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Clerics announce Sharia in S Waziristan
Today's Headlines
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-Short Attention Span Theater-
Jesus in a pasta dish
A man in California claims the image of Jesus appeared to him while he was eating a plate of manicotti at an Italian restaurant, according to a Local 6 News report. Leo Williams said the image appeared before his eyes in the form of a bubbling, burned portion of cheese on his pasta dinner. Williams showed several people at the business who said they also saw the Jesus image and began to take photos of the discovery.

"I looked at the plate and before I started to eat it I thought, I'm not sure about this," Williams said. "So, we called the hostess. She came over and just got chills. The next thing you know you got the cameras coming out. You got people who are eating here coming to our table to see it. They just had chili chills. There were about 100 people taking pictures."

Williams said since the lunch, a chronic stomach problem he has had since birth has vanished.
Posted by: Jackal || 03/11/2006 18:49 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6471 views] Top|| File under:

#1  and the mental problem you've had from birth? how is that doing?
Posted by: Spinesh Grosing2566 || 03/11/2006 19:04 Comments || Top||

#2  Human brain is wired to see potential patterns. So it's not surprising that some people will find meaningful patterns where others see nonsense.

BTW, it appears that other mammals mostly experience all the discrete sensory details around them, whereas we first and foremost see general patterns. The difference between their brains and ours is that ours has a much bigger frontal and pre-frontal cortex, with a lot more interconnections. The cortex actually suppresses a lot of sensory input in the process. It's not just that dogs have much better equipped noses, for instance - it's also that we don't pay attention to what our noses DO smell, much of the time.

My source on this is a variety of studies that track brain activity while people and animals perform various tasks / are presented with various stimuli. For an interesting and non-academic-ish book that talks about this (and a bunch of other things) try Temple Grandin's Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior. She's the famous animal behaviorist who works miracles in redesigning feedlots, cattle ramps etc. and who is also a high-functioning autistic. Unlike the majority of people who think in words, she thinks in pictures and discrete memories of smells etc., i.e. in ways that she believes are a lot closer to the 'mental' activity of other mammals.

Sorry for the long comment ... it's a topic that not only plays into my professional work, but also interests me as a dog lover.

Posted by: lotp || 03/11/2006 19:26 Comments || Top||

#3  Your long comments are your best.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/11/2006 19:28 Comments || Top||

#4  BTW, it appears that other mammals mostly experience all the discrete sensory details around them, whereas we first and foremost see general patterns. The difference between their brains and ours is that ours has a much bigger frontal and pre-frontal cortex, with a lot more interconnections. The cortex actually suppresses a lot of sensory input in the process.

Right, lotp. One of the first "Oh, wow, man!" effects of hallucinogenic drugs is often the suppression of that human ability to filter out "noise." Very mundane things become very vivid and important. Later effects often over-stimulate the human ability to see patterns, creating many, if not most, hallucinations ... er, or so I've been told.
Posted by: xbalanke || 03/11/2006 20:09 Comments || Top||

#5  I think the important question here is: why manicotti? Given the wide assortment of Italian cuisine, selecting a specific manicotti must have meant something. Of course, it also depends whether it was, say, a Napolini manicotti or a Sicilian manicotti; vegetarian, beef, chicken or ham--noting of course that there is no mention of chicken in the KJV bible at all.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/11/2006 20:24 Comments || Top||

#6  I saw Satan in a Ziti...does that count?
Posted by: Frank G || 03/11/2006 21:04 Comments || Top||

#7  I saw Satan in a Ziti...does that count?

Depends on the sauce.
Posted by: xbalanke || 03/11/2006 21:20 Comments || Top||

#8  What year and model Ziti... two door sports coupe or four-door sedan?
Posted by: Sgt. Mom || 03/11/2006 21:39 Comments || Top||

#9  The cortex actually suppresses a lot of sensory input in the process.

Probably explains why my senses of hearing and smell get acute when I have a migraine...
Posted by: Pappy || 03/11/2006 22:38 Comments || Top||

22 F-14 Tomcats fly in from last deployment
Hat tip: Murdoc Online
There are some great pix along with the story of the end of the last Tomcat deployment at link. Be sure to check out both Parts 1 and 2.
Posted by: Dar || 03/11/2006 16:34 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

Caribbean-Latin America
Oh, Goodie: Fidel Gets New Plane From Ruskies
Cuba has purchased a top-of-the-line Russian airliner for President Fidel Castro, the BBC reported Thursday.

The plane is one of two Russian planes being purchased by the communist island for a total price of $110 million.

The other plane will reportedly be used to transport Cuban workers back and forth from Venezuela.

Russian manufacturer Ilyushin said Castro`s plane was completely customized for the long-time Cuban leader and included state of the art electronics and a sofa bed.

Posted by: Captain America || 03/11/2006 17:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Can I buy an "e" Vanna? As in plane
Posted by: Captain America || 03/11/2006 17:05 Comments || Top||

#2  It's all your, Captain. Installed and everything. ;-)
Posted by: lotp || 03/11/2006 17:53 Comments || Top||

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Bloodier than Stalingrad ... the victory that Russia kept quiet
Posted by: lotp || 03/11/2006 20:49 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6465 views] Top|| File under:

Milosevic death won't stop war crimes trial
(2006-03-11) — The sudden death of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic in a United Nations prison toady won’t keep “the butcher of the Balkans” off the witness stand nor slow the proceedings in his genocide trial, according to an unnamed spokesman at the Hague.

“If he thinks that he can slow down this court by dying, he’s gravely mistaken,” said the anonymous source. “There’s nothing that can retard our administration of justice, nor reduce the credibility of this global institution.”

Mr. Milosovic, imprisoned at the Hague five years ago, faces a variety of war crimes charges, including the genocide of more than 8,000 Muslims during his bloody decade ruling the former Soviet state.

The court spokesman said that after an autopsy, Mr. Milosevic would now undergo another round of psychiatric examinations to determine his continuing fitness to stand trial.
Posted by: Korora || 03/11/2006 17:31 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I kinda in a strange way believe this will happen. I know scrapple face is satire but I hardly doubt that the court is done milking all the money it can from the world at large.
Posted by: mag44_vaquero || 03/11/2006 18:05 Comments || Top||

#2  This just in....
Generalisimo Franco is still dead.
Posted by: Ebbush Creter3000 || 03/11/2006 18:39 Comments || Top||

Master Criminals Steal £75million In Monopoly Money
BUNGLING crooks who robbed a van on its way to Heathrow got away with £75million — in MONOPOLY money. The gang snatched the white Ford Transit from a street — convinced it was crammed with genuine currency. But it was carrying hundreds of copies of the family board game, plus bundles of worthless Monopoly £500 and £100 notes to be used in an ad campaign.

Police last night vowed to send the hopeless Great Game Robbers straight to jail — WITHOUT passing Go. One detective quipped: “There will be no Get Out Of Jail free card for these chancers when we catch them.

“And they won’t be collecting £200 either.”

The brand new liquid petroleum gas van was stolen as its driver made a delivery in Slough, near the airport. A courier was due to drive it to Heathrow next day, so its cargo could be loaded on a plane to Czech capital Prague.

Inside were copies of a new express travel version of the traditional property-buying game — and piles of notes issued by the fictional Bank of Monopoly. They were to be used as props in a commercial by makers Hasbro, being filmed in Prague to highlight how Monopoly has become an international game. One scene was to show notes raining down over the city on to happy players.

Police are working on the theory that word got around the criminal world that an important shipment was in transit — and that somehow the gang became convinced that real money was involved. A police source said: “Apparently the driver left his keys in the van and came back to see a man inside trying to start it.

“He tried to haul the thief from the vehicle but was unsuccessful and it sped off.”

The van was spotted ten days after the theft, but its contents had gone. A 32-year-old man at the wheel was arrested and was last night being held on remand.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/11/2006 09:28 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6472 views] Top|| File under:

#1  They knew what they were doing - it was a hit squad sent by the triad (Milton Bradley - Mattel - Electronic Arts).
Posted by: Threans Sniter5240 || 03/11/2006 12:09 Comments || Top||

#2  LOL.
The Parker Bros. don't take stealing from the family lightly.
Posted by: 6 || 03/11/2006 12:43 Comments || Top||

#3  Still waiting for the internet posting by the shadowy board game militant group 'Al-Qaeda in Candyland'...
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/11/2006 13:45 Comments || Top||

#4  Don't forget the game for future snipers: "Shoots and Ladders". ;-)
Posted by: lotp || 03/11/2006 13:58 Comments || Top||

#5  First jihadis kidnap GI joe... then Al Capone steals Monopoly banknotes... I see a pattern, there...
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/11/2006 14:03 Comments || Top||

#6  pretty good, LOTP :-)
Posted by: Frank G || 03/11/2006 15:21 Comments || Top||

#7  For the more computer-inclined terrorist: Missed! and Riving.
Posted by: Korora || 03/11/2006 18:03 Comments || Top||

#8  Trivial Pursuit.
Posted by: john || 03/11/2006 20:04 Comments || Top||

Milosevic found dead in his cell
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has died, the UN tribunal said on Saturday, just decades months before his war crimes trial was expected to conclude.
It was expected to conclude? Who knew?
"Milosevic was found lifeless on his bed in his cell at the United Nations detention unit," the tribunal said in a statement.
"Time to get up, Slobo!... Slobo?"
"The guard immediately alerted the detention unit officer in command and the medical officer. The latter confirmed that Slobodan Milosevic was dead."
"He's dead, Jim!"
The tribunal said the Dutch police and a Dutch coroner were called in and started an inquiry. A full autopsy and toxicological examination have been ordered.
"Dr. Quincy? Ms. del Ponte's on the line. Should I tell her you're out?"
Milosevic's family has been informed, it added. The tribunal did not say how Milosevic had died. French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Milosevic had died of natural causes.
I'd guess he died of boredom, myself...
This was the Netherlands. Wonder if they euthanized him?
In a statement at an EU foreign ministers meeting just after news of Milosevic's death was confirmed, he said: "With the death of Milosevic, one of the main actors if not the the main actor in the Balkan wars of the late 20th century has left the scene."
G'bye, Slobo! Give our warmest regards to Himmler!
"I would like to spare a thought for all those who suffered so much from ethnic cleansing, tens of thousands of men, women and children, which Milosevic conceived and planned."
"... but they're all dead, and we were all so much younger then, so it's time to move on."
Serbia-Montenegro Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic said on Saturday it was a pity former President Slobodan Milosevic had not been tried in his own country. "Milosevic organised many many assassinations of people of my party, of people of my family... He ordered a few times asasination attempts against my life," Draskovic told reporters at a European Union foreign ministers' meeting. "What can I say? I can say it's a pity he didn't face justice in Belgrade."
Wonder if Ramsey Clark's signed up to represent him before St. Peter yet...
Milosevic's death does not change the need for Serbia and Montenegro to come to terms with its past, the Austrian presidency of the European Union said.
5... 4... 3... 2... Cue the Munchkins!
Milosevic, 64, suffered a heart condition and high blood pressure which had repeatedly interrupted his trial in The Hague on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes during the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Two cardiologists treating Milosevic in The Hague had warned he was at risk of a potentially life threatening condition known as a hypertensive emergency, when surges in blood pressure can damage the heart, kidneys and central nervous system. Last month, the tribunal rejected a request by Milosevic to travel to Russia for specialist medical treatment, noting that his trial - that has already lasted four interminable years - was in the final stages and he might not return to complete it. The court said Milosevic's lawyers had not shown that his medical needs could not be met in the Netherlands and said experts from abroad could come to The Hague to treat him. Milosevic, who was overthrown in 2000 and sent to The Hague in June 2001, said last month his health was worsening.
So, on his headstone they can engrave "See? I told you I was sick!"
Posted by: Paul Moloney || 03/11/2006 08:26 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  A week after Milan Babic.

I wonder what would be the reaction be if the same thing happened to Sadam?
Posted by: swiss Tex || 03/11/2006 8:38 Comments || Top||

#2  PIMF
Posted by: swiss Tex || 03/11/2006 8:39 Comments || Top||

#3  Does this mean the trial is over?? Or will it continue for another ten years?
Posted by: DMFD || 03/11/2006 8:43 Comments || Top||

#4  The UN has a "Detention Center"?
The way they rail about Gitmo you'd think that there was no such lawful thing as any "Detention Center?.

Ah, I get it now, they want to run all phases of any type of incarceration "Center" for when they themselves "Visit" for the next 20 or so.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 03/11/2006 8:45 Comments || Top||

#5  From another article:

The European Union (EU) said Saturday that the death of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague is a sad moment, but does not change the need for the region to come to terms with the past.

Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, told reporters here that she had been informed of the news on the death of Milosevic.

Plassnik said the passing away of any human being is itself a sad moment and that the death of Milosevic "does not alter in any way the need for the region to come to terms with the legacy of the past, of which Slobodan Milosevic has been a part."

No doubt Plassnik would have found a good word for Hitler; but then he was an Austrian, too.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/11/2006 9:05 Comments || Top||

#6  Oops, I commented on the other story, same topic, and rather duplicated DMFD's take. Sorry.
Posted by: Threans Sniter5240 || 03/11/2006 9:11 Comments || Top||

#7  alot of good news today
Posted by: Elmiting Gluger1772 || 03/11/2006 9:52 Comments || Top||

#8  Well then, my docket's clear for the next 10 years. No reason I can't take over the trial of Mr. Hussein
Posted by: Carla Del Ponte || 03/11/2006 11:48 Comments || Top||

#9  What gives? I thought the EUros didn't believe in the death penalty!
Posted by: Spot || 03/11/2006 12:21 Comments || Top||

#10  DMFD dittos

wouldn't want the Black Robes to miss out on any opvertime. Duct tape extra SloMo's corpse to a chair and do another 10.
Posted by: RD || 03/11/2006 12:32 Comments || Top||

#11  My wife's first thought was: "Damn, he cheated the hangman!" Then she remembered it was a UN trial. At least he died in jail.
Posted by: xbalanke || 03/11/2006 12:39 Comments || Top||

#12  He would have died of old age before the UN completed the 'trial' anyway.

Good Riddance....
Posted by: CrazyFool || 03/11/2006 13:10 Comments || Top||

#13  The worst thing about Slobo is that he discredited anti-jihadism. As it stands, the worst ethnic cleansers in Europe - Kosovo and Bosnia - do so under the protective wing of NATO. If the Serbs had articulated their concerns of Muslim extremism, and used civil means - where possible - of social pacification, they could have led Europe in counter-terrorism. Like President Nixon, Milosevic gave a "sword" to the wrong people, and they cut his political throat.
Posted by: Listen To Dogs || 03/11/2006 13:57 Comments || Top||

#14  He should have just plead guilty. If you take the usual maximum Euro-sentence of < 10 years, subtract time served and time off for good behavior, he would have been home five years ago.
Posted by: 11A5S || 03/11/2006 14:29 Comments || Top||

#15  With apologies for having bothered him.
Posted by: lotp || 03/11/2006 14:30 Comments || Top||

#16  Next up: Karadzic and Mladic.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/11/2006 14:55 Comments || Top||

#17  no wonder that cold snap moved through... brrr it's cold when they open those doors to hell.
Posted by: 2b || 03/11/2006 16:11 Comments || Top||

#18  10:00 hours GMT: Milo still dead.

Cause of death: IC tedium
Posted by: Captain America || 03/11/2006 17:14 Comments || Top||

#19  May flocks of demons guide him to his rest.
Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/11/2006 21:17 Comments || Top||

Milosevic dies in jail
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has died, the UN tribunal said on Saturday.

Duplicate. Snipped, but saved for comments.

Another successful detention and prosecution by the EU
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/11/2006 08:04 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Maybe he died of boredom.
Posted by: Paul Moloney || 03/11/2006 8:35 Comments || Top||

#2  I expect Amnesty International to investigate the prison conditions any day now.
Posted by: eLarson || 03/11/2006 9:04 Comments || Top||

#3  The trial will go on, however, in the name of EU full employment rules.
Posted by: Threans Sniter5240 || 03/11/2006 9:06 Comments || Top||

#4  Extrajudicial killings anyone?
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/11/2006 14:19 Comments || Top||

Berlusconi faces trouble as election nears
A month before tight national elections, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was besieged today by two new embarrassments: Prosecutors asked that he be put on trial for corruption, and his health minister resigned over accusations that he spied on political opponents. Neither development seemed the silver bullet that would kill off Mr. Berlusconi's chances for a second five-year term, as the opposition might fervently wish. Over a decade in which Mr. Berlusconi has been both in politics and the courtroom, Italians have long overlooked legal proceedings against him.

Still, this race, at a time of no economic growth and growing frustration among voters here, might be different. Polls indicate that Mr. Berlusconi, Italy's richest man, is running behind his center-left challenger, Romano Prodi.
Prodi is not center-left. There's no center in the man.
There are other problems as well, including an earlier resignation of a minister and continuing disarray among his center-right allies. "It's another two hits on a ship that is not very seaworthy to begin with," said James Walston, a professor at the American University in Rome.

But like anyone who follows Italian politics, Mr. Walston was quick to add that, whatever his weaknesses, Mr. Berlusconi has been fighting hard for re-election and remains very much in the race. "We certainly can't count him out," he said.

Italians go to the polls on April 9 and 10.

Following reports that their investigation was complete, prosecutors in Milan said today that they would ask that Mr. Berlusconi and a British lawyer, David Mills, be put on trial for judicial corruption. The prosecutors released no details, but the case has been widely reported in the Italian news media, and centers on whether Mr. Berlusconi ordered $600,000 to be paid in 1997 in exchange for Mr. Mills' providing false testimony in two other cases against Mr. Berlusconi.

Both Mr. Berlusconi and Mr. Mills have denied the charges, but the case has reverberated in Britain. Mr. Mills and his wife, Tessa Jowell, the British culture minister, separated last weekend after a parliamentary commission cleared Ms. Jowell of any impropriety after accusations that the money was used to pay off the mortgage on the couple's house.

Mr. Berlusconi's allies today dismissed the charges. They said that the timing, during the election, proved the prime minister's long contention that left-leaning prosecutors have a vendetta against him. His spokesman, Paolo Bonaiuti, released a statement calling the charges "false theories — shameful and impossible."

Prosecutors have been quoted in Italian news reports as saying they needed to act quickly because the statute of limitations for the crimes was shortened under legislation passed by Mr. Berlusconi's government. A judge must hold hearings on whether the case will go to trial, a process unlikely to be completed during the last month of campaigning. Such trials drag on for years and — as has been the case in other corruption cases against Mr. Berlusconi — are often voided because the statute of limitations run out.

Later today, the nation's health minister, Francesco Storace, resigned because of a widening scandal over whether he spied on political opponents during a hard-fought regional election last year. Earlier this week, 16 people, including police officers and private investigators, were arrested in the case. There were suspicions that Mr. Storace ordered video surveillance and wiretapping against opponents as he sought re-election as the president of the Lazio region, which includes Rome. He lost the race, and Mr. Berlusconi later appointed him health minister.

In announcing his resignation, Mr. Storace, a member of the National Alliance party, which is aligned with Mr. Berlusconi, released a statement saying that "the mere suspicion" of guilt "hurts me and makes me indignant."

Last month, Mr. Berlusconi's reforms minister, Roberto Calderoli, was forced to resign after he appeared on a television program wearing a T-shirt printed with the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have caused riots around the Muslim world. He stepped down after more than a dozen people were killed in a violent anti-Italian demonstration in Libya.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/11/2006 04:07 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

Police fire teargas at French students protesting jobs bill
French police fired teargas outside Paris's Sorbonne university and at least 1,000 students formed a human chain around the landmark Arc de Triomphe Thursday in protests over a new youth jobs contract approved by the upper house of parliament.

Late in the evening a large number of police officers remained deployed around the Sorbonne to contain some 200 protesters massed in front of the main entrance.

The face-off had begun in the early evening and tear gas was fired at around 9:00 pm (2000 GMT) to quell the student crowd and supporters who were pressing officers against the university gates.

Earlier there were several hundred protesters involved in the largely peaceful protest, shouting "scrap the CPE" and other slogans.

The controversial measure known as the First Employment Contract (CPE) -- a key part of the government's strategy to reduce youth unemployment -- introduces a two-year contract for those aged under 26 which can be terminated without explanation by the employer.

The diehard student protesters said they would keep up their protest at the Sorbonne all night.

The Rector-Chancellor of Paris Universities, Maurice Quenet, assured the press that the Sorbonne would open as normal on Friday, after being closed down on Thursday afternoon.

His office said that 80 students had erected barriers inside the university to stop classes from taking place.

Students also gathered near the Arc de Triomphe monument at the top of the Champs Elysees on Thursday afternoon before police took control of the broad square surrounding the arch around 5:30 pm (1630 GMT).

Police put the number of demonstrators at 1,000. Protestors claimed three times this number took part, mainly students from various faculties of the university of Paris.

"The aim of this hard-hitting action on the Champs Elysees is to make ourselves heard by the government which is not listening to us," Marianne, a 23-year-old Sorbonne student, told AFP.

"We will be determined, until the CPE is withdrawn," she said, adding that the demonstration was a peaceful protest.

French Prime Minister Dominique de "Villepin said 'it's not the street that rules' - but today it is!" one demonstrator, a student at Sorbonne university, told AFP.

Unions of employees and university and high school students also called for another day of protests across France to take place on Saturday, March 18.

In a joint statement they called for the next actions to be "even stronger than the last one", referring to mass demonstrations on Tuesday that saw 400,000 people take to the streets.

A day of action by university and high school student is also planned for March 16.

Earlier in the day France's conservative-dominated parliament approved the hotly-contested new youth jobs contract.

It was voted through the upper house Senate by 178 votes to 127 as part of a law on equal opportunities.

It had already passed through the lower house, the National Assembly, late Wednesday.

Posted by: lotp || 03/11/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I used to think that French youth were angry about the 20 percent unemployment rate among college graduates not being able to find work. Silly me.
Posted by: Perfessor || 03/11/2006 9:44 Comments || Top||

#2  Doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I assume that they are protesting 'which can be terminated without explanation by the employer'. I assume that the existing law doesn't permit this. Which would explain youth unemployment. What employer in their right mind would hire a new untested employee for a mandated two year stint. The person could turn out to be a complete bozo (or 'beauzau' in French) and then they'd be stuck with them. But, I guess they've stopped teaching macroeconomics in France.
Posted by: DMFD || 03/11/2006 10:14 Comments || Top||

#3  They teach socialist ideology instead.
Posted by: lotp || 03/11/2006 10:27 Comments || Top||

#4  First, it's a stupid law attempting to reduce some of the ill effects of even stupider laws. French employers will not be willing to employ people until the government gives them more say in the terms of employment.

Second, French universtiy students tend to be the elite and will get government and private sector jobs based on their education and connections. They want to ensure that those jobs keep their protections. Unemployment is high amoungst unskilled and less educated. The cost of employing people in France means that no new jobs are openning for that class.

When thinking about France consider it is like a feudal society with an elite class (university educated headed to government and corporate mangement), guilds (unions) and serfs.
Posted by: DoDo || 03/11/2006 12:15 Comments || Top||

#5  And to think it's not even May.
Posted by: 6 || 03/11/2006 12:41 Comments || Top||

#6  I guess they've stopped teaching macroeconomics in France.

Ain't that the truth. Have a look at this ranking of university economics departments. Notice something? (if the link doesn't work: out of the top 25 economics departments in the world, 21 are in the US, 2 are Canadian, 1 is Dutch, 1 is in the UK). France comes in at number 46. If we limit the ranking to European universities only, France comes in at number 7, and it's not even a Parisian university, but the university in Toulouse. If you want to see the full ranking (200 universities) or other details, they can be found here. It's a pdf file: Pantelis Kalaitzidakis, Theofanis P. Mamuneas, and Thanasis Stengos (2003), "Rankings of academic journals and institutions in economics", Journal of the European Economic Association, 1: 1346-1366.

Years and years ago I went to an economics graduate school information session at a Canadian university. One student asked about European schools. One of the (Canadian) profs there stated quite simply, paraphrasing, "you are living next to the biggest economic powerhouse in the world, why would you even consider studying economics anywhere else?". Case closed.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/11/2006 14:41 Comments || Top||

#7  I'll admit I just skimmed the article, but how many cars were torched? Isn't that the way they do all protests in France?
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/11/2006 15:57 Comments || Top||

#8  Alright, alright! We won't make you get jobs! Now go home and wait for your welfare checks.
Posted by: bigjim-ky || 03/11/2006 20:47 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
Lurch Lurching Again
As Senator John F. Kerry prepared to make a return to presidential-style politics with a classic day of New Hampshire campaigning, he said that the 2004 run left him tougher and more eager to fight.

''When you get knocked on your ass and lose a race, you've got to stop and reflect on what you're doing, why you're doing it, what matters, and what's important. And I did," Kerry said in an interview in his Senate office on Thursday. ''There's a very different John Kerry now who is absolutely crystal clear about how I communicate what I need to communicate. . . . People are going to be looking for leadership."

Kerry's efforts to launch another presidential bid have prompted grumbling from some Democrats, who question whether a second Kerry candidacy would be good for the party -- or even realistic. Some party insiders expect that leading fund-raisers and strategists will push Kerry out before the race starts, in favor of a fresh face for a party desperate to retake power.

But in most respects, the Massachusetts Democrat has never stopped running for president. He has maintained an aggressive financial operation that, since the end of the last campaign, has raised nearly $4 million for Democrats in races across the country, and has sent $3 million of his own campaign funds to help other candidates.

''I only know that I'm in a position to make this choice," Kerry said, reflecting his belief that he'd be a viable candidate should he decide to run. ''I'll do what I think is the right thing to do, based on my own gut and desire. I will not worry one instant about conventional wisdom. It was dead wrong in the last race, and it probably will be dead wrong again this time. I just don't buy into some of the things I hear around here based upon what happens when I go out and see people around the country."

Kerry has about $15 million on hand in his campaign accounts, a figure that is surpassed only by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York -- who has a war chest of about $17 million -- among potential 2008 Democratic contenders. He sends regular e-mails to a list of 3 million supporters and has begun trying to energize them by urging them to lobby on legislation and to help veterans who are running for Congress.

Many of the key figures from his 2004 run are still in Kerry's fold, working for either his Senate office or his political action committee. He has assumed a higher-profile role in the Senate. And since November 2004, he has visited 22 states to campaign for local Democrats, deliver speeches, and generate support for his proposal for universal healthcare for children.

''He's done a good job positioning himself as well as could be under the circumstances," said Joe Keefe, a former New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman. ''In a party that historically wants to bury the previous nominee, he's in a good position to buck that trend."

Kathy Sullivan, the current chairwoman of the New Hampshire Democrats, echoed Keefe, saying, ''I think people like John Kerry. They feel a real comfort level with him. That's an advantage. [But] you have to remember that the Democratic Party, unlike the Republicans, tends to be cruel to those who served as the banner carriers in the previous election."

Indeed, many Democrats remain sorely disappointed in Kerry's failure to defeat President Bush in a race they considered winnable. Looking to 2008, they are urging the party to turn to a new voice to reach out to voters who decided in 2004 that they couldn't support Kerry.

''I'm a very big fan of John Kerry, and I wish he had won very, very much. But I think he's had his shot, and we need a new direction," said John Wertheim, an early Kerry supporter in the last presidential race who is now chairman of the New Mexico Democratic Party. ''I do sense that there is a feeling in the party that he has had his chance, and that we need to move on to someone new. We need a real breath of fresh air, a new voice for the party."

Don Fowler, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said many in the party remain upset about Kerry's inability in 2004 to refine his policy positions into a coherent vision, a shortcoming that crystallized with his statement that he voted for Iraq war funding before voting against it.

''A commander is responsible for everything his unit does or fails to do," Fowler said. ''Senator Kerry has to persuade people. The burden of proof is on him. But it would be a grave mistake for people to summarily dismiss him."

Kerry insists that he hasn't made up his mind about whether he will mount another presidential bid, as virtually all potential candidates say this early in an election cycle. But behind the scenes, his aides have implored former supporters to refrain from backing other candidates. Kerry has made his intentions clear by criss-crossing the country with a vigor that has suprised many who questioned his commitment in the past. And he has made special time for the first-in-the-nation primary state that happens to be less than an hour's drive from his Beacon Hill home.

Many of Kerry's actions over the past 15 months seem designed to put to rest lingering doubts about his candidacy. Last spring, he authorized the release of his full military records, finally addressing an issue hammered home by the ''Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," the group whose attack ads battered Kerry's candidacy.
Really? Where are they?
He quickly sought to defend Representative John Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, after Murtha announced a proposal to withdraw troops from Iraq. Kerry, who was criticized for being slow to respond to the Swift boat veterans, said he wouldn't stand for ''Republican 'Swift Boat-style' attacks" on Murtha.

On Iraq, Kerry gave a speech last October calling for troop withdrawals and saying he would not have voted for the war given what he now knows -- a far crisper response than any he offered during the campaign.

Though he has never been known as a master legislator, Kerry has been more active in the Senate. He pushed through better benefits for families of veterans and led two major filibuster efforts: to block oil drilling in the Alaska wilderness and to stop Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. from joining the Supreme Court.

If Kerry does make another run, he'll be battling his party's recent history of shunning failed nominees. Not since Adlai Stevenson half a century ago have Democrats turned to a nominee who had previously lost the election for the presidency.

Kerry is banking that his fund-raising on behalf of candidates for everything from city council to the Senate will build him loyalty that will turn into endorsements during a presidential run. He has stayed in regular contact with his 2004 supporters in New Hampshire, Iowa, and other states; fund-raising for local Democratic candidates and organizations is at least the nominal motivation behind today's stops in Hampton, Newmarket, and Nashua.

''I'm energized. I'm as focused as I've ever been," Kerry said. ''You've kind of got to dust yourself off, and say, 'OK, I took one in the jaw on that.' . . . I am a much better public person-slash-candidate as a consequence of that [campaign.]"
The democrat whom the gods would destroy, they run against Hillary.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/11/2006 16:06 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This should make for good folly, popcorn anyone?
Posted by: Captain America || 03/11/2006 17:07 Comments || Top||

#2  He doesn't get it. He think the press was nice to him last time 'cause they like him. this time around they will dump him in the garbage like like week's rotten fish.
It's going to be ugly to watch.

Posted by: Frozen Al || 03/11/2006 17:58 Comments || Top||

#3  He authorized a full docs release - to a distant relatine in France. Who doesn't speak english.
Posted by: mojo || 03/11/2006 19:49 Comments || Top||

#4  "terayyzaaa...I wannna be president sooooooo bad..but I need your money, snuggle bunny. Terayza?"
Posted by: John Fn Kerry || 03/11/2006 20:56 Comments || Top||

#5  The Titanic Victims for Truth need to clue him in -- his ship ain't comin' in.
Posted by: Darrell || 03/11/2006 21:06 Comments || Top||

#6  I do so want him to suffer a humiliating, party-splitting conflagration.
Posted by: Frank G || 03/11/2006 21:09 Comments || Top||

#7  So, don't throw away those Kerry jokes and photos just yet.
Posted by: Captain America || 03/11/2006 22:11 Comments || Top||

One dead as quake jolts Pakistan
Islamabad: A 5.2-magnitude earthquake jolted northern areas Friday, killing one person and injuring 22, officials said. The quake was an aftershock of the massive October 8 South Asian quake that killed more than 73,000 people in Pakistan, seismological department chief Qamaruz Zaman said. The tremor was felt at 12:50 pm in Jhelum and Lahore in Punjab province and in the city of Mirpur in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Zaman said, adding the epicentre was located between Jhelum and Mirpur.
Posted by: Fred || 03/11/2006 00:06 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6457 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Allan keeps sending them a message, but they just don't seem to get it.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 03/11/2006 0:42 Comments || Top||

PA takes notice of prolific aphrodisiac ads
LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly has taken serious notice of an advertisement of a substandard aphrodisiac and directed district nazims and the departments concerned to take action against quacks and remove all billboards and wall chalking regarding sexual treatment.
Posted by: Fred || 03/11/2006 00:03 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Accept no subsitutes.
Posted by: Threans Sniter5240 || 03/11/2006 12:51 Comments || Top||

Pigs in parliament
ISLAMABAD: Wild boars entered the premises of the parliament on Friday as the balloting for Senate elections was underway. Eyewitnesses told Daily Times that a small herd of wild boars entered the premises of the parliament from a green area near the Supreme Court building. They said that the herd was stopped by police personnel as it was headed towards the parking lot.
Boy, they're thick. They missed the significance of a major earthquake hitting Muzzafarabad. They're ignoring the significance of the parliament in Islamabad being overrun by swine. And they'll probably miss the import of Qazi being carried off by demons in a month or two. They're never gonna become Lutherans.
Posted by: Fred || 03/11/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

#1  How could they tell the pigs who entered the parliament from the senators pigs already there?

(with apologies to 4-legged swine everywhere)
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 03/11/2006 0:39 Comments || Top||

#2  Senator Kennedy and his staff on an overseas junket?
Posted by: Whomorong Hupoluth2201 || 03/11/2006 9:25 Comments || Top||

#3  They're never gonna become Lutherans.

Hell, they're never even gonna become Episcopalians.
Posted by: lotp || 03/11/2006 10:04 Comments || Top||

#4  I'm surprised there are any porcine species in the Pakistan in the first place. I would have thought the ancestors of these maniacs would have wiped them out long ago.

Posted by: Penguin || 03/11/2006 11:43 Comments || Top||

#5  #4. The cows chased them over from India.
Posted by: GK || 03/11/2006 14:47 Comments || Top||

#6  Pigs sure don't like Pakis - 1986 incident

The $30 million F-16 fighter jet was the pride of the Pakistani Air Force. Alas, it was not to last. This gleaming denizen of the clouds was brought crashing down in flames by one of the Islamic nation's oldest enemies: pork. It's little piggy brain boiling with kamikaze fury, a suicidal wild boar charged into the jet's front wheel on takeoff, sending it skidding across the runway in a veritable inferno of sparks. The pilot ejected seconds before fire engulfed the mighty metal war machine. (Stuff magazine - October 2000).

Posted by: john || 03/11/2006 18:21 Comments || Top||

UN seeks to mollify US over rights council
The United Nations General Assembly has delayed until next week a decision to create a Human Rights Council, in a last-ditch attempt to overcome US objections and avoid a damaging vote that could unravel the project altogether.

The new council is meant to replace the widely discredited Human Rights Commission in Geneva, but the US says it would vote against it because its proposed form marks insufficient progress.

European and other UN members, as well as Kofi Annan, the secretary-general, agree the proposed council is not as strong as they hoped, but believe the current text is as good as they can get, and does mark a substantial step orward.

US opposition has focused on the mechanism by which the council’s members are chosen. Washington says any candidate should win two-thirds approval in the 191-member UN General Assembly, but that was opposed by more than 120 countries. The current proposal says an absolute majority is sufficient.

The US also wants to exclude any country under Security Council human rights sanctions, but many countries were wary of giving the Security Council, dominated by five powers, veto rights over a human rights body meant to represent the UN’s entire membership.

Supporters of the current text argue that the absolute majority still represents a substantive hurdle, and say compromise on that issue let them introduce another clause allowing the suspension of countries that commit human rights violations.

They also say the council will meet more often than the Geneva Commission, contains a mechanism to review the records of all members, and can hold special sessions with the support of only a third of its members.

In an effort to satisfy US demands, the European Union and associated countries, which could account for as many as 40 votes, have offered an assurance that they will not support the membership of countries under sanctions. There are efforts to convince other regional groups, and countries from the Community of Democracies, to make a similar pledge.

But Jan Eliasson, president of the General Assembly, is unwilling to reopen discussion on the text itself, saying this would open a Pandora’s box of changes to a finely wrought compromise. Mr Eliasson is also reluctant to put the text to a vote, which would offer Cuba and others the opportunity to table amendments.

Instead, he still hopes to adopt the text by consensus, in which all countries would allow the council to be created, but could make statements afterwards. The US has so far rejected that formula.

A group of 32 human rights and other lobby groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, issued a strong appeal for governments to adopt the text.

While some expressed concerns over a watered-down council earlier in the process, they now say the text offers a “historic opportunity to create a better human rights protection system within the United Nations”.
Posted by: lotp || 03/11/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6470 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Ok, I can understand if they don't want to call it the Villains, Thieves and Scoundrels Union. Maybe Koffee wants first dibs on that one himself for his rebranded UN. How about if they call it the Human Opression Council. I'm pretty sure Ambassador Bolton would be ok with that.
Posted by: SteveS || 03/11/2006 1:12 Comments || Top||

#2  "We must protect our phoney-baloney jobs, gentlemen!"
Posted by: PBMcL || 03/11/2006 1:30 Comments || Top||

#3  It's just broken. From top to bottom, it's completely corrupt and not worth trying to salvage. Total the bitch and call it a day.

All that's left is to follow tu3031's suggestion: torch it. I'm sure The Donald knows who to call...
Posted by: Threans Sniter5240 || 03/11/2006 7:39 Comments || Top||

#4  TS5240 has it right. The W isn't ready for OWG.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/11/2006 8:13 Comments || Top||

#5  Remember Rwanda.
Posted by: Listen To Dogs || 03/11/2006 14:01 Comments || Top||

#6  Somebody has to. The UN sure hasn't.
Posted by: Pappy || 03/11/2006 22:45 Comments || Top||

Iranian Gov't to look into issue of youth unemployment
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that his government was determined to put priority to solving the problem of unemployed youth in the country. Ahmadinejad, who arrived in Poldokhtar city Thursday morning on the second day of a two-day visit of this western province, made the remark while addressing local officials and residents of the city.

"We are determined to use all potentials and capabilities of the government to put the youth in meaningful occupations and constructive activities," he said.
Digging bunkers, testing 'special belts', camping around oil terminals, government buildings and other special places, minefield clearance...
Sorta like the old Civilian Conservation Corps, without any of the good points.
Addressing the enemies and global arrogant powers, he said: "If you think you can make the Iranian nation yield by threatening it with punitive action in your meetings, it is time for you to know that this nation will never surrender."
But Iran certainly will have problems with its 'yuts'...
Posted by: Pappy || 03/11/2006 21:23 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front: Culture Wars
Catholic Charities to halt adoptions over issue involving gays
The Boston Archdiocese's Catholic Charities said Friday it would stop providing adoption services because state law requires them to consider gays and lesbians as parents. The social services arm of the Roman Catholic archdiocese has provided adoption services for about a century. But it says state law allowing gays to adopt runs counter to church teachers on homosexuality. "The world was very different when Charities began this ministry at the threshold of the twentieth-century," the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir and trustees chairman Jeffrey Kaneb said in a joint statement. "The world changed often and we adapted the ministry to meet changing times and needs. At all times we sought to place the welfare of children at the heart of our work. But now, we have encountered a dilemma we cannot resolve," they said.

The state's four Catholic bishops said earlier this month that the law threatens the church's religious freedom by forcing it to do something it considers immoral. Eight members of Catholic Charities board later stepped down in protest of the bishops' stance. The 42-member board had voted unanimously in December to continue considering gay households for adoptions.
Sounds like it's time for them to re-create the orphanage. Orphanages were always supplemental to adoption, and would still provide a safe, nuturing, and supportive environment in the absence of acceptable adoptive parents. They represent the acceptance of the idea that there will always be more children than good adults to take care of them.

When the state starts deciding a church's theology, you're in just as much trouble as you'd be in if the theologians were deciding what the state can do. It's the reverse of South Waziristan or Iran, but neither condition is a good thing.
This is a real shame, because Catholic Charities has been a good force for getting difficult-to-place children placed in that state. CC isn't always on the good side in adoption/foster disputes, but getting older and special needs children placed is something they do well. The state is gonna miss them when they pull out, and pull out they will. On the other hand, the state has a law to enforce. Both sides, regretably, are going to take what each thinks is the correct decision.

As an aside, I would not want to see orphanages return. They were, for the most part, ghastly places and ruined a lot of kids. Every child needs a home.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/11/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6472 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The people who made that law were high on crack. Not only a lebian or gay couple provides a doubous role model (remember that it is in society's interest that people be heteropsexual and have children) but in the case of gays, well men are nuts (as an aside I am one), more prone to violence and madness. That is statistics. And tehre is athe possibility of rape. I don't like the idea of children being educated by a man (except in the case of widower for his biological children) when there is no woman around to, err.., watch him. And here we have two men, the risk is multiplied by two.

I propose that whenever there is an "accident" in these adoptions (ie child raped or killed) one of the legislators who pushed the law is sentenced to death.
Posted by: JFM || 03/11/2006 4:28 Comments || Top||

#2  This is a good thing, in the long term.

Massachusetts has passed a stupid law, as governments frequently do. It has asked part of society to compromise its principles, in essence for money and souls. That part of society has declined the deal.

Good for them. On the one hand, when religious groups fail to accept the world as it is, we get things fit only for angels or Taliban. However, many of the problems in the world occur when we compromise our principles too much. CC has chosen to stand for principle at a good place. It is well rid of the board members who resigned.

Now it is for the Commonwealth to pick up the slack its intolerance created. Let's hope there's lots of gay couples who want children out there.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/11/2006 8:31 Comments || Top||

#3  The ‘Puritanism’ of modern Political Correctness has returned to the Bay Colony.

While they set out to escape the intolerance of Church of England, the Puritans themselves were as intolerant of other beliefs sending the likes of Roger Williams and Ann Hutchinson out of their domain. Now modern secular ‘Puritanism’ is amok. Maybe it’s time for a return to Crown government as well. Trade you Massachusetts for Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Posted by: Whomorong Hupoluth2201 || 03/11/2006 9:23 Comments || Top||

#4  Trade you Massachusetts for Alberta and Saskatchewan.

They'd probably want to throw in Ontario and Quebec and keep Alberta.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/11/2006 9:29 Comments || Top||

#5  Nope. They have to keep Ontario and Quebec. We'll consider some royalty stream from the Alberta oil sands, though - but only if they pay for beefing up security at the border in exchange.
Posted by: lotp || 03/11/2006 10:03 Comments || Top||

#6  why do people who want to help, have to help everyone equally? If I wanted to set up a private charity that only helps black children or Muslim children, or blind children - that may not be the best thing, but is a good thing for the children I do help. It is more than would be available if I didn't help. Once again the idea of immaculate purity denies good at the expense of perfection.
Posted by: 2b || 03/11/2006 23:55 Comments || Top||

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