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Gore Bashes US In Saudi Arabia
Today's Headlines
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-Short Attention Span Theater-
"Jaws" Author Peter Benchley dead at age 65
Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2006 19:15 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6482 views] Top|| File under:

#1  wouldn't usually post such celeb-stuff, but I bet everyone here remembers exactly where you were when you watched it the first time :-)
Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2006 19:17 Comments || Top||

#2  The burial will be held at sea.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/13/2006 21:04 Comments || Top||

#3  Sure do, Frank.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/13/2006 21:41 Comments || Top||

#4  Read the book about a year after it came out. Haven't seen the movie yet... I'll get around to it one of these centuries, unless I forget.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 02/13/2006 22:59 Comments || Top||

#5  There was no Santiago or Manolin in it. Pretty shallow I thought, just my umble opinion.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/13/2006 23:04 Comments || Top||

Poverty from poor must trickle up?
Mbeki: wealth from the rich must trickle down
February 13 2006 at 05:24AM

The Doha round of talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) must succeed, but not at the expense of developed nations, President Thabo Mbeki said on Sunday.

"It is in the interest of everybody in the world, including the poor, that the developed countries should continue to develop; they should continue to add to the volume of wealth that there is within human society," Mbeki said.

He was briefing the media at the conclusion of the Progressive Governance Summit held over the weekend at Didimala Game Lodge, north of Pretoria.

Mbeki held a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, New Zealand's Helen Clark, South Korean President Roh Noo-Hyun, Swedish Prime Minister Goeran Persson, Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi, and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

We all knew Helen would be there. Unfortunately, the story continues at the link.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/13/2006 17:33 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6475 views] Top|| File under:

Scientists discover new assassin spiders
Researchers scouring the remote forests of the African island nation of Madagascar have found that tiny assassin spiders, grotesque-looking bugs that prey on other spiders, are more diverse than previously thought. The bizarre-looking assassin spiders were once widely found around the world, but now are found in Madagascar, Australia and South Africa. About a dozen species of assassin spiders were previously discovered. Assassin spiders, which grow to less than an eighth of an inch long, are notorious for stabbing helpless spiders with their sharp, venom-filled fangs attached to their super-sized jaws. Assassin spiders also possess very long necks so they can attack their prey from a distance. They do not spin webs to entrap their prey and they pose no threat to humans, said Charles Griswold, a curator at the academy.
Posted by: Seafarious || 02/13/2006 00:24 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6479 views] Top|| File under:

#1  No threat to humans, eh? That's just what they want us to think!
Posted by: PBMcL || 02/13/2006 0:43 Comments || Top||

#2  Unbroken wild ones are no threat, but after Mossad's intensive training program...
Posted by: Jake-the-Peg || 02/13/2006 6:31 Comments || Top||

#3  Great just what the world needs, more spiders.
Posted by: bigjim-ky || 02/13/2006 9:04 Comments || Top||

#4  ...I, for one, welcome our new spider overlords.

Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 02/13/2006 13:05 Comments || Top||

#5  The time to worry is when they start riding tiny motorcycles...
Posted by: Seafarious || 02/13/2006 14:13 Comments || Top||

#6  with 6 foot pegs?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2006 14:26 Comments || Top||

#7  Of course....Tiny lil' assassin spiders, why do they hate us?
Posted by: BA || 02/13/2006 15:20 Comments || Top||

#8  After her unpleasant encounter with a brown recluse, I think I won't show this story to my wife.
Posted by: Xbalanke || 02/13/2006 16:14 Comments || Top||

#9  Time to get the CIA "dirty tricks" department working on this. We can get the famous Amazon monkey-spiders to carry assassins to where we want them to be. We need to "enhance" the venom until it's about the lethality of curare. Of course, if one of them is turned...
Posted by: Old Patriot || 02/13/2006 23:09 Comments || Top||

Africa Subsaharan
Congo- Brazzaville leader’s hotel bill: $295,000
The leader of one of Africa’s poorest countries paid more than £100,000 in cash towards a £169,000 hotel bill run up by his entourage during last year’s United Nations summit in New York, according to court documents obtained by The Sunday Times. Aides to President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo startled staff at the Palace hotel on Madison Avenue by pulling out wads of $100 notes to settle a bill for 26 rooms.

Sassou-Nguesso, who is chairman of the African Union, representing all the continent’s governments, is negotiating with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cancel many of his country’s debts on the grounds that it cannot afford to repay them. Yet the president spent a week last September in the Palace hotel, one of Manhattan’s most prestigious addresses.

He paid $8,500 (about £4,875) a night for a three-storey suite with art deco furniture, a Jacuzzi bathtub and a 50in plasma television screen. His room service charges on September 18 alone came to more than £2,000. The hotel bills record that about £6,900 was charged to the president’s account as room service. Congo-Brazzaville’s UN mission paid a $51,000 deposit by cheque to secure the rooms. The final entry on the group bill shows that the balance was settled by a “cash payment” of $177,942.96 (£102,000)...

More than 70% of the 3m people in the republic — known as Congo- to distinguish it from its larger neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo — live on less than £1.15 a day.

The president’s entourage of more than 50 people included his butler, his personal photographer and his wife’s hairdresser. The group also occupied 25 rooms at the Crowne Plaza hotel, near the UN headquarters. Copies of the bills show that the delegation spent a total of $295,000 (more than £169,000) for an eight-night stay in New York, including more than $81,000 (£46,400) for Sassou-Nguesso’s suite. The main purpose of the president’s visit was to deliver a 15-minute speech to the general assembly’s 60th anniversary summit. He was also entertained by an American oil firm.

Details of the president’s extravagance have outraged Congo-Brazzaville’s creditors and raised new questions about the credibility of the country’s claim to qualify for debt relief under an agreement brokered by Tony Blair at last year’s G8 summit at Gleneagles.

Anti-corruption campaigners have written to Paul Wolfowitz, head of the World Bank, urging him to oppose debt relief for Congo-Brazzaville until there has been a “massive cleaning up” of the country’s finances, which are heavily dependent on oil revenues. The IMF is due to discuss Congo-Brazzaville at an executive meeting on Friday.

The details might never have been made public had some of Congo-Brazzaville’s creditors not been pursuing the country through US and British courts over repayment of debts. Among the creditors was a US investment fund, Elliott Management, which owns more than $100m of Congo-Brazzaville debt. Sassou-Nguesso’s hotel bills were among documents subpoenaed by Elliott lawyers.
Posted by: Pappy || 02/13/2006 12:49 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Send the ballance due to FEMA. You should expect reimbursement within 30 days.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/13/2006 16:26 Comments || Top||

#2  We've all been there. Just remember to properly tip.
Posted by: Raul Duke Esq || 02/13/2006 17:55 Comments || Top||

#3  Damn minibar!
Posted by: Chuck Simmins || 02/13/2006 19:25 Comments || Top||

Kuwaiti soldier killed by old Iraqi explosives
KUWAIT CITY - A Kuwaiti soldier in an army bomb disposal unit was killed on Sunday while trying to defuse explosives left behind by Iraqi troops, an army spokesman said. The incident took place in northwestern Kuwait when an explosive device caught fire, badly burning the soldier who later died, Brigadier Yussef Al Mulla said in a statement quoted by the KUNA news agency.

Iraqi troops under orders from ousted President Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait in August 1990 before they were evicted seven months later by a US-led coalition. They left behind large quantities of unexploded landmines and ordnance which have killed dozens of Kuwaitis and foreigners.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

Caribbean-Latin America
Brazil takes a major nuclear step
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - While the world community scrutinizes Iran's nuclear program, Latin America's biggest country is weeks away from taking a controversial step and firing up the region's first major uranium-enrichment plant. That move will make Brazil the ninth country to produce large amounts of enriched uranium, which can be used to generate nuclear energy and, when highly enriched, to make nuclear weapons.

Brazilians, who have long nurtured hopes of becoming a world superpower, are reacting with pride to the new facility in Resende, about 70 miles from Rio de Janeiro.

Other countries enriching uranium on an industrial scale are the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, China and Japan.

The plant initially will produce 60 percent of the nuclear fuel used by the country's two nuclear reactors. A third reactor is in the planning stages. The government hopes to increase production eventually to meet all of the reactors' needs and still have enough to export, Brazilian officials said. ``We want to build new power plants and grow our enrichment program to be self-sufficient,'' said Odair Dias Goncalves, the president of Brazil's National Nuclear Energy Commission. ``In the whole world, there's a big reinvestment in this area. Countries are turning back to nuclear energy.''

The Resende plant's inauguration had been set for Jan. 20, but was delayed because construction wasn't completed, Dias Goncalves said. The plant may begin uranium enrichment without the hoopla later this month, officials said.

Unlike Iran, Brazil is considered a good global citizen that isn't seeking nuclear weapons, although its military ran a secret program to develop a nuclear weapon as recently as the early 1990s. Still, some U.S. observers fear that Brazil's program will encourage more countries to make nuclear fuel, raising the danger of nuclear weapons proliferation.

Brazil's nuclear fuel needs, more than 120 tons of enriched uranium a year, don't warrant the country launching an industrial facility like Resende, especially with global supplies of the material running high, said Lawrence Scheinman, a former U.S. arms-control official. ``There really isn't much justification for new enrichment facilities unless countries have a very substantial number of reactors to be serviced and don't want to depend on outside suppliers,'' he said. ``Neither Brazil nor Iran is in those positions.''

Despite the criticisms, Brazil's program hasn't drawn the outcry that Iran's nuclear program has. Disagreements between the IAEA and Brazilian officials in 2004 over access to the Resende facility were resolved within months.

Like Iran, Brazil has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the global agreement to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. All of Brazil's 20 facilities using nuclear material are under IAEA safeguards. Brazilian officials have worked closely with the IAEA throughout Resende's planning and construction, Dias Goncalves said. IAEA inspectors have visited the facility 32 times. ``There is no way to doubt the intent of our plans because they are completely open,'' Dias Goncalves said. ``We have to take account of every gram of uranium used.''

Brazilian energy adviser Rogerio Cezar Cerqueira Leite said the Resende plant will allow Brazil to sell to growing markets for enriched uranium and fuel a domestic nuclear program that is bound to expand. ``Without enriched uranium, you don't have nuclear technology,'' Cerqueira Leite said. ``It's not just national prestige. If you don't make it yourself, you will always be behind in the nuclear race.''

Many Brazilians see the eventual opening of Resende as the first step in the country becoming a world leader in nuclear research, said Cerqueira Leite. Brazil has the world's sixth-largest deposits of uranium.
Posted by: john || 02/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The bottom line is that nuclear power is the future for much of the world, and only the IAEA can try to keep 'em honest. The temptation will always be there to try and make nuclear weapons, and everybody knows it, so total transparency is the only way to go.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/13/2006 11:10 Comments || Top||

#2  While the world community scrutinizes Iran's nuclear program, Latin America's biggest country is weeks away from taking a controversial step and firing up the region's first major uranium-enrichment plant.

The big differences being that Brazil hasn't been making nuke-the-Jews pronouncements lately, nor is a known supporter of international terrorism.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/13/2006 12:37 Comments || Top||

#3  Imagine the imagined effect of this plant's discharge on Amazon fauna. Radioactive fifty foot long electric eels, anacondas the size of trains, glowing giant pirhanas. The bad movie and comic bookgraphic novel possibilities are nearly endless.
Posted by: Xbalanke || 02/13/2006 13:04 Comments || Top||

#4  God what a moron, the "Discharge" from any nuclear power plant is warm water, usualy not more than a few degrees above the normal water temperature, Radiation, if any, is nearly unmeasurable.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 02/13/2006 13:26 Comments || Top||

#5  I really, really, REALLY don't think we need to worrry about Brazilian Extremists smuggling a nuke into a neighboring country and setting it off.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 02/13/2006 13:40 Comments || Top||

#6  Redneck Jim: I know that. That's why I said: "Imagine the imagined effect". I thought my post was tongue-in-cheek enough to be obvious.

I guess one can never use too many /sarc tags.
Posted by: Xbalanke || 02/13/2006 14:44 Comments || Top||

#7  Ha! Wait till the nuclear snails assualt the intakes, you'll be wanting you glowing anacondas.
Posted by: 6 || 02/13/2006 17:57 Comments || Top||

#8  mmmm self-cooking escargot!
Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2006 19:27 Comments || Top||

#9  Whahahahhaahha Frank.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/13/2006 22:30 Comments || Top||

Down Under
Beaches closed after 100 sharks feed close to shore
A feeding frenzy by more than 100 sharks closed several tourist beaches on the east coast of Australia yesterday. Several beaches along Queensland's Gold Coast were closed for a second day after hammerhead, grey nurse and whaler sharks were spotted feeding close to shore, said Sue Neil, a spokeswoman for Surf Lifesaving Queensland.

Ms Neil said some surfers had come within metres of the sharks. "When they [sharks] feed on the bait fish they do close their eyes and there is a danger of collision," she said. "If they are chomping, they could very easily chomp on humans."
RIP, Peter Benchley, you were deprived of yet another good novel ...
Posted by: Steve White || 02/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Happens every year when the bait fish come close to shore.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/13/2006 0:21 Comments || Top||

#2  No Phil, I'm fairly sure it's related somehow to Bush's tax cuts.
Posted by: Seafarious || 02/13/2006 1:22 Comments || Top||

#3  At least they dont seethe when they go into a frenzy ...
Posted by: MacNails || 02/13/2006 9:22 Comments || Top||

#4  ... but you should see the water froth, chum ...
Posted by: Steve White || 02/13/2006 10:39 Comments || Top||

#5  sounds like attys going after a class-action suit
Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2006 10:47 Comments || Top||

#6  Global warming! Global warming! This never happened before Kyoto was shot down!
Posted by: rjschwarz || 02/13/2006 13:47 Comments || Top||

#7  Great turn of phrase there, RJ! Can I use that one?
Posted by: Veep Cheney || 02/13/2006 15:19 Comments || Top||

#8  Did somebody print a blasphemous shark cartoon?
Posted by: Darrell || 02/13/2006 15:24 Comments || Top||

#9  Dick Cheney and Harry Whittington have just been spotted at Andrews AFB. Cheney's aides were seen loading two Barrett .50 sniper rifles on to a presidential jet. Both men were wearing deck shoes and leather "Westy" hats..... this could be very bad.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/13/2006 16:41 Comments || Top||

#10  Sharks close their eyes? Lawyers I've seen just stare...
Posted by: Inspector Clueso || 02/13/2006 19:01 Comments || Top||

#11  They rallied in memory of Peter Benchly who recently passed away.
Posted by: 49 Pan || 02/13/2006 20:09 Comments || Top||

Fifth Column
Ted Rall Threatens to Sue Ann Coulter
NEW YORK Columnist Ann Coulter made a provocative remark Friday about "Doonesbury" creator Garry Trudeau and editorial cartoonist Ted Rall. Trudeau is shrugging it off, but Rall is considering a lawsuit.

Coulter reportedly said Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.: "Iran is soliciting cartoons on the Holocaust. So far, only Ted Rall, Garry Trudeau, and The New York Times have made submissions."

Giving her remark another twist is the fact that the conservative Coulter has the same distributor -- Universal Press Syndicate -- as the liberal Rall and Trudeau.

When asked Monday if he wanted to respond to Coulter's comment, Trudeau told E&P via e-mail: "Nah."

Rall announced on his blog that he would look into taking legal action against Coulter if readers of his blog wanted him to -- and if they pledged the $6,000 needed to draft and file a lawsuit in New York.

"If enough 'yes' votes come in with enough serious pledges, I'll see Ann in court," wrote Rall. "If not, well, chalk up another victory for the Right."

Rall said people were voting roughly 3-1 in favor of suing. And he told E&P Monday that pledges are coming in fast. "If pledges continue to come in at the present rate, I'll have the $6,000 available by tonight," Rall said. "A lot of people are fed up with how Coulter has turned slandering liberals into a cottage industry and want to see her held to account. I'm actually fairly overwhelmed by the response -- more than 300 pledges, many in the $20 to $100 range."

He added: "I'm getting so many e-mail pledges with the same subject line -- 'Sue Coulter' -- that I'm beginning to think her first name is Sue!"

The "no" votes, according to Rall, are "mostly from people who worry that what she said is protected free expression."

His next step? "I have a call into my lawyer and like anyone with an ounce of sense will follow his advice," Rall told E&P. "If he thinks there's a solid case, I'll ask the pledgers to PayPal the money and move to file. If not, I'll have to let it go. I'm not sure whether this would be a libel or defamation suit; libel usually applies to writing and defamation to speech, but this speech has been reproduced in writing."

Rall said there's obviously a chance he could lose a lawsuit if it was filed. But the cartoonist doesn't think a "just funnin'" defense by Coulter would be the reason for such a loss. "I doubt her claims of 'humor' or sarcasm will fly with a jury since she's not funny and her audiences take her literally and she knows it," he wrote on his blog.

The cartoonist concluded, in a comment e-mailed to E&P: "It's one thing to mock people for their opinions and quite another to make opinions up out of whole cloth and stuff them into a person's mouth. That's what Coulter has done here. She has absolutely no reason to believe that I am sympathetic to the Iranian government, a Holocaust revisionist or denier, or anti-Semitic. She has no reason to believe that I am less patriotic than any other American. Opposing the Bush administration does not make you anti-Semitic, pro-Iran, or anti-American, and no one has the right to equate them as she did before a large high-profile audience that included Dick Cheney. She has the right to attack me for what I say, do, and believe -- not to lie."

The New York Times was also asked Monday to respond to Coulter's comment, but a spokesperson has yet to get back to E&P.

Image hosting by Photobucket
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/13/2006 15:39 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Truth hurts, don't it Rall?
Posted by: mmurray821 || 02/13/2006 15:56 Comments || Top||

bwahahaha - Sounds like Ann caused Teddy to wet his pants!! Hey Ted - take a Midol and get over it. It's art. Ann was merely promoting dialogue.
Posted by: macofromoc || 02/13/2006 16:07 Comments || Top||

#3  Rall announced on his blog that he would look into taking legal action against Coulter if readers of his blog wanted him to -- and if they pledged the $6,000 needed to draft and file a lawsuit in New York.

Now that's what I call taking a principled stance, or whatever!
Posted by: BH || 02/13/2006 16:11 Comments || Top||

#4  "A lot of people are fed up with how Coulter has turned slandering liberals into a cottage industry and want to see her held to account.


It's one thing to mock people for their opinions and quite another to make opinions up out of whole cloth and stuff them into a person's mouth."

He said this with a straight face? Of course noble, speaking-truth-to-power Ted would never stoop to slander or stuffing made-up opinions into a person's mouth. Not Ted - he's above that sort of thing.
Posted by: Xbalanke || 02/13/2006 16:12 Comments || Top||

#5  Lawsuit would be good for Ann's publicity. Bring it on!
Posted by: Iblis || 02/13/2006 16:48 Comments || Top||

#6  Just another proof of the common worldview and cause between leftist and Islam.
Posted by: 3dc || 02/13/2006 16:55 Comments || Top||

#7  To quote a great weasel, "it'a pity they can't both lose".
Posted by: Mitch H. || 02/13/2006 17:29 Comments || Top||

#8  I still say that Bush should fire McClellan and hire Ann. Trust me the press would be a lot more respectful after she verbally beats down the first couple of stupid questions. Scott is way too nice and IMHO the press needs to be put in its place.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 02/13/2006 22:10 Comments || Top||

#9  I still say that Bush should fire McClellan and hire Ann.

Good God, no.

Posted by: Robert Crawford || 02/13/2006 22:15 Comments || Top||

#10  Ted's cartoons should be repeated - sometimes you don't clean with first wipe, ya know?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2006 22:21 Comments || Top||

#11  So Ted is offended by what Ann said and wants to sue. Please, please, set the standard in court because there's a line outside waiting to hammer Ted on the same principle. Stuck on Stupid Ted?
Posted by: Ebboth Hupuper2982 || 02/13/2006 22:50 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter
Followup from yesterday. No text since we all know the story, but comment away.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6475 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The last Veep to shoot somebody was Aaron Burr...
Just a factiod to throw into the chasm.
Posted by: 3dc || 02/13/2006 0:50 Comments || Top||

#2  That we know of.
Posted by: no mo uro || 02/13/2006 6:45 Comments || Top||

#3  What about first ladies' shootings?

Scandal du Jour on ABC Morning News: Why was there a 24 delay until the VP's office announced this. Was the VP trying to cover this up?
Posted by: ed || 02/13/2006 8:05 Comments || Top||

#4  last Veep to shoot somebody was Aaron Burr...

My wife's great, great, great, great, great grandfather or uncle (records are a bit unclear). Nice guy, except for the whole "set-up his own country-treason" thing.
Posted by: Steve || 02/13/2006 8:42 Comments || Top||

#5  A game officer I know here in Ohio said the bag limit on lawyers is one in the coat, two in the freezer.

Posted by: Doc8404 || 02/13/2006 9:10 Comments || Top||

#6  Burr was also a Republican, so I guess we see a patern here. Nor eht Donks will want to disarm all republicans because they are a danger to the public.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 02/13/2006 9:23 Comments || Top||

#7  Guess that shoots down his Prez ambitions for the next election cycle. Ain't that a shot in the pants.
Posted by: Angogum Glaith2605 || 02/13/2006 9:31 Comments || Top||

#9  "I didn't shoot him. That [expletive] bumped my trigger finger."
Posted by: BH || 02/13/2006 10:25 Comments || Top||

#10  At Mondays White House Press breifing after a flurry of "information release timeline" questions someone asked if Cheney had ever taken a hunting safety course.(Seriously..I'm not making it up.)
Posted by: DepotGuy || 02/13/2006 13:01 Comments || Top||

#11  The AP has two writers on the story. They've contacted Sheriff's department to see if charges have been filed (yet), the District Attorney (ditto), the State Parks and Wildlife (to see if there was a failure to properly report and whether Cheney's hunting license was in order), the hospital (to see what they could get out of Whittington), and the Whitehouse. I'm amazed they used the word 'accidentally' in the title.

Next: who was that third man? Why is this vital information being withheld? Was it the CEO of Halliburton? Maybe a Saudi Prince?

Bush has been negligent in not getting involved personally.

Man Accidentally Shot by Cheney Recovering
Posted by: KBK || 02/13/2006 13:11 Comments || Top||

#12  Look behind the grassy knoll.
Posted by: ed || 02/13/2006 13:17 Comments || Top||

#13  Many years ago, I remember a news story that Michael Morrison (Yep, John Wayne) did the same thing, peppered a fellow hunter with birdshot.

He ran over, jerked the fellows shirt off, and finding him lightly wounded said "Damn, I know it hurts, but you should see this, it's a perfect shot pattern."
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 02/13/2006 13:33 Comments || Top||

#14  His name was Marion. Marion Mitchell Morrison. Probably had a tough childhood.
Posted by: KBK || 02/13/2006 14:49 Comments || Top||

#15  From the Washington Post article: "...listed in stable condition yesterday evening."
One does hope they are not using the term 'stable' in the Rantburg/Arafat tradition.
Posted by: Glenmore || 02/13/2006 15:01 Comments || Top||

Redacted by moderator. Comments may be redacted for trolling, violation of standards of good manners, or plain stupidity. Please correct the condition that applies and try again. Contents may be viewed in the
sinktrap. Further violations may result in
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/13/2006 16:48 Comments || Top||

#17  Cheney's Nordic coach, Claudine Longet, expressed disappointment with the results.
Posted by: Chuck Simmins || 02/13/2006 16:49 Comments || Top||

#18  According to the press release around noon Mr. Whittington stayed in the truck. Two coveys of quail were flushed and Mr. Cheney was tracking a quial and fired just as he saw Mr. Whittington who had gotten out of the truck and failed to let Mr. Cheney and the other hunter he was there. Purely an accident. I've been peppered in almost the same way.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 02/13/2006 18:16 Comments || Top||

#19  For phuechs sake! Why could he not have been quail hunting with Jesse Jackson, Ray Nagin, or Ted Kennedy?
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/13/2006 16:48 Comments || Top||

Annan prepares for privatisation of UN
Pressure from US forces Secretary General to put reforms in place
The United Nations has drawn up plans to privatise the bulk of its staff at its New York headquarters or have their work done more cheaply overseas. The move is in response to mounting demands for reform from the United States, its biggest paymaster.

The Business has learned that Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, has commissioned a study into the outsourcing of the department for General Assembly and Conference ­Management, the main UN ­decision-making body whose officials issue about 200 documents a day in six languages.

The move comes as the UN grapples with the oil-for-food scandal in which officials have been accused of taking bribes from Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Annan will report by the end of February on management reforms to the General Assembly. According to an internal UN document previewing Annan’s report obtained by The Business, he will include “proposals to outsource or off-shore select administrative processes” – suggesting its New York headquarters may shed staff.

Annan is reviewing the study conducted for the UN by US consulting firms Epstein & Fass Associates and Faulkner & Associates. Their preliminary study, which The Business has seen, makes no firm recommendations. But it examines three privatisation possibilities, from the most conservative to the most radical:

* Maintain the status quo of in-house operations, but save money and create efficiency through greater use of technology and eliminating more than 200 jobs through attrition by 2009;

* Retain a core of in-house functions while outsourcing some operations, along the lines of a similar exercise by the World Bank and IMF;

* Spin off the General Assembly department entirely as a for-profit, private company or an independent unit with some control by the secretariat.

The study gives frank assessments of the risks with privatisation, especially guarding privileged information and interrupting projects if new contractors are hired. It concedes privatisation may not save money. “Outsourcing does not guarantee reduced cost”, which “depends on market factors, and also… on how outsourcing is managed”, it says.

The Bush administration has made an overhaul of management a centrepiece of its UN reform programme. John Bolton, US ambassador to the UN, once said that if the New York headquarters lost 10 of its 38 floors, “it wouldn’t make a bit of difference”. He is leading an effort to move the UN towards the efficiency of a private company, including transforming the deputy secretary general into a chief operating officer and demanding that tasks are done by merit, not geography.

Christopher Burnham, a former Bush State Department chief financial officer, was named UN undersecretary general in charge of management last June and declared the UN needed to “refocus on those areas where we have a competitive advantage”.

Rick Grenell, spokesman for the US mission, told The Business the Bush administration had no position on outsourcing. “Our position is that the UN needs to function better,” Grenell said. “We need to look at all ways to make that better. No one is talking about cutting jobs or turning out lights. Talking about outsourcing is way ahead of the game.”

But there has been growing pressure from Washington on the UN to cut costs. The US pays 22% of the UN’s general budget. France pays 6.4%, the UK 5.5%, China 1.53% and Russia 1.2%. All five can wield a veto on war-making decisions. Congressman Henry Hyde’s proposed UN Reform Act of 2005 would withhold 50% of US dues unless at least 32 of 39 proposed reforms are adopted – a clear indication of pressure intended to break the deadlock.

Some staff fear privatisation would cause a cultural shift at the organisation where international civil servants have been chosen through competitive exams for more than 60 years.
I'm a thinking I have a better idea...
Kofi should have listened to The Donald ...
Posted by: .com || 02/13/2006 07:53 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Zimbabwe has a lot of unused land for a new headquarters, workers desperately needing jobs and a mostly untouched population of minor females.
Posted by: ed || 02/13/2006 8:48 Comments || Top||

#2  The United Nations has drawn up plans to privatise the bulk of its staff at its New York headquarters or have their work done more cheaply overseas.

I'd settle for disbanding and replacement. How about starting immediately?
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/13/2006 9:55 Comments || Top||

#3  Outsourcing? It's the UNITED NATIONS, fercryingoutloud. They'd have to hire li'l green Mars men to outsource. Sheesh.
Posted by: Seafarious || 02/13/2006 10:14 Comments || Top||

#4  I work at the UN there is so many people with jobs there because they come from the "third world" who do nothing but sit around all day talking to their friends at home on a phone which the UN pays half the call costs on banning this alone would save millions and then send the f***ers home
Posted by: T || 02/13/2006 11:59 Comments || Top||

#5  Just replace that dept with a computerized I-Ching meme. Results might be better.
Posted by: 3dc || 02/13/2006 12:05 Comments || Top||

#6  Hello T and welcome to Rantburg. Your input is valuable to us since you are actually there. Feel free to let us know when we're wrong about the UN, and, if you work for the US delegation, has Ambassador Bolton seen his RB picture?
Posted by: Seafarious || 02/13/2006 12:40 Comments || Top||

#7  T: Excellent points. I'd completely forgotten about sharing a beer in an Irish pub with a Peacekeeper before his deployment to Lebanon years ago. He was bored frequently and called us in the States to chat on his UN Sat phone for hours. Lots of cost cutters are possible.
Posted by: Danielle || 02/13/2006 13:55 Comments || Top||

#8  Outsourcing? Contracting? Halliburton? Will contractors have access to the lst floor cafe lounge, and bar?
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/13/2006 17:02 Comments || Top||

Forces Reshaping Christianity Around World
In Nigeria, the Mountain of Fire and Miracles congregation holds huge all-night revivals. Across Asia, the True Jesus Church preaches biblical interpretations that include shunning Christmas as a pagan-tainted holiday. In Brazil, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God says rewards — spiritual and material — may await those who give to its fast-expanding empire.

Such ways of worship that challenge the dominance of Christianity's mainline denominations on every continent will be high on the agenda this week as envoys from the faith's main branches gather in Brazil for their most ambitious conference in eight years.

The World Council of Churches hopes to leave its assembly in Porto Alegre, starting Tuesday and running through Feb. 23, with a clearer vision of how to address the sharp growth of Pentecostal, charismatic and evangelical groups around the globe.

The head of the council, the Rev. Samuel Kobia, will urge delegates to fully recognize the spiritual shifts and begin serious dialogue with Pentecostal and other groups, who have often regarded the WCC as a threat to their independence, fundraising methods and animated worship style.

"We need a fresh look at global Christianity," Kobia told The Associated Press from the WCC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. "I will also call on Pentecostals, charismatic and others to approach us in an open mind and not with the hostility of history that has led to suspicion."

Still, it's the WCC that needs to reach out. The core of its nearly 350-church membership — the mainline Protestant denominations and Orthodox churches — have felt the full force of the rise of Pentecostal and other movements.

More cooperation could energize some old guard denominations and help stem defections to evangelical-style churches, particularly in Africa and Latin America. Failure to find more common ground, however, could reinforce polarizing trends: the traditional churches vs. movements preaching bold messages of salvation and, sometimes, good fortune...
The article only suggests the *real* split, that these new churches reject the far-left Marxism and "revolutionary theology" embraced by much of the WCC, are very conservative and traditional in their essential doctrines, and are confronting and conquering Islam wherever the two meet.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Liberation theology = Marxism hiding behind a bible.
Posted by: no mo uro || 02/13/2006 12:39 Comments || Top||

#2  Blogger Chris Johnson calls it the World Council of Churches Nobody Goes To Anymore.
Posted by: Seafarious || 02/13/2006 12:59 Comments || Top||

Science & Technology
Graf Spee's eagle rises from deep
Divers have salvaged a 2m (6ft) bronze imperial eagle from the German World War II battleship Graf Spee that was scuttled in the River Plate.

Three divers had to loosen 145 bolts securing the 300kg (661lb) eagle to the stern of the craft in the muddy waters off Uruguay's capital, Montevideo.

"The eagle is really impressive... it's all virtually intact," said team leader Hector Bado.

The ship was scuttled in December 1939 to stop it falling into enemy hands.

Mr Bado told Associated Press news agency the eagle had a wingspan of 2.8m (9ft) and a special barge with a crane was needed to raise it from the river.

The barge brought the eagle back to port on Friday with a yellow tarpaulin covering the swastika at its base - out of consideration for those who still hold strong feelings against the symbol of Nazi Germany, Mr Bado said.

The eagle was taken to a customs warehouse, but not before curious cruise ship guests had had a chance to disembark and get some snapshots.

The ship has lain in waters only 10m deep since its scuttling - until a project financed by private investors from the US and Europe with the backing of the Uruguayan government sought to salvage it.

The operation has now been going two years. Previous items raised included a 27-tonne section of the battleship's command tower and a range-finding device for gunners.

It is hoped the vessel will become a tourist attraction in Montevideo.

The Graf Spee was once a symbol of German naval might. In the early days of World War II it roamed the South Atlantic, sinking as many as nine Allied merchant ships.

But during the Battle of the River Plate it received several direct hits and took refuge in Montevideo harbour.

Uruguay, under diplomatic pressure from Britain, ordered the Graf Spee out to sea. And there she was scuttled by her captain, Hans Langsdorff.

Capt Langsdorff committed suicide in a Buenos Aires naval camp three days later.

Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/13/2006 21:21 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6471 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Give it back to the Krauts and forget about it.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/13/2006 22:28 Comments || Top||

Southeast Asia
Ex-Myanmar minister on trial for abuse of power
Former Myanmar foreign minister Win Aung has gone on trial at a special court inside the notorious Insein jail for abuse of power, military sources said on Saturday. "He is on trial for misusing his powers," a source close to the military regime told the agency.

Another legal source said that the former minister had been in the prison for about a month.

Win Aung was purged in October 2004 along with former prime minister Khin Nyunt, who is under house arrest in the capital after receiving a 44-year suspended sentence last year for bribery and corruption. The junta weeded out Khin Nyunt's allies from top posts, and hundreds of military intelligence officers and people linked to their businesses were arrested and detained in prisons around the country.

While Khin Nyunt once helped crack down on pro-democracy demonstrators, he eventually became the reformist-leaning face of Myanmar's military leadership. He was the most senior general willing to enter a dialogue with democratic icon Aung San Suu Kyi and foreign governments considered him to be one of the most accessible and reasonable figures in the junta hierarchy.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front: Culture Wars
22 remain hospitalized after Border Patrol crash
Nearly two dozen people remained hospitalized Saturday after a van packed with suspected illegal immigrants crashed during a chase, authorities said. A blue Chevrolet Sportvan carrying 28 people overturned Friday after hitting a spike strip that Border Patrol agents had placed in its path.
Get a mental image of that: 28 people packed inside a van.
Twenty-two people were being treated at six hospitals, said Kristin Reinhardt, a spokeswoman for the Scripps hospital chain. A Border Patrol spokesman put the figure at 21. Reinhardt declined to disclose their conditions, citing privacy laws. Authorities earlier said eight people had critical but not life-threatening injuries.

The chase began around 1:30 p.m. when Border Patrol agents received reports that large numbers of illegal immigrants were being loaded into three vans in the Otay Mesa industrial district of San Diego, Border Patrol spokesman Richard Kite said. The loading site was near a San Diego warehouse where investigators last month discovered the exit to a 2,400-foot tunnel used to smuggle drugs, the longest passageway ever found under the U.S.-Mexico border.

Border Patrol stopped a van and took 35 people into custody. Another 33 people were held after their van hit a Border Patrol vehicle and a car and halted as it tried to make a U-turn. The third van hit a spike strip laid down by Border Patrol agents on state Route 905 and rolled several times as it went down a 30-foot embankment, authorities said.

"The van was going close to freeway speeds when the driver struck the spike strip and lost control" after blowing at least one tire, California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Gregg said Friday.

Seven people in the van escaped injury but were being detained Saturday along with the people in the other van, Kite said. A CHP report of the incident put the figure at six who escaped injury. All were being interviewed.

Immigrant smuggling operations have been blamed for accidents that killed or injured dozens of people in recent years. Last year, five people died when a minivan loaded with illegal immigrants and driving the wrong way hit a pickup truck head-on near Jamul, 20 miles east of San Diego. Five other people were hurt in another rollover crash.
Build the wall. It will help stop the coyotes.
Posted by: Pappy || 02/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6479 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Please send the Scripps Hospital bill for treatment directly to Mexican President Vicente Fox.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/13/2006 16:44 Comments || Top||

#2  Emergency medicaid at it's best
Posted by: Jan || 02/13/2006 22:04 Comments || Top||

#3  this was one of three vans - all carrying similar loads. They like to drive in on-coming lanes with their lights off to avoid detection. For every American killed by this we should reduce a democrat representative sucking up to illegal constituency or a republican rep supporting big biz over America's national security. Throw them out! Build the fence - faster
Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2006 22:17 Comments || Top||

#4  Get a mental image of that: 28 people packed inside a van.

There are people who pay for that sort of thing.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 02/13/2006 22:19 Comments || Top||

#5  Let me just say - I'm PISSED OFF ABOUT this and I know a LOT of people here who are the same - I'm *ahem* moderating my comments to avoid teh sinktrap, but if my loved ones die because of similar tactics - it'd get real messy. Someone else will take it that far before I do - are our "representatives" listening???
Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2006 22:20 Comments || Top||

#6  Fire a Hellfire from a drone, blow up a few 28 pax vans, televise it, the problem would end very soon. Lets get with the program, get the fence up, before THEY rewrite the program.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/13/2006 22:25 Comments || Top||

#7  They like to drive in on-coming lanes with their lights off to avoid detection.

Posted by: trailing wife || 02/13/2006 23:04 Comments || Top||

#8  they drive in the wrong direction with their lights off to avoid westbound I-8 checkpoints - kills a couple Americans in SD County each year, and IT HAS TO STOP.
Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2006 23:06 Comments || Top||

#9  Gather up a dozen or so of us old fogies, equip us with everything we need, give us a completely free hand, and turn us loose near the US/Mexico or US/Canada border. Recruit, equip, and deploy as many other groups as you can get volunteers for. Pretty soon, there will be fireworks. Note the people that squawk the loudest - ACLU, La Raza, the Mexican "consular officials", and a bunch of people whining about "increasing labor costs". That way you'll know who our enemies are. After a while, though, things along the border will become VERY peaceful.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 02/13/2006 23:28 Comments || Top||

Storm Dumps Record Snowfall on New York City
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/13/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6483 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Stop giglging, AP, lol.
Posted by: .com || 02/13/2006 2:25 Comments || Top||

#2  Storm Dumps Record Snowfall on New York City

While over the past week we had temps here in the 70s....
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/13/2006 10:14 Comments || Top||

#3  Still snowing here. Started Friday night and hasn't quit yet.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 02/13/2006 11:59 Comments || Top||

#4  a convective zone of very heavy snow set up on Sunday am - it dumped 10" in 2.5 hours on NYC central park

the convective zone was oriented SW to NE; the southern end of it was near Columbia, Md which got about 21" total and the north end was near Hartford, CN which got about 25"
Posted by: mhw || 02/13/2006 13:45 Comments || Top||

#5  Surprised...usually this stuff occurs during a major speech by AlGore (AKA "Mr. Timing") on Global Warming
Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2006 14:23 Comments || Top||

#6  Of course, this just happened to be the storm when my teenage son, who normally shovels the driveway, had a bad case of bronchitis. Not only did he feel like crap, but he missed out on a big fat payday. All I got out of the deal was a sore back and windburned cheeks.
Posted by: Xbalanke || 02/13/2006 14:41 Comments || Top||

#7  LOL, X! I assume you mean the cheeks on your face. You guys would laugh at us Southerners. We had about 1" on my car (none on the ground) and my daughter was flipping out. Then we had about 10 minutes of hard snowing when a cloud passed over our house, and my daughter flipped again. I'd hate to see what the ATL would do in a real snow storm!
Posted by: BA || 02/13/2006 15:17 Comments || Top||

#8  Damn that Global Warming™! ;-p
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/13/2006 16:50 Comments || Top||

#9  If ONLY Al Gore was President, then we'd have perfect weather 7x24 and the world would love us. We'd all sing Kumbaya, dogs would play with cats, the whole earth would be in harmony, and the heavens would sing the glories of secular liberal socialism.

Or some such horseshit like that ...
Posted by: DMFD || 02/13/2006 23:00 Comments || Top||

#10  We had 60's and 70's through Thursday last week, a fast cold front and a "dusting" of snow on Friday, bitter cold Saturday ("high" 31F), then 60's again yesterday and today. I love Colorado weather!
Posted by: Old Patriot || 02/13/2006 23:38 Comments || Top||

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A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.

Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.

Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has dominated Mexico for six years.
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Two weeks of WOT
Mon 2006-02-13
  Gore Bashes US In Saudi Arabia
Sun 2006-02-12
  IAEA cameras taken off Iran N-sites
Sat 2006-02-11
  Danish ambassador quits Syria
Fri 2006-02-10
  Nasrallah: Bush and Rice should 'shut up'
Thu 2006-02-09
  Taliban offer 100kg gold for killing cartoonist
Wed 2006-02-08
  Syrian Ex-VP and Muslim Brotherhood Put Past Behind Them
Tue 2006-02-07
  Captain Hook found guilty in London
Mon 2006-02-06
  Cartoon riots: Leb interior minister quits
Sun 2006-02-05
  Iran Resumes Uranium Enrichment
Sat 2006-02-04
  Syria protesters set Danish embassy ablaze
Fri 2006-02-03
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