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Pakistan: Suspects arrested for ´plotting attack against spy agency´
Today's Headlines
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-Short Attention Span Theater-
Berlusconi denies ŽspicyŽ tie with underage girl
[Mail and Globe] Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday denied ever having a "spicy" relationship with an underage girl, saying he would resign if rumours about his ties to a teenage aspiring model were true. "I have answered the only question that anyone has the right to ask me: 'Prime minister, have you had a, let's say, spicy, or more than spicy, relationship with an underage girl?' Absolutely not," Berlusconi said.
Waited 'til her birthday, didja? Good move. Tell 'em to go... ummm... screw.
"I swore on the heads of my children," he told reporters. "I've also said that if all this was true, I would have to resign immediately. Beware of what you read in the newspapers."

Berlusconi is under constant pressure to explain his relationship with Noemi Letizia, the 18-year-old at the centre of a highly public row between the billionaire prime minister and his second wife Veronica Lario, who has filed for divorce.

The Italian leader has maintained that he met Letizia through her parents whom he has known for many years, while her ex-boyfriend claims Berlusconi contacted her out of the blue, and directly, only last year.

The ex-boyfriend told the left-leaning daily La Repubblica in an interview published on Saturday that Letizia was among a bevy of aspiring starlets whose pictures were in a file left on Berlusconi's desk by the head of one of his TV networks.

Also Thursday, three of Berlusconi's five children came to his defence over his links to Letizia in their first public comments on the scandal.

Opposition leader Dario Franceschini "has no right to insult Silvio Berlusconi. Who does he think he is? Doesn't he realise the seriousness of his accusations? He should be really ashamed!" Marina Berlusconi said in remarks to leading daily Corriere della Sera.

"I am indignant, furious," she said, adding: "That's enough now!"
Posted by: Fred || 05/29/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Berlusconi seems to be a healthy, not-too-old hetero male whose parts work(ed - 5 kids). And of a hot-blooded ethnicity. Letizia is 18, so not under-age. And hot. Getting 'spicy' with her would be wrong (unless you are Bill Clinton, but she's too hot for his tastes) but not illegal and quite understandable.
Posted by: Glenmore || 05/29/2009 8:49 Comments || Top||

#2  while her ex-boyfriend claims Berlusconi contacted her out of the blue, and directly

Plot solved, if you can't get what you want, nuke her.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/29/2009 13:05 Comments || Top||

#3  Time Magazine put up a picture of Berlusconi, making a hand gesture in front of his face that could be very misconstrued as very lewd, and captioned, "Is there anyone who has any questions about underage females?"

Time quickly changed it to a much less controversial photo.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 05/29/2009 18:19 Comments || Top||


-Signs, Portents, and the Weather-
More Anti-Americanism In Texas
Frank Larison is a disabled veteran with more than 14 years of service, including more than a year of combat duty in Vietnam. The 58-year-old former Marine now finds himself under attack by his Dallas homeowners association for displaying seven decals on his vehicle supporting the Marine Corps.

"To me, it's being patriotic, and it shows that I served," the veteran told FOX 4.

The board says the decals are advertisements that violate HOA rules, and must be covered or removed.
The homeowners association has a rule about vehicle decals?
Otherwise, the homeowners association for The Woodlands II on The Creek --- where Larimore has lived for eight years --- says in a letter it will tow the car at Larimore's expense. The board also threatens to fine him $50 for any future incident.
The average homeowners association makes the Stazi look meek and mild ...
Larimore says the decals, ranging from the Marine emblem to Semper Fi slogans, aren't advertisements for anything. "You can't buy freedom," he reasoned.

Some neighbors are outraged.

"That is his identity," said neighbor Mary Castagna. "He goes to a lot of the veteran meetings, and it means a lot to him. Everyone else agrees with it; it doesn't bother anybody."

"He's in the Marines, and he's proud of it, and I don't blame him," said neighbor Paul Hardy. "If I'd gone through what he's gone through, I'd be kind of proud of it myself."

The letter from the board states you can't have any form of advertisement anywhere on your car on your property. FOX 4 cameras spotted bumper stickers for political parties, health causes, and other non-commercial interests on the property as well.

One board member said he was unaware the HOA presidents sent the letter and did not know of any issue with Larimore's vehicle. "I will be looking into it," said board member Art Bradford. "I didn't know anything about this. I haven't seen this."

The board president was out of town and unavailable. The condo management company did not want to comment.
Oh why-ever not?
Posted by: Anonymoose || 05/29/2009 00:51 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6473 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I'm guessing that Obama stickers are exempt from the ire of those who would make this guy remove his stickers.
Posted by: no mo uro || 05/29/2009 6:15 Comments || Top||

#2  The stickers are on his car, not his condo. Tell 'em to go pound sand, Marine!
Posted by: Parabellum || 05/29/2009 6:52 Comments || Top||

#3  So are the name decals on everybody's car an advertisement, too? How about their license plates?
Posted by: gorb || 05/29/2009 7:16 Comments || Top||

#4  The board president was out of town and unavailable

Given prior reactions in TX to this type of thing, if the Board Prez or member had made someone really PO'd, this would be a great opportunity to put together a 'Dan Rather' letter under the board's name and send it to the home owner. Picking a time when the real target was 'out of town' and having no opportunity to directly respond, would make for a real show. Payback can be a mother.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 05/29/2009 7:58 Comments || Top||

#5  HOA's are the prime vehicle for minor-league control freaks. They need to be beaten back and embarrassed to the point of having to hide in their condos for fear of confrontation
Posted by: Frank G || 05/29/2009 8:44 Comments || Top||

#6  Government says vets are potential terrorists so this HOA president probably either fled town for his life or was placed under protection by Homeland Security. (sarc, in case the reader is an oblivion.) Of course I, not a vet (and thus less self-disciplined) would sure be tempted to be a threat. Maybe somebody has a bunch of USMC stickers they could plaster on the HOA persons car? It would give the tow truck operator an excuse to hook up the wrong car (you know any Texas tow truck driver would want one.)
Posted by: Glenmore || 05/29/2009 9:01 Comments || Top||

#7  Semper Fi, you M* F* HOA Asshole!
Posted by: Art ofWar || 05/29/2009 10:31 Comments || Top||

#8  Woodlands on the Creek II

Royal/Fair Oaks Crossing
104 Homes
President – Darenda Hardy
hardyd4099@aol.com
Posted by: Kofi Claitle6576 || 05/29/2009 10:37 Comments || Top||

#9  HOA's are the prime vehicle for minor-league control freaks.

Very true, Frank. When we re-roofed our home, our HOA threatened to sue us for not letting them choose the color (we didn't change the color from the original). I let them know that when they paid for my roof, I'd be happy to let them choose and we never heard another word.

In the instance of this Marine Vet, I would love to see his neighborhood show their solidarity by slathering Marine decals and bumper stickers all over their vehicles -- similar to what the citizens of Holland did by wearing the Star of David badge during WWII.

Let that liberal loon HOA prez try to get ALL the cars towed. Heh.
Posted by: Zorba || 05/29/2009 11:34 Comments || Top||

#10  uess her party affiliation. Oh hell, I won't make you guess:

Darenda A Hardy (Kane,Russell,Coleman/Retired), (Zip code: 75243) $200 to DNC SERVICES CORPORATION/DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE on 03/31/08
Posted by: spiffo || 05/29/2009 11:38 Comments || Top||

#11  The HOA in my neighborhood tried to fine me 100 bucks when I moved in. They said I could not have trailers parked in front of my home. I asked the snide bitch how I was expected to move in and she said it was not her problem. After a brief altercation with the manager and a promise to sue her personally for harassment everything was removed from my "file" and they now leave me alone.
Posted by: 49 Pan || 05/29/2009 12:12 Comments || Top||

#12  Spealing of OBAMA decals on cars, I haven't seen a one, I think they're ashamed.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/29/2009 13:07 Comments || Top||

#13  She's already shut down her e-mail...lmfao
Posted by: Art ofWar || 05/29/2009 14:58 Comments || Top||

#14  I hate to say it but I am wondering if the freedom we are fighting for is alrady lost. Look at this pathetic picture. A disabled Marine Vet with PTSD is harassed by some anti military HOA BOD president. What is the world coming to when a nitwit like this holds sway over the lives of others? The good news is that we Marines are spreading this story worldwide via the blogs and nationwide via the MSM (lead by FOX among others). This story is big folks. It goes to the fundamental rights we take for granted and the shameful manner in which a wannabe power hungry idot acts toward our Marine patriots when given the opportunity to abuse the little power they have. I wonder how many Marines will ride to Dallas and support our brother Marine in his time of need. Marines stick together in time of need and this is such a time. Wait until they see the bumper stickers we have!
Posted by: a concerned Marine || 05/29/2009 15:17 Comments || Top||

#15  She's already shut down her e-mail...lmfao

Guess she wasn't as unavailable as advertised.
Posted by: ed || 05/29/2009 15:28 Comments || Top||

#16  I hate to say it but I am wondering if the freedom we are fighting for is alrady lost.

Nah. The Marines firmly planted the flag on her Mount Suribachi. Eternal vigilance.
Posted by: ed || 05/29/2009 15:30 Comments || Top||

#17  A concerned Marine, Frank G. nailed it: there are idiots attracted to the possibility to go power-mad at the homeowners' association/PTA/community council level...one of the uglier aspects of human nature. This has nothing to do with the overriding freedoms that you and your comrades are fighting/have fought for.

Watch what happens: this is a perfect example of Americans exercising their rights in the face of petty tyranny. As you said, it has already started. The story was picked up by the local FOX television station, spread nationally, and the wanna-be tyrant not only went into hiding, but shut down her email address and no doubt took her phone off the hook. Probably had to turn off her cell phone, too. I have no doubt both she and the HOA board are very clear that she made a very, very stupid move, and are acting to reverse it as fast as ever they're able.

This is how America was intended to work, and it's doing so quite well indeed.

Separately, Zorba, I think it was the Danes who wore Jewish stars, including the king. But your point certainly stands, very proudly. :-)
Posted by: trailing wife || 05/29/2009 15:36 Comments || Top||

#18  Reminds me of the flag event in the Texas hospital. Folks have now had enough. Time to push back, oh how I wish we had GOP leadership.
Posted by: 49 Pan || 05/29/2009 16:40 Comments || Top||

#19  This idiot HOA president is going to rue the day she EVER tangled with a Marine. I hope she gets run out of town.
Posted by: remoteman || 05/29/2009 16:42 Comments || Top||

#20  Separately, Zorba, I think it was the Danes who wore Jewish stars, including the king. But your point certainly stands, very proudly. :-)

Danish Jews weren't forced to wear the yellow badges. I'm pretty sure it was the Dutch. Also, I think that story about the Danish King threatening to don the badge is a myth.
Posted by: Zorba || 05/29/2009 17:17 Comments || Top||

#21  I've been wrong before. Thank you, Zorba. :-)
Posted by: trailing wife || 05/29/2009 17:24 Comments || Top||

#22  "The letter from the board states you can't have any form of advertisement anywhere on your car on your property."

I don't have to understand this, right?
Posted by: European Conservative || 05/29/2009 18:39 Comments || Top||

#23  A certain busybody in my neighborhood ripped a small USMC flag down from a former Marine's porch. Rookie mistake. He got his ass handed to him by a former Navy Corpsman who found out 'bout the disrespect.

Gee - I was always told Corpsmen were non-combatants :) Go figure. . . .
Posted by: GORT || 05/29/2009 21:38 Comments || Top||


Earthquake Off Honduras Kills 6
May 28 (Bloomberg) -- A magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck under the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Honduras today, killing six people, closing the nation’s largest port and causing a bridge to fall in the north of the Central American country.

Puerto Cortes on the Caribbean coast will be closed at least until tomorrow, though the country’s coffee-growing and other export industries were largely unharmed, Marcos Burgos, the director of the country’s Permanent Emergency Commission, said in a phone interview. In addition to the deaths, 40 people were injured, he said.

A section of a bridge over the Ulua River, Honduras’s biggest waterway, collapsed in the town of El Progreso, Jose Rosario Bonanno Zaldivas, minister of public works, transport and housing, said on HRN radio. The bridge is the country’s link to its second-largest city, San Pedro Sula, and Bonanno Zaldivas said it would take at least 14 months to rebuild.

The quake hit at 2:24 a.m. Honduras time, 63 kilometers (39 miles) northeast of the island of Roatan, at a depth of 10 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a statement. The epicenter was 320 kilometers north-northeast of the capital Tegucigalpa. The closest land to the quake was in the palm- fringed Bay Islands, famed for beaches, coral reefs and diving.

Tremors were felt in neighboring countries, including Guatemala City. The quake was the largest along an unnamed fault line off the coast of Honduras since a 6.0-magnitude temblor in 2002, the geological survey said. A tsunami watch issued within minutes of the quake for Honduras, Belize and Guatemala was later canceled.

The four runways at the country’s main international airport weren’t damaged, said Bonanno Zaldivas. Authorities are assessing the damage to the port at Cortes, and it may reopen tomorrow if the facility’s equipment is safe to operate, Burgos said.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/29/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  No surprise here as I'd once again observed spherical sky flashes oer GUAM-EASTPAC.

OTOH, me prob is that the same was also observed oer Guam's HAGATNA/AGANA BAY + WESTPAC, NOT JUST EASTPAC [Centpac]. CALL ME WEIRD BUT HONDURAS TO MY RECOLLECTION IS NOT IN WESTPAC, AKA EAST ASIA.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 05/29/2009 1:07 Comments || Top||


Africa Subsaharan
Jittery Madagascar army combs airport for ex-president
[Mail and Globe] Heavily armed troops in Madagascar combed the international airport in the capital Antananarivo for ousted president Marc Ravalomanana, fearing that he is planning to try to slip back into the country, local media reported on Thursday.

The alarm was raised on Wednesday, when the passenger list for a flight arriving from the neighbouring Indian Ocean island of Mauritius went missing, Malaza daily newspaper reported.

Apparently fearing that Ravalomanana might be attempting to return to the island, two months after being ousted by the opposition with military backing, a few hundred soldiers fanned out across Ivato airport, including the runway, in wait for the Mauritius flight.

The soldiers searched the luggage of passengers on the flight and questioned them, apparently trying to identify possible Ravalomanana accomplices. No incriminating material was found.

The administration of embattled interim president Andry Rajoelina is appearing increasingly jittery as pressure grows on the 34-year-old leader to end months of instability by holding inclusive elections.

So far, the international community has refused to recognise Rajoelina as leader, saying his arrival to power through a campaign of street protests and with the help of mutinous troops, was tantamount to a coup.

Ravalomanana had been democratically re-elected to a second term in 2006, but lost support over the army's violent crackdown on demonstrations.

The United Nations announced late last week a breakthrough in talks between the parties of the island's three ex-presidents and Rajoelina on the holding of fresh elections.

But former dictator Didier Ratsiraka, who is in exile in France, later pulled out, saying peaceful elections were not possible in the current climate.
Posted by: Fred || 05/29/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "We ain't found shit!"
-- Spaceballs
Posted by: mojo || 05/29/2009 17:37 Comments || Top||


Zim continues with crackdown on white farmers
[Mail and Globe] President Robert Mugabe's controversial "land reform programme" took a new twist on Wednesday when a court ordered the eviction of a man who is not a farmer.

Ian Campbell-Morrison (46) lives in the Vumba Mountains in eastern Zimbabwe, next to a hotel where he is the green keeper. He and his wife live in a cottage on a plot not much bigger than a suburban garden, where she tends flowers.

The Campbell-Morrisons used to farm tobacco and coffee, but the government seized their land and the farmhouse and gave it to a government official, leaving the couple their cottage and the garden around it, said Hendrik Olivier, director of the Commercial Farmers' Union, made up mostly of Zimbabwe's remaining 350 white farmers.

A magistrate in the nearby city of Mutare nevertheless sentenced Campbell-Morrison to a fine of $800 for "illegally occupying state land" and ordered the couple to be off the property by Saturday.

The Campbell-Morrisons are one of 140 white farming families facing eviction from their land in the latest tactic in Mugabe's violent, lawless campaign to force white landowners -- numbering about 5 000 when it started in 2000 -- off their farms.

The action is in the name of a redistribution of land to black Zimbabweans,but which has instead made a million former farm workers homeless and set off the collapse the once-prosperous country's economy.

Mugabe has declared all white-owned land to be state property and banned farmers from taking the government to court.

The evictions and violence have continued despite the establishment in February of a power-sharing government between Mugabe and former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, with an agreement to restore the rule of law and to "ensure security of tenure to all land holders".

Tsvangirai, now prime minister, began by promising to end the lawlessness, promising that "no crime [by invaders] will go unpunished," but the police -- under the control of staunchly pro-Mugabe security chiefs -- continued to refuse to act against the mostly well-heeled Mugabe loyalists grabbing productive farms and selling their crops.
Posted by: Fred || 05/29/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6466 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Starvation, crime, and tribal genocide are tools of natural selection. All meddling post-colonials must go!
Posted by: Besoeker || 05/29/2009 7:54 Comments || Top||

#2  Someone wanted their house. Having stole the big pieces, the kleptocrats are vacuuming up anything of value remaining. May they all starve in peace.
Posted by: rwv || 05/29/2009 8:29 Comments || Top||

#3  There is still a small amount of food being produced in Zimbabwe. His work is not done yet.
Posted by: bigjim-ca || 05/29/2009 14:32 Comments || Top||

#4  Well, 100 gazillion Zimbucks to One Post-Crunch US dollar says he's working as a green-keeper at LEOPARDS ROCK hotel, probably running the whole golf course. Any 'burgers up for a round of cross-bow golf to give the chap a hand? .,.Morgan bettah get a grip, it's not easy, although on the edgd of Mashona territory. it aint Matabeleland. RWV is right. it is prime Real Estate, (for 1st World leisure. at 1st World prices).
Posted by: rhodesiafever || 05/29/2009 20:09 Comments || Top||

#5  Must surely be a loaded FN lying somewhere handy RF, whahaha.
Posted by: Besoeker || 05/29/2009 20:29 Comments || Top||

#6  LOL, Besoeker! And, Glenmore, I am sure your friends offsprimg will be OK in Botswana. A good place, they shoot poachers there. I remember being there when the first one was shot. verdict was it was a good thing. No problems in Bots apart from a bit of over-spill from Bobs-ville.
Posted by: rhodesiafever || 05/29/2009 20:47 Comments || Top||

#7  I was MAG gunner with 6 Trp, 1RLI for a while, Besoeker, couldn't hht sh!t with an FN!! ...They pull up and to the right, and I'd far rather have 10 belts of 50 than a few magazines, even with the stoppages I had, mostly self-inflicted(!). Never sax an FN have a problem. but then they were only on Double-tap
Posted by: rhodesiafever || 05/29/2009 21:12 Comments || Top||


Bangladesh
Diarrhoea breaks out in coast
[Bangla Daily Star] Diarrhoea has broken out in Cyclone Aila-hit coastal areas of Khulna and Satkhira as an acute scarcity of drinking water and food worsened sufferings of thousands.

At least two people died of diarrhoea in Khulna coast yesterday, and over 100 were attacked with the disease in coastal areas of the two districts. The situation might turn alarming unless drinking water is immediately made available, reports quoting locals said.

Meanwhile, unofficial estimates said death toll from the cyclone rose to 175 yesterday. According to official statistics, death toll was 147 while 6,708 were wounded and 10 people are still missing.

Our correspondent in Satkhira reports that thousands of marooned people in remote areas of Gabura, Padmapukur, Burigoalini, Munshiganj and adjoining unions are virtually starving as they do not have fuel to cook food.

Burigoalini Union Parishad Chairman Asim Kumar Joardar said local administration is distributing rice among the affected people, but they cannot cook due to lack of fuel, and because there are no high lands nearby.

In Shyamnagar upazila, more than 80 people including children attacked with diarrhoea were admitted to local private clinics. Satkhira Civil Surgeon Dr Md Ebadullah said 37 medical teams are working in the affected areas.

Local sources said death toll from Aila rose to 47 yesterday from 35 in Shyamnagar and Assassuni upazilas.

Our staff correspondent in Khulna reports: Diarrhoea broke out in Maheshwaripur, south Bedkashi and North Bedkashi unions, and the situation might worsen, sources in the areas said. Relief materials and drinking water were being distributed but these could not meet even one-fourth of the need, they said.

Death toll from Aila in Khulna district rose to 43 yesterday from 35 on Wednesday.

The health minister visited different cyclone-hit areas in Assassuni upazila and distributed relief yesterday.

Our correspondent in Patuakhali reports that thousands of people in the cyclone-hit coastal area of the district are suffering for food and drinking water crises.
Posted by: Fred || 05/29/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  And by 'diarrhoea' we mean 'cholera'. But don't tell anyone we said so.
Posted by: SteveS || 05/29/2009 1:33 Comments || Top||

#2  At first, I thought it was another story about Washington DC.
Posted by: AlmostAnonymous5839 || 05/29/2009 11:15 Comments || Top||


Economy
Wind farm firm to add 100 jobs with $400,000 tax credit
An Ohio company transforming its business model will build its headquarters in the town of Greenville. LAH Development will become a wind turbine manufacturer and installer after years of constructing commercial buildings.

The company's new building is expected to cost $1 million, CNN affiliate WHIO-TV in Dayton reported. The state of Ohio has granted the company a tax credit of almost $400,000 to help create jobs. The company expects to hire 100 new employees.

Under an agreement with the state, the company is required to operate at the new site for 12 years.
Posted by: Seafarious || 05/29/2009 12:06 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Sounds good all around.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/29/2009 13:14 Comments || Top||

#2  $400,000 credit doesn't generate 100 jobs.
Posted by: DoDo || 05/29/2009 13:52 Comments || Top||

#3  maybe there's a capitalist involved too...
Posted by: Art ofWar || 05/29/2009 15:08 Comments || Top||

#4  The "Capitalist" is the taxpayer w/ a $.03/kWh subsidy. A 2MW turbine operating at 30% efficiency generates 5.3 MWh of electricity. That generates a subsidy $160K/year for the first 5 years (accelerated 5 year depreciation) and $107-133K/year thereafter for every 2MW wind turbine. Take a wind farm w/ 1000 turbines and that's a large chunk of government cheese, even in Obamaland. Plus hidden subsidies because wind must be fully backed up by standby power plants and power transmission cables must be heavier and longer than more predictable thermal power plants.
Posted by: ed || 05/29/2009 15:25 Comments || Top||


$56,000 a year entry level, no education needed jobs "Gone with the Wind"
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- There was a time, not very long ago, when getting a job on the production line at a big automaker meant an instant ticket to the American dream, even for someone with little formal education. Not anymore.

"The minute you signed the paper, you were instantly vaulted into the middle class," said Mike Smith, director of Wayne State University's Walter P. Reuther Library in Detroit, named for the founder of the United Auto Workers, the union that represents auto workers.

A shrinking paycheck. As the auto industry undergoes a sea change, the government has demanded that Chrysler and General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) bring their labor costs in line with foreign competitors operating non-union factories in the U.S.

Today, an entry-level auto-worker will be making $14 an hour, compared to the $28 "base rate" the job had earned before, according to a summary of Chrysler's contract agreement.

Worker's benefits have also taken a hit.

"Workers coming in will have good benefits and a good wages but not necessarily what they were 20 or 30 years ago," said Smith.

Anemic healthcare. New UAW employees will pay a much larger portion of their healthcare expenses and once they retire carmakers won't be paying for their healthcare, according to information from the Center for Automotive Research.

Fewer medical procedures and drugs will be covered and, under new agreements, Chrysler and GM employees won't have dental and vision care covered.

Eroding unemployment benefits. As GM and Chrysler restructure, the UAW has agreed to give up salary protections that had cushioned laid off autoworkers.

These protections had allowed factory workers to get their full pay, or close to it, even after they had been laid off. Workers could stay in the so-called "jobs bank," with pay, until they'd either returned to work or turned down job offers from the automaker.

Under new deals with GM and Chrysler, factory workers will receive much less money when they're laid off. Senior workers will only be protected for up to one year, according to a summary of recent UAW contract changes.
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 05/29/2009 09:37 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  $14 an hour, eh? I thought Toyota was paying their guys $20.
Posted by: Cornsilk Blondie || 05/29/2009 10:26 Comments || Top||

#2  Pay is commensurate to skill. If your job can be replaced by a robot, you deserve less then $14 an hour.
Posted by: Yosemite Sam || 05/29/2009 10:32 Comments || Top||

#3  This has actually been going on for some time. I do know that Chrysler was bringing in temps at greatly reduced wages and NO bennies to cover the shortfalls in vacation schedules. They could keep them for up to 60 days then they were required to hire (the standard probationary period was 60 days but health care did not kick in for one year). Amazingly they all got let go at around 56 days. And then got brought back in.
Posted by: Cheaderhead || 05/29/2009 11:18 Comments || Top||

#4  Amazingly they all got let go at around 56 days. And then got brought back in.

Sorta like ACORN serfs workers.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 05/29/2009 11:35 Comments || Top||

#5  The base rate for an experienced Toyota USA production worker is about $26 an hour, as I recall. Health care and other benefits push that into the low 40s. For the UAW it was about $28 and low 70s by the time you figured in their better benefits.

$14 is for an entry level worker; if they stick they get moved up.

If the UAW had been smart they would have, a couple years back, offered the Big 3 a deal: we keep our base pay and most of our benefits, our retirees keep most of theirs, and in turn we eliminate all the work rules not directly related to safety, and we give up the 'job bank'.

That just might have saved the situation then.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/29/2009 11:49 Comments || Top||

#6  I've just thought up this thing I call "E Koh Nom Icks"

It reckons that price controls create shortages and artificially upping wages creates unemployment.

Do you think it will catch on?
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 05/29/2009 11:52 Comments || Top||

#7  I'm searching for my nanoviolin - really, I am.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 05/29/2009 12:24 Comments || Top||

#8  Wow! For once I agree with the Zero administration, make the big three competitive. Of course the UAW will blame the cuts on big brother government. This will get interseting, workers pay cut by the Dems. Oportunity knocks for the GOP, lets see if they can play this one.
Posted by: 49 Pan || 05/29/2009 12:31 Comments || Top||

#9  A big problem I see is that Ford is competing with 2 federally backed entities. Support your Non-Federally funded auto maker.
Posted by: tipover || 05/29/2009 12:55 Comments || Top||

#10  Among liberals, there is this idea that jobs create themselves, and that good things can be simply brought into existence with the wave of a legislative wand. This particular illusion has been exceptionally long-lived.

Of course, there is one part of me that says if a megacorp is making megabucks, then the workers who create that value should receive benefits. If the market will pay $14/hour for your job, and yet you're creating something worth $100/hour, I don't agree that all that money should go towards the executives. And don't give me any B.S. about stockholder dividends, everyone knows those are a waste of the company's money.
Posted by: gromky || 05/29/2009 13:11 Comments || Top||

#11  About EFFING time!
Posted by: Angeatle Sproing9224 || 05/29/2009 13:20 Comments || Top||

#12  Pay is commensurate to skill. If your job can be replaced by a robot, you deserve less then $14 an hour .18 per kilowatt hour.
Posted by: bigjim-ca || 05/29/2009 13:29 Comments || Top||

#13  WHAT? I thought the UAW now owned 65% of GM.

They trying to make sure that NO "Young upstarts", get on "THEIR' Gravy train
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/29/2009 13:33 Comments || Top||

#14  #7: I'm searching for my nanoviolin - really, I am. Posted by: Barbara Skolaut|

I found mine, Barbara, but the F-string is broken. I plan to replace it when I win the lottery. Nanoviolin strings are EXPENSIVE!
Posted by: Old Patriot || 05/29/2009 14:43 Comments || Top||


Oil prices jump above $65; first time for 2009
NEW YORK (AP) - Oil prices rose above $65 per barrel Thursday as OPEC maintained crude production levels as expected and a pair of economic reports suggested an economic rebound may push energy prices higher.

Benchmark crude for July delivery added $1.56 to reach $65.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a six-month high. In London, Brent prices gained $1.80 to $64.30 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Retail gas prices have shadowed oil prices, ticking higher every day this month. Gas prices are not only rising because of crude. Refiners, stung by falling demand for gasoline, have cut back sharply on production this year.

The national average pump price increased 1.5 cents overnight to $2.449 a gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. Gas is 40.1 cents a gallon more expensive than last month, but it's still $1.495 a gallon cheaper than a year ago.

Despite the uptick in petroleum prices, U.S. energy consumption still hovers at its lowest level in a decade.

The Energy Information Administration said Thursday that U.S. storage facilities added another 106 billion cubic feet of natural gas last week, putting the overall surplus well above the five-year average. That's largely because manufacturers and other big industrial power users have been slashing production and cutting jobs.

The lack of spending on energy over the past several months has meant growing supplies and lower prices, compared with last year.

On Thursday, however, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries stood firm on production levels. Oil prices have nearly doubled since the beginning of the year as the group uncharacteristically complied with production quotes for the most part. Even though a huge glut of oil remains, OPEC President Jose Maria Bothelo de Vasconcelos said Thursday that the organization has seen signs of an economic upturn.

Signs that those cuts may be working have showed up weekly in U.S. government reports on the level of unused oil in storage. The government reported Thursday that U.S. oil supplies dropped unexpectedly by 5.4 million barrels last week. Though crude inventories remain near 19-year highs, it was the third week in a row that supplies have fallen.

With petroleum prices, "the biggest drag until now was the oversupply in everything. That's starting to change slowly," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Alaron Trading Corp. "We saw the big pad of crude oil drop a little bit. And demand for oil has probably bottomed out. We may see demand start to go up."
Posted by: Steve White || 05/29/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Lack of demand seems to be the big problem for oil supplers. I'm sure jacking up the price will help that.
Posted by: Richard of Oregon || 05/29/2009 11:25 Comments || Top||

#2  Ga went up 11 cents a gollon here in one day.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 05/29/2009 13:55 Comments || Top||

#3  Is this an early indicator for general inflation?
Posted by: Iblis || 05/29/2009 15:27 Comments || Top||

#4  Or capital finding shelter in commodities rather than stocks and bonds given the Obama administration destroying holders' standing to recover their investments.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 05/29/2009 19:30 Comments || Top||


Obama says national healthcare this year - or never
I'll take never, then.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 05/29/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6466 views] Top|| File under:

#1  never
Posted by: 3dc || 05/29/2009 0:35 Comments || Top||

#2  The Tool(tm) knows that if he can't ramrod this through now that the rubes are going to see the disaster that is our former economy that they'll never allow him to screw up anything else.

We are witnessing the largest theft in the history of the world, and time grows short to continue to screw the country.

I ask, how could he do anything more destructive?
Posted by: Vespasian Threremp1622 || 05/29/2009 1:02 Comments || Top||

#3  Don't ask.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 05/29/2009 3:02 Comments || Top||

#4  For your Health I hope that your care is never rationed by state bureaucrats.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 05/29/2009 4:58 Comments || Top||

#5  From the people I have talked to who voted for Zero, health care 'change' was their number one reason. It's a huge issue with most poorly-informed Americans (there a LOTS of those) and even a large number of informed ones. If a variant of Hillary/Daschle Care is to be avoided the opponents will have to come up with - and SELL - a credible alternative. Just condemning Zeros plan, regardless of how valid the condemning arguments are, won't stop it. People see we have a problem so if there's only one purported solution on the table they'll 'feel' they have to accept it.
Posted by: Glenmore || 05/29/2009 9:11 Comments || Top||

#6  Great points, Glenmore. And the scary thing is that I don't see conservatives coalescing around a good alternative at all. Some sort of variation on McCain's plan (or at least some plan that encourages competition) needs to be promoted by conservative leaders. There are a number of voters who fear the results of a government health-care system, but have nothing out there to rally behind. If people like us aren't seeing the alternative, then it's wayyyy off the radar screen for most other voters. :-(
Posted by: ryuge || 05/29/2009 10:01 Comments || Top||

#7  "The president said the costs of the nation's $2.5 trillion health care system are crushing families and businesses and pose the largest threat to the economy."

Hmmm…the problem was the health care system huh? Silly me, all along I was thinking it was the Housing Bubble and Financial sector meltdown that were the real economic sucker punches. But the part about Medicare and Medicaid being unsustainable makes sense. The part about creating the nation's most expensive entitlement program as the solution…not so much.
Posted by: DepotGuy || 05/29/2009 10:39 Comments || Top||

#8  Never sounds like a very good deal. After all, never is forever. In June, I begin my sentence with Medicare. It's probably too late for me to get out of it's tentacles, but fight nationalization of health care and save yourselves, if you can.
Posted by: Richard of Oregon || 05/29/2009 11:19 Comments || Top||

#9  never works for me.
Posted by: spiffo || 05/29/2009 11:28 Comments || Top||

#10  Americas problem is not healthcare it's the leaching lawyers.

Tort reform, not healthcare rationing.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 05/29/2009 11:54 Comments || Top||

#11  He's nationalized the banks, nationalized two-thirds of the car industry and now he's got his sights set on health care. He certainly is ambitious. I'll give him that.
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305 || 05/29/2009 12:10 Comments || Top||

#12  Yes he is...something that all of history's worst despots have in common.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 05/29/2009 14:43 Comments || Top||

#13  hopefully the norks or iran will take him off message and tie him up with...oops, i almost said "a tarbaby."
Posted by: Art ofWar || 05/29/2009 15:06 Comments || Top||

#14  Tort reform, not healthcare rationing

Don't hold your breath waiting for the Democrats to rein in their largest contributors.
Posted by: DMFD || 05/29/2009 22:27 Comments || Top||


India-Pakistan
US and Indian lunar orbiters team up to search for ice
The Chandrayaan-1 Mini-SAR and LRO Mini-RF units were designed to operate cooperatively in a bistatic mode, with Chandrayaan-1 transmitting and LRO receiving in S-band radar data,"
About 400,000 km from planet earth, there are probably chunks of ice trapped inside huge craters on the moons surface. And they have been left untouched by the sun for about two billion years. This has so far been a conjecture.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US are going to find out whether those dark holes actually hold ice and the secret of the solar system.

"When it happens, it is going to be a unique experiment and will be the first of its kind," M. Annadurai, project director, Chandrayaan-I, told Hindustan Times.

ISRO scientists said the details of the experiment --manoeuvering the orbiters to cruise along over the lunar poles, ensuring simultaneous operations and exchange of data -- would be worked out with NASA in Bangalore next month.

The first such effort by the space faring nations will involve two lunar orbiters, Chandrayaan-I and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRA) of NASA, operating in sync over the moons polar region. They will bounce radar signals off the craters to spot the nether world of ice.

The master plan for the experiment has been chalked out by Prof. Paul D. Spudis of Lunar and Planetary Institute of Houston, who led the team of US scientists in the Chandrayaan-I project. "Our experiment should answer first the broad questions about the existence of lunar polar ice, its extent and purity," says Prof. Spudis in his paper published in Lunar and Planetary Science journal.

As the first step, Indian scientists shifted Chandrayaan-I to a new orbit 200 km away to 100 km from the lunar surface on May 19. It will also help study the impact of lunar gravity and gather images of a wider swath.

Scientists believe that detection of ice in the moons polar region will be significant in many respects. First, it could be used for producing propellants to support the deep-space missions that have been planned from the lunar soil. And second, it will also hold clues to the evolution of the solar system and the composition of the comets that crashed onto the moon over a billion years.
Posted by: john frum || 05/29/2009 17:13 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6475 views] Top|| File under:

#1  OTOH WORLD MIL FORUM > IIUC MORE PROOF THAT THE USA DID NOT LAND ON THE MOON: HI-TECH JAPANESE LUNAR PROBES FAIL TO FIND ANY SURFACE REMNANTS OF AMER'S LEFT-BEHIND APOLLO SPACE VEHICLES!?
Not even in space orbit = space debris.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 05/29/2009 20:42 Comments || Top||


Science & Technology
Army Starts Testing 'Judge Dredd' Weapon
The U.S. Army is set to start testing a computerized, high-tech projectile launcher that can take out bad guys hiding around corners and in caves or trenches, even if they're out of the soldier's line of sight.

Some experts call it the "Judge Dredd" gun, after the Sylvester Stallone movie. The Pentagon calls it the XM-25 Individual Air Burst Weapon, which uses a laser rangefinder to precisely measure the distance to a target, then primes a fuse on a timed grenade so that the projectile explodes exactly where it should.

"The way a soldier operates this is you basically find your target, then laze to it, which gives the range, then you get an adjusted aim point, adjust fire and pull the trigger," deputy program manager Richard Audette told Army News Service. "Say you've lazed out to 543 meters ... when you pull the trigger it arms the round and fires it 543 meters plus or minus a one-, two- or three-meter increment, then it explodes over the target."

A squad trying to neutralize an enemy fighter wouldn't have to wait until he showed himself — instead, they could just aim to a spot near him, then use the XM-25 to have a grenade explode directly there.

"For example, in Iraq we had many instances where there was a sniper firing from a rooftop and you have a squad trying to engage that target, but the soldiers couldn't get to him with the weapons they had, so they'd call in the Air Force to drop a JDAM (joint direct attack munition)," said Audette. "We can take out the target at $25 per XM round as opposed to a $20,000 to $50,000 JDAM."

With a range of 750 meters — nearly half a mile — the XM-25 would also be very effective in Afghanistan, where Taliban fighters often hide behind rocks and in caves.

In addition to precision-timed grenades, the gun is also built to fire armor-piercing, door-breaching, anti-personnel and less-than-lethal rounds.

Click here for a report at Army.mil.
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 05/29/2009 08:35 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6468 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Well, they re-invented the M-79 Blooper, with yet more bells and whistles. Joy. I wonder what the doctrine ninnys down at benning will have to say about this.

I feel sorry for whoever has to haul this pig around. It will be almost never used in actual combat, given the stupid ROE the lawyers pile on us. Blast/fragmentation weapons that have area effects make the [expletives deleted] nervous about collateral damage.

At least the range finder will be useful.
Posted by: N guard || 05/29/2009 8:52 Comments || Top||

#2  Judge Dredd was a bad movie. Being on the receiving end of this will be a worse movie...
Posted by: M. Murcek || 05/29/2009 9:19 Comments || Top||

#3  I don't think Judge Dredd was a bad movie, try awful, but it had made it's points, instant on-the-spot trial conviction and penalty, does NOT work, too much chance of getting the wrong person.

A benign dictatorship, is still a dictatorship.

What happens when THE LAW is simply WRONG.

And for that I'll forgive the bad acting, the roller-tired motorcycles, (You couldn't turn)
And the concept of humanity packed into a single city (With NO visible farmlands)
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/29/2009 13:28 Comments || Top||

#4  Judge Dredd was a bad movie.

Judge Joseph Dredd AKA "old Stoneface" is a 30+ years UK comics old character with a long and well-filled publishing history with many high water marks and much intended silliness, the movie was just a very forgettable and undignified epiphenomena.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 05/29/2009 18:08 Comments || Top||

#5  JUDGE DREDD?, versus DA ARNUULD's EM Gun in ERASER???
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 05/29/2009 19:29 Comments || Top||

#6  Judge Joseph Dredd AKA "old Stoneface" is a 30+ years UK comics old character

The characters were pretty roughly drawn, but I liked the story lines. It's fashionable to criticize the movie, but I kinda liked it. In fact, I never thought I'd live to see a Judge Dredd movie made, ever, given that most costumed hero movies tend to involve either DC or Marvel characters.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 05/29/2009 19:58 Comments || Top||

#7  Speaking of Judge Dredd. Here is an old Onion report entitled:

The Onion: Supreme Court: Death Penalty Is 'Totally Badass'

Posted by: CrazyFool || 05/29/2009 21:36 Comments || Top||

#8  Though never widely available in the US, the Judge Dredd comic books were a favorite in Europe, and were tolerably heavy on the science fiction. For example, the interior of the US is a radioactive wasteland, caused by a nuclear war started by a Stalinesque Russian leader.

Much of what happens in the comics was backhanded social commentary. For example, plastic surgery is so perfected, that to become a celebrity you have to be ugly--so the plastic surgeons make the wealthy and powerful grotesque.

The vast majority of people are on the dole, and getting a job, having something to do, is like winning the lottery--people pay their employers to work for them.

It is essential to keep the freeways moving, so dropping below the very high speed limit is a serious crime, as is common littering in the very crowded city.

The judges are the government, and they get bad ones, such as Judge Cal, who retells the story of Emperor Caligula (Robert Graves version).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Cal

Another major plot line was Judge Death:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Death

All told, it was a pretty good series, and worth it to the comics aficionado.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 05/29/2009 22:58 Comments || Top||


Southeast Asia
Indonesia: Rohingya boatpeople to be deported from Aceh
[ADN Kronos] After five months of being stranded out at sea and then detained in the Indonesian city of Sabang, in the island of Aceh, 114 of 391 Rohingya boat people will soon be deported, an Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said.

"They are all from Bangladesh and have agreed to the deportation," Faizasyah said.

He explained on Tuesday that repatriation of the 114 people was taken after a comprehensive verification by a Foreign Ministry team. "They left their country because of economic factors, not because of security or political concerns. They have been classified as economic migrants who must be returned to their country," he said.

The results of the verification, which have been conducted over the last five months, confirm that nearly all the Rohingya people from Bangladesh voluntarily chose to be deported, he said.

However, the Rohingya people from Myanmar have refused to be deported. Their future will be determined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as many of them are seeking asylum and are likely to be transferred to other countries.

Faizasyah said the Foreign Ministry did not have any fixed schedules on the deportation of the Rohingya boatpeople from Bangladesh. "We have discussed this with the Bangladeshi government, but have not yet confirmed the technical arrangements for their repatriation," he said.

Meanwhile, in a report in New York on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch said that Myanmar's neighbours should press the Myanmar military government to end the systematic abuse of Rohingya Muslims, and protect those who flee Myanmar. Human Rights Watch said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had failed to adequately address the plight of the Rohingyas.

The 12-page report titled, Perilous Plight: Burma's Rohingya Take to the Seas, examines the causes of the exodus of the Rohingya people from Myanmar and Bangladesh, and their treatment in Southeast Asian countries. The report also details human rights violations against the Rohingya in Myanmar, especially in Arakan state, which has persisted for over 20 years. Such abuses include extrajudicial killings, forced labour, religious persecution and restrictions on movement, all exacerbated by a draconian citizenship law that leaves the Rohingya stateless.

"The treatment of the Rohingya in Burma is deplorable - the Burmese government doesn't just deny Rohingya their basic rights, it denies they are even Burmese citizens," said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Many Rohingya, mostly Muslims living on the border between Bangladesh and Burma, have fled to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Posted by: Fred || 05/29/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:



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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
Fri 2009-05-29
  Pakistan: Suspects arrested for ´plotting attack against spy agency´
Thu 2009-05-28
  7 killed in attack on Somali presidential palace
Wed 2009-05-27
  Taliban strike ISI headquarters in Lahore, 35 killed, 250 wounded
Tue 2009-05-26
  SKor military bolsters defense readiness
Mon 2009-05-25
  N. Korea appears to have conducted second nuclear test
Sun 2009-05-24
  Pak security forces enter Mingora
Sat 2009-05-23
  Car boom kills 10, injures 75 in Peshawar
Fri 2009-05-22
  Thousands flee tense Wazoo
Thu 2009-05-21
  Iran tests long range missile
Wed 2009-05-20
  Army takes Sultanwas, kills 81; Mullah Fazlullah maybe titzup
Tue 2009-05-19
  Prabhakaran dead as a rock!!!!!
Mon 2009-05-18
  Norks to nullify Kaesong agreements
Sun 2009-05-17
  Tamil Tigers say they surrender
Sat 2009-05-16
  Sri Lanka president declares victory in civil war
Fri 2009-05-15
  60 Talibs killed in Swat

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