Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Poll: Christie Leads Corzine By 14 Points

The new survey of the New Jersey gubernatorial race from Public Policy Polling (D) finds Republican nominee Chris Christie, a former U.S. Attorney, leading Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine by 50%-36%.

This is even a bit better for Christie than a month ago, when he led 51%-41%.

The internals show Corzine only leading 64%-20% among Democrats in this heavily blue state, with Christie up 86%-6% among Republicans and 54%-26% among independents.

"A visit from Barack Obama and negative ads against Chris Christie haven't gotten Jon Corzine any momentum so far," said PPP president Dean Debnam, in the polling memo. "The key to his chances of getting reelected is going to be moving that 64% of the Democratic vote he's earning right now closer to the 90% mark."

The Michael Jackson Saga: Dr. Conrad Murray And The Deadly Propofol

Well now this doesn't look good does it. After Dr. Conrad Murray's Houston office was raided last week, his Las Vegas was raided this week in search of evidence that he in some way killed Michael Jackson. The main culprit in the manslaughter investigation is our good old friend Propofol, which we all know is dangerous and should never be administered outside of the hospital.

The one thing that I don't understand is that law enforcement and Murray's lawyers are still not referring to him as a suspect. So then what is he? My knowledge of this stuff is limited to what I watch on Law & Order, but I'm pretty positive that if they're raiding your home and looking for "evidence of the offense of manslaughter", you're a suspect. According to Rolling Stone, police confiscated serious meds, like appetite suppressant Phentermine and anti-anxiety med Klonopin, as well as computer hard drives, Rolodexes, and any other document linking Murray to Jackson.

When searching Jackson's rented mansion for evidence of foul play, police found an IV line, Propofol, and multiple oxygen tanks. Cherilyn Lee, Michael's nurse and nutritionist said that Michael was desperate for Propofol the weeks before his death. She was subpoenaed to give police Michael's medical documents, but is not a suspect in the death. Michael apparently did not care that an overdose of Propofol can make someone stop breathing, leading to a buildup of carbon dioxide in the body and can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Sounds familiar, yes? That's cause Propofol killed Michael.

Dr. Murray's lawyers still maintain that he did nothing wrong. His lawyer, Edward Chernoff, said Murray "didn't prescribe or administer anything that should have killed Michael Jackson." I don't like the "should" in that sentence and it's probably because of things like that "should" that police are searching Murray's offices and homes.

Michael Jackson is thought to have been using Propofol for at least two years and officials are also trying to find out who else gave him the drug. The Associated Press says that Michael used Propofol "like an alarm clock. A doctor would administer it when Jackson went to sleep, then stop the IV drip when the singer wanted to wake up."

Conrad Murray has been identified as the subject of a manslaughter investigation, but he is cooperating. He's probably cooperating just like he did when Michael said that he wanted a bunch of oxygen tanks. As mention before, an IV line was found in Michael's room with three tanks of oxygen in his room and 15 more thanks in the security guard shack.

OK everyone, what has this taught us? Don't take dangerous medicine! Really, it's quite simple. Yes, I'm sure that every once in a while it'll feel really nice, but is death worth that nice feeling? Nope, didn't think so.

Police aid a 'blessing' _ for those who get it

A $1 billion stimulus program to keep cops on the streets was praised Tuesday as a heavenly blessing in places like tiny Anguilla, Miss. — while New York City and other places that got nothing cursed their luck.

Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder said the money from the Community Oriented Policing Services program, called COPS, was sent to places with the highest crime rates and the biggest budgetary problems.

"These officers will go to where they are needed most," Holder said.

The high demand for aid — from more than 7,000 agencies — is indicative of the tough economic times they are facing, the attorney general said.

That was little comfort to those who didn't get COPS money, like New York, Pittsburgh, Houston, Seattle and Phoenix. Those cities were among the roughly 6,000 applications rejected.

For every $1 to be delivered, another $7 in requests will go unanswered under the stimulus package grant program.

Biden called paying cops' salaries "a moral obligation," and said cities left out of funding now will get other money from a different federal grant program.

New York City had asked for almost $650 million from the COPS program. It got zero. Local lawmakers of both parties called the decision a disgrace and an outrage.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, said the federal government has a "perverse" inclination to send money to failing programs, instead of ones that work.

Trying to put the best face on the brush-off from the federal government, Bloomberg called the lack of COPS money a "compliment" because the Obama administration recognized the city's low crime rate and balanced budget.

In Pittsburgh, police chief Nate Harper said he was disappointed but proud of the reasons he's not getting help.

"I'd rather have a safe city than have to depend on stimulus money," Harper said. "It is a good thing that the city crime stats are down," but he called it a "sour note" that lower crime means less money from Washington.

For the three-person police squad in Anguilla, Miss., the extra money is a godsend.

"This is a blessing from the sky," Assistant Police Chief Roy Sias said. The grant will help them hire one full-time and one part-time officer, he said.

Governors and mayors who are getting the help were grateful.

"Thank goodness, thank goodness, that we are doing something not only to save jobs but to protect communities across America," said Jon Corzine, the Democratic governor of New Jersey at the announcement in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia's mayor, Michael Nutter, also a Democrat, called the $10.9 million his city will get "an incredible opportunity and a full demonstration that the federal government has a role to play, can do something to make our cities safe and enjoyable for all of us."

Each state is entitled to at least $5 million in COPS money.

Other places getting COPS aid include: Mobile, Ala.; Mesa, Ariz.; Tulare County, Calif.; Monroe County, Fla.; the Seminole Tribe of Florida; Baltimore; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Rochester, N.Y.; Providence, R.I.; Salt Lake City, and Huntington, W.Va.

As local governments bleed red ink and officials look to plug budget gaps, they have swamped the government with a record number of requests for aid under the program.

Seeking to quiet the chorus of complaints even before the announcement was official, the Justice Department said Tuesday that New York City will get $7 million from another grant program. New York City was almost certain to get those funds anyway, since that program delivers money based mostly on a pre-set population-based formula.

The Big Apple also has a touchy history with Washington when it comes to federal aid for police costs. In 2006, the Bush administration sparked an uproar when it slashed homeland security money for New York City.

The Justice Department estimates the grant awards will help hire 3,818 new officers, and retain 881 positions that would otherwise be lost to budgetary belt-tightening.

That makes a total of 4,699 officers — still short of the program's announced goal of hiring 5,000 officers.

Under the COPS program, the federal government pays the officers' salary and benefits for three years, after which the local government is responsible for the costs.

Local police chiefs have been waiting anxiously for months to learn what they will receive, and understood even before the decisions were announced that many would be disappointed.

Barrett reported from Washington, D.C. Associated Press Writers Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Miss., Sara Kugler in New York, and Joe Mandak in Pittsburgh also contributed to this report.

Judiciary Committee OKs Sotomayor for high court

WASHINGTON — Pushing toward a historic Supreme Court confirmation vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the first Hispanic justice, over nearly solid Republican opposition.

The panel's 13-6 vote for Sotomayor masked deep political divisions within GOP ranks about confirming President Barack Obama's first high court nominee. Just one Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, joined Democrats to support her, although four others have said they'll vote for Sotomayor when her nomination comes before the full Senate next week — and that number is expected to grow.

"I would not have chosen her, but I understand why President Obama did. I gladly give her my vote, because I think she meets the qualifications test," Graham said. Obama's choice to nominate the first-ever Latina to the highest court is "a big deal," he added, declaring that, "America has changed for the better with her selection."

The near-unanimous Republican vote against Sotomayor on the Judiciary panel reflected the choice many GOP conservatives have made to side with their core supporters and oppose a judge they charge will bring liberal bias and racial and gender prejudices to her decisions. Others in the party, however, are concerned that doing so could hurt their efforts to broaden their base, and particularly alienate Hispanic voters, a fast-growing segment of the electorate.

Hispanic and civil rights groups hailed the panel's vote as a turning point in the march toward embracing diversity and racial equality in the United States.

Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights called it "a significant milestone in our country's journey toward providing equal justice under the law."

Several strategists on both sides who have been closely tracking the nomination said as many as five more Republicans could join the five who have already announced their intention to vote for Sotomayor. They spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid publicly predicting the outcome.

Conservative activists are pressing for the GOP to keep up a united front against Sotomayor, whatever the political consequences. "Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee deserve praise for putting principle above identity politics today in voting against Sonia Sotomayor," said Curt Levey of the conservative Committee for Justice.

Democrats, for their part, are lining up solidly in favor of the 55-year-old federal appeals court judge, the daughter of Puerto Rican parents who was raised in a South Bronx housing project and educated in the Ivy League.

"There's not one example — let alone a pattern — of her ruling based on bias or prejudice or sympathy," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the Judiciary Committee chairman. "She has administered justice without favoring one group of persons over another."

The senior Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, countered that Sotomayor's speeches and a few of her rulings show she would let her opinions interfere in decisions.

"In speech after speech, year after year, Judge Sotomayor set forth a fully formed, I believe, judicial philosophy that conflicts with the great American tradition of blind justice and fidelity to the law as written," Sessions said.

But even Sessions acknowledged the landmark nature of Sotomayor's nomination, in a remark that revealed the near certainty that he'll end up on the losing side of next week's vote.

"I think all of us feel that it's a good thing that we have a Hispanic on the Supreme Court," he said minutes after the Judiciary Committee action.

Sotomayor is not expected to tip the court's ideological balance, since she's replacing Justice David Souter, a liberal nominated by a Republican president. "She can be no worse than Souter from our point of view," Graham remarked.

Still, Republicans pointed with particular concern to Sotomayor's record on gun and property rights, as well as a much-discussed rejection by her appeals court panel of the reverse discrimination claims of white firefighters denied promotions. And every GOP senator who spoke alluded critically to the now-infamous remark Sotomayor made in 2001 that she hoped a "wise Latina woman" would often reach better conclusions than a white male without similar experiences.

Sotomayor dismissed the comments during her confirmation hearings as a rhetorical flourish gone awry, a defense that rang hollow with many of her critics.

"I can't vote for her because she wouldn't defend what she said, and stand up and say, 'I really believe this, but I can still be a great judge anyway, because I will never let that interfere with my judging,' " said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

The debate over Sotomayor's fitness for the court is as much about Obama — who will likely have at least one more chance to fill a Supreme Court vacancy — as it is about the judge herself.

Democrats said Sotomayor's background and her willingness to acknowledge how it might influence how she sees cases was an asset.

"She knows the law, she knows the Constitution, but she knows America, too," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican recently turned Democrat, said Sotomayor's much-maligned comment reflected a woman standing up for women and someone exhibiting ethnic pride. "I didn't find fault with 'wise Latina woman,' I found it commendable," he said.

Republicans attacked Obama's stated view that a judge should have "empathy" — an ability to understand the effects of his or her decisions on people's lives — and presented Sotomayor as the personification of an unreasonable judicial standard.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who called Obama's standard "radical," said Sotomayor's record shows "a judicial philosophy that bestows a pivotal role to personal preferences and beliefs in her judicial method."

President of CNN Tells Lou Dobbs Birther Story "Dead"

I continue to be shocked by how untethered from reality the lunatic base of the GOP has become. Few things underscore the insanity that has become the hallmark of being a Republican than the myth among the far right that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and, therefore is not qualified to be president. Never mind that Hawaii is a state and a U.S. territory before that. Or that John McCain was born in the U. S. Canal Zone in Panama which is no longer even a U. S. Territory. Among those fanning the flames of the deranged "birthers" are naturally folks at Faux News and some others who ought to know better. Finally, CNN has put the kibosh on Lou Dobb's reporting on this fantasy of the irrational nativists and Christianists. Here are some highlights from Salon's coverage of the issue:


Seems like CNN executives have finally spoken up on Lou Dobbs' embrace of Birtherism. TVNewser is reporting that CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein e-mailed some of the staffers from Dobbs' show before it aired Thursday night to say, "[I]t seems this story is dead -- because anyone who is not convinced doesn't really have a legitimate beef."*
I've contacted a CNN spokeswoman for comment, and will update this post if and when I hear back, but in the meantime the report looks trustworthy, as TVNewser has what it says is the actual e-mail from Klein:
----- Original Message -----
From: Klein, Jon (CNN)
Sent: Thu Jul 23 19:00:44 2009
Subject: Important re birth certificate

I asked the political researchers to dig into the question "why couldn't Obama produce the ORIGINAL birth certificate?"

This is what they forwarded. It seems to definitively answer the question. Since the show's mission is for Lou to be the explainer and enlightener, he should be sure to cite this during your segment tonite.

*In 2001 - the state of Hawaii Health Department went paperless.*Paper documents were discarded*The official record of Obama's birth is now an official ELECTRONIC record Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the Health Department told the Honolulu Star Bulletin, "At that time, all information for births from 1908 (on) was put into electronic files for consistent reporting," she said.

The sad reality is that despite this information I suspect the far right extremists - a number of whom are less that thinly veiled racists will persist with this story no matter what evidence is given to them. Christ himself could appear and they'd ignore anything that contradicts their insane fantasies.

Differences Between Israel And The U.S. On Iran's Nuclear Program Becoming More Pronounced

U.S., Israel Divide on Iran Nuclear Program -- Wall Street Journal

Defense Secretary Gates Calls for Continued Engagement With Tehran as Israelis Warn a Military Strike Is Possible.

JERUSALEM -- A simmering dispute between the U.S. and Israel over Iran's nuclear program burst into the open on Monday, as U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on a visit to Israel, called for continued diplomatic engagement with Tehran, while Israeli officials repeatedly warned of a possible military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Iran's apparent pursuit of a nuclear weapon is emerging as a major source of tension between the U.S. and Israel, which are already feuding over President Barack Obama's call for a complete freeze on Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.


JERUSALEM -- A simmering dispute between the U.S. and Israel over Iran's nuclear program burst into the open on Monday, as U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on a visit to Israel, called for continued diplomatic engagement with Tehran, while Israeli officials repeatedly warned of a possible military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Iran's apparent pursuit of a nuclear weapon is emerging as a major source of tension between the U.S. and Israel, which are already feuding over President Barack Obama's call for a complete freeze on Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Several senior U.S. officials are visiting Israel this week to push Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to halt Israeli settlement activity, a step the Israeli leader has so far refused to take. The Obama administration's Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, is already in the region, while National Security Adviser James Jones and White House Mideast adviser Dennis Ross are slated to arrive in coming days.

Israeli officials plan to use the meetings to underscore the country's growing unease about the Obama administration's diplomatic outreach to Iran. Israeli officials believe Iran may be less than a year away from enriching enough uranium to build a nuclear weapon, a move Mr. Netanyahu's government sees as an existential threat to the future of the Jewish state.

In a joint news conference with Mr. Gates, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak emphasized that Israel believed "no option should be removed from the table" when it came to Iran, a clear allusion to a possible military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

After a later meeting with Mr. Gates, Mr. Netanyahu said he told the American defense chief of "the seriousness to which Israel views Iran's nuclear ambitions and the need to utilize all available means to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear-weapons capability."

Mr. Gates, on his first visit to Israel in more than two years, said Washington shared the country's deep concern about the Iranian nuclear program. He said that the Obama administration's diplomatic outreach to Iran was "not an open-ended offer" and that the U.S. wanted a clear response from Tehran by the time the United Nations General Assembly convenes in late September.

"We're very mindful of the possibility that the Iranians would simply try to run out the clock," he said.

During a later stop in the Jordanian capital of Amman, Mr. Gates said Israeli officials told him they were willing to give the administration's diplomatic overtures more time to work before deciding whether to use force against Iran.

"I have the sense that as long as the process isn't completely open-ended that the Israelis are prepared to let it go forward," he said.

Israeli officials made clear they were unhappy with the administration's outreach to Tehran and that they wanted tougher measures. In his appearance with Mr. Gates, Mr. Barak said any negotiations with Iran should be "short in time and well-defined in objectives."

If the talks don't show quick signs of progress, the Israeli defense minister said Israel would push the U.N. to impose binding "Chapter 7" sanctions on Iran, a step the world body has so far refused to take.

Mr. Gates indicated the Obama administration would support stronger measures against Iran if progress isn't made. "If the engagement process is not sufficient the U.S. is prepared to press for significant additional sanctions," he said.

Mr. Gates declined to say whether the administration had begun crafting specific sanctions or canvassing American allies at the U.N. to drum up support for such measures.

Nigeria: 157 killed in riots started by Islamic "Education Is Sin" group

A human rights group has "traced the recurrent religious violence in the country to the total lack of political will on the part of the Federal and state governments to charge perpetrators of all the previous religious riots to court to serve as deterrent." Western leaders should take note. But they won't. And so Sharia supremacists holding the same values as those held by the Boko Haram group will continue to operate freely in the West.

Boko Haram Update: "Sectarian violence spreads, 157 feared dead in Borno, Kano," by Njadvara Musa, Ali Garba, Terhemba Daka, Adamu Abuh and Auwal Ahmad in Nigeria's The Guardian, July 28 (thanks to Skydeexie):

THE sectarian violence, which broke out in Bauchi on Sunday, has spread to Borno and Kano yesterday, claiming over 157 lives.
In Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, over 154 people were killed when armed members of the Islamic fundamentalists sect, Boko Haram, led by Mohammed Yusuf, a cleric, attacked the police headquarters around 10.00 p.m. and burnt 12 offices and quarters of the police and 11 patrol and personal vehicles.

However, the timely intervention of mobile policemen limited the casualty figure in Kano to three.

The Islamic fundamentalists were alleged to be fighting against those who have adopted western values....

Out of the 154 people killed, whose bodies littered the Post Office-Airport Road, there were over 115 members of the sect that used swords, bows and arrows, sticks and petrol bombs in attacking the Police Headquarters.

The police, which were taken by surprise on how the armed sect members got entry into the Police Headquarters, burnt the house of the commander of the joint border patrol and moved to the prison, killing one of the prison warders at the gate, and set all the inmates free.

As the prison inmates fled, some militants, however, abducted and took hostage of Ahmed Silkida, the correspondent of Daily Trust, alleging that he had betrayed the sect by dressing and keeping his bearded face like them without protecting their interest of fighting the Borno State government and its security agents.

In a telephone interview with The Guardian yesterday, Silkida said: "I am right now in the hands of the sect members. You should pray that the commander would release me because they are alleging that I betrayed their mission of waging a jihad against the state government and the Izala religious group"....

The Guardian also learnt that the targets of the fundamentalists are government lodges, Operation Flush checkpoints in Maiduguri and Jere metropolis, Police Headquarters and leaders of the Izala religious groups and their mosques located in various parts of Maiduguri.

Confirming the killing of over 154 people, Col. Ben Ahanotu, the commander of Operation Flush II, in a telephone interview said: "Yes, we have got them and gone with their bows and arrows and sticks. The next military action against these armed religious sect, is to destroy their operational points and areas that pose serious threat to lives and property."...

As at 3.00 a.m. yesterday, a band of militants comprising nationals of neighbouring Chad had stormed the headquarters of the Wudil Divisional Police Station with the intent of disarming the policemen on duty....

A leader of the fundamentalist who carried out the attack at the Wudil Police Station, Abdulmumuni Ibrahim Mohammed, gave an insight into their motive, saying that the attacks were aimed at the elite who had embraced western values.

Mohammed, who hails from Nasarawa State and claim to have attended secondary school, also expressed opposition to the use of the 1999 Constitution to govern the country as well as urged the implementation of the Sharia legal code.

Following the crisis in Bauchi, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 12, Bauchi, Moses Anegbode, has described the Boko Haram as a criminal group who are parading themselves in the name of religion.

Addressing a press conference yesterday in Bauchi, Anegbode said Boko Haram was a threat to peace .

The AIG disclosed that 39 of the Boko Haram were killed in a confrontation in a joint security operation last Sunday in Bauchi while 176 of them were arrested and 15 injured.

He added that a Lance Corporal in the Army and two policemen were killed in the operations against the group.

According to him, the security operatives went after members of Boko Haram after they attacked a police station in Dutse Tanshi and opened fire during attempts to arrest them at their various hideouts in the Federal Low Cost Estate and Fadama Mada areas.

Anegbode said that in Maiduguri on that same Sunday, some members of the group despite the heavy security, came to a police station on a suicide mission with three motorcycles and sped towards the gate and set it ablaze.

He stated: " They forbid anything western, yet their leader has an array of western materials in their position and their usage. Even the phone, SUVs; I wonder if they were made by him. They are notorious for kidnappings, raping, intimidation and molestation and known to be anti-establishment,"...

Meanwhile, Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) yesterday called for urgent implementation of a comprehensive reforms of the nation's intelligence community and the Nigeria police by the Federal Government to prevent the intermittent orgy of violence unleashed by religious fanatics in the country.

The human rights body in a statement endorsed by its national co-ordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, condemned the violence unleashed by the members of the Boko Haram sect in Bauchi State at the weekend even as it called for a transparent judicial commission of inquiry to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the blood-bath and the prosecution of all perpetrators.

The group traced the recurrent religious violence in the country to the total lack of political will on the part of the Federal and state governments to charge perpetrators of all the previous religious riots to court to serve as deterrent....

Shaq Does Raw

By Patrick Cassidy

We know not all of our readers are into wrestling, which is fine. But for those of you out there who do like it like we do, Shaq was the “guest host” of WWE Raw last night. As always Shaq was the man on the mic and in the ring, never breaking character or cracking a smile (that we saw) even when he he calls Big Show “fat boy.” And good news for LeBron and Cavs fans - The Diesel looks like he’s in great shape.

Check out his entrance last night (and Jerry Lawler’s pronouncement that Shaq is a “15-time MVP”), right at the top of the ramp, Shaq grabs a sign that says “Long Live King Kobe” and rips it in half.

And there’s this video of Shaq challenging Big Show to a match:

New Taser device can shock 3 people without reload

Noooo, no possibility of abuse here. Pam's been chronicling the previous instances of abuse here.

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz.---- Taser International has introduced its first new stun gun since 2003: a device capable of shocking three people without being reloaded.

"This is as big a step as when firearms went from a muzzle loader to the revolver," company CEO Rick Smith said. "If I was a cop, I'd want to carry one."


The new device was unveiled Monday at the Scottsdale-based company's annual conference with a demonstration by Smith and his brother, Taser International Chairman Tom Smith. Hundreds of law enforcement officers applauded after watching the two fire rounds of barbed wire at metal targets.

Fred Cheatham, an officer with Escondido police in California, said the new Taser seemed bulky but he liked that it could be fired three times without reloading.

"I can see a lot of applications for that," Cheatham said.

Gates 911 Caller Believes Police Acted Appropriately

Wendy Murphy, the lawyer for Lucia Whalen, who placed the 911 call which led to the arrest of Henry Louis Gate, Jr., was interviewed tonight on the Greta Van Susteren show. Murphy, speaking for Whalen, stated that Whalen heard Gates screaming at police, but refused to go any further into the details of what Whalen saw and heard. Murphy stated that Whalen wants to put this behind her in light of the accusations of racism made against her after her 911 call.

Significantly, however, Murphy was asked whether Whalen saw or heard Gates acting in such a way as to justify an arrest for disorderly conduct. Murphy stated:
"I think what's fair to say is that she [Whalen] does not believe the police acted inappropriately. Without describing the content of what she heard, there's only one person she heard screaming, and that was Professor Gates." [View the video below beginning at 1:45 in descending time]
While Whalen may not be in a position to make a legal judgment as to whether the arrest was warranted, it is significant that Whalen -- being an eyewitness to Gates' conduct -- believed the police acted appropriately in making the arrest.

The picture of a screaming Gates sufficiently out of control to warrant an arrest -- at least in the view of an eyewitness -- is consistent not only with the description by Sgt. James Crowley, the arresting officer, but also Sgt. Patrolman Carlos Figueroa, who signed an Incident Supplemental accompanying Crowley's report.

Pregnancy likely to be swine flu shot priority

ATLANTA — Swine flu has been hitting pregnant women unusually hard, so they are likely to be among the first group advised to get a new swine flu shot this fall.

Pregnant women account for 6 percent of U.S. swine flu deaths since the pandemic began in April, even though they make up just 1 percent of the U.S. population.

On Wednesday a federal vaccine advisory panel is meeting to take up the question of who should be first to get swine flu shots when there aren't enough for everyone. At the top of the list are health care workers, who would be crucial to society during a bad pandemic.

But pregnant women may be near the top of the list because they have suffered and died from swine flu at disproportionately high rates.

"Are they more at risk for severe disease? That's the issue," and it appears they are, said Dr. Denise Jamieson, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pregnant women's risk from swine flu has been a raging topic in Europe, following the contentious suggestion this month by British and Swiss health officials that women should consider delaying pregnancy if they can.

Most health officials call that advice unwarranted, but have agreed that the health risks are significant. In a recent report, World Health Organization experts found that pregnant women appear to be "at increased risk for severe disease, potentially resulting in spontaneous abortion and/or death, especially during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy."

However, so far, WHO has not recommended that pregnant women get priority vaccinations.

Now doctors are waiting to see what's decided by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, whose guidance usually is accepted by the CDC and influences doctors and insurance coverage.

For more than a decade, the committee has recommended that pregnant women get vaccinated for seasonal flu, which is considered a serious threat even to pregnant women who are young and healthy. Pregnant women are unusually vulnerable — especially in the third trimester — due to changes in the lungs and immune system that make it harder for them to shake off respiratory infections, said Dr. Kevin Ault, an Emory University obstetrician.

CDC data indicate swine flu is at least as dangerous. Of 302 U.S. deaths attributed to swine flu to date, the CDC has detailed information on 266 of them. The agency has found that 15 of the 266 were pregnant women — or about 6 percent.

The first American with swine flu to die was a pregnant woman in Texas. Judy Trunnell, 33, died May 5 after slipping into a coma and giving birth to a healthy baby girl, delivered by Cesarean section.

Some infected pregnant women have other health problems. Trunnell, for example, also had asthma and the skin condition psoriasis. But many of the pregnant women who died were considered relatively healthy, suggesting pregnancy itself is a significant risk, Jamieson said.

"I think the whole concept that this flu only affects pregnant women with underlying medical conditions is incorrect," Jamieson said.

Experts believe an effective vaccine would benefit not only a pregnant woman but also her unborn child.

Infants, whose immune systems are weak, should not get a flu shot until they are at least 6 months old. So whatever immunity they have is passed on to them by their mothers, doctors say.

The belief in the protective powers of a mother's vaccination on their unborn children was demonstrated in a study of women in Bangladesh published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine. It found that flu shots given to pregnant women reduced flu in infants by 63 percent.

Only about 15 percent of pregnant women get seasonal flu shots, experts noted, so it's not clear how many will get the new shot.

Some women avoid regular flu shots, worried about possible risks to the fetus, but studies have not shown any increased dangers from the shot.

Until recently, many obstetricians haven't offered them, choosing to avoid the expense of buying and storing vaccine and the hassle of trying to convince reluctant patients, said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University flu expert.

"Obstetricians are only now getting with the program and are growing comfortable with administering flu vaccine," he said.

It's not clear that the demand for swine flu shots would be much greater. Pregnant patients haven't expressed much concern about swine flu, said the CDC's Jamieson, who is also an obstetrician seeing inner-city patients at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital.

"It hasn't been a major concern," viewed as a relatively mild illness. They worry more about economic concerns — "how to take care of the baby, how to get food to eat and how to get safe and secure housing," Jamieson said.

So far, swine flu has likely infected more than 1 million Americans, the CDC believes, with at least 300 deaths.

The United States expects to begin testing swine flu vaccines on some volunteers in August, and predicts 160 million doses may be ready by October.

Pakistan case nearly cost NC terror suspect limbs

RALEIGH, N.C. — American Daniel Patrick Boyd faced stern a punishment after being convicted of robbing a bank in Pakistan: Losing a hand and foot.

He avoided the sentence when his conviction was overturned. Two decades later, the 39-year-old Boyd is accused of organizing a group in the U.S. with international terrorist aspirations, and he faces life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say Boyd's time in Pakistan also included terrorist training that he brought back to North Carolina, where over the past three years he recruited followers willing to die as martyrs waging jihad — the Arabic word for holy war. Seven members of the group, including Boyd and two adult sons, were arrested Monday and charged with providing material support to terrorism and "conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad."

Prosecutors would not detail what the group was targeting overseas. An indictment said they provided money, training, transportation and men to help terrorists. Boyd and some of the others traveled to Israel in June 2007 intending to wage "violent jihad," but returned home without success, the document said.

Boyd lived at an unassuming lakeside home in a rural area south of Raleigh, where he and his family operated a drywall business.

Jim Stephenson, a neighbor in Willow Spring, said he often saw the Boyd family walking their dog. The indictment shocked neighbors.

"We never saw anything to give any clues that something like that could be going on in their family," Stephenson said.

Authorities believe Boyd's roots in terrorism run deep. They said when he was in Pakistan and Afghanistan from 1989 through 1992, he had military-style training in terrorist camps and fought the Soviets, who were occupying Afghanistan.

It is unclear when he and his family returned to the U.S., but in March 2006, Boyd traveled to Gaza and attempted to introduce his son to individuals who also believed that violent jihad was a personal religious obligation, the indictment said.

Two of his sons, Zakariya Boyd, 20, and Dylan Boyd, 22, were named in the indictment. Another son, Luqman, died two years ago in a car accident. The document did not say which son Boyd took to Gaza.

The others charged are Anes Subasic, 33; Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22; and Ziyad Yaghi, 21. Hysen Sherifi, 24, a native of Kosovo and a U.S. legal permanent resident was also charged in the case. He was the only person arrested who was not a U.S. citizen.

No attorneys for the men were listed in court records.

Reached at her home in Silver Spring, Md., Daniel Boyd's mother said she knew nothing about the current case.

"It certainly sounds weird to me," Pat Saddler said.

Hassan's father declined to comment, and other families did not have listed numbers or did not return calls.

In 1991 in Pakistan, Daniel Boyd and his older brother denied they were guilty of stealing $3,200 from the bank. When the sentence was imposed, Boyd shouted: "This isn't an Islamic court. It's a court of infidels!"

When the brothers were arrested, they were accused of carrying identification showing they belonged to the radical Afghan guerrilla group, Hezb-e-Islami, or Party of Islam. They had become the first foreigners to be convicted and sentenced by special Islamic courts set up by the conservative federal government to impose speedy trials for so-called "heinous" crimes.

About a month later, when the brothers' convictions were overturned, Daniel Boyd said, "The truth has finally come out."

The men's wives, also Americans, said in an interview at the time that the couples had come to Pakistan in 1989 and that the United States was a country of "kafirs" — Arabic for heathens. The wives refused to answer questions about their husbands' links to the Afghan mujahedeen, or Islamic holy warriors, though they did say their husbands embraced Islam nine years earlier.

Boyd's wife, Sabrina, had three sons with her in Pakistan at the time of the sentencing: 3-year-old Zakariya, 1-year-old Luqman and 5-year-old Mohammed. The indictment filed in North Carolina says Dylan Boyd is also known as Mohammed.

It's unclear how U.S. authorities learned of the allegations of the past three years, although court documents indicate that prosecutors will introduce evidence gathered under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Several of the defendants, including Boyd and his sons, also face firearms charges. The indictment says they had obtained a variety of weapons from handguns to rifles.

In July 2008, Sherifi left for Kosovo to engage in violent jihad, but it's unclear if he did any actual fighting. He returned to North Carolina in April 2009 to solicit funds and warriors to support the mujahedeen, but again the indictment did not give details. In October 2006, Yaghi went to Jordan to engage in violent jihad, according to the indictment.

Boyd's beliefs about Islam did not concur with his Raleigh-area moderate mosque, which he stopped attending this year and instead began meeting for Friday prayers in his home, U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding said in an interview. He did not say whether any or all the defendants met with him.

"This is not an indictment of the entire Muslim community," Holding said. "These people had broken away because their local mosque did not follow their vision of being a good Muslim."

Associated Press Writers Devlin Barrett contributed to this report from Washington; Meg Kinnard contributed from Columbia, S.C.; Alysia Patterson and Tom Foreman Jr. contributed from Raleigh.

Jackson Used Murray For Continuous Sleeping Drug Use

A Los Angeles law enforcement professional, speaking on condition of anonymity, says Michael Jackson used Dr. Conrad Murray for continuous injections of propofol.

The late King of Pop, whose death is currently being investigated, allegedly used the drug as a crutch because he had trouble sleeping and would time his sleep patterns with the aid of the doctor.

Though toxicology reports are pending, authorities say they believe the drug, only to be used in rare circumstances at hospitals or other care facilities, is what ultimately killed the iconic performer in June.

Police searching Jackson's rented mansion in the Los Angeles area allegedly found propofol, other drugs, numerous tanks of oxygen and an IV line used to administer the drug in the entertainer's bedroom and a nearby scrutiny guard's shack.

According to Bio Medicine and the AP, Propofol can slow breathing, lower heart rates and blood pressure when administered. However, the drug must also be accompanied by oxygen which provides artificial ventilation.

In a 2008 study conducted at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, two out of three patients died after going into cardiac arrest for unexplained reasons.

Official toxicology reports from the ongoing investigation into Michael Jackson's death are due to be released at a later date.