is shown in this 2002 file photo.
Ron Schmitt/AP Photo/TVA

Fossil Plant? How about calling it what it is, a coal fire plant?

“The ramifications of this [appeals court] holding, if it is allowed to stand, are staggering,” wrote Peter Keisler in a brief on behalf of the six power companies. “This litigation seeks to transfer to the judiciary standardless authority for some of the most important and sensitive economic, energy, and social policy issues presently before the country.”

The highlighted above would reflect my view.

FULL TEXT

Monday, December 6, 2010

Justice Denied

How crazy can it get, just to execute a murderer?

Any excuse, dodge, whatever.
I hate the continual battle to provide justice.

Hearing to Delve Into Texas Executions

Capital punishment in Texas will go on trial Monday, as lawyers for an accused killer prepare to argue that the death penalty is unconstitutional because it carries high risks that innocent people could be executed.
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With 464 executions in the last three decades, Texas has put to death far more convicts than any other state. But a dozen death-row inmates have been exonerated of the crimes of which they were convicted.

I find that claim suspicious.

If it was one person and the details given, I maybe able to buy that argument, but a dozen, without details?

Typical defense lawyer argument.In any event, there is no claim of an innocent person executed.



The Harris County District Attorney's office declined to comment on the hearing. But in a brief filed with the court, prosecutors called "largely unfounded and/or exaggerated" claims that innocent defendants have been convicted in other death-penalty cases, and argued that such claims should not prevent them from pursuing capital punishment for Mr. Green.

Isn't that what I said?

FULL STORY

Legal Challenge to the Death Penalty Begins in Texas


The death penalty went on trial Monday in Texas, a state where more prisoners are executed every year than in any other and where exonerations of people on death row occur with surprising regularity.

Justice in is country rarely happens with surprising regularity.

The hearing stems from a routine argument defense lawyers make in most death penalty cases.

With surprising regularity.

FULL STORY



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kyoto Treaty Dies in Cancun

I've posted before my disdain for those who want to control free people through regulations claiming to "combat" some global weather "crisis".

I will not get into the "Global Warming" or "Climate Change" (whatever they want to call it) debate here. There is enough here to make me happy, the eventual end of the Kyoto Treaty.

Funny thing about the Kyoto Treaty, far as I know, nobody who signed up ever keep their promises. Neither in actually reducing production of supposed "green house emissions", or a change in world weather.

"Men Make Plans, God Laughs"

Cancún climate talks in danger of collapse over Kyoto continuation

The UN climate talks in Cancún were in danger of collapse last night after many Latin American countries said that they would leave if a crucial negotiating document, due to be released tomorrow, did not continue to commit rich countries to emissions cuts under the Kyoto Protocol.

The potential crisis was provoked by Japan stating earlier this week that it would not sign up to a second period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Typical protesters with their heada in the sand
Other countries, including Russia, Canada and Australia are thought to agree but have yet to say publicly that they will not make further pledges.

Kyoto is considered iconic to developing countries because it is the only legal agreement that binds rich countries to emissions cuts. It is feared that wealthy countries, led by the US, which has not ratified the treaty, want an agreement that will commit them only loosely to targets.

Britain and the EU have said they are prepared to sign up to a second commitment period – provided others do so too.

FULL STORY


Thank you Britain and the EU for standing up to your convictions!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Russia's Covert War

It is rare nowadays that in the mass media much news about Georgia hits the front page. How much of this covert war is still going on?
I suspect currently it is the old fashion cloak and dagger stuff, espionage and whatnot which Russia employs to muzzle true independence of Georgia.

Russia waged covert war on Georgia starting in '04
Russia waged a covert war against Georgia that included missile attacks, arms shipments to anti-government rebels and car bombings since 2004, a newly disclosed U.S. Embassy cable says.

REMNANTS OF WAR: A South Ossetian honor guard pays his respects at a war memorial in the village of Khetagurovo on Sunday amid the wreckage of cars burned during the brief Russia-Georgia war in August 2008. Russian troops have stayed in South Ossetia to this day. (Associated Press)

Among the secret war operations were a 2007 helicopter gunship attack on the headquarters of a pro-government group in the Georgian province of Abkhazia, and the murder of Georgian police officers in the town of Gory. Known inside the Russian security services as "active measures," the tactics employed against Georgia included political disinformation campaigns, industrial sabotage and assassinations.

"The variety and extent of the active measures suggests the deeper goal is turning Georgia from its Euroatlantic orientation back into the Russian fold," said the cable, signed by the U.S. ambassador to Georgia, John Tefft.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Government By Executive Order

I remember back when President Obama was giving a campaign speech which started with him decrying those evil Special Interests. Funny guy he is, saying this to a gathering of union members.

Gee, if Unions are not a Special Interest I don't know what is. So having not other options he will use executive powers to reward that special interest.  The unfortunate thing is I doubt the rank and file will benefit.

Government By Executive Order
A new Labor Department plan shows the president still has wide power to implement an anti-business agenda.

By JOHN FUND


Because President Obama will now have a tough time getting his liberal agenda through a more Republican Congress, many Democrats are urging him to ram it through using the executive branch's unilateral power.


John Podesta, head of the Center for American Progress, even issued a list of executive orders and rule-makings last month that Mr. Obama can use to "push the country to a better place." If the Department of Labor is representative, his advice is in sync with moves already under way.


On Sept. 22, Labor's Office of the Solicitor—which employs 400 attorneys to enforce the nation's labor laws—issued a draft "operating plan" to dramatically increase pressure on employers. A source inside the department says the plan has been adopted.

One tactic to be employed by the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) division will be to "deter [employers] through shaming." Ms. Smith told me she didn't know what that means. But whatever it might involve, it doesn't sound appropriate for an agency charged with carrying out the law in an even-handed fashion.


• "Engage in enterprise-wide enforcement." Ms. Smith said that means targeting multiple work sites of the same company. A department source says it also is likely to involve enforcement agents from the Wage and Hour Division and from OSHA showing up at the same time. The plan also calls for "Imposing shorter deadlines for implementing remedial measures in conciliation agreements and consent decrees."


• "Engage in greater use of injunctive relief," which means using court injunctions rather than fines to enforce compliance. The department plan also wants to "identify and pursue test cases" that could stretch the meaning of the law.

All of this is in stark contrast to the approach of the previous administration. "Laws and regulations at the local, state and federal level are a dizzying array of sometimes conflicting requirements," Elaine Chao, the secretary of labor from 2001 to 2009, told me. "The best way to protect workers is to help employers understand their legal obligations and promote collaborative working relationships between employers and workers on safety and other issues."



FULL ARTICLE

Goodbye Sweden

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Very Busy Iran

In Iraq, a Very Busy Iran

No kidding

Also supporting Syria in its hegemony in Lebanon.

BAGHDAD—Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables provide new details on the U.S. assessment of how Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps has promoted Tehran's influence in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The demise of archenemy Saddam Hussein, with whom Tehran fought an eight-year war in the 1980s, presented the Iranians with an unprecedented opportunity, and they appear to have exploited it from Day One.
The leadership of the Qods Force—the Guards' paramilitary and espionage arm—"took advantage of the vacuum" in the aftermath of the fall of Mr. Hussein's regime to begin sending operatives into Iraq when "little attention was focused on Iran," according to an April 2009 dispatch from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The cable was part of a trove of classified U.S. diplomatic communications made public this week by WikiLeaks.

In Iraq, a Very Busy Iran

Europe Hates Competition

Who is the King of the Hill?

Seems the European Union wants to knock over the King of the Hill.

BRUSSELS—The European Union's antitrust cop began a formal investigation of Google Inc. that zeroes in on its core search and advertising businesses, cementing the Silicon Valley company's position as Europe's premier corporate target.
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The inquiry has been percolating since at least February, when Google disclosed that the commission, the EU's antitrust watchdog, was looking into complaints from other, smaller Web services.

Europe Zeroes In on Google


Sour Grapes

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Airport Security Can Get Worse

What more do we need to just clog up the whole TSA works?


UNIONS

How to Make Air Travel More Infuriating
If you think TSA is dysfunctional and unpopular now, wait until it unionizes.

. . . if you think TSA is dysfunctional and unpopular now, wait until it unionizes. This month, the Federal Labor Relations Authority ruled that 50,000 TSA personnel will be allowed to vote on whether or not to join a union with full collective bargaining rights.


After 9/11, Congress wisely decided to forbid TSA employees from coming under union work rules out of fear that it could compromise security. Imagine if every change in procedures had to be cleared with union shop stewards. While it is not easy to fire TSA personnel now, just think how difficult it will be to remove bad employees if they are covered by union job protection agreements.


But in 2007, the new Democratic Congress eliminated the ban on collective bargaining, and as soon as Barack Obama became president in 2009 his appointees began pushing unionization for TSA. Last year, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano admitted in Congressional testimony that she backs collective bargaining rights for TSA employees, overriding the considered judgment of all previous TSA administrators that such rights are at cross-purposes with the flexibility TSA needs to meet certain threats.

Why didn't we use private contractors in the first place?


John Mica of Florida, the new GOP chair of the House Transportation Committee, told me last month that we should have followed the advice of Israeli security experts and used private contractors and psychological tests to counteract terrorism in the wake of 9/11. At least one busy airport -- Orlando International -- is preparing to dump TSA in favor of a private security company, which is allowed under an opt-out provision in the federal law governing airport security. "Having TSA going towards unionization is just the wrong way to go," said Mr. Mica.



LINK

AK KABOOM !

Allahu Akbar !

To bad nobody was killed or injured.


link