Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Can you spot the idiot “journalists”

Here’s a hint, try this front page story in today’s Washington Post. A Ditzy Duo - reporter Molly Moore and researcher Corinne Gavard – are all aglow over France’s “Baby Boom.” Presumably because, as the article gushes,

The French system also fosters different attitudes about working mothers. French working moms say they feel far less guilt than friends in the United States or Europe because French society recognizes children are well cared-for while mothers are at work.
Early on the Duo states,

While falling birthrates threaten to undermine economies and social stability across much of an aging Europe, French fertility rates are increasing. France now has the second-highest fertility rate in Europe -- 1.94 children born per woman, exceeded slightly by Ireland's rate of 1.99. The U.S. fertility rate is 2.01 children.

The United States Census Bureau begs to differ [.pdf], according to them the US fertility rate is 2.10 (perhaps one or both of the Duo is dyslexic). Is that .09 difference a big deal? Yeah, see my previous post Congratulating yourself into oblivion.

The real demographic story in France is the fertility rate of the unassimilated Muslim population in France who are clamoring for their enclaves to be subject to Sharia rather than French law. Apparently, Molly, Corinne, and the Washington Post don’t want to go there; however the Boston Globe did last year:
There are more than 23 million Muslims in the European Union, about 5 percent of the total population. The fertility rate of Europe's Muslims is three times that of the non-Muslim population. Because of their increasing proportion of older, retired people, European countries need to take in more than 13 million migrants annually to maintain their population-support ratios (the ratio of working-age people to those 65 and over). As a result of immigration and uneven fertility rates, the Muslim population is expected to double by 2015 while the non-Muslim population declines by 3.5 percent. Some projections, based on a continuation of current trends, foresee a Muslim majority in France by 2050, and perhaps in all of Europe
.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Rather pathetic
Dan Rather Joins HDNet, Talking to AOL

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- Saying the news "needs backers who won't back down," former CBS anchor Dan Rather confirmed Tuesday that he's joining Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for a weekly program that begins in October on HDNet.

The one-hour "Dan Rather Reports" will feature field reports,interviews and investigations. Rather will produce the program and be its host.

"Hard news needs backers who won't back down," Rather said. "Mark Cuban is such a leader. As a team player I intend to give Mark and HDNet all of the hard work, loyalty and fearless, high quality reporting possible…
Rather’s audience will likely number in the hundreds, and that is as it should be.

Big Scam drops a big load
Big Dig Collapse Prompts Renewed
Scrutiny

BOSTON (AP) -- At least 12 tons of concrete collapsed onto a car in a Big Dig tunnel, fatally crushing a passenger and prompting renewed scrutiny Tuesday of a troubled highway project that is already
the costliest in U.S. history. The state attorney general said he plans to treat the site as a crime scene that could lead to negligent homicide charges.

The attorney general's office already has begun issuing subpoenas to
those involved in the design, manufacturing, testing, construction and oversight of the panels and tunnel.

"What we are looking at is anyone who had anything to do with what
happened last night," Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly said. "No one is going to be spared."

The collapse happened around 11 p.m. Monday, when the underground highways were relatively free of traffic. About 200,000 vehicles a day travel along the roadways that make up the Big Dig, the $14.6 billion highway construction project that buried the central artery underneath the city.

Four concrete slabs weighing three tons pancaked down onto the passing Buick sedan, killing Milena Del Valle, who was riding on the passenger side, which bore the brunt of the collapse. Her husband managed to crawl to safety through a window that was only a foot wide. He suffered only minor injuries.

Debris shut down part of Interstate 90, backing up traffic for miles
Tuesday. Authorities hoped to reopen it Wednesday, but they were still removing about 30 ceiling slabs from the accident site and checking at least 17 other areas with similar "tiebacks" holding ceiling panels in place.

Gov. Mitt Romney pinned much of the blame on the head of the
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and promised to take legal action to oust Matthew Amorello. He compared the situation to the replacement of former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown after Hurricane Katrina….

Friday, July 07, 2006

Minimal posting ahead

For those readers who are regulars to this blog, you should know that I appreciate your interest in my criticisms and humble opinion(s). I’m sure you’ve noticed that my postings have been sporadic of late.

I have been afforded a grand opportunity that I am grabbing with both hands. It will consume most of my time for the next two months and the majority of my time thereafter. I hope to continue to post here when time permits, but doubt seriously it will be more than a couple of times a week.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Thomas A. Edison

Thursday, July 06, 2006

NY supremes: Our job is to resolve legal disputes not legislate social policy
N.Y. Top Court Rules Against Gay Marriage

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York's highest court ruled Thursday that gay marriage is not allowed under state law, rejecting arguments by same-sex couples who said the law violates their constitutional rights.

The Court of Appeals, in a 4-2 decision, said New York's marriage law is constitutional and clearly limits marriage to between a man and a woman.

Any change in the law would have to come from the state Legislature, Judge Robert Smith said…

Unlike Massachusetts’ supreme court, New York’s seems to regard itself as a group of jurists rather than the center of the universe. Of course Massachusetts is the same state that foists Kennedy and Kerry on America – must be something in the water there.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

NY Times’ Eric Lichtblau: I’m a craven partisan hack, and none too bright either

Lichtblau seems to think the people reading the NY Times are as dimwitted as he (of course as that newspaper’s readership continues to dwindle, that may ultimately be true).

You can pick up the story at Powerlineblog which links to Villainous Company and Patterico's Pontifications.

Some may have thought that I was too coarse in the way I criticized Lichtblau. But each time the weasel opens his mouth, attempting to justify his traitorous behavior, I realize I was too kind.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

STS-121 slips the surly bonds of earth





God’s speed to the crew.

Have a Happy 4th Everybody

Hollywood moonbats: We'll be passing the fast daily from one to another
Anti-war protesters begin July 4 fast

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 150 protesters sat in front of the White House on Monday to savor their last meal before starting a hunger strike that some said will continue until American troops return from Iraq…

Some protesters said their fast would continue beyond July 4th.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, said she would drink only water throughout the summer, which she said she would spend outside President George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas…

The demonstrators crouched in the muggy evening next to a piece of pink plastic, spread down the road as a table and table-cloth in one. It was covered with wilted pink sunflowers and plates of vegetarian curry, white rice, and beans…

"We have to put our own lives on the line, and I'm willing to do that," said activist Diane Wilson, who pledged to fast until the United States withdraws from Iraq.

[CodePink spokeswoman Meredith] Dearborn said 2,700 other activists nationwide, including actors Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, would work as a relay team passing the fast daily from one to another. [Ed. – Seems a marked improvement over the STDs being passed around Hollywood]
I wonder how soon before Mahatma Sheehan sneaks her first bean taco?

CIA too tied up leaking to the media to find Osama
CIA Reportedly Disbands Bin Laden Unit

NEW YORK (AP) -- A CIA unit that had hunted for Osama bin Laden and his top deputies for a decade has been disbanded, according to a published report.

Citing unnamed intelligence officials, The New York Times reported Tuesday that the unit, known as "Alec Station," was shut down late last year. The decision to close the unit, which predated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was first reported Monday by National Public Radio.

The officials told the Times that the change reflects a view that al-Qaida's hierarchy has changed, and terrorist attacks inspired by the group are now being carried out independently of bin Laden and his second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The CIA said hunting bin Laden remains a priority, but resources needed to be directed toward other people and groups likely to initiate new attacks.

"The efforts to find Osama bin Laden are as strong as ever," said CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise Dyck. "This is an agile agency, and the decision was made to ensure greater reach and focus."

A former CIA official who once led the unit, Michael Scheuer, told the Times that its shutdown was a mistake.

"This will clearly denigrate our operations against al-Qaida," he said. "These days at the agency, bin Laden and al-Qaida appear to be treated merely as first among equals."

I’m sure bin Laden will be happy to learn that he can breathe a little easier; he too can free up resources, likely redirecting some of the counterintelligence and counter-surveillance assets he expends to remain at large.

Monday, July 03, 2006

CBS News maneuvering to make sure Katie won’t ‘perky’ it’s ‘over 60’ audience to death
CBS Prepping Viewers for Katie

NEW YORK (AP) -- The soft sell of successor Katie Couric by Bob Schieffer ends with this simple request: "Just watch."

The promotion that has begun airing on CBS News programs is the first step of CBS News' sales job for Couric, who starts Sept. 5 as the new "CBS Evening News" anchor.

The idea is to have Schieffer introduce Couric to his audience, and he ad-libs in his amiable style. Couric appears briefly on the screen, looking serious and talking on the phone, but does not speak.

Phase two later this month will be ads featuring Couric talking about the news and how to cover it, said CBS News President Sean McManus. The ads will gradually branch out to other CBS programs, then to other networks, he said.

In August, advertising for Couric's debut will include specific promotions for segments in the "CBS Evening News," he said.

"There's not a great necessity to let people know that she is starting on Sept. 5," McManus said. "The entire world will know that. We're trying to give a sense of transition."

Couric, McManus, "CBS Evening News" executive producer Rome Hartman and his team met last week for their first nuts-and-bolts planning session on the new broadcast. The newsroom studio where Schieffer and Dan Rather presided over the newscast has been torn down and a new one will rise in its place.

Couric is also traveling to six cities, including Denver and San Diego, in a "listening tour" series of meetings with viewers to hear some of their ideas about what they want for the news.

While it is tempting to give the evening news a revolutionary new look, McManus said it doesn't make sense. The median age of evening-news viewers among the three broadcast networks is over 60, and they're not looking for shocks.

"If we can bring in a younger audience and a different audience, great," he said. "But we would be very shortsighted if we were to do something that would alienate the people who are used to watching the news at 6:30."

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Drivel from Times-two

I only got three paragraphs into Baquet and Keller’s poppycock before I could read no more. When I stopped I thought, “What does this remind me of?”

And then it hit me, that old Irving Berlin song Sisters, sisters. (the lyrics follow the paragraphs excerpted from their editorial).
When do we publish a secret?
How the press balances national security with its mission to report the news.

By Dean Baquet and Bill Keller, DEAN BAQUET is editor of the Los Angeles Times. BILL KELLER is executive editor of the New York Times.

SINCE SEPT. 11, 2001, newspaper editors have faced excruciating choices in covering the government's efforts to protect the country from terrorist agents. Each of us has, on a number of occasions, withheld information because we were convinced that publishing it could put lives at risk. On other occasions, each of us has decided to publish classified information over strong objections from our government.

Last week, our newspapers disclosed a secret Bush administration program to monitor international banking transactions. We did so after appeals from senior administration officials to hold the story. Our reports — like earlier press disclosures of secret measures to combat terrorism — revived an emotional national debate, featuring angry calls of "treason" and proposals that journalists be jailed, along with much genuine concern and confusion about the role of the press in times like these.

We are rivals. Our newspapers compete on a hundred fronts every day. We apply the principles of journalism individually as editors of independent newspapers. We agree, however, on some basics about the immense responsibility the press has been given by the inventors of the country…

Sisters, sisters

There were never such devoted sisters,
Never had to have a chaperone, no sir,
I’m there to keep my eye on her
Caring, sharing
Every little thing that we are wearing
When a certain gentleman arrived from rome
She wore the dress, and I stayed home
All kinds of weather, we stick together
The same in the rain and sun
Two different faces, but in tight places
We think and we act as one
Those who’ve seen us
Know that not a thing could come between us
Many men have tried to split us up, but no one can
Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister
And lord help the sister, who comes between me and my man

I can’t think of a better way to spend state and federal tax dollars
Police Seize Camera With Pitt-Jolie Photos

WESTFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- Police in this western Massachusetts town say they have seized a digital camera with images of celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Africa for an investigation by Los Angeles authorities.

Local police, accompanied by state police and Secret Service officers, went to the Westfield home of William Keys on Tuesday to recover a digital camera's memory stick after three photos that appeared on the Internet were tracked to Keys, police said Friday.

Officers then went to Precision Camera and Video Repair in Enfield, Conn., where Keys works, and recovered the camera. It remains in custody of Westfield police.

No one has been arrested or charged in the case. It was unclear who took the photos.

Keys did not return telephone calls Friday.

"It's an ongoing investigation, and we cannot comment," said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County prosecutor's office.

Seems the culprit may be James Haven, an actor not necessarily known for deep thought.
"I'm so much more than just Angelina Jolie's brother. I'm also Jon Voight's son and Billy Bob Thorton's brother-in-law."



Pitt/Jolie Photo Theft Mystery Revealed
The investigation into the theft of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's baby shower pictures has centered on Jolie's brother, who took a broken camera containing the snaps to a repair shop.

Police targeted two suspects on Tuesday -- Bill Keyes and Adam Beckwith -- who had downloaded pictures of the Hollywood couple's Namibia party held ahead of the birth of their daughter Shiloh Nouvel last month.

However, it has emerged that, rather than stealing the camera's memory card, Keyes and Beckwith were given it by Jolie's brother James Haven.

Haven handed the faulty camera in for repairs in Los Angeles following his visit to the African party.

Neither Keyes nor Beckwith have been arrested yet, according to TMZ.com, but police have seized the camera and Keyes' computer.

I’m not a lawyer, but I would think someone’s expectation of privacy in this circumstance would be nil. Of course we’re talking LA LA Land police and prosecutors here; low-level, star-struck government employees aren’t necessarily guided by logic or the law. I’m mean we’re talking Brad and Angelina here, Folks.

NJ Assembly Democrats want to exclude ‘tax’ from tax and spend
Budget Impasse Shuts Down N.J. Government

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Gov. Jon S. Corzine shut down the state government Saturday after a deadline to adopt a new balanced budget expired, bringing road construction projects to a halt and furloughing tens of thousands of state employees indefinitely.

State parks, beaches and historic sites were expected to close Wednesday - the day after the July Fourth holiday.

It was a grim climax to a bitter dispute with Corzine's fellow Democrats in the Assembly over his plan to increase the sales tax…

About 45,000 state employees were immediately furloughed. The order allows Corzine to keep 36,000 state employees working without pay. Services such as state police, prisons, mental hospitals and child welfare were to keep operating. The casinos could be forced to close because they require state monitoring, though the casino industry is challenging a possible closure in court.

A bid by Atlantic City's 12 casinos Friday to get state monitors declared "essential employees" who would stay on the job despite a government shutdown is now before an emergency appellate court panel, casino association lawyer John Kearney said Saturday.

July welfare checks have already been mailed, said Corzine's chief counsel, Stuart Rabner. But he said next month's cannot be sent unless a budget agreement is reached.

The dispute centers on Corzine's determination to raise the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to help close a $4.5 billion budget deficit.

Corzine sees the increase as a vital step toward providing reliable annual revenue, but most Democrats in the Assembly - the lower house of the state Legislature - and several Senate Democrats say it is unnecessary.

Opponents have questioned the need for a sales tax increase, predicting voter backlash and demanding that any increase be reserved for property tax reform. No formal talks between Corzine and legislators were scheduled Saturday. [Ed. – Ah, there’s the rub – the citizenry might discover that the Dems have been spending like drunken sailors and throw the bums out]

Corzine complained that budget efforts "have not resulted in the sort of responsible plan the public has a right to expect."

The shutdown marks the first time the state government has had to close because of a budget dispute.

"What's happening in the Statehouse is shameful," said Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce, a Republican.

The state Constitution requires a balanced budget by July 1, but the deadline has been missed four times in five years. Nothing happened when deadlines were missed before, but the state never went past the morning of July 2 without an adopted budget. Without one, the state has no authority to spend money. The shutdown lasts until a budget agreement is signed.

The UN, the Palestinians, and Reuters: No fair! Israel is not allowed to fight back!
Security Council debates incursion

NEW YORK -- A Palestinian representative for the West Bank and Gaza Strip urged the U.N. Security Council yesterday to press Israel to quickly end its Gaza offensive, but the United States said Syria and Iran must first end their role as "state sponsors of terror" and condemn Hamas militants. [Ed. - Don't you just love the quotation marks]

Israel, for its part, insisted during an emergency session of the 15-nation council that its military presence was limited to a small part of southern Gaza and was intended to prevent a kidnapped Israeli soldier from being smuggled out of the area.

Israel was doing all it could to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians and planned immediate steps to improve the humanitarian situation in the area, said Daniel Carmon, Israel's deputy U.N. ambassador.

Palestinian U.N. Observer Riyad Mansour painted a dire picture of conditions in Gaza, where Israeli forces have bombed water pipelines and the area's sole power plant and attacked the Interior Ministry with missiles.

In the West Bank, Israel had detained at least 64 Palestinians including eight Hamas Cabinet ministers and 24 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, he said.

"The council cannot continue to remain passive in the face of such a military aggression against a defenseless civilian population," he said, calling for approval of a resolution condemning the incursion and urging the prompt withdrawal of Israeli forces and the release of detained officials.

However, John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called for caution.

"We should not undermine the limited credibility of the council by engaging in debate and rhetoric merely for their own sake," he said. [Ed. – I don’t envy Bolton his job. How hard must it be to enter The Twilight Zone each day for work?]

Friday, June 30, 2006

ABC and Bawbawa: Star was fired because we told her to lie and she didn’t
Reynolds: ABC Said to 'Make Up a Story'

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ousted cast member Star Jones Reynolds said Thursday she was told she could "make up a story" about why she was leaving "The View" and her colleagues would have gone along with it.

The news that Reynolds wouldn't have her contract renewed for a 10th year on the daytime talk show exploded this week into a bitter war of words involving show creator Barbara Walters…

The truth - that Reynolds' ABC bosses didn't want her back because her personal popularity was plummeting - might never have been known without the fight…

Longtime ABC newswoman Walters has confirmed the intended deception, but said it was done to protect Reynolds' reputation and feelings.

ABC said it canned Reynolds immediately after Tuesday's show because her announcement, and an interview with People magazine, took the network by surprise. Walters told The Associated Press that she felt betrayed and ABC said it couldn't trust Reynolds to tell the truth if she remained on the air. [Ed. - Yes, Folks, that is actually their position]

Haniyeh: We lob missiles into Israel daily, infiltrated their country killing two soldiers and kidnapping another, and THEY INVADE OUR LANDS? What’s WRONG with those people?
Palestinian PM Lashes Out at Israelis

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Friday that Israel's offensive in Gaza - including the kidnappings of some of his Cabinet ministers - was part of a premeditated plan to bring down the Hamas-led government…

Israel's air force has struck more than 30 targets in Gaza - including the Palestinian Interior Ministry - in response to Sunday's kidnapping of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, 19, by Hamas-linked militants. Thousands of Israeli soldiers backed by tanks also have taken up positions in southern Gaza…

Shalit was captured Sunday when Gaza militants tunneled under the border, attacking an Israeli outpost and killing two other soldiers…[Ed. – Talk about premeditation… The tunnel was over 1,000 feet long. Even given their ratty nature, it took the ‘militants’ months to dig that tunnel]

Si vous ne pouvez pas le construire, volez-le
French Lawmakers Approve 'iTunes Law'

PARIS (AP) -- French lawmakers gave final approval Friday to legislation that could force Apple Computer Inc. to make its iPod and iTunes Music Store compatible with rivals' music players and online services.

Both the Senate and the National Assembly, France's lower house, voted in favor of the copyright bill, which some analysts said could cause Apple Computer Inc. and others to pull their music players and online download stores from France…

Apple described the original version of the copyright bill as "state-sponsored piracy" earlier this year, but a company spokesman was not immediately available to comment on Friday's vote…

I’ve commented before on France’s state-sponsored thievery, see France: Who needs technical prowess? We’ve got legislative blackmail and Those that can, do. Those that can’t, fulminate and litigate.

My advice to Apple, maneuver as best you can within the law while protecting your copyright outside France and extract every last Euro from that country you’re able before it implodes (Marching for mediocrity, at best), dies (Congratulating yourself into oblivion), or erupts in civil war (Will Paris burn, again?).

Bin Laden: My butchering sociopaths have the right to be buried in their homelands
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Osama bin Laden called on President Bush in an audiotape released Friday to release the body of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and said Jordan should allow the slain terrorist to be buried in his homeland.

In the 19-minute message, bin Laden paid tribute to al-Zarqawi and said the former al-Qaida in Iraq leader had been under orders to kill Iraqis who supported U.S. forces in the country. He also vowed more attacks against the United States in the Middle East and Africa.

"We will continue to fight you and your allies everywhere, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan to run down your resources and kill your men until you return defeated to your nation," he said, addressing Bush. His voice sounded breathy and fatigued at times…

The Jordanian government has said it will never allow al-Zarqawi to be buried in his homeland because of a November triple suicide bombing his followers carried out in Amman hotels that killed 60 people...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Is he a Republican or a Democrat? Only The Shadow knows.
Ex-governor, Scrushy convicted

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) -- Former Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy were convicted Thursday in a bribery scheme that derailed Siegelman's campaign to retake his former office.
No mention of party affiliation in paragraph one, even though the MSM custom is to put ‘(D)’ or ‘(R)’ following the first mention of a politician's name.

Siegelman, 60, was accused of trading government favors for campaign donations when he was governor from 1999 to 2003 and lieutenant governor from 1995 to 1999.
Still no affiliation mentioned.

Scrushy, who once ran the Birmingham-based rehabilitation chain, was accused of arranging $500,000 in donations to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery in exchange for a seat on a state hospital regulatory board.
Another paragraph and not a whiff.

The case was tried as Siegelman sought the Democratic nomination for governor, and the trial put him in court during the final weeks of the campaign. He lost to Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley in the June 6 Democratic primary and blamed the charges for his defeat...
There we go. What a surprise, he’s a Democrat!

Funny how Egypt is want to embrace their Arab brothers trying to pour through the hole
Mine Blasts Hole in Gaza-Egypt Border

RAFAH, Egypt (AP) -- Hundreds of Palestinian and Egyptian police formed human cordons on both sides of the Gaza-Egypt border Thursday to block Palestinians trying to get through after militants blasted a hole in a cement wall near the crossing.

Egypt also imposed a curfew on the nearby town of Rafah, ordering all stores, banks and restaurants shut, said Ahmed el-Masri, chief of police there.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene heard men with megaphones screaming that they were from the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, and saying they were responsible for the blast. They also threatened "another bold action" after evening prayers, but did not elaborate…

The sound of automatic weapons being fired into the air was heard over Palestinian national songs being blasted from speakers on the Gaza side. Loudspeakers also broadcast voices encouraging Palestinians to keep trying to penetrate the border.

Dozens of Palestinians, mostly young boys, struggled to push through the 12-foot- wide hole and hurdle a second border wall less than 100 yards away, witnesses said.

Boys threw rocks at Palestinian security forces, but at one point stopped in order to pray alongside the border fences... [Ed. – Ever wonder what a hooligan prays for?]

Be still my beating heart, the August issue cannot come too soon
Pregnant Spears Poses Nude for Magazine

NEW YORK (AP) -- Pregnant pop princess Britney Spears is baring nearly all on the cover of Harper's Bazaar magazine. The singer of "... Baby, One More Time" posed in the buff for the cover of the August issue; there's also a photo spread inside.

On the cover, Spears, who is sitting, cups her breasts with her hands and crosses her legs while showing her protruding belly and smiling for the camera of lensman Alexi Lubomirski.

"Nothing to wear?" a cover headline asks. "487 Best new ideas inside."…

An alternate headline might be:
Nothing between the ears? A dozen ways to prove it inside.

Judge Eduardo C. Robreno: Embezzler must make restitution within 600 years
Woman Gets 27 Months in $1.5M Embezzlement

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A woman accused of embezzling more than $1.5 million from a credit union and buying more than 1,500 items, including hundreds of pairs of shoes and a $60,000 swimming pool, has been sentenced to 27 months in prison….

Barachie acknowledged stealing money from the Northampton-Carbon County Federal Credit Union, where she worked, from 1995 to 2003. She pleaded guilty in October to charges of embezzlement and filing a false federal tax return…

Barachie has already begun working to pay back the money she stole by selling her purchases on e-Bay. She's sold 1,000 items so far, bringing in $60,000, defense attorney John Waldron said. Another 500 items are still up for sale.

The judge ordered her to pay $50 a month in restitution while she's in prison and at least $200 a month once she's released. [Ed. – Clearly, math is not Judge Robreno’s strong suit]

Israel to Assad: We always know where you are and you’re always within reach
Hamas leaders arrested; Israeli executed

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israeli forces arrested one-third of the Hamas-led Palestinian Cabinet and 20 lawmakers early Thursday and pressed their incursion into Gaza, responding to the abduction of one of its soldiers.

Israeli warplanes also buzzed the summer home of Syria's president, accused by Israel of harboring the hard-line Hamas leaders its blames for masterminding the kidnapping…

Adding to the tension, a Palestinian militant group said it killed an 18-year-old Jewish settler kidnapped in the West Bank. Israeli security officials said Eliahu Asheri's body was found buried near Ramallah. They said he was shot in the head, apparently soon after he was abducted on Sunday.

Army Radio said the arrested Hamas leaders might be used to trade for the captured soldier. Israel had refused earlier to trade prisoners for the soldier's release.

Palestinian security officials said eight ministers of the 24-member Hamas-led Cabinet and 20 lawmakers were arrested, among them Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Shaer and Labor Minister Mohammed Barghouti…

In a clear warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Israeli airplanes flew over his seaside home near the Mediterranean port city of Latakia in northwestern Syria, military officials confirmed, citing the "direct link" between his government and Hamas. Israeli television reports said four planes were involved in the low-altitude flight, and that Assad was there at the time...

At some point the Arabs in the region are going to figure out that Olmert views the Palestinians controlled by Hamas militants (in Gaza or those harbored in Syria) in the same way Churchill viewed the Germans controlled by the Nazis. The difference of course is that Olmert is presently prime minister while Churchill’s election to the post came nearly too late.