Monday, January 25, 2010

An interview with Angelo J. Genova, Esq., a leading labor and trial law lawyer who will receive the 2010 Annual Achievement Award from the Hall Instit


Social Darwinist Republican? SC Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer makes some stunningly libertarian statements against Society's Moochers

He could have just secured the GOP nomination

by Eric Dondero

In the race to succeed libertarian Republican Governor Mark Sanford, most libertarian Republicans and libertarian-conservatives have been firmly in the Nikki Halley camp. The state representative, an American of Indian descent, has been viewed as a Bobby Jindal-style budget-cutting fiscal hawk, which has won her great support from this blog and other libertarian media outlets.

But now sitting Lt. Governor Andre Bauer has expressed some stunningly hardline libertarian sentiments in a recent speech regarding welfare and treatment of the poor. His remarks have been garnering universal condemnation in the leftwing blogosphere and mainstream media. But ironically, his statements may have just gained him the nomination, given the importance of the hard right and libertarian vote, in the State's GOP. And since SC is the Reddest of Red States, in an otherwise good Republican year, the likelyhood of him being the next Governor of South Carolina, after securing the nomination, is now extremely high.

Truly Survival of the Fittest

From the Greenville Times:
GREENVILLE - Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has compared giving people government assistance to "feeding stray animals."

Bauer, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor, made his remarks during a town hall meeting in Fountain Inn that included state lawmakers and about 115 residents.

"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better," Bauer said. "You see, for the first time in the history of this country, we've got more people voting for a living than we do working for a living."

Later in his speech, Bauer said, "I can show you a bar graph where free and reduced lunch has the worst test scores in the state of South Carolina," adding, "You show me the school that has the highest free and reduced lunch, and I'll show you the worst test scores, folks. It's there, period.

"So how do you fix it? Well you say, 'Look, if you receive goods or services from the government, then you owe something back.'"

Bauer said there are no "repercussions" from accepting government assistance.

Bauer's past troubles with the Right

The Lt. Governor has not previously been high on the libertarian radar screen. If anything he was held in a bit of contempt by libertarians for having ruffled libertarian darling Mark Sanford's feathers during his Argentine mistress troubles. Bauer let it be known that he would be happy to replace his boss if he decided to step down, which won him great condemnation even from Sanford critics.

Not too mention, Bauer has been held under suspicion by social conservatives for suspected support for agenda items of the gay rights movement.

But with such hardcore anti-moocher sentiments, seemingly straight out of an Ayn Rand novel, Bauer may instantly become the same sort of hero as Sanford has been, at least to libertarians on the hard right. One has to wonder, even if they weren't pals, if at some point Bauer was influenced by his boss's hardline libertarian beliefs.

Will Ms. Halley now have to one-up her opponent to gain back critical libertarian support?

Monday Morning Box Office Report: Avatar Overtakes The Dark Knight

Another big milestone for James Cameron’s Avatar was reached this weekend as it passed The Dark Knight to move into the #2 position on the all-time domestic box office list. It also blew past Titanic to become the most successful international movie ever with $1.28 billion. There is now only one record left, and that is to beat Titanic for biggest all-time domestic box office. Based on current projections that could happen sometime next month. Elsewhere, Legion had a decent opening weekend, earning $18 million and just barely edging out The Book of Eli for second place. The Tooth Fairy and The Lovely Bones rounded out the Top 5. Extraordinary Measures didn’t fare so well, earning just $7 million despite the draw of two big name stars. Avatar sure doesn’t have much in the way of serious competition, and it shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

1. Avatar — $36M
2. Legion — $18.2M
3. The Book of Eli — $17M
4. Tooth Fairy — $14.5M
5. The Lovely Bones — $8.8M
6. Sherlock Holmes — $7.12M
7. Extraordinary Measures — $7M
8. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel — $6.5M
9. It’s Complicated — $6.19M
10. The Spy Next Door — $4.75M

Phoenix Suns Shopping Amar'e Stoudemire More Aggressively

After recent discussions with Amar’e Stoudemire’s(notes) agent that didn’t appear to destine a contract extension, the Phoenix Suns have increased their efforts to trade the All-Star forward, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Sunday night.

League executives say the Suns have become more active initiating talks over the past few days, and believe the franchise will take the best offer for Stoudemire before the Feb. 18 trade deadline. The Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets are among multiple teams that have a strong interest in Stoudemire, sources say. The Arizona Republic reported Sunday night that the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have also inquired about Stoudemire.

Suns general manager Steve Kerr met with Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, on Thursday, and league sources say there was little sense an agreement could be reached before the trade deadline. With Stoudemire able to opt out of the final $17.7 million season of his contract, the Suns don’t want to risk losing him for nothing in free agency this summer.

3 Bombs Rock Baghdad, At Least 11 Dead

Officials say at least 21 people were wounded

Three large bomb blasts in Baghdad have rocked hotels and other prominent sites in the Iraqi capital. Police say the blasts killed at least 11 people.

One of the bombs went off close to Baghdad's Sheraton hotel, while another appeared to target the Babylon Hotel. A third bomb exploded in central Baghdad.

All three explosions happened in quick succession and sent large clouds of smoke into the sky. Officials say at least 21 people were wounded.

Several coordinated bomb attacks have erupted in Baghdad since August, killing hundreds of people. Iraqi authorities have expressed concern that insurgents may stage high-profile attacks to disrupt national parliamentary elections scheduled for March 7.

Obama’s Tin Ear on Bernanke---And Company

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

President Obama ear can’t be that tin on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. His wink and nod at the Big Banks and Wall Street’s roulette play with public monies is a big reason for record breaking home foreclosures, record breaking bank executive compensation payouts, soaring bank profits, unemployment climbing again in December, a decade high number of Americans in poverty, and Scott Brown. Yet Obama’s still busily jawboning senators to ram Bernanke through the Senate.

The checklist of Bernanke flubs is well documented. There’s fraudulent AIG, JPM, and Bear Stearns bailout, the banks and financial houses went on a free wheel orgy in trading risky and ultimately hollow derivatives, the massive bait and switch sub-prime lending scams, the stonewall of details on how and to whom the Fed shelled out trillions through the Fed's special lending programs, the near total absence of tough regulatory oversight over the failed and flawed Wall Street banks and financial houses. All of this happened on Bernanke’s watch.

Wall Street and Obama administration mythmaking about Bernanke aside, he didn't save a system from collapse. He saved a handful of flopped banks and financial houses that engaged in dubious stock spins, swaps and game playing with investor and public monies from a crisis that he and they helped create.
Bernanke, of course, didn’t make the mess alone. The not embattled enough Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Obama top economic advisor Larry Summers with their free market, minimal regulations philosophy, and too cozy ties with Wall Street also fueled the crisis.
Volumes have been written about how Bush and the Republicans eagerly cut sweetheart deals with financial industry lobbyists to gut lending and stock trading regulations, winked and nodded at the banks and brokerage houses as they engaged in an orgy of dubious stock swapping, buys, and trading, conned millions of homeowners into taking out catastrophic sub-prime loans and watered down the oversight powers of government regulatory agencies.

But their financial free boot couldn't have happened without a huge policy change that Summers and another Obama advisor Robert Rubin engineered during the Clinton years to scrap most of the provisions of the decades old Glass-Steagall Act. The Act was the 1930s Great Depression era measure that kept federally insured banks out of the go-go world of stock trading, exotic lending and financial speculation. It also set rigid standards for mortgage lending and strict oversight over banking practices.
The predictable quickly happened with the regulatory gloves off commercial banks, brokerage firms, hedge funds, institutional investors, pension funds and insurance companies could do whatever they wanted when it came to investing in each other’s businesses and marching in lock step with each other's financial operations. Now Obama belatedly wants Glass-Steagall, or some reasonable facsimile of it, back. But can he convince his economic troika of that?
The Wall Street three give no sign of backing away from their belief that failing financial institutions must be propped up with massive amounts of taxpayer dollars, that the industry can police itself, and that Wall Street still holds the key to economic recovery.
The three have a lock on Obama. And since one of them has to face confirmation only once and pass muster and he has done that and the others are advisors, they can’t be dumped by the Senate, but Bernanke can. That is if Obama would cut bait on him. Obama’s made that clear that won’t happen. His ear is too tin.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is, How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge (Middle Passage Press).

NAACP Embezzlement Case Leads to Charges Being Filed

A former executive for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was charged in Fulton County, Ga. for embezzling organizational funds. Judith W. Hanson and her former assistant, Sandra Douglass, are accused of embezzling $275,000 from the organization and using the money for their personal expenses.

The alleged embezzlement took place over a six-year period and was discovered by an internal investigation, according to police.

"Any malfeasance at whatever level is not tolerated by the NAACP," said Rev. Amos Brown. "But we do feel that this great organization should not be punished in the eyes of the public because of the actions of these two individuals."

Rev. Brown is correct. An institution as rich and storied as the NAACP is always a target of those who do not value the relevance of this historic institution. The NAACP has done a great deal for our country, and with an organization this large, there is going to be some misconduct. Such misconduct should not, in any way, reflect on the serious and sustained commitment to justice being shown throughout the organization.

Simultaneously, my greatest hope is that the NAACP does not lose its relevance as an honest soldier in the fight for civil rights. An organization that lives off so much corporate money each year is arguably unequipped to fight against the powerful interests that oppress the poor in America. For example, there have been a series of racially-charged incidents occurring in Wal-Mart stores around the country, but the NAACP never would and never could stand up to Wal-Mart. The bottom line (as I mentioned in an article about the Tom Joyner Morning Show), is that righteous and empowered activism can ultimately become weak and watered down when it is financed by the descendants of your historical oppressors. Dr. Martin Luther King speeches would never be "brought to you by McDonald's."

But at the end of the day, the NAACP deserves our respect and support. It is my greatest hope that they find a way to balance the need for corporate money with the more urgent need to honestly confront the ills that continue to plague black America. We have not yet overcome, and the NAACP needs to become an even greater player in the game of justice. At the very least, they must overcome the perception that millions of African Americans now feel that the NAACP is playing the game from the bench. The assessment is not fair and may not be accurate, but it certainly must be addressed.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.

Michael Vick Shows Rebuilt Life on New BET Docu-Series

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael Vick returned to the site of his gruesome dogfighting crimes, looked at an empty dog bowl left behind in a dingy cage and wondered how he ever could have risked fame, freedom and fortune for "Bad Newz Kennels."

"This is hard to imagine myself doing this years ago, man," Vick says, cameras rolling.

His visit to the property he once owned in Surry County, Va., where he trained pitbulls for vicious fights and helped drown or hang dogs that didn't do well, is a teaser of what's ahead in his docu-series "The Michael Vick Project."

Vick candidly tells how he became entangled in a dogfighting ring that sent him to prison and temporarily halted his NFL career as part of a series that debuts next month on BET. Vick says the 10-part series that premieres Feb. 2 will show he's a changed man after a tragic fall from stardom he says "was all my fault."

"At times, it's hard to talk about it, but for the most part, if you talk about it and let it all out, it kind of helps put the demons to rest," Vick told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Teen violist alleges Pittsburgh police brutality

This Jan. 13, 2010 photo released by Terez Miles shows her son Jordan Miles at the hospital in Pittsburgh. Miles was charged on Jan. 13 with assault and resisting arrest. His family says he was hospitalized after being hit with a stun gun and suffered head lacerations. He says he resisted because he thought the men were trying to abduct him and didn't identify themselves as police.

The photos taken by Jordan Miles' mother show his face covered with raw, red bruises, his cheek and lip swollen, his right eye swollen shut. A bald spot mars the long black dreadlocks where the 18-year-old violist says police tore them from his head.

Now, 10 days after plainclothes officers stopped him on a street and arrested him after a struggle that they say revealed a soda bottle under his coat, not the gun they suspected, his right eye is still slightly swollen and bloodshot. His head is shaved. The three white officers who arrested him have been reassigned. And his mother says she is considering a lawsuit.

"I feel that my son was racially profiled," Terez Miles said. "It's a rough neighborhood; it was after dark. ... They assumed he was up to no good because he's black. My son, he knows nothing about the streets at all. He's had a very sheltered life, he's very quiet, he doesn't know police officers sit in cars and stalk people like that."

A judge continued the case until Feb. 18 after the officers failed to appear at a hearing Thursday, Miles' attorney, Kerrington Lewis, said.

The police department is saying little as it investigates and isn't releasing the officers' names. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said that the city is investigating whether the officers' actions were justified and that if they weren't, "they will be held accountable for those actions."

"The incident was very troubling to me, and we're taking it very seriously," Ravenstahl told reporters. "It seems as if there was a tremendous amount of force used."

Miles' family describes him as a studious teenager who plays the viola for a jazz band and the orchestra at Pittsburgh's prestigious Creative and Performing Arts High School.

The confrontation began around 11 p.m. Jan. 12, when the teenager walked out of his mother's home and headed to his grandmother's, where he spends most nights. His mother complimented him on the new jacket he had gotten for his birthday.

"It looks handsome," she said, smiling as he walked down the front steps.

As Miles walked up the block, he noticed three men sitting in a white car, "but I thought nothing of it," he said.

The criminal complaint says Miles was standing against a building "as if he was trying to avoid being seen." But he says he was walking when the men jumped out of the car.

"Where's the money?" one shouted, according to Miles. "Where's the gun? Where's the drugs?" the other two said. "It was intimidating; I thought I was going to be robbed," Miles said.

That's when he says he took off back to his mother's house but slipped on the icy sidewalk. Before he could pull himself up, Miles said, the men were at his back.

"That's when they started beating me, punching, kicking me, choking me," he said.

Not until 15 minutes later, when uniformed officers drove up in a van and Miles overheard their conversation, did he realize he had been arrested, he said. Initially, when the handcuffs were clamped around his wrists, he thought he was being abducted, he said.

The police believed Miles, who appeared to have something heavy in his pocket, was carrying a gun, according to the affidavit. The police say they used a stun gun on the teenager.

According to the affidavit, the object in Miles' pocket turned out to be a bottle of Mountain Dew. But Miles says he didn't have anything in his pocket and rarely drinks Mountain Dew.

"The story just doesn't make sense when you read the affidavit," said Lewis, the teen's attorney.

Miles said the family is considering suing the police department and the officers.

"I knew that he hadn't done anything wrong," his mother said. "That's just not an option for Jordan."

Pittsburgh police have reassigned the three officers and put them back in uniform while the city investigates, spokeswoman Diane Richard said. She declined to say whether racial allegations are part of the probe.

Meanwhile, Jordan Miles says he awaits a physician's approval to return to school and is suffering from nightmares and flashbacks.

Once he's done with school, he says, he hopes to attend Penn State University — and study crime scene investigation.

Associated Press

Tough To Kill: The Saga of Homo erectus

New genetic findings suggest that early humans living about one million years ago became at one point very close to extinction.

Well, this genetic evidence suggests that the population of early human species back then, including Homo erectus, Homo ergaster and archaic Homo sapiens, was made up of about 18,500 individuals. It is widely held that modern humans evolved from Homo erectus.

One might assume that hominin numbers were expanding at that time, if for no other reason, than because evidence shows that members of our Homo genus were spreading across Africa, Asia and Europe.

To make these estimates we can analyze Alu sequences. These are short snippets of DNA that move between regions of the genome. They move with such low frequency, however, that their presence in a region suggests it is quite ancient. Because older Alu-containing regions have had time to accumulate more mutations, we are able to estimate the age of a region based on its nucleotide diversity. The comparison was made between the nucleotides in the old regions with the overall diversity in the two genomes to estimate differences in overall population size, and thus genetic diversity between modern and early humans.

“This is an original approach because they show that you can use mobile elements…to flag a region of the genome,”said Cédric Feschotte, an evolutionary geneticist from the University of Texas at Arlington.

The effective population researchers estimate at about 18,500 reveals that the extent of genetic diversity among hominins living one million years ago was between 1.7 and 2.9 times greater than among humans today.

It would make sense that the diminished genetic diversity, one million years ago, suggests that our human ancestors experienced a catastrophic event at that time, one as devastating as a purported massive volcano, thought to have nearly annihilated humans 70,000 years ago.

Tim Geithner's NY Fed Begged SEC To Keep AIG Bailout Details Secret

The New York Times unearths more documents showing the lengths to which Tim Geithner's New York Fed went to try to keep the AIG bailout and counterparty details secret.

The Treasury's response will no doubt be that Tim Geithner had no knowledge of any of these discussions.

And he may not have have been involved in the discussions. But it's ludicrous to think that his folks weren't trying to do what he wanted done.

Wal-Mart Cuts 11,200 More Sam's Club Jobs

About nine percent of the Sam's Club employees will lose there jobs in a new layoff announced by Wal-Mart on January 23, 2010. The cut will affect about 2 new business membership representative positions in each Sam's Club store. In addition, the product sampling will now be outsourced, leaving about 10,000 people hold this position without a job. Sam's Club currently employs about 110,000 people.

Shopper Events, based in Arkansas, will take over the product sampling for the Sam's Club stores. In a memo to employees, Sam's Club CEO Brian Cornell stated the"roughly the same number of people" cut and workers are invited to apply for those positions" with Shoppers Events. That is not a guarantee of re-employment, however.

Cornell said that Sam's Club was shifting its focus from opening new clubs to remodeling existing ones as it works to increase sales.

Earlier in the month, it was announced that Sam's Club would be closing 10 locations across the United States. The expected loss of jobs was to be roughly 1,500.

The total job losses in the recent cut will affect approximately 11,200 Sam's Club employees.

Written by Cheryl Phillips

Osama Steals Credit For Detroit Failed Plane Attack

Osama bin Laden released a videotape yesterday claiming credit for AQAP and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's failed bomb plot on the Delta flight to Detroit on Christmas Day.

In a short recording carried by the Al-Jazeera Arabic news channel, bin Laden addressed President Barack Obama saying the attack was a message like that of Sept. 11 and more attacks against the U.S. would be forthcoming.

"The message delivered to you through the plane of the heroic warrior Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a confirmation of the previous messages sent by the heroes of the Sept. 11," he said.

"America will never dream of security unless we will have it in reality in Palestine," he added. "God willing, our raids on you will continue as long as your support to the Israelis will continue."


Even U.S. officials aren't paying much heed to the video. Abdulmutallab was trained by AQAP in Yemen, an offshoot of AQ Central.

Sounds to me like Osama is trying to play up his own relevancy...and sending a warning to Umar Farouk to keep his mouth shut, which is probably not necessary because AQAP isn't stupid enough to have told Umar Farouk any more than he needed to know to carry out his own assignment. He was a new recruit, not a tested member of their group.

Nonetheless, the young Umar Farouk, should he read about the video in the news at the jail, or see it on the teevee, is going to be flattered and fortified knowing Osama knows his name and has praised him.

If al Qaeda Central still had real power, they'd be flying planes into the U.S., not using lone, disaffected youth to try and take down a single plane. The Delta plot is quite a demotion when compared to the scale of the undertaking on 9/11.

It would be more dangerous if the video featured the leaders of AQAP together with the leaders of al Shabab in Ethiopia. Those two together could pack a punch, but it's unlikely their prime goal is the United States. They are more concerned about battles in their own neck of the woods.

Saints to face Colts in Super Bowl

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (L) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will face each other in Super Bowl XLIV in Miami on Feb. 7 (Getty Images)


After a great Sunday of NFL football, the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts have each punched their ticket to the Super Bowl.

In the AFC Championship game, the Colts (16-2) bested the New York Jets 30-17 on quarterback Payton Manning’s 377 yards and three touchdowns.

After trailing at the half by four points, the Colts piled on 17 unanswered in the final half to earn their second AFC title in four years. Indianapolis coach Jim Caldwell is only the fifth rookie coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl.

“We talked about being patient against these guys,” said Manning, a four time league MVP. “We knew it would be a four-quarter game.”

The Saints (15-3) won their way into football’s biggest game by defeating the Minnesota Vikings in a phenomenal NFC Championship game.

New Orleans and Minnesota traded scores for much of the game, leading up to a Brett Favre interception deep in Saints territory with the game tied in the final seconds of regulation.

The Saints won the overtime coin toss and quarterback Drew Brees guided the team to the Minnesota 22. It was from there that New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley knocked through a 40-yard field goal to give the Saints a 31-28 win.

For the Saints, the win capped an inspiring season — fueled by the mantra of “Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints” — that began with a perfect 13-0 start and has culminated with back-to-back wins over Kurt Warner’s Arizona Cardinals and Favre’s Vikings.

But it was more than just football that inspired the Big Easy to rally behind their team.

For so long, the Saints were “the Aints” — a losing football program with a legacy of few accomplishments. And it was just five years ago that the Saints home stadium, the Louisiana Superdome, was a makeshift shelter for thousands of Hurricane Katrina refugees.

It will be the first time the Saints have been to the Super Bowl. The Colts have been three times and have won twice.

The Super Bowl will be held on Feb. 7 in Miami.

Gary Coleman ARRESTED For Domestic Violence!

Why oh WHY does this man keep getting in “violence” related trouble? Gary Coleman was arrested on domestic violence charges today in Utah. And this mugshot is foolywang material. Details under the cut….

According to TMZ:

Law enforcement
in Santaquin, UT says he was arrested on one count of domestic assault — a misdemeanor. He was picked up because of a warrant stemming from a prior incident.

Cops would not release the identity of the victim.

He is currently being held on $1,725 bail.

Gary got divorced from his wife of 5 minutes Shannon Price back in April of 2008 (yes, the one he went on “Divorce
Court” with). He was also charged with assault after purposely running some “fans” over in a bowling alley parking lot in August of ‘08.

Who was he possible “domestically abusing”? I would really like to know the technicalities of what went down. Not saying a man like Gary couldn’t commit domestic abuse, but I’m just saying I want to know the details. Napoleon complexes are something serious. I mean…really. Do better Gary.

Mr. Coleman’s pictoral statement on this matter:

Bill Gates: don't let climate change fight take money from health

Bill Gates has called on science and technology to play a leading role in helping to improve the lives of those in poverty, in his 2010 annual letter as co-chair of the world's largest charitable foundation.

The annual letter, issued today on the website of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charitable body Gates runs with his wife and his father, said that investment in science and technology can make more of a difference than charity and government aid alone.

In his 19-page letter, Gates says the foundation currently is backing 30 areas of innovation including online learning, teacher improvement, malaria vaccine development, HIV prevention, and genetically modified seeds.

The Seattle-based foundation focuses most of its donations on global health, agriculture development and education. Since 1994, the foundation has committed to $21.3billion (£13.2billion) in grants. As of Sept. 30, 2009, its endowment totalled $34.17billion (£21.16billion).

'Melinda and I see our foundation's key role as investing in innovations that would not otherwise be funded,' he wrote. 'This draws not only on our backgrounds in technology but also on the foundation's size and ability to take a long-term view and take large risks on new approaches.'

Much of the letter discusses the foundation's work in the area of health, especially relating to his stated goal of eradicating malaria. Bed nets are helping decrease malaria deaths over Africa, he said, but 'malaria is a particularly tricky disease.' The foundation has resorted to a very expensive scattershot approach, with many researchers pursuing a lot of different ideas.

Despite having one vaccine in a Phase III trial, an effective malaria vaccine is still 8 to 15 years away, he said.

Gates he also warned against letting the efforts to combat climate change take money away from other causes. He wrote: 'The final communiqué of the Copenhagen Summit, held last December, talks about mobilizing $10 billion per year in the next three years and $100 billion per year by 2020 for developing countries, which is over three quarters of all foreign aid now given by the richest countries.

'I am concerned that some of this money will come from reducing other categories of foreign aid, especially health. If just 1 percent of the $100 billion goal came from vaccine funding, then 700,000 more children could die from preventable diseases.'

He added that he believes developing electricity that is cheaper than coal and emits no greenhouse gasses is the most important innovation to help fight climate change, but the foundation has not yet found a way it can play a unique role in this area - although outside of the foundation he personally is investing in energy research.

'I am surprised that the climate debate hasn't focused more on encouraging R&D, since it is critical to getting to zero emissions,' he wrote.

Dollar mixed with eyes on Obama, Bernanke

The dollar traded mixed against it main rivals on Monday as investors await a Federal Reserve policy meeting and a key speech by US President Barack Obama this week.

In London morning deals, the euro rose to 1.4150 dollars from 1.4135 late in New York on Friday.

Against the Japanese unit, the dollar climbed to 90.27 yen from 89.91 yen late on Friday.

Investors were cautious ahead of the Fed's two-day monetary policy meeting starting Tuesday, followed a day later by Obama's State of the Union speech, which comes amid concern about his tough banking reform plan.

Any traders taking a positive view of the dollar's prospects will be looking for signs in Obama's speech that the US government "is serious about cutting the burgeoning budget deficit", Calyon analysts wrote in a note.

The market was also grappling with doubts about the future of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke after key Democratic senators said last week they would oppose the central bank chief's reappointment after his first term ends on January 31.

Top-ranking members of the US Senate banking committee, however, voiced confidence Saturday that the Fed chief would be confirmed for a second term.

Markets were also eyeing US housing data, durable goods orders and fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures due out later this week.

Analysts said the greenback will likely be weighed down against regional currencies this week due to expectations that some central banks in Asia will hike interest rates ahead of their counterparts in many developed economies.

Elsewhere, the British pound rose on the eve of official data widely expected to reveal an end to Britain's longest recession on record.

The Office for National Statistics will on Tuesday publish data likely to reveal that Britain exited recession in the fourth quarter of 2009, analysts have forecast.

A return to growth between October and December last year after six quarters of negative output will see Britain following all other major economies out of recession. Economists predict growth of 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

In London on Monday, the euro was changing hands at 1.4150 dollars against 1.4135 dollars late on Friday, 127.75 yen (127.03), 0.8756 pounds (0.8767) and 1.4731 Swiss francs (1.4723).

The dollar stood at 90.27 yen (89.91) and 1.0411 Swiss francs (1.0416).

The pound was at 1.6158 dollars (1.6115).

On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold rose to 1,110.27 dollars an ounce from 1,084 dollars on Friday.

Tragedy off the Lebanon coast

Rescue boats and helicopters scoured the Mediterranean Sea after an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed just off the coast of Lebanon early on Monday.

The passenger jet carrying 90 people, which took off from Beirut en route to Addis Ababa, disappeared off the radar just minutes after take-off.

Some witnesses say they saw the aircraft go up in flames before it plunged into the sea.

Bodies and pieces of the wreckage began to wash up on the coast within hours of the crash. But the reason for the accident is still far from clear.

Al Jazeera's Tarek Bazley reports.