Sunday, September 30, 2007

Activist Lawyer On Manila "Al Qaeda" Blacklist

The Philippines has put rights activists, including a former U.S. attorney-general and members of church groups, on an immigration blacklist drawn up ostensibly to stop terrorists from entering, a rights group said on Friday. U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said Manila was trying to stymie criticism at a time when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is in the spotlight because of political violence against her opponents. The blacklist labeled "Al-Qaeda/Taliban Link" of 504 people from 50 countries was imposed between July 25 and August 10, 2007, when Manila hosted a meeting of Southeast Asian ministers, Human Rights Watch said on its Web site, It included members of church groups in Europe, Australia and the United States, left-wing activists, lawyers and unionists. Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general, was among those banned from entry. Human Rights Watch said it obtained a copy of the blacklist from a lawyer who had petitioned the immigration department to remove his client from it.
Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark Blacklist By The Philippines
A spokesman of the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that a blacklist existed to prevent people disrupting the December 2006 and July 2007 summits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). "We will look into the requests of Human Rights Watch," the spokesman told reporters. "We're not aware of any policy banning them because they were members of, or were being linked with, al Qaeda or the Taliban." A senior immigration official said most of the names on the list were "leftists". "We're just implementing orders from our superiors," said the official, who asked not to be identified. Human Rights Watch said it was not clear whether any blacklist was still in effect, but Sophie Richardson, the group's Asia advocacy director, urged the Philippines to stop preventing peaceful critics to enter the country. "The Philippine government has the right and duty to protect its citizens from genuine security threat," Richardson said in the statement. "But labeling peaceful critics as al Qaeda or Taliban only serves to sap public confidence in counter-terror measures and expose them as a cover for suppressing dissent."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Man Charged With Crime Of Burning Cross Lnto His Own Yard

De'Andre June told police he woke up Wednesday morning to find the charred outline of a cross burned in the lawn of his home. June now is accused of burning the cross in the lawn himself. The 47-year-old Anoka man was charged Friday with falsely reporting a crime. He also is charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process stemming from an altercation when police arrested him Thursday afternoon on a felony warrant from Hennepin County in connection with a financial fraud case.According to the criminal complaint, inmates at the Anoka County jail told authorities that June was planning such a ruse. "Inmates from the Anoka County Jail saw the news story on TV and recognized Mr. June," said Capt. Phil Johanson of the Anoka Police Department. "(They) said that when he was in jail with them last week, he had made comments that he was going to do something like this to get sympathy from the community and the church for financial gains and otherwise."

Friday, September 28, 2007

Road Warns Motorists Of 'Scohol' Zone

Seminole County officials are scrambling to fix a typo on a roadway after a motorist informed reporters that the word "school" was misspelled "scohol." The signage, located on state Road 426 at Reed Road in Oviedo, is posted to warn motorists that they are entering a school zone.Reporters contacted Seminole County traffic engineers, who said the typo will be fixed on Friday.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Judge in Craig Case Not Expected To Rule Until Late Next Week

A judge considering Idaho Sen. Larry Craig's request to withdraw his guilty plea in an airport sex sting said Wednesday he probably wouldn't rule in the case until late next week, well past Craig's self-imposed deadline to resign. Hennepin County Judge Charles Porter heard arguments from Craig's attorneys and the prosecutor in the case, then said he wouldn't rule immediately. Craig said earlier he planned to resign Sept. 30, then left the door open to stay if he could successfully withdraw his plea. After the hearing, Craig's lead attorney Billy Martin declined to address whether Craig would resign. He said the senator planned a statement later Wednesday from Washington. During the hearing, Martin acknowledged the difficulty in getting the plea withdrawn, saying it is "near impossible, and it should be." But he said Craig's conduct was not criminal. Prosecutor Christopher Renz said the timing of Craig's decision to withdraw his guilty plea was political. Craig was arrested in a Minneapolis airport bathroom June 11, then entered his plea Aug. 8. Craig said he panicked in entering his plea. "He sat and was able to think about it a thousand miles away at his apartment on the Potomac. He called me about it" and could have called others if he needed advice, Renz said. Craig did not attend the hearing.Legal observers said Craig faced a tough fight in convincing the court to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. Minnesota law allows pleas to be withdrawn if a "manifest injustice" is shown. The term isn't defined in law, leaving it to judges to decide. Craig was arrested by an airport police officer who said Craig had looked into his bathroom stall, and tapped his foot and moved his hand under the divider in a way that suggested he was looking for a sexual partner. After news of his arrest and plea broke Aug. 27, he came under swift pressure from within his own party, and announced within days that he planned to resign by Sept. 30. He later suggested he might stay in office if he could overturn his plea. His attorneys pursued a dual strategy, arguing both that Craig's conduct was not criminal and that the state didn't handle the plea properly. Martin said Craig maintains he never intentionally touched airport police Sgt. Dave Karsnia, nor said anything to him. "You should have either touching, or words, or a combination of the two," Martin said. "I don't know," interjected Porter, and speculated that if he charged around the bench and ran yelling toward Martin, it would scare the attorney."It absolutely would," Martin said, to mild laughter. Craig's attorneys also argued that the legal process wasn't properly followed, noting the plea petition didn't include a signature or any other indication a judge had accepted it. Porter directed more questions to Craig's attorneys, but his interruptions were mild and polite. Pat Hogan, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Airports Commission and the prosecution team, said after the hearing that Craig knew what he was doing when he pleaded guilty and accepted culpability for his actions. He pointed out that Craig had more than eight weeks to consider his legal options from when he was arrested to when he entered his plea. "The defendant unequivocally pleaded guilty to the crime of disorderly conduct," Hogan said. Martin told reporters afterward that Craig committed no crime, but made a mistake in pleading guilty to one. "Senator Larry Craig denies that he went into that restroom for anything other than to go to the restroom," he said. Martin said that if the judge allows Craig to withdraw his plea, he will enter a not-guilty plea and ask a jury to decide. Martin also said there was nothing unusual about Craig staying in Washington instead of attending the hearing. The attorney said it's rare for him to bring a client to such proceedings.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Canadian Border Guards Flunking Shooting Lessons

They wanted to carry guns, but one in five Canadian border guards have been flunking their shooting lessons. "Eventually, they will be armed. But not everyone is going to qualify," said Marie-Claire Coupal of Windsor, fourth national vice-president of the Customs and Excise Union, adding that the 20-per-cent failure rate applied across the board. Coupal said part of the reason 20 per cent of trainees have been flunking out is the relatively short firearm training period of three weeks, compared with 16 weeks for RCMP officers. Most of the failures were in the 25-metre shooting qualification requirement - a long distance that doesn't reflect normal border conditions, she said.As well, some officers needed fitness training so their arms remained steady during the shortened shooting training which caused fatigue. Union national president Ron Moran said that last Friday, 24 out of 28 trainees qualified on their first try, reflecting changes made in the training program after the initial failure rates were noticed. He said those that initially failed to qualify should be given another chance. He added that the union is not advocating that unqualified offiers be pushed through."The employer has as much of a vested interest as we do," Moran said. A spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said Tuesday that 20 per cent of the training class in July, and a smaller percentage in August did fail to qualify. But changes have been made to provide more coaching and 12 additional hours more practice time on the shooting range, for a total of 50 hours. In addition, other measures, such as not conducting the shooting range test on the same day as the written exam, have been implemented. She said the government expects the failure rate to drop when the September group graduates. "The changes have been made," said Melisa Leclerc. "It can't be too easy (though)." The government has announced that up to 4,800 land and marine guards will be armed eventually. This summer, 11 armed guards took up their posts in Windsor and Sarnia, and more were headed to Ottawa or B.C. for training. To date, 80 armed guards have been deployed across Canada. Airport border guards are not armed. Coupal said the 25-metre precision shooting requirement is unrealistic under border conditions."That's where we're losing most of our people. It's physically demanding on them." Those who fail to qualify will get another crack at it, she added. "As it stands they're supposed to get two tries. They're just in the first round. These people will be going back for a second round." Coupal said it is not known what will happen to those who fail to quallify. "All that hasn't been worked out yet," she said. "I don't think that CBSA was ready for this." Officers who qualify will carry nine-millimetre Berettas, and are also assuming more law-enforcement responsibilities. They'll be able to arrest and detain drunk drivers and people named in warrants until police arrive. Leclerc said if an officer doesn't pre-qualify for training, or fails to qualify after two tries, every effort will be made to transfer him or her to a job where carrying guns is not required. Initial estimates pegged the cost of arming Canada's border guards at $781 million, after the union lobbied for two decades for the right to carry weapons. It is estimated it will take 10 years to complete the training and arming process.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hudson Wisconsin Man Sentenced After Killing Woman While Driving Drunk

A Wisconsin man’s sentencing on Monday seems too light to the victim's family. Geoffrey Baker, of Hudson, has been convicted of driving drunk three times. The fourth time, Baker took a young woman’s life. A 23-year-old medical student was killed near the Metrodome on Easter Sunday. A Hennepin County judge handed down the maximum sentence under the guidelines: sending Baker to prison for five years and nine months. But the family of the woman he killed, said the sentence falls far short of justice. Melissa Speich was applying to medical school and planning her wedding to future lawyer, Adam Doyle. Speich was driving home, when Baker sped through a red light and hit her car. After twelve days in intensive care, Speich died.
Geoffrey Baker
"Melissa was the most incredible person I’ve ever met. And as I mentioned in court, I am who I am because of her," said Doyle. On Monday, Baker addressed the victim’s family in court and said he felt guilt and remorse. He had been drinking all night before that Sunday and despite trying to sleep it off, his alcohol content was still twice the legal driving limit the next afternoon. Judge Peter Albrecht sentenced Baker to the maximum five years, nine months in prison for criminal vehicular operation. "He killed somebody. And for that, 69 months is ridiculous. Grossly inadequate," said Doyle. Officials handcuffed Baker and took him away immediately after sentencing.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Man accused of beheading duck

A guest at the Embassy Suites hotel in St. Paul was accused of killing a duck.
Scott Clark
According to hotel staff, the 26-year-old Scott Clark cornered one of the hotel's domestic ducks and ripped its head off. He was witnessed by the hotel's security officer for the Embassy Suites Hotel located at 175 East 10th Street.
Clark, from Denver, Colorado, was taken into custody by the security officer who later called police. The man is in jail on suspicion of felony animal cruelty and could face up to two years in jail and a $5,000 fine. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Prestigious Silver Star Goes To Minnesota Solider

A Minnesota National Guard soldier who led a fierce firefight south of Baghdad to defend a convoy of 20 trucks and their civilian drivers was awarded Saturday with a Silver Star, the nation's fourth-highest military decoration. "He's a hero, no question about it," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said of Staff Sgt. Chad Malmberg before a crowd of about 1,000 National Guard soldiers and their families in a ceremony at St. Paul RiverCentre. Malmberg, a St. Paul native, is the first Minnesota National Guard member since World War II to receive the medal, which is awarded for gallantry in combat.
Staff Sergeant Chad Malmberg
During the firefight, Malmberg jumped out of his armored vehicle three times to fire a rocket and hurl grenades at the enemy that outnumbered his squad by more than two to one. His actions allowed the convoy to escape without a single soldier or truck driver being killed or wounded, and no vehicles were lost. Malmberg attributed his honor to the U.S. Army's superior weapons and tactics, and to the courage of the 15 soldiers under his command. "I remember when I was a little kid my dad telling me 'It's not the size of the dog in the the fight, but it's the size of the fight in the dog,' That day, we had a lot of fight in us," he said. Malmberg, 27, is a Stillwater high school graduate and a senior at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He is majoring in law enforcement and will graduate with honors in December, after which he hopes to become a St. Paul police officer like his father and uncle were.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Man Urinates On Dying Woman

From the "Annals of Modern Depravity" comes this sordid story: Shouting, "This is YouTube material!" a 27-year-old British man urinated on a dying woman who had collapsed on the street, the BBC and local Hartepool Mail and Northern Echo tell us. He also doused her with a bucket of water and covered her with shaving cream. The woman, 50-year-old Christine Lakinski, died at the scene of pancreatic failure.In a sad sign of the times, it was all recorded on a mobile phone. In court, Anthony Anderson said he had smoked a joint and been drinking with two friends when they spotted Lakinski. He faces jail after pleading guilty to "outraging public decency." Sentencing is set for Oct. 22. "We will await the outcome and just hope he gets what he deserves," Lakinski's brother said after today's court hearing.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Judge OKs 'Hitler Youth' Buttons

Two students in northern New Jersey can wear buttons featuring a picture of Hitler youth to protest a school uniform policy, a federal judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Joseph A. Greenaway Jr. sided with the parents of the students, who had been threatened with suspension last fall for wearing the buttons. However, the judge added in his ruling that the boys will not be allowed to distribute the buttons at school. Citing a 1969 case in Iowa involving students who wore black arm bands to protest the Vietnam War, Greenaway wrote that "a student may not be punished for merely expressing views unless the school has reason to believe that the speech or expression will 'materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.'"The buttons bear the words "no school uniforms" with a slash through them superimposed on a photo of young boys wearing identical shirts and neckerchiefs. There are no swastikas visible on the buttons, but the parties agreed that they depict members of Hitler youth. After the suspension threat, the boys' parents filed a federal lawsuit claiming the district stifled the children's First Amendment free speech rights. District lawyers asserted that the image of the Hitler youth was abhorrent because it conveyed intolerance and racial inequality represented by Nazism.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Officials Reject Ahmadinejad's Request

Officials decided to reject the Iranian president's request to visit ground zero just weeks after the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The decision came in a meeting that included representatives of the NYPD, the Secret Service and the Port Authority, according to police.NYPD officials confirmed in a statement that earlier this month the department received a request from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit the World Trade Center site during the United Nations General Assembly.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Iran Claims 600 Missiles Pointed At Israel & US Targets

A website affiliated with the Iranian regime, Assar Iran, claimed that Iran has more than 600 missiles pointed at targets in Israel and United States positions in Iraq. The missiles will be launched if either Iran or Syria are attacked, the website warns.The website claimed that the missiles are Shihab-3 missiles, which have a range of 1,300 kilometers. The report has not been confirmed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

State Senator Ernie Chambers Sues God

State Senator Ernie Chambers is suing God. He says it to prove a point about frivolous lawsuits. Chambers says senators periodically have offered bills prohibiting the filing of certain types of suits. He says his main objection is the constitution requires that the doors to the courthouse be open to all. Chambers said, "Thus anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody - even God." Chambers said he decided to file this lawsuit after a suit was filed in early September in federal court against Lancaster County Judge Jeffre Cheuvront. He's the judge who was hearing a sexual assault case, where the woman wants to use the words "rape and victim" during her testimony. Chambers lawsuit, which was filed on Friday in Douglas County Court, seeks a permanent injunction ordering God to cease certain harmful activities and the making of terroristic threats. The lawsuit admits God goes by all sorts of alias, names, titles and designations and it also recognizes the fact that the defendant is “Omnipresent”. In the lawsuit Chambers says he’s tried to contact God numerous times, “Plaintiff, despite reasonable efforts to effectuate personal service upon Defendant (“Come out, come out, wherever you are”) has been unable to do so.”The suit also requests that the court given the “peculiar circumstances” of this case waive personal service. It says being Omniscient, the plaintiff assumes God will have actual knowledge of the action. The lawsuit accuses God “of making and continuing to make terroristic threats of grave harm to innumerable persons, including constituents of Plaintiff who Plaintiff has the duty to represent.” It says God has caused, “fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes, pestilential plagues, ferocious famines, devastating droughts, genocidal wars, birth defects, and the like.” The suit also says God has caused, “calamitous catastrophes resulting in the wide-spread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants including innocent babes, infants, children, the aged and infirm without mercy or distinction.” Chambers also says God “has manifested neither compassion nor remorse, proclaiming that Defendant “will laugh” when calamity comes. Chambers asks for the court to grant him a summary judgement. He says as an alternative, he wants the judge to set a date for a hearing as “expeditiously” as possible and enter a permanent injunction enjoining God from engaging in the types of deleterious actions and the making of terroristic threats described in the lawsuit.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Republican And Independent Parties Target Rybak's Promise For Police

Minneapolis turned into political ground as two political groups officially started their campaign against Mayor R.T. Rybak. The Minneapolis Republican and Independence parties went door-to-door, campaigning to get 50 more police officers that Rybak promised last year.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak
"Prioritize the police officers, get it done, get it budgeted but then follow up through and appropriate the funds and actually spend the money to get those officers on the streets", said 5th District Representative Carleton Crawford. Rybak officials told reporters there is no police shortage and that the money was spent on new technology to fight crime, such as the shot spotter system and neighborhood cameras.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Odor Of Cigarette Smoke Causes School Employee To Lose Job

The Denton Independent School District has removed an employee from her position because she smells like cigarette smoke. Suzanne Lidster was thrilled when she was recently hired to assist a student with disabilities at L.A. Nelson Elementary. "It's something that God sent me here to do with this child," Lidster told reporters. "It's like OK, this fell in my lap." But after less than two weeks on the job, Lidster said she received a voicemail informing her that she had lost her position. The school's principal left a message on her cell phone saying that a doctor said the odor of smoke on Lidster had aggravated the student's allergies. The principal also said that Lidster was not a good fit for the job. "Like getting a voicemail from the school saying hey, don't come back to the school because you stink from smoke."Lidster said she smokes eight cigarettes a day but never on campus. "I don't stink," she said. But she admits that she may be used to the smell after smoking for 32 years. Lidster tearfully told reporters that she would never do anything that might hurt a child. "No, I would never harm a child, never knowingly harm a child smoking a cigarette, having the odors on my body, no I would never ever harm a child." A district spokeswoman told reporters that she couldn't talk about the case but did say Lidster had not been fired. The spokeswoman said because Lidster is an at-will employee, she could be terminated at any time for no reason. Denton ISD's human resources officer is looking into the case. Lidster said she will quit smoking but will do it on her own terms.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

What If Existed 65 Years Ago?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Al-Qaida In Iraq Takes Heavy Losses

Al-Qaida militants in Iraq have taken heavy losses in two joint U.S.-Iraqi raids north of Baghdad, the U.S. military reported.In one operation involving more than 1,000 U.S. troops and Iraq Special Forces in the Hemreen mountain area and Diyala river valley, three al-Qaida fighters were killed and 80 others were arrested, the Army statement said.The report said four of the arrested men are considered senior leaders in the terror group. U.S. air support was used to conclude the raid, after which a major weapons cache was found, the statement said. Elsewhere in Salah Al-Din province, U.S. forces arrested 12 al-Qaida suspects and destroyed an entire house packed with explosives and weaponry, the report said.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Johnny Rotten On Kucinich: "He Ain't No Sex God"

Former Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten, who got famous singing anti-establishment anthems such as "Anarchy in the UK," is unsurprisingly unimpressed with any of this year's U.S. presidential candidates, although he delivers entertaining opinions about many of them, including Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, in a recent interview. The legendary punk rocker, whose real name is John Lydon, says Kucinich is "hilarious, but he ain't no sex god," and calls Kucinich's election promise for an immediate Iraq pullout "nonsense."
Johnny Rotten
"That's guaranteeing a bullet in the back of the head real quick," Rotten says in the interview. "Don't do that. Sort it out or admit that was a failure, but don't ignore it, 'cause we've all got to carry on living in this world and this problem is only going to escalate. I want answers now. I want some serious thought in it." For the record, Rotten speaks ill of most of the candidates. He says Hillary Clinton is "a woman with a vendetta" who has "got to get one back on manhood," dismisses Barack Obama as "dense as a doorbell," says Rudy Guiliani is "scary to high hell," and calls Mitt Romney "corrupt from head to toe."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Two Senators Move To Ban Mexican Trucks From US Roads

Two influential senators proposed a plan to ban Mexican trucks from U.S. roads saying not enough has been done to make sure they are safe. Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, want to strip funding for a pilot program launched last week giving Mexican carriers full access to America's roadways. Their proposal, scheduled for a U.S. Senate vote Tuesday morning, came the same day the first Mexican truck participating in the long-delayed free trade program delivered its cargo to North Carolina. Republicans said they would oppose any plan to keep Mexican carriers out of the U.S. They said Mexico has more stringent trucking standards than Canada, whose carriers already have full access to U.S. highways. "Can't we use some common sense here? This is not some enemy satellite on our border," said Mississippi Republican Sen. Trent Lott, adding that some critics want to make Mexico the "bogeyman." The pilot program allows up to 100 trucks to travel anywhere in the U.S. Since 1982, Mexican trucks were prohibited from going further than 20 miles (32 kilometers) into the U.S., except in Arizona, where the limit was 75 miles (120 kilometers).Transportes Olympic, the only Mexican carrier granted full access to U.S. roadways as of Monday, has told the Transportation Department it will use only long haul trucks made within the past three years on U.S. roads. Melissa Delaney, spokeswoman for the Transportation Department, said both trucks crossed the border with no problems. "Mexican trucks and drivers must meet safety standards that in many respects are higher than the standards for their U.S counterparts," said John Hill, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. "It is unfortunate that some in the Senate would seek to deprive U.S. consumers of the significant savings, and U.S. truck drivers of the significant new opportunities that the cross-border trucking demonstration project is generating." Dorgan said U.S. citizens want to be sure when they pull up or drive next to an 18-wheeler, the truck and its driver have undergone the same checks and inspections required under U.S. safety rules. But an inspector general's report issued last week said U.S. officials checking Mexican trucks are only examining information made available to them by the carrier, he said.Information concerning vehicle inspections, accident reports, insurance records and driver violations were not available and databases with such information are still in development, the report said. That information is "very probative on whether it is a safe program," Specter said. "We do want to have good relations with Mexico. We do not want to impede legitimate commerce, but safety is a very vital factor and there are good reasons to insist on safety and verification," he said. Dorgan used as a prop an enlarged copy of a news report on a deadly crash in Mexico involving a truck laden with ammonium nitrate. Earlier in a news conference, he acknowledged little was known about the accident. The truck in the accident was not headed to the U.S. and those participating in the pilot program cannot carry hazardous materials. With the vote on Dorgan's proposal falling on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Teamsters President Jim Hoffa said he could not see how any patriotic American could continue allowing Mexican trucks access to U.S. highways. Trucks from Canada and Mexico were to get unrestricted access to U.S. roads in 1995 under the North American Free Trade Agreement. But opposition from labor unions and safety groups delayed access for Mexican trucks. A NAFTA arbitration panel overruled the U.S. in 2001, but lawsuits and lengthy negotiations with the Mexican government led to even more delays. Mexico granted an El Paso, Texas-based carrier's trucks access to Mexico's roads last week in return for the U.S. access.

Vegan Teacher Quits His Job And Files A Child-Endangerment Lawsuit Against School... Because They Serve Milk

An art teacher removed from the classroom for encouraging pupils not to eat meat vowed not to return to Fox River Grove Middle School until it eliminates milk and all other animal products from the lunch menu. Dave Warwak, 44, also said he plans to ask the McHenry County state's attorney to file child-endangerment charges against the school district because the school continues to promote milk and other animal products as part of a healthy diet. Warwak said he was not fired or suspended during a meeting with school officials and representatives of Fox River Grove District 3. But he said he is not returning to class. Of particular concern to him, he said, are posters in the school cafeteria that promote milk. While vegetarians stay away from meat, vegans such as Warwak shun all animal products. "I can't really see working there as long as those milk posters are up and they keep feeding poison to the kids," said Warwak of Williams Bay, Wis., who said he began his vegan lifestyle in January.District 3 Supt. Jacqueline Krause did not return a telephone call seeking comment about her meeting with Warwak. Principal Tim Mahaffy has repeatedly declined to comment. McHenry County State's Atty. Lou Bianchi was cautious when asked about criminal charges against the school district. Warwak has not yet spoken with Bianchi's office. "We will listen to just about anybody," Bianchi said. "It sounds pretty unusual. I'd look at the endangerment statute again. But you have to prove intent. They're just trying to feed kids." Warwak has been a teacher at the McHenry County school for eight years. The district, he said, should be training its teachers about "humane education." Warwak said he asked district officials during the 20-minute meeting whether they would consider making the school menu offerings all vegan but received no reply. They wouldn't answer his questions, he said, so he didn't feel obligated to answer theirs. They called that insubordination, according to Warwak, who said a lawyer was with him during the meeting. "I don't like them making this about me when it's really about them," he said. Warwak said he was asked to leave school last week because he refused to stop discussing animal-cruelty issues with students. He gave his 8th-grade pupils a book, "The Food Revolution," by John Robbins, subtitled, "How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and the World." His efforts have gained praise from animal rights groups. Warwak described himself as a former fishing guide who sold his boat and tackle. "Now I'm spreading the word and trying to help people," he said.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Minnesota Man Upset About 9/11 Memorial

A Minnesota man is upset over a memorial being built for those who died on United Flight 93. Tom Burnett Sr. said the proposed memorial is full of Islamic symbols and does not want his son’s name to be a part of it. His son, Tom Burnett Jr., died aboard flight 93 when it crashed in Pennsylvania. Tom Burnett Sr. said the memorial looks like a giant mosque with Islamic symbols such as a crescent shape around the point of impact that looks similar to the crescents featured on flags of heavily Islamic countries.
The superintendent of the memorial said such claims are based on faulty assumptions. Paul Murdoch, the architect of the memorial, explained in a letter that "the design will continue to develop." Tom Burnett Sr. said the architect has changed the design several times to camouflage the symbols. "I see what I saw in August 2005," he said. "It's still there and it's tainted beyond the point where we can do anything but throw it out and start over." If changes aren't made, Tom Burnett says he will demand that his son's name be taken off of the memorial.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rumsfeld Calls Afghanistan 'Big Succes'

In an interview billed as his first since leaving the top Pentagon post, Donald Rumsfeld calls Afghanistan ``a big success,'' but says U.S. efforts in Iraq are hampered by the failure of Iraq's government to establish a foundation for democracy. ``In Afghanistan, 28 million people are free. They have their own president, they have their own parliament. Improved a lot on the streets,'' Rumsfeld says in the October issue of GQ magazine. While ``that's been a big success,'' he said, the Baghdad regime ``has not been able to ... create an environment hospitable to whatever one wants to call their evolving way of life, a democracy or a representative system, or a freer system. And it's going to take some time and some effort.'' Rumsfeld stepped down as Secretary of Defense in November, a day after congressional elections that cost Republicans control of Congress. Dissatisfaction with his handling of the Iraq war was cited by many as a major element of voter dissatisfaction. Rumsfeld said the Department of Defense and the U.S. military are not responsible for any failures there or in Afghanistan. ``In a very real sense, the American military cannot lose a battle, they cannot lose a war,'' he tells the magazine. ``On the other hand, they can't win the struggle themselves. It requires diplomacy, it requires economic assistance, it requires a range of things that are well beyond the purview of the Department of Defense.''In the interview, conducted at his ranch near Taos, N.M., the 75-year-old spoke at length about his career and offered guarded comments on former colleagues, policy decisions in Iraq and his own forced resignation. When asked if he has any ``regrets'' about the last six years, Rumsfeld replied, ``Well, sure. I mean you'd always wish things were perfect, but they never are.'' He said the refusal of Turkey, a NATO ally, to allow U.S. troops to cross its border into Iraq at the outset of the war, gave would-be insurgents ``free play for a good period of time. I mean, there's a dozen things like that.'' As to what he might have done differently, Rumsfeld says, ``If you do anything, someone's not going to like it, someone's going to be critical of it. So if you're in the business I was in, that goes with the territory.'' Rumsfeld, the nation's youngest U.S. defense secretary in the Ford administration and the oldest under President Bush, also served four terms in Congress, and as ambassador to NATO and numerous other posts. He also said he believes Bush ``is a lot more intelligent and curious than people give him credit for.'' Rumsfeld said he couldn't recall the last time he and the president spoke. Do you miss him? ``Um, no,'' Rumsfeld said.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Rumsfeld To Take Post At Stanford's Hoover Think Tank

Donald H. Rumsfeld, the former U.S. secretary of defense who resigned under fire after directing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be a visiting fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, the research center announced. Rumsfeld will serve on a task force of scholars and experts who will focus on issues pertaining to "ideology and terror," the conservative think tank announced Friday in a press release. "I have asked Don to join the distinguished group of scholars that will pursue new insights on the direction of thinking that the United States might consider going forward," said John Raisian, the institution's director.Rumsfeld resigned in November, a day after congressional elections that cost Republicans control of Congress. Dissatisfaction with his handling of the Iraq war was cited by many as a major element of voter dissatisfaction with Republicans during the last national election. In addition, a number of Republican lawmakers in Congress urged President George W. Bush to dump Rumsfeld. The Hoover Institution, a well-funded Republican think tank, has a long list of former officials on its roster. Former commander of the U.S. Central Command, Retired Army Gen. John Abizaid, is serving as a fellow. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has also stated publicly her desire to return to Stanford in 2009.

Not In My Backyard

Once upon a time, Ted Kennedy could count on his daily dose of veneration. The right wing hated the Massachusetts Democrat, but progressives honored him as a defender of old-school liberalism. In a remarkable turnaround, liberals are now heaping scorn on the 73-year-old senator. Young audiences boo at his name, and the leftish "Daily Show" on Comedy Central makes fun of him. The source of unhappiness is Kennedy's efforts to kill an offshore wind farm on Nantucket Sound. Cape Wind was to be the first such project in the United States and a source of pride to environmentally-minded New Englanders. Polls show 84 percent of Massachusetts residents in favor. But now it appears that America's first offshore wind farm will be near Galveston, Texas. Proposed a month before Sept. 11, 2001, Cape Wind remains in limbo. It's been frustrated at every turn by a handful of yachtsmen, Kennedy included, who don't want to see windmills from their verandas.Many millions have been spent spreading disinformation and smearing the wind farm's supporters. The towers would be at least five miles out and barely visible from shore on the clearest day, but the summer plutocrats resent any intrusion on their waterfront vistas — and, equally, any challenge to the notion that they control everything. "But don't you realize — that's where I sail!" may stand as Kennedy's most self-incriminating quote. The sordid affair is documented in a funny and depressing book titled "Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics and the Battle for Our Energy Future on Nantucket Sound." In it, authors Wendy Williams and Robert Whitcomb (full disclosure: Whitcomb is my editor at The Providence Journal) describe the bipartisan endeavor to betray America's environmental and energy interests — and ignore the welfare of the year-round locals. Kennedy did much of the dirty work in Washington, but he had considerable help. In 2004, Sen. John Warner, the Virginia Republican, added a last-minute rider to an urgent Iraq war-funding bill that forbade the Army Corps of Engineers to spend money permitting offshore wind projects. "Warner was dragging American troops into the Cape Wind war," Williams and Whitcomb noted. The outcry forced him to back down. Why did Warner care so deeply about a wind-energy project in Massachusetts? Some of his wealthy relatives own choice waterfront property on Cape Cod. That's why. Anchorage is 4,600 miles from Boston.
And so what was this project to Rep. Don Young, the Alaska Republican? It was apparently an opportunity to exercise an old grudge against Theodore Roosevelt IV, the 26th president's great-grandson and a wind-farm supporter. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander also took an unusual interest in a venture far from his home state of Tennessee. Complaining that wind farms threaten "the wholesale destruction of the American landscape," Alexander introduced legislation that would have banned virtually all offshore wind projects in America. It turns out that he owns real estate on Nantucket Island. Kennedy, however, remains the central focus of ire. Greenpeace has just launched an anti-Kennedy, pro-Cape Wind television ad campaign. John Bullard, the former mayor of New Bedford and a Democratic stalwart, is loudly condemning the senator. His working-class city is downwind from one of the nation's dirtiest power plants. Cape Wind could help replace it. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers built a wind turbine along an expressway going into Boston and, next to it, a billboard promoting Cape Wind. The project would mean jobs for the Boston local, which runs a training center for wind technology. After 45 years in the Senate, Kennedy should be polishing his liberal legacy. But his manipulative attacks on this wind farm have so sickened supporters that his long career may be headed for a sorry end.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

University Of Minnesota Building Evacuated

The University of Minnesota is evacuating a building after getting a bomb threat. The university was locking down Weaver-Densford Hall after getting a threat it called credible. An e-mail alert says a search is expected to take about three hours. Other university operations were continuing.
Weaver Densford Hall
The university is in the third day of a strike by some unionized workers. The university's police chief, Greg Hestness, said he didn't believe the threat was related to the strike. Weaver-Densford houses the nursing school and the College of Pharmacy.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Alice Cooper Refused Sex With Mae West

Alice Cooper turned down the opportunity to bed late screen star Mae West - because he wasn't sure if the former sex symbol was truly feminine.Cooper - who starred alongside the veteran actress in the movie Sextette in 1978 - reveals West was very keen to romance the then 30-year-old singer and even invited him back to her trailer - an offer the star vehemently refused.He says, "Did she come onto me? You bet she did. We ended one of our scenes and Mae whispered to me, 'Why don't you come on back to my trailer?' I said, 'Because you're 86-years-old and I'm not sure if you're a woman or not!'"West died in 1980, aged 87.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Drudge To Leave Radio

WLW-AM/Cincinnati early afternoon host Bill "Willie" Cunningham will replace Internet journalist Matt Drudge on Clear Channel co-owned Premiere Radio Networks beginning October 7. "Live on Sunday Night with Bill Cunningham" will be heard Sunday nights from 9pm-midnight on some 325 affiliates. Premiere says Drudge is quitting radio to focus on his web site and other endeavors."This is a confirmation of 24 years of work," commented Cunningham, 59, an attorney who has been a WLW talk host since 1983. "I feel it's a compliment to this market. Premiere could have chosen any talk show host not heard nationally, and they chose me." In Cincinnati, Cunningham, a 2001 Marconi Award winner, is one of the few local talk hosts who beats out Rush Limbaugh going head-to-head. Limbaugh is also syndicated by Premiere.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mexico's President Protests U.S. Crackdown On Illegal Invaders

Mexican President Felipe Calderon accused the United States on of stepping up persecution of illegal Mexican workers with a crackdown on lawbreaking immigrants. The Bush administration is increasing scrutiny and imposing heftier fines on U.S. businesses that employ illegal workers, after deporting a record number of illegal immigrants in 2006. "I want to express again an energetic protest at the unilateral measures taken by the U.S. Congress and government which exacerbate the persecution and abusive treatment of undocumented Mexican workers," Calderon said in his state of the union speech. Mexico was deeply disappointed at the U.S. Congress' failure to pass a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws in June despite heavy lobbying by the Bush administration. It is also upset at the United States for building a security fence on parts of the border to keep illegal immigrants out. "The Mexican government will continue to insist firmly ... on the need for an integral immigration reform and the categorical rejection of the building of a wall on our common border," Calderon said to raucous applause.
Mexico's President Felipe Calderon
U.S. employers who ignore immigration laws will face an increased likelihood of criminal charges and 25 percent higher penalties. The new enforcement effort, announced in August, could create headaches for U.S. farms, restaurants, construction companies and other businesses that rely on low-skilled immigrant workers. Some 12 million illegal immigrants live in the shadows in the United States. Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents deported 183,431 people amid stepped up raids on workplaces and homes nationwide. Calderon, a conservative, last week met Elvira Arellano, 32, an undocumented Mexican who became famous among pro-immigration activists for defying deportation orders and claiming sanctuary in a Chicago church for a year. In a meeting in his Los Pinos residence, he promised to help Arellano obtain a visa for the United States. Calderon, who took office last December, had to give his annual state of the nation speech to ministers, business leaders and other dignitaries on Sunday after canceling plans to deliver it in Congress on Saturday because of protests by leftist lawmakers.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Philippine Government Rejects Call To End Offensive

The Philippines government has rejected an appeal from Roman Catholic bishops to end an offensive against Al Qaeda-linked militants that has displaced thousands of people in the south of the country. Defence secretary Gilberto Teodoro says stopping the offensive against Abu Sayyaf militants on the southern island of Basilan will only lead to further terrorist attacks. He says combat operations in Basilan are planned to prevent damage to the local villages and people.The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has called on the government to stop the fighting and allow families to resume their daily lives. They say the military should also respect the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in the mainly Muslim island of Basilan. The Defence Secretary says halting military operations will mean surrendering the state to terrorism and will belittle the sacrifices made by the troops.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Lebanese Premier Declares Victory Against Islamists

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora declared victory after the army seized control of a devastated refugee camp where diehard Islamists had been besieged for more than three months. "You (the army) have achieved at Nahr al-Bared the country's biggest victory over terrorists," Siniora said in a televised address to the nation.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora
He pledged that the Lebanese government would rebuild Nahr al-Bared but said that the camp would be placed under the authority of the state and "only the Lebanese state." Siniora spoke after Lebanese troops seized control of the devastated camp they had besieged since May 20.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Where Do You Stand In The Political Spectrum

On Non-Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Conservative (83).
On Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Conservative (86).
Click above to take the Political Spectrum Exam

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Egyptian Students Face Explosives Indictment

Two Egyptian students at the University of South Florida were indicted on charges of carrying explosive materials across states lines and one was accused of teaching the other how to use them for violent reasons. Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, 24, an engineering graduate student and teaching assistant at the Tampa-based university, faces terrorism charges for teaching and demonstrating how to use the explosives. He and Youssef Samir Megahed, 21, an engineering student, were stopped for speeding Aug. 4 in Goose Creek, S.C., where they have been held on state charges. The two men were stopped with pipe bombs in their car near a Navy base in South Carolina where enemy combatants have been held. They were held on state charges while the FBI continued to investigate whether there was a terrorism link. Mohamed was charged with distributing information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction, which is a terrorism-related statute, a Justice Department official said. The crime carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.He and Megahed both face with charges of transporting explosives in interstate commerce without permits, which carries a 10-year prison penalty. Their defense attorney, Andy Savage, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The indictment was handed up in Tampa, Fla. In South Carolina, where Mohamed and Megahed have been held in the Berkeley County jail, U.S. Attorney Reginald I. Lloyd praised state and federal authorities for cooperating in the four-week investigation that initially did not look like a terrorism case. "The arresting deputy's vigilance and the immediate response of our local investigators and prosecutors are highly commendable," Lloyd said in a statement. Since the Aug. 4 arrest, authorities sought to determine whether Mohamed and Megahed were fledgling terrorists or merely college students headed to the beach with devices made from fireworks they bought at Wal-Mart in their car, as they claimed. The local sheriff in South Carolina said the explosives were "other than fireworks." The charges follow several searches in Tampa, including of a storage facility and a park where the explosives might have been tested, authorities said. Both Mohamed and Megahed are in the county legally on student visas, officials said.