Custom Search

Gains for Europe's Right--or AP's Wishful Thinking?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

By Jim Naureckas

An AP story (6/7/09) previewing today's European Parliament election is headlined on MSNBC, "Europe Leans Right Ahead of Parliament Voting: Amid Economic Gloom, Conservatives Look Set to Win Big in Europe-Wide Poll." The article, by Michael Weissenstein and Robert Wielaard, begins:
Europe was leaning to the right ahead of European Parliament elections Sunday, with voters in many countries favoring conservative parties against a backdrop of economic crisis.

Opinion polling showed right-leaning governments with edges over their opposition in Germany, Italy and France. Conservative opposition parties were tied or ahead in Britain, Spain, and some smaller countries.

So how big is the right expected to win? In the 17th paragraph, after we've been told "the Europe-wide elections were most important as a snapshot of national political sentiment," we finally get some numbers:
An informal forecast by the political science website anticipated Conservatives winning 262 seats against 194 for the Socialists and 85 for the Liberals in 736-seat European Parliament, roughly the same proportions as in the last parliament.
And then the article notes that "right-leaning parties have taken up business regulation and social protection initiatives more traditionally associated with the left."...(Click for remainder.)


Campbell Brown: Michael Ware Debates Torture Apologist, and Ignorant Ass-Monkey, Marc Thiessen

Where the hell does this ignorant, ass-faced, chickenhawk mother-f@#ker get off? It's people like this bastard that have destroyed the United States, and the United States military. These people run around saying "the troops, the troops" when in reality they don't give two shits about the troops. These are some of the most pathetic people that I have ever seen or heard.

This Thiessen fool has the temerity to compare himself with Michael Ware? You've got to be effin' kidding me? I'm not joking when I say that I hope someone kidnaps this knuckle-dragging, mouth-breather and drops him in the middle of Baghdad; and that he end up with a bullet in his head. People like this just need to die so they're stopped from royally screwing over the rest of the country and the world.

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Campbell Brown thinks it's a "great debate" to use chickenhawk torture apologist Marc Thiessen's article at the National [Revue] on Obama's Cairo speech as the premise for this segment: President Obama undercut the military in his speech to the Muslim world.

What's next, Campbell? You going to ask your guests when Obama quit beating his wife?

About the only good thing about watching this was getting to see Michael Ware call a chickenhawk out to his face.
WARE: (INAUDIBLE) your article but the problem is you're not talking to a Veterans of Foreign Wars evening dinner. You're talking to the Arab or the Muslim world.


WARE: And to be honest, they don't feel terribly liberated by the U.S. military. Now, you and I might have views of that.

THIESSEN: Well, that's why the president has a responsibility to say something.

WARE: You and I may have our view of that. But when there's American tanks sitting in the Arab streets, when they see the killings in Afghanistan from our bombings, though they're not intended, that's not how they feel. When they see what happened in Abu Ghraib --

THIESSEN: The vast majority of Afghans support Americans --

WARE: You got to understand -- you got to understand, Marc, I mean, it might feel different in the ivory towers in the Capitol Hill and the Pentagon. But on the streets -- on the streets --

THIESSEN: Excuse me, I've been to Iraq and Afghanistan four times in each of those countries so I know what it's like in the Arab streets. I've been there.

WARE: Oh, I'm sorry. You spend how much time in Iraq?

THIESSEN: Oh, listen --

WARE: No, no, no, how much time, Marc? How much time, Marc?...

(Click for remainder.)


Real Time with Bill Maher: New Rules


June 6, 1944: Breaking News With Audio!

By Gordonskene

(For many, it really was the Longest Day)

Shortly after midnight (Eastern War Time) on June 6, 1944, the first trickle of news reports regarding the invasion of Europe began. The reports were initially from German news sources and so weren't given credibility. But shortly after, word from Supreme Allied Headquarters in London revealed that in fact, the invasion of Europe was underway.

June 6, 2009 marks the 65th anniversary of that turning point in World War II. The largest invasion force ever assembled landed on the coast of France and began the long siege that eventually brought the demise of the Axis powers in 1945.

I've assembled excerpts of the first 12 or so hours of the invasion story, from the initial bulletins and reported by the people who witnessed it and by the ones who breathlessly relayed the much anticipated news to all the Radio Networks throughout the world....(Click for original.)


Immigrants are Making 'The Great U-Turn'

By Susie Madrak
Crooks and Liars

Imagine Lou Dobbs's head exploding when he hears this. But seriously, this will have profound effects on our economy:
Emigration from Mexico to the U.S. dropped 13% in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, with more Mexicans leaving the U.S. than coming in. Indonesian authorities expect 60,000 or more citizens to be sent home from Malaysia, South Korea and other wealthy neighbors this year, as immigrant workers lose their jobs. Tens of thousands of Indians are washing their hands of Dubai as jobs there dry up and work permits expire. And in the U.K., the number of registered workers coming from new European Union member nations like Poland and the Czech Republic dropped 55% in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

A growing number of migrants are returning home to places as diverse as Nepal and Tajikistan, while many are deciding not to emigrate to begin with, says Dilip Ratha, an economist and migration expert at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., citing reports from ministries and embassies.
Mr. Ratha calls this reverse migration "very new" and "unprecedented."

Such migratory shifts could have profound consequences for developed nations, especially in places where domestic populations aren't growing fast enough to fill jobs or pay for social needs.
High-skill immigrants are an important source of tax revenue in some cities, and their kids fill the classrooms of universities and private schools. In the developing world, remittances sent home by migrant workers are also slowing, meaning less income -- and potentially, less growth....
(Click for remainder.)


Ayatollah Khamenei's Obama Dilemma

The supreme leader must tread carefully in his dealings with the US for fear of fracturing Iran's already unstable administration.

By Meir Javedanfar
The Guardian

As the presidential elections in Iran near, many are wondering what impact the results will have on negotiations between Iran and the US.

What is important to note is that the final go ahead for the negotiations and the agenda are not decided by the president. This is the job of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The only difference that the president could make is he could increase the lobbying power of the group to which he belongs. For example, if the reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi wins (his family are from the same city as Khamenei's father, in the East Azerbaijan province), the voice of those calling for confidence-building measures with the west would increase. If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wins again, the conservatives will have a stronger voice. Whether or not Khamenei will accept their opinion is a decision that is solely his.

Therefore, the international press and foreign governments, especially the White House would be best advised to redirect their focus towards the character of the supreme leader of Iran and the challenges he would face, should he decide to negotiate.

Elected to the position of supreme leader in 1989, Khamenei did not have the easiest of starts. To begin with, he did not have the required qualifications for the post. His predecessor, Ayatollah Khomeini, was an Ayatollah Ozma, (grand Ayatollah). He also held the title of Marjae Taghlid (source of emulation). Khamenei, on the other hand, was a mid-ranking clergyman with the rank of Hojjatoleslam. After Khomeini's death, the assembly of experts which is charge of appointing Iran's supreme leader, was placed in a dilemma. According to Iran's constitution, only an Ayatollah can be a supreme leader. As a result, Khamenei was promoted to the rank of Ayatollah in one night, so that he could fill the position. This meant that Khamenei bypassed 20 years of studies, and a resaleye amalie, the Shia theological equivalent to a PhD thesis. His lack of religious qualifications, alongside his lack of charisma and political backing compared to Khomeini, meant that over the years, Khamenei has had to make numerous compromises to consolidate his power base....(Click for remainder.)


Elisabeth Hasselbeck's Hearing Problem


Gloomy Outcome Awaits EU Elections

By Press TV

EU nations go to polls on the last day of European Parliament elections, in a vote plighted by fears of record low turnouts and gains for extremists.

Nineteen member-states from the 27-nation bloc, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain, are due to cast the ballots on Europe's Super Sunday. Polls will close across the European Union at 2000 GMT Sunday.

The marathon polls opened in the United Kingdom, and Netherlands on Thursday. The UK held local elections on the same day that placed ruling Labour Party behind opposition Conservatives with the loss of 272 seats.

The Dutch far-right and anti-Islamic lawmaker Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom scored a second place in its debut at the EU polls, with 17 percent of the vote on Thursday.

The four-seat victory, which was published ahead of schedule despite a ban, justified European experts' alarm over a stepping closer to extremism amid an economic crisis and rising unemployment.

Opinion polls have also painted a gloomy picture of the outcomes, predicting poor turnouts that would allow extreme left- and right-wing formations to gain strength in the new 736-seat assembly....(Click for remainder.)


Pakistani Villagers 'Avenge Attack' of Taliban

By Al Jazeera English

Hundreds of villagers in northwestern Pakistan have reportedly attacked Taliban strongholds to avenge the deadly suicide bombing of a local mosque.

The villagers have occupied three settlements and are attempting to push the Taliban out of another two, reports from the Associated Press said on Sunday, quoting a local official.

Nearly 400 residents of the Upper Dir district of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) banded together on Saturday to challenge the Taliban, Atif-ur-Rehman, the official, said.

The armed group then attacked five villages in the nearby Dhok Darra area, where the Taliban is suspected of having bases, he said.

The villagers destroyed 20 houses suspected of housing Taliban fighters, he said.

At least four fighters were killed in the clash.

Deadly bombing

Pakistan's government has in the past encouraged local citizens to help drive out the Taliban.

"It is something very positive that tribesmen are standing against the militants. It will discourage the miscreants," Rehman was quoted by the Associated Press as saying....(Click for remainder.)


Rightwingus Whackosus in the Wild: A Case Study

By P.M. Carpenter
The Fifth Columnist @ Buzz Flash

If you read this column with any regularity then you already know how much I enjoy, from time to pertinent time, venturing off into anthropological expeditions in search of that increasingly endangered species, rightwingus whackosus.

This week was such a time, in fact an ideal time, in that President Obama's enormously well-received Cairo speech seemed to tragically disturb the natural and normal workings of their variously scattered cyberhabitats, thus affording the scientifically inquisitive an opportunity to observe their mysterious sociopolitical cultural order in a time of severe distress. This I have done, having collected evidence since approximately noon, Thursday, the immediate aftermath of the aforementioned speech.

My working hypothesis: Caught unawares, even the customarily goofiest of right-wing pedigrees are susceptible to momentary flights of rationality -- until, that is, re-grooming and re-education sessions, as well as what they probably sense as intellectual peer pressure (cute, isn't it?), haul them back into the hysterically irrational fold.

As for the proof of this tentative hypothesis, or at least as much as I had time to gather?

Well now take, for instance, Rory Cooper -- please -- the Heritage Foundation's director of strategic communications. Having had a few hours to ponder the president's speech and develop an appreciate sense of what both his keepers and spectators would expect from him, by Friday he was positively livid about all of it. Guest-writing and grading in the Politico's "Arena," amid a sea of A-'s, straight A's and even A+'s from fellow contributors, Rory issued to Obama an "F Minus."

His lead criticism? Get this: "At Five Guys restaurant last week, the President revealed he didn’t know what the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency was when he met an employee." Shocking. On the other hand I certainly didn't know what it was, and I'd bet no one else, except other employees of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, has ever had a clue, either -- not even its appropriators in Congress. Anyway, from that, Rory determined (from other predeterminations) that Obama "should be better briefed on the world before speaking again."...(Click for remainder.)


Atheist Revolution Idiot of the Week: Wiley Drake

By VJack
Atheist Revolution

Idiocy of this magnitude deserves attention, and that is exactly what it gets right here in the Idiot of the Week series (now with a dedicated topic label for easy access). A new winner is announced each Saturday.

As has been fairly obvious to readers of Atheist Revolution lately, I was and continue to be upset by the murder of Dr. George Tiller. It is not simply that he may have been killed by someone who appears to be a Christian terrorist. Nor is it that the suspect appears to be an avid consumer of Fox "News," that the role of Christian extremism seems quite evident here, or even that the murder is being celebrated by Christian extremists. It is also that he was one of a tiny number of physicians with enough courage to provide a controversial but necessary service to American women and that he will be difficult to replace. Thus, I hold special contempt for this week's honoree, Pastor Wiley Drake, and acknowledge that this goes well beyond mere idiocy.

Here is what Pastor Drake had to say on the murder of Dr. Tiller:
I’ve been a Baptist pastor for a long time, been in the pro-life fight, been face-to-face with Tiller, told him about Jesus, and I’ve seen many, many others tell him about Jesus over and over and over again. And I’ve seen horrific things that go on in those death abortuaries — and that’s what they are — and so my initial response to those people, they said, 'Well what was your response,' and I said, 'Well, in all honesty I have to just respond directly and say I am glad that he’s dead.'
(Click for remainder.)


Hickory Dickory Dock; Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld are Murdering F@#kheads!

Gitmo detainee held for 7 years without charge kills himself...

By Larisa Alexandrovna

Another dead body to add to the list of horrors that is the Bush-Cheney legacy:
"A Yemeni detainee at Guantanamo Bay has died of an apparent suicide, U.S. military officials announced Tuesday.

The Joint Task Force that runs the U.S. prison in Cuba said guards found Muhammad Ahmad Abdallah Salih unresponsive and not breathing in his cell Monday night.

His is the fifth apparent suicide at the Guantanamo prison, and the first in two years. President Obama plans to close the facility by January.

The Yemeni prisoner, also known as Mohammad Ahmed Abdullah Saleh al-Hanashi, had been held without charge at Guantanamo since February 2002. Military records show that the alleged Taliban fighter was about 31."

Again, this man was held for seven years without charge....(Click for original.)


A Brief History of the Radical, Violent Right: How Racist Hate Groups Joined Up with Abortion Terrorists

By James Ridgeway
Mother Jones via AlterNet

The revelation that Scott Roeder, the alleged murderer of Dr. George Tiller, belonged to an anti-government, white separatist group called the Montana Freemen might seem like an unlikely twist. After all, such groups are generally thought of as either indifferent to the issue of abortion or actively enthusiastic about its potential for reducing the nonwhite population. As it turns out, however, the journey from radical racialist to anti-abortionist isn't as unusual as you might think.

Roeder's connections to the right-wing fringe began well over a decade ago, according to the Kansas City Star. His ex-wife, Lindsey, said that after a few years of marriage, Roeder became increasingly involved with the Freemen and its anti-government ideology. "The anti-tax stuff came first, and then it grew and grew. He became very anti-abortion…That's all he cared about is anti-abortion. 'The church is this. God is this.' Yadda yadda." Noting that she vehemently disagreed with her ex-husband's views, Lindsey Roeder told the Star that he moved out in 1994. "I thought he was over the edge with that stuff," she said. "He started falling apart. I had to protect myself and my son."

In 1996, Roeder was arrested in Topeka after sheriff deputies stopped his car because it had no license plate. Instead, the Star reported, "it bore a tag declaring him a 'sovereign' and immune from state law. In the trunk, deputies found materials that could be assembled into a bomb." Roeder was convicted, sentenced to two years probation, and told to stay away from far-right groups. A state appeals court subsequently overturned the conviction.

Roeder and the Freemen belonged to a little-recognized nativist political movement that began in the early 20th century, flared up periodically, and then ripped through the American heartland during the farm depression of the mid-1980s. This movement was often called "the posse," after a core group named the Posse Comitatus. Like any political movement, it consisted of a myriad of shifting entities that appeared and disappeared. But even though the names of the groups often changed, they all held tightly to the notion that the true white sovereigns, who had rightfully been given this land by God, were being threatened by race traitors "inferior races" creeping across the borders from Mexico and lands farther south. A favorite posse image was a drawing of a man hanging by the neck from a tree on a hill. Below in the distance stands a group of armed men. A sign is scrawled on the drawing. It says "The posse."...(Click for remainder.)


All But Over for Coleman, Experts Say

By Michael Falcone

Seven months after Minnesota's Senate election, the state's highest court hasn't reached a decision but election law experts agree: Norm Coleman doesn’t have a prayer.

These experts see almost no chance Coleman's lawyers will prevail in their appeal to the state’s high court to count more ballots in a bid to erase Al Franken’s slim lead.

Peter Knapp, a professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, pointed to the court's oral arguments on Monday, when the justices expressed skepticism toward Coleman’s lawyer, Joe Friedberg.

“Each of the five justices asked some questions that seemed to hone in on the absence of evidence," said Knapp, an expert on the Minnesota Supreme Court who has kept a close eye on the case. "And when each of the five are asking those questions, that’s significant.”

He cautioned that “it’s really easy to over-read the judges' questions as a sign of the way they’re leaning,” but added: “That being said, if I had to put money on the outcome – my money would be on Franken.”

Edward B. Foley, an election law expert at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, agreed: “Based on the questioning, I’d be surprised if Coleman got a remand back to the trial court.”...(Click for remainder.)


Apparently Yahoo and the Obama Administration Don't Believe in Free Speech

[Editor's note: Photos of torture and war crimes can always be found here, so there's really no need to get corporate sites to host them, although posting them on a White House site could be useful.]

By Shepherd Johnson
After Downing Street

I was on flickr, a service of, making comments on several photos of the Official Whitehouse Photostream with the following text and image:

"The Obama White House is supporting a new bill (sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham & Joe Lieberman) whose sole purpose is allowing the government to suppress any 'photograph taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009' relating to the treatment of detainees in the 'War on Terror.' In other words, Obama wants Congress to change the FOIA so that the courts can't compel release of any more torture photos."

Here is the same photo from another website:

I had posted it on several of the "official Whitehouse photos" in the comments section. At about 11:00pm on June 05, 2009 my flickr account was terminated. No explanation or anything. One second I was on and then I could not access my account. When I got back onto flickr using another account I went back to the Whitehouse site and all of my postings had been scrubbed. They were gone. I had about a years worth of work on that account and they just terminated my account with no warning. Some of the photos I had on the account had no back ups so they are now gone forever.

(Click for remainder.)


Everything Including the Kitchen Sink

By Joel Pett
Lexington Herald-Leader


Financial Regulator Seeks Powers to Curb Excess Speculation

By Kevin G. Hall
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Firing the opening shot in a likely battle with Wall Street, the federal regulator who's overseeing the trading of oil contracts asked Congress on Thursday for broad powers to regulate the exotic private contracts that are thought to contribute to rising oil prices and the global financial crisis.

Testifying before the Senate Agriculture Committee, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler told lawmakers that he needs broad authority to bring all derivatives contracts under regulatory supervision. Derivatives involve bets that derive their value based on future prices of some underlying asset, such as oil contracts, interest rates, currency or even bonds and other forms of credit.

The new commission chief also called for an additional set of rules for swaps dealers, big global financial institutions that dominate activity in these markets. These rules would force players on both sides of a transaction in these markets to set aside cash to cover potential losses.

The global financial system nearly collapsed during the last four months of 2008 after the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department rescued insurance giant American International Group. AIG was rescued because it had issued trillions of dollars in insurance-like private derivatives contracts and had insufficient reserves to cover its losses....(Click for remainder.)


Money and Power: A Toxic Bond

Development projects often fail if they go against the existing power structure in a village or region

Samah El-Shahat, Al Jazeera's resident economist, will be writing a regular column analysing key elements that have contributed to the global financial downturn and its impact across the world.

By Samah El-Shahat
Al Jazeera English

I am a development economist, and in very crude terms development economics is about how to make emerging economies grow, develop, and become like industrialised economies.

Like many others working in my profession, I am always struck by the injustices facing less developed countries in trying to break out of the arms of poverty, from global institutions that placed the interests of those who fund them - always the richer more powerful economies - above the interest of those developing countries, to global trade rules that were and are blatantly unfair.

So for those economists such as myself who opted out of analysing the world through a "neoliberal" or "neoclassical" perspective, we analyse power and how that can seriously affect, influence and manipulate trade for certain interests.

These relationships of power asymmetry can also be found within the developing countries themselves. Far too often I have worked on projects which failed, not because of poor economics or poor design, but because it went against the existing power structure in a village or industrial cluster....(Click for remainder.)


Corporations Behind Effort to Label Sotomayor 'Racist'

By Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane
The Raw Story

How corporations are buying the judiciary: Part I

Corporate interests posing as a grassroots conservative group are behind attacks on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, a RAW STORY investigation has found.

The Committee for Justice (CFJ), an astroturf group established by big business in July 2002 to create an appearance of popular support for President Bush’s judicial nominees, is now leading the effort to oppose the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court.

CFJ’s Executive Director Curt Levey has been sending out press releases and making media appearances to promote the theme that Sotomayor is racist and biased in her rulings, drawing his talking points largely from a speech in which she suggested that when it came to race and sex discrimination cases, it was possible that “a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences … would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

“It’s pretty disturbing,” Levey told The Hill. “It’s one thing to say that occasionally a judge will despite his or her best efforts to be impartial … allow occasional biases to cloud impartiality. But it’s almost like she’s proud that her biases and personal experiences will cloud her impartiality.”

CFJ was created at the urging of former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MO) – who has himself been plagued by allegations of racism. In 2002, as Senate Democrats stalled the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering to the Federal Court of Appeals over Pickering’s alleged racial insensitivity and opposition to abortion, Lott recruited C. Boyden Gray to create a fake grassroots organization to drum up support for Pickering’s confirmation....(Click for remainder.)


US Delays Embassy Transfer to Jerusalem

By Press TV

President Barack Obama has decided to delay the transfer of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (al-Quds) amid a heightening row between the US and Israel.

Sources in the White House revealed on Friday that the US policy towards Israeli-Palestinians issue had not been changed and that the US embassy would remain in Tel Aviv for at least six more months.

The US Congress ratified the Jerusalem Embassy Act in October 1995, which states that Jerusalem be recognized as the capital of Israel. The act also states that the United States had to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem no later than 31 May 1999.

However, the decision has been delayed every six months due to the Palestinian-Israeli row over the city.

The status of Jerusalem has been among the thorny issues in the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, with the Israelis claiming the city as their "eternal, undivided capital" -- a position not recognized by the international community.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. It has since constructed thousands of settlements in the occupied city housing more than 285,000 Israelis.

The international community considers the Jewish settlements as illegal....(Click for remainder.)


Unemployment Climbs to 9.4 Percent, Rate of Job Loss Continues to Slow Moderately

By David Rosnick
Center for Economic and Policy Research

Though employment losses have slowed in May, many have already lost large numbers of jobs over this recession and therefore have fewer jobs left to lose.

The economy lost another 345,000 jobs in May. For the first time in a year, there were upward revisions to the past months’ data, with March and April’s combined employment revised upward by 72,000 jobs. The establishment survey reports 1.5 million jobs lost over the last three months. With this report, employment is now down 6.0 million jobs from its peak in December 2007— the 4.3 percent decline reflecting the largest relative loss of jobs in over 50 years. With fewer jobs left to lose, job loss is now occurring only at the fast pace of September and October of 2008.

The household survey showed a sharp rise in the unemployment rate to 9.4 percent from 8.9 percent in April—the highest rate in nearly 26 years. After showing a gain of 120,000 jobs in April, the household survey showed a loss of 437,000 jobs in May.

The number of nonagricultural workers employed part-time for economic reasons rose 102,000 in the month. The broad U-6 measure of unemployment increased to 16.4 percent, up from 15.8 percent in April. Combined with a three-month nominal wage growth of less than 2 percent annualized over the previous three months, workers’ purchasing power is nearly flat. The employment cost index grew at a 0.7 percent annualized rate in the first quarter of 2009, slowing from the 2.8 percent rate over 2007 and 2008.

Though job losses continue in most sectors of the economy, the losses have slowed in several areas. Construction lost 59,000 jobs in May, compared to 108,000 the previous month. Trade, transportation and utilities lost 54,000 jobs compared to 115,000 in April. Job loss in employment services slowed considerably. After shedding 62,500 jobs last month, employment services jobs declined by only 11,200 jobs in May and now stands 23 percent below its level of May 2008....(Click for remainder.)


Military-Backed Public Schools on the Rise in the US

By Dorie Turner
Associated Press via Google News

ATLANTA (AP) — The U.S. Marine Corps is wooing public school districts across the country, expanding a network of military academies that has grown steadily despite criticism that it's a recruiting ploy.

The Marines are talking with at least six districts — including in suburban Atlanta, New Orleans and Las Vegas — about opening schools where every student wears a uniform, participates in Junior ROTC and takes military classes, said Bill McHenry, who runs the Junior ROTC program for the Marines.

Those schools would be on top of more than a dozen public military academies that have already opened nationwide, a trend that's picking up speed as the U.S. Department of Defense looks for ways to increase the number of units in Junior ROTC, which stands for Reserve Officers Training Corps.

"Many kids in our country don't get a fair shake. Many kids live in war zones. Many kids who are bright and have so much potential and so much to offer, all they need to be given is a chance," McHenry said. "If you look at stats, what we're doing now isn't working."

Last year, Congress passed a defense policy bill that included a call for increasing the number of Junior ROTC units across the country from 3,400 to 3,700 in the next 11 years, an effort that will cost about $170 million, Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen M. Lainez said. The process will go faster by opening military academies, which count as four or more units, McHenry said.

Other military branches also are aiming to increase their presence in school hallways, but the Marines are leading the charge....(Click for remainder.)


Is the US Really a Nation of God-Fearing Darwin Hater? (Trans-Atlantic Comparison Part 3)

By Peter Baldwin

Is it only Europeans who want to save the environment and only Americans who discount Darwin? In the final part of his series on trans-Atlantic differences, American historian Peter Baldwin explains why these stereotypes don't work - and what the real differences between Old Europe and America are.

In a three-part essay for SPIEGEL ONLINE, American historian Peter Baldwin argues that the EU and the US are much more similar than they think. You can read part one of his essay here and part two here.

In ecological terms, America is thought to be wasteful -- big cars, big houses, long commutes, cold winters, hot summers, profligate habits. Such perceptions of the country have combined with the Bush administration's cozy relationship with the oil industry and its refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol to paint the nation as an environmental black hole. Once again, the numbers tell a different story.

Although oil use per capita is high in America, measured as a function of economic production (in other words, putting the input in relation to the output), it remains within European norms and, indeed, lower than Portugal, Greece, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Iceland.

Between 1990 and 2002, America's carbon dioxide output rose, but per unit of GDP it fell by 17 percent -- a greater reduction than in nine western European countries.

In its output of renewable energy, the US is in the middle of the spectrum on all counts, whether biogas, solid biomass energy, geothermal or wind. American spending (public and private) on pollution abatement and control as a percentage of GDP is bested only in Austria, Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands....(Click for remainder.)


Revisionists Challenge D-Day Story

By Hugh Schofield
BBC News

A revisionist theme seems to have settled on this year's 65th anniversary commemoration of the Normandy landings.

The tone was set in Antony's Beevor's new book, D-Day, which tries to debunk certain received ideas about the Allied campaign.

Far from being an unmitigated success, Mr Beevor found, the landings came very close to going horribly wrong.

And far from being universally welcomed as liberators, many troops had a distinctly surly reception from the people of Normandy.

The reason for this was simple. Many Normandy towns and villages had been literally obliterated by Allied bombing.

The bombardment of Caen, Mr Beevor said, could almost be considered a war-crime (though he later retracted the comment).

Many historians will retort that there is nothing new in Mr Beevor's account.

Harrowing experience

After all, the scale of destruction is already well-established.

Some 20,000 French civilians were killed in the two-and-a-half months from D-Day, 3,000 of them during the actual landings.

In some areas - like the Falaise pocket where the Germans were pounded into oblivion at the end of the campaign - barely a building was left standing and soldiers had to walk over banks of human corpses....(Click for remainder.)


NYC Man Charged with Threatening Obama, Sotomayor

By Associated Press
Via Google News

NEW YORK (AP) — A Manhattan man who threatened to kill U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and said he wanted to kill President Barack Obama has been arraigned on charges of making a terroristic threat.

A criminal complaint says 48-year-old John Zaubler called 911 Saturday and said he was going to kill Sotomayor by "blowing her up" because he did not want his girlfriend to go to federal prison.

The complaint also says he wanted to kill Obama by "blowing him up."

Zaubler did not enter a plea in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Judge James Gibbons ordered Zaubler held without bail and ordered a psychiatric examination. He scheduled a hearing for July 6.

Zaubler's lawyer, Fran Hoffinger, did not immediately return a call seeking comment....(Click for original.)

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Obama at Buchenwald: A Message to Those Who Forget, or Deny

From left: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Barack Obama and former Nazi concentration-camp inmates Elie Wiesel and Bertrand Herz visit the camp at Buchenwald, near the eastern German city of Weimar MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty
By Michael Scherer

When it comes to humanity's darkest moments, time is both a blessing and a curse. Firebombed cities get rebuilt. Saplings grow in abandoned death camps. Wounded soldiers heal or pass on. Yet with rebirth comes the danger of forgetting, of repeating old mistakes and of failing to learn history's bloodiest lessons.

President Barack Obama spent his day Friday, in advance of the 65th anniversary of D-Day, immersed in this contradiction. The morning began in Dresden, the site of one of World War II's worst firebombings, an hourlong aerial bombardment that killed probably tens of thousands of civilians. He visited the Frauenkirch Dresden, a soaring Baroque Protestant church that was destroyed in 1945 by Allied bombs and then rebuilt in 2005, restored to its gilded splendor. In a corner of the church, he lit a candle to remember the dead. (See pictures of Obama in Germany.)

Obama spent his afternoon at the Buchenwald concentration camp, where the Nazis killed 56,000 political, ethnic and religious prisoners between 1937 and 1945. The worst part of the detention center, called "Little Camp," had kept humans on bunks like livestock in buildings meant for horses. Corpses once lined the street, and people were forced to use their food bowls for latrines.

But on Friday the scene was full of life — a verdant forest, overgrown and blossoming, with rolling German farmland in the distance. "There's a certain irony about the beauty of the landscape and the horror that took place here," Obama said after walking through the grounds, as puffy white seedlings floated through the air. Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize–winning author, who had been a prisoner at the camp as a teenager, walked with Obama. "If these trees could talk," Wiesel said....(Click for remainder.)


Thom Hartmann on Obama


Behind Obama's Beautiful Rhetoric

By Matthew Rothschild
The Progressive

Barack Obama was at his finest in Cairo, and that’s mighty fine.

He summoned all his talents not just as a speechwriter but also as a speechthinker to bravely put on the table just about all the mess that needs to be dealt with.

In his refreshing manner of treating everybody like intelligent adults, he basically told the world to discard foolish and dangerous ideas.

To the 9/11 conspiracists here in the U.S. and in the Muslim world, he said, “Let us be clear: Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. . . . These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.”

Similarly, he said, denying the Holocaust “is baseless, it is ignorant, and it is hateful.”

On the vexing issue of Israel and Palestine, Obama equally discussed the grievances on both sides. He acknowledged “the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” he rejected additional Israeli settlements, and he called on Palestinians to “abandon violence.”

He pointed out that “privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time,” he said, “for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.”

In a crazy world, this was a plea for rationality and for “mutual respect.”

Obama used the “respect” word several times, intentionally signaling that the United States does not look down upon the Muslim world. And he quoted the Koran several times to show his appreciation....(Click for remainder.)


Why Europeans Have it Wrong About Americans

By Peter Baldwin

Many Europeans think that the US is full of gun-toting maniacs and illiterate morons. In part two of his series on trans-Atlantic differences, American historian Peter Baldwin shows why Europeans have this -- and plenty of other facts about America -- plain wrong.

In a three-part essay for SPIEGEL ONLINE, American historian Peter Baldwin argues that the EU and the US are much more similar than they think. You can read part one of his essay here.

When compared to Europe, the US welfare state is often portrayed as miserly and undeveloped. And so it is, if the standard is taken to be Sweden or Germany. But if we look at the span of social policy across Europe, a different picture emerges.

Of course, America has no universal system of health insurance -- Michael Moore's 2006 film Sicko will ensure that no one forgets that. Some 15 percent of the American population is not covered. There is no question that being uninsured is unfair and brutal, nor that the lack of universal health coverage is the most pressing problem of American domestic politics. The true disgrace of American health care is that infant mortality is higher than anywhere in Europe. President Obama seems determined not to let the financial crisis sidetrack his promise to improve access to health insurance.

Yet despite the too-large fraction of those who are not insured, if you judge by disease survival rates, Americans are relatively healthy and well-serviced by their health care system. For diabetes, heart and circulatory disease and strokes, the incidence rates and the number of years lost to sickness are firmly in the middle of the European spectrum.

For many cancers, incidence rates are high in the US. This could, of course, indicate noxious lifestyles, but it equally may suggest more vigilant diagnosis. Whatever the reason, cancer mortality rates are surprisingly low. The US has a higher incidence than any western European nation of breast cancer, for example, but the percentage of women who actually die of the disease is at the lower end of the European scale. And for the four major cancer killers (colorectal, lung, breast and prostate cancer), all European nations have worse survival rates than the US....(Click for remainder.)


Sophisticated Europeans, Obese Americans? (Trans-Atlantic Comparison Part 1)

By Peter Baldwin

One side is home to red wine-sipping Europeans, the other to gun-toting Americans: A whole slew of stereotypes can be found on both sides of the Atlantic. But, as American historian Peter Baldwin argues in a three-part essay for SPIEGEL ONLINE, the EU and the US are much more similar than they think.

Talk about upending accepted certainties! While Europe is now in the hands of right-of-center parties (see France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Denmark and the UK's David Cameron pacing restlessly in the wings), America has "gone socialist."

Nationalizing the financial sector by the back door, considering massive subsidization of production industries, increasing state spending on health care and education, promising big investments in all manner of greenery, and limiting executive salaries: Is Obama beating Europe at its own game?

"We are all socialists now," Newsweek trumpeted in February, predicting that, "as entitlement spending rises over the next decade, we will become even more French." General Jack D. Ripper, Doctor Strangelove's nemesis, who fulminated against fluoridation as another of communism's nefarious advances, must be rotating in his Valhalla.

How quickly things change. It seems like just a few months ago that the presidency of the younger Bush -- unilaterally going to war, refusing to submit to international treaties, disparaging the seriousness of global ecological catastrophe -- convinced bien pensant opinion on both sides of the Atlantic that the gulf between the US and Europe was stark and growing ever wider. Indeed, old and well-worn mental ruts are hard to steer out of. It remains a staple of political discourse on both sides of the Atlantic that Europe and America are worlds apart. Everyone knows this....(Click for remainder.)


Knowledge and IQ

There's more intelligence and IQ in this one pictures that there was in the entire GOP!

President Barack Obama speaks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton following the President's talk with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office, May 28, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.


Kennedy Details Vision for Health Care

Government Subsidies Would Help Families; Insurance Firms' Profits Could Decline

By Ceci Connolly
The Washington Post

Three months after he was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) vowed in an emotional Democratic National Convention address last summer that health reform would be "the cause of my life."

Nearly a year later, Kennedy, rarely seen in public, has put that vision to paper in legislation that would provide generous government subsidies to families buying coverage, place significant responsibilities on employers, create a new long-term-care program for millions of people with disabilities, and perhaps reach into the profits of insurance companies.

The 170-page bill, still labeled a draft, is by far the most liberal approach to health-care reform being discussed in Washington and potentially is quite expensive. It does not identify how the expansion of health coverage would be paid for, except to require businesses to provide insurance for workers or pay penalties.

After spending "scores of hours in the Kennedy workhorse meetings" that assembled a diverse range of stakeholders, Neil Trautwein, a vice president of the National Retail Federation, said he was surprised and disappointed that the team had resorted to a "lot of the same old tired ideas we have fought against for many years."...(Click for remainder.)



By Jesse Lee
The White House

(The American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, a tiny Normandy village which will welcome yet another
US president when Barack Obama visits its clifftop graveyard, a symbol of America's sacrifice for
Europe's freedom. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

In Normandy this morning, the President spoke at the 65th Anniversary Ceremony:
Lyndon Johnson once said that there are certain moments when "...history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom."

D-Day was such a moment. One newspaper noted that "we have come to the hour for which we were born." Had the Allies failed here, Hitler's occupation of this continent might have continued indefinitely. Instead, victory here secured a foothold in France. It opened a path to Berlin. It made possible the achievements that followed the liberation of Europe: the Marshall Plan, the NATO alliance, the shared prosperity and security that flowed from each.

It was unknowable then, but so much of the progress that would define the 20th century, on both sides of the Atlantic, came down to the battle for a slice of beach only six miles long and two miles wide.

More particularly, it came down to the men who landed here -- those who now rest in this place for eternity, and those who are with us here today. Perhaps more than any other reason, you, the veterans of that landing, are why we still remember what happened on D-Day. You're why we keep coming back.

For you remind us that in the end, human destiny is not determined by forces beyond our control. You remind us that our future is not shaped by mere chance or circumstance. Our history has always been the sum total of the choices made and the actions taken by each individual man and woman. It has always been up to us.

You could have done what Hitler believed you would do when you arrived here. In the face of a merciless assault from these cliffs, you could have idled the boats offshore. Amid a barrage of tracer bullets that lit the night sky, you could have stayed in those planes. You could have hid in the hedgerows or waited behind the seawall. You could have done only what was necessary to ensure your own survival.

But that's not what you did. That's not the story you told on D-Day. Your story was written by men like Zane Schlemmer of the 82nd Airborne, who parachuted into a dark marsh, far from his objective and his men. Lost and alone, he still managed to fight his way through the gunfire and help liberate the town in which he landed -- a town where a street now bears his name.

It's a story written by men like Anthony Ruggiero, an Army Ranger who saw half the men on his landing craft drown when it was hit by shellfire just a thousand yards off this beach. He spent three hours in freezing water, and was one of only 90 Rangers to survive out of the 225 who were sent to scale the cliffs.

And it's a story written by so many who are no longer with us, like Carlton Barrett. Private Barrett was only supposed to serve as a guide for the 1st Infantry Division, but he instead became one of its heroes. After wading ashore in neck-deep water, he returned to the water again and again and again to save his wounded and drowning comrades. And under the heaviest possible enemy fire, he carried them to safety. He carried them in his own arms.

(President Barack Obama (L-R), Britain's Prince Charles, Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Canada's
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and France's President Nicolas Sarkozy arrive at the Colleville-sur-Mer
cemetery to attend a ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy
June 6, 2009. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

(Carli Bruni, First Lady Michelle Obama and Charles Payne listen to President Barack Obama speak during the
ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the Allied D-Day landings in Normandy at the Normandy American
Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville sur Mer in Western France, Saturday, June 6, 2009.
Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

(President Barack Obama speaks during the ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the Allied D-Day
landings in Normandy at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville sur Mer in
Western France, Saturday, June 6, 2009. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)


President Obama Remembers Bravery of D-Day Veterans

President Barack Obama, Britain's Prince Charles and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrive at the American Cemetery at Colleville-Sur-Mer, near Caen, Western France, on Saturday. (Francois Mori/AP)

By The Associated Press

CAEN, France - Recalling the "unimaginable hell" of D-Day suffering, President Barack Obama paid tribute Saturday to the against-all-odds Allied landings that broke Nazi Germany's grip on France and turned the tide of history.

"The sheer improbability of this victory is part of what makes D-Day so memorable," Obama said.

He spoke under a sunny sky at the American Cemetery on cliffs overlooking Omaha Beach and other landings sites where American, British and Canadian soldiers established a beachhead 65 years ago under the withering fire of Nazi troops awaiting the Allies' cross-channel gamble.
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

Obama visited an American battlefield museum with his wife, Michelle; laid a wreath in honor of the fallen; greeted U.S. military members; and mingled with uniformed World War II veterans.

Normandy's cliffs, still pocked with gun emplacements and other remnants of the war, including the white headstones of thousands of buried American troops, provided sure footing for a new U.S. commander in chief.

Obama noted that the site has been visited by many U.S. presidents and predicted that "Long after our time on this Earth has passed, one word will still bring forth the pride and awe of men and women who will never meet the heroes who sit before us: D-Day."

He said the lessons of that pivotal effort are eternal.

"Friends and veterans, what we cannot forget — what we must not forget — is that D-Day was a time and a place where the bravery and selflessness of a few was able to change the course of an entire century," he said....(Click for remainder.)


Watching the Eurosceptics

Geert Wilders, Declan Ganley and Jean-Marie Le Pen. Images: Fabien Dany; AFP; all rights reserved
By PressEurop

Opponents of the Lisbon Treaty, anti-capitalists, far-right extremists - dissenting parties may well be the major winners in the European elections, but what weight will they carry in the future parliament? wonders the European press.

Analysis of polls and results of the vote in the Netherlands suggest that Eurosceptics will be more numerous in the next parliament. As Polish daily Dziennik reports, the prospective alliance between British Conservatives, the Polish Law and Justice party and the Czech ODS has supporters of the Lisbon Treaty breaking out in a cold sweat, especially since this group may become the second largest force in Parliament, with the added anxiety that it will possibly benefit from the support of a extreme-right group led by Jean-Marie Le Pen and the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders. If the Eurosceptics win enough votes, worries Dziennik, the European Union will have to postpone projects for common diplomatic initiatives, and plans to appoint a President of the European Union and a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Not all Eurosceptics are extremists, however, though extremists may be well be major winners in the current elections. German weekly Die Zeit reports that at least 12 extreme-right parties are expected to send representatives to Brussels and Strasbourg. “The extreme-right has now established a powerful network in Europe,” it claims, and traditional parties have been unable to devise a strategy to oppose them. “All too often, democratic parties avoid taking these groups to task in constructive debate, but simply tolerate them with a condescending smile,” says political analyst Britta Schellenberg. They tend “to respond on a strictly local level instead of reasoning in terms of Europe.”

The Right does not have a monopoly on Euroscepticism, however, points out Le Figaro, which reports that in France, the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) and the Front for the Left are "rejecting a federal Europe,” which they believe is too free-market oriented. There are many other players that could be “broadly defined as sovereigntist” - latest estimates indicate 180 MEPs from a total of 736, but this is a very heterogeneous group, and it is likely to remain so after the elections. In countries like Poland, the conservative French daily remarks, it’s not easy to see what Lech Walesa and the League of Polish Families, which are both represented on the Libertas list, have in common. Nor do the “No voters” of the French Socialist Party have much by way of a shared platform with the Scandinavian June Movement groups, who are campaigning for the withdrawal of Denmark and Sweden from the European Union. “Apart from their rejection of the EU, or the call to build a new Europe, these parties are unable to construct a coherent movement that could present positive proposals,” Le Figaro concludes....(Click for remainder.)


Obama's Speech to Muslims “Deceptive”, Taliban Says

Is there really anyone that is surprised these religious fundamentalist, women-hating, sub-human, ignorant whack-jobs would say this? Was there anyone expecting the Taliban to say "Oh, great! Now we'll join the mainstream of the world?"

By Michael Roddy

LONDON, June 6 (Reuters) - The Taliban said on Saturday that U.S. President Barack Obama's speech to the Muslim world was full of "deceptive slogans" and did nothing to change relations between America and Muslims.

The speech, which Obama delivered at Cairo University on Thursday, "had nothing substantial in terms of content in order to reduce the dissonance that has reached its peak between Muslims and America", the Taliban leadership said in a message posted on Islamist Internet forums and translated by SITE Intelligence Group.

"His occupation and transgressing forces continue to kill, torture and arrest Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq, trample upon their deserved rights with their feet, mercilessly kill them for defending their rights and throw them in the most horrible prisons in the world," the message added.

Obama's address, lasting almost an hour, was merely the "continuation of the previous deceptive slogans of America", the message said.

Violence in Afghanistan has surged to its highest levels since the 2001 U.S. invasion toppled the Taliban, which had harbored the al Qaeda network responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

Washington also is worried about the stability of nuclear-armed Pakistan in face of a growing insurgency and has urged action against militants to help defeat al Qaeda and disrupt support for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani army launched an offensive against Taliban fighters and their allies in the Swat valley in the northwest of the country last month.

The message from the Taliban was its first reaction to Obama's speech, which has been widely scrutinised in the Muslim world....(Click for remainder.)


Rep. Hechler to President Obama: Time for a Harry S. Truman Moment in the Coalfields

By Jeff Biggers
The Huffington Post

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from Birmingham Jail, 1963

Last month, as protesters from around the country converged in the Coal River Valley in West Virginia to protest Massey Energy's reckless mountaintop removal blasting operations within a short distance of a 7-billion gallon coal sludge impoundment, their ranks included 94-year-old former US Representative Ken Hechler.

It was not the legendary West Virginia congressman's first march for justice: In 1965, Hechler was the only member of the US Congress to join Martin Luther King, Jr. on his march for civil rights in Selma, Alabama.

Nearly 45 years after that historic moment, Hechler has a message for President Barack Obama: It's time for President Obama to have a Harry S. Truman moment, and issue an executive order to abolish the destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia.

Standing in defiance at the Massey property line of a mountaintop removal mining operation that could jeopardize the lives of thousands of valley residents -- Massey's own evacuation plan determined that if the Brushy Fork coal sludge impoundment broke, nearly 1,000 nearby residents would have less than 4 minutes to flee -- Hechler called on Washington, DC to recognize the urgent crisis at hand.

On the heels of last December's TVA coal ash pond disaster, Hechler referred to the Brushy Fork Dam as an example of the "arrogance of power." Hechler declared: "The freedom of Massey is a clear and present danger to everybody that lives below Brushy Fork. Their freedom ends because they have put thousands of people at risk, who would be surely killed just the way the 125 were killed in 1972 on Buffalo Creek. The first three words of the constitution are 'We the People,' not 'We the Corporations.'"...(Click for remainder.)


Tweet of the Week: Colorado Leads Nation Out of Recession

By Wendy Norris
The Colorado Independent

When do economists predict this good news will happen in the Centennial State? Look below the fold.

In a new monthly Adversity Index compiled by and Moody’s, Colorado should recover by the end of the fourth quarter of 2009. The index measures employment, industrial production, housing starts and house prices to forecast the recovery time lines for states and metro areas.
Why will some states recover faster than others?

High-tech industry is one element. A slowdown in technology spending in 2008 and 2009 has created a pent-up demand for technology — businesses that know they need to upgrade and are waiting for the ability to spend.

“States that have a high concentration in tech-related industries are well positioned to take advantage of this trend, which is particularly true of Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and to a lesser extent Texas,” said economist Andrew Gledhill of Moody’s

“Although not scheduled to begin its recovery until a quarter later, New Mexico also fits into this category of benefiting from a tech recovery.”

Why is Texas, which has less high-tech industry, on the list for early job growth?

“The state had largely missed out on the housing boom (as did Colorado) and was among the last to join the recession, in large part due to lingering impacts from the energy boom of years past,” Gledhill said. “Similarly, other expected early risers such as Washington and Colorado were also relatively late to join the recession for various reasons. Thus, as conditions begin to turn nationally, they have less of a hole to dig themselves out of.”...

(Click for remainder.)


Czechs Fear Rise of the Right in EU Vote

Extremists parties are unlikely to win seats, but they could win state subsidies.

By Bruce I. Konviser
Global Post

PRAGUE — Like others throughout the continent, Czechs are voting in European parliamentary elections on Saturday. And there is growing concern over the rise of right-wing extremist parties.

More than 30 parties are competing for the 22 Czech seats in the European parliament, and the two leading parties from the left and the right are expected to gain the lion's share of those seats.

It's not that any of the extremist parties is expected to win enough votes to gain a seat in Brussels, but rather that a combination of broad public apathy towards European elections combined with a get-out-the-vote drive by the extremists could result in one or more parties qualifying for state subsidies.

Political parties receive state funds based on the number of votes they get above a certain threshold, explained Walek Czeslaw, the deputy minister for human rights.

“The real fear is that with the low (overall) turnout they'll pass 1 percent of the vote and qualify for state funding,” he said.

Jan Hartl, director for the STEM polling agency, said both the Workers Party and the National Party could cross that threshold, if they can turn out about 26,000 voters. Of course, if overall voter turnout is higher than expected — perhaps 35 percent — than the 1 percent threshold will be higher.

In a campaign dominated by an outbreak of egg throwing whenever the leader of the Social Democrats took the stage, a 60-second add that aired only once on Czech public television managed to provoke a public outcry, if only momentarily....(Click for remainder.)


Netherlands Embraces Far Right Douchbags in EU Elections

I find this incredibly disturbing. This "movement" is happening all over Europe, and to me, offering an ill portent of things to come on this continent. Anyone who has studied history, will immediately note that this is the same sort of movement that swept Hitler and the Nazi Party into power in 1920s Germany. As philosopher George Santayana said, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

By Andrew Willis
EU Observer

Neo-nazi jerkoffs look on as Geert Wilders campaigns in Leeuwarden, Netherlands (Photo: Jacco De Boer)
The Dutch far-right Freedom Party (PVV) of Total F*@king Whack-Job Geert Wilders made the greatest leap forward in the country's EU elections on Thursday (4 June), with 16.9 percent in exit polls. But the ruling conservatives came top overall.

The result is a major victory for the openly anti-Islamic party, giving it four seats in the European legislature and a possibility that this could rise to five once the final count is completed.

The Freedom Party came second only to the ruling Christian Democrats (CDA) of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, which exit polls suggest will win 20 percent of the vote or five of the 25 seats up for grabs.

This is a fall of four percent from the last European elections in 2004, resulting in the loss of two MEPs for the party.

As the xenophobic party's celebrations got under way, Mr Wilders said his success was a vote against the current administration and an overly costly EU.

"People have had enough of Europe as it is now - a big Europe with Turkey possibly joining - that we spend billions on each year," he said according to newswires.

"I think some people have also had enough of the Balkenende and Bos Cabinet," he added, referring to the prime minister and his Labour Party finance minister.

The results tally with pre-election predictions of greater support for far right and fringe parties as a result of the economic crisis and fears over immigration in the country.

The Labour Party - the junior coalition partner in the government - appeared the main loser in Thursday's vote, taking only 12.2 percent of the vote resulting in a drop from seven to three seats in the European parliament....(Click for remainder.)


Poll: Few Voters Think Sotomayor is a 'Racist,' Majority Say She's Qualified

By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Independent

Only eight percent of Americans agree with Tom Tancredo that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor “is a racist,” according to a non-partisan poll released Friday. A majority ranks “empathy” as important for a Supreme Court justice and an even bigger majority says Sotomayor is qualified for the high court.

The results, The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent writes, “strongly suggests that the two main right-wing talking points about Sonia Sotomayor are a bust.”

Despite a barrage of attacks by Tancredo, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and others characterizing Sotomayor as a racist, voters aren’t buying it, according to a telephone poll of 2,400 adults conducted by Research 2000 for Daily Kos.

Even among Republicans, only 19 percent think the federal judge, who would be the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court, is a racist.

Among Latinos surveyed, only two percent say Sotomayor is a racist — within the poll’s margin of error — and 83 percent say she isn’t.

Here are the results for all adults surveyed:
Based on what you know or have heard about Sonia Sotomayor do you think she is a racist?
YES 8 percent
NO 61 percent
NOT SURE 31 percent

Do you think empathy is an important characteristic for a Supreme Court Justice to possess or not?
YES 52 percent
NO 29 percent
NOT SURE 19 percent

Based on what you know or have heard about Sonia Sotomayor do you think she is qualified to become Supreme Court Justice or not?
YES 54 percent
NO 26 percent
NOT SURE 20 percent
(Click for original.)



All material is the copyright of the respective authors. The purveyor of this blog has made and attempt, whenever possible, to credit the appropriate copyright holder.

  © Blogger template Newspaper by 2008

Back to TOP