Monday, April 27, 2009

Technical Problems

This blog will be out of commission for the next few days due to technical problems. We hope to be up and running by Thursday or Friday. Please accept our apologies.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Alabama House Resolution Honors Miss California For Opposing Gay Marriage

The Alabama House has approved a resolution that praises Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean for speaking out against gay marriage. The House approved the resolution Thursday by Republican Rep. Jay Love of Montgomery on a voice vote. Prejean was competing as Miss California and finished second after answering a question from judge Perez Hilton concerning gay marriage during Sunday night's televised pageant. She said she felt marriage should be between a man and a woman.Love said Prejean stuck to her convictions even if it meant losing the pageant. Love said he has received a number of e-mails and phone calls from across the country since introducing the resolution. He said more than half of those disagreed with the resolution.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Confront Obama Admin Over $100 Million

Reporters questioned Press Secretary Robert Gibbs why the Obama administration was making a large deal over saving $100 million in his proposed budget when the administration pooh-poohed $8 billion in an appropriations bill several weeks ago.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ex-CIA Director: Obama Compromised National Security With Memo Release

A former head of the Central Intelligence Agency insisted Sunday that harsh interrogation techniques widely condemned as torture had succeeded in battling Al-Qaeda and saving American lives, something he characterized as "an inconvenient truth." Michael Hayden, who was replaced as CIA chief earlier this year by President Barack Obama, assailed Obama's decision last week to release "Top Secret" memos detailing the interrogation techniques as "really dangerous" for US intelligence efforts. "What we have described for our enemies in the midst of a war are the outer limits that any American would ever go to in terms of interrogating an Al-Qaeda terrorist. That's very valuable information. By taking [certain] techniques off the table, we have made it more difficult -- in a whole host of circumstances I can imagine -- for CIA officers to defend the nation." Speaking on the "Fox News Sunday" program, Hayden rejected claims by critics that methods like extreme sleep deprivation, waterboarding and the use of insects to provoke fear had proved ineffective in getting information from top members of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. "Most of the people who oppose these techniques want to be able to say: 'I don't want my nation doing this' -- which is a pure honorable position -- and 'they didn't work anyway'," Hayden said. "The facts of the case are that the use of these techniques against these terrorists made us safer, it really did," Hayden said. "It's what I'd call, without meaning any irreverence to anybody, 'a really inconvenient truth.'" Hayden specifically rejected a weekend report in The New York Times citing CIA officials saying that waterboarding and beating of a top Al-Qaeda operative, Abu Zubaydah, yielded no more information than softer interrogation techniques. "We stand by our story. The critical information we got from Abu Zubaydah came after we began the EIT's, enhanced interrogation techniques," he said.Hayden said Abu Zubaydah had "clammed up" after providing some "nominal information" under initial questioning. But under harsher interrogation he "gave up more valuable information," including tips that led to the capture of another senior Al-Qaeda agent, Ramzi Binalshibh, he said. Hayden also dismissed Obama's controversial promise not to seek prosecution of CIA agents or former officials under President George W. Bush who authorized or carried out the harsh techniques the government now condemns. "Oh, God no, it's not the end of it," Hayden said, warning of possible civil lawsuits or congressional probes targetting CIA agents who relied on the Bush-era memos to carry out harsh interrogations. "There will be more revelations. There will be more commissions. There will be more investigations," he said. "And this to an agency, again I'll repeat, that is at war and is on the front lines of defending America." Hayden also said Obama's own CIA director, Leon Panetta, as well as three other former CIA chiefs had warned the White House against releasing of the memos outlining US interrogation techniques. "At the tactical level, what we have described for our enemies in the midst of a war are the outer limits that any American would ever go to in terms of interrogating an Al-Qaeda terrorist. That's very valuable information," he said. Janet Napolitano, Obama's homeland security minister, defended the decision. "When you look at the great public need for accountability and responsibility and transparency here, and when you look at our desire to close the book on this regrettable chapter and move the country forward, it was imperative, really, that the reports be released," she said on CNN.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Franken Owes Over $1.3 Million For Recount

Failed Radio Host Al Franken, leading Republican Norm Coleman by 312 votes in the still-unresolved U.S. Senate race, was also nearly a million dollars in hock to his main recount lawyers at the end of March, according to federal election reports released Friday. Federal Election Commission reports show that Franken and Coleman have spent roughly $6 million each on the recount and the election trial that followed, though Coleman lists no debts or obligations. Of the $1.3 million in debt listed by the Franken campaign, $926,839 is owed to Perkins Coie, the law firm of recount attorneys Marc Elias and Kevin Hamilton. Perkins Coie clients have included many Democrats in Congress, as well as the Democratic National Committee and the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John Kerry. The Seattle-based firm also represented Washington Gov.Christine Gregoire in her protracted 2004 recount battle with Republican Dino Rossi, a legal smackdown that many political analysts compare to the Minnesota Senate race. The firm is also noted for its representation of Salim Hamdan, whose case as the alleged driver and bodyguard of Osama bin Laden led the U.S. Supreme Court to declare the Bush administration's military commissions unconstitutional. The rest of Franken's current legal debt is owed to two Minneapolis firms. His campaign owes $320,466 to Fredrickson & Byron, which includes recount attorney David Lillehaug, and $72,233 to the political fund of Lockridge Grindal Nauen, whose lobbying clients include many Minnesota cities and counties. Heading into Coleman's appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, Franken listed $483,731 in cash on hand, compared with $469,563 for Coleman.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Israel Stands Ready To Bomb Iran's Nuclear Sites

The Israeli military is preparing itself to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran's nuclear facilities within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government. Among the steps taken to ready Israeli forces for what would be a risky raid requiring pinpoint aerial strikes are the acquisition of three Airborne Warning and Control (AWAC) aircraft and regional missions to simulate the attack. Two nationwide civil defence drills will help to prepare the public for the retaliation that Israel could face. “Israel wants to know that if its forces were given the green light they could strike at Iran in a matter of days, even hours. They are making preparations on every level for this eventuality. The message to Iran is that the threat is not just words,” one senior defence official told reporters. Officials believe that Israel could be required to hit more than a dozen targets, including moving convoys. The sites include Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges produce enriched uranium; Esfahan, where 250 tonnes of gas is stored in tunnels; and Arak, where a heavy water reactor produces plutonium. The distance from Israel to at least one of the sites is more than 870 miles, a distance that the Israeli force practised covering in a training exercise last year that involved F15 and F16 jets, helicopters and refuelling tankers. The possible Israeli strike on Iran has drawn comparisons to its attack on the Osirak nuclear facility near Baghdad in 1981. That strike, which destroyed the facility in under 100 seconds, was completed without Israeli losses and checked Iraqi ambitions for a nuclear weapons programme. “We would not make the threat [against Iran] without the force to back it. There has been a recent move, a number of on-the-ground preparations, that indicate Israel's willingness to act,” said another official from Israel's intelligence community. He added that it was unlikely that Israel would carry out the attack without receiving at least tacit approval from America, which has struck a more reconciliatory tone in dealing with Iran under its new administration.An Israeli attack on Iran would entail flying over Jordanian and Iraqi airspace, where US forces have a strong presence. Ephraim Kam, the deputy director of the Institute for National Security Studies, said it was unlikely that the Americans would approve an attack. “The American defence establishment is unsure that the operation will be successful. And the results of the operation would only delay Iran's programme by two to four years,” he said. A visit by President Obama to Israel in June is expected to coincide with the national elections in Iran — timing that would allow the US Administration to re-evaluate diplomatic resolutions with Iran before hearing the Israeli position. “Many of the leaks or statements made by Israeli leaders and military commanders are meant for deterrence. The message is that if [the international community] is unable to solve the problem they need to take into account that we will solve it our way,” Mr Kam said. Among recent preparations by the airforce was the Israeli attack of a weapons convoy in Sudan bound for militants in the Gaza Strip. “Sudan was practice for the Israeli forces on a long-range attack,” Ronen Bergman, the author of The Secret War with Iran, said. “They wanted to see how they handled the transfer of information, hitting a moving target ... In that sense it was a rehearsal.” Israel has made public its intention to hold the largest-ever nationwide drill next month. Colonel Hilik Sofer told Haaretz, a daily Israeli newspaper, that the drill would “train for a reality in which during war missiles can fall on any part of the country without warning ... We want the citizens to understand that war can happen tomorrow morning”. Israel will conduct an exercise with US forces to test the ability of Arrow, its US-funded missile defence system. The exercise would test whether the system could intercept missiles launched at Israel. “Israel has made it clear that it will not tolerate the threat of a nuclear Iran. According to Israeli Intelligence they will have the bomb within two years ... Once they have a bomb it will be too late, and Israel will have no choice to strike — with or without America,” an official from the Israeli Defence Ministry said.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Obama Admin Asked School To Cover Up Christian Symbols

Georgetown University says it covered over the monogram “IHS” — symbolizing the name of Jesus Christ — because it was inscribed on a pediment on the stage where President Obama spoke at the university on Tuesday and the White House had asked Georgetown to cover up all signs and symbols there.... “In coordinating the logistical arrangements for yesterday’s event, Georgetown honored the White House staff’s request to cover all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols behind Gaston Hall stage,” Julie Green Bataille, associate vice president for communications at Georgetown, told reporters.“The White House wanted a simple backdrop of flags and pipe and drape for the speech, consistent with what they’ve done for other policy speeches,” she added. “Frankly, the pipe and drape wasn’t high enough by itself to fully cover the IHS and cross above the GU seal and it seemed most respectful to have them covered so as not to be seen out of context.”

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thousands Hold Tea Parties At Capitol On Tax Day

Minnesota lawmakers are facing two deadlines that will be at the center of the budget showdown. While they're talking money inside, thousands of people are gathering outside the Capitol for tea party protests. The rallies are being held to mark the day federal income tax returns are due, in hopes of getting their message against rising federal government spending heard. The tax protesters know they've got a tough battle head of them, with the state facing a $4.6 billion budget deficit. Democrats who dominate the House and Senate are almost certain to pass huge tax increases but that's not going over well with some Minnesotans. Both the House and Senate have set targets for the amount of revenue they want to raise. The Senate: $2 billion; the House: $1.5 billion. The primary targets are expected to be income and sales taxes. Earlier Wednesday, there was a much smaller counter-demonstration promoting higher taxes on the wealthy Minnesotans.And inside the Capitol, another group pitched their message of what good things tax money is used for. Senate Tax Committee Chair Tom Bakk, DFL, is aware of the protests, but he says the state can't balance the budget with spending cuts alone. "People don't want to take the criticism, but I think where we find ourselves is because of the economy the state's revenues are down significantly," Bakk explained. Most of the protesters say they believe the budget can be balanced without raising taxes. While they know they have Gov. Tim Pawlenty on their side, they're worried he might not win a veto battle with the democratically controlled legislature. Rallies were held in 16 cities, including Austin, Bemidji, Brainerd, Duluth, Fairmont, Mankato, Milaca, North Branch, Rochester, St. Cloud, and Owatonna. The largest was in St. Paul at the Capitol, where thousands of people gathered on the front lawn.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Coleman To Appeal Senate Ruling

Dealt a stinging election trial loss, Republican Norm Coleman must overcome some daunting challenges to find his way back to the U.S. Senate. He'll have to convince Minnesota's Supreme Court that three veteran trial judges botched his lawsuit challenging Democrat Al Franken's lead - now at 312 votes - and hope justices order more rejected absentee ballots counted. Then, Coleman needs those ballots to break disproportionately for him to vault him past Franken. The race has now dragged through a statewide recount and a trial that formally ended Monday. In an interview Tuesday, Coleman said his lawyers would finalize the appeal notice this weekend and file it next week, which would be near the end of a 10-day window. Coleman told reporters he worries about the public's patience, but said his case merits a deeper look. "This isn't about me. And it shouldn't even be about Al Franken," Coleman said. "It is about the rights of Minnesotans to have votes counted so that when all is said and done whoever is elected can have the confidence of the people that they got the most legally cast votes." The public's fatigue with a race that's lingered more than five months past Election Day is apparent. Julie Remington, a stay-at-home mom, voted for Franken but says she would have accepted a victory by either man. She said Coleman's had plenty of time to make his case. "At some point, you move on," said Remington, 45, of St. Paul. "This was an established process. It's not a random, careless approach." Public relations worker Jeanette Reinerston, 34, fears her state is becoming a laughingstock over the race. But Reinerston, a Republican from St. Michael, thinks Coleman is right to argue for even treatment of absentee ballots - the crux of his upcoming appeal. "To me, a ballot is a ballot. Don't treat different counties differently," she said. "That's not legitimate." Even as the race plays out in the courts, both sides are still working the court of public opinion. Franken and his fellow Democrats are pressuring Coleman to concede, while the former senator went on a media blitz this week to say he's justified in pressing ahead. The Democratic National Committee said Tuesday it will begin running a radio ad in the Twin Cities calling on Coleman to concede. "Enough is enough," the ad says. "Tell Norm Coleman to stop putting his political ambition ahead of what's right for Minnesota." In its ruling Monday, a special three-judge panel summarily rejected Coleman's claim that counting flaws cost him re-election. His chief argument was that thousands of absentee ballots that didn't get counted should have been, a violation of the standard of equal protection."Equal protection, however, cannot be interpreted as raising every error in an election to the level of a constitutional violation," the judges wrote in their 56-page ruling. "Although not ideal, errors occur in every election." Coleman said 4,400 absentee ballots from Republican-leaning areas were held to a higher threshold than those counted in other places. "We're not talking about counting a vote for somebody who's dead. We're not talking about counting a ballot for somebody who voted before. We're not talking about counting a vote for somebody who's not registered," he told reporters. Franken attorney Marc Elias said the Coleman team missed its chance to get more ballots in. "They had seven weeks to put on their evidence to support those ballots and they simply failed to do so," Elias said. Election law experts described the unanimous trial court ruling as thorough and thoughtful - and said the odds were long that Coleman would overturn it. "The court has done a pretty good job of doing its best to craft a reversal-proof opinion," said Raleigh Levine, a professor at William Mitchell College of Law. "Although Coleman is saying he is going to appeal to the state Supreme Court and has a right to do that, it's pretty dubious that there would be any different result." Ohio State University election law scholar Edward Foley said Coleman has multiple obstacles to clear. "Even if Coleman were to prevail on the legal equal protection argument, which seems a long shot, that of course doesn't guarantee him a certificate of election," Foley said. "There's a gap between winning his legal theory as applied to the facts here and then having that yield enough votes for him to overcome Franken's margin." But Franken has a problem of his own. He can't take the seat until he receives an election certificate signed by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. The document is on hold pending the state appeal, and Pawlenty has been fuzzy about his plans once the state Supreme Court weighs in. He said a federal court case could produce more delays. "I'm not saying I'm going to decline to issue the certificate," Pawlenty told reporters Tuesday. "I'm just saying we'll make that decision when we get to that point." Once Coleman files his notice of appeal, the high court will give the sides more time to submit written arguments. The chances of a court hearing before May are remote. But Minnesota justices have moved quickly in deciding past election cases. Levine expects expediency - to a point. "The state Supreme Court is going to think about on the one hand the need to get this matter resolved and the need to get somebody in that seat for the sake of Minnesota's voters against the need to really consider these potentially very serious issues carefully and thoughtfully," she said.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mexico Mucho Angry at Burger King

Mexico is protesting what it says is a whopper of an insult. An advertisement for Burger King's chili-flavored "Texican" burger that has run in Europe shows a small wrestler dressed in a cape resembling a Mexican flag. The wrestler teams up with a lanky American cowboy twice his height to illustrate the cross-border blend of flavors. "The taste of Texas with a little spicy Mexican," a narrator's voice says. The much-taller cowboy boosts the wrestler up to reach high shelves and clean tall windows, while the Mexican helps the cowboy open a jar. Mexico's ambassador to Spain said Monday he has written a letter to Burger King's offices in that nation objecting to the ad and asking that it be removed. Jorge Zermeno told Radio Formula that the ads "improperly use the stereotyped image of a Mexican." Press officials at Burger King Corp. offices in Miami, Florida, and Madrid, Spain, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Burger King is known for its signature Whopper hamburger.
One of the things that most angered Mexican officials was a print edition of the ad showing the wrestler wearing what appear to be a Mexican flag as a cloak. "We have to tell these people that in Mexico we have a great deal of respect for our flag," Zermeno said. Mexico has very strict rules about using the flag. In 2008, the government fined a foreign-owned publishing house, Random House Mondadori SA, for showing disrespect to the country's flag in a video posted online. The video showed a literature fan wearing a Mexican flag like a cape as he barges into a book signing and rips a piece of cloth from the coat of Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. It is not the first time that fast-food outlets have offended Mexican sensibilities. Mexicans and other Hispanics in the United States objected to a Taco Bell ad from the 1990s that featured a pint-sized talking Chihuahua that spoke with a Mexican accent.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pawlenty Blasts Obama's Bloated Budget

A possible White House contender in 2012 said in the GOP's Saturday address that President Barack Obama and the Democrats who run Congress should lower taxes and hold down spending. "Let hardworking American families keep more of what they earn by cutting taxes and reining in spending," said Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn. "It's just common sense." He said Democratic president's budget will require higher taxes and unfairly loads debt onto future generations. Pawlenty also said Obama has talked about tax relief, but his budget suggests he'll be raising taxes. "I thought President Obama's proposal to eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses was a pretty good idea. And his pledge to lower taxes for middle-class Americans was something Republicans wholeheartedly supported," Pawlenty said. "But the budget that Congress is considering doesn't provide that tax relief."Pawlenty said the administration is not eliminating capital gains taxes for small businesses immediately so they can create jobs now but "keeps those taxes high until after Obama's term in office." "The federal government should keep a lid on taxes, control government spending and borrow less _ rather than increase the size and scope of the federal government so much that Washington is guaranteeing future tax increases," Pawlenty said, referring to Obama's $3.6 trillion budget proposal. Obama's Democratic allies in Congress have embraced providing health care to the uninsured, boosting education and promoting clean energy. But they've had differing views on how to find billions of dollars to finance the president's agenda without further exploding the deficit. Pawlenty said his anti-tax message would be welcomed with the approach of the April 15 tax deadline.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Obama Brother Accused Of UK Sex Assault

Barack Obama's half brother was refused a visa to enter the UK after being accused of an attempted sex attack on a young girl in Berkshire. Kenya-based Samson Obama tried to get into Britain on his way to Washington for his family's big day, the historic inauguration in January. But eagle-eyed immigration officials at East Midlands Airport, using the latest biometric tests, discovered he was linked to an incident here last November. The hi-tech database revealed that Samson - who manages a mobile phone shop just outside Nairobi - was the same man arrested by British police after he approached a group of young girls, including a 13 year-old, and allegedly tried to sexually assault one of them. He then followed them into a cafe where he became aggressive and was asked to leave by the owner. That's when police were called and Samson was arrested. He supplied officers with his mother's address in Bracknell but gave them a false ID, claiming to be Henry Aloo, a genuine asylum seeker. Mum Kezia, 67, has lived in Bracknell for six years. She married the US president's father Barack Obama Snr in Kenya when she was a teenager. Following Samson's arrest he was fingerprinted but not charged, then left the country. However, all his details were stored on the Home Office's new database of prints and biometric details. And that's what finally pinpointed Samson's link to the world's most powerful leader - as he tried to slip back into Britain to visit relatives en route to the swearing-in ceremony. The White House was informed and a Home Office source told the News of the World: "This was obviously an extremely sensitive issue when it was flashed up by the database. "But the system is designed to flag up people who have come to the attention of the police in the UK and are then trying to return."
Barack Obama With Brother Samson Obama
It is thought that Samson - one of the President's 11 half brothers and sisters by his father who had four partners - managed to travel on to Washington by boarding a connecting flight to the US from East Midlands. He was able to do so despite not having a UK visa because he remained in transit and never left the airport. A stewardess from nearby Nottingham told her local newspaper how she met him on his flight to America. Dawn Stewart, of Sherwood, described how Samson told her his nickname was Abo and said he was on his way to the US capital for the presidential swearing-in. She recalled: "I asked him how he feels being the brother of the next president and he said, 'I can't tell you the depth of excitement we feel.' "I asked what Barack was like as a teenager and he said he was always charismatic and calm." The flight attendant said Samson claimed he had never travelled before and proudly showed her a headed letter from his half-brother requesting his three-week visa to the USA. Last night a Home Office spokesman confirmed Samson Obama was refused a visa after immigration officers noticed one of the documents he supplied with his visa application was false. That led to further inquiries. A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "We consider all visa applications based on their merits. We will oppose the entry of individuals to the UK where we believe their presence is not conducive to the public good. "The UK's border controls are among the toughest in the world. All visa applicants are fingerprinted and checked against watchlists. Using this hi-tech system we have detected more than 5,600 attempts to use false identities since December 2007. "Our officers in 135 countries are working with law enforcement agencies and airlines to clamp down on forged passports and visas."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Bush Administration Had Issued Plan for Pirates In December

In the waning days of the Bush administration, the National Security Council issued a detailed yet little-noticed plan for combating piracy off the coast of Somalia. The 14-page blueprint, issued in December, committed the U.S. government and its military to securing the sea lanes of the Gulf of Aden -- through which, the plan noted, nearly 12% of the world's oil is transported -- and laid out more than a dozen specific policy initiatives that the White House would take to make sure Somali pirates did not choke off the world's commercial shipping. But the vast majority of the tasks laid out in the plan either were aimed at making sure pirates never reached commercial vessels -- encouraging ships to travel at night, increasing intelligence sharing, destroying vessels that appear outfitted for piracy -- or ensuring that there were consequences for pirates that were ultimately caught. It was nearly silent, however, on what to do if a ship is taken by pirates and crew members are held captive. And what little guidance it provided was vague. U.S. naval forces were given authority to "terminate the act of piracy and any included hostage situation." Just how they were to do that was left unsaid. The reason for the plan's lack of guidance has now been made clear over the last two days off the coast of the Horn of Africa: The choices facing a hulking navy destroyer as it confronts a ragtag group of Somali pirates holding an American seaman hostage in a small, propulsion-free boat are extremely limited. Pentagon and U.S. Navy officials have been reticent to engage in the kind of hostage rescues that could spring crewmembers from capture at sea, arguing it would set a precedent that would strain an already thinly deployed naval taskforce in the region and, more importantly, potentially lead to more bloodshed."If we try to do some kind of hostage takedown, that's a whole other ballgame than preventing an act of piracy in progress," Rear Adm. Ted Branch, the Navy headquarters staff officer responsible for monitoring such crises at sea, told a congressional hearing on Somali piracy in February. "You certainly increase the risk to the crew members in that kind of takedown. Therefore, there hasn't been any appetite to do those kinds of [operations]." But as a result, Navy commanders have been left to rely only on intimidation and coercion to convince pirates to give up, a potentially embarrassing situation for the Obama administration, when pirates capture the world's eyes and keep its most powerful navy at bay equipped with little more than small arms and adequate food rations. Peter Chalk, an expert on piracy at the Rand Corp., said it is a predicament of the U.S.'s own making, since the only way to stamp out the pirates would be on land, where they have been able to take advantage of Somalia's failed state to set up camps and establish havens in port towns like Caluula, Eyl, Hobyo and Haradheere. The U.S. and its allies have been unwilling to tackle the problem on land, Mr. Chalk said. "I actually think this naval response is not the right thing to be doing at all," said Mr. Chalk of the presence of the USS Bainbridge, a guided missile destroyer which reached the Maersk Alabama early Thursday morning. "We have ratcheted up the situation." The ratcheting appears likely to continue. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of all U.S. forces in the Middle East and central Asia, told an audience in West Palm Beach, Fla., that more naval vessels are en route to the site. "Governments like the U.S. have little choice, given the public pressure and the political pressure," Mr. Chalk said. "I don't think that the naval presence out there has anything to do with the protection of ships. It's been politicized."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

No Senate Certificate Until Process Complete

Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he won't sign an election certificate in the state's ongoing U.S. Senate race until the courts wrap up the legal process. After a tedious recount of 351 ballots on Tuesday, Democrat Al Franken leads Republican Norm Coleman by 312 votes. If Franken is declared the winner, Coleman says he'll appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which has already ruled on when a certificate can be issued."They said it very clearly that you cannot. State statute does not allow the certificate to be issued until the state court process has run its course, including a potential appeal," Pawlenty explained. The governor says it's not clear what will happen if the case is appealed to federal court.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Turkish T V MOCKS President Obama

‘We Have A President Who Has Never Received A Paycheck’

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Stolen Canadian Plane Lands In Missouri After Being Chased By US Jets

A single-engine plane was stolen from a Thunder Bay, Ont., aviation school Monday afternoon, sparking a bizarre chase through U.S. airspace that ended in a small Missouri town. The Cessna 172 was taken around 2:55 p.m. ET and soon crossed into the United States, passing over Wisconsin and Illinois as it was tracked by two F-16 fighter jets. Nearly eight hours later, the pilot landed on a dirt road in the southern Missouri town of Ellsinore and fled on foot. Police then arrested a suspect, identified by the FBI as 31-year-old Yavuz Burke, a native of Turkey who became a Canadian citizen last year. He was formerly known as Adam Leon.
Lt.-Cmdr. Gary Ross, a spokesperson for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said the pilot did not respond to radio calls from the jets or the FAA during the entire pursuit.He also said the pilot refused to acknowledge the nonverbal communications from the F-16 jets to follow them. It appears the plane only landed as it came close to running out of fuel. At about 5 p.m., the state capital building in Madison, Wis., was evacuated before the plane passed near the region. Police cars cordoned off the streets around the building and officers told people to move away from the area. The small plane belongs to Confederation College's aviation program and was taken off from the Thunder Bay International Airport. According to local radio, someone jumped the fence and took off on an unauthorized flight. City police are at the scene at the college's hangar. Police spokesperson Chris Adams says officers have little to go on at the time. According to Cessna's website, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk is world's most flown airplane. It has a maximum cruise speed of 233 kilometres an hour and a range of 1,130 km.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Religion Of Peace & Love

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Dmitry Medvedev Hails Barack Obama As 'COMRADE'

Russia's leader hailed President Barack Obama as a "comrade" on Thursday and predicted that the two countries would resolve the vexed issue of a missile defence shields in Eastern Europe. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gestures, after putting on a cap, during a speech to the London School of Economics in London. Delivering a strikingly conciliatory speech at the London School of Economics, President Dmitry Medvedev predicted that an agreement about defence could be achieved. At present America plans to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic to act as a shield against incoming weapons. Washington says the only aim is to guard against a future threat from a nuclear armed Iran. But Russia has always refused to accept this explanation.Mr Medvedev said: "On the part of America, there is decision to listen to our arguments. They are not trying to cut us off by saying the issue has been decided, there's nothing to discuss. Therefore we can try to find a way of resolving this issue." He added: "We cannot rattle our sabres and show our muscles. That is counter productive." But the President restated Russia's position to any further enlargement of Nato. "Before taking any decisions to further expand one should think about the consequences. I described this yesterday to my new friend and comrade, Barack Obama." Mr Medvedev added that Russia was "not the Soviet Union" and pledged that his country would develop into a "normal state with a market economy".

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Ahmed & Salim Episode 6

Friday, April 03, 2009

President of the United States Bows To Saudi King

President Barack Obama may be tempted to blame his teleprompter for telling him to grovel in front of the king of Saudi Arabia, but I don’t see the teleprompter anywhere around in the picture below. Didn’t anyone tell President Obama that Americans don’t bow down to anyone? Didn’t anyone tell President Obama that the President of the United States especially doesn’t bow down to anyone? Didn’t anyone tell President Obama that Americans fought a long and bloody war so we wouldn’t have to bow down to a king anymore? To my knowledge, even the Queen of England (a nation with values similar to our own) didn’t get this kind of worshipful treatment.Is it a Muslim thing? The Saudi king is, after all, a Muslim. Is it something Obama picked up while registered as a Muslim in school in Jakarta? I don’t want to make a mountain out of a mole hill, but when one bows, one signifies the superiority of the one bowed to. It is a gesture of submission. The leader of the most free nation in the world should not be slobbering on the ring of some king! It was embarrassing when President Obama ungratefully gave back the gift from the British of the bust of Winston Churchill (one of their greatest prime ministers and one of America’s greatest foreign friends). It was embarrassing when the British gave President Obama a gift made from historic wood and President Obama gave the British…some DVDs–that won’t even play in their DVD players!
It’s been embarrassing enough to see other foreign relations gaffes (e.g. the red button we gave to Russia), feeling as if the White House was being run by a 9th grade school social club, but now… It has been bad enough to hear Obama attempt to curry favor with the despots, tyrants and socialists around the world–since even before he was elected. It has been bad enough to see the President of the United States worried about what a bunch of European snivelers think of the United States. It has been bad enough to see the President of the United States treat terrorists and sponsors of terrorism as anything other than the dregs of humanity. But to now actually see the President of the United States rendering obeisance to the king of a foreign nation, one with a poor human rights record–from which 15 out of 19 hijackers on September 11 came…I’m feeling sick (and something else, too).

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Coleman Vows Prompt Appeal Of Senate Case

Republican Norm Coleman says he expects to move fast when appealing his anticipated defeat in a lawsuit over his unsettled Minnesota Senate race. Coleman went on Fox News Radio's "Brian and the Judge" show Wednesday to announce that the race wasn't over.A day earlier a special court limited the number of ballots that could be added to the count and made it tougher for Coleman to catch race leader, Democrat Al Franken. The former senator echoed his lawyers' assessment that the case was bound for the Minnesota Supreme Court. They argue the judges tolerated different standards for accepting absentee ballots. Once the lower court issues its final ruling, the loser has 10 days to appeal. Coleman says he is "going to file quicker than 10 days."

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Court: 400 Absentees May Be Added to Senate Race

Republican Norm Coleman's lawyers geared up for an appeal Tuesday as a Minnesota court issued a ruling that crippled his chances of overtaking Democrat Al Franken in their extended Senate battle. Taking a hard line, three judges hearing Coleman's lawsuit ordered further review of 400 unopened absentee ballots in the race, far fewer than the former Republican senator had asked be counted. Within two hours of the ruling, Coleman attorney Ben Ginsberg warned of an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Ginsberg argued that the special court's ruling tolerated differing standards from county to county between the general election and the recount. He said the small universe of remaining ballots makes it difficult for Coleman to erase Franken's current 225-vote lead. "You never give up hope but it becomes a much longer shot," Ginsberg said. "It's still a mathematical possibility but it's probably akin to you winning your NCAA bracket pool at this point." A lawyer for Franken, the ex-"Saturday Night Live" comic turned Democratic candidate, cheered the ruling but wouldn't speculate about the next steps. Attorney Marc Elias said he was not worried about others trying to stop Franken from being seated after appeals were exhausted. "We're going to take this one step at a time," Elias said. "And I know there are a lot of things said by a lot of people with a lot of people from Washington, D.C. or Texas. What matters is what happens in the court in Minnesota and then in the Senate itself." No one knows for sure exactly how the ballots will break, but they appear to favor Franken. Almost 150 names were on a ballot list Franken submitted; 125 were from Coleman's list; and 50 were on both. The rest didn't appear on either candidate's list.The judges ordered that the ballots be examined on April 7. They said they needed to see original materials - rather than the photocopies used in court - to determine the validity of some ballots. "To be clear," they wrote, "not every absentee ballot identified in this order will ultimately be opened and counted." The judges' ruling was closest to what Franken wanted. As the case concluded, Coleman had argued to include 1,360 and asked the court to presume voters did things right. "The Court carefully reviewed each absentee ballot on a ballot-by-ballot basis to determine whether sufficient individualized evidence had been presented that the voter complied with applicable federal and state law," the judges wrote. The standard they applied was that the voter was properly registered, didn't vote in another way, had a qualified witness and used their geniune signature. The district judges - Hennepin County's Denise Reilly, Pennington County's Kurt Marben and Stearns County's Elizabeth Hayden - noted that they went through 19,181 pages of filings as part of evidence that would stand 21 feet tall if stacked. Other rulings from the court are still pending. Coleman asked the court to invalidate votes from a Minneapolis precinct where ballots were lost between Election Day and the recount. A state board previously decided to rely on the machine count for the precinct. Coleman also claimed poll workers made mistakes when making duplicate copies of damaged ballots. The error could have put both versions in the recount. Combined, the matters could mean a swing of 100 votes.