Friday, August 22, 2008

Man Charged For Smuggling Illegal Immigrants Through Duluth

A man faces 10 years in jail for smuggling two illegal immigrants into the United States. Marek Jerzy Struzik was charged Thursday with one count of alien smuggling Wednesday. The 31-year-old Polish national was helping two men, from Poland and Slovakia, walk across the Pigeon River from Canada to the Grand Portage State Park earlier this month. He went back to retrieve his vehicle, and was supposed to pick the men up in Grand Portage State Park, however he was arrested at the Grand Marais Border Patrol Station.During his arrest, Struzik told police officers that he was contacted by a Polish man who offered him $2,500 to smuggle the two people into the United States from Canada. The man allegedly paid for Struzik to fly into New York City and eventually to Duluth. On July 25, Struzik took a bus to Thunder Bay, Ontario, and was then instructed to fly to Toronto. He picked up the two men at the airport, drove back to Thunder Bay, and received instructions on how to smuggle the men into the U.S. Struzik's case is being investigated by United States Border Patrol.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Half Of House Dems May Vote Hillary At DNC

Rep. Loretta Sanchez says she’s happy for the chance to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Democratic National Convention — and she predicts that as many as half of the Democrats in the House could join her. Just how many former Clinton supporters will vote for the former first lady during the symbolic first ballot is anybody’s guess, but each of them will be called upon to do so — whether they want to or not. On Friday, the Obama campaign confirmed that the floor vote in Denver, intended to assuage Clinton supporters still stewing over her narrow loss, will be conducted as a state-by-state roll call. Under proposed convention bylaws, delegates would be forced to register their votes on a tally sheet with the convention secretary — the rules could be altered or suspended before the start of the convention. “By putting her name in nomination, you're putting people on the spot,” said former delegate counter Matt Seyfang, adding a second potential drawback: “Having a roll call ... just chews into your broadcast time.” Lower-key options were available. For example, Clinton’s name could have been entered into nomination, followed by laudatory speeches, ending with her release of delegates to Obama and proposal that he be nomination by acclamation, Seyfang said. Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the “mechanics” of the roll call vote are still being worked out, but he conceded that Clinton probably will garner many votes on the first ballot. For Obama’s camp, the roll call is a ritual that will defuse any potential tension with Clinton or her supporters without affecting the outcome or the theater of Obama’s dramatic nomination. Said Sanchez: “I believe there are a lot of supporters for Hillary among the superdelegates, especially now that they’ve agreed to place her name in nomination. I think half the House Democrats would probably be Hillary supporters, especially women. ... I felt she was the most experienced and the best candidate and I still feel that way.”Clinton herself has said she plans to vote for Obama. A longtime Clinton adviser said it was “crazy” to guess at numbers but estimated that the former first lady would garner between 600 and 1,200 delegates — considerably short of the approximately 1,800 she had collected at the time of her departure from the race in early June. “It’s a bizarre strategy,” said one Democratic strategist of the roll call. “It could backfire and show that her influence is waning. Chances are, she’s not going to have as many delegates vote for her on the floor as she had in the primary.” Indeed, many Hillary diehards, including at least one member of the New York delegation, are reluctant to vote for Clinton after switching over to Obama. “I think that most superdelegates, including myself, are going for Obama,” said New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, who campaigned with Clinton around the country. “I made my decision for Obama, and I’m not switching again.” Other onetime Clinton backers are reluctant to reverse course for fear of angering their black constituents. “My boss is totally conflicted about it — and pissed Hillary is putting us in this position,” said a congressional staffer for another New York House member. “We still haven’t made up our mind and I don’t know when we are going to.” Another New York delegate, speaking on condition of anonymity, predicted that as much as 30 percent to 40 percent of the New York delegation would pick Clinton over Obama during the symbolic vote. Obama’s decision to accept a roll call vote, which came after weeks of talks with the Clinton camp, doesn’t mean he’ll let the process get out of hand, observers say. “The convention is about nominating Barack, so his people want to speed through the vote as fast as possible so it won’t take too much TV time,” said a Democratic delegate who plans to vote for Clinton. “They also want to avoid a scenario where she’s leading at any point.”

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Franken Refuses To Debate A Girl

Priscilla Lord Faris wants to be taken seriously as a DFL candidate for the U.S. Senate seat. While she’s running television ads and traveling the state, there's one traditional campaign event she hasn't been able to do so far—debate her opponent. DFL-endorsed Al Franken won the party’s backing in June. As far as he's concerned, Republican Norm Coleman is his opponent. So he won't agree to any pre-primary debates with Lord Faris or anyone else. "I'm the endorsed candidate of this party.
Priscilla Lord Faris
We went through a long process and I was very proud to receive the endorsement on the first ballot and receive it by acclamation," said Franken. Franken said he debated his DFL opponents for the party endorsement multiple times, and doesn’t plan to Lord Faris or any other DFL candidate running in the primary. "I did 17 debates during the primary, caucus season up to the convention. I’m not going to debate her. I’m not going to debate Dick Franzen. I’m not going to debate Ole Saviour," Franken explained.
Al Franken
Lord Faris said she assumes Franken is being advised by campaign strategists not to debate her. But that won't stop her from conducting a "mock" debate."That's fine. He can follow their advice. But I’ll use some other unique ways to debate him and they'll be fun and I’m going to have fun at this," Lord Faris said. Political science professor Larry Jacobs said denying Lord Faris a publicity opportunity is smart strategy. "It might well irritate Minnesota voters who would like to see them match up. But from a political strategy point of view, it's the only way for Franken to go," Jacobs said.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Burger King Bubble Bath

Burger King Corp. said Tuesday it has parted ways with an employee who was recorded taking a soapy bath in the restaurant's utility sink. The nearly four-minute video, which was posted Thursday on, shows the unidentified employee taking the bath to celebrate his birthday. The worker, who refers to himself as "Mr. Unstable," appears to be naked. Burger King spokeswoman Denise Wilson said two employees involved in the incident were fired and another quit. She declined to identify the employees or say whether the man who took the bath quit or was fired.The sink is used to clean large pieces of equipment, said Greene Health Commissioner Mark McDonnell. Bacteria or viruses on the skin could have potentially contaminated equipment, but there have been no reports of any customers becoming ill. McDonnell said he dispatched an inspector to the restaurant, but at that point the restaurant had sterilized the sink. Miami-based Burger King, the nation's No. 2 hamburger chain, said in a statement that it also disposed of all kitchen tools and utensils used in the incident and is retraining the staff in health and sanitation procedures. Xenia is about 15 miles east of Dayton.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Al Franken Event: One Person Shows

What if a political candidate scheduled a campaign appearance and no one showed up? Democratic senatorial hopeful Al Franken came within one person of finding out in St. Cloud, Minn. Only one soul turned out for a “roundtable” on veterans’ issues Friday at Brigitte’s Café in the city northwest of Minneapolis. Josh John, a St. Cloud resident who said he served in the Navy from 2000 to 2004, had the former “Saturday Night Live” comedian all to himself for an hour, the St. Cloud Times reported.In his one-on-one chat, Franken — who seeks to unseat incumbent Republican Norm Coleman — discussed his proposal to expand veterans’ benefits, decried what he called a lack of leadership from Coleman, and touted veterans-friendly legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress. “Everyone’s running around saying Congress never gets anything done,” he said. “But despite 90 filibuster threats by Senate Republicans, it took Democrats to get the new G.I. Bill passed and to finally fully fund V.A. healthcare.” Coleman’s campaign spokesman Luke Friedrich responded: “Norm has been a champion for veterans throughout his time in office and Al Franken’s dishonest, negative attacks cannot change that fact.”

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Third-Party Candidates Try For Ballot Spots In Most States

Bob Barr and Ralph Nader, the best-known third-party presidential candidates, are on their way to getting onto most state ballots. Barr, a former Republican congressman who is the Libertarian Party nominee, is on 34 ballots and hopes to be on 48 by Election Day, party spokesman Andrew Davis said. Nader, the longtime consumer advocate running as an independent, has submitted petitions to be on 23 ballots. He said Wednesday he hopes to be on at least 45 state ballots before Nov. 4. Getting onto state ballots has long been an issue for third-party candidates. Republicans and Democrats are routinely on the ballot, but third-party candidates have to meet requirements such as submitting petitions of voters. "Ballot access is one of the unknown evils of the American electoral process," Davis said. Nader spokesman Chris Driscoll said Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma and Indiana pose challenges. They include the number of signatures required on petitions, upcoming deadlines and certification requirements.
Third party presidential candidates Bob Barr and Ralph Nader fight ballot access in push to November election.
Davis said it's hardest to get on the ballot in West Virginia and Oklahoma. Barr's campaign manager, Russell Verney, is no stranger to the ballot challenges. He was a top aide in the 1992 and '96 campaigns of Texas billionaire Ross Perot, whose fortune made it easier to hire people to collect voter signatures in all 50 states. Nader said he is running because Barack Obama and John McCain have been "deficient" on "any aggressive crackdown on corporate crime, fraud and abuse." He said neither major party wants to scale back the "huge, bloated military budget." "The country is essentially paralyzed," he said. "It can't respond to problems." Barr could not be reached for comment. He has said he is running to curb big government. Barr has criticized the Iraq war and called the U.S. presence there an "occupation." He lauded the recent Supreme Court decision declaring gun ownership a personal constitutional right. "There can't be change by electing a Republican or a Democrat," Verney said.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wish He Was An American

Prime Minister John Howard - Australia Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia , as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks. Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques. Quote: 'IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.' 'This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom' 'We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society . Learn the language!''Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.' 'We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.' 'This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.' 'If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.'Maybe if we circulate this amongst ourselves, American citizens will find the backbone to start speaking and voicing the same truths.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Governor Pawlenty Criticizes Obama On Oil Drilling

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he doubts that Barack Obama would support offshore oil drilling as part of a compromise on a comprehensive energy policy. Pawlenty was responding to Obama's statement on Friday that he would support offshore drilling if it were the key to an energy policy compromise. He says the Democratic presidential hopeful has placed so many contingencies on the issue that he questions whether he would do it at all. Energy policy, particularly offshore drilling, has become a focal point of the campaign.Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain has supported offshore drilling, while Obama says it would do nothing to lower gas prices. Pawlenty further criticized Obama, saying there is not one issue of national prominence where he has led the country. He said a vote for Obama "is the political equivalent of bungee jumping." Pawlenty, who's been mentioned as a prospective running mate for McCain, says he doesn't discuss the vice presidential possibilties because it becomes a distraction.