Wednesday, March 30, 2005

It's Hell Gettin' Old

His bulging muscles made him a five-times winner of the Mr Universe title. It took Arnold Schwarzenegger years of pumping iron to build the body that won him stardom in movies such as Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator. But it has taken just two years of good living as the governor of California for the 57-year-old's shape to go somewhat belly-up. Schwarzenegger's hint of a spare tyre where lean muscles used to ripple was evident when he took a dip in the Pacific off Maui, one of the Hawaiian islands, where he is on holiday with his wife Maria Shriver and their four children. Earlier, he had gone to church with his family, then was given a neck massage on the beach by his TV journalist wife, who doesn't seem to mind his extra pounds. Friends say the Austrianborn former strongman has never fully recovered his once-startling physique since an operation to repair faulty heart valves in 1997. Critics blame the cardiac problems on his admitted use of steroids while bulking up for bodybuilding contests 20 years ago. Schwarzenegger, who is known to enjoy fine wine and big cigars, denies this - and points out that steroids were new and not illegal when he used them.
The TUMinator

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Counter-Terror TV Show Draws Praise From Iraqis

Scenes of carnage are common in Iraq these days. You can catch them in the back alleys, on the highway from the airport, and now in your own living room. A new state TV show targeting terror opens with an Islamist group preparing to execute an American hostage in an orange jumpsuit. It stops short of showing the severed head. Cut to two Iraqi children holding up a sign - ‘No to Terrorism’ - and you have the lead in to an effective, US-funded anti terrorism campaign. Al Iraqiya television is running a wildly popular series highlighting what it claims are the true confessions of the terrorists wreaking havoc across the nation. The show is the new Iraqi state’s answer to the growing number of al-Qaeda and Islamist websites that show summary executions and slaughter. Most Iraqis have greeted the show with applause. They see it as evidence that their new security forces are capturing the bad guys and turning up the heat on them. Most viewers are not disturbed by the apparent human rights violations that almost certainly accompany the production of the show. But the police show, whose ‘perps’ appear bruised and battered, is also reminiscent of an era of kangaroo courts which characterised Iraq’s legal system during the reign of former president Saddam Hussein. It reflects Iraq’s new justice in its rawest form. Though the Ministry of Interior, which produces the show, insists the confessions are not physically coerced, it seems unlikely followers of Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi would volunteer to explain their deeds to a nationwide audience in Iraq. The US government has clarified that the station is actually run by an American contractor, not Washington. One US official said he had tried to suggest programming changes but had been ignored. Nevertheless, the show, Terrorists in the Arms of Justice, is clearly an effective tool in the hands of the police. Interrogators hear from terrorist suspects that they work for money, sometimes only $150 or £80 a hit, and that they engage in homosexual acts. Many admit to being alcohol drinkers - a clear contradiction of their alleged Islamist aims. An Iraqi journalist, who is a fan of the show, says that any human rights violations that take place to produce it do not disturb him in the least. "We have a dire situation here," said Alaa Al-Safar, a reporter for Al Da’awa newspaper in Baghdad. "The US does more to its own prisoners without giving them human rights than we do. Why would this be allowed for the US and not for us? "When we restore peace and order, yes, human rights will be a good idea. But right now this is a good thing. "People had the impression before this show appeared that nothing was being done to fight terrorism." One recent suspect, who confessed his crimes on the TV show, was later delivered to his father’s home as a corpse.
Confess, Or Your Going To Get It

Monday, March 28, 2005

Twins Announcer Bob Casey Has Died

Bob Casey, the only public address announcer the Twins have ever had, is reported to have died! Yesterday he had been administered his last rites, confirmed by his son Mike Saturday. Casey, who would of turned 80 on April 11, was battling liver cancer and pneumonia. Doctors have told the family that chemotherapy treatments would not cure the problem, and the family has spent recent weeks trying to make him as comfortable as possible, Mike Casey said. Bob Casey was staying at the Minneapolis Veterans Medical Center. "It's unfortunate, but what do you do once the cancer gets into the liver?" Mike Casey said. Casey, who began announcing for the Twins in 1961 after the team moved to Minnesota from Washington, D.C., planed to retire this year after 44 seasons and more than 3,000 games. He wanted to make it official in June when the Yankees visit the Twins. Casey was hospitalized during the offseason after doctors found a large tumor in his liver. He had lost 37 pounds at one point. "He was released from the hospital in mid-January, rehabbed and made some progress," Mike Casey said. "He went on antibiotics and was cleared to go to spring training." Casey even made an appearance during TwinsFest in late January, where he was surprised to see a large get-well card signed by fans. He said in an interview that his goal for the season was to be able to announce part-time or only a handful of innings each game. He arrived at spring training on March 7 but got caught in a rainstorm and left Fort Myers on March 10. He then was taken back to the hospital because of pneumonia. Mike Casey said Saturday that his father's liver basically has shut down. Rev. Eugene Tiffany of St. Olaf Catholic Church in Minneapolis visited him Friday and administered last rites. Members of the Twins organization had learned of Casey's deteriorating condition over recent days. "We knew that Casey had a rough winter," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "All of our thoughts and prayers are with him. He has been a part of this organization -- and the Twin Cities -- for a long time." "He's one of the icons of the franchise," Twins President Dave St. Peter said.
Bob Casey

Jeff Weise: A Native American Nazi

Jeff Weise made a chilling cartoon about a shooting spree and posted it on the internet. It contains graphic images of a policeman and others being murdered before the gunman kills himself with a pistol. Called Target Practice, it is frighteningly similar to what happened when 16-year-old Weise went on the rampage with a gun in Red Lake, Minnesota, on Monday.
He shot dead his policeman grandfather, a school security guard, teacher and five pupils before committing suicide. He described the film as "random violence, a suicidal mass murderer and people who blame the media afterwards."
The FBI is examining an online diary in which he claimed he had been abused by his mum and was on Prozac for depression. He writes of "16 years of accumulated rage suppressed by brief glimpses of hope which have all but faded to black. I can feel the urges within slipping through the cracks, the leash I can no longer hold." Another entry revealed suicidal thoughts.
A 2005 class photo of Jeff Weise. His hair is gelled in two spots to look like devil horns.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

One Option Left

Change of Next of Kin
Michael Schiavo
NOTE: Obvously I say this in jest, BUT this "SON OF A BITCH" just Pisses me off!
Turnabout is Fair Play

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


PLAYGIRL editor-in-chief Michele Zipp has been stripped of her duties after she revealed how she voted Republican in the 2004 election. Zipp, in an e-mail, claims she was fired after an onslaught of liberal backlash.

"After underlings expressed their disinterest of working for an outed Republican editor, I have a strong suspicion that my position was no longer valued by Playgirl executives. I also received a phone call from a leading official from Playgirl magazine, in which he stated with a laugh, "I wouldn't have hired you if I knew you were a Republican.
"I just wanted to let you know of the fear the liberal left has about a woman with power possessing Republican views."

If this had been, for example, some conservative Wall Street guy calling a woman to say with a laugh, "I wouldn't have hired you if I knew you were a Democrat," what would our liberal media friends have done? I belive the coverage would have made Abu Ghraib coverage, or the OJ Simpson trial coverage, pale in comparison.

Michele Zipp Fired for NOT wearing the DFL blinders

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Terri Schiavo's Right To Continue To Receive Nourishment

Some House Democrats are objecting to congressional involvement with Terri Schiavo's "Right to be Fed" case.
Click Below to hear their Reasoning.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Tsunami Warning Canceled

A powerful earthquake rattled southern Japan on Sunday, swaying buildings and briefly prompting warnings of tsunami. At least 155 people were injured and smaller aftershocks continued to rattle the region. Within minutes, the agency warned of the possibility of 20-inch tsunami waves triggered by the seismic activity, and cautioned residents near the water to move to higher ground. But an hour after the quake, the agency said there was no danger of tsunami. "There may be some disturbance of the ocean's surface, but we aren't worried about tsunami damage," said Masahiro Yamamoto of the Meteorological Agency.
Pedestrians walk past collapsed bricks after a powerful earthquake struck Fukuoka in southern Japan on Sunday.

Japan Quake Triggers Tsunami Warning!

A strong earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale rocked the southern Japanese island of Kyushu Sunday, triggering Tsunami Warnings, but there were no immediate reports of deaths, officials said. Japan Broadcasting Corp. reported at least 155 people sustained mostly slight injuries in the quake which occurred at 10:53 am (0153 GMT), damaging houses and roads, and disrupting land and air traffic. The government's Meteorological Agency lifted the tsunami warnings one hour later after detecting no significant rise in the tide. Police have confirmed seven injuries caused by splinters from window panes and other falling objects. The quake's epicentre was located in waters off Fukuoka, a major city on the north coast of the island, the agency said. Its focus was nine kilometres (six miles) below surface. Some 10 people were injured on the islet of Genkai at the mouth of Fukuoka Bay as landslides crushed a dozen of houses, an official said. "Some of the injured and several elderly people are being ferried to the city for treatment and evacuation," Chizumi Nakamura, secretary of the Genkai community centre, told AFP by telephone. About 100 islanders were sheltered at the centre as minor aftershocks continued, she said, adding no one was buried in the landslides. "There was an awful jolt and it rolled for a while, dragging down the chest of drawers and the cupboard in the kitchen at my house," she said. A spokesman for the Fukuoka prefectural police headquarters said three hours after the quake that police had confirmed that seven people were injured, city gas leaked from five spots, four roads and 10 houses were damaged. There was also a landslide. He said a crack, two centimetres (0.8-inch) wide and 100 meters (yards) long, was found on a road near Fukuoka Dome, a seaside baseball park. The surface of the road also swelled 30 centimetres (12 inches) at one point. "One woman was injured when an object fell from the top of the chest of drawers and a man broke his bone after jumping off from the second floor of his house in panic," a Fukuoka municipal government official said. The tremor was also felt in the south of the Korean peninsula. Residents were forced to evacuate buildings in Busan, a key port city some 450 kilometres (280 miles) south of Seoul, the South Korean Yonhap news agency said. There were no reports of injuries or damage. In Japan, train operations and airplane flights were temporarily suspended for inspections of tracks and runways.

Al-Qaeda Plans "Revenge Attacks" In The Philippines

Al-Qaeda-linked militants are planning revenge attacks in key Philippines cities after some of their key leaders were killed in a prison uprising, police said on Friday. Seven suspected terrorists had been ordered to carry out the attacks after the deaths of 22 suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Muslim extremist group in the jail revolt earlier this week, the police said. The seven included a member of Indonesia's Jemaah Islamiyah network, Abu Yasin, and men who had trained with explosives, raising fears of new bomb attacks, they added. A massive manhunt had been launched for the seven men, national police chief, Director-General Arturo Lomibao, said a statement. Jailed members of the Abu Sayyaf, a militant Muslim group linked by both Washington and Manila to the Al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden, staged an attempted jailbreak on Monday that turned into a prison uprising. Three guards and two Abu Sayyaf men were killed in the attempted jailbreak and 22 suspected Abu Sayyaf and a policeman were killed when authorities put down the uprising on Tuesday. Among those slain were senior Abu Sayyaf leaders Galib Andang, alias Commander Robot, and Alhamser Limbong, alias Commander Kosovo, blamed for deadly bombings, kidnappings and murders in the Philippines. Angry Muslim militants have hailed the slain men as martyrs and the Abu Sayyaf has vowed revenge. Police have stepped up security measures to prevent any new attack in Manila and key cities in the southern Philippines and distributed photographs and sketches of the seven suspected bombers to intelligence units nationwide. Details on the seven were provided by Gappal Bana who was arrested earlier this month on charges of supplying the explosives used in a series of bombings in Manila and the south on February 14 that left 12 people dead. The Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility for the February 14 bombings, saying it was in retaliation for a military offensive against their allies in the south. In a related development, the Interior Department began an investigation into the failed jailbreak on Monday and initially found serious lapses in security. Among these were jail guards bringing their guns with them when making routine headcounts of the inmates, allowing Abu Sayyaf members to seize their firearms, sparking the violence, said Interior Undersecretary Marius Corpuz. The probe will also look into how other handguns and explosives were apparently smuggled into the jail, he added.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

One Of North Koreas Toughest Critics

North Korea blasted President Bush's appointment of Undersecretary of State John Bolton, one of the toughest critics of Pyongyang, as new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, saying he would only raise tensions in the international community. "The most undesirable person was named U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, thus raising tension in the United Nations and international community," said Choson Sinbo, the newspaper run by a Pyongyang-aligned organization of ethnic Korean residents in Japan. "Bolton's speaking style is so violent the North has labeled him as human scum," said the paper, considered a mouthpiece of the communist regime in Pyongyang. "He is the worst UN envoy," it declared. Bolton took a vehement stand against North Korea when he was serving as undersecretary of state for arms control. He once described North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il as "tyrannical" and called the life in the Stalinist state a "hellish nightmare." Bolton also blasted North Korea as "the world's foremost peddler of ballistic missile-related equipment, components, materials and technical expertise," saying the Bush administration would push for the UN Security Council to urge North Korea to drop its nuclear programs. North Korea, in return, referred to Bolton as "human scum" and a "bloodsucker."
John R. Bolton

Friday, March 18, 2005

Sinn Fein: Union Flag NO Place In St Paddy's Parade

Cecil Calvert, the DUP Mayor of Belfast has been celebrating his Irishness in Seattle. His big mistake, apparently, was to hoist the wrong flag aloft during the parade. Not sure what kind of questions he'd have been asked by his constituents if he'd held up the more customary tricolour! The DUP Mayor of Lisburn has come under fire from republicans after he held aloft the Union Flag during an annual St Patrick's Day event in Seattle. Sinn Fein's Paul Butler claimed Cllr Cecil Calvert should resign after he displayed the Union flag as he led a weekend parade in the American city. "The display of the British Union Jack at this parade is an insult to the organisers of the event. It will also anger many nationalists in Lisburn."

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Happy St. Patrick's Day

History Of Saint Patrick
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for thousands of years. On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink, and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage. The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland, but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers to reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army. Over the next thirty-five years, Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished, prompting the rise of so-called "Irish Aid" societies, like the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society. Each group would hold annual parades featuring bagpipes (which actually first became popular in the Scottish and British armies) and drums.

St. Patrick & Snakes

It is told that St. Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland. Different versions of the story, tell of him standing upon a hill, using a wooden staff to drive the serpents into the sea, banishing them forever from Ireland. One version says that an old serpent resisted banishment, but that Patrick outwitted him. Patrick made a box and invited the snake to enter. The snake insisted it was too small and the two argued. Finally to prove his point, the snake entered the box to show how tight the fit was. Patrick slammed the lid closed and threw the box into the sea. Although it’s true that Ireland has no snakes, this likely had more to do with the fact that Ireland is an island and being separated from the rest of the continent the snakes couldn’t get there. The stories of Saint Patrick and the snakes are likely a metaphor for his bringing Christianity to Ireland and driving out the pagan religions (serpents were a common symbol in many of these religions).
Who Was St. Patrick?

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity's most widely known figures. But for all his celebrity, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling.

Taken Prisoner By Irish Raiders

It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. (There is some dispute over where this captivity took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)

Guided By Visions

After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice—which he believed to be God's—spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation—an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than fifteen years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission—to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. (Interestingly, this mission contradicts the widely held notion that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland.)

Bonfires and Crosses

Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. (Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. The Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. When this is considered, it is no surprise that the story of Patrick's life became exaggerated over the centuries—spinning exciting tales to remember history has always been a part of the Irish way of life. )
Happy St. Patrick's Day

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

China Threatens Military Force Against Taiwan

Chinese legislators unanimously enacted a law that confirms Beijing's pledge to use of military force if Taiwan declares independence from China or if all possibilities of peaceful reunification fail. After a half year of consideration among top leaders and discussion during a 10-day annual plenary session in Beijing this month, the National People's Congress enacted the 10-point National Anti-Secession Law by a 2,896 to 0 vote with two abstentions. The law takes effect immediately.
China vs. Taiwan Militarily

China's President Hu Jintao told the military Sunday it should step up preparations for a possible war, and to safeguard territorial integrity, in apparent reference to reunifying with Taiwan.

No Apologys To North Korea The Outpost Of Tyranny

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has ruled out giving North Korea fresh incentives to return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks, the Washington Times reported Saturday. The U.S. recently backed down from its “no compensation” policy vis-a-vis Iran by offering the country incentives like dropping opposition to Iran’s entry into the World Trade Organization if it abandons its nuclear program. But Rice said the situation was "a little bit different" with North Korea, which does not always keep its part of the bargain, continuing its nuclear program even after the 1994 Geneva Accords. “North Korea is a little bit different [from Iran] -- a lot different -- because we have some experience from 1994 with what happens when you get the incentives too far out ahead of the actions by the North Koreans,” Rice said. Rice also rejected a North Korean demand for an apology for labeling the nation an “outpost of tyranny.” Asked by the paper if she was ready to apologize, she said, “Well, I don't think there's any doubt that I spoke the truth. And I don't know that one apologizes for speaking of the truth, you know. It's sad with the North Korean people. You read these stories, you know, of people eating bark and the starvation there, and sure, the United States has tried to do its part. "But again, yes, we need to solve the near-term problem of the North Korean nuclear program, but we can't do it at the expense of being afraid to speak out about what is actually going on in North Korea.”
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Monday, March 14, 2005

Zarqawi Planning U.S. Hit; May Target Theaters, Schools Etc.

Intelligence officials say operatives may infiltrate via Central America to strike at soft targets on American soil

Two weeks after intelligence officials confirmed that Osama bin Laden had sent a message to Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, urging him to plan attacks on U.S. soil, details are emerging from one of al-Zarqawi's lieutenants about what the man behind many of the terrorist attacks in Iraq could have in mind. Intelligence officials tell reporters that interrogation of a member of al-Zarqawi's organization, who was taken into U.S. custody last year and has been described as a top aide, indicates that al-Zarqawi has given ample consideration to assaults on the American homeland. According to a restricted bulletin that circulated among U.S. security agencies last week, the interrogated aide said al-Zarqawi has talked about hitting "soft targets" in the U.S., which could include "movie theaters, restaurants and schools." The bulletin also notes the Iraq-based master terrorist's apparent belief that "if an individual has enough money, he can bribe his way into the U.S.," Specifically by obtaining a "visa to Honduras" and then traveling across Mexico and the southern U.S. border. Al-Zarqawi's aide also revealed that his boss, after pondering the absence of attacks in the U.S. in recent years, concluded that a lack of "willing martyrs" was to blame. Al-Zarqawi believes, according to his lieutenant, that "if an individual is willing to die, there was nothing that could be done to stop him," even in the U.S. There is no evidence, say intelligence agencies, that al-Zarqawi's agents have infiltrated the U.S. But authorities remain vigilant. Security sources tell TIME that just last week the FBI sent out two nationwide bulletins warning of a nonspecific threat to railroads in Detroit and Los Angeles. On her visit to Mexico last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued her own reminder of the borders vulnerability. "There's no secret," Rice told reporters, "that al-Qaeda will try to get into this country ... By any means they possibly can."
Those Who Forget History are Doomed to Repeat It

ISRAEL Plans Strike On IRANIAN Nuclear Plant

Israel has drawn up secret plans for a combined air and ground attack on targets in Iran if diplomacy fails to halt the Iranian nuclear programme.
The inner cabinet of Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, gave “initial authorisation” for an attack at a private meeting last month on his ranch in the Negev desert. Israeli forces have used a mock-up of Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment plant in the desert to practise destroying it. Their tactics include raids by Israel’s elite Shaldag (Kingfisher) commando unit and airstrikes by F-15 jets from 69 Squadron, using bunker-busting bombs to penetrate underground facilities. The plans have been discussed with American officials who are said to have indicated provisionally that they would not stand in Israel’s way if all international efforts to halt Iranian nuclear projects failed. Tehran claims that its programme is designed for peaceful purposes but Israeli and American intelligence officials — who have met to share information in recent weeks — are convinced that it is intended to produce nuclear weapons. The Israeli government responded cautiously yesterday to an announcement by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, that America would support Britain, France and Germany in offering economic incentives for Tehran to abandon its programme. In return, the European countries promised to back Washington in referring Iran to the United Nations security council if the latest round of talks fails to secure agreement. Silvan Shalom, the Israeli foreign minister, said he believed that diplomacy was the only way to deal with the issue. But he warned: “The idea that this tyranny of Iran will hold a nuclear bomb is a nightmare, not only for us but for the whole world.” Dick Cheney, the American vice-president, emphasised on Friday that Iran would face “stronger action” if it failed to respond. But yesterday Iran rejected the initiative, which provides for entry to the World Trade Organisation and a supply of spare parts for airliners if it co-operates. “No pressure, bribe or threat can make Iran give up its legitimate right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes,” said an Iranian spokesman. US officials warned last week that a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities by Israeli or American forces had not been ruled out should the issue become deadlocked at the United Nations.

Germans Can Pay By Fingerprint at Supermarkets

Customers of a German supermarket chain will soon be able to pay for their shopping by placing their finger on a scanner at the check-out, saving up to 40 seconds spent scrabbling for coins or cards, bosses say. An Edeka store in the south-west German town of Ruelzheim has piloted the technology since November and now the company plans to equip its stores across the region. "All customers need do is register once with their identity card and bank details, then they can shop straight away," store manager Roland Fitterer said. The scanner compares the shopper's fingerprint with those stored in its database along with account details. Edeka bosses said they were confident the system can not be abused. The chance of two people having the same fingerprint is about one-in-220-million.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Minnesotans Behind U.N. Landmine Propaganda

It looks like any other ad on television. Girls playing soccer, dads in sweater vests, soft colors. And then… It’s a controversial new Public Service Announcement directed by the United Nations that shows a landmine exploding in the middle of a suburban girls’ soccer game. The point of the ad is to raise American awareness of landmines, which kill 20,000 people around the world each year. Two native Minnesotans helped create the fictional ad. “We were looking to recreate an everyday American scene,” said native Minnesotan Lisa Lefebvre, a consultant on the project. “By doing that…we think we accomplish a lot in hitting home the sensitivities of the issue.” But maybe it’s too sensitive. (??!) So far, 40 networks and local TV stations in the U.S. have been given the spot and none have run it. But in the age of the digital technology, it may not matter. The video is already criss-crossing the Internet. The buzz may cause it to get picked up by networks. “By bringing to light the fact that this PSA won’t run, it’ll actually get carried on higher rated newscasts than it would in the late night, when PSAs normally run,” said John Rash, an analyst with Minneapolis-based Campbell-Mithun.

Please.. Parents, Don't Allow Your Children To Play Soccer

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Businessman Offers A Million Dollars Keep Terri Schiavo Alive

A California man hopes cash will end a right-to-die dispute involving a brain-damaged Florida woman. San Diego-area businessman Robert Herring is offering a million dollars to Terri Schiavo's husband to keep the woman alive. According to a statement released by activist lawyer Gloria Allred, the million-dollar offer is on the table until Monday. Michael Schiavo has obtained a court order to remove his wife's feeding tube March 18th. Herring -- who founded a cable and satellite channel -- has deposited the money into a trust account with Allred's law firm. He says he felt "compelled to act."
Terri Schindler Schiavo's responses to the doctor's instructions reveal that she is conscious and cognitive. She does perceive and reason. Terri made a monumental effort to demonstrate her cognitive ability in response to the doctor's directions. She did this by purposely exaggerating her responses to make it clear to the doctor that she definitely understood his directions!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Anger as Lebanon Reappoints Pro-Syrian Leader

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud has reappointed as prime minister Omar Karami, who resigned 10 days ago in the face of massive demonstrations over the assassination of his predecessor. Mr. Karami, who is seen as a strong supporter of Syria, says he wants the opposition to join his cabinet in a government of national unity to prepare for elections in May. Mr. Karami says the opposition will be responsible for what he calls a catastrophe if they refuse his offer, and he says any delay would lead to what he terms "destruction." Opposition leaders, however, quickly rejected the offer, saying Mr. Karami is controlled by Syria and cannot be neutral in setting up the elections. Mr. Karami took office in October when former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri resigned in a dispute with President Lahoud. Mr. Hariri was killed in an explosion on February 14, leading to mass protests that forced Mr. Karami to resign two weeks later.
Omar Karami

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Something Funny About Muslims

Finding humor in hard places is a specialty of the "Allah Made Me Funny Troupe." That hard place was Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota today, and many Minnesotans found themselves laughing. "The last time you saw a black Muslim this close on television it turned out to be a sniper," said Preacher Moss, a veteran comedian and founder of the troupe. The tour features three Muslim comedian tackling very serious issues, with a sense of humor. "People stare at me and think I was responsible for 9/11...Me? 9/11?...7/11, maybe!" joked comedian Azhar Usman. But shattering the anti-American terrorist image of Muslims using humor is core to the troupe's purpose. "I consider myself a patriotic American Muslim," Usman said. "That means I'd die for this blowing myself up!"
Azhar Usman is one of three comics on the "Allah Made Me Funny Troupe"

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


When it comes to sex and politics, Democrats are the more liberal, right? Not so fast. Playgirl editor-in-chief Michele Zipp explores “down and dirty” politics and examines sexuality on both sides of the aisle. In the process she comes to a realization about herself and reveals for the first time she’s now a Republican. “Siding with the GOP when you live in the bluest state around is almost like wearing a Boston Red Sox jersey at a New York Yankees’ home game,” says Zipp in the April issue of PLAYGIRL. ”I cannot tell you how many times a person assumed I voted for John Kerry in 2004. Most of the time, I don’t have the heart to tell them, or the energy to discuss my reasons for going red this election year. But this is Playgirl magazine so it’s about time I was the one who bared what’s underneath.” How could a member of the media who produces adult entertainment for women possibly side with conservatives from the red states? Zipp spells it out. “Those on the right are presumed to be all about power and greed – two really sexy traits in the bedroom. They want it, they want it now, and they’ll do anything to get it. And I’m not talking about some pansy-assed victory, I’m talking about full on jackpot, satisfaction for all.” “The Democrats of the Sixties were all about making love and not war while a war-loving Republican is a man who would fight, bleed, sacrifice, and die for his country. Could you imagine what that very same man would do for his wife in the bedroom?” asks Zipp.
Michele Zipp

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

University Of Colorado President Resigns Amid Controversies

University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman announced Monday that she is resigning amid a football recruiting scandal and a national controversy over anti-AMERICAN activist professor Ward Churchill who had compared victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to a Nazi. Hoffman, who has been president for five years, told the Board of Regents in a letter that her resignation is effective June 30 or whenever the board names a successor. "It appears to me it is in the university's best interest that I remove the issue of my future from the debate so that nothing inhibits CU's ability to successfully create the bright future it so deserves," Hoffman wrote. An independent commission reported last year that Colorado players used sex, alcohol and marijuana as recruiting tools without the football staff encouraging or sanctioning the practice. At least nine women have said they were assaulted by Colorado football players or recruits since 1997. A parallel investigation by then-Attorney General Ken Salazar into the alleged assaults resulted in no charges; prosecutors cited concerns about evidence and the reluctance of the women to go forward with the cases. Hoffman said the school fully cooperated with the grand jury and launched financial audits of Barnett's football camp and the university's fund raising arm, even though both are independent organizations. In February, University of Colorado administrators (Feb. 3) took the first steps toward a possible dismissal of a professor who likened World Trade Center victims to a notorious Nazi. A review of Ward Churchill's speeches and writings is being conducted to determine if the professor overstepped his boundaries of academic freedom and whether that should be grounds for dismissal. Hoffman said last week that Churchill would not be fired if the review turns up only inflammatory comments, not misconduct. The furor over Churchill erupted in January after he was invited to speak at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Campus officials discovered an essay and follow-up book by Churchill in which he said the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were a response to a history of American abuses abroad, particularly against indigenous peoples. Among other things, he said those killed in the trade center were "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolf Eichmann, who organized Nazi plans to exterminate Jews. The college canceled Churchill's appearance, citing death threats and concerns about security.


There's a new Homeland Security Department push underway, to require immigrants in eight cities to wear Sopranos-style electronic ankle bracelets. "But the government's pilot project is putting monitors on aliens who have never been accused of a crime," NPR reports.
So far, the Department of Homeland Security has put electronic monitors on more than 1,700 immigrants. Victor Cerda, director of Detention and Removal Operations at Homeland Security, says the anklets will help prevent tens of thousands of immigrants who are ordered to leave the country each year from "absconding" -- going into hiding to avoid deportation. But critics say Cerda and other Homeland Security officials have exaggerated the extent of the problem. They point to a Justice Department study that put part of the blame on immigration officials, saying they'd failed to keep adequate records to track aliens.
Despite the uncertain rationale, if the program is deemed a success, "Homeland Security might require every non-citizen who's applying to stay here to wear a [ankle] montior, at least for a while -- unless they're waiting in jail."
"It's not just immigrants," the Washington Monthly observes, pointing to an article from a couple of weeks back in the Sacramento Bee: Educators in a small Sutter County school district gathered electronic tracking devices from hundreds of elementary and junior high school children Wednesday morning, ending the controversial pilot program that raised concerns over Big Brother-type privacy violations. At a special meeting the night before, officials from locally based InCom Corp. announced that they were pulling out of an agreement with the Brittan School District near Yuba City that allowed them to test the devices on the students. The company markets the badges, which have a radio-frequency antenna that is scanned when students pass through specially outfitted doorways, as a tool for taking attendance and monitoring students' locations.

Less Swearing On TV, Demands Former Sex Pistol

Wanna be an anarchist?
At least one of the Sex Pistols, now middle-aged and a father of two, no longer does. Former Pistols Bassist Glen Matlock has called for swearing on television to be curbed, nearly 30 years after the provocative punk rockers sent shockwaves through Britain by using derivations of the dreaded "f"-word on live TV. In 1976, the volley of abuse, chiefly from the punk band's Steve Jones, catapulted the group into a media firestorm that ended the career of TV interviewer Bill Grundy. "It's pathetic when people swear for the sake of it," Matlock told a television show to be broadcast Sunday. "Something ought to be done about it." Matlock, 48, also told "X-Rated: The TV Shows They Tried To Ban" that he hated it when his young children heard obscenities on the airwaves. As a teen-ager, Matlock co-wrote some of the Pistols' most enduring anthems like "God Save The Queen" and "Anarchy In The UK." He left the group early in 1977 and was replaced by Sid Vicious. Matlock was taking part in a Channel 4 program which looks at how attitudes toward swearing and censorship have changed to the point where profanities are broadcast nearly every night of the week.
Glen Matlock & Johnny Rotten

Monday, March 07, 2005

Giuliana Sgrena, Hostage Or Hoax

Suspicion continues to mount that Giuliana Sgrena, the journalist for the Italian Communist paper Il Manifesto, either faked her own abduction or became an accomplice after the fact with her jihadi captors. Today Giuliana Sgrena told her version of the dramatic story contradicting US military claims that her car was fired upon when it failed to slow down at a Coalition check point.

Bloomberg:``It wasn't a checkpoint, but a patrol that started shooting after pointing some lights in our direction,'' the Ansa news agency cited Sgrena as telling the prosecutors. ``We hadn't previously encountered any checkpoint and we didn't understand where the shots came from.''
As if on cue, Sgrena then goes on to say what we at The Jawa Report had been predicting she would say all along:
``I was never treated badly,'' Sgrena told her colleagues at Manifesto upon her arrival in Rome, according to Ansa.
The Italian left-wing, as predicted, has siezed upon Sgrena's ordeal today. The headline at Sgrena's own Communist paper shouts the headline that the Italian secret-service agent who had negotiated her release had been "Assassinated" by America.

NPR now reports that an anti-war rally is planned to celebrate Sgrena's release.

Many BLOGS have been predicting from day one that Sgrena would be released unharmed, and that on her release she would blame the US for her ordeal. The fact that her driver did not stop at a US checkpoint on a road scattered with checkpoints is more than a little odd--it is canny. How does a driver in Iraq not know that the rules of engagement for Coalition forces are to fire upon any car which does not stop when ordered to?
While the Italian people wish to know why the US fired upon Sgrena, we in the US want to know why it was the Sgrena's car did not stop when ordered to do so?
Sgrena, continues her anti-Amricanism (Reuters): "We thought the danger was over after my release to the Italians but all of a sudden there was this shoot-out, we were hit by a barrage of bullets," she told RAI TV by telephone.

Nicola Calipari, the senior secret service agent who had worked for her release, was telling her about what had been going on in Italy since her capture when the shooting started. "He leaned over me, probably to protect me, and then he slumped down, and I saw he was dead," said Sgrena. Doesn't this whole incident seem odd?

Sgena was kidnapped by her admitted friends in Iraq.

She was kidnapped while on the phone with another journalist.

A tape was released of her begging Italy to cave to the terrorists demands of pulling Italian troops out of Iraq the day before the Italian Senate was to vote on that very issue. On the tape Sgrena appears to tell the 'terrorist' holding the camera to stop. He follows her order as if she is directing. The tape came exactly two-weeks after she was captured. One month to the day after her abduction she is released. On the day of her release her car speeds toward a US checkpoint, fails to stop when ordered, fails to heed warning shots, and the car is ultimately fired upon. In the end, who looks like the bad guys? The terrorists? The jihadis? The 'insurgents'? No, the US. And what possible motivation, as I am frequently asked, might Sgrena have in being complicit in this whole thing?
Wired: "I don't believe a word of the American version," said Oliviero Diliberto, head of the Italian Communist party, part of the main left-wing block led byformer premier Romano Prodi. "The Americans deliberately fired on Italians. This is huge. All of the center-left must vote in parliament for the withdrawal of our troops." If one actually believes in the Left-wing version of the world than aiding Michael Moore's 'Minuteman' is not only the right thing to do, but a moral imperetive. Sgrena holds the world-view, as evidenced in her body of journalistic work, that America is the cause of all the problems in the world. She believes the US is exactly as Ward Churchill describes it. America is just like Nazi Germany. And Iraq? Iraq is an imperialistic move motivated by greed, the desire for hegemeny, and to bolster the Zionist-imperialists in Palestine. Iraq has been a blood-bath with tens of thousands of children dying so that the US could gain control over Mideast oil. Normally we don't go in for conspiracy theories. We hate them. We despise them. But the speculation that Sgrena collaborated with the 'minutemen' of Iraq in demanding that Italy withdraw from that country does not involve layer upon layer of cover-up. It requires a few people, none of them working in an official government capacity. And if you really believed all that the Left says about the US in Iraq, wouldn't it be your duty to fight the occupation? And if it is morally acceptable to kill in that resistance then surely the lesser crime of lying is also acceptable.
Guliana Sgrena, you are a liar and a propagandist. Why should we trust you now?
I hope Italian and US investigators do not simply take this enemy propagandists word for it. She is every bit a suspect as she is a victim. Let me also remind readers that Sgrena's car was shot at night. The DU is now filled with posters claiming Sgrena was shot because "she was brown, like the Iraqis" or that "the US will shoot any brown person". The soldiers could not have known who was in the car. They had no idea a hostile journalist was in the car, and they could have had no idea there was a 'brown person' in the car.
Lets clarify a few points:

1) Nobody is accusing the Italian secret-service to have been in on this. No one is saying that a giant conspiracy exists. What we are saying is that Sgrena was amongst friends if her hostage takers were terrorists. That a ransom was paid makes Italy a victim, not a co-conspirator.

2) When the word of a propagandist is pitted against the word of a US soldier, I am inclined to believe that of the soldier.

3) If the speculation that the whole thing was a hoax is wrong, so be it. However, ample evidence exists that Sgrena was really in no danger if it was jihadis responsible for her kidnapping. If however the kidnappers were simple criminals, then all this is wrong.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Minnesotans Demand Academic Freedom

A national movement that supporters say protects college students from indoctrination by college professors but opponents say stifles debate made its way to Minnesota on Wednesday when two legislators proposed legislation that they call the "Academic Bill of Rights." Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, and Rep. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, said their bill would require the state's publicly funded colleges and universities to adopt policies that would mandate that professors not use their classrooms to promote their personal political or ideological beliefs. It also says that students would not be punished for disagreeing with their instructors' politics. While Bachmann, who has announced that she is a candidate for Congress, said the law would apply across the political spectrum, the focus nationally has been complaints from conservative students that left-wing professors have tried to use their classrooms to indoctrinate young minds with liberal propaganda. At a morning news conference, speakers included students and professors who talked of feeling punished for their conservative views. No speakers complained about conservative instructors. Lawmakers in 21 other states have introduced similar bills, part of a national movement spearheaded by Students for Academic Freedom, a Washington-based student network founded by conservative activist David Horowitz. Horowitz spoke at the news conference, saying it was unprofessional for professors to impose their political ideologies on their students. "You don't go into a doctor's office and expect to get a political lecture or see on his office door cartoons bashing John Kerry or bashing George Bush," he said.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Maximum Pain Is Aim Of New U.S. Weapon

THE US military is funding development of a weapon that delivers a bout of excruciating pain from A mile and a half away. Intended for use against rioters, it is meant to leave victims unharmed. But pain researchers are furious that work aimed at controlling pain has been used to develop a weapon. And they fear that the technology will be used for torture. "I am deeply concerned about the ethical aspects of this research," says Andrew Rice, a consultant in pain medicine at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. "Even if the use of temporary severe pain can be justified as a restraining measure, which I do not believe it can, the long-term physical and psychological effects are unknown." The research came to light in documents unearthed by the Sunshine Project, an organisation based in Texas and in Hamburg, Germany, that exposes biological weapons research. The papers were released under the US's Freedom of Information Act. One document, a research contract between the Office of Naval Research and the University of Florida in Gainsville, is entitled "Sensory consequences of electromagnetic pulses emitted by laser induced plasmas". It concerns so-called Pulsed Energy Projectiles (PEPs), which fire a laser pulse that generates a burst of expanding plasma when it hits something solid, like a person (New Scientist, 12 October 2002, p 42). The weapon, destined for use in 2007, could literally knock rioters off their feet. According to a 2003 review of non-lethal weapons by the US Naval Studies Board, which advises the navy and marine corps, PEPs produced "pain and temporary paralysis" in tests on animals. This appears to be the result of an electromagnetic pulse produced by the expanding plasma which triggers impulses in nerve cells. The new study, which runs until July and will be carried out with researchers at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, aims to optimise this effect. The idea is to work out how to generate a pulse which triggers pain neurons without damaging tissue. The contract, heavily censored before release, asks researchers to look for "optimal pulse parameters to evoke peak nociceptor activation" - in other words, cause the maximum pain possible. Studies on cells grown in the lab will identify how much pain can be inflicted on someone before causing injury or death. New Scientist contacted two researchers working on the project. Martin Richardson, a laser expert at the University of Central Florida, refused to comment. Brian Cooper, an expert in dental pain at the University of Florida, distanced himself from the work, saying "I don't have anything interesting to convey. I was just providing some background for the group." His name appears on a public list of the university's research projects next to the $500,000-plus grant. John Wood of University College London, an expert in how the brain perceives pain, says the researchers involved in the project should face censure. "It could be used for torture," he says, "the [researchers] must be aware of this." Amanda Williams, a clinical psychologist at University College London, fears that victims risk long-term harm. "Persistent pain can result from a range of supposedly non-destructive stimuli which nevertheless change the functioning of the nervous system," she says. She is concerned that studies of cultured cells will fall short of demonstrating a safe level for a plasma burst. "They cannot tell us about the pain and psychological consequences of such a painful experience."

Excruciating Pain

Friday, March 04, 2005

Terrorist Tried To Set Up A Training Camp In Arizona!

A British computer specialist tried to set up a terrorist training camp in Arizona, where he met with Islamic radicals who claimed ties to Osama bin Laden, a government attorney alleged Wednesday. Babar Ahmad, who is being held in London on charges he ran terrorist fund-raising Web sites, met in Phoenix in 1998 with Yaser Al Jhani, a member of the Islamic mujahedeen militia, and others who claimed to have access to bin Laden, said John Hardy, a British lawyer representing the U.S. government. "He expressed an interest in developing a training system in Arizona," Hardy told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from London. "That is, a training system, in effect for the mujahedeen to visit and train to fight abroad." Details of the Phoenix trip were outlined in a report by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Appleton, who would prosecute the case in Connecticut because one of the Web sites Ahmad ran was hosted here. The report has not been released to the public, but Hardy summarized it and plans to present it as evidence at Ahmad's extradition hearing, which began Wednesday in London. There was no evidence in the report that Ahmad successfully set up the camp, but he practiced using some firearms while in Phoenix, Hardy said. Ahmad was indicted in October on charges of supporting terrorism, conspiring to kill Americans and laundering money through the Web sites he operated.
He is accused of recruiting al-Qaida, Taliban and Chechen fighters and outfitting them with gas masks, night-vision goggles and camouflage gear. Federal prosecutors in Connecticut declined to comment on the case, including whether Ahmad's alleged efforts to establish a training camp will lead to more charges. British police arrested Ahmad, allegedly for terrorism offenses, in December 2003, but released him a week later without charging him. His lawyers have said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after being assaulted during that arrest. A police officer has been charged with misconduct over the incident. In London, scores of Ahmad's supporters demonstrated outside the courthouse Wednesday, calling for him to face trial in Britain.
This Attempt to Over Throw America has been approved by the American Civil Liberties Union

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Major Arrests Show A Shift In Iraq

The arrest of seven key insurgents in the past two weeks, including Saddam Hussein's half-brother and top aides to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, are giving a much-needed morale boost to Iraq's counterinsurgency efforts. Indeed, some Iraqi officials see the momentum beginning to shift since the Jan. 30 elections. They say Iraqi citizens are providing more tips, and that a series of videotaped confessions by captured insurgents shown on Iraqi TV are helping discredit the rebels. "We are very close to al-Zarqawi, and I believe that there are a few weeks separating us from him," Iraq's interim national security adviser, Mouwafak al-Rubaie told the Associated Press. Analysts agree that the string of arrests are likely to hurt the insurgency. But the decentralized nature of the uprising makes it difficult to dismantle. A massive car bombing in Hilla, Iraq, Monday underscored the point. The bomb exploded near a line of recruits for the Iraqi security forces in the southern Iraq town, killing more than 100 people, one of the largest death tolls from a car bomb in Iraq. US military intelligence experts say the insurgency is made up of several groups with different long-term goals but the common short-term goal of forcing US troops out of Iraq. They include former Baath party members loyal to Saddam Hussein and Sunni extremists, like the Jordanian militant Zarqawi, who see Iraq as part of a larger global war against entities they feel are anti-Islamic. "We tend to put a hierarchical Western military template [on other conflicts] but it doesn't work that way," says Lord Timothy Garden, a former officer in the British military and senior fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. Lord Garden suggests the latest arrests have to go hand in hand with broader changes in the country to shut down the insurgency. Al Iraqiya television started airing police interviews of insurgents last week. The interviews, run almost daily, have been the talk of Baghdad. In the videos, a prisoner sits behind a desk while an off-camera policeman asks questions about how many people he has killed and what operations he has carried out. Judith Yaphe of the National Defense University in Washington says the interviews publicize government successes and "send a signal - 'Come and tell us more. It's safe now to talk' - to encourage people to come forward" with information about the insurgency. Lord Garden says this is part of what's needed in a counterinsurgency effort. "The most important thing you've got to do is detach the general population from the insurgency. You've got to make the quality of life better all the time," he says. "We've just got to be patient and do the long haul.... The elections are one thing but people want tangible improvements in the quality of life." But attacks like Monday's car bombing - increasingly targeting those seen as helping the US and the Iraqi government - are slowing reconstruction of basic services such as water, electricity, and disrupting supplies of gasoline and cooking fuel. The Iraqi government has arrested several key figures in the insurgency in the past two weeks, mainly aides to Zarqawi. One of the highest-profile captures was of Talib Mikhlif Arsan Walman al-Dulaimi, also known as Abu Qutaybah, who arranged safe houses and meetings for Zarqawi and was arrested Feb. 20 along with another man who occasionally served as Zarqawi's driver. Iraqi officials say Abu Qutaybah's contacts in the Anbar province of western Iraq, which has been an insurgency hotbed, make him a major catch. "Abu Qutaybah was responsible for determining who, when, and how terrorist network leaders would meet with Zarqawi," the government said in a statement. On Sunday, the Iraqi government announced the arrest of Sabawi Ibrahim Hassan, a half brother of Saddam Hussein. He was one of some two-dozen Iraqis hand over by Syrian authorities. Mr. Hassan headed Hussein's feared intelligence services during the 1991 Gulf War, then was chief of security until 1996, when he became an adviser to Hussein. Iraqi officials say he was directing and financing insurgency operations from Syria. "This is a real thug," says Ms. Yaphe. "All of [Hussein's] half brothers were the head of intelligence at some point. But Sabawi oversaw the looting and destruction of Kuwait and suppressing the Kurds." She considers him an important capture. "He would have had a lot of money and knowledge of the thugs of Saddam's Fedayeen" who are working in the insurgency. Four of the seven arrested recently were believed to be insurgent leaders in Baquba, a restive town northeast of Baghdad. Iraqi officials announced last Thursday that two of them, Mohammed Najam Ibrahim and his brother, were suspected of carrying out several beheadings in the area. "Maybe somebody turned someone in. The point is to find someone who could lead you to others," says Yaphe. "Certainly it's progress when you find the big players," says Yaphe. But she doesn't expect the arrests to affect much on the ground because the insurgency is so diverse and doesn't have a hierarchy of leaders. Even as Iraqi and US forces pick off mid-level and even some top-level leaders of the disparate groups that make up the insurgency, analysts say the groups can't be killed or jailed out of existence. "There are going to be more people to replace them ... these are zealous people. Until the US troops are withdrawn any [arrest] they make, the people will be replaced," says Ivan Eland, director of Center of Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute in California. "Even if we catch Zarqawi I think this insurgency will keep going on."

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Kobe Bryant Settles Civil Case

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has agreed in principle to a settlement in a civil lawsuit brought against him by a woman who accused him of sexually assaulting her at a hotel resort in June 2003. The report has not been confirmed by either of the lawyers and the Lakers refused to comment. ABC News cited sources as saying the settlement covers emotional and physical injuries the accuser claims she suffered in connection with the alleged rape. On Monday, Bryant's deposition was postponed, prompting speculation that a settlement was being worked on. ABC News reported the agreement could be signed by both sides as early as Friday. The lawsuit was filed in federal court last summer, three weeks before the criminal case against Bryant was dropped because the accuser said she could not take part in a trial. Married with a 1-year-old daughter, Bryant apologized to the woman after the criminal case was dropped, but insisted the sex was consensual. Bryant is second in the league in scoring, averaging 27.6 points per game after signing a seven-year, $136 million contract with the Lakers last summer.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Missile Launcher Installed At Naval Warfare Center

A large, drab green missile launcher -- aimed vigilantly skyward -- has become one of suburban West Bethesda's more distinctive landmarks. "Did you see that?" neighborhood resident Miriam Burton asked her husband, Alton, when she first spotted the weapon on a recent drive along the Clara Barton Parkway. "What the heck is going on there?"The launcher has since December claimed a commanding position on the lawn at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center's Carderock facility, a science and engineering center overlooking the Potomac River. The missile launcher has people talking, but the U.S. Navy is keeping mum about its specific capabilities. "People have to understand there are a lot of moving parts to our national defense, and not everyone is going to know about all of them," says Lt. Cmdr. Ed Zeigler, public affairs officer for the Naval District of Washington. He did say that the launcher is part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Operation Noble Eagle, a program designed to tighten national security since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He says the six non-nuclear missiles in the launcher could "counter an inbound threat." Opinions about the neighborhood's newest security system have varied. Larry Hubbard and some other people in the upscale community, stretching between Bethesda and Potomac, have barely given the launcher a second thought. But others, such as Lenore Schneiderman, wonder about it. "I don't like the idea of that thing over there," she says, quickly adding: "At least it's not facing my house." To Pat Elder, a peace activist, the launcher in his neighborhood has become a monument to what he sees as America's troubling posture toward the world. "It's really a sad statement on the Bush administration's foreign policy," he says. His neighbor and fellow activist, Jane Coe, a member of the Bethesda Friends Meeting, agrees. She grew up thinking of Bethesda, with its naval hospital and National Institutes of Health, as a center of healing, not of warfare. She says the thought of the missile launcher pains her, and she wonders whether a vigil might be in order. "We might need to plan something," she says. Mike Rychlik, who owns a tile installation business, takes a more resigned view. "I don't feel offended. I personally feel like it's more of a propaganda thing. It's more like, 'We're going to do something, by God.' " But Rychlik believes the kind of inbound threat the launcher so patiently awaits "is an elusive target." "It's like murder. You can't prevent it," he says. There may never be agreement in the neighborhood, or even in the home of Miriam and Alton Burton. "My husband said he felt safer -- that if a missile was coming, it could intercept it," Miriam Burton says. But the launcher's challenging posture seems to her like an invitation for a strike on Bethesda. "I wish they'd cover it," she says. "I wish it were a little better landscaped."