Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A new level of chutzpah in psychiatric ghostwriting

The New York Times has a revealing article about how a popular textbook for family doctors on how to treat mental illness, apparently written by two big name psychiatrists, was almost entirely written by a ghostwriting service under the direction of a large drug company.
Two prominent authors of a 1999 book teaching family doctors how to treat psychiatric disorders provided acknowledgment in the preface for an “unrestricted educational grant” from a major pharmaceutical company.
But the drug maker, then known as SmithKline Beecham, actually had much more involvement than the book described, newly disclosed documents show. The grant paid for a writing company to develop the outline and text for the two named authors, the documents show, and then the writing company said it planned to show three drafts directly to the pharmaceutical company for comments and “sign-off” and page proofs for “final approval.”
“That doesn’t sound unrestricted to me,” Dr. Bernard Lo, a medical ethicist and chairman of an Institute of Medicine group…
David A. Kessler, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, is memorably quoted as saying “To ghostwrite an entire textbook is a new level of chutzpah.” “I’ve never heard of that before. It takes your breath away.”

The book is reported to be Recognition and Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders: A Psychopharmacology Handbook for Primary Care by Charles B. Nemeroff and Alan F. Schatzberg.
Nemeroff. Now where have I heard that name before?

Link to NYT piece on ghostwritten psychiatry textbook.

LeBron not happy with struggling Heat

Whether you believe ESPN the Magazine’s Chris Broussard’s report that several Heat players, particularly LeBron James, have grown frustrated with coach Erik Spoelstra doesn’t really matter. James has already said as much repeatedly in recent days.  He complained about playing too many minutes, which required a meeting with Spoelstra. He said he doesn’t like playing point guard, which Spoelstra has asked him to do for much of the young season. And he maintained that, unlike in seasons past, he isn’t having fun.  On Monday there was another meeting between James and Spoelstra. This confab supposedly focused on the offense, where James and the Heat have been struggling, and not on the ESPN report of discord — though it’s fair to assume the topic came up.  Of course James isn’t totally happy. He’s given up money, a massive piece of his reputation, the freedom to walk freely around his hometown. He’s also sacrificed shot attempts and his beloved statistics to be with the Heat. Yes, it’s early in the process, but the results so far have been underwhelming. — ESPN

Drew Brees Is Sports Illustrated Sports Man Of The Year!

Posted by kellidaisy on November 30th, 2010 at 11:46 am

Drew Brees is named SI's Sports Man of the Year
drew brees 240 225x300 Drew Brees Is Sports Illustrated Sports Man Of The Year!Celebrity sports dad Drew Brees has been named the Sports Illustrated Sports Man of the Year for 2010! Drew Brees led his team, the New Orleans Saints, to their very first Super Bowl win last year after joining the team in 2006.

This morning on the Today show, Drew Brees said; “It’s an unbelievable honor, for everything that it stands for, and it just makes me reflect back on the last five years in New Orleans, and the teams that I’ve had the opportunity to play for. And it’s just been a special, special journey.”
But Drew Brees isn’t just an excellent athlete; his foundation also has helped close to 50 schools and organizations in New Orleans to aid in the Hurricane Katrina recovery.

“The more that I’ve learned about the award and that it goes well beyond what you accomplish on the field, that it’s very much about what you do off the field as well, with community service and your family, makes the award even more special to me,”
“I needed New Orleans so badly back in 2006, just somebody to believe in me, somebody to care about me,” he said. “And that’s why myself and my wife Brittany, we just tried to throw ourselves into the community, to do our part.”

Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany have 2 sons together. Drew Brees is the 57th recipient of the Sports Illustrated Sports Man of the Year honors. What do you think of Drew Brees as this year’s winner?

Senate Passes Food Safety Bill That Would Increase FDA Authority

Earlier today, the Senate passed its version of a new food safety bill that would increase the authority of the Food & Drug Administration in making recalls and inspecting food processing facilities. The intent behind the bill is to proactively prevent outbreaks of tainted food instead of just dealing with the negative health and economic after effects.

Among the salient points of the legislation:

* The FDA would have the power to demand food recalls, instead of merely requesting that companies recall products.

* A large increase in the number of FDA inspections of food processing plants, with an emphasis on foods that are considered most high risk.

* Grocery stores will be required to to post prominently a list of recently recalled foods.

* The FDA gains more control over food imports, including increased inspection of foreign processing plants and the ability to set standards for how fruits and vegetables are grown abroad.

While the bill covers about 80% of the U.S. food supply, it does not cover slaughterhouses or most meat and poultry processing plants. Those still fall under the jurisdiction of the Dept. of Agriculture.

The legislation has been welcomed by large food producers who have recently taken huge hits from tainted foods like eggs, peanut butter and spinach. Even those who weren't responsible for recalled products still feel the sting as consumers shy away from buying these items.

Meanwhile, advocates for smaller farmers who sell a majority of their produce locally say the bill could crush small farms under a mountain of paperwork and red tape they are not equipped to handle.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, which introduced its own version of this overhaul earlier in the year. The House could stall the bill if it decides to dicker over the differences between the two bills, or it could rush it through in order to pass the legislation before adjourning for the year.

Senate Passes Overhaul of Food Safety Regulations [NY Times]

Video: Cancun: a lost battle against climate change? euronews

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Video: Google says it will cooperate with EU antitrust probe

The Whole Eurozone Could Be Ablaze by New Year


ireland_protests
Late Sunday night the EU announced that they have agreed upon an 85 Billion Euro ($113 Billion) bailout for Ireland. Early media reports sought to calm global stock markets by suggesting that crisis talks were over and the deal was just about inked.

The problem is, however, that even though the EU wants to give Ireland a bailout, the Irish people may have none of it. Ireland’s debt crisis, though a drop in the bucket compared to that of Spain (and the USA), may be the catalyst for a complete bond meltdown in Europe if the Irish Parliament refuses to accept assistance from the IMF et. al. :
Therefore, the next week will be crucial, in Ireland. The next week could likely decide the fate of the Eurozone.
If the popular perception grows over the coming week that the Cowen government sold out the country to the IMF and the EU, then it is possible—very possible—that the austerity budget will not pass on December 7.
This would be a disaster to the European Union.
Is such an outcome likely? Will the Irish reject the austerity budget on December 7? Will they instead force the Irish banks to default on their debt?

But if the Irish reject the austerity budget on December 7, it is obvious that the Spanish problems will come to a head a lot faster.
An Irish rejection of the bailout would send the bond markets into a frenzy—Spanish debt would immediately come under pressure, likely crashing before Christmas. Italy would come immediately next. The whole Eurozone could be ablaze by the New Year’s.
Therefore, the EU needs to make the December 7 budget vote go smooth—they need to pull out all the stops and make the Irish understand the situation. They need to make them see the wisdom of making sacrifices for the well being of British and German banks.
Source: Gonzalo Lira
We realize that the goings on in Europe are not the concern of the majority of Americans - we’ve got plenty of problems right here at home - but, consider what may happen to US stocks, bonds and our economy in general if Europe collapses.

Correction: Not if, but when.

We’ve maintained, that like the US, the coming European collapse is inevitable. Even if the Irish accept the bailout, the EU still has Italy to deal with, as well as Spain, which would require a bailout five to ten times times larger than Greece, Ireland and Portugal combined.

In early November we asked Is a Monster Reversal In Stocks, Commodities, and the US Dollar in the Works?

We will soon find out, either by the end of this year if Ireland doesn’t take the bailout, or by next Summer, at which time Spain’s problems will be the talk of mainstream financial pundits the world over.
Whatever the case, whenever Spain and Italy finally do have a meltdown in their debt markets, we can see massive capital flows shifting from Europe to the US.

This means that the Euro may be annihilated, while the US dollar benefits.
The result?

If we had to guess, further continuation of the European debt crisis will lead to falling equities, commodities and perhaps even precious metals (for a time). Depending on the severity of how the EU crisis is perceived, we may even see a sharp correction or crash in US financial markets.

This, of course, may lead to further erosion of the American consumer, as many will fear that a double dip recession has occurred (those paying attention realize that we’re way past recession and in the throes of another great depression), leading to further reinforcement of the negative feedback loop of rising unemployment, falling wages, and increased government assistance.

Keep an eye on Europe, it is a good indicator of things to come here in the US.

Author: Mac Slavo

Date: November 29th, 2010
Visit the Author's Website: http://www.SHTFplan.com

China tried to sabotage US computers, says WikiLeaks

WASHINGTON WikiLe-aks released 250,000 diplomatic cables to The New York Times on Sunday  det-ailing the candid conversations between Washington and embassies around the world.

The documents show that Chinese government operatives have waged a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage targeting US and its allies. Some of the cables, made available to The Times were written in February 2010.

 Gaming out an eventual collapse of North Korea: American and South Korean officials have discussed the prospects for a unified Korea, should the North’s economic troubles and political transition lead the state to implode. The South Koreans even considered commercial inducements to China, according to the American ambassador to Seoul. She told Washington in February that South Koreans believe that the right business deals would ‘help salve’ China’s “concerns about living with a reunified Korea” that is in a ‘benign alliance’ with US.

Bargaining to empty the Gitmo prison: When American diplomats pressed other countries to resettle detainees, they became reluctant players in a State Department version of “Let’s Make a Deal.” Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with President Obama, while Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions of dollars to take in a group of detainees.

Ahmadinejad: Iran's enemies "did a bad thing" and created "problems" for uranium enrichment cintrifuges with a virus

Hmmm... Crippled computers, dead nuclear scientists... What's next?

(INN) Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted Monday that a virus has damaged computers throughout Iran and created problems in centrifuges that are involved in enrichment of uranium in several nuclear sites.

Iran's enemies “succeeded in creating problems for a limited number of our centrifuges with the software they had installed in electronic parts,” Ahmadinejad told reporters. “They did a bad thing. Fortunately our experts discovered that and today they are not able (to do that) anymore," he said.

This is the first time that Iran has officially admitted that its enemies are responsible for damaging its nuclear program by means of a computer virus.

Less than one week ago it was reported that major technical problems in Iran's nuclear program forced the shutdown of thousands of centrifuges enriching uranium at Iran's Natanz plant. Diplomats said the problems caused Iranian experts to “briefly power down” the machines they use for enrichment.

More...

US embassy cables: Verdict on the leaks about the Middle East


What do the cables released by WikiLeaks tell us about diplomacy and US foreign policy in the Middle East?
Gary Younge, Seumas Milne, Craig Murray, Richard Norton-Taylor, Juan Cole, Abbas Edalat, Phil Wilayto

guardian.co.uk, Monday 29 November 2010

".......
Seumas Milne: 'Global mobilisation of US power against Iran is an ominous thread'
The relentless global mobilisation of US power against Iran – and of Washington-backed Arab autocracies and dictatorships for an American attack on Tehran – is an ominous thread that runs through thousands of the leaked state department WikiLeaks cables published in the Guardian.

Not only do they underline the danger represented by the threat of aggression against Iran over its nuclear programme, which of course Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes only; but the repeated private demands by the Saudi king Abdullah to "cut off the head of the snake"backed up by Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain (and, of course, Israel) – also serve to drive home the utterly unrepresentative nature of the client Arab regimes that underpin western power in the Middle East.

While the Arab rulers fear Iran and want the US to attack it, the majority of their people support Iran's nuclear programme and believe it would be "positive" for the region if Iran did develop nuclear weapons – according to the most recent poll carried out by the US Zogby polling organisation and Maryland University in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and other pro-western Arab states. Asked which countries threatened their security, 88% replied Israel, 77% the US and just 10% Iran.
No doubt Saudi and Egyptian leaders will be more careful about what they say to American ambassadors in future......"

# posted by Tony

The Democrat way – Voter Fraud in NY1 congressional race


vote democrat its easier than workingIt’s the progressive liberal Democrat way of winning an election. If you aren’t in a craphole of a district that’s already heavily Democrat, rig elections to win! That seems to be what’s happening in the last House congressional race that hasn’t been decided as of yet. Right now the Republicans are at a gain of 63 House seats, with NY1 still up in the air. Fox News investigation has uncovered evidence of voter registration illegalities, including one voter who apparently voted twice. The candidates in this race is far left Democrat Tim Bishop and Republican challenger Randy Altschuler.

A Fox News Voter Fraud Unit review of approximately 438 of the absentee ballot voters, who also maintain mailing addresses in New York City, reveals that 48 have double registrations. They voted by absentee ballot in Suffolk County, but are also listed as current “active” voters on the New York City rolls. Being registered in two separate jurisdictions is illegal and is a felony in New York State.
In addition, our investigation reveals that one absentee ballot was apparently submitted in the name of a Democratic voter enrolled in Suffolk County, while election records at the Board of Elections in New York City show that the same voter voted, on Election Day, in Manhattan.

Clinton blasts State Department leaks [by Wikileaks] as 'an attack'

By Mimi Hall and Richard Wolf
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration scrambled Monday to control the diplomatic damage from a quarter-million leaked State Department documents reverberating across the nation's capital and around the globe.

The White House ordered a government-wide review of procedures to safeguard classified data and vowed to prosecute anyone who broke U.S. law by leaking the latest trove of documents to the online whistle-blower WikiLeaks.

"This disclosure is not just an attack on America's foreign policy interests," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said. "It is an attack on the international community — the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity."

Attorney General Eric Holder said the government was conducting a criminal investigation and would hold responsible "anybody who was involved in the breaking of American law."


The e-mails and other documents released by WikiLeaks provide a rare glimpse into government negotiations and unfolding world events.

Governments in Europe condemned the leaks. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini dubbed them "the Sept. 11 of world diplomacy."

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said President Obama was "not pleased," calling that reaction "an understatement."

At the center of the controversy were The New York Times and other news organizations that began publishing stories about the documents on Sunday. The Times defended publication of the documents as serving "an important public interest."


Few current or former U.S. officials agreed. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, called the leak a "catastrophic" breach of trust.

The documents, which WikiLeaks said would be released over a period of months, show:

•U.S. diplomats were instructed to collect personal data on United Nations officials, including flight schedules, credit card numbers, Internet passwords and even some biometric information.

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton questioned the authenticity of that cable. "I have never seen one like that," he said. Diplomats "are not competent to engage in espionage."

Clinton defended the diplomats' work. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, "Our diplomats don't break the law."

•Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, are far more concerned about Iran's nuclear program than they have said publicly. "It should not be a surprise to anyone that Iran is a source of great concern, not only in the United States," Clinton said.

•The U.S. bartered with other countries to try to get them to take some of the terrorism suspects being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Contributing: Kevin Johnson and the Associated Press
 

Corporate Greed Will Kill The Internet

Comcast is at it again:
Level 3 Communications Inc., an Internet backbone company that supports Netflix Inc.'s increasingly popular movie streaming service, complained Monday that cable giant Comcast Corp. is charging it an unfair fee for the right to send data to its subscribers.
Comcast replied it is being swamped by a flood of data and needs to be paid.
Level 3 said it agreed to pay under protest, but that the fee violates the principles of an "open Internet." It also goes against the Federal Communications Commission's proposed rules preventing broadband Internet providers from favoring certain types of traffic, it said.
This is the exact reason that we need net neutrality. It also hits at the heart of what should be anti-trust laws. Consider the fact that Comcast isn’t only the largest residential internet provider in the country, but also the largest cable provider. Cable companies have seen a huge decline in subscriptions in recent years while companies like NetFlix have experienced huge growth. This is Comcast’s attempt to squash the competition and the Justice Department and FTC should get involved right away.

Check Out Official Trailer To Halle Berry's 'Frankie and Alice'

Berry's 'Frankie and Alice'


Blackvoices.com
has been provided with the trailer to Halle Berry's upcoming film, 'Frankie and Alice,' which also stars Stellan SkarsgÄrd, Phylicia Rashad ('For Colored Girls') and Chandra Wilson of TV's 'Grey's Anatomy.'

Directed by Geoffrey Sax, the film is a moving psychological drama based on the harrowing true story of Frankie Murdoch (played by Berry), a woman suffering with multiple personality disorder in early 1970s Los Angeles.

'Frankie and Alice' opens on December 10, 2010 at the Landmark Nuart Theater in Los Angeles, before its official release on February 4, 2011.

Rashad Walker Jr.: Sleeping Baby Shot Dead in His Car Seat

Rashad Walker Jr., Sleeping Baby Shot Dead in Car Seat


Rashad Walker Jr. (pictured) was just 20 months old when he died. The young child was killed in the back of his mother's minivan in Syracuse, N.Y., when he was shot with up to 10 bullets while he was sleeping at 4:30 p.m. this past Sunday. His mother was holding him when paramedics arrived on the scene.

Walker died at 6:45 p.m. in the hospital, but he was not the intended target. The story of Rashad Walker is clearly one of the most tragic incidents we've read about all year. It takes us back to the police shooting of Aiyana Jones, the 7-year old in Detroit who was shot while sleeping during a police raid. This story is also personal to me because I live in Syracuse, a city that (like so many others) continues to be plagued by gun violence.

Events like this emphasize the importance of community policing and helping officers to apprehend those who are responsible for creating this kind of pain in our communities. Also, these incidents tell us that we've got to do something to slow down the gun violence in America's cities. The weapons that are killing our children should be taken off the streets.

Another thing about Syracuse, as well as many other urban areas around the nation, is that the educational system is plagued with significant inadequacies. There are not enough activities to keep young people off the streets, and there are few, if any, jobs available for inner-city youth. Such dire conditions breed the kind of hopelessness which leads to violent incidents like this one.

The criminal justice system serves to make matters worse by showing an insatiable willingness to abuse and incarcerate defendants rather than rehabilitate them. By removing so many Fathers from the inner city, we have children who grow up to become either victims or perpetrators of violent crime. This cycle has got to stop.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Obama to Freeze Pay for Most Federal Workers


November 29, 2010

Obama to Freeze Pay for Most Federal Workers

WASHINGTON -- President Obama plans to announce a two-year pay freeze for civilian federal workers later Monday morning in his latest move intended to demonstrate concern over sky-high deficit spending.

The president’s proposal will effectively wipe out plans for a 1.4 percent across-the-board raise in 2011 for 2.1 million civilian federal government employees, including those working at the Defense Department, but the freeze would not affect the naion’s uniformed military personnel. The president has frozen the salaries of his own top White House staff members since taking office 22 months ago.

“Clearly this is a difficult decision,” said Jeffrey Zients, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget and the government’s chief performance officer. “Federal workers are hard-working and dedicated.” But given the deficit, Mr. Zients added, “we believe this is the first of many difficult steps ahead.”

The pay freeze will save $2 billion in the current fiscal year that ends in September 2011, $28 billion over five years and more than $60 billion over 10 years, officials said. That represents just a tiny dent in a $1.3 trillion annual deficit, but it offers a symbolic gesture toward public anger over unemployment, the anemic economic recovery and rising national debt.

Mr. Zients said the president is announcing the plan on Monday because of an approaching legal deadline for submitting a pay plan to Congress. But by doing it now, the president also effectively gets ahead of Republicans who have been talking about making such a move once they take over the House and assume more seats in the Senate in January. Some Republicans have gone further, proposing to slash federal worker salaries.

The number of federal workers making more than $150,000 a year has grown ten-fold in the past five years and doubled since Mr. Obama took office, according to a USA Today study earlier this month. Since 2000, federal pay and benefits have increased 3 percent annually above inflation, compared with 0.8 percent for private sector workers, according to data cited by the newspaper.

This is not the first time Mr. Obama has addressed government pay to make a political point. He froze the salaries of his own top White House staff members when he took office 22 months ago. He later extended that freeze to political appointees throughout the government and canceled their bonuses.

The chairmen of a fiscal commission appointed by Mr. Obama have proposed a three-year freeze for federal employees in a draft report. The commission is supposed to issue a final report by Wednesday.

read more @
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/us/politics/30freeze.html?emc=na

GOP Rep. Asks Clinton to Declare WikiLeaks a ‘Foreign Terrorist Organization’


A Republican Congressman from New York has invented a new definition for the word "terrorism" that doesn't require guns, bombs, vast underground networks of sleeper cells, a criminal conspiracy or even violence.

All that's needed to be a terrorist, according to Rep. Peter King, is a website and some inconvenient information.

That's why King sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday, demanding that whistleblower website WikiLeaks be deemed a "foreign terrorist organization" and it's founder declared a terror ringleader.'

Read more...

Calling A Shamrock A Shamrock

By Howard Rich
As the European economy grapples with yet another bailout of a bankrupt sovereign state, a storyline is emerging that seeks to frame this latest instance of government interventionism along deliberately disingenuous lines. According to this misleading narrative, Ireland’s abysmal fiscal condition did not come as a result of chronic state overspending, but is instead due to the island nation’s comparatively-low corporate income tax rate.

Sound like a familiar song? On both sides of the ocean there appear to be plenty of Keynesian apologists who believe that economic downturns are always caused by greedy capitalists — never by greedy politicians and government bureaucrats.
Get full story here.

Busted Lip

Get permalink here.

Is 2011, the year when medical malpractice reform finally comes of age?

By Rick Manning

Video by Frank McCaffrey
There will be a lot of heat generated in the first month of the 112th Congress as the newly elected Republican majority in the House of Representatives moves, as they should, to repeal the signature legislation of the Pelosi era — ObamaCare.

It is common knowledge that Harry Reid’s Senate will not vote for repealing the law, so where should the Republicans head from there?

One answer is pass the single most important health care reform that the Pelosi-Reid Congress left off the table — medical malpractice reform.

This makes sense from a cost perspective as the Congressional Budget Office estimated that medical malpractice reform would save $54 billion over the course of the next ten years.

Get full story here.

Did the White House Authorize the Center for American Progress to Use the Presidential Seal?

Readers Respond: Backlash Over Bishop Eddie Long Gospel Today Cover

Cover Chaos: Backlash Over Bishop Eddie Long's Gospel Today FeatureThe Nov/Dec issue of faith-based glossy Gospel Today is catching flack from some of its subscribers who take issue with Bishop Eddie Long being featured on its cover.

With a headline that reads: "Bishop Eddie Long At The Center of The Scandal That Rocked The Church World;" the magazine is being accused of downplaying the allegations against the pastor of the New Birth Missionary Church in Lithonia, Georgia, who was accused in Sept. of sexual coercion by four consenting-age men from his church.

Additionally, some readers believe that Gospel Today lacks objectivity as Long serves as the chair of the magazine's board.

One unedited subscriber note read: "I got my latest issue of Gospel Today; with [Bishop] Eddie Long on the cover. I read the article and said to myself hmmmm seem like some sugar coating going on. Turned back to the 1st page and saw where the Bishop of his Church in NC is on your Board of Directors, I looked down and also saw that Eddie Long is on your Board of Advisors, I said all of that to say this. The best thing your magazine should have did was to not comment, but I do understand why you did. God is not pleased with all of the hypocrisy going on with these leaders and the things people will say and print just for MONEY!!!!"

Gospel Today publisher Teresa Hairston is facing the criticism head-on. She posted a letter in response to reader comments on her website. Teresa Hairston

"The Word of God teaches us that God is love; and far too many times we have been unbalanced and unloving-all in the name of a God who not only loves, but loves unconditionally and restores sinners-us included. Whether Bishop Long is guilty or not; whether the young men are guilty or not, the BODY OF CHRIST must handle this situation according to the Word of God! The mainstream press has painted a hideous picture; some have even called for Bishop Long's resignation! They're not even members," she replied.

Some believe that Hairston took a softball approach to Long by purposely omitting his legal woes from the story. She believes her stance was a spiritual one.

"Gospel Today did not explore the legalities or the issues; we presented a biblical perspective-something no other outlet gave," she countered. "For those who don't want to 'deal' with or look at this situation; I encourage you to read this story so that you can have a BIBLICAL perspective to help you 'answer' the mainstream perspective. Yes you should pray and speak about the 'hope' that you have that God will turn this situation into something that will be used for His glory! Yes, you should respond! You should 'Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.' (1 Pet. 3:15)."

Gospel Today magazine has been in business for more than 21 years.

In Feb of 2009, the magazine announced it would end pubGospel Todaylishing the traditional magazine and become a digital-only publication because of the bad economy.

(Read: 'Economic Woes: Gospel Today Magazine Suspends Printing.')

In June of that year, it resumed printing in magazine format with a cover featuring President Barack Obama.

(Read: 'Back In Print: Gospel Today Magazine Returns.')

Over the years, the Christian lifestyle magazine has featured gospel luminaries and celebrities like Star Jones, Steve Harvey, Bernice King, Kirk Franklin, Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child, Marvin Sapp, and Kenny Lattimore and Chante Moore on its cover.


Iran Has Purchased Advanced Missiles from N. Korea – WikiLeaks


North Korean advanced BM-25 missiles on display in October. Iran has reportedly bought 19 of these missiles.

The New York Times reports today that the leaked secret US intelligence assessments dated 24 February of this year concluded that Iran has obtained 19 advanced missiles from North Korea capable of hitting targets in Western Europe. The missiles, based on a Russian design, are much more powerful than anything Iran was thought to have in its inventory. The US officials said that the missiles’ advanced propulsion could speed Iran’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The North Korean missiles are based on a Russian design called R-27, once deployed aboard Soviet submarines carrying nuclear warheads. The North Korean version of the missile is known as BM-25, and could also carry nuclear warheads. The 24 February secret document obtained by WikiLeakes indicated US intelligence belief that 19 of these missiles have already been shipped to Iran, and that Iran is working to master the technology in order to build a new generation of missiles.

Previously Iran was thought to have missiles capable of 1,200 miles range. The range of Russian R-27 launched from a submarine was thought to be 1,500 miles. The BM-25 is longer and heavier, giving it a range of up to 2,000 miles.

By obtaining BM-25s, Iran not only has dramatically improved its missile capabilities, but it now has the know-how to design and build a new class of more powerful missile engines, the cable said as reported by The New York Times.

“Iran wanted engines capable of using more-energetic fuels,” the 24 February able said, “and buying a batch of BM-25 missiles gives Iran a set it can work on for reverse engineering.”

At the request of the Obama administration, The New York Times has agreed not to publish the text of the 24 February cable.

Click here to read The New York Times article.

Photo: The New York Times

North Korea Deploys Surface To Air Missiles to its West Coast

By Douglas V. Gibbs

North Korea has deployed SA-2 surface-to-air missiles near their Yellow Sea border with South Korea. This move happens as naval drills, led by the United States, have commenced in the region. The positioning of the missiles make it look as if they are targeting American fighter jets as they fly near the Northern Limit Line (NLL).

This deployment by North Korea follows an attack by North Korea on Yeonpyeong Island, a South Korean island, where four people were killed and 18 others wounded.

The Soviet-designed SA-2 missile that North Korea has deployed have a range of between 13 and 30 kilometers. These missiles join other missiles deployed on North Korea's west coast. The already existing missiles, Samlet and Silkworm, whose ranges are up to 95km, have also been put onto launch pads. The implication is that North Korea is preparing for a strike.

South Korea, and neighbors like Japan, have prepared for the possibility of further provocations by the North Korean military.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

N. Korea deploys SA-2 surface-to-air missiles near Yellow Sea border - Yonhap News Agency

GOP No Longer Needs a Black Man as Chair, Therefore Michael Steele is Dead Man Walking Within Republican Party


The vote for the next chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) takes place in two months. The current GOP chairman, Michael Steele, indicates that he will be running for re-election. However, a significant bloc of Republican National Committee members wants embattled chairman Michael Steele to step aside, but the rank and file have failed to settle on a clear alternative. [SOURCE]

More than four dozen interviews with members of the 168-member central committee found fear that a badly damaged Steele could emerge from the wreckage of a knockdown, drag-out fight to head the party as it challenges President Barack Obama in 2012. While most agree that Steele’s time has been rough — and costly — the members also recognize that a leadership fight could overshadow gains that Republicans made in the midterm elections. [SOURCE]
You can’t keep spending the kind of money they’re spending every month just to operate the RNC,” said committee member Ada Fisher of North Carolina. “I would hope he would step aside.”

The question is who should be hired for the next two years, It’s not a matter of firing anybody,” said James Bopp, a committee member from Indiana who holds great sway among social conservatives on the panel. “I just don’t think Steele has performed at the level we need for the presidential cycle.”
Steele appears to have delivered for the Republican Party.  Didn't they just win a historic landslide victory in the mid-term elections earlier this month?    Shouldn't Steele get some credit for the fact that Republicans won at least 63 new seats in the House. Republicans picked up 10 governorships and added six Senate seats. The party also gained control of 19 state legislative chambers and now hold their highest level of state legislative seats since 1928.


I think that the Michael Steele served his ONLY PURPOSE for the Republican Party.   He was an African American face for the GOP elected in January 2009 to serve as a counterbalance for the remarkable election of Barack Obama ... the first African American president in our nation's history.

Be honest.  That is the ONLY reason that Michael Steele was elected GOP chairman in the first place.  The Republicans couldn't afford to have another old white man as their 'talking head'.   Michael Steele became the puppet.

Steele didn't mind.  In fact, he enjoyed it.   Steele did his 'Bojangles' best to entertain the media and the public when he first got elected.

But, it's not January 2009 any longer and the Republican Party is now powered by the Tea Party ... and the GOP doesn't see any need to pretend like they are a diverse political party.   They are very comfortable being the party for white folks in America as evidenced by the prominent role that Senator McConnell (R-KY) and Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) have as party spokesperson.

Michael Steele served his role.   The Republicans are now laying the groundwork to remove him in January 2011.
He’s a wonderful man. He’s done a good job,” said Cindy Costa, a committee member from South Carolina. “But it would be better for him — and I want the best for him — to step down knowing he gave an honest shot and did a good job this election cycle.”
Dead Man Walking.

Retired Justice John Paul Stevens Speaks out on Death Penalty; Calls it Racist, Filled With Politics

Justice John Paul Stevens
By Allan Lengel
 
WASHINGTON — Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has finally explained his opposition to the death penalty, “saying personnel changes on the court, coupled with ‘regrettable judicial activism,’had created a system of capital punishment that is shot through with racism, skewed toward conviction, infected with politics and tinged with hysteria,” the New York Times reported.
The Times reported that Stevens wrote a very candid essay for the New York Review of Books to be published this week.

The Times said that Stevens, 90, appears intent on speaking on issues that were off limits while he served on the court.

To read more click here.

Iran: Nuclear Physicist Killed in Bomb Blast

Via: Reuters:
A university teacher was killed in a car bomb blast in Tehran and three people were wounded in another explosion on Monday, Iran’s al Alam Arabic language television reported.

Wikileaks: Arab World Agrees With Israel--Iran Is More Urgent Than A Palestinian State

Last year, it became clear that the Obama administration has made a point of putting pressure on Israel to make the peace talks work as the first step towards addressing Iran:
Israel risks losing support from Arab nations against Iran if it does not make progress in Mideast peace talks with the Palestinians, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

..."For Israel to get the kind of strong support it's looking for vis-a-vis Iran, it can't stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts," Clinton told legislators on the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.

The two "go hand in hand," Clinton said.

Arab nations want "very much to support the strongest possible posture toward Iran," Clinton said.

"They believe that Israel's willingness to reenter into discussions with the Palestinian Authority strengthens them in being able to deal with Iran," she said.

If there is progress on peace talks "then a lot of the Arab countries are saying to us there will be a sequencing of support that will strengthen the region's response to Iran," she said.
Now Mere Rhetoric has pointed out that based on the documents leaked by Wikileaks, it is clear that the Arab states do not share the focus on creating a Palestinian state.


For example, The Guardian provides notes in a US cable on April 20, 2008, noting how strongly the Saudi King urged the US to strike Iran
1. (S) Summary: US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus met with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, General Presidency of Intelligence Chief Prince Muqrin bin Abd al-Aziz, and Interior Minister Nayif bin Abd al-Aziz during their April 14-15 visit to Riyadh. The Saudi King and senior Princes reviewed Saudi policy toward Iraq in detail, all making essentially the same points. They said that the Kingdom will not send an ambassador to Baghdad or open an embassy until the King and senior Saudi officials are satisfied that the security situation has improved and the Iraqi government has implemented policies that benefit all Iraqis, reinforce Iraq's Arab identity, and resist Iranian influence.

...The Need to Resist Iran

10. (S) The King, Foreign Minister, Prince Muqrin, and Prince Nayif all agreed that the Kingdom needs to cooperate with the US on resisting and rolling back Iranian influence and subversion in Iraq. The King was particularly adamant on this point, and it was echoed by the senior princes as well. Al-Jubeir recalled the King's frequent exhortations to the US to attack Iran and so put an end to its nuclear weapons program. "He told you to cut off the head of the snake," he recalled to the Charge', adding that working with the US to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq is a strategic priority for the King and his government.
The attitude in the Arab world did not change after Obama took office. A cable from November 4, 2009 obtained from the Embassy of Manama, notes King Hamad of Bahrain was vehement in insisting that Iran be stopped:
1. (C) SUMMARY: In an hour-long meeting on November 1 with CENTCOM Commander General Petraeus, Bahrain's King Hamad said Arab states need to do more to engage Iraq, discussed Afghanistan and the positive role India could play, urged action to stop Iran's nuclear program, and reviewed regional plans for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. END SUMMARY.

...4.(C) IRAN: King Hamad pointed to Iran as the source of much of the trouble in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He argued forcefully for taking action to terminate their nuclear program, by whatever means necessary. "That program must be stopped," he said. "The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it." King Hamad added that in light of these regional developments, Bahrain was working to strengthen GCC coordination and its relations with allies and international organizations. He specifically mentioned NATO and confirmed that Bahrain had agreed to the Alliance's request to use Isa Airbase for AWACS missions, although the detail on numbers and timing have yet to be discussed.
In fact, Obama has made the same mistake vis-a-vis Saudi Arabia as with Abbas--insisting on making an issue into a priority to the extent that he has forced the Arabs to follow suit. In the case of Abbas, it was settlements; in the case of the Saudis, it is the issue of the peace process itself:
Whatever side of the political divide you are on, it seems clear that Obama’s June 2009 trip to Riyadh was a disaster. After pushing the Israelis on settlements, Obama counted on securing some minor confidence-building measures from the Arabs and instead wound up with an earful from the 85-year-old Saudi king. The administration had not done its homework.

“People at the upper echelons do not seem to understand the complexity of Saudi Arabia,” the former official said. “If you come at it blindly and conventionally, then you assume that their main concern is the peace process: ‘It is a huge issue for all Arabs, so the Saudis must care.’ The Palestinian-Israeli issue was not the highest priority with the last administration, and we found that if you don’t bring it up, the Saudis won’t bring it up either. But if you do bring it up, they feel they have to talk about it, or else they will be shamed—the Saudis can’t be less pro-Palestinian than the Americans. The Obama people didn’t know this or care, and they didn’t seem to know or care what the Saudis were really concerned about. The number one issue in Riyadh is Iran.”

...the Saudis themselves tell anyone who will listen that their major concern is not in achieving a just resolution for the Palestinians but in countering the Iranian threat [to] the kingdom.
In May 2009, Salah Nasrawi of the Associated Press wrote that unlike the US, Israel and the Arab world see eye-to-eye on Iran:
Israel and the U.S. suspect Iran's program to enrich uranium is aimed at developing nuclear weapons — a concern shared by the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council].

"There exists a strategic and military threat (to Gulf countries) and we are against any nuclear program that isn't approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency because we believe that the Iranian nuclear program should not destabilize the region," the organization said in its statement.

...The London-based Palestinian daily, Al-Quds Al-Arabi even said the Arab moderates governments are actively working on building an alliance with Israel to counter Iranian influence in the region.
Maybe it's time that Obama get with the program, realizing what the Middle East itself thinks is the top priority in the region--and acting accordingly. Who knows, it may afford Obama his best chance to get that foreign policy success he is looking for.

More at Memeorandum
By Daled Amos

Actor Leslie Nielsen Has Died At The Age Of 84

Actor Leslie Nielsen, best known for his comedic roles in movies like Airplane and The Naked Gun series has died today in a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was being treated for pneumonia. The Canadian born actor began his career in the 1950′s and playing dramatic and romantic parts. However, his role as the dimwitted doctor in the movie Airplane revived his career as audiences loved his dead pan comedic abilities.
He is survived by his wife Barbaree Earl and his daughters, Maura Nielsen Kaplan and Thea Nielsen Disney.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Haiti: Humanity First's Canadian aid shipment to Haiti languishes at a Port-au-Prince port

Canadians generously opened their wallets after the Jan. 12 earthquake devastated Haiti, a Caribbean nation that remains the poorest in the Western hemisphere. Individuals donated a total of $220 million to Canadian charities, an amount matched by the federal government.

Humanity First team working in Haiti
Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: CBC | News
By Amber Hildebrant | November 26, 2010

For months, Humanity First Canada's shipments to help Haitians affected by the earthquake have languished at a Port-au-Prince port, racking up storage fees as the company fills out costly paperwork and pays taxes.

"We were trying to help the people in Haiti, and the government itself is making problems," said Hassam Naeem, the agency's logistics director.

Naeem is in Haiti for the third time trying to free the shipments. Each day that passes, the port charges him an additional $20 storage fee for each of two large containers there and is seeking thousands of dollars in taxes.

"They're trying to get as much money out of our pockets as possible," said Naeem, who worries the funds are lining the pockets of officials.

Where's the aid?


Canadians generously opened their wallets after the Jan. 12 earthquake devastated Haiti, a Caribbean nation that remains the poorest in the Western hemisphere. Individuals donated a total of $220 million to Canadian charities, an amount matched by the federal government.

About one-third — $146 million — went to emergency shelter, medical aid, water and sanitation in the immediate aftermath, but a large portion of the total $440 million has yet to be spent.

Ten months later, the slow pace of progress worries some people who want to help Haitians.

Martine Ste. Victoire is among those feeling disillusioned. The Montreal woman organized several big fundraisers for aid agencies, including the Red Cross, but stopped in March.

"The reason why I stopped doing fundraisers is I didn't know where the money went."

Ste. Victoire says she asked the Red Cross for a breakdown of how the money was spent, but the information wasn't detailed enough for her.

"Anybody who is giving money to an NGO has the right to demand to see where it goes."

Additional frustrations, she says, were the share of donations spent on salaries, the inefficiencies in relief efforts and the lack of local help on projects.

Jim Scott, president of the Windsor, Ont.-based company Ground Effects Inc., is in a similar boat. He says he gave up trying to get shipments into Haiti. About 380 of his temporary housing units arrived in March and sat at the airport until June.

There were plans to send 10,000 units and train 150 Haitians in how to assemble them. Instead 20 Haitians were trained and 380 units assembled.

"What we thought was going to be a two-year project in Haiti was a two-month project," he says.

Scott's company, which started up a year ago, sells its housing units to Angola and Sri Lanka and is trying to secure a contract in Senegal. Haiti, by comparison, was "3,000 times more difficult," to get products into, he says.

Pre-earthquake, more than 10,000 non-governmental organizations were operating in Haiti, according to the World Bank. It's the second highest number of NGOs per capita after India.

It's unknown how many have flooded into the country since the quake. Some NGOs are well-established in the country, while a number of Christian missions and small groups dot the landscape.
Getting results

Critics say the patchwork of agencies working single-mindedly on their own projects causes a lack of co-ordination and focus in relief efforts, hindering a rapid response. Meanwhile, the government is criticized for slow action on reconstruction and on the cholera epidemic.

Karen Huxter, a Newfoundland woman running an orphanage and school in rural Artibonite province, thinks her small-project approach gets results and is more accountable.

"You'll see photos, you'll get reports and you can even go down and be part of it," Huxter said of her donors.

Since the earthquake, the 65-year-old, fondly nicknamed Helicopter by her staff, has been busy rebuilding and fixing structures on her Hands Across the Sea Haiti Mission compound near Deschapelles. Huxter focuses on hiring local Haitians and keeping children in-country, rather than trying to get them adopted by people in other countries.

All money donated to the Canadian-registered charity goes to the cause specified, says Huxter, unless it sent in as a general donation.

"If I didn't need the whole thing, I would write and say, 'OK, here's all the bills. This is what it cost. May I use that for something else?'"

For example, about half of the $50,000 donation received from St. John's City Council in late August has already been spent on projects such as rebuilding walls at the school and on a new water tower.

Costs of running her mission, including the school and orphanage, are $12,000 to $15,000 a month. That pays for 11 orphanage staff, eight full-time teachers and 10 part-time teachers at the 303-student school. Huxter doesn't take a salary herself and began the project 10 years ago with $78,000 of her own savings.

Haiti's poor shape before the earthquake — when latrines, sanitation, clean water and other basics were lacking — has complicated efforts to rebuild. The United Nations is trying to tackle those larger issues during reconstruction.

"We're not rebuilding. It's transformation," says Nigel Fisher, a Canadian who heads United Nations humanitarian efforts. "It's something new."

Canadians, he says, should have no doubt their donations make a big difference in establishing basic services and helping people with their daily needs.

"It kept 1.5 million people sheltered. It's kept people from January until now getting regular clean water that's chlorinated …it has enabled people who never had latrines before to have latrines in camps so that you don't get diarrhea."

The Canadian Red Cross says it has experienced few logistical challenges, thanks to co-operation with the Haitian Red Cross, though there have been backlogs at Customs. Of the $200 million received, Richard Clair, the agency's country representative, says about $71 million has been allocated.

"We're working as fast as we can in the conditions we have," Clair says. Projects include 353 shelters being built in La Piste area of Port-au-Prince. Deaf, displaced people will be the first to inhabit the five-person homes when a section opens in January.

Clair says a small portion of donations — about five to seven per cent — goes to administrative overhead. Shipping and logistics can be expensive, but he adds that, "Those are the costs of business."

For Karen Huxter, the visibly slow pace of progress in Haiti's capital is frustrating.

"I cannot go to Port-au-Prince without crying … because I don't see any advancement. I don't see where things have changed. So I'm asking the same questions, where is the money?"

But large aid agencies say rebuilding a better Haiti is a long-term commitment that could take a decade or more.

Nigel Fisher of the United Nations urges Canadians to not give up.

"In a sense, stay with us because you don't turn around [a country] overnight."


Video: China seeks to ease Korean tension ITN NEWS

European Banks and the Irish Bailout

David Goldman
(…) Short-term, disentangling the banking problem could be ugly.
Credit Suisse points out that Spain is the key:
We think the key to the situation is Spain. Spain is key, given that it accounts for 11% of Euro-area GDP (65% larger than Portugal, Ireland and Greece) and that there are $876bn of foreign bank assets in Spain according to the BIS (75% of which are accounted for by European banks, with 40% – around $340bn – held by German and French banks alone). We note that recently CDS spreads have risen to previous peak (with bond spreads not far behind).
However, we suspect the situation in Spain is sustainable – and probably will not need to resort to the EFSF. Even despite the recent rise in bond yields…
The trouble is that a country whose private liabilities stand at 250% of GDP and whose real estate market has turned to mush may not be so simple to sustain. The FT Alphaville blog cited a Fitch ratings report concluding that Spanish banks are cherry-picking bad loans out mortgage-backed securities they have issued and putting them on their own books. Why take the losses? Because otherwise the securities would be downgraded and no longer qualify as loan collateral at the European Central Bank, which is the only institution that wants to lend money to PIIGS’ banks.
That’s the financial equivalent of a derelict selling blood to buy booze. Spain will have to cut government spending drastically. The trouble is that government is nearly 50% of GDP, so that the economic effect of cuts in government spending and its adumbrations upon the failing real estate market are all the worse.
Each time the European governments announce a new bailout, markets will breathe a great sigh of relief, and each time the bailout gets back into trouble, they will shudder. The bad news is that it won’t work; the good news is that Europe really doesn’t matter that much.
[From European Banks and the Irish Bailout]

Christopher Hitchens 1-0 Tony Blair - Staunch atheist wins over audience in debate with Catholic convert over whether religion is a force for good in the world

Paul Harris in Toronto guardian.co.uk, Saturday 27 November 2010
 
Former British prime minister Tony Blair (left) and author Christopher Hitchens before their debate on religion. Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters

In theory it was not an event that should have created a stir: a philosophical debate on the moral merits of religion. In an age of reality TV drama and Hollywood blockbusters loaded with special effects it would seem hard to get the masses to flock to witness such an old-fashioned, high brow spectacle.

But when the two debaters are the world's most famous recent Roman Catholic convert in the shape of Tony Blair and the charismatic yet cancer-stricken sceptic Christopher Hitchens suddenly it becomes easier to sell tickets.

Two thousand seven hundred tickets to be precise. For that was the size of the crowd that packed the space age-looking Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto late last night to watch the two ideological foes – when it comes to religion – spar and trade verbal blows.

The occasion was part of the Munk Debate series, organised by the Aurea Foundation group, and the motion was simply: "Be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world".

Both men were unabashedly stalwart in their positions. Hitchens, one of the leading "new atheists" and author of the hit book God Is Not Great, slammed religion as nothing more than supernatural gobbledegook that caused untold misery throughout human history. "Once you assume a creator and a plan it make us subjects in a cruel experiment," Hitchens said before causing widespread laughter by comparing God to "a kind of divine North Korea".

Blair, perhaps not surprisingly, was a little less forthright. On the backfoot for much of the debate he kept returning to his theme that many religious people all over the world were engaged in great and good works. They did that because of their faith, he argued, and to slam all religious people as ignorant or evil was plain wrong. "The proposition that religion is unadulterated poison is unsustainable," he said. Blair called religion at its best "a benign progressive framework by which to live our lives".

Throughout the 90-minute debate Hitchens seemed to have the crowd's sympathy. That might have been to do with his ill appearance due to cancer, but was far more likely to be down to the sharpness of his verbal barbs and the fact that 57% of the audience already agreed with his sceptical position according to a pre-debate poll, while just 22% agreed with Blair's side. The rest were undecided.

But the true winner of the debate was most likely the organisers. The high-profile debaters and controversial subject matter ensured not only a packed hall but an overflow location where people who could not get tickets were able to watch it on TV monitors. Tickets sold out weeks ago and were selling on eBay for several times their cover price. The debate was also trailed on the front pages of some Canadian newspapers and covered by local television.

It even attracted a small but vocal knot of anti-Iraq war protestors accusing Blair of war crimes. Demonstrators unveiled placards that read "Arrest Blair" and "War criminals not welcome here", proving that, as with the merits of religion, some arguments are unlikely to ever be settled with a single night's debate.

U.S. Assures China That Naval Exerices In The Yellow Sea Are Only Directed At North Korea




U.S.-South Korean Naval Drill Aimed Only at North Korea, Pentagon Assures China -- FOX News

Responding to China's first official protest over plans by the U.S. and South Korea to hold joint military exercises, the Pentagon assured the communist country Friday that the naval drill is aimed only at North Korea, Reuters reported.

The Pentagon also said that the U.S. military has routinely operated in waters off the Korean peninsula "for years," Reuters reported.

The exercise involves the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and is planned to happen on Sunday in the Yellow Sea.

Read more ....

Update #1: China Warns U.S. as Korea Tensions Rise -- Wall Street Journal
Update #2: China urges Korean calm, warns over naval drills -- Reuters

My Comment: The Chinese are still not sure on how to respond with this weeks events. Bottom line .... they have no stomach to cut assistance or aid to North Korea, a sequence of events that they know will only bring disaster to their dysfunctional neighbor, and a flood of refugees to their northern provinces.

The North Korean leadership are also well aware of this lack of will from China to make the hard choices ..... hence they do what they want to do. But after the events of this week, I suspect that China is now realizing that they will have to make it clear to the North Koreans that there is a certain red line that they cannot cross .... at least that is what I am hoping for.

As for China's concerns about a U.S. carrier group only a few hundred miles off their shore .... I am sure they are not happy about that. They understand why the fleet is there, but the hardliners in their military and government are concerned, and to placate them this criticism must be made. We should also not be surprise if the Chinese Navy receives a bigger boost in their budgets in the next fiscal year.