Monday, May 3, 2010

Breaking News: Suspect in custody in NY car bomb attack

NEW YORK — A law enforcement official says a suspect in last weekend's failed car bomb attack on Times Square has been taken into custody while trying to leave the country.

The official spoke to The Associated Press early Tuesday on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

The suspect has not been named. He is being held in New York.

Law enforcement officials say the suspect is a Pakistani who recently returned from a trip to Pakistan and bought the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder used in the failed car bomb three weeks ago and paid cash. The officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.

The SUV was rigged with a crude propane-and-gasoline bomb. It had cheap-looking alarm clocks connected to a 16-ounce can filled with fireworks.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

NEW YORK (AP) — A law enforcement official says a suspect in last weekend's failed car bomb attack on Times Square has been taken into custody.

The official spoke to The Associated Press early Tuesday on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

The suspect has not been named. He is being held in New York.

Law enforcement officials say the suspect is a Pakistani who recently returned from a trip to Pakistan and bought the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder used in the failed car bomb three weeks ago and paid cash. The officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.

The SUV was rigged with a crude propane-and-gasoline bomb. It had cheap-looking alarm clocks connected to a 16-ounce can filled with fireworks.

LeBron James Wins MVP Award In Landslide Vote

AKRON, Ohio – LeBron James looked out at the sea of faces from his past and present. There’s no knowing if they’ll be in his future.

Scanning an audience which came to celebrate his second straight runaway NBA MVP award, James pointed out his former high school coaches and best friends. He praised his mom, Gloria, who somehow raised him after giving birth when she was just 16. He had a special message for his girlfriend, Savannah, and their two young sons, LeBron Jr. and Bryce.

James thanked them all, and then singled out one special group.

“I’m sorry,” he said Sunday, halting the ceremony at the University of Akron’s James A. Rhodes Arena. “But all my teammates, you have to come up here with me, man.”

Kent State audiotape to be professionally analyzed

A 40-year-old audio recording of the moments just before Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on antiwar protesters at Kent State University will finally be professionally analyzed to try to determine if -- as some claim -- an order to shoot is audible.

The recording was made on May 4, 1970, by Terry Strubbe, a KSU communications student who set the microphone of his reel-to-reel tape recorder on his dorm room windowsill, turned on the machine, and went outside to watch the unfolding protest.

The chilling 30-minute tape is the only known audio that captured sounds before the shootings, the 13-second fusillade and its chaotic aftermath. Four students were killed and nine wounded in the incident, which spawned numerous inquiries and crystallized American sentiment about the unpopular Vietnam War.

The question of why 28 Guardsmen pivoted, raised their rifles, pistols and shotguns and fired 67 times at the students is the central mystery from that bloody Monday long ago.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is doing everything he can this week to turn international attention away from Iran’s nuclear weapons program and Iran’s repeated threats to annihilate the U.S. and Israel by trying to get the world to focus on Israel’s alleged nuclear weapons stockpile instead. His objective during his visit to New York City: to persuade the U.N. to force Israel to disclose and dismantle all of her defensive weapons even as Iran completes its own offensive weapons.

“The Zionist regime continues to threaten the countries of the Middle East with its arsenal,” said the Iranian leader. “It continues to threaten the world’s countries with acts of terror and invasion, and even gets the necessary assistance for its nuclear program.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday that the U.S. would not be side-tracked by the tactics of the Iranian delegation. “I think they’re coming to try to divert attention and confuse the issue,” she said. “[But] there is no confusion. They have violated the terms of the NPT, they have been held under all kinds of restrictions and obligations that they have not complied with by the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, by the U.N. Security Council. So we’re not going to permit Iran to try to change the, the story from their failure to comply and in any way upset the efforts we are in the midst of, which is to get the international community to adopt a strong Security Council resolution that further isolates them and imposes consequences for their behavior.”

Tough talk from Clinton, but the fact remains the U.S. still has not persuaded the U.N. to pass tough new sanctions against Iran and it’s not clear even a weakened new round of sanctions will be passed by the Security Council before summer.

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad is turning his rhetorical firepower against the U.S. “Ahmadinejad on Monday called for states that threaten to use atomic weapons to be punished, a clear reference to a new U.S. nuclear strategy released last month,” reports Reuters. Ahmadinejad also rejected allegations that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, reported AP, saying the U.S. has produced ”not a single credible proof.”

By Joel C. Rosenberg

Video: Times Square Vehicle's Owner 'Not a Suspect'

Halle Berry Broke Up With Gabriel Aubry Months Ago

Actress Halle Berry and model Gabriel Aubry ended the relationship that held more than four years, reported the online edition of People magazine. The Oscar winner for “Monster’s Ball” (2001) and the Canadian could be currently negotiated an agreement over custody of their two year old daughter, Nahla Ariela, for his part said the specialized website TMZ …

In February 2009 the singer of such films as “X-Men” and “Die Another Day” she told Essence magazine that having been mother was performed.

“I feel complete. I have more to offer because my daughter will inevitably make me better every day,” he said. That same month revealed its intention People Nahla give a brother. “I think it’s important,” he said.

In October 2007, Berry revealed on the Oprah Winfrey difficulties happened to be pregnant, and said he had saved about 35 negative pregnancy tests in drawer.

“We tried many times so much we stayed at home doing what we needed,” Berry said about the process to become pregnant.

Berry has been married twice. First with David Justice from 1992 to 1997, and later with Eric Benet, from 2001 to 2005.

Daryl Mikell Brooks On Immigration

The question is not whether we should secure our borders. We need to make sure our borders are secure and enforce them effectively. That said, I am very much in favor of legal immigration. Immigration has been the life blood of this country from the very beginning. We are a nation of immigrants, coming from all around the world, and we should continue that tradition by improving the ability of LEGAL guest workers and LEGAL immigrants to enter this country.

A fundamental responsibility of the Federal government is to secure our borders and enforce them. While our government is spending far too much attention in areas it shouldn't be operating in, the areas where it should be operating to the fullest are suffering.

Steps to solve the problems:

• No Amnesty.
Providing amnesty again would further degrade the rule of law in this country. It is not right to provide the same benefit of citizenship to those who disregarded our laws as those who regarded them. If we provide amnesty, which laws do we then choose to obey and which ones do we choose to disregard?

• Attrition through Enforcement and a no option deadline:
There is no practical way to deport all the illegal aliens in the United States. However, by removing the employment and entitlement incentives combined with a no option deadline individuals will be self motivated to deport themselves and return through a legal process.

No option deadline:
At a specified date in the future, anyone caught in the United States illegally will have no option for future citizenship or the option to participate in a guest worker program. Prior to this deadline, all illegal aliens will have the option to return to their country, and then return to the United States through the proper channels via the citizenship path or a guest worker path. Of course, we will also need to speed up and improve the citizenship process and provide for a guest worker program.

Kevin Powell: Immigration and Diversity in America

Immigration and Diversity in America
By Kevin Powell

Arizona has a very serious problem. Arizona’s problem is us. It does not want us here.

I am paraphrasing words spoken by Malcolm X back in the 1960s in reference to the American racial segregation policies of those times. Those words could have been spoken in any era of our country’s history. The word “us” could refer to Native Americans. Or Irish Americans. Or Italian Americans. Or Jewish people. Or to the Chinese who were excluded from certain communities and states. Or to the Japanese detained during World War II. Or to Arabs and Muslims, especially since September 11th.

So to focus solely on that sweltering state we call Arizona would be a terrible mistake. That is simply too easy. Yes, Arizona’s new anti-immigration law identifying, prosecuting, and deporting illegal immigrants is detestable, inhuman, and, no doubt, racist toward the mostly Latino population affected by it. And yes I have residual memories of Arizona refusing to honor Dr. King’s birthday as a holiday during the Reagan era. But this is not some isolated example of pure ignorance. As much as I’d like to say otherwise, the sad reality is that our nation has a history of taking two steps back (the rise of the Tea Party, and this new Arizona law) for every step forward (the historic election of President Barack Obama).

The deeper issue is that after 234 years, the United States of America still does not know what it is, or what it wants to be. The America I see as I travel the country as a speaker and political organizer is a land of great diversity, of many races, cultures, and tongues. A nation where the world’s population has come, some willingly, some out of necessity, and some, like my ancestors, by brute and lethal force. But come we have, and here we are, in this grand but shaky experiment, to see if we really can “form a more perfect union” as the U.S. Constitution puts it.

But as long as the narrative of America is told by the conquerors and not the conquered, —to loosely quote the late great historian Howard Zinn in his landmark A People’s History of The United States—then we will continue to have a country where hostile White crowds morph from the Klan to the Dixiecrats to the Tea Party, remixing the tired slogan “We want our country back” for a new generation of bigots who claim to be patriotic but who might struggle with the American History questions on the game show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

One indisputable fact is that from the time of America’s “founding,” immigration has been crucial to this nation’s growth—and also a source of conflict. Anyone who doubts this should re-watch Martin Scorcese’s grossly underrated film Gangs of New York, in which newly arriving Irish Catholic Whites found themselves pitted against “Native” Whites on the eve of the Civil War. We know that this particular immigration explosion lasted well into the 1920s.

Here we are now in the early morning of the 21st century, and we’re experiencing the biggest surge of immigration in nearly 100 years. But this time they are not coming from Europe. They are coming from Latin America. From Asia. From Africa. From the darker and more “exotic” parts of the globe. They work hard. They raise families. They play by the rules. And they are terrified of being deported. They are called “foreigners” and “illegal aliens” as if their contributions to our society, indeed their very existence, was somehow undeserving of respect.

Those who participate in the marginalization of immigrants don’t have the good sense to recognize that, along with slave labor, America was built on the backs of immigrants. Then and now. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Jersey City where, because my generation was the first to go to integrated schools, I learned to love and appreciate people of all cultures. As a child, my friends were Black and Puerto Rican, Dominican and Jewish, Polish, Italian, and Irish, with a little German thrown in for good measure. I remember my Filipino and Indian friends too. I saw difference, yes. But I also saw humanity. And I was fascinated, not repulsed or terrified, by this rich cultural diversity.

Yes, I did go through a period in my life, during college, where I embraced hardcore Black nationalism. What Black kid at a majority White university might not do the same during those formative years? I was a highly sensitive young person, trying to figure out who I was.

But somewhere between my years on MTV’s “The Real World,” those years with VIBE magazine, my cross country drive from Atlanta to Los Angeles, and my visits to 46 of America’s 50 states these past 15 years or so, I began to broaden my thinking, to shift my passion from rage to love. I also began to feel a sense of kinship with people. All people.

Now of course I realize my life experiences have been rather unique. But even if you cannot or choose not to travel as I do, nothing prevents you from picking up a book. A good one to start with is Zinn’s, cited above. And nothing prevents you from turning your own fear and hatred and into courage and love. When we are unjust to one group, we are also being unjust to God, and to ourselves. That is the crux of the problem with Arizona’s despicable law, with the Tea Party zealots who continue to create a climate of violence in the era of Obama, and with you, or I, if we see this going on around us and we say absolutely nothing. To me there is no worse form of cowardice than inaction in the face of injustice. Or complete silence.

So let me say this very plainly: immigration is the American civil rights issue of the 21st century. As an African American it pains me to see the Facebook posts by young Blacks saying “we should just kick the aliens out of the country.” I get it: when a group has been marginalized and discriminated against as long as Black folks have been in America, a certain paranoia sets in. Some of us Blacks have been so well conditioned to the idea of being a “the minority” in this nation, that we just cannot imagine being shoved aside by this rapidly growing Latino population. Our employment status, or lack thereof, has led many Blacks to suggest—in the meanest ways possible—that Latinos have taken our jobs. That is not even the issue. The real challenge is why do we continue to have mass poverty, high unemployment, and so few opportunities for so many Americans, whether they are Black, Latino, or a working-class White person from a rural community?

So, yes, let’s boycott Arizona until this law is overturned. If Arizona is now going to stop and harass Latinos as if they were some kind of fascist state, then that state does not deserve a dime of your hard-earned money. But let’s not stop there. My campaign for Congress has articulated a new vision for America’s immigration policy, detailed on my website

• Change immigration policy from a paradigm of protectionism and fear to one of pragmatism and opportunity

• Fully fund USCIS to allow our immigration service to modernize its systems, eliminate its backlog of applications, and assist millions of Americans currently eligible for citizenship

• Create a fair path to citizenship for those inside our borders that focuses on integrating law-abiding immigrants into our national fabric and strengthening our communities

• Reduce corporate America’s ability to use immigrants as economic pawns by ensuring that companies pay workers fair wages

• Promote unity and harmony by strengthening the lines of communication between local government, law enforcement, and immigrant communities

And more than any of these, let us begin to treat Latinos and other new immigrants, no matter where we reside, as human beings, not as servants, not as a source of cheap labor, not as people who ought to learn English—or else. If we truly want to communicate with them, let us start by giving them the same degree of love and respect that we give ourselves. And by the way, my fellow Americans, there is nothing wrong with learning, say, Spanish. The fact is that Latinos will be the majority population in America in a few decades. And how embarrassing is it that so many citizens of the most developed nation on the planet cannot speak a second language—as citizens in so many other countries do?

Finally, let’s stop saying this is a post-racial America. As long as we live in an America that can pass laws like this, then it’s clear to me that Barack Obama’s November 2008 victory was not the ultimate achievement some of us may have thought it was. Our work has only just begun.

# # #

Kevin Powell is 2010 Democratic candidate for the United States House of Representatives, the 10th Congressional District in Brooklyn, NY. You can reach him at To DONATE NOW to Kevin Powell for Congress, click this link

Obama Lies About Arizona Immigration Law

By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown, Expose Obama

Obama, the media, liberal elites -- and even some Republicans -- have rushed to decry Arizona’s immigration enforcement law with shocking hyperbole.

This bill is constitutional and it addresses a pressing issue at the state level because the federal government has shirked responsibility for years.

While the critics would have you believe enforcing America’s immigration law is the second coming of fascism, the Arizona law properly emphasizes enforcement in a manner that upholds the Constitution and basic principles of human decency.

Nevertheless, Eugene Robinson, the Washington Post columnist, denounced the law by saying, "Arizona's draconian new immigration law is an abomination -- racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust."

The infamous race baiter Rev. Al Sharpton is promising to come to Arizona to march in opposition to the law. President Obama decried the law as “misguided” and “poorly conceived.”

Obama even falsely claimed that a Hispanic family eating ice cream could be forced to provide their papers just because they had dark skin. CBS News used fascist references to attack the law. These critics completely miss the mark. If these critics had read the law, they would know that it primarily focuses on enforcing existing
federal law at the state level.

Read More and Comment:

Times Square Bomb Plot: A South Park Jihad?

Police in New York are investigating whether a car bomb in Times Square was targeted on the makers of South Park over a controversial depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.
The device, which failed to detonate, was left near the offices of Viacom, which owns the irreverent cartoon series.
Last month postings on an Islamic website warned the creators of South Park - Matt Stone and Trey Parker - that they could face violent reprisals after an episode of the show featured Muhammad in a bear suit.
A posting on the website of a US-based group called Revolution Muslim warned Stone and Parker that they would “probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh”, the Dutch film-maker who was murdered in 2004 by a Muslim angered by his film about Muslim women.
Images of the Prophet are strictly forbidden in Islam, and Comedy Central, which broadcasts South Park, has banned Stone and Parker from depicting Muhammad in the past. In 2006 the network stopped them from featuring Muhammad in an episode which followed worldwide protests over a caricature of the Prophet by a Danish cartoonist.
Detectives are also understood to be investigating striking similarities between the New York bomb and two car bombs planted by Islamic terrorists outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub in London in 2007.
In both cases, the devices comprised cylinders of propane gas and cans full of petrol intended to be ignited by electronic detonators.
David Paterson, the Governor of New York, described the Times Square incident as an "act of terrorism."
He said: “Luckily, no one is hurt, and now the full attention of city, state and federal law enforcement will be turned to bringing the guilty party to justice in this act of terrorism.”
Posted by JammieWearingFool

BREAKING: Cop Killed in Detroit, 4 Cops Wounded

One Detroit Police officer has been shot to death and four others wounded this morning on Detroit's east side.

It happened just after 3:30 a.m. on Schoenherr south of Eight Mile Road. Police tell Action News officers were responding to a 9-1-1 breaking and entering call when someone inside the house opened fire. Neighbors say at least 16 shots were fired.

Police Chief Warren Evans confirmed that one police officer was killed. Mayor Dave Bing was at the hospital with Evans. Bing said word of the shootings was the worst news he's heard as mayor.

The deceased officer is said to be a 14-year veteran of the force. He leaves a wife and a 10-year-old son.

Four other officers were taken to St. John Hospital & Medical Center. They are in temporary serious condition. A suspect was also wounded and taken to the hospital; no word on his condition.

Chief Evans said all of the officers shot were patrol officers with the Eastern District.

Warren Buffett says most recovery so far has been in Berkshire’s manufacturing businesses

By Josh Funk, AP

Buffett: manufacturing is leading the recovery
OMAHA, Neb. — Billionaire Warren Buffett says the American economy is definitely improving with most signs of life coming in manufacturing businesses.

Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO met with reporters Sunday, a day after his annual shareholder meeting drew about 37,000 people.

Buffett says Berkshire subsidiaries like its Marmon manufacturing conglomerate and Iscar tool making company have improved sales, and there has been some increase in luxury goods sales at Berkshire’s Borsheims and Helzberg jewelers.

But he says the housing market has yet to improve significantly because of excess inventory.
Buffett says several of Berkshire’s roughly 80 subsidiaries have started hiring workers, so he’s confident the unemployment rate will improve. But he admits the hiring is slow so far.

On the Net:
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.:
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Billionaire Warren Buffett says he’s studied the civil fraud charges against investment bank Goldman Sachs, and has no problem with the transaction involved.

Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO Buffett said Sunday that he thinks he understands the allegations against Goldman better than most people, and he doesn’t believe the Abacus deal constitutes fraud. Buffett, who invested $5 billion in the bank in 2008, has been one of Goldman’s biggest supporters before and since the SEC filed its civil lawsuit.

Buffett says ACA, the bond insurer involved in the Abacus deal with Goldman, was responsible for assessing the transaction’s risks, and that it shouldn’t have mattered that another investor was betting against ACA’s interests.

Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger says he believes Goldman is the nation’s best investment bank in terms of morality and competency. He says vilifying Goldman won’t solve the problems created by faulty regulations.

Obama at Michigan: the era of "the era of big government is over" is over

I could be wrong, but my impression is that Obama added a new riff to an old theme in his defense of government in his commencement speech at the University of Michigan on Saturday.The basic argument -- that suspicion of government has been in America's "DNA" from the start, but that the country has also known when to marshal Federal power to serve the common weal -- is a theme that Obama has been sounding since his political career began. Likewise with his acknowledgment that government in some ways got too big for its britches in the 60s and 70s (that "it restricts individual freedom and dampens individual certain instances" has "been true"). He said as much in The Audacity of Hope.But this (below), I do not recall hearing/reading before. Memory lapse, perhaps. Or -- a new development of the argument:

When our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening foreign entity, it ignores the fact that in our democracy, government is us. We, the people -- (applause.) We, the people, hold in our hands the power to choose our leaders and change our laws, and shape our own destiny.Government is the police officers who are protecting our communities, and the servicemen and women who are defending us abroad. (Applause.) Government is the roads you drove in on and the speed limits that kept you safe. Government is what ensures that mines adhere to safety standards and that oil spills are cleaned up by the companies that caused them. (Applause.) Government is this extraordinary public university -– a place that’s doing lifesaving research, and catalyzing economic growth, and graduating students who will change the world around them in ways big and small. (Applause.) The truth is, the debate we’ve had for decades now between more government and less government, it doesn’t really fit the times in which we live. We know that too much government can stifle competition and deprive us of choice and burden us with debt. But we’ve also clearly seen the dangers of too little government -– like when a lack of accountability on Wall Street nearly leads to the collapse of our entire economy.

So, class of 2010, what we should be asking is not whether we need “big government” or a “small government,” but how we can create a smarter and better government.

Throughout the campaign, Obama's core argument was that the political pendulum had swung too far toward distrust in government, that it was time again for government to address fundamental problems like health insurance and clean energy. But I do not recall the itemized characterization of government as a series of specific essential functions.

This itemization (and partial personification) of essential government functions set the context for a defense of civility, an attack on the politics of demonization. The point was, it's as ridiculous to demonize government as it is to demonize me, or the political opposition generally. And demonizing government debilitates government:

Now, we’ve seen this kind of politics in the past. It’s been practiced by both fringes of the ideological spectrum, by the left and the right, since our nation’s birth. But it’s starting to creep into the center of our discourse. And the problem with it is not the hurt feelings or the bruised egos of the public officials who are criticized. Remember, they signed up for it. Michelle always reminds me of that. (Laughter.) The problem is that this kind of vilification and over-the-top rhetoric closes the door to the possibility of compromise.

It undermines democratic deliberation. It prevents learning –- since, after all, why should we listen to a “fascist,” or a “socialist,” or a “right-wing nut,” or a left-wing nut”? (Laughter.)

It makes it nearly impossible for people who have legitimate but bridgeable differences to sit down at the same table and hash things out. It robs us of a rational and serious debate, the one we need to have about the very real and very big challenges facing this nation. It coarsens our culture, and at its worst, it can send signals to the most extreme elements of our society that perhaps violence is a justifiable response.

So what do we do? As I found out after a year in the White House, changing this type of politics is not easy. And part of what civility requires is that we recall the simple lesson most of us learned from our parents: Treat others as you would like to be treated, with courtesy and respect. (Applause.) But civility in this age also requires something more than just asking if we can’t just all get along.

As I have written before, I believe that Obama's bending over backwards past the point of political peril -- and seemingly, common sense -- to win some bipartisan buy-in to health care reform will not have been wasted. The vast majority of Americans who are not heavily invested in a political ideology can see that he is no ideologue, that he's not a demonizer, that he engages with opponents in good faith and seeks facts and goes where he at least believes the facts take him. As in the endless campaign, he has emerged again and again since his encounter with the House Republican caucus in early February as the only adult in the sandbox. Over time, if he gets his eight years, I believe that will sink in. He is building brick by brick a well of trust that I believe will hold water for what will by the end be a large majority of Americans.

BP Oil Spill: Worst Environmental Disaster in Decades?

By Barbara Feiner

The April 22 British Petroleum (BP) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is shaping up to be the worst environmental disaster in decades—a crisis Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) says is a stark reminder of the “high human, environmental and economic costs associated with the extraction of fossil fuels.”

The spill occurred after an April 20 explosion on a BP rig, which killed 11 workers. The rig capsized and sank 2 days later, and oil began to seep into coastal waters.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 210,000 gallons of oil (5,000 barrels) are leaking into the Gulf each day, endangering marine life and Louisiana’s seafood industry. Oil may now drift toward the Atlantic Ocean.

“We are taking every possible step to protect the health of the residents and mitigate the environmental impacts of this spill,” says Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

Louisiana’s Way of Life Threatened

“This incident is not just about our coast,” says Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. “It is fundamentally about our way of life in Louisiana. Our shrimpers, our fishermen, the coasts that make Louisiana [a] sportsmen’s paradise—this all makes up Louisiana, and this is our way of life. We have to do absolutely everything we can to protect our land, our businesses and our communities.”
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has issued recreational and commercial fishery closures. Biologists are monitoring activities and conducting daily field assessments for signs of oiled areas and wildlife.

Because 2,500 sea turtles may be affected by the spill, scientists are also surveying and reporting on oil-tainted animals and other marine life.

Evan Hirsche, president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, expects the spill to reach two wildlife areas: the Delta National Wildlife Refuge at the mouth of the Mississippi River and the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, designated as a wilderness area in 1903 by eco-conscious President Theodore Roosevelt. Both sites are critically important to numerous species, including the brown pelican (recently removed from the endangered species list).

“Crucial That We Address Our Dependence on Oil”

Sen. Leahy doesn’t mince words in his assessment of the disaster.
“The evidence is clear that we cannot drill or mine our way to long-term energy security,” he says.

“We need to adopt a comprehensive energy strategy that addresses the challenges of the 21st century and does not simply rely on the energy sources of the past,” he adds. “We need to be more creative and in ways that strengthen our economy, our security and our environment. Our long-term energy security depends on promoting energy efficiency and supporting domestic sources of clean, renewable power, such as biomass, solar and wind energy.

“Instead of focusing so much on securing more fossil fuels,” he concludes, “it is crucial that we address our dependence on oil, invest in renewable energy, and offer incentives for utility companies and others to use these clean, domestic forms of energy.”

UAL to Acquire Continental Airlines

The WSJ reports that UAL Corporation (UAUA) is expected to announce a deal early Monday to acquire Continental Airlines (CAL) in a share swap valued at more than $3 billion. The board of United Airlines has approved the merger, and the Continental board was meeting later Sunday, the paper said. The deal, when finalized, would create the world’s largest airline.

United and Continental had a combined revenue of nearly $30 billion last year. Their main jet fleets total 700 aircraft, and they employ close to 90,000 workers.

The merger, which is expected to have the approval of the U.S. antitrust regulators, will create a global airline with less route overlapping and new opportunities to attract more premium-paying travelers.

The new airline would be based in Chicago and run by Jeff Smisek, Continental’s chief executive, the Journal said.

The two airlines have been talking about a merger since mid-February.

President Obama Makes Fun Of Jay Leno - Who Then Gets Few Big Laughs And Some Groans: "Ooh, This Is A Tough Room!"

By Nikki Finke

The First Yuckster at the White House Correspondents Dinner tonight taunted Jay Leno before The Tonight Show host took the podium. "I am glad that the only person whose ratings fell more than mine is here tonight. Great to see you, Jay. I'm also glad that I'm speaking first -- because we've all seen what happens when somebody takes the time slot after Leno." Jay was seen laughing, turning red, and then standing up and saying to the people around him, "Goodnight, everybody."

Leno quickly tried to return the favor during his 4th stand-up appearance at the dinner. But I can't point to single joke that killed with the crowd. Instead, Leno's barbs aimed at Obama were mostly dull like this: "When you were elected, I was a little worried the comedy well had dried up. So thank you for picking Joe Biden. I appreciate that." And Leno's voice grew soft when he mentioned that "President Obama loves to socialize -- health care, car companies", or that "he has the most diverse staff at the White House. They represent every ward in Chicago." As if Jay were embarrassed to get in any real digs at the Prez.

The laughs were few and far between despite Leno using a mutimedia combination of traditional punchlines, sight gags, and video mashups just like he does on The Tonight Show. Leno's blandness meant he took only gentle aim at both the Democrats and the Republicans. Although this joke got perhaps the night's biggest laugh: "As you know, a lot of Republicans couldn't be here tonight because it is $1 drink night at the bondage clubs." Then Leno gave a shout-out to GOP party chairman Michael Steele, noting, "This has got to be pretty boring entertainment for you, isn't it? I know what you guys are used to. That was my favorite story: Republicans in a lesbian bondage club. Republicans don't want lesbians marrying, but they do like to watch them tie the knot."

And then Jay continued, "Washington is a very scary place. Between Republicans going to bondage clubs, and the SEC looking at porn, I cant wait to get back to Hollywood -- somewhere wholesome, where people have values."

A joke about Obama's inability to throw a decent baseball pitch elicited audible groans from the audience (or maybe just the NBCU table): The President "had just come from an interview on MSNBC, and he was used to softballs." When Jay heard the bad reaction, he added, "I'm going to get fired again." And towards the end of his routine, knowing that his jokes had fallen flat for the most part, Jay complained, "Ooh, this is a tough room." Like, duh.

Mumbai suspect found guilty

An Indian court has convicted Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, 22, of taking part in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Kasab was found guilty on all charges against him on Monday, including "waging war against the state," which could carry the death penalty.

Two Indians, accused of providing the attackers with maps of Mumbai, were acquitted by the court for a lack of evidence. Both had faced dozens of charges.

Kasab was the only alleged assailant to stand trial for the three-day rampage, which killed 166 people in India's most populous city. The other nine alleged attackers were killed during the attacks.

The court was expected to issue a sentence on Tuesday.

Tight security

Security officials were on high alert as the court proceedings went ahead, setting up roadblocks around the court.

The interior ministry issued a statement urging citizens to avoid crowded places on Monday, while police have increased patrols throughout the city. Police and soldiers set up.

Kasab was reportedly arrested in a stolen car at a roadblock shortly after the 2008 attacks and has been accused of more than 300 crimes.

Prosecutors presented a range of evidence during his seven-month trial, including fingerprints, DNA evidence, security camera footage and photographs allegedly showing Kasab carrying an assault rifle.

Kasab first denied the charges, then pleaded guilty, before reversing his guilty plea, claiming he was set up by police.

ML Tahiliyani, the judge presiding over the case, had spent more than a month reviewing the evidence.

Thirty-five other people had been named as "co-conspirators" in the case. Seven of them, including a founder of the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba, are currently on trial in Pakistan.

India blames the group for masterminding the attacks.

The Pakistani government last month asked India to hand over Kasab and one of his co-defendants, but the Indian government has not responded to the request.

A murky picture as seafood industry eyes oil slick

NEW ORLEANS — As a giant oil slick lapped at southeastern Louisiana's ecologically sensitive coast, chefs, restaurant owners and seafood dealers were certain it would squeeze the state's $2.4 billion seafood industry. They just weren't sure how badly or for how long.

Federal officials shut down fishing for at least 10 days from the Mississippi River to the Florida Panhandle on Sunday because of the uncontrolled gusher spewing massive amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

"It's called fear of the unknown," said Ricky Power, a suburban New Orleans seafood distributor. Power was certain, however, that prices will rise and availability will fall.

Among the unknowns: how much longer it would take oil giant BP to stop the flow of oil from the site of last week's offshore rig explosion; how successful would be the attempts to keep the oily water out of seafood habitat; and how the oil would affect reproduction of oysters, shrimp, crabs and finfish.

"This isn't just going to be a short-term thing," said Ben Wicks, owner and chef at Mahony's PO-Boy Shop, a neighborhood eatery in a converted shotgun house in uptown New Orleans.

Harlon Pearce, chairman of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, said he applauded the federal government's decision to shut down fishing for at least 10 days to "ensure everyone that all seafood in the Gulf is of the highest quality and is safe to eat."

Award winning chef Donald Link, whose Herbsaint and Cochon restaurants in New Orleans are popular with tourists and locals alike, said another problem is the publicity surrounding the slick. He didn't want anyone to think that Louisiana seafood had disappeared or was unsafe, or that New Orleans restaurants were closed.

"I'm probably more concerned at this point with Louisiana getting a bad rap in the media and tourism dropping off than I am lack of seafood," said Link.

Clam growers in Cedar Key, a small island community that juts out into the Gulf of Mexico from Florida, echoed Link's concern, even though the oil remained far from their muddy waters. Fishing and boat tours proceeded as usual Sunday, and local oysters and clams were on restaurant menus, though owners warily eyed news from the spill to the west.

Hype over oil damage would be as economically destructive as the oil itself, said Brian Mattice, a clam grower and owner of Island Hoppers charter boat company.