Go to the source if you're curious.
Note: Headline links to source.
Rojak posts, mostly political.
"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." -- Thomas Mann
If so, I must be a writer.
Labels: Fathers Day
Tinfoil hat extra: you heard it here first Cynics … my guess is that Bush and Cheney pull something to try and [to] cling to power. They’ve spent so much effort piling up that power - do you think they’ll give it up so easily? Do you think they won’t use it?
Labels: false flag
Just off Afghanistan's main highway, Taliban insurgents regularly visit the village of Khele Malal. So do Afghan and U.S. forces, leaving local farmers caught between the two sides.
The Taliban and Western-backed Afghan troops are locked in a battle for Highway One, Afghanistan's main trade route that runs south from the capital Kabul to the second city Kandahar before swinging northwest towards Iran.
Securing the highway means securing the villages either side of it through which the Taliban infiltrate from their mountain hideouts to launch ambushes and roadside bomb attacks against Afghan and international forces, or man impromptu checkpoints to demonstrate their presence.
"Security is not good," says village elder Haji Abdul Qader. "Yesterday there was fighting close by. The people are scared."
Britain's foreign secretary likened President Robert Mugabe's rule in Zimbabwe to "sadism" on Sunday and said South Africa had a responsibility to do more to bring pressure to bear on its neighbour.
David Miliband said countries had a duty to speak frankly about the crisis in the country as Mugabe's security forces ratchet up their intimidation of opposition leaders ahead of a presidential run-off election on June 27.
"The first thing is to be clear about the sadism, and I use that word advisedly, that's going on ... in Zimbabwe at the moment," Miliband told BBC television.
"People being killed, people being tortured, people being beaten. Election observers being stripped out, election officials being stripped out ... It's important that we speak plainly and frankly about that."
Miliband said he and Prime Minister Gordon Brown had spoken to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about the situation in the past two days and about the need for more election observers to ensure the run-off is not rigged.
"We can raise this at the U.N. and it's right that we do so because the pressure needs to be on absolutely clearly," he said, saying he hoped for more action from the security council.
"Four million refugees will not even have a vote in this election even if they dared to vote. It's important that the international community is clear about its own perspective because that can give confidence to the people in Zimbabwe."
Britain, the former colonial ruler in Zimbabwe, is usually reluctant to be outspoken in its condemnation of Mugabe as the Zimbabwean president tends to use the past as a stick to beat Britain and other Western powers with colonial histories.
"The combined forces used precision air strikes to destroy the compound after insurgents attacked with small-arms fire."
The cost of the April raid on a polygamist compound in West Texas is expected to top $14 million, about one-third of it in lawyers' fees, according to a published analysis of state records.
A mother and son shriek with delight as they are reunited two months after the FLDS raid in Texas.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram published its findings Saturday after reviewing more than 400 pages of invoices, e-mails and other state records that it obtained under an open-records law request.
More invoices for overtime, travel and professional services are expected to boost the final tab, the records indicate.
The biggest chunk of spending is expected to stem from court proceedings after the state seized about 460 children from the Yearning For Zion Ranch near Eldorado, which is owned by the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has given hands-on help in
He helped locals in the town of Quincy to fill sandbags to place on the banks of the Mississippi river, which is swelling to dangerous levels.
Authorities predict it will rise to record levels next week.
Mr Obama said: "Since I've been involved in public office we've not seen this kind of devastation."
He pledged to push federal and state governments to provide aid to the affected areas.
Mr Obama had been scheduled to campaign in nearby Iowa, but that state is also badly affected by flooding and he did not want to draw government resources away from battling the problems.
Dead or alive, wasn’t that the threat?
Well, time’s running out, and having spent little or no effort on finding bin Laden, Bush has apparently decided it would be good PR to catch his nemesis/partner before leaving office. He’s in Britain now, begging assistance from the beleagured Gordon Brown; that’s how bad it is. Apparently Brown has agreed to provide folks from the British military units the Special Boat Service and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment.
Now that time is running out for Bush, he’s actually asking for help! Wonder if it would have made any difference if he did this six years ago? But whatever, he finally got around to it.
Intelligence on the whereabouts of Bin Laden is sketchy, but some analysts believe he is in the Bajaur tribal zone in northwest Pakistan. He has evaded capture for nearly seven years. “Bush is swinging for the fences in the hope of scoring a home run,” said an intelligence source, using a baseball metaphor.
One source said the hunt was “completely sanctioned” by the Pakistani government; another, a senior Pakistani government source, said President Musharraf had given tacit support to Predator attacks. Given Musharraf’s precarious hold on power, indeed freedom and possibly life itself, this doesn’t seem like an overwhelming vote of confidance. But when you’re down 3-1 with two games on the road yet to play, you’re desperate, and you’ll try anything.
Researchers at MIT believe they've discovered a new weapon in the battle against tuberculosis: Free cell phone minutes.
For years, doctors have struggled to get some TB patients to take all their medication, which generally involves a six-month regimen of multiple drugs.
Now a student-led group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a way to use cell phones to let patients test themselves. And if the tests show patients are following doctor's orders, they get rewarded with free minutes.
"We're piggybacking on one of the bigger rollouts of infrastructure out there, which is wireless technology and telecom technology," said Jose Gomez-Marquez, one of the project's leaders.
The system works like this: Patients test their urine using a strip that reveals a numeric code if it detects TB medicine. They then text message the code to their health care provider and get credit toward incentives such as free minutes. [emphasis mine]
The in-home tests also eliminate the need for health care workers to make several patient-monitoring visits a week, a routine that is often impractical in remote places, Gomez-Marquez said.
Mobile phones are good tools for the project because they are common in the developing world, where it's often cheaper to erect cell towers than miles of poles and wires, Gomez-Marquez said.
Dr. Mario Raviglione, director of a World Health Organization program to fight TB, called the MIT idea "creative." But he said personal visits must continue because systems that depend heavily on patient self-reporting have often failed.
"I would think it's a dangerous game to rely only on incentives," he said.
A principal known as "Angel Ye" scraped together tens of thousands of dollars to correct shoddy construction at his small-town middle school in Sichuan. As a result, none of his students died in the earthquake, but his success has put a spotlight on the less fortunate.
The authors explore one such bias -- managerial overconfidence -- and find evidence suggesting CEOs develop overconfidence through 'self-attribution bias' when making merger and acquisition decisions. Individuals subject to self-attribution bias overcredit their role in bringing about good outcomes and underestimate the role of luck.
Consistent with this, they find that CEOs appear to overly attribute their role in successful deals, leading to more deals even though these subsequent deals are value destructive.
They also find evidence that CEOs alter their stock holdings prior to deals in a pattern consistent with overconfidence in the outcome of these subsequent deals. [emphasis mine]
In my latest manuscript, ´Kelly´s Woes,´ the main character, Kelly, gets slapped for not returning a telephone call to what was a one night stand. And if you are interested, you can become familiar with this story that´s on my website. [hyperlink added -ed]
Just click on the Kelly´s Woes navigation bar. Anyway, that´s fiction. Consider my amazement when I learned about a New York college student who planned the branding of her one time date with a guy who did not call her.
Apparently, she, the 23 year old college student did not take it too well when the guy with whom she had sex on the first date did not call her. According to news reports, the student, Kristina Caban, recruited the help of her present boyfriend, Robert Testagrossa, kidnapped the victim, Samir Sara, after which she branded the letter R on his stomach/abdomen area.
For aiding his girlfriend in the matter, Mr. Testagrossa is already in jail where he is serving five years since February.
Ms. Caban, on the other hand, was allowed to complete her degree program from the School of Visual Arts before beginning her five years in jail.
I guess not everyone copes too well with rejection. It´s enough to make one wonder who was more victimized than whom, the young woman who was rejected, or the guy with the visible scar on his abdomen.
A second batch of secret British government files have been found on a train, just days after intelligence on Al-Qaeda and Iraq were misplaced, according to a newspaper report.
Labels: state secrets
"Israel's continued settlement building could hurt Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations."
-- Condoleezza Rice
-- US Secretary of State
-- (15 June 2008)
John McCain has called off a fundraiser at the home of a Texas oilman who joked about rape during a 1990 gubernatorial run in the state.
The Texan, Republican Clayton Williams, made the joke during his failed campaign against Democrat Ann Richards. Williams compared rape to the weather, saying, "As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it."
He also compared Richards to the cattle on his ranch, saying he would "head her and hoof her and drag her through the dirt."
Williams' comments made national news at the time and remain easy to find on the Internet. Even so, McCain's campaign said it hadn't known about the remarks.
Two outlets of a restaurant chain might be linked with the sickening of nine people by a salmonella outbreak, a newspaper report said on Saturday.
The sick ate fresh tomatoes tained [sic] by salmonella at two restaurants from the same chain, said the Los Angeles Times, quoting federal officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
But the FDA declined to name the chain or the restaurant locations, citing confidentiality. A spokesman for the agency also declined to provide the time frame for the cases or say whether the restaurants were in the same state.
The Chicago Department of Public Health identified nine people who ate at a restaurant in May and came down with salmonella, said Tim Hadac, a spokesman for the department.
None of the nine Chicago victims were hospitalized. Hadac said the department was withholding the name of the restaurant, which he said had several related restaurants in the city but was not part of a national chain.
Robert Mugabe yesterday vowed to "go to war" to prevent the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) from gaining power in next week's Zimbabwean presidential run-off election.
Black conservative talk show host Armstrong Williams has never voted for a Democrat for president. That could change this year with Barack Obama as the Democratic Party's nominee.
"I don't necessarily like his policies; I don't like much that he advocates, but for the first time in my life, history thrusts me to really seriously think about it," Williams said. "I can honestly say I have no idea who I'm going to pull that lever for in November. And to me, that's incredible."
Just as Obama has touched black Democratic voters, he has engendered conflicting emotions among black Republicans. They revel over the possibility of a black president but wrestle with the thought that the Illinois senator doesn't sit beside them ideologically.
"Among black conservatives," Williams said, "they tell me privately, it would be very hard to vote against him in November."
It's the only way Tory Bowen knows to honestly describe what happened to her.
She was raped.
But a judge prohibited her from uttering the word "rape" in front of a jury. The term "sexual assault" also was taboo, and Bowen could not refer to herself as a victim or use the word "assailant" to describe the man who allegedly raped her.
The defendant's presumption of innocence and right to a fair trial trumps Bowen's right of free speech, said the Lincoln, Neb., judge who issued the order.
"It shouldn't be up to a judge to tell me whether or not I was raped," Bowen said. "I should be able to tell the jury in my own words what happened to me."
Bowen's case is part of what some prosecutors and victim advocates see as a national trend in sexual assault cases.
"It's a topic that's coming up more and more," said Joshua Marquis, an Oregon prosecutor and a vice president of the National District Attorneys Association. "You're moving away from what a criminal trial is really about."
In Jackson County, Senior Judge Gene Martin recently issued a similar order for the trial of a Kansas City man charged with raping a teenager in 2000. Despite the semantic restrictions, the Jackson County jury last week found Ray Slaughter guilty of forcible rape and two counts of forcible sodomy. [emphasis in original]
Less than a month after declaring polar bears a threatened species because of global warming, the Bush administration is giving oil companies permission to annoy and potentially harm them in the pursuit of oil and natural gas.
The Fish and Wildlife Service issued regulations this week providing legal protection to seven oil companies planning to search for oil and gas in the Chukchi Sea off the northwestern coast of Alaska if "small numbers" of polar bears or Pacific walruses are incidentally harmed by their activities over the next five years.
Environmentalists said the new regulations give oil companies a blank check to harass the polar bear.
A Sao Paulo museum hit by the theft of two Picasso engravings and two Brazilian paintings worth more than 550,000 dollars defended its security system Friday as "adequate."
The director of the Pinacoteca museum, Marcelo Araujo, told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper that the daytime heist on Thursday by three armed men who rounded up the guards simply overwhelmed the measures in place, which he said were sufficient.
None of the works was insured, the museum said Friday, correcting information given by Sao Paulo state secretariat of culture the previous day.
"In cases of armed robbery we can't run the risk of resisting, because there could be unforeseeable consequences for the employees and for the public," he said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki raised the possibility that his country won't sign a status of forces agreement with the United States and will ask U.S. troops to go home when their U.N. mandate to be in Iraq expires at the end of the year.
Maliki made the comment after weeks of complaints from Shiite Muslim lawmakers that U.S. proposals that would govern a continued troop presence in Iraq would infringe on Iraq's sovereignty.
"Iraq has another option that it may use," Maliki said during a visit to Amman, Jordan. "The Iraqi government, if it wants, has the right to demand that the U.N. terminate the presence of international forces on Iraqi sovereign soil."