Saturday, June 30, 2007

Woman Banned For Giving Birth Control Advice

A 76-year-old woman has been barred from the bus station after giving unwanted birth-control advice to mothers with large families. "I think it's wrong. It's a violation of my First Amendment rights," Laura Stevens said. She was arrested Tuesday for trespassing, a misdemeanor, according to police records. "She's been making comments to some of the Hispanic passengers that they should be on the pill, that they're taking over our society," said Todd Beutler, general manager of the Cache Valley Transit District."The passengers have a right to ride and not be intimidated," he said. Stevens said she recently noticed a mother struggling to control her six children. "I felt sorry for her. Maybe she doesn't know that she could get a patch and not have a kid for five years," Stevens said. She said she will fight the trespassing charge when she appears in Logan's Municipal Court on Tuesday. "We want her to ride the bus," Beutler said. "We just need to make sure that she's not harassing any other passengers."

Friday, June 29, 2007

Spice Girls Reunite

Following a calculated publicity buildup, the original Girl Power group of the 1990s announced that they have agreed to reunite for 11 concerts around the world in December and January.The shows will be their first concerts since breaking up in 2001, and the first with all five of the original group since Geri "Ginger Spice" Halliwell quit to pursue a solo career in 1998. "Imagine you got divorced and you've got back together with your ex-husband," Halliwell said, explaining how she felt about the reunion. "She just appreciates the fact we've let her back in," joked Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham. The group said the shows would be in Los Angeles on Dec. 7, Las Vegas (Dec. 8), New York (Dec. 11), London (Dec. 15), Cologne, Germany (Dec. 20), Madrid, Spain (Dec. 23), Beijing (Jan. 10), Hong Kong (Jan. 12), Sydney, Australia (Jan. 17); Cape Town, South Africa (Jan. 20) and Buenos Aires (Jan. 24).
The re-united Spice Girls, Victoria Beckham, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Melanie Brown pose for the photographers on the grounds of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London.
Halliwell and Beckham joined with Melanie "Sporty Spice" Chisholm, Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton and Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown to pose for photos and announce tour plans. "We wanted to say thank you to our fans. It just feels very right for us," Chisholm said. "Obviously it's nostalgic. But equally, if new fans want to come along, that's fantastic," Halliwell said. "I like to think our songs are universal and they are timeless."Their first single, "Wannabe," was released in 1996 and topped charts in 31 countries. They went on to sell more than 55 million records. But their last album, "Forever," released in 2000 and without Halliwell, fared poorly.

The New Phil Hendrie Show Affiliate List

Here is the first official affiliate list from TRN.
# St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN KTLK 100.3 FM 12:00-3:00pm
# San Francisco, CA KTRB 860 AM 10:00pm-1:00am
# Miami, FL WINZ 940 AM 3:00-4:00am
# Denver, CO KRCN 1060 AM 11:00pm-2:00am
# Las Vegas, NV KDWN 720AM 11:00pm-2:00am
# Nashville, TN WWTN 99.7 FM 12:00-3:00am
# Tucson, AZ KCUB 1290 AM 10:00pm-1:00am
# Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE KKAR 1290 AM 12:00-3:00am
# El Paso, TX KROD 600 AM 12:00-2:00am
# Bakersfield, CA KGEO 1230 AM 11:00pm-1:00am
# Colorado Springs, CO KKKK 1580 AM 11:00pm-2:00am
# Lafayette, LA KVOL 1330 AM 12:00-1:00am
# Augusta, GA WNRR 1230 AM 1:00-4:00am
# Lansing, MI WJIM 1240 AM 1:00-4:00am
# Reno, NV KKFT 99.1 FM 10:00pm-1:00am
# Palm Springs, CA KPSI 920 AM 10:00pm-1:00am
# Topeka, KS WIBW 580 AM 12:00-3:00am
# Buena Vista, CO KVLE 1450 AM 11:00pm-2:00am
# Vail, CO KSKE 610 AM 11:00pm-2:00am
# Twin Falls, ID KTFI 1270 AM 11:00pm-2:00am

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Muslim Imams Lose Bid To Limit Public Access In Airline Lawsuit

A federal judge overseeing a lawsuit filed by six Muslim instigators who were removed from a U-S Airways flight has declined to limit public access to the case. Judge Ann Montgomery rejected a request she remove members of the media from an electronic distribution list, bar members of the media from attending hearings, and hold proceedings in closed session.Omar T. Mohammedi is an attorney for the six imams. He tells The Associated Press he sought limited media access because he felt some coverage has been biased against his clients. He says that's put stress on them and made it harder to handle the case. Mohammedi's clients were removed from a U-S Airways flight in Minneapolis last fall after passengers reported what they thought was suspicious behavior. The imams claim the airline violated their civil rights.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Amnesty Bill Vote

The 64-35 roll call by which the Senate voted to reconsider a bill to grant legal status to millions of unlawful immigrants. On this vote, a "yes" vote was a vote to resume Senate debate on the bill. A "no" vote was a vote against reconsidering it. Supporters of the legislation needed 60 votes to bring it up again.

Voting "yes" were 39 Democrats, 24 Republicans and 1 independent.

Voting "no" were 9 Democrats, 25 Republicans and 1 independent.
Democrats Yes

Akaka, Hawaii; Biden, Del.; Bingaman, N.M.; Boxer, Calif.; Brown, Ohio; Cantwell, Wash.; Cardin, Md.; Carper, Del.; Casey, Pa.; Clinton, N.Y.; Conrad, N.D.; Dodd, Conn.; Durbin, Ill.; Feingold, Wis.; Feinstein, Calif.; Harkin, Iowa; Inouye, Hawaii; Kennedy, Mass.; Kerry, Mass.; Klobuchar, Minn.; Kohl, Wis.; Lautenberg, N.J.; Leahy, Vt.; Levin, Mich.; Lincoln, Ark.; Menendez, N.J.; Mikulski, Md.; Murray, Wash.; Nelson, Fla.; Nelson, Neb.; Obama, Ill.; Pryor, Ark.; Reed, R.I.; Reid, Nev.; Salazar, Colo.; Schumer, N.Y.; Webb, Va.; Whitehouse, R.I.; Wyden, Ore.

Democrats No

Baucus, Mont.; Bayh, Ind.; Byrd, W.Va.; Dorgan, N.D.; Landrieu, La.; McCaskill, Mo.; Rockefeller, W.Va.; Stabenow, Mich.; Tester, Mont.

Democrats Not Voting

Johnson, S.D.

Republicans Yes

Bennett, Utah; Bond, Mo.; Brownback, Kan.; Burr, N.C.; Coleman, Minn.; Collins, Maine; Craig, Idaho; Domenici, N.M.; Ensign, Nev.; Graham, S.C.; Gregg, N.H.; Hagel, Neb.; Kyl, Ariz.; Lott, Miss.; Lugar, Ind.; Martinez, Fla.; McCain, Ariz.; McConnell, Ky.; Murkowski, Alaska; Snowe, Maine; Specter, Pa.; Stevens, Alaska; Voinovich, Ohio; Warner, Va.

Republicans No

Alexander, Tenn.; Allard, Colo.; Barrasso, Wy.; Bunning, Ky.; Chambliss, Ga.; Coburn, Okla.; Cochran, Miss.; Corker, Tenn.; Cornyn, Texas; Crapo, Idaho; DeMint, S.C.; Dole, N.C.; Enzi, Wyo.; Grassley, Iowa; Hatch, Utah; Hutchison, Texas; Inhofe, Okla.; Isakson, Ga.; Roberts, Kan.; Sessions, Ala.; Shelby, Ala.; Smith, Ore.; Sununu, N.H.; Thune, S.D.; Vitter, La.

Others Yes

Lieberman, Conn.

Others No

Sanders, Vt.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mexican Officials Discover Another Tunnel In Tijuana

Police in Tijuana, Mexico, have discovered a narrow tunnel under the border into the US. Officials say it was used to smuggle drugs and possibly undocumented migrants. More than 50 tunnels have been discovered under the US-Mexico border. Increased border surveillance following 9-11 is thought to have prompted drug smugglers to go underground to avoid detection.The latest discovery was made inside an area guarded by Mexican Treasury Department officials. Officials are investigating how the 32-foot long tunnel was able to operate so close to where federal officials were on duty. Authorities found shovels, lanterns, batteries and other tools, but no drugs. US officials have been filling at least six tunnels along the 2,000-mile border, at a cost of $2.7 million.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Chavez Wants A Resistance War With U.S.

Hugo Chavez urged soldiers to prepare for a guerrilla-style war against the United States, saying that Washington is using psychological and economic warfare as part of an unconventional campaign aimed at derailing his government. Dressing in olive green fatigues and a red beret, Chavez spoke inside Tiuna Fort—Venezuela's military nerve-center—before hundreds of uniformed soldiers standing alongside armored vehicles and tanks decorated with banners reading: "Fatherland, Socialism, or Death! We will triumph!" "We must continue developing the resistance war, that's the anti- imperialist weapon. We must think and prepare for the resistance war everyday," said Chavez, who has repeatedly warned that American soldiers could invade Venezuela to seize control of the South American nation's immense oil reserves.U.S. officials reject claims that Washington is considering a military attack. But the U.S. government has expressed concern over what it perceives as a significant arms built-up here. Chavez—a close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro—told soldiers the Washington was trying to weaken and divide Venezuelan society, including the armed forces, without resorting to combat. "It's not just armed warfare," said Chavez, a former army officer who is leading what he calls the "Bolivarian Revolution," a socialist movement named after 19th-century independence hero Simon Bolivar. "I'm also referring to psychological warfare, media warfare, political warfare, economic warfare." Under Chavez, Venezuela has recently purchased some $3 billion worth of arms from Russia, including 53 military helicopters, 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 24 SU-30 Sukhoi fighter jets. Last week, Chavez said he is considering arms purchases, including submarines and a missile-equipped air defense system, as he prepares for a tour of Russia, Belarus and Iran. "We are strengthening Venezuela's military power precisely to avoid imperial aggressions and assure peace, not to attack anybody," he said.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Over 1,500 Militants Killed In Afghanistan In 4 Months

Afghan and international forces killed more than 1,500 Taliban militants over the past four months, Interior Ministry said in a statement. Afghan police and soldiers, together with foreign troops, have carried out 79 operations since March and killed 1,554 rebels, the statement said. During the period, over 500 militants including 34 foreign nationals and 23 would-be suicide bombers were detained, it added.More than 700 rebels were injured and a large number of arms and ammunitions including 1,466 small weapons were recovered from the battlefields, according to the statement. However, it did not give information about casualties of Afghan police and soldiers. About 13,000 coalition and 37,000 NATO troops are operating in this country to hunt down militants and keep security. Their powerful air forces have inflicted heavy casualties on Taliban insurgents.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Israel Air Force Training For Strike In Iran

Israel is training for a scenario under which it might have to carry out an airstrike against Iran, the Israeli Ma'ariv daily reported. The Israel Air Force has been practising long-range flights during the past months to prepare for such a scenario, the daily said without citing a source for its report.The report, which Ma'ariv said it published after the military censor authorized it, added to a statement by US President George W Bush, who said this week in answer to a question whether he would rule out military action against Iran that "all options are on the table." In a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Tuesday, Bush, however, reiterated that diplomacy was the preferred option to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ex-Muslim Group Speaks Out

A new group of secular-minded former Muslims in the UK has urged the government to cut all state funding to religious groups and to stop pandering to political Islam.The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, launched yesterday in London, opposes the interference of religion in public life. Its spokeswoman, Maryam Namazie, said the group provided an alternative voice to the "regressive, parasitical and self-appointed leaders" from organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain and the "oxymoronic" Islamic Human Rights Commission. "We want to challenge the Islamic movement," she said. "It does not surprise me people are afraid to criticise Islam. There has been too much appeasement from the government. There are specific policies and initiatives aimed at Muslims and this approach divides society."The council's manifesto calls for the freedom to criticise all religions and the separation of religion from the state and legal system. Another aim is to break the taboos that come with renouncing Islam. Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "We're not taking them seriously. I don't think Muslims will have time for this." The launch of a Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Berlin has inspired similar groups in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. The British branch has 25 members who are prepared to have their names and photographs published.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Confidence In Congress At All Time Low

Just 14% of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in Congress. This 14% Congressional confidence rating is the all-time low for this measure, which Gallup initiated in 1973. The previous low point for Congress was 18% at several points in the period of time 1991 to 1994. Congress is now nestled at the bottom of the list of Gallup's annual Confidence in Institutions rankings, along with HMOs. Just 15% of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in HMOs. (By way of contrast, 69% of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the military, which tops the list).
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
It’s worth remembering that Congress is basically nothing more than a mechanism for the representation of the people’s wishes. We all can’t go to Washington. So we elect men and women and send them off in our stead. It’s not an optimal situation, it seems to me, when such a low percentage of average Americans have confidence in this system. Generally speaking, Americans have been skeptical about Congress for decades now. But the current 14% confidence rating for Congress is down from 19% last year and is the lowest in Gallup’s history, surpassing the 18% confidence in Congress measured in 1991, 1993 and 1994. Americans' are generally in a sour mood. The particularly low rating for Congress this year thus represents a continuation of the existing low esteem in which Congress is held, coupled with a strongly negative mindset on the part of the American public.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

U.K. Warns Against Travel To Southern Philippines

The United Kingdom advised its citizens against all travels around Mindanao, the southern Philippine island, following the abduction of an Italian Catholic priest and a fatal bus explosion in the region. Travel to areas of Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Jolo, where anti-government groups are active, is strongly discouraged due to ongoing military and police operations against the rebels, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in the travel advisory. "Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and the intent to carry out these attacks at any time and anywhere in the country," the British warning said.It added that attacks could be indiscriminate and against civilian targets in public places including those frequented by foreigners. British travelers were also advised to be aware of the risk of terrorist attacks to road, rail, sea and air transport in the Philippines. Terrorists and criminal elements plan to kidnap foreign tourists from islands and coastal areas in the southern Philippines, it added. The 57-year-old Italian missionary, Giancarlo Bossi, was seized by armed men on June 10 in Zamboanga, southern Mindanao. His kidnappers are reportedly demanding ransom in exchange for his release. The bomb explosion on a bus at Bansalan, Davao del Sur province in the same region, killed eight people and injured 18 others on last Friday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Father Of Scientific Climatology Calls Global Warming Theory 'Hooey'

Reid Bryson, known as the father of scientific climatology, considers global warming a bunch of hooey. The UW-Madison professor emeritus, who stands against the scientific consensus on this issue, is referred to as a global warming skeptic. But he is not skeptical that global warming exists, he is just doubtful that humans are the cause of it. There is no question the earth has been warming. It is coming out of the "Little Ice Age," he said in an interview this week. "However, there is no credible evidence that it is due to mankind and carbon dioxide. We've been coming out of a Little Ice Age for 300 years. We have not been making very much carbon dioxide for 300 years. It's been warming up for a long time," Bryson said. The Little Ice Age was driven by volcanic activity. That settled down so it is getting warmer, he said. Humans are polluting the air and adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, but the effect is tiny, Bryson said. "It's like there is an elephant charging in and you worry about the fact that there is a fly sitting on its head. It's just a total misplacement of emphasis," he said. "It really isn't science because there's no really good scientific evidence."
Reid Bryson
Just because almost all of the scientific community believes in man-made global warming proves absolutely nothing, Bryson said. "Consensus doesn't prove anything, in science or anywhere else, except in democracy, maybe." Bryson, 87, was the founding chairman of the department of meteorology at UW-Madison and of the Institute for Environmental Studies, now known as the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. He retired in 1985, but has gone into the office almost every day since. He does it without pay. "I have now worked for zero dollars since I retired, long enough that I have paid back the people of Wisconsin every cent they paid me to give me a wonderful, wonderful career. So we are even now. And I feel good about that," said Bryson. So, if global warming isn't such a burning issue, why are thousands of scientists so concerned about it? "Why are so many thousands not concerned about it?" Bryson shot back. "There is a lot of money to be made in this," he added. "If you want to be an eminent scientist you have to have a lot of grad students and a lot of grants. You can't get grants unless you say, 'Oh global warming, yes, yes, carbon dioxide.'" Speaking out against global warming is like being a heretic, Bryson noted. And it's not something that he does regularly. "I can't waste my time on that, I have too many other things to do," he said. But if somebody asks him for his opinion on global warming, he'll give it. "And I think I know about as much about it as anybody does."

Monday, June 18, 2007

Minneapolis Approves Plan To Restrict Panhandling

The Minneapolis City Council voted nine-to-three to approve an ordinance that bans verbal requests for money within ten feet of crosswalks, convenience and liquor stores. Panhandlers are also banned from asking for money within 50 feet of entrances and exits to parks or sporting arenas and within 80 feet of a bank or A-T-M. Panhandling at night -- and in groups of two or more people -- is also banned under the new ordinance.Violating the ordinance is a misdemeanor. Critics say it violates free speech and is an unfair attack on the homeless and impoverished. Council members who approved it say they are not targeting the homeless. But rather the focus is on -- quote "aggressive solicitation." Those who ask for money silently with a sign will not be affected.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Israel Planning Attack On Gaza

Incoming Defense Minister Ehud Barak plans to launch a military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, this according to unnamed sources quoted by the British Sunday Times.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak
The paper quotes a "senior military source" as saying that Israel would strike in response to Palestinian rocket attacks or a suicide bombing. According to the report Barak has already "demanded detailed plans to deploy two armored divisions and an infantry division, accompanied by assault drones and F-16 jets."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Things Were Better When Israel Ruled Gaza

Gaza resident speaks out against factional fighting, says situation in Gaza was better when Israel was in charge.
“I’m afraid to say this out loud, they may execute me for it, but there are a lot of people, including myself, who think it would be better if Israel came back here. Things would be much better than they are now,” said Samara (alias), a graduate of the Islamic University living in the Gaza Strip. According to Samara, who lives nearby one of the Fatah strongholds taken over by Hamas in recent days, fear reigns in Gaza’s streets, and apart from gunmen and military officials, no one leaves their homes. “The children are afraid all the time,” Samara says. “My nephews ask, ‘Why are the Israelis shooting at us?’, and we tell them it’s Palestinians. Then they ask, ‘Why are Palestinians shooting at us?’, and I have no answer for them. “We have no food at home. We’ve been living on soups and canned food for days. There is no electricity or continuous water supply, let alone medicine or essential hygiene products,” she explained. The gun battles taking place in the streets keep all of Gaza’s residents in a state of constant fear. “I hide in the house all day long, but even that might not be enough. Our neighbor was shot while he was inside. Men with black masks, weapons, and bags are walking around on the streets and I’m afraid to leave. They could shoot me – even if I’m not what they are looking for,” Samara said. She blames both sides for the escalating violence. According to her, both Hamas and Fatah need to understand that they are one people. “They promised us a better life, and the situation is only getting worse. I’m afraid that by next week we’ll become a Taliban state. “The minute Hamas takes over, it will become an Islamic state. It must be understood – they were elected out of a sense of desperation. The people here are poor and desperate, and when they chose Hamas they had nothing to lose, but now it turns out they had a lot to lose.” Israel is not free of blame in Samara’s eyes either. According to her, despite the Israeli government’s desire to wash its hands of Gaza, it should have done so the “right way”, and left it with economic infrastructures. “When people have money, they don’t turn to violence,” she said.Samara explained that the economic boycott on the Palestinian Authority punished residents of Gaza, and not Hamas. She called on Israel to open the Rafah crossing and allow those who could to leave Gaza. “The Strip is like a jail, and we could die,” she said. Samara also had harsh claims against Arab states, saying they do nothing to improve the situation. “Everywhere we go, even Arab states, the consider us to be terrorists,” she claimed. Gisha, an Israeli non-profit organization whose goal is to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, mainly in Gaza, said that Samara’s words reflect the unbearable existence of many Gaza residents, who fall victim to the factional violence. “As a human rights organization, we condemn the horrible violence between the Palestinian factions, which hurts innocent people, and we call for its immediate end,” the organization declared. “At the same time, Israel - which is in control of Gaza’s borders and financial means - is also responsible for the current situation, until this very day. Israel and the international community have imposed an economic and physical siege on Gaza. “The harsh limitations on transporting goods and people from the Gaza Strip and into it, and preventing the transfer of public funds, have severely injured the population in Gaza, strengthened extremist sources, and sped up the creating of the current chaos.”

Friday, June 15, 2007

Carl Pohlad Purchases Hip-Hop Radio Station

Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad has bought a local hip-hop radio station and is contemplating buying more broadcast outlets, according to the chief executive of his new broadcast group. Pohlad's new company, Northern Lights Broadcasting LLC, will pay $28 million to buy KTTB-FM, also known as B96, from Radio One Inc., based in Lanham, Md., which describes itself as the country's largest radio broadcasting company that primarily targets black and urban listeners. The billionaire bought KTTB "just to get into the industry," Steve Woodbury, president and chief executive of Northern Lights, said Wednesday. "My charge is to find other radio stations and possibly TV and build a little media group."
What up bitches?
Woodbury, who's also vice president and general manager of KTTB, said he began searching for local investors in late 2005 after Radio One executives told him they wanted to sell the station. He said the old owners felt that the Twin Cities area did not have a large enough black population to support the format. Woodbury said he pitched the station to Pohlad, who spent the better part of the last year analyzing the business. Woodbury wouldn't disclose specifics but said the station is "very profitable." KTTB will retain its format and staff, including its on-air personalities, he said. "I've grown up in the radio business and I believe local broadcast ownership is important," Woodbury said. Besides the Twins, Pohlad and his three sons also have holdings in financial services, soft drinks and jewelry. Woodbury said the station purchase is part of the continuing diversification of their holdings.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Broward County May Cancel Deal With Radio Station Because It Airs Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh has long been a thorn in the side of liberals, but now, because of him, some Democratic politicians don't even want to join with a local radio station to broadcast hurricane information. Radio station WIOD, AM 610, has been the official channel for emergency information from Broward County government for the past year. The County Commission, all Democrats, balked at renewing the deal unable to stomach the station also being home to Limbaugh's talk show. Commissioner Stacy Ritter said she did not want to support a station that's out of step with area politics. Ritter, a Democratic stalwart in the state Legislature before being elected to county office, cited talk shows hosted by Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and WIOD's partnership with Fox News. "They have every right to speak, but we don't have to do business with them," she said. Limbaugh responded to the commissioners Wednesday on his radio show. He said the county's qualms about WIOD are a sign of out-of-control partisanship in the nation. He quipped that if the county wanted him off the air, all that officials would need to do is schedule emergency press conferences during his broadcast from noon to 3 p.m."They are politicizing the delivery of emergency news, which is non-partisan," said Limbaugh, who lives in Palm Beach. "They are making weather a partisan issue." Limbaugh has long been a fixture on WIOD, but no county official raised an issue about him or the other shows when the deal was approved for the first time a year ago. The deal with WIOD would ensure that news conferences are broadcast start to finish live from the county Emergency Operations Center in Plantation. Emergency managers became concerned during hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 that radio and television stations preempted their announcements in favor of news out of Miami. Ken Charles, WIOD's director of AM programming, said Tuesday the station's talk show lineup has no relationship with its news coverage and that the county should focus on the benefits of teaming with the station. "It's a shame that people would let politics get in the way of saving lives in a hurricane," Charles said. The contract with WIOD was on the verge of being rejected when commissioners instead delayed a decision until next week. They told their communications staff they want more information on why WIOD was recommended and what their options are. Ritter's concerns were echoed by Commissioners Ken Keechl, a former president of the Dolphins gay Democratic club, and Suzanne Gunzburger, who served on the vote-tallying board that recounted the 2000 presidential election.But Commissioner John Rodstrom, a one-time young Republican leader who later became a Democrat, said the county should not politicize emergency management. "If we are going to start censoring what people write in the paper or speak on the radio or television, that's a slippery slope," Rodstrom said. "This is necessary. It's something we need to do for emergency response." A county task force that looked into the response to Hurricane Wilma listed finding a radio partner among its recommendations last year. Judy Sarver, the county's public communications director, said WFTL and WLRN also offered to take on the role, but that she and other emergency planners preferred WIOD because of its signal strength, numerous FM sister stations and willingness to give Broward top play.

Seattle Could Ban Microwave Popcorn

First, Washington State banned indoor public smoking. Now, the City of Seattle may ban employees from making microwave popcorn. No kidding. A memo from the Fleets and Facilities Department addressed to "Employees at Civic Center Buildings" says there has been several evacuations in recent years due smoke alarms being tripped by burning popcorn. The memo states that in the past three years, there have been eight evacuations at the Justice Center, which includes jail cells and courtrooms, because of burnt popcorn. That's more than 400 people evacuated each time.There have also been several evacuations at City Hall and Seattle Municipal Tower because of the overcooked treat. The memo states that if the problem continues, there will be a microwave popcorn ban in downtown City buildings. Each evacuation shuts down the buildings for 30 – 40 minutes. The memo also gives employees tips on how to prevent the problem, such as following the package instructions and staying by the microwave to know when the popcorn is done.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Israel Launches Spy Satellite Into Orbit

Israel successfully launched an advanced spy satellite into orbit giving it a sophisticated new tool in its efforts to collect intelligence on archenemy Iran and other regional adversaries. Israeli space officials said the Ofek-7 satellite can pick up even small objects from space, and that information will be shared with the United States. Ofek-7 was launched from a beach front air base south of Tel Aviv before dawn, the bright flame from its booster rocket lighting up the beach and ocean on a clear night and the roar of its engines heard more than 10 miles away. Senior officials from Israel's space program said the satellite will significantly improve Israel's intelligence capabilities, allowing it to view objects as small as an average TV set. "It's true that this helps the Iranian issue," Haim Eshed, chief of the Defense Ministry's space department, told Army Radio. "And it's clear above all else that this satellite is a very significant addition to the ability to gather intelligence." Israel considers Iran its main strategic threat, charging that Iran's nuclear program is designed to build atomic weapons. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said repeatedly that Israel should be "wiped off the map." Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.The new satellite is "one of the most sophisticated in the world" and will operate with the existing Ofek-5 to provide different viewing angles, said Yiftah Shapir, a military analyst at the Institute of National Security Studies. "This will enhance Israeli capabilities to monitor any threat from anywhere in the region, whether its Lebanon, Syria or Iran," he said. Ofek-5 is already past its projected life span, pressed into additional service with the failure two years ago of the launch of Ofek-6. "Ofek" is the Hebrew word for "Horizon." The satellite weighs 66 pounds and is 7.5 feet long, said the chairman of the Israel Space Agency, Isaac Ben-Israel. It is significantly lighter than the most advanced American satellites, which have similar capabilities but weigh at least three tons, he told Army Radio. Ofek-7 was launched 310 miles into the sky from an air force base at Palmachim, south of Tel Aviv, Army Radio said. Though the U.S. has its own spy satellites, Ben-Israel said it was in the interest of both Israel and the U.S. to exchange intelligence. "There is no country in the world, not us and not the Americans, that is able to obtain everything alone," he told Army Radio. "If you have something that they don't have and if they have something that you don't have, you make an exchange." The satellite can view objects as small as 28 inches long, Army Radio said. But Ben-Israel said the resolution was even better, saying the objects it can discern are "a few dozen centimeters" long. The Ofek-7 uses optical technology, meaning its viewing ability is limited by clouds and nonexistent at night, Shapir said. By 2010 Israel is expected to launch another spy satellite with radar technology that will overcome these limitations, he said. Ofek-5 and Ofek-7 are the only two Israeli spy satellites, Army Radio said. Israel also has two commercial satellites.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Burger King Begins Offering Spam In Hawaii

Burger King has launched a Spam war with McDonald's. Burger King last month began offering Spam for breakfast in Hawaii, going head-to-head with rival McDonald's, which has been featuring Spam in the islands for years. In Hawaii, Spam is a beloved comfort food, with cans of the gelatinous pork bricks found in virtually every cupboard.Burger King is offering the Spam Platter: two slices of Spam nestled between white rice and scrambled eggs. The fast-food giant also offers the Croissanwich or Biscuit Sandwich with Spam. Burger King's managing director in Hawaii says sales have been "very good and very promising."

Monday, June 11, 2007

Is Kim Jong-Il Ill?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is ill and may need heart surgery. Kim cannot walk more than 30 yards and is accompanied by an assistant carrying a chair so he can sit and catch his breath. A team of six doctors from the German Heart Institute in Berlin flew to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, for eight days last month. The German team later denied they examined Kim.Kim, 65, has appeared in public 23 times this year, compared with 42 times at the same point last year. He has ruled North Korea since his father, the country's founder, Kim Il Sung, died in 1994. Kim has been grooming two of his sons for a greater role in government. Some observers predict, however, that Kim's rule might be followed by a collective military leadership, which could open the tightly controlled country to the rest of the world

Sunday, June 10, 2007

World War II Memorial Dedicated At Minnesota Capitol

Vivid stories of bombing runs over Germany and beach landings in Iwo Jima flowed freely Saturday among thousands of World War II veterans who gathered at Minnesota's Capitol to dedicate a memorial to their cause. Many showed up dressed in their military best, displaying chests full of medals and saluting fellow soldiers as they passed. Some flashed tattered enlistment cards and time-worn photos before snapping new shots next to war buddies, spouses, children and grandchildren. The glass-and-granite tribute -- built more than six decades after the war ended -- comes as natural causes are increasingly claiming the lives the era's soldiers. Only about 47,000 World War II veterans out of 320,000 who served back then remain in Minnesota. As he looked up at one of 10 glass panels describing the state's involvement, 82-year-old Ray Peterson couldn't help but dwell on the frequent funerals he's been attending lately for fellow veterans. "It's too bad it had to be so late," he said of the memorial. "But it's nice to get it before we're all gone." Peterson toured the memorial in a flight suit similar to one he wore aboard a B-17 during 26 missions over Germany toward the end of the war. Like Peterson, Burt Folk signed up for the war at age 17. But Folk, now 82, saw action half-the-world away on a Navy ship that took part in the Feb. 19, 1945 storming of Iwo Jima, a Japanese stronghold in the Pacific Ocean.He too wonders what took so long. On Minnesota's sprawling Capitol lawn, the new memorial rests midway between existing monuments to the Vietnam and Korean wars. "This is 62 years after the fact," Folk said. "They recognized all these other ones way before they recognized our efforts. Now we've got ours." A national memorial to the war was dedicated in Washington in 2004. Minnesota joins Illinois, Indiana, New York, South Dakota and some other states that have erected their own official World War II memorials. It was authorized by state lawmakers in 2000 and cost $1.38 million to build. Ten 8-foot-tall glass panels set on Mesabi Black granite slabs make up the perimeter. They detail Minnesota's war efforts -- both in combat and on the homefront. They recognize the Iron Range's role in supplying raw materials for weapons, the Mayo Clinic's tests of high-altitude flying, local inventions such as the K-ration and the work of women in ordnance plants. The memorial's interior is a declining granite plane meant to symbolize the depths of war paired with a gradually rising flower bed designed to represent the climb to victory. While the memorial is meant for him too, ex-Naval flight engineer Bob Hansen's mind immediately turns to his brother, one of the 6,462 Minnesota war casualties. "The freedom we enjoy is not something that comes easily," he said. "Everyone who has been in the service can look at it from different angles and different personal values." Before the official dedication, the names of each fallen Minnesota soldier was read aloud. The roll call took more than two hours to get from Bernie Aaberg to John Zylstra, both Army privates from western Minnesota who died six weeks apart in 1944.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Rivet Wins Radio K’s Underage Battle

A traditional thrash-metal band from St. Paul, Rivet, won Radio K’s Battle of the Underage Underground last night at First Avenue. The young, long-haired shredders are straight-ahead “Kill ‘Em All”-style players. There’s nothing ironic or tongue-in-cheek about them, just force and volume. Their guitarist even played his guitar behind his neck during their three-song set in the contest.

Friday, June 08, 2007

War With Israel Coming Soon Says Syrian Politician

A Syrian politician said that he expects his country to go to war with Israel at some point this summer. The comments by Mohammad al Habash to Al Jazeera highlight tensions between Israel and Syria as both sides are reportedly building up their military presence along their border despite calls by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for peace.
Mohammad al Habash
The Israeli army is currently taking part in military wargames along the border while Syria is bolstering its presence with anti-tank and -aircraft weapons and missiles, according to Israeli intelligence officials. Officials from both sides fear a misstep or accidental provocation that could spark a war that neither side wants. "Israel seeks peace with Syria," Olmert told his security cabinet while warning that "miscalculations that could cause the security situation to worsen".

Paris Hilton Ordered to Return to Court

Hours after Paris Hilton was sent home under house arrest Thursday, the judge who put her in jail for violating her reckless-driving probation ordered her into court to determine whether she should be put back behind bars. Hilton must report to court at 9 a.m. Friday, Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini told reporters. "My understanding is she will be brought in in a sheriff's vehicle from her home," Parachini said. Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer issued his order after the city attorney filed a petition late Thursday afternoon questioning whether Sheriff Lee Baca should be held in contempt of court for releasing Hilton on Thursday morning. The celebrity inmate was sent home from the Los Angeles County jail's Lynwood lockup shortly after 2 a.m. for an unspecified medical condition in a stunning reduction to her original 45-day sentence. She was ordered to finish her sentence under house arrest, meaning she could not leave her four-bedroom, three-bath home in the Hollywood Hills until next month. "What transpired here is outrageous," county Supervisor Don Knabe told reporters, adding that he received more than 400 angry e- mails and hundreds more phone calls from around the country.Hilton's return home gives the impression of "celebrity justice being handed out," he said. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo complained that he learned of her release the same way as almost everyone else—through news reports. "It is the city attorney's position that the decision on whether or not Ms. Hilton should be released early and placed on electronic monitoring should be made by Judge Sauer and not the Sheriff's Department," said Jeffrey Isaacs of the city attorney's office. Sauer himself had expressed his unhappiness with Hilton's release before Delgadillo asked him to return her to court. When he sentenced Hilton to jail last month, he ruled specifically that she could not serve her sentence at home under electronic monitoring. Parachini said Sauer reminded the Sheriff's Department of that when he learned Hilton was about to be released. "He reiterated the terms of his sentencing order. He did not agree to the terms of release that the sheriff proposed," Parachini told reporters before Delgadillo asked that Hilton be returned to court. But, Parachini said at the time, it is the sheriff and not the judge who decides when inmates are released from jail. Delgadillo's office indicated that it would argue that the Sheriff's Department violated Sauer's May 4 sentencing order.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Taliban Fighters Use Iran Weapons

Iran has been caught "red-handed" shipping arms, explosives and advanced roadside bombs to the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to a new report that concludes the operations undoubtedly will prolong the conflict there. The report said the discovery reveals "a dramatic escalation of Iran's proxy war against the United States and Great Britain." "It is inconceivable that it is anyone other than the Iranian government that's doing it," said former White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke, now an news consultant. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates earlier in the week discussed the shipment of arms, but didn't name Iran, saying there wasn't yet evidence of connection between Iran and the Taliban. But an analysis that was obtained by reporters said the evidence does, in fact, exist. The report said that analysis found the shipments were "part of a considered policy, rather than the result of low-level corruption and weapons smuggling."The Taliban, which ran Afghanistan with a repressive military hand before the U.S. and coalition forces overturned its rule following the 9/11 attacks on the United States, and Iran had been enemies at that time, and many were surprised by the apparent working relationship. "I think their goal is to make it very clear that Iran has the capability to make life worse for the United States on a variety of fronts," Seth Jones of the Rand Institute told reporters, "even if they have to do some business with a group that has historically been their enemy." The obtained analysis said arms found in two convoys, on April 11 and May 3, had "clear indications that they originated in Iran. Some were identical to Iranian supplied goods previously discovered in Iraq." The report said the April convoy was tracked from Iran into Helmand province and led a fierce firefight that destroyed one vehicle. Another vehicle reportedly was found to contain small arms ammunition, mortar rounds and more than 650 pounds of C4 demolition charges. The report said a second convoy of two vehicles was spotted on May 3 and led to the capture of five occupants and the seizure of more explosives, as well as rockets. That evidence, along with the discovery of explosive formed projectiles, the roadside bombs U.S. officials say Iran has provided to Iraqi insurgents, "clearly have the hallmarks of the Iranian Revolution Guards Quds force," said Jones. "We believe these intercepted munitions are part of a much bigger flow of support from Iran to the Taliban," the analysis said. The development, concluded Jones, "means the insurgency in Afghanistan is likely to be prolonged."

Habitat For Humanity Helping The Not-So Needy

Habitat for Humanity broke ground on plot of land in Baldwin, Wisc. and a family is set to move in later this year. While the Battah family is waiting for their new home to be built, tax records show a member of the family is part owner of a $172,000 home about a mile away.The executive director of Habitat For Humanity couldn't tell us why the family was approved for a home when they already have one, but reiterated the family has needs. A member of the Battah family declined to comment about the other home.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

German Teachers Head Scarf Ban 'Upheld'

A court upheld a German state's ban on teachers wearing the Muslim head scarf in public schools, rejecting a woman's appeal against a decision not to employ her. North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, is one of several regions that have introduced head scarf bans for teachers in recent years. The 28-year-old plaintiff had argued that the state's law was discriminatory and violated her religious freedom.However, the administrative court in Duesseldorf said regional law did not allow for religious statements that might infringe on the state's neutrality toward students and parents. Presiding judge Kurt Buechel argued that wearing a head scarf does to some extent constitute an expression of religious conviction. Authorities in Duesseldorf had refused to employ the teacher on the grounds that she was not prepared to go without a head scarf in classes. It was not immediately clear whether the teacher, whose name was not released, would appeal.

Bush Visit Key To Poland Missile Defense Decision

U.S. President George W. Bush's visit to Poland this week will be crucial to the Eastern European country's decision on whether to host a U.S. missile defense site, the premier said. Bush and President Lech Kaczynski, the prime minister's twin brother, hold talks Friday at the president's seaside retreat. "Everything depends on this conversation," Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said on state Radio 1. Poland has opened formal talks with Washington on hosting up to 10 interceptor missiles for the U.S. defense system, while the neighboring Czech Republic has launched similar negotiations on a radar base. The U.S. plan to put missile defense facilities in Poland and Czech Republic, two formerly communist countries, has attracted fierce opposition from Russia. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow could take "retaliatory steps" if Washington insists on building the missile shield.
Lech Kaczynski, left, with his twin, Jaroslaw
Poland's premier compared Putin's language to long-ago rhetoric from the Soviet Union. "A dispute has arisen around missile defense in words sharper than we have seen here for a long, long time," he said. "This is the kind of language that (former leader Boris) Yeltsin did not use, that (Mikhail) Gorbachev did not use and I don't remember (Leonid) Bhrezhnev using." However, Cold War-era Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev "certainly used this kind of language," he said. The prime minister called the issue "serious, because words in politics are also important." Warsaw and Prague both insist the system should enhance their own security as well. When Bush visits, he should give the Poles some "political feedback" on how seriously to take threats from Russia, and address what the U.S. can do to protect Poland from any Russian retaliation, Witold Waszczykowski, the deputy foreign minister and top Polish negotiator on the system, said last week. Poland's premier stressed that "definitely, no declarations can be made" on the future of missile defense in the country "without a serious talk, without serious consideration" of the plan. Bush has sought repeatedly to reassure Russia that it has nothing to fear from the missile defense system, designed to thwart a possible attack from Iran. Bush and Putin meet at the Group of Eight summit in Germany before the U.S. president visits Poland.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Smokers To Be Denied Health Service Surgerys

Smokers are to be denied operations on the Health Service unless they give up cigarettes for at least four weeks beforehand. Doctors will police the rule by ordering patients to take a blood test to prove they have not been smoking. The ruling, authorised by Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, comes after medical research conclusively showed smokers take longer to recover from surgery. It is thought that 500,000 smokers a year will be affected. However patients' groups argue that the move is about the NHS saving money rather than improving patient care. They claim that health trusts do not want to operate on smokers because they stay in hospital longer, blocking beds and costing more to treat. The ruling applies to routine operations such as hip replacements and heart surgery for conditions that are not immediately life-threatening. If smokers refuse to give up, they are still likely to be treated but may have to wait longer. Leicester City Primary Care Trust will become the first health authority to introduce the "quit or wait" rule this summer. Other health trusts are consulting on the idea.Rod Moore, the trust's assistant director of public health, said: "If people give up smoking prior to planned operations it will improve their recovery. It would reduce heart and lung complications and wounds would heal faster. "Our purpose is not to deny patients access to operations but to see if the outcomes can be improved." Patricia Hewitt has described the ruling as "a perfectly legitimate clinical decision". Yesterday her spokesman explained: "Trusts commission surgery services based on their assessment of the needs of their local population and availability of service capacity. "The provision and availability of a particular surgical intervention should be dependent on the clinical needs of the individual patient." The European Commission is considering a proposal to extend the forthcoming ban on smoking in enclosed public places to cover doorways. Officials have been studying the Canadian province of Quebec, where smoking is banned within nine metres of the doorway into any healthcare-related building, school or social services building. The experiment is thought to have shown positive health benefits. A spokesman for the Department of Health said the Health Act 2006, which covers the July 1 ban, contains reserve powers to extend the law to outside areas. Sports stadia, bus shelters and train platforms are already classed as enclosed public spaces under the Act and it would not have to go back to Parliament to be extended to doorways.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Great News

Ahmadinejad Sees "Countdown" To Israel's End

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday launched a new verbal attack on Israel, saying a "countdown" has begun that will end with Lebanese and Palestinian militants destroying the Jewish state. In a speech to mark the 18th anniversary of the death of revolutionary founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the President said last summer’s war between Israel and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah started the process."In Lebanon, the corrupt, arrogant powers and the Zionist regime did all they could in an unfair 33-day war. But after 60 years its (Israel’s) greatness fell apart," Iranian media quoted Mr Ahmadinejad as saying. "The countdown to this regime’s destruction started through the hands of Hezbollah’s children," he said in a speech to visiting foreign guests in Tehran. "We will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future thanks to the endeavours of all Palestinian and Lebanese fighters," Mr Ahmadinejad added.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Taliban Won’t Be Invited To Tribal Elders’ Meeting

No Taliban leader or any of their associates will be invited to a proposed grand meeting of tribal elders from Pakistan and Afghanistan, officials from the two sides said. The decision was made at a meeting of top leaders of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Jirga held at Nathia Gali.The jirga will be held in Kabul in August, and President Gen Pervez Musharraf and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai are to attend, said Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao.Pir Syed Ahmad Gilani, who is heading elders from the Afghan side, told reporters he was optimistic for success of the jirga, which ''will play an important role in bringing peace'' to the region. ''No Taliban will attend the jirga, and only peace-loving people will attend,'' Mr Sherpao said as Guilani nodded. Pakistan and Afghan officials have met in recent weeks after Karzai proposed holding a jirga to resolve tensions and problems between the two countries.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

U.S. Military Strikes Al-Qaida Cells In Somalia

The U.S. Navy struck several suspected terrorist cells along the northern coast of Somalia Friday evening. U.S. officials told reporters that the U.S. destroyer USS Chafee fired 20 five-inch rounds at two or three targets, including the country's chief al-Qaida operative who is believed to be responsible for the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The primary target of the strike was Fazul Abdullah Mohammad, leader of the East Africa cell of al-Qaida and mastermind behind 1998 U.S. embassy attacks in Nairobi, Kenya, Dar es Salaam and Tanzania, resulting in more than 200 deaths.
USS Chafee (DDG-90)
Mohammad is also believed to be responsible for the 2002 attack on an Israeli-owned hotel in Mobassa, Kenya, and an attempted shootdown of an Israel charter airliner. He is on the FBI's most wanted list and believed to be one of the most "effective al-Qaida operatives left in the world." Two to three others with Mohammad are believed to have assisted in the embassy bombings. According to officials, the U.S. military had "actionable intelligence" to strike and that the strikes were ordered in fear that the suspects would leave the area. Senior U.S. officials said it is not "altogether known" what the damage assessment is or if the suspects were killed or wounded in the attack.

ACLU Teams Up With Al Qaida To Sue American Corporation

Boeing has been sued by suspected Al Qaida operatives transported by the CIA to Arab countries for interrogation and torture. The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen Dataplan on behalf of three Al Qaida suspects transported by the CIA under the so-called "extraordinary rendition program." The suit charged that Jeppesen helped the CIA transport the three plaintiffs to secret locations in Egypt and Morocco, where the company knew they would undergo torture. "American corporations should not be profiting from a CIA rendition program that is unlawful and contrary to core American values," ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said. "Corporations that choose to participate in such activity can and should be held legally accountable." The plaintiffs named in the suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, were Binyam Mohamed, Abou Elkassim Britel and Ahmed Agiza. Britel and Mohamed were said to have been flown by the CIA to Morocco. Agiza was taken to Egypt. The suit said Jeppesen, based in San Jose, Calif., has been a key provider of flight and logistical support services for CIA aircraft in the rendition program. Since December 2001, the suit said, Jeppesen provided flight and logistical support to at least 15 CIA aircraft that conducted 70 rendition flights.Jeppesen was said to have provided aircraft crew and flight planning services for the CIA program. The subsidiary also ensured customs clearance and security for CIA aircraft and crew. "Jeppesen's services have been crucial to the functioning of the government's extraordinary rendition program," ACLU staff attorney Steven Watt said. "Without the participation of companies like Jeppesen, the program could not have gotten off the ground." The suit was filed under the Alien Tort Statute, which permits aliens to bring claims in the United States for alleged violations that involve American citizens or assets. The statute accounts for torture. In 2002, Mohamed, an Ethiopian national, was transported to Morocco, where he spent 18 months in prison in what the suit asserted included torture by the intelligence services of the North African kingdom. In 2004, he was taken by the CIA to a secret U.S. detention facility in Kabul, Afghanistan, and then to the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he remains. Britel was flown from Pakistan to Morocco in 2002. He was said to have remained in Morocco. Agiza was taken from Sweden to Egypt and remains in detention. "For the first five weeks after his arrival in Egypt, Mr. Agiza was detained incommunicado," the suit said. "During his time and for some 10 weeks thereafter, he was repeatedly and severely tortured and denied meaningful access to consular officials, family members and lawyers."

Friday, June 01, 2007

High Tempo Of Terrorist Chatter

The FBI has increased its use of secret search warrants over the past two years because of a "high tempo of terrorist activity," a top official said. FBI Assistant Director John Miller said the 2,176 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act search warrants approved last year, compared with only 1,754 granted in 2005, mostly targeted plotters inside America. "We're seeing a very high tempo of terrorist activity, not just based on the cases you're seeing being brought in the United States," Miller said in an interview yesterday for C-SPAN's "Newsmaker" program.Miller said the warrants, issued by a secret federal court in Washington, are usually not a "way to a prosecution," but are "an intelligence tool." The FBI's chief spokesman - who as a TV newsman conducted a 1998 interview with Osama Bin Laden - echoed other counterterror officials who say the U.S. may have underestimated top Al Qaeda leaders' ability to oversee operations in recent years. One measure is the record-high output of video and audio messages from Bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri. Typically there has been "a two-year arc between major attacks to develop the plan and execute it," Miller said. Al Qaeda is "on a bell curve and they're getting more effective" at planning new strikes while pushing propaganda to inspire others to "take that ball and run with it." "They're counting on both happening at once," Miller said. "They're better at this than they were before and they're thinking about it differently."