Monday, November 30, 2009

Iran Gives Nuclear Finger to Obama and UN

The Obama Administration is shocked, shocked to find that Iran is not complying with UN demands regarding the development of its nuclear program.

However, as with many muslim endeavors, maybe the nuclear program will collapse as a result of the usual high degree of muslim incompetence. The photo above purports to show Ahmadinejad in a nuclear facility in Qom. About four years ago an earthquake hit Qom. According to press reports, 80,000 residents of Qom were killed. If earthquakes are a threat to structures in this city, then the nuclear site may well be the one to crumble when the next temblor tears the ground apart.

Meanwhile, the photo above looks like it was set in a movie studio where a science fiction production is underway. It is hard to believe these clowns are capable of establishing and operating a true nuclear laboratory. When it comes to bungling technology, muslim incompetence is remarkably powerful.

'Iran's 10 Uranium Plants' In Defiance Of UN

Sunday November 29, 2009

Iran has approved plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants, the country's state media has said.

The announcement comes two days after the UN demanded Iran halt construction of a newly revealed enrichment facility near the city of Qom.

A cabinet meeting headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran to begin building at five new sites, state television IRIB reported on its website.

The government also ordered the Iranian body to locate sites for another five over the next two months, the media organisation said.

The US has called the expansion plans "another serious violation" of the country's international obligations.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said: "If true, this would be yet another serious violation of Iran's clear obligations under multiple UN security council resolutions, and another example of Iran choosing to isolate itself.

"The international community has made clear that Iran has rights, but with those rights come responsibilities."

He added: "Time is running out for Iran to address the international community's growing concerns about its nuclear programme."

The new enrichment plants are to be the same size as its main enrichment complex at Natanz.

Mr Ahmadinejad is reported to have said he will not allow an inch of Iranian rights to be wasted.

The cabinet is meeting on Wednesday to discuss plans to enrich uranium up to 20% purity, the president is quoted as saying on the IRIB TV website.

Mr Ahmadinejad said Iran should be producing 250-300 tonnes of nuclear fuel per year, according to IRIB.

The development is likely to add further strain to relations between Iran and Western powers.

The West suspects the Islamic republic is attempting to make nuclear bombs but Iran, the world's fifth-largest crude exporter, claims its atomic programme aims to generate electricity.

The IRIB previously reported that a strong majority of Iranian lawmakers issued a statement demanding the government should not to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"The Iranian nation without a doubt knows that legally its nuclear file has no flaws and wants as soon as possible the case to be returned to the IAEA from the UN Security Council," the statement read, signed by 226 lawmakers.

The statement went on to denounce the resolution as politically motivated and said the US and England are responsible.

Lawmakers also said US President Barack Obama has failed to make the slightest change in policy towards Iran and said he has followed the same path of the hardline administration of his predecessor, George W Bush.

Eating Ourselves to Death

Yes, some people are unlucky, the ones stuck with the bad genes that give them diabetes. But most people who develop diabetes inflict the disease on themselves by overeating and becoming obese. Thus, the nation has two ways to cut the cost of treating this leading cause of death. We can go staight at it, tackling it with expensive drugs. OR we can all learn to eat sensibly, lose some weight, get a little exercise and avoid the disease -- all without spending an extra dime. In fact, spending less, a lot less.

The study claims that by the middle of the century, the US might find itself spending $336 billion a year to treat diabetes. OR, if we ate right and went for a brisk walk every day, we might need to spend about $0.00 to fight a disease that would largely disappear.

Diabetics in U.S. May Double in 25 Years, Tripling Health Costs

Nov. 27 -- The number of Americans with diabetes may almost double in 25 years, and the annual cost of treating them may triple to $336 billion, according to a study published today in the journal Diabetes Care.

Without new programs to assure that people get health care to manage their condition, 44.1 million people in the U.S. will have diabetes by 2034, from 23.7 million today, the report said. The number of diabetics on Medicare, the government plan for the elderly, will reach 14.1 million from 6.5 million today.

The analysis by researchers at the University of Chicago was intended to give White House and Congressional budget officials a way to estimate costs over time, said Michael O’Grady, a senior fellow at the university’s National Opinion Research Center.

Diabetes drugs were the fourth-best selling medications in 2008, with $27.3 billion in global sales, according to IMS Health, a Norwalk, Connecticut-based company that tracks prescription trends.

“To do nothing is going to be extremely expensive,” O’Grady said in a Nov. 24 telephone interview. “It’s going to mean millions of Americans continuing to get this disease and a lot of heartache.”

Copenhagen-based Novo Nordisk A/S, the world’s biggest maker of insulin, funded the study. The company sold $6.1 billion of insulin products in 2008.

Diabetes prevents people from breaking down sugar in their blood and can lead to complications including heart disease, kidney disease, vision loss and amputation of limbs. While some people have an inherited form of the condition, the majority of cases are linked to obesity.

Impact of Aging

The analysis by O’Grady and his colleagues included the impact of aging and obesity rates as well as the natural progression of the disease over time to come up with estimates on numbers and costs. They found diabetes treatment estimates of $113 billion this year would increase to $336 billion by 2033.

In their earlier work, the researchers concluded that the costs of paying for new programs would save money over time for people in their 20s, break even for people in their 30s and 40s, and cost more for people in their 50s and older.

“You have to spend money up front but you avoid blindness, kidney disease, amputations, heart attacks and stroke,” he said. “You can use savings from the young to offset the expenditures in the older groups,” O’Grady said.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Catch a Tiger by the...

Looks like Tiger Woods is headed for divorce court. Seems his beautiful blonde wife discovered he's been fooling around with another beautiful woman. Looks like they were caught Down Under. In Australia. Yeah, yeah, a coincidence both of them happened to be in the same town in Australia at the same time. Yeah that happens. All the time.

The first reports said Tiger crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and then a tree. All that bad driving was given as the reason his wife had to break the rear window of the SUV to get in and "save him." He came out of the vehicle with scratches and cuts on his face. They said.

However, it is painfully clear that what we have here is a case of hell and a scorned woman. Mrs. Tiger was furious. So furious she went after him like she was, well, a tiger. Nails to the face. That wasn't enough, however, and she went for heavier artillery, grabbing his favorite weapon -- a golf club -- which she hoped to use on his head. Tee up that skull and knock it about 300 yards down the fairway.

However, he had the good sense to attempt an escape from his wife who was in a murderous rage. Though the latest press reports suggest he was trying to drive away from their house, it is more likely she was the one operating the vehicle.

When she failed to sufficiently tenderize his head with the golf club, she flashed on an episode of wifely homicide that happened a few years ago in Dallas. The wife of a prominent dentist who was having an affair got into their Mercedes and ran over her dentist husband, not merely ending her husband's affair, but also his life. Tiger's wife may have had a similar ambition after confronting him about his relationship with Rachel Uchitel, one smokin' hot babe.

The way the SUV -- that's Scorned Unhinged Voman -- careened around the yard, it seems only a driver in a psychotic state could nail a tree, a fire hydrant and smash the rear window. I'm assuming Mrs Tiger was stepping on the gas as he hopped over the fire hydrant, which she then ran over, and a second later, when he realized the vehicle was almost on top of him, he ducked behind a tree to prevent her from laying tire tracks across his body. After colliding with the tree, no doubt she threw the shifter into reverse, hit the gas and flew backwards into a low hanging limb that smashed the rear window.

If Tiger's blood is anywhere on the vehicle, it is on the outside

So. Is Rachel pregnant?

The Americans are Coming, The Americans are Coming

The Cuban economy must be in worse shape than we thought. It is now taking more effort than ever to divert attention from the utter failure of Fidel's communist state and on to some outide influence.

For the last few decades Fidel and his staff were able to satisfy themselves that support for the endless socialist revolution in Cuba would continue endlessly as long as enough hate speech was directed at the US and its policies. However, when internal failures are too painfully obvious to every resident of the Cuban island, Fidel and his team have to raise the level of the rhetoric.

There seems to be a direct relationship between the state of the Cuban economy and the level of threat to Cuba coming from the US. With the economy in dire straits, it is now necessary to claim the US is planning an invasion.

One might ask why the US would invade a nearly helpless nation that is not capable of threatening America in any direct manner. Cuba is not known for harboring Islamic terrorists, except for those jailed in our facility at Guantanamo Bay. It is utterly incompetent at finding oil and gas in the resource-rich bed of the Gulf of Mexico.

The new drive to whip up some anti-American fear looks like an attempt to stop more Cubans from embracing the belief that the eternal shortages of everything and the huge limitations on their lives are the result of Fidel's failed policies. It is more likely that the Cuban government fears it is about to face a revolt. The people have had enough. They know they've been given a raw deal and they want a change.

Cuba conducts war games with U.S. invasion in mind

Thu Nov 26, 2009

HAVANA - Cuba began its biggest military maneuvers in five years on Thursday, saying they were needed to prepare for a possible invasion by the United States.

Despite a thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations and assurances last week by President Barack Obama that the United States has no intention of invading the island 90 miles from Florida, Cuba's state-run press quoted military leaders as saying there "exists a real possibility of a military aggression against Cuba."

The war games, which are being called "Bastion 2009," also will get the military ready to deal with social unrest the United States may try to foment in this time of economic crisis in Cuba, ahead of an invasion, they said.

Cuban television showed images of tanks firing their guns as they rolled through the countryside, artillery batteries blasting away, camouflaged troops digging trenches and shooting bazookas, attack helicopters and fighter jets buzzing through the sky and rescue teams tending wounded combatants.

It was not clear if the images came from Thursday's maneuvers or from file footage of previous activities, nor were the sites of the war games disclosed.

The maneuvers, which end on Saturday, are taking place at a time when relations between the United States and Cuba have warmed under Obama after five decades of hostility.

He has slightly eased the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo against the communist-led island and initiated talks on migration and postal service, but based further progress on Cuba releasing political prisoners and improving rights.

The Cuban government under President Raul Castro has said it is open to better relations, but will make no unilateral concessions to the United States.

In a written response to questions from Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez last week, Obama said, "The United States has no intention of using military force in Cuba."


But Cuban military leaders have insisted in state-run press that Bastion 2009 is "a necessity of the first order in the current political-military situation that characterizes the confrontation between Cuba and the empire (the United States)."

They appeared to signal disgruntlement with Obama, whose election brought high hopes of change on the island, saying the embargo goes on and he has not removed Cuba from the United States' list of "terrorist" countries.

History is also a factor. Cuba, fresh from the 1959 revolution that put Fidel Castro in power, fended off a U.S.-backed invasion by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and has remained on high alert for another ever since.

At the height of the Cold War, Cuba entered into an alliance with the Soviet Union and received military support until the former superpower collapsed in 1991.

The alliance almost brought the world to the brink of nuclear war in 1962 when the Soviets placed nuclear missiles on the island, prompting a showdown with the United States that became known as the Cuban missile crisis.

The tense confrontation ended peacefully when the Soviets withdrew the missiles in exchange for a U.S. pledge to never invade Cuba and, it was later revealed, pull its own missiles from Turkey.

Most of Cuba's materiel dates from the Soviet era, but Russia recently agreed to modernize the arsenal as part of a renewal of friendship between the former allies.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Islamic deadbeats try sheikh down

Dubai Debt Delay Rattles Confidence in Gulf Borrowers

Nov. 26 -- Dubai shook investor confidence across the Persian Gulf after its proposal to delay debt payments risked triggering the biggest sovereign default since Argentina in 2001.

The cost of protecting government notes from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain rose, extending the steepest increase since February as Dubai World, with $59 billion of liabilities, sought a “standstill” agreement from creditors. Its debt includes $3.52 billion of bonds due Dec. 14 from property unit Nakheel PJSC. Dubai credit-default swaps climbed 90 basis points to 530 after yesterday increasing the most since they began trading in January, CMA Datavision prices showed.

“There is nothing investors dislike more than this kind of event,” said Norval Loftus, the head of convertible bonds and Islamic debt at Matrix Group Ltd. in London, which manages $2.5 billion of assets including Dubai credits. “The worst-case scenario will of course be involuntary restructuring on the Nakheel security that brings into question the entire nature of the sovereign support for various borrowers in the region.”

Dubai World’s assets range from stakes in Las Vegas casino company MGM Mirage to London-traded bank Standard Chartered Plc and luxury retailer Barneys New York through asset-management firm Istithmar PJSC. The Dubai government’s attempt to reschedule debt triggered declines in stocks worldwide that had been rebounding from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Worldwide Slump

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index of stocks headed for the biggest decline in four weeks, falling 2 percent, led by Russia and China. Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index lost 2.5 percent, the biggest decline since July 2, at 2:46 p.m. in London. South Africa’s rand and the Turkish lira weakened 2.1 percent against the dollar. Hungary’s forint lost 1.7 percent per euro. Credit- default swaps on Russia increased to 205 basis points from 192.

The MSCI World Index of 23 developed markets has risen 26 percent this year after banks worldwide recorded more than $1.7 trillion in writedowns and losses and governments committed about $12 trillion to shore up economies.

“The announcement was a shock,” said Beat Siegenthaler, chief emerging-market strategist at TD Securities Ltd. in London. “It is strongly affecting European markets.”

Dubai, ruled by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, borrowed $80 billion in a four-year construction boom to transform the economy into a regional tourism and financial hub.

The emirate suffered the world’s steepest property slump in the global recession with home prices dropping 50 percent from their 2008 peak, according to Deutsche Bank AG.


Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s cut the ratings on Dubai state companies yesterday, saying they may consider Dubai World’s plan to delay debt payments a default.

Gulf region default swaps jumped, with contracts linked to Bahrain adding 29 basis points today to 223.5, the biggest increase since Feb. 18. Contracts linked to Abu Dhabi added the most since February yesterday, climbing 36 basis points to 136.5 and were another 23 basis points higher at 159.5 today, according to London-based CMA. Qatar default swaps rose 13 basis points to 117, adding to yesterday’s 11 basis-point increase.

“Dubai is the most indicative of the huge global liquidity boom and now in the aftermath there will be further defaults to come in emerging markets and globally,” said Nick Chamie, head of emerging-market research at Toronto-based RBC Capital Markets.

Saudi Debts

Saudi Arabia default swaps climbed the most since February, adding 18 basis points to 108. The British Bankers’ Association asked the U.K. government to intervene with Saudi authorities over debts of at least $20 billion owed to as many as 100 banks by Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co., two family holding companies based in the oil city of Al-Khobar, according to a letter dated Nov. 20.

Default swaps on Dubai World unit DP World Ltd., the Middle East’s biggest port operator, jumped by a record 181 basis points to 540.5 yesterday and were priced another 72 basis points higher today at 612, according to CMA data.

Dubai World had $59.3 billion in liabilities and $99.6 billion in total assets at the end of 2008, subsidiary Nakheel Development Ltd. said in an August statement. Dubai owes $4.3 billion next month and $4.9 billion in the first quarter of 2010 through government and corporate debt, Deutsche Bank AG data show.

“DP World and its debt are not included in the restructuring process for Dubai World,” the government said in a statement to Nasdaq Dubai today.

‘Brink of Failure’

The price of Nakheel’s bonds fell to 70.5 cents on the dollar from 84 yesterday and 110.5 a week ago, according to Citigroup Inc. prices on Bloomberg.

“Nakheel is now standing on the brink of failure given the astonishing amount of cash Dubai would have to inject on it in order to see the enterprise survive,” said Luis Costa, emerging-market debt strategist at Commerzbank AG in London. “Events like this are a perfect storm.”

Dubai credit-default swaps now rank as the fifth most expensive worldwide, exceeding Iceland’s and Latvia’s.

The contracts, which increase as perceptions of credit quality deteriorate, pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent should a company fail to adhere to its debt agreements. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point and is equivalent to $1,000 a year on a contract protecting $10 million of debt.

Abu Dhabi Aid

UBS AG, Switzerland’s largest bank, said it expects the U.A.E. will prevent a default by Nakheel. Owners of bonds sold by Nakheel scheduled a conference call today, said an investor and a trader who received the details.

Dubai is one of seven sheikhdoms in the U.A.E. that includes Abu Dhabi, which holds 8 percent of the world’s oil reserves and bought $5 billion of bonds sold by Dubai yesterday through state-controlled banks.

Sheikh Mohammed turned to Abu Dhabi’s central bank on Feb. 23 to raise $10 billion by selling debt. The emirate’s credit default swaps dropped 178 basis points that day, after trading for a record 976 basis points.

Unlike Argentina, which stopped payments on $95 billion of debt eight years ago after yields on benchmark bonds more than doubled in four months to more than 40 percent, Dubai’s announcement yesterday “was a surprise,” said Alia Moubayed, a London-based economist at Barclays Plc.

Standstill Agreement

The government raised $1.93 billion last month in its first sale of Islamic bonds, attracting more than $6.3 billion of orders. The dollar-denominated securities due 2014, which are governed by Shariah laws barring investors from profiting from the exchange of money, dropped to 5.5 percent today to 92 cents, lifting the yield to 8.4 percent from 6.2 percent on Nov. 24, according to ING Groep NV prices on Bloomberg.

Gulf International Bank BSC, a Bahrain-based lender owned by the governments of six Gulf Arab states, postponed a planned sale of bonds in a $4 billion debt program, citing the “unexpected announcement” from Dubai, according to an e-mailed statement today.

Dubai World will ask creditors for a “standstill” agreement as it negotiates to extend maturities, including $3.52 billion of Islamic bonds due Dec. 14 from Nakheel, Dubai’s Department of Finance said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

‘Brink of Failure’

Dubai World’s more than 70 creditors face the prospect of writedowns on as much as $60 billion of debt if they haven’t unloaded their holdings and the state-owned company fails to win additional support from Abu Dhabi.

The biggest creditors are Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Emirate NBD PJSC. Other lenders include Credit Suisse Group AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, according to a person familiar with the situation. Barclays slumped as much as 6.9 percent, the biggest intraday loss in a month, while RBS sank as much as 8.3 percent. Lloyds and Credit Suisse dropped more than 3 percent.

“Our exposure is immaterial,” said Credit Suisse spokesman Marc Dosch. HSBC, Lloyds and RBS declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg. Spokespeople at Barclays were not immediately available to comment.

Emaar Properties PJSC, the U.A.E.’s biggest developer, was cut by four levels by Moody’s to Ba2, two steps below investment grade. Jebel Ali Free Zone, an operator of business parks, and DIFC Investments were also lowered to speculative-grade by Moody’s yesterday. DP World and Dubai Electricity & Water Authority were downgraded two levels to Baa2, the second rank above junk. Moody’s and S&P said they may cut ratings further.

The debt “restructuring may be considered a default under our default criteria,” S&P said in a statement.

‘Shut Up’

Borrowing from Abu Dhabi state banks accounted for half the $10 billion Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed said he planned to raise by yearend. He said Nov. 9 the program will be “well received,” and those who doubt the unity of Dubai and Abu Dhabi should “shut up.”

Sheikh Mohammed removed the chairman of Dubai World from the board of Dubai’s main holding company, the Investment Corporation of Dubai, last week.

Contracts on Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., the state- controlled energy producer known as Taqa, jumped 70 basis points to 250, the highest since August. Swaps linked to Mubadala Development Co., a government-backed investor that announced an $8 billion joint venture with General Electric Co. last year, rose 111 basis points to 247, according to CMA. Mashreqbank PSC, the United Arab Emirates-based lender owned by billionaire Abdul Aziz al-Ghurair, jumped by a record 254 basis points to 639.

“It’s very important to resolve this in a way that will minimize contagion across the region,” Matrix Group’s Loftus said.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pyro the Maniac, loose at Stuyvesant High School

Torching trash cans, the new between-class sport in this high school.

You can't catch me, Stuyvesant High School copycat pyromaniac boasts

Wednesday, November 25th 2009

Investigators are hunting for a copycat firebug at Stuyvesant High School - where fires continue to be set even though a student arrested for arson last week isn't there.

And the new culprit apparently thinks he's a genius.

"I'm smart enough - you can't catch me," read a note left at one of the fires, according to FDNY sources. Another note appeared to be in hieroglyphics.

The latest fire broke out yesterday at 11:15 a.m. in an eighth-floor bathroom trash can. The day before, a fire ignited in a 10th-floor bathroom, officials said.

There were nine fires last week, and Mohammed Hassan was arrested for a couple of those and is considered a suspect in others.

But the junior wasn't in school this week - suggesting a copycat is at work.

"It's kids being kids, just a couple of teenagers with too much time on their hands," said physical education teacher Phil Fisher. "Obviously, we have a couple of pyros around here."

Hassan's father, also named Mohammed, said the new fires prove his son's innocence.

"They don't have anything - the fires are still going on so this proves it. It's totally, completely racial," the dad, 54, told the Daily News last night.

No one was injured in the fires.

"I don't know what people think they're accomplishing by doing this," said Taylor DeGiovanni, a junior at the high school.

The Flame-Thrower of Stuyvesant High

Hassan's father claims his son's arrest for arson is a frame-up job perpetrated by the school's principal. Somebody should tell Hassan's father to stop talking. To shut that trap before all possibilities of overcoming the impact of this outbreak of pyromania on his son's life are lost. However, it already appears that Hassan will need to look for a new school to attend.

Stuyvesant student charged with starting two fires in school caught on video, bragged to friends

Saturday, November 21st 2009

Mohammed Hassan, 16, is charged with starting two fires in Stuyvesant High School after he was caught on tape, but his father insists his son is being framed by the school's principal.

The Stuyvesant brainiac who set fires at the elite school made some stupid mistakes: getting caught on video and bragging to other students, officials said Friday.

Mohammed Hassan, 16, had Ivy League ambitions, but could be headed to jail instead of Harvard if convicted of arson and reckless endangerment.

A junior who once belonged to the math club, Hassan is charged with setting two blazes in bathrooms at the school - where several other fires are still under investigation.

His lawyer claimed his student was too smart to be guilty. "He's a bright kid," said Kevin Faga. "His idea is to go to Harvard and eventually to law school."

The Bronx teen was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges that carry up to seven years in prison. He was freed on $2,500 bail.

Later, Hassan's father, Mohammed, insisted his son was innocent and "being framed."

"This is a false accusation," the father said outside his apartment in the Castle Hill section as his son cowered behind him, hiding his face in the hood of a sweatshirt.

"My boy doesn't know anything about any fires and they don't have any concrete evidence. My son is a good boy," the father said.

He claimed the second fire broke out while his son was in detention but school officials "ignored the whole situation, so I believe the principal is framing my son."

Hassan's older brother Sonny said his family was scrambling for more information.

"My parents don't know what to do," he said. "They need someone to speak to them about what to do."

Both of Tuesday's fires at the lower Manhattan school were captured on surveillance video.

It showed Hassan entering a seventh-floor bathroom at 1:13 p.m. and leaving two minutes later, the criminal complaint said.

A witness also saw someone who looked like Hassan go into the bathroom just before a garbage can went up in flames - bumping into another student as he "hastily" fled.

At 1:16 p.m., video caught Hassan walking into a different bathroom and quickly exiting - leaving "bright orange and yellow flames rising out of a large garbage can," investigators said.

Fire marshals are probing other fires at the school - in bathrooms, hallways and stairwells - in the past week, sources said. No one has been arrested, and Hassan has not been tied to them.

Hassan, whose nickname is Minhaze, is awaiting school disciplinary action.

Sources said Hassan told other students he was the firebug, but many Stuy kids were shocked.

"They've got the wrong guy," said Tareak Black, 16.

Smoke in the Boy's Room

There was a time when students went to the can for a quick smoke between classes. Lately, however, a few students at Stuyvesant are more interested in creating minor emergencies rather than sneaking in a little nicotine.

One smart firebug? Stuyvesant student arrested for setting fires at high school

Friday, November 20th 2009

A junior at Stuyvesant High School has been arrested for setting fires at the elite school, officials said Friday.

Mohammed Hassan set small fires in a bathroom, hallway and a stairwell Thursday in the prestigious Manhattan school, fire and police sources said.

No one was injured, officials said.

Hassan was captured on a surveillance camera setting the mini-blazes, officials said.

"He was caught on a video camera the school has," said Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg.

The accused firebug was charged with attempted arson and reckless endangerment. He was arraigned Friday in Manhattan Criminal Court and released on $2,500 bail.

Sources said Hassan set garbage cans and paper towel dispensers on fire in the fourth-floor bathroom, a 10th-floor hallway and in a stairwell between the fifth and sixth floors.

The arrestcomes as fire marshals are investigating several other fires at the school in the past week, sources said.

On Nov. 13, fires were set in the men's bathrooms on the seventh, eighth and ninth floors. Fires were started on several floors on Monday and Tuesday, too.

No one has been arrested in those fires. Hassan has not been tied to them, but sources said the investigation is ongoing.

The Madness of Islam

Is it any wonder that Saudi Arabia is one of the world's most backward nations? Devotion to the religion founded by Muhammad, a schizophrenic who wrote a book in the 7th Century, explains it all. Based on the example of Saudi Arabia and the pending insanity plea from Major Hasan, the muslim who killed 13 and wounded 28 others at Fort Hood, it is becoming evident that to be Islamic is to show signs of mental illness.

Mixed-Sex Saudi University Hits Clerical Opposition

Nov. 25 -- Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world that forbids women from driving, isn’t ready to alter that, said Ali Suwaiyel, a 28-year-old Saudi banker.

“What’s the hurry?” he asked as he sipped a coffee in a Starbucks in Riyadh, wearing a traditional white Arabic robe and sunglasses. “What are the benefits?”

King Abdullah, 86, sees the need for speed in changing his country. He is creating secular universities, including a coeducational graduate school, and pushing for more science and technology in education. The king needs a well-trained workforce to diversify the world’s largest oil exporter from energy and create jobs for Saudi Arabia’s youth, more than 25 percent of whom are unemployed.

Failing to raise the fortunes of the almost 40 percent of the population under 15 would make the Islamic state even more susceptible to extremism, said Simon Henderson, an expert on the Gulf monarchies at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Stability of world oil supplies depends on Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally.

A backlash by clerics, led in public by Sheikh Saad Bin Naser al-Shatri, is slowing those efforts, though the king dismissed al-Shatri from the country’s top religious body last month.

“We’re missing a lot of opportunities because of religious opposition,” said Jamal Khashoggi, editor of al-Watan newspaper in Jeddah. It is owned by Prince Khaled al-Faisal, governor of that province. “The conservatives are fighting back.”

No Film Festival

Al-Shatri publicly criticized the country’s first co- educational university in September. This followed the last- minute cancellation in July of a Jeddah film festival that had run annually since 2006. The Arab News said a cancellation order was issued by local authorities, citing festival organizers. Clerics in Saudi Arabia, where movie theatres are banned, maintain that musical and film performances are against Sharia, or Islamic law.

Under a pact between the ruling al-Saud family and the Sunni Muslim hierarchy dating back to 1744, Saudi Arabia maintains an austere brand of Islam in return for clerics’ acceptance of the crown, according to official history. The Wahhabi religious establishment controls the courts and dominates the education system.


Prince Turki al-Faisal, whose father, King Faisal, introduced female education in the early 1960s and deployed soldiers to protect girls attending school, said there is similar opposition now.

“Any reform agenda will face resistance but that has not disrupted King Abdullah,” said Turki, 64, a former ambassador to the U.S. and U.K. and intelligence chief from 1977 to 2001.

To lure foreign academics and international students to his King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, known as KAUST, the Saudi monarch relaxed the rules.

Women don’t have to wear the abaya, a black robe that covers all but the face, and are allowed to drive in the fenced- off campus 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Jeddah.

“This is something I never expected to see in my lifetime in Saudi Arabia,” Hommood al Rowais, 23, a student in a black baseball cap, blue shorts and a T-shirt who is the son of a Saudi diplomat in Washington, said in an Oct. 14 interview on the newly built campus.

Four New Cities

Abdullah also is building four industrial cities, including the King Abdullah Economic City near KAUST. The government says they will create 1 million new jobs by 2020 in a country whose population is now 28 million. The aim is to build energy-related industries such as plastics, petrochemicals, aluminum and steel. Saudi Arabia depends on oil exports for 90 percent of its revenue.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s largest petrochemicals maker and a leading pillar of the drive to reduce reliance on oil, is listed as a research collaborator with KAUST in the field of catalysis on the university’s Web site. The technology allows more efficient use of raw materials in the chemicals and petroleum industries.

Saudi Arabia could increase manufacturing’s share of the economy from 11 percent to 16 percent within the next decade, according to John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi in Riyadh, the capital.

Religious Education

Elementary schools devote 31 percent of their time to religion and 20 percent to math and science, according to a report last year by Booz Allen Hamilton, a McLean, Virginia- based consulting firm.

The king faces difficulties too as he tries to modernize the religious-run judiciary to create a favorable environment for business and foreign investment. In 2007, Abdullah said Saudi Arabia would reform the legal system by establishing a supreme court and commercial and labor courts.

The future judges who can bring the system more in line with international norms are “now studying in school,” Bandar bin Mohammed al-Aiban, president of the government-run Saudi Human Rights Commission, said in an interview in Riyadh. “This will take a long time.”

Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz became first deputy prime minister, the third most powerful position in the country, in March. He is more wary of provoking clerical opposition than Abdullah, said Khashoggi.

Religious Police

The head of the religious police, Abdelaziz al-Humayyin, ordered stepped-up patrols in July. The police enforce separation of unmarried males and females and a ban on alcohol, and require Muslims to respect prayer times.

Just days after the Saudi monarch presided over a Sept. 23 inauguration ceremony for KAUST in which he called it a “beacon of tolerance,” al-Shatri said in a television interview that mixed-gender classes were “evil.”

Suwaiyel, the banker, said he thinks women will drive someday in Saudi Arabia, though not for 10 or 15 years. Granting them the right earlier “would cause a lot of friction,” he said.

“I believe Saudi Arabia is going to change but at its own pace,” he said. “The conservatives are resistant to change and they don’t want it right now.”

Brooklyn -- Play Ball

It's about time. The 22-acre section of Brooklyn where Atlantic Avenue crosses Flatbush Avenue has been a wasteland since Robert Moses told Walter O'Malley the Dodgers would have to look elsewhere for a new stadium site. That was before the end of the 1957 season. After learning the best site in Brooklyn was unavailable, the Dodgers went to Los Angeles where the team prospered and became the second most valuable franchise in baseball. Brooklyn blamed O'Malley. But Robert Moses was the true villain.

Ruling Lets Atlantic Yards Seize Land

The Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn has been delayed for three years by a flurry of lawsuits, the collapse of the credit and real estate markets and a glut of luxury housing.

After enduring three years of delays, several lawsuits and the collapse of the real estate market, the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn took a major step forward on Tuesday when New York’s highest court ruled that the state can seize private property for the 22-acre development.

The Court of Appeals ruled 6 to 1 that the state could exercise eminent domain in claiming businesses, public property and private homes for economic development projects like Atlantic Yards. In doing so, the court backed the state’s assessment that the area in question — where some holdouts had refused to sell their property — fit the legal definition of being blighted.

The ruling also had broader implications — reaffirming New York’s use of eminent domain even as many state legislatures seek to curb government’s power to condemn private property.

The project’s opponents had argued that eminent domain on behalf of the private developer, Bruce C. Ratner, was improper and unconstitutional. They vowed to continue their battle, but there was no question that a cloud of uncertainty that has hung over Atlantic Yards for more than a year had lifted.

Mr. Ratner called the court’s ruling a “light-switch” kind of decision for the long-stalled project. “I look at this as the last major hurdle; now we can proceed as we’ve wanted to for the last three years,” he said on Tuesday. “The courts have made it clear that this project represents a significant public benefit for the people of Brooklyn and the entire city.”

Mr. Ratner plans to begin selling tax-free bonds next month to finance the development’s cornerstone project: an 18,000-seat basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues near downtown.

Construction work is already under way at portions of the site. The developer expects that it will take about 28 months to build the arena, enabling the Nets to move from East Rutherford, N.J., to Brooklyn around June 2012.

Those opposed to the project said the decision, while a setback, was hardly the end of the fight.

“The fight against the Atlantic Yards project is far from over,” said Daniel Goldstein, a spokesman for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, a community group that opposes the project. “The community has four outstanding lawsuits against the project and, meanwhile, the arena bond financing clock ticks louder and louder for Ratner. While this is a terrible day for tax-paying homeowners in New York, this is not the end of our fight to keep the government from stealing our homes and businesses.”

If construction begins in the coming weeks as expected, Atlantic Yards will stand out in a city where 530 construction projects are stalled, sitting lifeless and without adequate financing in virtually every neighborhood.

Atlantic Yards would transform a busy intersection of two thoroughfares dominated by a railroad cut where Long Island Rail Road trains are cleaned between rush periods. The billion-dollar arena would be the most expensive in the country and home to Brooklyn’s first major sports team since the Dodgers left after the 1957 baseball season. Plans also call for 16 high-rise towers on nearby blocks, mostly residential buildings with as many as 6,430 apartments.

The developer has said that he will start the first residential building six months after beginning the arena. But with so many new apartments sitting vacant, analysts say it could be many years before demand would justify building so many units in one neighborhood.

The arena would be built on an 8.5-acre railyard and on adjacent property, much of which Mr. Ratner has acquired.

Mr. Ratner is not expected to get possession of all the property until sometime next year. He and his underwriters, Goldman Sachs, plan to sell the bonds for the arena by mid-December. They must complete the bond sale by Dec. 31 to qualify for tax-free financing. Otherwise they would have to resort to conventional financing, which could be prohibitively expensive.

In the next few days, the developer is also hoping that the rating agencies will give his bonds an investment-grade rating and a lower interest rate. On Tuesday, a state-sponsored local development corporation authorized the sale of a combination of tax-exempt and taxable bonds.

“We anticipate having the ratings necessary to successfully market this transaction and fund the project by Tuesday,” said Greg Carey, a managing director of Goldman Sachs.

In the meantime, Mr. Ratner’s company, Forest City Ratner, completed construction of a $50 million temporary railyard, just to the east of the original one, and turned it over to the Long Island Rail Road on Monday. The company, which was the development partner for the Midtown headquarters for The New York Times Company, continues to do construction work on the railroad property while it awaits title to the rest of the 22-acre parcel.

Even in New York, where large-scale development is always a contentious affair, Atlantic Yards has been a long-running story of a tenacious developer and an equally implacable opposition. The development has been hobbled by a series of disputes ever since it gained state and city approvals in 2006.

Mr. Ratner bought the New Jersey Nets in 2004 for $300 million, not out of a love for basketball so much as a lever for a large real estate project. The developer promised great architecture with designs by Frank Gehry; lots of affordable housing for teachers, firefighters and construction workers; a larger and better railyard as a replacement; and for sports romantics, a professional basketball team.

But critics, led by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and some local elected officials, said the proposed towers would loom over the low-scale neighborhood and worsen traffic. Opponents resented that just as the area was improving, they were threatened with condemnation by a developer who got $305 million in subsidies from the state and the city, as well as tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks.

Since 2004, the project has lost some luster. Mr. Ratner scrapped Mr. Gehry’s designs for a glass-walled arena and 16 towers. He renegotiated his deal to buy the railroad land. Instead of paying $100 million at closing, he will make a $20 million down payment and pay the rest over time, while building a smaller permanent railyard than originally promised.

Now, he is selling a majority stake in the Nets to a Russian billionaire and basketball enthusiast, Mikhail D. Prokhorov.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Saab Story

Obama is showing the world what happens when the government buys 61% of a bankrupt motor vehicle manufacturer. GM is having no luck selling Hummer, Saturn and Saab. But why should Obama worry? Or GM? The bill goes to the taxpayers.

However, since almost all Saab's employees are in Sweden and GM cannot sell the company, you would hope that GM would simply give the business to the employees -- for free. Let them have a go at running it. However, that might be a frightening scenario in the socialist paradise of Sweden.

Saab likely to close as GM fails to sell car brand
GM sale of Saab fails; car brand likely to close down after Swedish buyer pulls out of deal

DETROIT -- A deal for General Motors Co. to sell Saab to a specialty carmaker has collapsed, leaving the storied Swedish brand born from jets in 1947 close to extinction.

Koenigsegg Group AB, a consortium formed by Swedish luxury sports car maker Koenigsegg Automotive AB, said Tuesday it pulled out of the deal in part because it was unable to agree with investors on how best to move the brand from mass-market to premium.

For GM, it was the third time this year that a deal to shed one of its brands fell apart as it tries to recover from a stay in bankruptcy protection by focusing on a core of four: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.

The next move is up to GM's board, which will decide Saab's future in a few days. But with no apparent backup investors and the Swedish government refusing to buy Saab, GM may follow through on a contingency plan to let the brand die.

That jeopardizes the jobs of Saab's 4,500 employees, most of them in Sweden.

Joran Hagglund, a senior official at Sweden's Ministry of Enterprise, said the government will continue talking with GM, but the only solution for Saab is for another company to buy it.

"We have been very clear from day one that the government will not be the owner," he told reporters in Stockholm.

GM, which earlier this year conceded it has never made money with Saab, is unlikely to keep the brand, and industry analysts said any potential investors likely stepped away when Koenigsegg emerged as the buyer.

Matts Carlson, automotive analyst at Gothenburg Management Institute in Sweden, said Chinese automakers or Italy's Fiat Group SpA may still be interested, but he acknowledged there is a substantial risk that Saab could be closed for good.

The chairman of the Koenigsegg consortium told The Associated Press Tuesday that financing had been worked out, but as negotiations with GM and investors grew lengthy, it appeared less likely that Koenigsegg would be able to make money on the deal.

Analyst Carlson said the financial condition of Saab, which went into a court-protected restructuring Feb. 20, worsened since Koenigsegg announced plans to buy it in June.

"Saab's situation, they are losing market share all the time, could have given Koenigsegg cold feet," he said.

Koenigsegg, a tiny company that makes only a dozen high-performance luxury cars a year, was formed in 1994. Its headquarters and factory -- which produces cars that cost more than a $1 million each -- are at a former air force base in southern Sweden.

Earlier this month, GM's board decided to keep its European Opel unit rather than sell it to a group led by Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc.

In September, auto dealership chain owner Roger Penske scrapped plans to buy Saturn after an agreement to get cars from France's Renault fell through. The GM board decided to phase out Saturn, a possible fate for Saab.

But GM will keep and restructure Opel, which unlike Saab, is considered critical to GM's international operations. GM was worried that Opel technology would wind up in rivals' hands.

All three GM deals fell through because few people realize how difficult it is to unravel years of complex integration by global automakers, said Michael Robinet, a vice president at CSM Worldwide, an auto industry consulting firm near Detroit.

Disputes arose over use of technology, use of common parts and factories, and who would make cars after initial agreements expire.

Financing also had been a problem for the Koenigsegg group, which in August said it lacked about 3 billion kronor ($417 million) for the Saab deal. But in September, the consortium struck a deal with Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings for a minority stake to raise more money.

It will be difficult for Saab, founded as a Swedish aerospace company, to recover from Koenigsegg's decision. GM has been selling off existing inventory and preparing to end its role with the company, which would be hard to reverse.

Through October, GM sold only 7,441 Saabs in the U.S., a 62 percent drop from the same period in 2008. Two models, the 97-X SUV and the 9-3 sports sedan, make up most of the company's U.S. sales.

Analysts say GM, which bought half of Saab in 1990 for $600 million and the rest for $125 million in 2000, was unable to differentiate the brand from its other products or find a sales niche.

GM has one more chance to sell a brand. A deal for Chinese manufacturer Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Corp. to buy Hummer still must be approved by the U.S. and Chinese governments.

The Koenigsegg decision comes as the fate of another Swedish automaker, Volvo Cars, remains up in the air. Last month, Ford Motor Co. announced that it had picked a consortium led by China's Geely Group as the preferred bidder, but the deal hasn't been completed.

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Major Hasan's Islamist Life

Unfortunately, he may be an inspiration to many.

Major Hasan's Islamist Life

by Daniel Pipes
November 20, 2009

As the Pentagon and Senate launch what one analyst dubs "dueling Fort Hood investigations," will they confront the hard truth of the Islamic angle?

Despite encouraging references to "violent Islamists" by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Democrat of Connecticut), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, there is reason to worry about a whitewash of the massacre that took place on Nov. 5; that is just so much easier than facing the implications of a hostile ideology nearly exclusive to Muslims.

Indeed, initial responses from the U.S. Army, law enforcement, politicians, and journalists broadly agreed that Maj. Nidal Hasan's murderous rampage had nothing to do with Islam. Barack Obama declared "We cannot fully know what leads a man to do such a thing" and Evan Thomas of Newsweek dismissed Hasan as "a nut case."

But evidence keeps accumulating that confirms Hasan's Islamist outlook, his jihadi temperament, and his bitter hatred of kafirs (infidels). I reviewed the initial facts about his record in an article that appeared on Nov. 9 but much more information subsequently appeared; here follows a summary. The evidence divides into three parts, starting with Hasan's stint at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center:

The title page of Nidal Hasan's PowerPoint demonstration for a medical lecture in June 2007, indicates how little interest he took in medicine and how much in the perceived contradiction between being a Muslim and an American soldier.

He delivered an hour-long formal medical presentation to his supervisors and some 25 mental health staff members in June 2007, the culminating exercise of his residency program at Walter Reed. What was supposed to be on a medical topic of his choosing instead turned into a 50-slide PowerPoint talk on "The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military" that offered such commentary as "It's getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims" and the "Department of Defense should allow Muslims [sic] Soldiers the option of being released as 'Conscientious objectors' to increase troop morale and decrease adverse events." One person present at the presentation recalls how, by the time of its conclusion, "The senior doctors looked really upset."

Hasan informed at least one patient at Walter Reed that "Islam can save your soul."

So apparent were Hasan's Islamist proclivities, reports National Public Radio, that key psychiatry authorities at Walter Reed met to discuss if he was psychotic. One official told colleagues of his worries "that if Hasan deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, he might leak secret military information to Islamic extremists. Another official reportedly wondered aloud to colleagues whether Hasan might be capable of committing fratricide," recalling Sergeant Hasan Akbar's 2003 rampage.

Then followed Hasan's record at Ft. Hood:

His supervisor, Captain Naomi Surman, recalled his telling her that as an infidel she who would be "ripped to shreds" and "burn in hell." Another person reports his declaring that infidels should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats.

In his psychiatric counseling sessions with soldiers returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, Hasan heard information he considered tantamount to war crimes. As late as Nov. 2, three days before his murderous spree, he tried to convince at least two of his superior officers, Surman and Colonel Anthony Febbo, about the need legally to prosecute the soldiers.

Hasan routinely signed his e-mails with "Praise Be to Allah."

He listed his first name as Abduwalli, rather than Nidal, in the e-mail address in his official Army personnel record. 'Abd al-Wali is an Arabic name meaning "Slave of the Patron," where Patron is one of God's 99 names. It is not clear why Hasan did this, but Abduwalli could have been a nom de guerre, this being a common practice among Palestinians (Yasir Arafat even had two them - Yasir Arafat and Abu Ammar).

Finally, Hasan's extracurricular activities revealed his outlook:

He designed green and white personal business cards that made no mention of his military affiliation. Instead, they included his name, then "Behavior Heatlh [sic] Mental Health and Life Skills," a Maryland mobile phone number, an AOL e-mail address, and "SoA (SWT)." SoA is the jihadi abbreviation for Soldier of Allah and SWT stands for Subhanahu wa-Ta'ala, or "Glory to Him, the Exalted."

Hasan contacted jihadi web sites via multiple e-mail addresses and screen names.

He traded 18 e-mails between Dec. 2008 and June 2009 with Anwar al-Awlaki, Al-Qaeda recruiter, inspiration for at least two other North American terror plots, and fugitive from U.S. justice. Awlaki had been Hasan's spiritual leader at two mosques, Masjid Al-Ribat Al-Islami in San Diego and the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center outside Washington, D.C., and he acknowledges becoming Hasan's confidant. Awlaki speculates that he may have influenced Hasan's evolution and praises Hasan for the massacre, calling him a "hero" who "did the right thing" by killing U.S. soldiers before they could attack Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In those e-mails, Hasan asked Awlaki when jihad is appropriate and about killing innocents in a suicide attack. "I can't wait to join you" in the afterlife for discussions over non-alcoholic wine, Hasan wrote him. One Yemeni analyst calls Hasan "almost a member of Al-Qaeda."

"My strength is my financial capabilities," Hasan boasted to Awlaki, and he donated $20,000 to $30,000 a year to Islamic "charities" outside the United States, some of it going to Pakistan.

That Hasan, of Palestinian extraction, wore Pakistani clothing on the morning of his rampage points to his jihadi mentality.

Hasan had "more unexplained connections to people being tracked by the FBI," other than Awlaki, including some in Europe. One official characterized these as "Islamic extremists if not necessarily al Qaeda."

Duane Reasoner Jr., the 18-year-old Muslim convert whom Hasan mentored in Islam, calls himself a "extremist, fundamentalist, mujhadeen, Muslim" who outspokenly supports Awlaki, Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban, Omar Abdur Rahman (the blind sheikh) and Adam Gadahn (Al-Qaeda's top American figure).

These symptoms in the aggregate leave little doubt about Hasan's jihadi mentality. But will the investigations allow themselves to see his motivation? Doing so means changing it from a war on "overseas contingency operations" and "man-caused disasters" to a war on radical Islam. Are Americans ready for that?

Mr. Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University

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Major Hasan's Insanity Defense -- Islam Made Me Do It

Major Hasan's attorney believes his client should defend himself on the basis of insanity. That's a fascinating premise. However, Attorney Galligan should consider that Major Hasan's actions were common and acceptable to millions of those practitioners of the Religion of Peace, otherwise known as Islam. It is easy to understand that a muslim who slaughtered non-muslims while yelling Allahu Akbar was led to the necessary mental state when you consider that Islam is a religion founded by a schizophrenic.

Thus, Major Hasan is a crazy person enthralled by the teachings of another deranged figure. If ever there were birds of a feather sticking together, this is it. Maybe Attorney Galligan will establish the legal precedent that an expressed belief in Islam is evidence of mental illness.

Atty: Fort Hood suspect may use insanity defense

FORT WORTH, Texas - An Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people during an attack on his Texas post will likely plead not guilty to the charges against him and may use an insanity defense at his military trial, his attorney said Monday.
John Galligan, the civilian attorney for Maj. Nidal Hasan, said he is considering an insanity defense among other options, but that it's too early to determine his defense strategy.

"Based on the evidence thus far, his mental status must be raised," Galligan told The Associated Press by phone from his office near Fort Hood, about 130 miles southwest of Dallas. "Anybody who allegedly engages in conduct that is completely contradictory to his lifestyle and military career—an insanity defense has to be considered."

Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder in the Nov. 5 shooting at Fort Hood, and military officials have said they may file more charges. More than two dozen others were wounded in the shooting spree, which happened at a building where soldiers finalize their wills and are medically screened before they are deployed.

Galligan said military law requires his client to plead not guilty if prosecutors seek the death penalty, but he said that decision has not been made.

Hasan remains in intensive care at a San Antonio military hospital, where he was taken after being shot during the attack. At a hearing in his hospital room Saturday, Hasan was ordered to remain in custody until trial.

Galligan said he is frustrated because prosecutors are taking too long to respond to his questions and requests. He said he has asked why no witnesses were allowed to testify during Saturday's hearing, and why it was closed to the news media. He said he had planned to question Hasan's commander, who in documents indicated Hasan would be moved to an unspecified hospital but did not say when.

Breaking News: Earth NOT Flat! and Not Hot

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

EDITORIAL: Hiding evidence of global cooling

Junk science exposed among climate-change


Scientific progress depends on accurate and complete data. It also relies on replication. The past couple of days have uncovered some shocking revelations about the baloney practices that pass as sound science about climate change.

It was announced Thursday afternoon that computer hackers had obtained 160 megabytes of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in England. Those e-mails involved communication among many scientific researchers and policy advocates with similar ideological positions all across the world. Those purported authorities were brazenly discussing the destruction and hiding of data that did not support global-warming claims.

Professor Phil Jones, the head of the Climate Research Unit, and professor Michael E. Mann at Pennsylvania State University, who has been an important scientist in the climate debate, have come under particular scrutiny. Among his e-mails, Mr. Jones talked to Mr. Mann about the "trick of adding in the real temps to each series ... to hide the decline [in temperature]."

Mr. Mann admitted that he was party to this conversation and lamely explained to the New York Times that "scientists often used the word 'trick' to refer to a good way to solve a problem 'and not something secret.' " Though the liberal New York newspaper apparently buys this explanation, we have seen no benign explanation that justifies efforts by researchers to skew data on so-called global-warming "to hide the decline." Given the controversies over the accuracy of Mr. Mann's past research, it is surprising his current explanations are accepted so readily.

There is a lot of damning evidence about these researchers concealing information that counters their bias. In another exchange, Mr. Jones told Mr. Mann: "If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone" and, "We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind." Mr. Jones further urged Mr. Mann to join him in deleting e-mail exchanges about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) controversial assessment report (ARA): "Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re [the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report]?"

In another e-mail, Mr. Jones told Mr. Mann, professor Malcolm K. Hughes of the University of Arizona and professor Raymond S. Bradley of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst: "I'm getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data. Don't any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act!"

At one point, Mr. Jones complained to another academic, "I did get an email from the [Freedom of Information] person here early yesterday to tell me I shouldn't be deleting emails." He also offered up more dubious tricks of his trade, specifically that "IPCC is an international organization, so is above any national FOI. Even if UEA holds anything about IPCC, we are not obliged to pass it on." Another professor at the Climate Research Unit, Tim Osborn, discussed in e-mails how truncating a data series can hide a cooling trend that otherwise would be seen in the results. Mr. Mann sent Mr. Osborn an e-mail saying that the results he was sending shouldn't be shown to others because the data support critics of global warming.

Repeatedly throughout the e-mails that have been made public, proponents of global-warming theories refer to data that has been hidden or destroyed. Only e-mails from Mr. Jones' institution have been made public, and with his obvious approach to deleting sensitive files, it's difficult to determine exactly how much more information has been lost that could be damaging to the global-warming theocracy and its doomsday forecasts.

We don't condone e-mail theft by hackers, though these e-mails were covered by Britain's Freedom of Information Act and should have been released. The content of these e-mails raises extremely serious questions that could end the academic careers of many prominent professors. Academics who have purposely hidden data, destroyed information and doctored their results have committed scientific fraud. We can only hope respected academic institutions such as Pennsylvania State University, the University of Arizona and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst conduct proper investigative inquiries.

Most important, however, these revelations of fudged science should have a cooling effect on global-warming hysteria and the panicked policies that are being pushed forward to address the unproven theory.

Truth Storms Over Global Warming Hoax

James Delingpole
James Delingpole is a writer, journalist and broadcaster who is right about everything. He is the author of numerous fantastically entertaining books including Welcome To Obamaland: I've Seen Your Future And It Doesn't Work, How To Be Right, and the Coward series of WWII adventure novels. His website is Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of 'Anthropogenic Global Warming'?

By James Delingpole Politics
Last updated: November 20th, 2009

If you own any shares in alternative energy companies I should start dumping them NOW. The conspiracy behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth (aka AGW; aka ManBearPig) has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed after a hacker broke into the computers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (aka Hadley CRU) and released 61 megabites of confidential files onto the internet. (Hat tip: Watts Up With That)

When you read some of those files – including 1079 emails and 72 documents – you realise just why the boffins at Hadley CRU might have preferred to keep them confidential. As Andrew Bolt puts it, this scandal could well be “the greatest in modern science”. These alleged emails – supposedly exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists pushing AGW theory – suggest:

Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more.

One of the alleged emails has a gentle gloat over the death in 2004 of John L Daly (one of the first climate change sceptics, founder of the Still Waiting For Greenhouse site), commenting:

“In an odd way this is cheering news.”

But perhaps the most damaging revelations – the scientific equivalent of the Telegraph’s MPs’ expenses scandal – are those concerning the way Warmist scientists may variously have manipulated or suppressed evidence in order to support their cause.

Here are a few tasters. (So far, we can only refer to them as alleged emails because – though Hadley CRU’s director Phil Jones has confirmed the break-in to Ian Wishart at the Briefing Room – he has yet to fess up to any specific contents.) But if genuine, they suggest dubious practices such as:

Manipulation of evidence:

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

Private doubts about whether the world really is heating up:

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

Suppression of evidence:

Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?

Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

Fantasies of violence against prominent Climate Sceptic scientists:

Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat
the crap out of him. Very tempted.

Attempts to disguise the inconvenient truth of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP):

……Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back–I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back….

And, perhaps most reprehensibly, a long series of communications discussing how best to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer review process. How, in other words, to create a scientific climate in which anyone who disagrees with AGW can be written off as a crank, whose views do not have a scrap of authority.

“This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?”

“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.”“It results from this journal having a number of editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers through by Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with Hans von Storch about this, but got nowhere. Another thing to discuss in Nice !”

Hadley CRU has form in this regard. In September – I wrote the story up here as “How the global warming industry is based on a massive lie” – Hadley CRU’s researchers were exposed as having “cherry-picked” data in order to support their untrue claim that global temperatures had risen higher at the end of the 20th century than at any time in the last millenium. Hadley CRU was also the organisation which – in contravention of all acceptable behaviour in the international scientific community – spent years withholding data from researchers it deemed unhelpful to its cause. This matters because Hadley CRU, established in 1990 by the Met Office, is a government-funded body which is supposed to be a model of rectitude. Its HadCrut record is one of the four official sources of global temperature data used by the IPCC.

I asked in my title whether this will be the final nail in the coffin of Anthropenic Global Warming. This was wishful thinking, of course. In the run up to Copenhagen, we will see more and more hysterical (and grotesquely exaggerated) stories such as this in the Mainstream Media. And we will see ever-more-virulent campaigns conducted by eco-fascist activists, such as this risible new advertising campaign by Plane Stupid showing CGI polar bears falling from the sky and exploding because kind of, like, man, that’s sort of what happens whenever you take another trip on an aeroplane.

The world is currently cooling; electorates are increasingly reluctant to support eco-policies leading to more oppressive regulation, higher taxes and higher utility bills; the tide is turning against Al Gore’s Anthropogenic Global Warming theory. The so-called “sceptical” view is now also the majority view.

Unfortunately, we’ve a long, long way to go before the public mood (and scientific truth) is reflected by our policy makers. There are too many vested interests in AGW, with far too much to lose either in terms of reputation or money, for this to end without a bitter fight.

But if the Hadley CRU scandal is true, it’s a blow to the AGW lobby’s credibility which is never likely to recover.

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Trouble in Climate City

It rhymes with "P" and starts with a capital "C". CLIMATE MASS-HYSTERIA.

Listen: Inhofe Says He Will Call for Investigation on "Climategate" on Washington Times Americas Morning Show
November 23, 2009

Update: The Hill: Inhofe to call for hearing into CRU, U.N. climate change research

Update: Inhofe Talks with Hot Air's Ed Morrissey about "ClimateGate"

IBD Editorial: The Day Global Warming Stood Still

Link to 2005 Inhofe Senate Floor Speech: "Today, I will discuss something else – scientific integrity and how to improve it. Specifically, I will discuss the systematic and documented abuse of the scientific process by an international body that claims it provides the most complete and objective scientific assessment in the world on the subject of climate change – the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. I will conclude with a series of recommendations as to the minimum changes the IPCC must make if it is to restore its credibility."

Senator Inhofe: This is a huge issue and of course we have the Gitmo issue and we have the, of course, cap-and-trade is now taking a new turn. Jed, if I could…

Jed Babbin: Yeah.

Senator Inhofe: Would you let me make one sentence?

Jed Babbin: Please.

Senator Inhofe: This is out of a speech that I made, Melanie, back on the floor of the Senate, and it was repeated, John Gizzi picked it up and put it in Human Events. This was 4 years ago, in talking about the science, cooking the science. I said I would discuss the “systematic and documented abuse of the scientific process by which an international body that claims it provides the most complete and objective science assessment in the world on the subject of climate change, the United Nations IPCC.” Now that was four years ago; so we knew they were cooking the science back then, and you’ve been talking about the, you know, what’s happened recently with the bloggers coming up with what they did, what they…

Jed Babbin: Let me interrupt you there Senator, because I think that’s a really important point. Ladies and gentlemen, if you haven’t followed that story, what Senator Inhofe’s talking about, in Britain, a blogger got into some of the official government records about climate change and how the measurements were being taken to show…

Melanie Morgan: And the politics behind it.

Jed Babbin: And the – well but they were basically saying, “Oh yea, hey, let’s make it look like Jim so-and-so did that, and let’s help him cook the books, and let’s change the data…”

Melanie Morgan: And “let’s beat up those who don’t agree with us.”

Jed Babbin: Yea, but it’s all a huge fraud! I mean, Senator, am I exaggerating?

Senator Inhofe: No you’re not. If you remember, mine was the hoax statement, and that was, what, five years ago I guess.

Jed Babbin: Well, we ought to give you a big pat on the back for being …

Melanie Morgan: Yea, you deserve an an ‘atta boy, and now you are finally being vindicated.

Senator Inhofe: Well, on this thing, it is pretty serious. And since, you know, Barabara Boxer is the Chairman and I’m the Ranking Member on Environment and Public Works, if nothing happens in the next seven days when we go back into session a week from today that would change this situation, I will call for an investigation. ‘Cause this thing is serious, you think about the literally millions of dollars that have been thrown away on some of this stuff that they came out with.

Melanie Morgan: So what will you be calling for an investigation of?

Senator Inhofe: On the IPCC and on the United Nations on the way that they cooked the science to make this thing look as if the science was settled, when all the time of course we knew it was not.

Jed Babbin: Should somebody stop further spending on this until we get this investigation, Senator?

Senator Inhofe: Well, I don’t know how you do that, though, ‘cause we’re not the ones that are calling the shots. The interesting part of this is it’s happening right before Copenhagen. And, so, the timing couldn’t be better. Whoever is on the ball in Great Britain, their time was good.

Melanie Morgan: Well, Senator, thank you very much for coming back and handling a little bit, a tiny little bit of heat from the kitchen.

Senator Inhofe: Okay.

Jed Babbin: Thanks very much Senator.

Senator Inhofe: Thanks, you bet.

Jed Babbin: Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma on the Environment Committee over there, and one of the real fighters.

Melanie Morgan: He certainly is…

Monday, November 23, 2009

AG Eric Holder, Booking Agent for Muslim Terrorist Acts

The show must go on. With the full support of Attorney General Eric Holder in his capacity as stage manager for the world's biggest Pay-Per-View Event, it will. Holder thinks turning over the federal trial of the 9/11 terrorists who slaughtered thousands in the name of Islam should get their hour to strut upon the stage.

Does anyone believe they will deliver their diatribes in English? Or will they rant in Arabic? Moreover, what will the muslim press report? How will the muslim world receive the rants and raves of the 9/11 terrroists?

Obviously the muslim world will see them as soldiers fighting in the name of Allah, spreading the word of the Koran in the land of the infidels. A home-run for al-Qaeda.

Lawyer: 9/11 defendants want platform for views

NEW YORK (AP) - The five men facing trial in the Sept. 11 attacks will plead not guilty so that they can air their criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, the lawyer for one of the defendants said Sunday.

Scott Fenstermaker, the lawyer for accused terrorist Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, said the men would not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but "would explain what happened and why they did it."

The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier this month that Ali and four other men accused of murdering nearly 3,000 people in the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. will face a civilian federal trial just blocks from the site of the destroyed World Trade Center.

Ali, also known as Ammar al-Baluchi, is a nephew of professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Mohammed, Ali and the others will explain "their assessment of American foreign policy," Fenstermaker said.

"Their assessment is negative," he said.

Fenstermaker met with Ali last week at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He has not spoken with the others but said the men have discussed the trial among themselves.

Fenstermaker was first quoted in The New York Times in Sunday's editions.

Critics of Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to try the men in a New York City civilian courthouse have warned that the trial would provide the defendants with a propaganda platform.

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Holder for hours about his decision to send the five 9/11 suspects to New York for trial.

Critics of Holder's decision - mostly Republicans - argued the trial will give Mohammed and his co-defendants a world stage to spout hateful rhetoric. Holder said such concerns are misplaced, and any pronouncements by the suspects would only make them look worse.

"I have every confidence that the nation and the world will see him for the coward that he is," Holder told the committee. "I'm not scared of what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has to say at trial - and no one else needs to be, either."

The attorney general said he does not believe holding the trial in New York - at a federal courthouse that has seen a number of high-profile terrorism trials in recent decades - will increase the risk of terror attacks there.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Islam, The Religion of Self Hate

What is wrong with these muslims? Due to the efforts of concerned and responsible westerner professionals, the Iraqi oil industry has been put on a path to recovery. Money from oil sales is flowing into Iraq. What do the improving fortunes of the Iraqi state inspire in muslims? Attacks. Destructive attacks on the pipelines that carry crude oil to seaports. If the muslim governments of the nations that breed these morons were truly concerned about stopping their terrorist acts, they would do it. The autocratic and repressive muslim regimes can act brutally and decisively against any internal threat. But when it comes to stopping muslim terrorists, there is no will. Thus, the theocratic regimes are complicit.

Iraq's Oct. oil exports drop due to attacks
Official: Iraq's oil October exports drop due to insurgent attacks, but revenues increase

Sunday November 22, 2009

BAGHDAD (AP) -- An Iraqi official says insurgent attacks caused a 4 percent drop in the country's oil exports in October compared to the previous month, but that revenues were up due to higher prices.

Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad says exports averaged 1.877 million barrels a day in October, grossing $4.187 billion with an average price of $71.94 a barrel.

September oil exports stood at 1.956 million barrels a day and yielded $3.877 billion with an average price of $66.05 a barrel.

Jihad told The Associated Press Sunday the slip in exports was due to two insurgent attacks on the pipeline that sends crude to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, causing a nine-day disruption.

Oil sales account for about 95 percent of Iraq's total revenue.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Calling Cuba

An advertisement appearing in today's NY Post newspaper shows consumers how little they can pay to make long distance telephone calls.

Comwave will connect you to friends and family in over 20 countries for one penny a minute. You can reach those important people in Russia, Poland, Italy, India, South Korea and China for 2.9 cents per minute.

However, the price of a phone call to many countries is a lot higher. Especially when the country is a police state or wildly remote. If you want to jabber with someone in Fiji, it will cost you 24.9 cents a minute. Calls to North Korea cost 41.9 cents a minute. Totalitarianism does not come cheap.

But the highest billing on the planet nails those who want to speak with people in the socialist paradise of Cuba, where a connection to one of Fidel's prisoners forces callers to pay a per-minute price of 79 cents. American have not seen rates like that since the earliest days of cell phones.

The Next Major Hasan? The Next Fort Hood?

The following news article should provoke a lot of worry.

In New York City, a high school student set several fires at the school he attends. Like many acts of foolishness committed by teenagers, setting these fires might, under other circumstances, appear to be the acts of a troubled kid who will get back on the right track with a little guidance.

Or maybe not.

Who is this kid? Mohammad Hassan.

What school does he attend? The top public high school in New York City, a school that requires every student to pass a tough entrance exam. Graduates of this school -- Stuyvesant High School -- all go to college and most of them go to the nation's top colleges.

One more thing. The school is about two blocks from Ground Zero. The World Trade Center site.

Is Mohammad Hassan just a troubled teen? Or is he an emerging jihadist? A mixed-up kid? Or the next Major Hasan. Will Stuyvesant High School become the next Fort Hood? Or will the school expel him? Will the NY City Department of Education demand a complete psychiatric examination of this fire bug? Or will too many people feel restrained by political correctness to demand the kind of action this case needs?

Elite school 'firebug' bust

November 21, 2009

A 16-year-old Stuyvesant HS junior is suspected of setting nine small fires over the past week at the top-ranked school.

Mohammed Hassan of The Bronx was charged with felony reckless endangerment and misdemeanor arson. The top charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years.

There is video evidence in two of the fires, the only ones the tall, seemingly shy kid was charged with, cops said.

Both were ignited in trash cans in boys' rooms on different floors within minutes of each other on Tuesday. Hassan is allegedly seen on surveillance tape going in and out of the bathrooms before the fires were discovered.

Cops suspect he is responsible for a total of nine small blazes, including one set Friday the 13th in a boy's room.

Hassan remains free on $2,500 bail. His lawyer, Kevin Faga, told The Post that the videos catch more than one boy going in and out of the restroom, and that Hassan did not set the fires.

A 16-year-old Stuyvesant HS junior is suspected of setting nine small fires over the past week at the top-ranked school.

Mohammed Hassan of The Bronx was charged with felony reckless endangerment and misdemeanor arson. The top charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years.

There is video evidence in two of the fires, the only ones the tall, seemingly shy kid was charged with, cops said.

Both were ignited in trash cans in boys' rooms on different floors within minutes of each other on Tuesday. Hassan is allegedly seen on surveillance tape going in and out of the bathrooms before the fires were discovered.

Cops suspect he is responsible for a total of nine small blazes, including one set Friday the 13th in a boy's room.

Hassan remains free on $2,500 bail. His lawyer, Kevin Faga, told The Post that the videos catch more than one boy going in and out of the restroom, and that Hassan did not set the fires.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jimmy Carter -- Still Foolish After All These Years

In his latest recurrence of embarrassment, guilt and overwhelming feelings of having been a fool, Jimmy Carter attempted to escape his grand mistake by offering the bizarre notion that to save the 52 American hostages held by Iran, he had to choose between peaceful negotiations OR slaughtering 20,000 innocent Iranians.

Well. No he didn't.

Even in 1979 and 1980, we had accurate weapons. Moreover, were we to attack, we would have attacked government and/or military sites mainly to neutralize Iran. Not to terrorize the hapless citizens. Frankly, bombing Iran as though it were Germany in WWII would have failed to bring back the hostages and it would have failed to stop the threat that had emerged in Iran as a result of the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Obviously the US military would have had an easy time of flattening government facilities where the new Iranian leadership might be found, and we would have crushed the Iranian military, a relatively defenseless band of incompetents who would have failed to launch a single airplane and would have surrendered to any available American.

With a little luck, an American attack on Iran might have killed Mahmoud Ahmadenijad, a blessing that would have gone unknown forever. Perhaps we would have nailed Ayatollah Khomeini as well. And possibly his successor. But most important, an attack would have eliminated any doubt about the US and its willingness to punish irresponsible behavior.

If the Iranian revolutionaries had seized the Americans and shipped them out of the country and back to the US within a few days, the episode would have been little more than a footnote of history. Instead, the Iranian revolutionaries created an international event that changed the course of American politics.

Had Carter been spared this international humiliation, he might have won a second term. Reagan might never have become president. His age was an issue in his first election. If he were hoping to win the presidency for the first time in 1984 it would have been a bigger issue. Perhaps big enough to eliminate him, possibly in the primaries.

Ultimately, Carter showed the muslim world that America is often willing to back down from confrontations. That was all muslims needed to know. Since then, muslim terrorist attacks on Americans and American interests have escalated.

Moreover, Iran grew so confident of its view that America would never attack that it began supplying arms and money to Hezbollah, which controls Lebanon and is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

What does this mean to Jimmy Carter? It's okay with him. His anti-Semitism is recognized by all.

Bottom line -- we can say that much of today's trouble in the middle east is a result of Carter's wimpiness on Iran during the Hostage Crisis.

Carter defends his handling of Iran hostage crisis


Thailand: Former US President Jimmy Carter said he was pressed by his advisers to attack Iran during the hostage crisis there more than 30 years ago but resisted because he feared 20,000 Iranians could have died.

Islamist militants stormed the US Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, and seized its occupants. Fifty-two Americans were held hostage for 444 days.

Carter said Monday that one proposed option was a military strike on Iran, but he chose to stick with negotiations to prevent bloodshed and bring the hostages home safely.

"My main advisers insisted that I should attack Iran," he told reporters in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, where he was helping build houses for Habitat for Humanity. "I could have destroyed Iran with my weaponry. But I felt in the process it was likely the hostages' lives would be lost, and I didn't want to kill 20,000 Iranians. So I didn't attack."

The hostages were released on January 20, 1981, just minutes after the swearing in of President Ronald Reagan, whose victory over Carter is largely attributed to the crisis.

The former president has commented in the past on how military action had been an option but that he feared a death toll in the tens of thousands, according to Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blue Skies and Sun -- What a Wonderful World

A few of today's headlines suggest the leaders of the world have had enough of all the Doom & Gloom talk caused by worries about the climate.

World leaders back delay to final climate deal

Russia's Medvedev warns of climate catastrophe

From a year ago, when statements made by Barack Obama lacked a connection to reality:

Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008

"Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response," says Barack Obama.

Yesterday, however, was a different story.

Obama retreats on climate change. President expected to discuss arms control with Russia.

World leaders back delay to final climate deal

Sun Nov 15, 2009

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders on Sunday supported delaying a legally binding climate pact until 2010 or even later, but European negotiators said the move did not imply weaker action.

Some argued that legal technicalities might otherwise distract the talks in Copenhagen and it was better to focus on the core issue of cutting climate-warming emissions.

The Climate Change meeting in Copenhagen will bring together representatives from 192 countries to discuss issues affecting the environment of Planet Earth. However, none of the agreements and understandings reached by the representatives of the attending nations will be binding.

Sounds like a boondoogle of epic proportions. How does a person get invited to this party?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rain Men -- Hugo and Fidel, Lost in the Clouds

Hugo has oil. But he needs water and Nature is not cooperating. However, Hugo and Fidel are big believers in Climate Change. They say they believe they can change the climate -- from sunny to rainy. They say they can do it by shooting silver iodide into the atmosphere.

Do they know this technique is as effective as looking for water with a divining rod? Have they been conned? Or are they hoping to bamboozle the hapless citizens? Or both? It looks as though their inbred foolishness is going to sink both countries.

Chavez asking Cubans to 'bomb clouds' amid drought

*Cubans to try to seed clouds in South American nation

*Government criticized for poor planning in drought

CARACAS, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez says he will join a team of Cuban scientists on flights to "bomb clouds" to create rain amid a severe drought that has aroused public anger due to water and electricity rationing.

Chavez, who has asked Venezuelans to take three-minute showers to save water, said the Cubans had arrived in Venezuela and were preparing to fly specially equipped aircraft above the Orinoco river.

"I'm going in a plane; any cloud that crosses me, I'll zap it so that it rains," Chavez said at a ceremony late on Saturday with family members of five Cubans convicted of spying in the United States.

Many countries have programs aimed at altering weather patterns, commonly known as cloud seeding, although the effectiveness of such techniques is disputed.

Firing silver iodine at clouds is one common method. China uses rockets loaded with the chemical to spur rainfall in arid regions. Chavez did not say what technology the Cubans will use.

Venezuela has suffered water and electricity shortages this month after a drought caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon led to critically low water levels at several reservoirs in the oil-exporting nation.

The government has been criticized for poor planning after it was forced to impose strict water rationing in the capital Caracas and power rationing in other parts of the country.

Venezuela produces much of its electricity from hydroelectric projects, including the giant El Guri dam close to the Orinoco.

Chavez provides Cuba with subsidized oil and is a close friend of the communist island's former leader Fidel Castro.

Chavez said Castro was in excellent health and invited the Cuban to participate in a trade conference he is hosting next month in Havana. Castro has not been seen in public since undergoing intestinal surgery in 2006.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cuba, the North Korea of the Caribbean

Despite the existence of massive quantities of oil and gas below the sea bed around Cuba, the island prison is almost without energy. Apparently it takes every dime the communist dictatorship can find to keep the leadership in power. The people? Who cares about them? Not Fidel's cronies. If they have to rise and set with the Sun, well, then that's the way it will be. Viva la revolution!

Cuba orders extreme measures to cut energy use

* Cuba's energy situation termed "critical"

* Some factories, workshops to be closed through December

* Most other economic activities to be reduced

HAVANA, Nov 11 - Cuba has ordered all state enterprises to adopt "extreme measures" to cut energy usage through the end of the year in hopes of avoiding the dreaded blackouts that plagued the country following the 1991 collapse of its then-top ally, the Soviet Union.

In documents seen by Reuters, government officials have been warned that the island is facing a "critical" energy shortage that requires the closing of non-essential factories and workshops and the shutting down of air conditioners and refrigerators not needed to preserve food and medicine.

Cuba has cut government spending and slashed imports after being hit hard by the global financial crisis and the cost of recovering from three hurricanes that struck last year.

"The energy situation we face is critical and if we do not adopt extreme measures we will have to revert to planned blackouts affecting the population," said a recently circulated message from the Council of Ministers.

"Company directors will analyze the activities that will be stopped and others reduced, leaving only those that guarantee exports, substitution of imports and basic services for the population," according to another distributed by the light industry sector.

President Raul Castro is said to be intent on not repeating the experience of the 1990s, when the demise of the Soviet Union and the loss of its steady oil supply caused frequent electricity blackouts and hardship for the Cuban public.

The directives follow government warnings in the summer that too much energy was being used and blackouts would follow if consumption was not reduced.

All provincial governments and most state-run offices and factories, which encompasses 90 percent of Cuba's economic activity, were ordered in June to reduce energy use by a minimum of 12 percent or face mandatory electricity cuts.

The measures appeared to resolve the crisis as state-run press published stories about the amount of energy that had been saved and the dire warnings died down. The only explanation given for the earlier warnings was that Cuba was consuming more fuel than the government had money to pay for.

The situation is not as dire as in the 1990s because Cuba receives 93,000 barrels per day of crude oil, almost two-thirds of what it consumes, from Venezuela. It pays for the oil by providing its energy-rich ally with medical personnel and other professionals.

Cuba has been grappling with the global economic downturn, which has slashed revenues from key exports, dried up credit and reduced foreign investment.

The communist-run Caribbean nation also faces stiff U.S. sanctions that include cutting access to international lending institutions, and it is still rebuilding from last year's trio of hurricanes that caused an estimated $10 billion in damages.

In response, the government has cut spending, slashed imports, suspended many debt payments and frozen bank accounts of foreign businesses. It reported last week that trade was down 36 percent so far this year due mainly to a more than 30 percent reduction in imports.