Thursday, May 6, 2010

Charlie Rose - Commissioner Ray Kelly

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on the attempted attack on Times Square

Charlie Rose - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Islamic Republic of Iran | May 3, 2010

Charlie Rose interviews President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was in New York attending the Nuclear Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT]

Billionaire Burkle Sues Barnes & Noble

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Barnes & Noble(BKS) is being attacked yet again by billionaire investor Ronald Burkle.

More on BKS Google gBooks to Rival Apple iBooksRetail Winners: Hot Topic, Barnes & NobleiPad Superior to Kindle, Poll Says Market Activity Barnes & Noble Inc.| BKS DOWNBurkle, through his Yucaipa investment firm, filed a suit against the book retailer regarding its shareholders rights plan, which he deems unfair. Burkle also claimed its directors have breached fiduciary duties.
Yucaipa currently owns a 19% stake in Barnes & Noble and, back in February, attempted to raise its stake to 37% without triggering the company's poison pill, which was put in place to prevent a hostile takeover. The poison pill is triggered when any investor tops 20%. The goal was to allow shareholders to hold the same number of shares as the controlling Riggio family. Barnes & Noble rejected this bid.

Shares of Barnes & Noble are slipping 2.8% to $20.41 in Thursday trading.

Japan's Kan: G7 unlikely to discuss euro support

By MarketWatch TOKYO (MarketWatch) -- Japan's finance minister, Naoto Kan, told reporters Friday that a Group of Seven finance ministers' telephone conference later in the day was likely to focus on Greece's debt turmoil and unlikely to include any talk of joint intervention to support the euro, according to reports. "I don't think the talk will proceed along the line" of reaching an agreement to intervene to buy the euro, Kan said at a regular news conference, according to Dow Jones Newswires. "I don't think there will be a request for intervention." He reportedly added that he expects the dollar to gradually stabilize against its Japanese counterpart. In Tokyo trading around midday, the euro was buying $1.2707, up from $1.2639 late Thursday, a day on which it fell to a 14-month low against its U.S. counterpart. The dollar rose to 92.43 yen, up from 90.44 yen late Thursday.

Simon Property makes 'final' General Growth offer

INDIANAPOLIS — Mall owner Simon Property Group Inc. on Thursday made what it is calling its "best and final" offer to acquire its biggest rival, General Growth Properties Inc.

General Growth is the nation's second-largest mall operator with more than 200 centers in 43 states. When it sought shelter from creditors a year ago, it was the largest real estate bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Simon Property says its latest offer is worth $6.5 billion, or $20 a share, for General Growth. It had last offered $18.25 a share.

It said the latest offer tops a rival bid from a group led by Brookfield Asset Management.

Before the latest offer from Simon Property, General Growth said it preferred the bid by Brookfield, Pershing Square Capital Management and Fairholme Funds. The Brookfield-led group is offering more than $6.5 billion to help General Growth finance its exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection.

General Growth spokesman David Keating said the company had no immediate comment on the latest Simon Property bid.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Allan Gropper in New York is expected to hold a hearing Friday on a request by General Growth, which is based in Chicago, to have the Brookfield proposal approved.

The Indianapolis-based Simon Property is the largest U.S. shopping mall owner. It popularized the so-called lifestyle center mall design that turned malls into neighborhood-like communities. It owns more than 380 properties, including the Houston Galleria and the Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego.

E. coli sickens 19 in OH, NY, MI

WASHINGTON — An E. coli outbreak possibly linked to tainted lettuce has sickened at least 19 people in Ohio, New York and Michigan, including students on three college campuses, prompting a recall throughout much of the country.

Freshway Foods of Sidney, Ohio, said it was recalling romaine lettuce sold under the Freshway and Imperial Sysco brands in 23 states and the District of Columbia because of a possible link to E. coli.

Twelve of those sickened were hospitalized, three of them with life-threatening symptoms, the Food and Drug Administration said. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was looking at 10 other cases probably linked to the outbreak.

College students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Ohio State in Columbus and Daemen College in Amherst, N.Y., are among those affected, according to local health departments in those states.

The FDA is focusing its investigation on lettuce grown in Arizona as a possible source for the outbreak, according to two people who have been briefed by the agency. Donna Rosenbaum, director of the food safety advocacy group Safe Tables Our Priority and one of those briefed, said the agency held a phone call with public health advocates Thursday.

Rosenbaum and other public health advocates have long been pushing for stronger food safety laws. The House passed a bill last year that would give the agency much more authority to police food production, but the Senate has not acted on it.

Rad More..

Police: NH bus bomb scare 'not terrorist event'

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — The police chief of Portsmouth, N.H., says a bomb scare and standoff with a passenger aboard a Maine-to-New York Greyhound bus was "not a terrorist event."

Police Chief David Ferland calls the Thursday incident a "localized event only" and refuses to offer any additional information about the passenger, who surrendered after hours of negotiations.

The 16 other passengers and the driver safely left the bus parked in Portsmouth hours earlier.

The ordeal began late Thursday morning, when a passenger called 911 to report an explosive device on board. That led police to evacuate buildings and streets and call the passengers out under the watch of a sharpshooter in an armored vehicle.

No one was injured, and the holdout passenger is now in custody.

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

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — A nine-hour bomb scare aboard a Maine-to-New York Greyhound bus ended peacefully Thursday night when the lone remaining passenger walked off it with his hands over his head. The other 16 passengers and the driver had left the bus safely hours earlier.

No details about the passenger were immediately released, and the bus remained parked in downtown Portsmouth with a bomb squad on the scene. The man could be a foreign national, as agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were on the scene and there were reports an interpreter was needed to speak to him.

"He is in custody," police Capt. Mike Schwartz said. "No one is injured."

The ordeal began around 11:30 a.m. Thursday when a passenger called 911 to report an explosive device on board, leading police to evacuate buildings and streets and call the passengers out under the watch of a sharpshooter in an armored vehicle. One man remained on board and did not walk out until just before 9 p.m.

The man, wearing camouflage pants without a shirt, stepped off the bus with his hands high over his head. He then went to his knees before soon getting up and appearing to follow orders from police to walk away from the bus.

ICE spokesman Harold Ort could say only that there was an "ongoing issue" and that ICE was helping the investigation.

read more

Obama Administration Removed Faisal Shahzad From Terror Surveilance List Before Attack!

I just read on Gateway Pundit that confessed Times-Square Taliban-terrorist Faisal Shahzad was removed from the Department of Homeland Security travel lookout list sometime after Barack Obama came into office... after having been on it since 1999. As CBS reports:

Sources tell CBS News that would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad appeared on a Department of Homeland Security travel lookout list – Traveler Enforcement Compliance System (TECS) –between 1999 and 2008 because he brought approximately $80,000 cash or cash instruments into the United States...

Team Obama then began ending Bush-era terror investigations soon after coming to office, as noted at GP... the only wonder is why it took even this long for the fruits of this misguided and utterly naive policy to arrive on the nation's doorstep...

Health care reform: AT&T seeks profit by denying benefits

By Thomas Hart,
Health care reform is inspiring corporations to dream up creative strategies that avoid the obligations required by the health care reform bill. A cold-hearted genius at AT&T may have found the ultimate way to make health care reform backfire on the law’s best intentions of eventual universal coverage. The new health care law requires companies to pay a penalty for denying employees health care. It may turn out that paying the government penalty costs far less than providing coverage.

Corporate health care reform maneuvers
The quest for universal coverage spawned the idea to drop health care benefits. Fortune reports that we know this because of other cynical corporate maneuvers over health care reform. When President Obama signed the health care bill, AT&T and Verizon made headlines announcing hits on their projected earnings of about $1 billion. Why? The health care bill ends tax deduction for the federal retiree drug-benefit subsidy. For corporations, this subsidy was an instant cash loan they didn’t have to pay back. The government gave them money they didn’t earn to pay for retiree drug benefits, which they were allowed to deduct from their taxable earnings.

The announcements by AT&T and Verizon that health care reform would cost them billions of dollars infuriated Congressman Henry Waxman. He accussed them of grandstanding to exaggerate the cost of health care reform on employers. As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he ordered them to turn over documents related to how they were dealing with health care costs.

Health care bill: unintended consequences
The unintended consequences of the health care bill are starkly outlined in the documents. Fortune reports that an AT&T PowerPoint slide entitled “Medical Cost Versus No Coverage Penalty” shows that 2009 medical costs were $4.7 billion. The federal penalty for denying coverage is $2,000 per employee. With 283,000 employees, AT&T would be penalized $600 million. By denying its employees health care, AT&T could possibly increase its profits by $4.1 billion.

Health insurance companies slither
After the health care reform bill passed, health insurance companies joined AT&T and Verizon in trying to weasel out of the law. It didn’t take long for Big Insurance to look for loopholes in the health care reform law. Starting Sept. 23, the health care bill will ban health insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. The New York Times reported on March 29 that insurance lawyers are claiming the bill’s “fine print” allows them to refuse to cover children with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, diabetes, orthopedic problems, birth defects and other illnesses.The insurance companies said the law only requires coverage for pre-existing conditions if a policy is sold–it doesn’t require the insurance companies to allow access to a policy. Riiiiiight.

Health insurance: profits or policies
Can companies be so cold-hearted to actually deny benefits because of health care reform? Fortune reports that companies say certain aspects of the health care reform bill will increase the cost of providing health insurance. Parents will be able to keep children on their plans until they are 26 years old, a benefit they say will cost millions of dollars a year. They also say they won’t be able to pass the full amount of a tax on “Cadillac insurance plans” on to their employees.

If companies like AT&T and Verizon can rake in billions of dollars in profits by not providing health care coverage, you can bet they will follow the money.

Navy SEAL Matthew McCabe Found Not Guilty

Awesome news: Matthew McCabe is now the third Navy SEAL accused of "punching" the most wanted terrorist in Iraq, to have been found not guilty.

NORFOLK, Va. - Navy SEAL Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe was found not guilty Thursday evening on charges of assaulting detained terrorist Ahmed Hashim Abed, dereliction of duty, and impeding an investigation based on a false statement.

A seven member military jury deliberated for an hour and forty minutes before reaching a verdict. For McCabe to be found not guilty, two-thirds of the jury had to agree on each charge.

Upon hearing the verdict, McCabe's mother gasped in jubilation, covering her mouth with her hands, while his father and sister smiled. McCabe and his counsel shared a few hugs and pats on the back.

Last month in courts martial in Baghdad, Petty Officers Julio Huertas and Jonathan Keefe, also Navy SEALs, were acquitted of charges that they failed to safeguard Abed. McCabe was the only SEAL charged with actual assault.

"Ronner," a commenter on a piece at the Washington Times, puts the prosecution of the SEALS into its appropriate perspective:
..... A Major who kills 13 servicemen and women while screaming Allah Akbar can't be called a Moslem Terrorist. A Moslem thug tries to blow up an airliners with over 250 Americans on it and he's "Mirandized" and given a taxpayer paid attorney to protect 'his rights'. Our own President and Attorney General want to give the thugs and cutthroats at Gitmo citizen rights and at the border illegal's are given rights that no illegal in Mexico would get for the same offense. I don't think our country can survive playing games like this, we have leaders and citizens who have lost their minds about what the 'real' world is like.
Truth be known, there must not be a single ounce of moral fiber in the entire SEAL command. Non of the SEALS should have been charged in the first place. The trials were nothing less than political correctness to the extreme and an insult to the warriors who risk their lives to defend us against a merciless and cunning enemy.

Go Navy Seals!

Greek protesters set fire to a bank, killing three people, on Wednesday in the most violent reaction to date to the government's austerity plan.

Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade Respond to Lawsuit

NBA star Dwyade Wade and his soon-to-be former wife, Siohvaughn, are shown in happier times in this 2006 photo. (Retna)

Gabrielle Union is firing back at claims made in a lawsuit by the soon-to-be ex-wife of her alleged boyfriend Dwyane Wade.

As was previously reported, Siohvaughn Wade sued Union on behalf of the former couple’s two sons, aged 8 and 2, claiming the film and TV star has engaged in “extreme and outrageous conduct” with Wade in front of the kids, including acts of “sexual foreplay” in public.

Siohvaughn Wade and the boys are seeking more than $50,000 from Union at a trial.

A spokesperson for Union has rejected the allegations and apologized to the court system for having to deal “with erroneous claims when there are real victims who should be receiving the legal attention they need.”

Wade has also spoken out to defend his actions, dismissing the claims as “meritless.”

He said: “I am deeply saddened and disappointed that Siohvaughn has used our sons once again as pawns and is now lashing out at Gabrielle, who is an innocent party. It is clear that this is a desperate attempt to retaliate against me for seeking sole custody of our children and requesting that the court have her undergo a psychiatric examination.”

Oil Spill Cleanup Costs to Range from $2-$12 Billion

As oil continues to spill into the Gulf of Mexico, Oxford Analytica assesses the legal liabilities and other costs for BP and other parties in this complimentary download.Selected excerpts:

The Deepwater Horizon spill is a major environmental and economic disaster. The worst case scenario is that a second, relief well may need to be drilled in order to stem the flow of oil, requiring at least three months to complete. Therefore, the offshore oil leaseholders are likely to take a huge charge, excluding reputational damage.

US law makes the ‘responsible parties’ — oil leaseholders BP (BP) and its minority partners, Anadarko (APC) and Mitsui, fully responsible for the costs of clean-up; in addition, fines will be levied and additional state and private legal claims will certainly be made.

BP and its lease partners are fully liable for spill cleanup costs under federal law — though statutory reform since the Exxon Valdez spill may have reduced exposure to (separate) damages. Total costs are difficult to estimate until the well is capped, but they are likely to range from 2-12 billion dollars.

The 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster spilled 250,000 barrels of oil, ultimately costing Exxon 4.3 billion dollars in cleanup costs, fines, and legal damages; some legal claims remain to be resolved.

US law has changed significantly since that time — partly in response to that spill:

As the ‘responsible parties’ under the relevant statutes, oil leaseholders are fully responsible for cleanup costs — though the law limits their (separate) liability for damages to 75 million dollars (absent findings of wilful misconduct or other special circumstances). Crucially, plaintiffs’ attorneys will seek to get around this cap.

Apportioning the cost of the disaster will be settled through extended litigation, as BP may opt to sue Transocean (RIG) – which operated the rig on its behalf; Halliburton (HAL) which attempted to cement the well), and Cameron International (CAM) – which made the blow out preventer- to recoup costs and damages it must pay; state and private actions will also target these companies, as they are not covered by any statutory damages cap.

Exxon pursued a ’scorched earth’ legal policy. BP, by contrast, has already pledged to pay all ‘legitimate’ claims. This may be driven by a desire to minimise reputational damage:

BP’s ability to pursue a conciliatory strategy, and privilege claims settlement over tough litigation tactics, depends on the scope of the spill, cleanup costs, and damages.
BP will pursue litigation against other defendants aggressively, attempting to recoup costs.
Gulf spill will create huge costs has been made available free of charge to ResearchRecap users for 30 days by special arrangement with Oxford Analytica, an Alacra content partner. After 30 days, the report will revert to its regular AlacraStore price of $150.

Former #1 Overall Pick Jamarcus Russell Has Been Released By Raiders

It is a wrap for Jamarcus Russell and the Raiders as he was just released.

The Raiders are going forward with Jason Campbell and his mustache as their starting quarterback. This begs the question whether Russell will find a job anywhere in the league.

Maybe a concession stand where he can eat all the hot dogs he wants?

I hope he didn’t spend all his money on those mink coats in the picture above.

When he got the news, of course he just “shrugged.”

Ex-NFL star Lawrence Taylor accused of rape in NY

SUFFERN, N.Y. — Police say Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor has been charged with third-degree rape and patronizing a prostitute in an assault on a 16-year-old runaway who was brought to his suburban New York City hotel room against her will.

The former New York Giants linebacker was arrested early Thursday at a Holiday Inn in Suffern, N.Y. Police say the victim was 16, one year below the legal age of consent in New York.

An attorney for Taylor, Kenneth Gribetz, says he is confident Taylor will be proven innocent.

Ramapo Chief of Police Peter Brower says Taylor paid the girl $300. He wouldn't comment on whether Taylor knew how young she was, but he said, "Ignorance is not an excuse to an individual's age."

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

Read More


Rutgers University Facilities Department Contributes 300 Cell Phones to the UHopeLine Recycling Program to Support Domestic Violence Victims

New Brunswick, N.J., May 6, 2010 - Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine program donated $5,000 to Rutgers’ Department of Sexual Assault Services and Crime Victim, and Rutgers’ Facilities department also donated 300 phones to the Verizon UHopeLine program. Pictured here (L to R): Ruth Anne Koenick, department of Sexual Assault Services and Crime Victim Assistance; Bruce Silverberg, Verizon Wireless; Rona Lehtonen, Rutgers Facilities Department; Rachel Schwartz, Center on Violence Against Women and Children, Rutgers University School of Social Work. SOURCE: Verizon Wireless

* Verizon Wireless donates $5,000 through its HopeLine program to the Rutgers University Department of Sexual Assault Services and Crime Victim Assistance
* Rutgers University Facilities department donates 300 recycled cell phones through Verizon’s UHopeLine program
* The phones will be recycled or refurbished and sold to raise money to support domestic violence victims

Orangeburg, N.Y. – Verizon Wireless, provider of the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G network, today announced it is presenting a $5,000 financial grant through its HopeLine® program to the Rutgers University Department of Sexual Assault Services & Crime Victim Assistance. HopeLine was founded with the goal of assisting community agencies and organizations that support survivors of domestic violence.

From its work with UHopeLine, an extension of HopeLine that places permanent collection points on college campuses for the recycling of cell phones, Rutgers is also donating 300 devices that were previously used by the school’s Facilities department before its recent upgrade to the Verizon Wireless network. As part of HopeLine, Verizon Wireless collects wireless phones, batteries and accessories from any wireless service provider and puts the nation’s most reliable wireless network to work in our communities by turning these unused phones into support for victims of domestic violence.

“UHopeLine helps raise awareness among young men and women about domestic violence issues at a time when many young adults may not be aware of the support options available to them,” said Pat Devlin, regional president at Verizon Wireless. “We thank Rutgers University and the School of Social Work for taking a leading role in this effort. The generosity of the Rutgers community, along with consumers nationwide, has helped HopeLine collect over $7 million and properly reuse or dispose of over 1.6 million phones since the program began in 2001, all of which has been used to support domestic violence victims.”

Verizon Wireless presented Ruth Anne Koenick, director of the Rutgers Department of Sexual Assault Services and Crime Victim Assistance, with a $5,000 check during a ceremony held at the Livingston campus Student Center. This money will be used by the department to help fund activities that will raise awareness of dating violence and provide aid to domestic violence survivors on campus and in the student community.

"UHopeLine has brought awareness about the seriousness of dating violence on college campuses to the Rutgers community," said Rachel Schwartz, UHopeLine Program Coordinator, Center on Violence Against Women and Children, Rutgers School of Social Work. "The program has allowed Rutgers students, faculty, staff and alumni the opportunity to really come together in taking a community-level stand against domestic and dating violence, while supporting survivors with cell phone donations. With the donation from Facilities, we will have collected over 1,000 phones across all three campuses (New Brunswick/Piscataway, Newark, and Camden) in the first two years of the program and we are excited to have the opportunity to significantly contribute to this important project."

Rutgers became the first school nationwide to join the UHopeLine program in October of 2008. Since then, the university has expanded the program throughout its family of campuses, with collection points at the Rutgers Student Center, Busch Campus Center, Cook Campus Center, Douglass Campus Center, Livingston Student Center, Camden Campus Center, Paul Robeson Campus Center at Newark, School of Social Work and Winants Hall.

In addition to the UHopeLine program, Verizon Wireless established a $100,000 scholarship fund in 2008 at the Center on Violence Against Women and Children for deserving School of Social Work graduate students. Named the Verizon Wireless HopeLine® Scholarship, income generated by the endowment is used to award scholarships, annually, to at least three Rutgers graduate social work students enrolled in the School of Social Work’s Master of Social Work (MSW) specialization on violence against women and children, the first such program in the country.

Wireless customers can also donate devices and accessories to HopeLine at all Verizon Wireless Communications Stores in the New York metro area and across the nation. For store locations and to learn how to donate a phone using a postage-paid mailing label, visit

For more information on Verizon Wireless, please visit or call 1-800-2-JOIN IN. Follow us on Twitter at

Macy's gets Sean John menswear exclusive



Macy's Inc. has signed a deal with Sean John, the trendy fashion brand founded by hip hop impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs, to be the exclusive retailer for its men's sportswear collection.

The deal begins next spring.

The move, announced Tuesday, is the latest exclusive deal for Macy's, which over the last two years has signed similar arrangements with such labels as Tommy Hilfiger and Ellen Tracy.

As part of the pact, Sean John's men's sportswear collection will be available online at and in 400 Macy's stores with additional stores to be added. Currently, the men's brand is in 375 Macy's stores. Sean John's men's wear brand is currently being sold at such stores as Dillard's and Belk Inc. Those retailers will no longer carry the men's wear collection starting in October, according to Dawn Robertson, president of Sean John.

The Sean John brand generates sales of about $525 million from a variety of products including fragrance, women's sportswear and outerwear. Menswear accounts for a big chunk of sales, said Robertson, declining to be more specific.

In an interview, Robertson said that the brand, founded in 1998, struggled in recent years, but over the past six months, the business has seen a resurgence as the company has reinvented its fashions and found a broader audience.

"It was a difficult decision" to pull out of the other stores, Robertson said. But she said Macy's plans to focus on increasing sales within each of Macy's locations and eventually expanding to all 800 Macy's stores. As part of the agreement, Sean John will get more prominent placement in advertising and will move to a more visible area on the selling floor, she said.

Smithtown Weekly Shows Obamas as ‘Sanford and Son’

By Frank Eltman, AP
A weekly newspaper photo depicting President Barack Obama and his wife as characters from the TV sitcom “Sanford and Son” was intended as political satire and not a racist commentary, the publisher said Wednesday.

Phillip Sciarello, publisher and part owner of the Smithtown Messenger on Long Island, defended the decision to publish the photo, but added the newspaper would run a retraction in its next edition for anyone who might have been offended.

The photo spread features “before and after” shots of the last six presidents and their wives, starting with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and ending with the Obamas. The “after” photo of the Obamas is a shot from the 1970s show, with Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford and LaWanda Page as Sanford’s sister-in-law, Aunt Esther. She is seen standing ready to box Sanford; the characters often verbally jousted as part of the show’s story line.

The “after” photos of the other presidents feature their images as slightly older than when they took office.

The controversy prompted the Brookhaven town board to remove one of the Messenger’s sister publications, the Brookhaven Review, as an official newspaper, meaning it will no longer publish town government legal notices.

“The reference to racial stereotypes is where the line was crossed,” Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko told Newsday in Wednesday’s editions. Lesko, a Democrat, did not immediately return a call for comment.

President Barack Obama gestures while addressing the Business Council in Washington, Tuesday, May 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
A Suffolk County legislator, DuWayne Gregory of Amityville, said he will propose a resolution to drop the Messenger as an official county paper at next week’s meeting of the Legislature.

Hazel N. Dukes, president of the state NAACP conference, said in a statement Wednesday that the county should immediately pull advertising from any publication that ran the photo.

“It is simply shocking and outrageous that such a blatantly racist ad would run in any paper, much less an official paper of Suffolk County,” Dukes said. “New Yorkers of all races and ethnicity are disgusted by it and reject it.”

Tracey Edwards, the NAACP’s Long Island regional director, described the portrayal of the Obamas as “despicable and disrespectful. If this was intended as satire, it misses the mark.”

Justin Bieber Fans Are Sending Kim Kardashian Death Threats

Kim Kardashian has pissed off Justin Bieber fans after she wrote on her Twitter page that she has “Bieber fever,” according to Kim and Justin recently met at the White House Correspondents’ dinner in Washington D.C.
As mentioned before, Justin has the hots for Kim so he replied to her tweet by calling her his “girlfriend.” However, Justin Bieber fans were not amused. Kim later wrote:

“I’m getting death threats from your fans! This is unBeliebable!!!”
Justin responded:

Kim should’ve known better than to start flirting with Justin. Bieber fever fans can be dangerous - one even knocked down his mama and stole his hat!

Starbucks Frappuccino Half Price Happy Hour!

How many Starbucks loving readers do I have? I know I sure love them! Starting this Friday, May 7 - May 16, 2010 you can get a Half Price Frappuccino at Starbucks from 3 to 5 pm. No coupon needed. My favorite Frappuccino flavor would have to be the caramel frappuccino....or the java chip, or...okay, I can't choose! No matter your favorite flavor be sure and head to Starbucks to treat yourself to one during "Half-Price Happy Hour". Maybe even invite a friend and buy them a sweet treat!

Blame the Electoral System or Blame the Party Leaders?

Jonathan Bernstein stands up for first past the post voting in the UK. He starts with an observation I agree with, namely that “the ultimate goal of a political system cannot be to accurately reflect the strength of each party in parliament, much less accurately reflect the strength of all the views of the citizens in parliament, which is essentially impossible anyway.” Then he offers another view I agree with, namely that what really matters is “is whether the government is responsive to citizens.” What follows is a kind of Burkean defense of caution about radical reform away from a system that seems to be okay.

For my part, I’ll say that as I look at the scene emerging it does seem to be the case that what’s plaguing the UK isn’t so much a weird electoral system as it is a weird party system. If you look at John Cleese’s very funny pitch for electoral reform from the eighties you have to remember that he was talking at a very different time in the British party system. At that point, Labour and the Tories seemed determined to debunk the median voter theorem by being shockingly far apart ideologically. That paved the way for a revival (in alliance with some renegade moderate Labourites) of a centrist Liberal Party, a revival that was severely curtailed by the electoral system. Flash forward to 2010 and you have a situation in which Labour has moved to the right and the Tories have moved to the left, and the ideological posture of the Liberal Democrats vis-a-vis the other parties is pretty murky and contestable.

Arguably if the Tories manage to secure a parliamentary majority with 37 percent of the vote (as seems at least plausible) that would be more the fault of LibDem and Labour party leaders than of the electoral system. If the parties don’t have major systematic ideological differences, then they should cooperate with a formal electoral pact rather than running candidates against each other and winking and nodding at tactical voting.

By Matthew Yglesias

Kempner Senior Murdered In Mexico

By: John Pape

After receiving reports of the death of an 18-year-old Kempner High School senior, FBISD has sent counselors to the campus for any student that feels the need to speak to someone.

Mexican police say the investigation is continuing into the apparent bludgeoning death of Elisabeth Mandala after her body was found along with two men in the bed of a pickup truck in northern Mexico over the weekend.

According to Gustavo Ordaz-Castillo with the Mexican Federal Judicial Police, the bodies had been “severely beaten” and at least one of the men was carrying false identification papers.

The other two victims were identified as Dante Ruiz Siller, 38, and Angel Estrella Mondragon. Police said they have not established an age for Mondragon, nor whether Mandala was related to either of the other two victims.

Ordaz said the bodies were placed in the back of a Dodge Dakota pickup truck, which was then intentionally crashed into the back of a larger truck in an apparent effort to make it appear as though the three were killed in the accident.

The truck reportedly has Texas license plates and was found near the small community of Mina in Nuevo Leon.

According to relatives, Mandala had left for Mexico in a rented car on May 27, telling family members she was going “to meet someone.”

At this time, police have no motive for the murders; however, the area is reportedly known for its involvement in narcotics trafficking.

A message was e-mailed to Kempner parents yesterday informing them of the death.

“This news has saddened our staff and our student body, and our hearts and prayers go out to the family,” said Principal Troy Mooney in the message. “A district crisis team has been at Kempner today and worked closely with students and staff who needed to talk.”

As her death occurred in Mexico, the funeral arrangements have not been finalized. FBISD will post the funeral information on the campus website when the district is notified by the family.

NYPD X-rays suspicious truck at bridge, clears it

NEW YORK (AP) — A suspicious truck abandoned Wednesday several yards from a toll booth near the Manhattan side of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge turned out to be empty and not a threat, the New York Police Department said.

The bridge reopened for traffic after being closed briefly Wednesday night.

Police spokesman Paul Browne said a bridge authority officer believed he smelled gasoline coming from the truck and he saw a man flee the vehicle.

The NYPD bomb squad and other emergency responders rushed to the scene in a city still jittery from the attempted car bomb attack in Times Square on Saturday.

Police X-rayed the truck and cut a hole in the side and discovered it was empty. They inspected the engine and the undercarriage. “Nothing was found,” Browne said.

The vehicle, described as a U-Haul or Ryder truck, was then moved near the toll plaza. Police were looking to speak to the person who abandoned it. “We don’t know why he fled,” Browne said.

Browne said the truck had been driven from the Bronx, toward Manhattan and the man fled in the direction of Queens.

Traffic on the bridge resumed around midnight.

The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge formerly was called the Triborough Bridge. It’s a complex of spans connecting Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.

Should Hillary Have the Power to Strip You of Your Citizenship?

If Joe Lieberman’s totalitarian plan to give the State Department authority to strip Americans of their citizenship is implemented, all those protections that citizens enjoy that are currently deprived from non-citizens would be a chimera. Since 9/11, the government has treated citizens and non-citizens differently, brutalizing both groups but being especially despotic toward those deemed non-Americans. In the habeas corpus rulings from the Supreme Court, conservative Antonin Scalia consistently argued that citizens should enjoy far stronger habeas protections than non-citizens—in his dissent for Hamdi (2004), Scalia boldly took the most civil libertarian position on the Court; in Boumediene (2008), his infamous dissent was the most anti-habeas. The grounds for his distinction were largely the issue of citizenship.

Conservatives have long been inconsistent on the concept of natural law. They say our rights come from God or human nature, but then turn around and say non-citizens do not have the same rights citizens have. But in any event, if Lieberman’s horrid idea comes to pass, the existence of citizenship will be contingent upon whether the State Department determines that a person has conspired with terrorist groups.

This is a dangerous proposal for many reasons. First, what constitutes terrorism and being an enemy of the United States has been somewhat up in the air over the last several years. Especially with the new Brown Scare aimed at the populist right, mainstream conservatives, libertarians, militia groups, violent extremists and everyone in between, we see the threat of a left-liberal administration cracking down on dissent with ever more despotic tools at its disposal. Many of us warned conservatives that every precedent against civil liberties established under the Bush years could come back to haunt us under a liberal regime, and here we see it beginning to happen.

Second, if due process is contingent upon citizenship, which can be taken away at the whim of the State Department’s designation of someone as a terrorist ally, then we have a genuine Catch-22. Without due process and habeas, how do we know if someone is a terrorist? If the government is able to eliminate due process because someone is a terrorist, without using due process to determine that he in fact is one, we have here a situation of true Alice-in-Wonderland justice.

Sadly, many left-liberals are jumping on the war on terrorism bandwagon now that a man they love, rather than one they despise, is in charge of the project. Perhaps conservatives will snap out of their love of the national-security state and see that tyranny is indeed most likely to come, as Madison is quoted as saying, in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. Conservative Glenn Beck is taking the right position on the due process question as it relates to the alleged Times Square attempted bomber, as leftist Robert Scheer notes. We need all the dissent we can if we are to turn back this most frightening tide of totalitarianism.

By Anthony Gregory

Black hopefuls pick this year in G.O.P races

Among the many reverberations of President Obama’s election, here is one he probably never anticipated: at least 32 African-Americans are running for Congress this year as Republicans, the biggest surge since Reconstruction, according to party officials. The House has not had a black Republican since 2003, when J. C. Watts of Oklahoma left after eight years.

But now black Republicans are running across the country — from a largely white swath of beach communities in Florida to the suburbs of Phoenix, where an African-American candidate has raised more money than all but two of his nine (white) Republican competitors in the primary. (Continue Reading…)

Paterson to counter deportation laws

ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson announced on Monday that the state would accelerate consideration and granting of pardons to legal immigrants for old or minor criminal convictions, in an effort to prevent them from being deported. The move sets up a confrontation between the governor and federal immigration officials, who have taken more aggressive action to increase deportations in recent years. Immigration lawyers on both sides called the step extraordinary and said it could ultimately affect thousands of people in New York. (Continue Reading…)

2008 campaign sensation Joe the Plumber wins seat on local Republican Party committee in Ohio

Joe the Plumber is elected to party office in Ohio

TOLEDO, Ohio — Joe the Plumber is plunging into party politics.

Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher, who was hailed by Republican John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008, won one of nearly 400 seats on the local Republican Party committee in Ohio’s Lucas County.

But don’t call him Joe the Politician just yet.

The group he’ll serve on meets only a few times a year to elect the county chairman and sets the party agenda. Wurzelbacher won the seat by a 38-24 vote Tuesday in his suburban Toledo precinct. A message seeking comment was left with him Wednesday.

He became an overnight sensation almost two years ago after questioning then-Sen. Barack Obama on the campaign trail about his economic policies and then when McCain repeatedly cited “Joe the Plumber” in a debate.

He was held up by the GOP as an example of the middle-class worker who would be hurt economically by an Obama presidency.

Wurzelbacher has since written a book, spoken at conservative gatherings and spent a few weeks as a war correspondent in the Gaza Strip.

He’s resisted calls to run for Congress and has criticized Democrats and Republicans alike. He’s also taken shots at McCain, confessing in his book that he did not want him as the GOP presidential nominee.

Wurzelbacher remains an icon for many antiestablishment conservatives.

He drew cheers at a tea party rally last month in Cincinnati when he told the crowd not to let “a bunch of liberal pansies” take away their rights.

“Illegal immigration?” he said. “Put a fence up and start shooting.”

Wurzelbacher has never been shy about sharing his views even if they open him up to critics.

He told Christianity Today in an interview last year that he believes gays are “queer” and said he won’t allow them near his children.

“I’ve had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children,” he said. “But at the same time, they’re people, and they’re going to do their thing.”

He also said that too many Republicans use God “to invoke sympathy or invoke righteousness, but they don’t stay the course.”