Saturday, June 03, 2006

Canadian Police: Terror suspects from a “broad ‘strata’ of society”

If that’s the case, someone enlighten me. When, exactly, did Canada become a Muslim country?
Terror suspects appear in court

Brampton, Ont. — Members of an alleged homegrown terror cell appeared in a Brampton courtroom Saturday to face chargers they plotted to attack Canadian targets in Southern Ontario.

In a series of raids Friday, police arrested 12 adults and five young offenders. In the process, they seized enough ammonium nitrate fertilizer to build an explosive device three times more devastating than the one used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

"This group presented a real and serious threat. They had the capacity and intent to carry out a terrorist attack," said RCMP Asst. Commissioner Mike McDonell.

"Our investigation and arrests prevented the assembly of explosive devices and attacks being carried out. At all times, the focus of our investigation was the safety and protection of the public," he added…

The accused, dressed casually in jeans or jogging pants and t-shirts, sported traditional Muslim male beards. Most were Canadian citizens or residents…

Lawyers for the accused, asked that their clients be provided with a Koran, and in one case prescription eyewear…

In court, [Defense lawyer Rocco] Galati was accompanied by Aly Hindy, a Toronto imam and friend of the highly-controversial Khadr family, who have well-established connections to al-Qaeda.

Mr. Hindy, a controverisial Iman, leads an Islamic centre in Scarborough, said he knew several of the accused because they prayed at his mosque but said they were not terrorists.

"He said the charges are to keep George Bush happy, that's all." [Ed. - Yeah, Aly, stick with that defense]

Those (adults) charged as being members of the terrorist cell were:

Fahim Ahmad,
Zakaria Amara,
Asad Ansari,
Shareef Abdelhaleen,
Qayyum Abdul Jamal,
Mohammed Dirie
Yasim Abdi Mohamed,
Jahmaal James,
Amin Mohamed Durrani,
Steven Vikash Chand (alias Abdul Shakur),
Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, and
Saad Khalid.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Bengay?.. Check. Hearing aids?.. Check. Walkers?.. Check.
Well then, we’re off!

Keith Richards and Stones Set to Tour

LONDON (AP) -- The Rolling Stones, assured that Keith Richards is fully recovered from a head injury, will kick off their rescheduled European tour in Milan, Italy, on July 11.

The band is booked for 21 stadium appearances in 11 countries, it was announced Friday. Previously scheduled concerts in Nuremberg and Leipzig, Germany, have been canceled, and 10 other concerts on the tour, which had been set to open May 27 in Barcelona, Spain, have been postponed.

Richards, 62, was injured in late April when he reportedly fell out of a palm tree while vacationing in Fiji…

Not to worry, Babs, the Stones are just doing Europe.

The simpletons return
Hilton, Richie Reunite for 'Simple Life'

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Those hoping that the new season of "The Simple Life" will supply the answer to what's really behind the famous Paris Hilton-Nicole Richie feud are going to be disappointed - but the former friends do toss a few dishy darts at one another.

The reality-style series, which shows how inept the two celebutantes can be in everyday situations, returns Sunday, 10 p.m. EDT on E!…

"Put yourself on view. This brings your talents to light."
Baltasar Gracian

Senate Minority Leader Reid: Adhering to the Constitution is optional

The dim bulb from Searchlight ingests foot, yet again
Illegals' tax deal could kill bill

The long-fought Senate immigration bill that opponents say grants amnesty to 10 million illegal aliens is unconstitutional and appears headed for certain demise, Senate Republicans now say.

A key feature of the Senate bill is that it would make illegals pay back taxes before applying for citizenship, a requirement that supporters say will raise billions of dollars in the next decade.

There's just one problem: The U.S. Constitution specifically prohibits revenue-raising legislation from originating in the Senate.

"All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives," according to the "origination clause" in Article I, Section 7.

Republicans -- including the bill's supporters -- say this will kill the bill, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says he's offered a simple solution. He wants to attach the immigration bill to a tax bill that has already passed the House. It would then proceed as planned to a "conference committee," where negotiators from the House and Senate hammer out differences between the two chambers' immigration bills…

But Minority Leader Harry Reid won't go along with that fix. His office said yesterday that the concerns raised by Mr. Frist and House Republicans are "technical in nature" and can be ignored.

"If Republicans are serious about enacting comprehensive immigration reform, I've got a deal for them," spokesman Jim Manley said. "All they have to do is nothing. Just let the House and Senate bills go to conference and let the conferees work their will."...

If nothing else, the senator is consistent. See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Father Hughes: Ten commandments… Who knew?
N.J. Priest Gets 5 Years for Embezzlement

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) -- A priest who pleaded guilty to looting more than $75,000 from his upscale parish to pay for vacations and fancy cars was sentenced Friday to five years in state prison.

The sentence followed prosecutors' recommendation for the Rev. Joseph W. Hughes, 62, who last month admitted embezzling from the Church of the Holy Cross in the Rumson over seven years. Authorities had originally charged him with taking $2 million.

Hughes, who led the parish for 16 years, has agreed to return the money and pay $120,229 in income taxes. He apologized several times during the hearing Friday.

"I betrayed the trust of the people and I am truly and heartfeltly sorry," he told the judge.

Hughes was accused of spending parishioners' donations on Caribbean vacations, BMWs and jewelry. He also bought a $200,000 home for a church carpenter...

Psychopathy, the tie that binds
Police: Grandparents Ordered Hit on Family

TAVARES, Fla. (AP) -- A couple tried to hire a hit man to kill their three grandchildren and daughter-in-law to stop them from testifying against their son in his rape trial, authorities said.

The couple, ages 60 and 59, were charged with four counts each of criminal conspiracy to commit murder. They were being held without bond.

Police said they initially offered $100 to an undercover sheriff's deputy to kill their son's wife, their 10-year-old granddaughter, two step-grandchildren, ages 14 and 16, and the family dog. More money was promised after the killings, said Lake County sheriff's Sgt. Christie Mysinger.

The couple's 31-year-old son has been jailed since November on 22 charges of sexual battery on a child, lewd and lascivious molestation and showing obscene material to a minor, court records show…

The man tried to solicit a fellow jail inmate to kill his family, the arrest report said. An informant told detectives about the plot and they arranged to meet the man's parents Tuesday at a Best Western motel in Tavares, a lakefront community about 30 miles northwest of Orlando, police said.

"(The deputy) said, 'You want me to kill everyone, including the dog?' They agreed," Mysinger said...

The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.
Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes, 1911

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Will Paris burn, again?

Bumped and updated:
Over at real clear politics Victor Davis Hanson offers
Europe's Good Intentions Have Gone Sour
...The Dutch, the French and the Danes are petrified about unassimilated Muslim radicals in their countries who have killed or threatened the most liberal of Europeans. Churches are almost empty. Mosques are being built; Italians wrangle over plans for one of the largest in Italy - to be plopped amid the vineyards and olive groves of Tuscany.

A majority of polled Germans now believe that the pacifist Europeans are in a "clash of civilizations" with the Islamic world....

Read the whole thing and remember that the Angry Left, the core of today's Democrat Party, believes Europe’s democratic socialism and open borders should be emulated.

Violence, Riots Cause Alarm in Paris Suburbs

PARIS, May 31 -- Small gangs of youths pelted riot police with rocks and set cars and garbage bins ablaze late Tuesday in a second night of unrest in the Paris suburbs, raising fears of a return of the violence that inflamed 300 French towns and suburbs last fall.

The last two nights of violence in which youths attacked police cars, government buildings and riot police, was sparked in part by mounting resentment toward the mayor of the northeastern Paris suburb of Montfermeil who in recent weeks imposed a law forbidding youths from 15 to 18 years of age from gathering in groups of more than three and requiring anyone under 16 to be accompanied by an adult on city streets after 8 p.m.

Although the French government last fall promised to improve poor living conditions and to find more job opportunities to stem the rampant unemployment in suburbs heavily populated by immigrant families, little has been done and the government's main initiative -- a jobs reform bill -- ended in the politically disastrous student demonstrations of this spring.

At the same time, police allege crime has increased in poor suburban neighborhoods and frustration with the government has continued to fester.

"We have the painful sense that nothing has been fixed," Francois Hollande, head of the opposition Socialist party said in an interview on France-2 television.

At 9:30 Tuesday night, an estimated 15 youths threw rocks and other projectiles at police patrolling an apartment complex area. At 11 p.m., youths tossed a makeshift explosive into a police car. The police officers inside barely had time to escape before the vehicle exploded in flames.

Marauding youths set about a dozen private cars on fire and torched numerous garbage bins in Montfermeil and the adjacent town of Clichy-sous-Bois where last fall's three weeks of violence began when two teenagers were electrocuted as they tried to hide in a power substation. They believed police were chasing them…

Six police officers were reported injured slightly and 13 youths detained in Tuesday night's incidents.

In Montfermeil, a suburban town of high youth-unemployment rates and government-subsidized housing projects, young people have been growing increasingly angry at Mayor Xavier Lemoine's attempts to crack down on gang violence. Although a local court earlier this month overturned his effort to limit youth gatherings, he vowed to seek other measures.

On Monday, local residents said police roughed up a woman who protested police efforts to arrest her son, a suspect in the beating several weeks ago of a bus driver. Police ended up arresting both the mother and son, according to police.

Hooded youths Monday night hurled stones and other projectiles at Mayor Lemoine's house and city hall and attacked the police who responded with baseball bats. The clashes lasted three hours and seven police reportedly were injured.

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy -- whose undiplomatic characterizations of youths from immigrant families inflamed last fall's violence, visited police who had responded to the Monday night incidents saying: "More than 100 hooligans set upon you -- masked and carrying weapons. We are confronting not a spontaneous revolt, but hooligans who have only a single purpose, to create the most damage and injure as many people as possible."…

Any bets that NC Democrat Party members will dig deep into their own pockets?
Panel: N.C. Should Pay for 1898 Race Riot

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A state-appointed commission is urging North Carolina to provide reparations for the 1898 racial violence that sparked an exodus of more than 2,000 black residents from Wilmington.

The 500-page report that was produced after six years of study also said the violence, which killed as many as 60 people, was not a spontaneous riot but rather the nation's only recorded coup d'etat.

"There is no amount of money that can repair what happened years ago and compensate for the loss of lives and the loss of property," said vice chairman Irving Joyner, a professor at N.C. Central School of Law.

The commission did not provide any cost estimates, although compensation advocate Larry Thomas of Chapel Hill estimated that the economic losses calculated today are "probably in the billions of dollars."

Along with compensation to victims' descendants, the commission also recommended incentives for minority small businesses and help for minority home ownership. It also recommended that the history of the incident be taught in public schools.

State Rep. Thomas Wright, a Democrat who helped establish and chair the panel, said the next step is to file a bill in the Legislature with the recommendations. That won't happen before 2007 because the filing deadline for this session has passed.

The 1898 violence began when white vigilantes, resentful after years of black and Republican political rule during Reconstruction, burned the printing press of a black newspaper publisher, Alexander Manly.

Violence spread, resulting in an exodus of 2,100 blacks, the commission concluded. Then the largest city in the state, Wilmington flipped from a black majority to a white majority in the months that followed.

Before the violence, which led to a Democratic takeover from Republicans and Populists, black men in North Carolina had been able to vote for about three decades. But Democrats quickly passed voter literacy tests and a grandfather clause, which disenfranchised black voters until the civil rights movement of the 1960s...

Since it was white Democrats who engineered the ‘coup d'etat’ against white and black Republicans and Populists, if this inane process goes forward then its only ‘fair’ that the perpetrator party’s white members should ante up.

But since the governor’s mansion and both legislative chambers in North Carolina are controlled by the Democrats, guess who will be picking up the tab if reparations are to be paid for what their political party did 108 years ago? That’s right, the taxpayers. And take a wild guess who pays more income tax per capita in North Carolina, Democrats or Republicans?

L'Équipe (Française) spiked their story
Investigator clears Armstrong of doping

AMSTERDAM -- Lance Armstrong called it a "witch hunt" from the beginning, saying that a French newspaper used dubious evidence to accuse him of doping and that lab officials mishandled his samples and broke the rules.

According to a Dutch investigator's findings released yesterday, it appears Armstrong -- who repeatedly has denied using banned substances -- was right.

The report, commissioned late last year by the International Cycling Union, cleared the record seven-time Tour de France champion of charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his first Tour win in 1999.

It said tests on urine samples were conducted improperly and fell so short of scientific standards that it was "completely irresponsible" to suggest they "constitute evidence of anything."

The investigation also concluded that the French laboratory that handled the samples and the World Anti-Doping Agency "violated applicable rules on athlete confidentiality by commenting publicly on the alleged positive findings."

The 132-page report recommended convening a tribunal to discuss possible legal and ethical violations by WADA, which is led by Dick Pound, and to consider "appropriate sanctions to remedy the violations."

The French sports daily L'Equipe [The Team] reported in August that six of Armstrong's urine samples from 1999 came back positive for the endurance-boosting hormone EPO (erythropoietin) when retested in 2004.

"Today's comprehensive report makes it clear that there is no truth to that accusation," Armstrong said. "I have now retired, but for the sake of all athletes still competing who deserve a level playing field and a fair system of drug testing, the time has come to take action against these kinds of attacks before they destroy the credibility of WADA and, in turn, the international anti-doping system."

The International Cycling Union appointed Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijman in October to investigate the handling of urine tests from the 1999 Tour by the French national anti-doping laboratory, known by its French acronym LNDD.

Mr. Vrijman said his report "exonerates Lance Armstrong completely with respect to alleged use of doping in the 1999 Tour de France."

It said that no proper records were kept of the samples and that there had been no "chain of custody" guaranteeing their integrity and no way of knowing whether the samples had been "spiked" with banned substances...

Senate Minority Leader Reid: What I did wasn’t wrong… But I promise to never ever do it again.
Reid says he won't accept free tickets

WASHINGTON - Reversing course, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid's office acknowledged Wednesday night he misstated the ethics rules governing his acceptance of free boxing tickets and has decided to avoid taking such gifts in the future.

The Nevada senator still believes it was "entirely permissible" for him to accept ringside seats for three professional boxing matches in 2004 and 2005 from the Nevada Athletic Commission but has nonetheless decided to avoid doing so in the future, his office said.

"In light of questions that have been raised about the practice, Senator Reid will not accept these kinds of credentials in the future in order to avoid even the faintest appearance of impropriety," spokesman Jim Manley said.

The announcement came after The Associated Press confronted Reid's office early Wednesday with conclusions from several ethics experts that the Senate leader misstated congressional ethics rules in trying to defend his actions…

"Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too."
Richard M. Nixon

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hey, for the ticket price, she could at least be entertaining

MADONNA snapped at an audience member at her gig in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday (28MAY06) when she spotted he wasn't dancing. The singer took her Confessions tour to the gambling capital at the weekend after three dates in Los Angeles. Midway through the concert, she singled out a man in the front row, who wasn't getting into the groove and yelled, “If you are only going to sit there, at least you can smile," reports The Scoop.

(hat tip: Best of the Web Today)

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match.

Find me a find, catch me a catch.
Matchmaker, matchmaker, look through your book
Find me someone whose loot I can snatch.

Matchmaker, matchmaker, I'll give you money.
You bring the groom, an old rich honey.
Bring me a pigeon, use your grease
I hanker for someone to fleece.

Woman Wins $2 Million in Matchmaker Suit

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A widow won $2.1 million from a high-priced matchmaker whom she claimed failed to deliver on promises of introductions to cultured, wealthy men.

Anne Majerik, a 60-year-old social worker from Erie, Pa., claimed in a lawsuit that she paid Beverly Hills matchmaker Orly Hadida $125,000 to be introduced to men who wanted monogamous relationships, earned more than $1 million and had estates of up to $20 million.

Instead, she said, she only got a few introductions to inappropriate men. For example, her suit claimed, the matchmaker's "international banker" turned out to be "an interpreter that worked in a bank."

Orly, an Israeli beauty pageant winner who goes by her first name, countersued. She alleged Majerik is a "serial matchmaker suer" who enjoyed herself with the men she met before claiming she had been "psychologically damaged by the process" and demanding compensation.

Orly claimed Majerik became her client after she helped the widow prevail in a lawsuit against another matchmaker, San Diego-based Valenti International. She said Majerik, whose husband died in 1999, gave her "enthusiastic feedback about nearly every man to whom Orly had introduced her."

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury ruled in Majerik's favor on Tuesday, although jurors weren't entirely sympathetic to her.

"We wanted to punish the defendant, but in the amount we wanted to punish the defendant, we didn't want to reward the plaintiff," said foreman Christie Troutt. "They were both wrong."

Orly's attorney said she plans to appeal.

Mercifully, the long goodbye, 57 days in the making, ends
Tears Flow As Katie Couric Leaves 'Today'

NEW YORK (AP) -- With co-host Matt Lauer bringing the tissues, the "Today" show threw a going-away party Wednesday for 15-year host Katie Couric, who is leaving to become the next anchor of the "CBS Evening News."

"I'm feeling happy and sad and completely out of control," Couric said, "and you know how much I like that."

Forty-two minutes into the show, Couric couldn't hold back the tears any longer.

The first tear was spotted in the corner of her eye as "Today" talked to six people she had interviewed - an inspiring school principal, a woman brutally raped in Central Park, survivors of the Columbine school shooting and the World Trade Center bombing and parents of a boy who had died of brain cancer.

"In meeting her and talking to her, I felt that it helped heal me as well," said Lauren Manning, who was burned during the terrorist attack.

Couric's parents and two daughters were also in the audience Wednesday for what Couric jokingly called the "celebration of moi."

At the end of three hours worth of tributes, Couric raised a glass of champagne and said, "to everyone in TV land, thanks so much."

Couric's long goodbye began April 5, the 15th anniversary of her first day as Bryant Gumbel's co-host on "Today," when she announced that she would be leaving to accept CBS' offer to replace Bob Schieffer on the evening news. She said the time was right for a new challenge...

Here’s my post at the beginning of America’s long day’s journey into the night(ly news).

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

An unknown American soldier and Iraqi translator die in a Baghdad IED blast

Oh, yeah… And so did CBS cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan. CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier, who “graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College, majoring in human rights and Spanish [and] later earned a master's degree in foreign affairs, specializing in the Middle East, from the University of Virginia,” was critically injured.

To paraphrase Bernard Bailey:
When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of ‘journalists’ will be disappointed to discover they are not it.

CBS's Dozier Recovering at U.S. Base

Associated Press Writer

LANDSTUHL, Germany (AP) -- A CBS News correspondent injured by a car bomb that killed two colleagues in Iraq was in critical but stable condition and "doing as well as can be expected," a doctor at a U.S. military hospital said Tuesday.

Kimberly Dozier, a 39-year-old American, was flown to the U.S. military's Ramstein Air Base in Germany and was transferred by ambulance to nearby Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, where doctors were assessing her condition.

CBS said Dozier underwent two operations in Baghdad before she was transferred to Landstuhl, the U.S. military's largest medical facility abroad.

Col. W. Bryan Gamble said Dozier was responsive during the flight, opening her eyes and moving her toes as she was transferred, but that it was too soon to speculate on her recovery.

"It's really hard right now to ascertain how much of a recovery period she will need and what the extent of her rehabilitation will be, it's really too early into the process of the trauma to know that right now," Gamble said.

"She was critically wounded from the ... blast, but right now she is doing as well as can be expected," he said, adding that Dozier was expected to stay in Landstuhl for several days and undergo several other routine operations.

Medical officials are awaiting the arrival of her family, expected Wednesday, to decide when she would be transferred to the United States, Gamble said.

Dozier, along with cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan were traveling in a U.S. military convoy working on a story about Memorial Day when a car bomb exploded. Douglas and Brolan, both British citizens, were killed. A U.S. soldier and an Iraqi translator also died in the blast... [Ed. – Gosh, a whole sentence. It’s almost as if their lives mattered too]

Senator, you misheard. They said ‘Willy Weasel’ not ‘Goody Two Shoes’.
Reid sat ringside in Vegas for free

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid accepted free ringside tickets from the Nevada Athletic Commission to three professional boxing matches while that state agency was trying to influence him on federal regulation of boxing.

Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, took the free seats for Las Vegas fights from 2003 to 2005 as he was pressing legislation to increase government oversight of the sport, including the creation of a federal boxing commission that Nevada's agency feared might usurp its authority.

Mr. Reid, who has accused the Republicans of fostering a culture of corruption, defended the gifts, saying they would never influence his position on the bill and was simply trying to learn how his legislation might affect an important home-state industry.

"Anyone from Nevada would say 'I'm glad he is there taking care of the state's No. 1 businesses,' " he told the Associated Press.

"I love the fights anyways, so it wasn't like being punished," added the senator, a former boxer and boxing judge.

Senate ethics rules generally allow lawmakers to accept gifts from federal, state or local governments, but specifically warn against taking such gifts -- particularly on multiple occasions -- when they might be connected to efforts to influence official actions.

"Senators and Senate staff should be wary of accepting any gift where it appears that the gift is motivated by a desire to reward, influence, or elicit favorable official action," the Senate ethics manual states. It cites the 1990s example of an Oregon lawmaker who took gifts for personal use from a South Carolina state university and its president while that school was trying to influence his official actions.

"Repeatedly taking gifts which the Gifts Rule otherwise permits to be accepted may, nonetheless, reflect discredit upon the institution, and should be avoided," the manual states.

Two Republican senators who joined Mr. Reid for fights with the complimentary tickets took markedly differently steps.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona insisted on paying $1,400 for the tickets he shared with Mr. Reid for a championship match between Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins, one of 2004's most-hyped fights. Sen. John Ensign of Nevada accepted free tickets to another fight along with Mr. Reid but already had recused himself from Mr. Reid's boxing legislation because his father was an executive for a Las Vegas hotel that hosts fights.

In an interview Thursday in his Capitol office, Mr. Reid broadly defended his decisions to accept the tickets and to take several actions benefiting disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's clients and partners as they donated to him.

"I'm not 'goody-two-shoes.' I just feel these events are nothing I did wrong," Mr. Reid said.

Former Marine Fends Off Atlanta Robbers

ATLANTA (AP) -- A former Marine used a pocket knife to fend off a group of would-be robbers, killing one and wounding another, police said.

Thomas Autry, who authorities said will not be charged, had been walking home from his job waiting tables Monday night when four people got out of a car and chased him, Atlanta police detective Danny Stephens said.

One of the attackers had a shotgun and another had a pistol, Stephens said.

The suspects caught up with Autry, who yelled for help and pulled a knife out of his backpack. He kicked the shotgun out of one of the attacker's hands and stabbed both a 17-year-old girl who jumped on him and a man who also attacked him.

The suspects fled in their car but police found them later at a hospital where the girl was pronounced dead. The man stabbed in the incident was in critical condition, Stephens said. [Ed. - It's tragic that the young women died. But given her gang's penchant for armed robbery, it was inevitable that life would be lost; better the predator's than the prey's]

Autry's attackers will face robbery and aggravated assault charges and are suspected in other robberies over the past week, Stephen said…

Monday, May 29, 2006

Their last full measure of devotion

Each time you read an uncensored blog, disparage a politician, shun religion or walk into a place of worship you choose, peacefully protest, are presumed innocent, read a privately owned newspaper, and vote (or choose not to do so) - know this: Those freedoms are not an American birthright; they came into being and survive because many of your fellow countrymen under arms did not.

I don’t know Craig Maxim, have never met the man, have never spoken to him. He’s created a video for Memorial Day 2006. It struck a chord with me, so I’m passing it along. Mr. Maxim has a webpage here.

The 20 foot gold idol got nixed but not the farewell ad nauseam
Couric Leaving 'Today' After 15 Years

NEW YORK (AP) -- Millions of Americans can scarcely remember a weekday where Katie Couric wasn't a part of their morning routine. Maybe the "Today" show was on in the background when they gathered their homework for school. Later, she was there when they gulped a quick cup of coffee before work. In a few years, they'd watch TV while feeding the baby and Couric was still there - a few hairstyles later.

That comes to an end on Wednesday, Couric's last day as "Today" co-host. She'll be feted in a three-hour special edition stuffed with film clips and performances by Tony Bennett, Martina McBride and the cast of the Broadway show "Jersey Boys."

How will she be able to hold it all together?

"I haven't really thought about it and worried about it," Couric told The Associated Press. "I'll do what I've always done for 15 years and be myself. I'll react the way I react."…

Mexico: To hell with US law, except the ones we can influence
Mexico aims to maintain easy flow over border

Mexican President Vicente Fox's multistate tour of the western United States last week came while his government is in the midst of a massive, well-financed campaign to influence congressional efforts at stricter immigration enforcement and shape public opinion to allow more Mexican nationals into this country.

Worried about pending legislation to better secure the U.S.-Mexico border, the Fox administration and its representatives are working through a coalition of U.S.-based immigration rights associations, Mexican-American organizations and grass-roots Hispanic groups to lobby U.S. lawmakers and civic leaders for amnesty for the estimated 12 million illegals in the United States,

Some of the groups are behind the rallies and boycotts held nationwide that drew millions of flag-waving demonstrators to protest immigration reform, including more than 500,000 in Los Angeles and 100,000 in Washington.

At least one U.S. prosecutor in the "middle of an invasion by illegal aliens" said he is outraged by what he called efforts by the Mexican government to interfere in U.S. policies and overturn laws being used to arrest and prosecute illegal aliens.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew P. Thomas in Phoenix accuses Mexico of being behind a lawsuit challenging Arizona's alien-smuggling law. He has asked the State Department to protest Mexico's "concerted attempts to undermine" U.S. law and its "interfering in the internal affairs" of Arizona.

"The citizens of the state of Arizona will be deprived of their right to uphold public order and to protect themselves against the Mexican government's systematic, unlawful export of humanity into the state," Mr. Thomas told The Washington Times…

Aaron 755

Bonds 715

Ruth 714

Sunday, May 28, 2006

NOW’s Kim Gandy: First ‘Commander in Chief’, now Vargas. ABC is a den of male chauvinist pigs
Elizabeth Vargas, Exiting Stage Center

Elizabeth Vargas says she's at peace with her decision to walk away from one of the highest-profile jobs in America. But not everyone is so thrilled about it, especially some women.

Vargas, 43, stepped down as the co-anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight" on Friday, three days after ABC announced that she would leave the broadcast and be replaced by "Good Morning America" co-host Charles Gibson starting today. ABC and Vargas said her unexpected departure was a result of the demands of the job -- and the demands of being the mother of a 3-year-old, with another child due this summer. "For now, for this year, I need to be a good mother," she said in an interview on Friday, a few hours before anchoring her last newscast.

But the announcement has been met with a mixture of disappointment and skepticism in some quarters. Some observers found the news curious, given that Vargas will return to another demanding, but less visible, job -- co-anchor of the weekly newsmagazine "20/20" -- after she gives birth to her second child.

What's more, critics question whether Vargas's departure after less than six months as an anchor was entirely voluntary, given declines in "World News Tonight's" ratings and considering that Vargas already had experienced the challenges of balancing work and family years before she became pregnant a second time.

"It seems unlikely to me, having survived and thrived through her first pregnancy, that she would logically give up the top job in TV a few months out, anticipating she couldn't handle it," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. "It just doesn't strike me as a logical explanation. I don't think there are too many men who would be happy to be removed from the anchor chair."

Gandy added that ABC, which is owned by the Walt Disney Co., "doesn't look like a very woman-friendly or family-friendly workplace."…

NOW has joined with two other prominent women's organizations to protest Vargas's departure. In a letter that will be sent today to ABC News President David Westin and Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney, the organizations call Vargas's status "a clear demotion" and characterize it as "a dispiriting return to the days of discrimination against women that we thought were behind us."

In addition to Gandy, the letter is signed by Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, and Susan Scanlan, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, an umbrella group that represents organizations with about 10 million members.

The letter suggests Vargas's job change is parallel to ABC's cancellation of "Commander in Chief," a fictional program featuring Geena Davis as the first female president. The network has "now managed to eliminate two of the country's most visible women role models and high achievers from your television lineup," the letter says. It urges ABC to create work arrangements that would enable Vargas to continue as the network's "World News Tonight" anchor and as a mother, perhaps by pairing her in a job-sharing or co-anchoring role with Diane Sawyer. Sawyer, the co-host of "Good Morning America," reportedly was passed over for the "World News Tonight" anchor job last year…
Paraphrasing an Indian Proverb: Stay five yards from a carriage, ten yards from a horse, and a hundred yards from an elephant; the distance one should keep from feminist zealots cannot be measured.

pa·thet·ic \p&-'the-tik\ adj
Etymology: Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French pathetique, from Late Latin patheticus, from Greek pathEtikos capable of feeling, pathetic, from paschein (aorist pathein) to experience, suffer -- more at PATHOS

1 : having a capacity to move one to either compassionate or contemptuous pity
2 : marked by sorrow or melancholy : SAD

Yet again, John Kerry wants to revisit the four months he spent in Viet Nam almost 40 years ago and the NY Times devotedly obliges with Kerry Pressing Swift Boat Case Long After Loss.

Why Kerry Is The Democrat's Nightmare, Return of the magic hat, SINCE THE SUBJECT'S IN THE NEWS AGAIN - are some observations from Captains Quarters, Powerline, and Instapundit, respectively

DEA raids LA Times; “largest ever marijuana bust in LA County”
“Upon entry to the floor space we saw smoke seeping out from under the closed door to the editorial board's conference room,” said a DEA agent who requested anonymity because he is part of an ongoing criminal investigation and professional ethics and legal consequences prohibit leaking information regarding the investigation.

“The volume [of smoke] was such that, at first, we thought there might be a fire in the room. However, upon opening the door, we determined there was no fire. Instead we found approximately a dozen people sitting around an oblong conference table strewn with empty pizza boxes and super-sized bags of corn chips. All but two individuals - one who was unconscious and laying face down on the table with her forehead in a bowl of guacamole dip and the other who was slowly keying into a laptop computer - were toking cigar-sized doobies. We subsequently found several dozen plastic-wrapped bales of marijuana neatly stacked up in a storage room adjoining the conference room."
The information above is ahead-of-the-news-cycle speculation for the proximate cause of this:
Secretary-General Bill Clinton
The U.N. needs Bill more than the U.S. needs Hillary.

THE BEST THING HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON could do for humanity is not run for president. Nothing against her personally, mind you; it's just that her aspirations could get in the way of her husband's worthier ones.

In our continuing quest to find an appropriate job for our favorite ex-president — a year and a half ago we suggested he become chairman of the Democratic Party — we now offer an even better suggestion. This time, it's a post he has coveted. Not long after leaving office in 2001, Clinton reportedly told an aide that his dream job would be secretary-general of the United Nations. That's our dream too…

Clinton also could bridge the growing divide between Washington and much of the world. He has been all but beatified in Africa, where his foundation has negotiated big discounts on drugs for treating AIDS. European heads of state eat out of his hand, and even the most hostile elements in the Arab world respect him as a peacemaker. He is so well known in China that a condom has been named after him, and his support in the U.S. cuts a swath across the ideological and socioeconomic spectrum, from billionaires to evangelicals to inner-city minorities. If Clinton can attract hordes of reporters at every public appearance even when he's out of office, think of the clout he would wield as head of the United Nations — clout that could focus Americans on the plight of the Third World or persuade implacable enemies to at least take a seat at the negotiating table...

WaPo: Those pesky United States citizens are at it again
Immigration Deal at Risk as House GOP Looks to Voters

Republican House members facing the toughest races this fall are overwhelmingly opposed to any deal that provides illegal immigrants a path to citizenship -- an election-year dynamic that significantly dims the prospects that President Bush will win the immigration compromise he is seeking, according to Republican lawmakers and leadership aides.

The opposition spreads across the geographical and ideological boundaries that often divide House Republicans, according to interviews with about half of the 40 or so lawmakers whom political handicappers consider most vulnerable to defeat this November. At-risk Republicans -- from moderates such as Christopher Shays in suburban Connecticut and Steve Chabot in Cincinnati to conservative J.D. Hayworth in Arizona -- said they are adamant that Congress not take any action that might be perceived as rewarding illegal behavior.

Shays, one of the few vulnerable House Republicans open to a broad compromise with the Senate, said strong protests from his constituents this month prompted him to speak out for the first time against citizenship for undocumented workers. "It would be a huge mistake to give people a path to citizenship that came here illegally," he said…

Several Republicans said they are getting more bricks in the mail -- as part of a new grass-roots campaign promoting a fence between the United States and Mexico -- than letters or calls supporting Bush and the Senate bill. Most said 80 to 90 percent of feedback coming from constituents last week was in opposition to Bush and the Senate on the citizenship question.

Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) will not allow a vote on a House-Senate compromise that does not have the support of most GOP lawmakers or one that would undermine the reelection chances of his at-risk members, aides said. According to GOP lawmakers and strategists, about 75 percent of the 231 House Republicans are steadfastly opposed to the Senate bill or even a watered-down version of it.

Despite some national polls showing strong support for a comprehensive solution of the sort favored by Bush, nearly every GOP lawmaker interviewed for this article said the House plan to secure the borders and enforce existing immigration laws is unquestionably the safer political stand in his or her district. Many Democrats from vulnerable districts say the same thing, although the Democratic Caucus as a whole is more sympathetic to a Senate-style compromise. [Ed. – Interestingly, the WaPo reporters don’t name the ‘national poll’ takers or these polls’ numeric results]

Keller, like most House Republicans in tough races this year, has a small percentage of Hispanics living in his district, which strategists said makes it easier to reject a broad compromise. Many senators, by contrast, represent more diverse populations and are therefore more sensitive to the concerns of Hispanics. Moreover, only one-third of senators face reelection this fall, so it is easier for them to ignore the short-term Republican politics, which are dominated by concerns about any program that resembles amnesty for illegal immigrants. [Ed. – those ‘short-term Republican politics’ are also know as the American voters, which is the only ‘poll’ that matters]

Pitt & Jolie: Freedom of the press is so yesterday

The political lay of the land was obviously not lost to Jolie during her frequent trips to Africa. Nothing like having a star-struck Marxist police state governor in your back pocket to avoid life’s little inconveniences.
Doctor: Jolie, Baby Doing Well in Namibia

WINDHOEK, Namibia (AP) -- It looks like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt got what every parent wants - a healthy baby. While Namibian officials declined Sunday to give any details on the birth Saturday of Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, a doctor at the hospital said there were no complications and the mother and daughter were doing well…

Police ringed the hospital with tight security Sunday, refusing to admit journalists and photographers into the building…

"Any information relating to the birth of the baby will be made available to the public soon," said [Governor of the Namibian region of Erongo, Samuel] Nuuyoma, who has become friends with the celebrity couple…

The government has gone to extraordinary lengths to protect the privacy of Jolie and Pitt, who came to Namibia to avoid photographers and in the weeks leading up to the birth of their first child.

Namibia put tight security around their hotel and the hospital, set up large green barriers to protect their privacy from photographers and refused to grant visas to any foreign journalists unless they had written permission from Jolie and Pitt to cover the birth.

Police have also arrested photographers and confiscated film…

Jolie and Pitt were linked romantically shortly after appearing together in the 2005 movie "Mr. and Mrs. Smith."

Jolie, 30, is a frequent visitor to Africa and serves as goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. She has two adopted children: toddler Zahara, from Ethiopia, and 4-year-old Maddox, from Cambodia. Both had their surnames legally changed to Jolie-Pitt after Pitt announced his intentions to adopt the children as well.

Pitt and actress Jennifer Aniston divorced last fall.

Jolie, who won an Oscar for her supporting role in 1999's "Girl, Interrupted," is divorced from Billy Bob Thornton and Jonny Lee Miller.