Saturday, December 4, 2010

USA: Manson had cellphone in prison-MSNBC

[FACT comments: Cellphones (pun intended) are banned from prisons worldwide yet in the community they are part of our daily lives. Allowing prisoners to use cellphones and access the Internet is part of rehabilitation.]
Charles Manson had cell phone under prison mattress
Suzanne Choney
MSNBC: December 4, 2010

Charles Manson in 2009, left, and in 1970 [AP]
Charles Manson didn’t post to Facebook using a smart phone, but he did make calls using a cell phone from prison.

The infamous convicted murderer had an LG flip phone hidden under his mattress which was found by prison officials. Manson used the phone to make calls and send text messages to people in California, New Jersey, Florida and British Columbia, Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections, told the Los Angeles Times.

“Contraband cell phones are becoming so prevalent in California prisons that guards can’t keep them out of the hands of the most notorious and violent inmates: Even Charles Manson, orchestrator of one of the most notorious killing rampages in U.S. history,” said the Times’ report, referring to the 1969 murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people.

President Barack Obama signed a bill in August that bans cell phones from federal prisons and makes it a crime that is punishable by up to a year in jail for smuggling one in, notes the Times. But the bill does not apply to state prison facilities. And that’s where Manson, 76, is housed, at Corcoran State Prison, in Kings County, Calif.

Justin Walker, another convicted murderer, was recently discovered using a BlackBerry to post preening photos of himself from his prison cell on Facebook. That state does make it a felony to have a cell phone in a correctional facility, and authorities are investigating the case.

In California, the cell phones-in-prison issue has ”been exponential in recent years, authorities say. Guards found 1,400 in 2007, when the department began to keep records of confiscations. The number jumped to 6,995 in 2009 and stands at 8,675 so far this year,” the newspaper said.

Outraged by the report, state Sen. Alex Padilla said Friday he plans to introduce two bills to “crack down on the illegal proliferation of cell phones and other wireless communication devices in California prisons.”
“As long as prisoners can get their hands on cell phones, neither our prisons nor our communities will be completely secure,” he said in a statement Friday.

Bernanke Doesn't Rule Out QE Exceeding $600 Billion

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke defended the Fed’s decision to purchase $600 billion in Treasury securities and didn’t rule out expanding the program, in an interview for CBS television’s “60 Minutes,” the network said.

“He explains why the Fed announced its intention to buy $600 billion in Treasury securities, defending against charges the move will lead to inflation and not ruling out the purchase of more,” according to a press release today from CBS.

The interview with CBS journalist Scott Pelley was filmed Nov. 30 in Columbus, Ohio and will air Dec. 5.

At its Nov. 3 meeting in Washington, the Fed announced the program to purchase about $75 billion a month of Treasury securities through June. The Fed’s Open Market Committee said it would “regularly review the pace of its securities purchases and the overall size of the asset-purchase program.”

Republican leaders criticized the second round of so-called quantitative easing last month, where the Fed attempts to provide additional monetary stimulus by purchasing Treasury debt. The Fed’s benchmark lending rate has been in a range of zero to 0.25 percent since December 2008.

The news show’s website previously stated that Bernanke will discuss “pressing economic issues” such as U.S. unemployment, the federal deficit and the central bank’s decision last month to purchase an additional $600 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds.

Bernanke also appeared on “60 Minutes” in March 2009.

Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel peace prize may not be given out at December ceremony

China unlikely to let any of jailed winner’s family attend in what official describes as unprecedented campaign against award
A security guard tries to stop photographs being taken outside the house of the wife of jailed Chinese Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo [Peter Parks/AFP]

The Nobel peace prize may not be handed out this year because China is unlikely to let any of jailed winner Liu Xiaobo‘s family attend the ceremony, a Nobel official announced today, saying that China’s campaign against the award was unprecedented.

Six countries have refused to attend the gala in Oslo on 10 December following pressure from China for a boycott.

Although the pageant itself will go ahead, key aspects of the event – the handover of the Nobel gold medal, a diploma and prize money worth 10m kronor (£1.04m) – are unlikely to be included, the organisers said.
Under Nobel rules, the award can only be collected by the laureate or close family. Liu cannot attend because he is serving an 11-year sentence for subversion after co-authoring an appeal calling for reforms to China’s one-party political system. His wife, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest and subject to police escort since the award was announced last month.

Friends say all of Liu’s closest family members are under tight police surveillance aimed at preventing them from attending the ceremony.

China has written to foreign ministries and embassies urging diplomats to stay away from the ceremony in Oslo and warning of “consequences” for those who support the pro-democracy activist.

The six countries who have declined their invitations so far are Russia, Kazakhstan, Cuba, Morocco, Iraq and China itself. Ambassadors to Norway from Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines are also expected to stay away, for varying reasons.

Geir Lundestad, the secretary of the Norwegian Nobel committee, said China had mounted a campaign to persuade diplomats to avoid the ceremony in Oslo, and had returned all mail sent by the committee unopened. “For an embassy to actively try to persuade other embassies to not participate in the ceremony is something new,” Lundestad said.

“I don’t know of any example where a country has so actively and directly tried to have ambassadors stay away from a Nobel ceremony.”

He added: “The big question this year is China, and how China is able to affect the decisions of others,” he said. “Several countries have to check with their home governments. This has become a delicate issue with some governments.”

The Nobel Committee sent invitations to 58 countries with embassies in Norway, and 36 have accepted.
If the medal and prize money are not handed out during the ceremony, it will be the first time since 1936 – when German journalist Carl von Ossietzky was refused permission to leave Nazi Germany.

During the second world war, the Nobel committee did not select any winners.

Lundestad said the committee had not yet ruled someone from Liu’s family being able to attend. “If someone shows up at the last minute, it will not be a problem to change plans,” he said.

Liu Xiaobo has three brothers. A Hong Kong-based human rights group has reported that two of them, as well as Liu Xiaobo’s brother-in-law Liu Tong, have been unable to visit Liu in prison despite repeated requests. His youngest brother, Liu Xiaoxuan, has been told by his employer not to go to Oslo.

China’s reaction to this year’s award is more extreme than that of Soviet leaders during cold war, when close controls were kept on dissent both at home and in eastern Europe.

Even in 1975, Elena Bonner Sakharova was able to accept the prize on behalf of her husband, the physicist Andrei D Sakharov. And in 1983. Danuta Walesa accepted on behalf of her husband, Lech, the Polish trade union activist.

Leading Pakistani Cleric Offers Reward For Anyone Who Kills Woman Who Insulted Islam

In Peshawar, Maulana Yousef Qureshi, the imam of a major mosque is not satisfied with the prosecution of Asia Bibi for blasphemy. He has offered a bounty to anyone who kills her for insulting Islam.

What is astonishing is that he was not been arrested for making a public offer to pay for a murder. Instead, he is warning the government not to back off blasphemy executions, “which provide protection to the sanctity of Holy Prophet Mohammad.”

He is offering $5,800 for the murder and has told Muslims that God will reward them for the killing as required under Islamic law.

The incident leading to the charge began when Bibi fetched water as a farmhand and offered it to other women. The Muslim women refused because it had been touched by a Christian (Bibi) and thus “polluted.” Later a mob tried to beat her to death and she was rescued by police, who then charged her with blasphemy after the same women accused her of saying bad things about the Prophet Mohammed.

Qureshi insists that blasphemy laws are essential to forcing compliance with Islamic principles for Muslims and Non-Muslims alike. I have written prior columns condemning the increase of blasphemy prosecutions in the West and the Obama Administration’s yielding to demands from Egypt and Pakistan to support such prosecutions.

Source: Reuters
Jonathan Turley

Ivory Coast in crisis as Gbagbo sworn in

Laurent Gbagbo (left) and Alassane Ouattara. Photo: 27 November 2010Ivory Coast could now have two rival presidents
Related stories
Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has been sworn in for a new term, defying an international outcry over last Sunday's run-off poll.

The US, UN and France say the election was won by Mr Gbagbo's rival - opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara.
He was declared the winner by the nation's electoral body, but this was overturned the Constitutional Council in favour of Mr Gbagbo.

Mr Ouattara is also planning to hold his own swearing-in ceremony.

The presidential run-off was intended to reunify the world's largest cocoa producer after a civil war in 2002, but could now leave the nation with two rival presidents.

At least four people have been killed in election-related clashes this week in the country's main city of Abidjan.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Mattel Designs a One of a Kind JANET JACKSON Barbie for Charity Auction

Janet Jackson BarbieWhat’s a doll to do when she’s face-to-face with multi-Grammy award winning artist and actress Janet Jackson? Swoon! That’s exactly what happened when I met Miss Janet, and I’m beyond thrilled to have been involved in look-alike doll project.

Inspired by the ultra-glam black gown she wore during her 2010 American Idol performance, I knew we had to recreate that look for her one of a kind doll. Mattel Designer Jackeline Gonzalez duplicated the black gown, including the body-hugging cat-suit underneath that she revealed during her second, upbeat performance. Her gown is kissed with bling created by countless hand-placed Swarovski crystals. Even her mic is crystal-studded.

Look closely dolls, Janet’s sassy, short hairstyle, unique face and body sculpt and face painting all meticulously duplicate the legendary singer’s features.

Divinely Janet includes a certificate of authenticity and a unique display case for your superstar collectible.

The proceeds for this item benefit Project Angel Food

Terms: In condition as donated. Cannot be returned or exchanged. Shipping charges may vary based upon the location of the winner.
Donated by: Mattel

Souce: lipstick alley

Fresh warrant issued for Assange's arrest

Fresh warrant issued for Assange's arrest 04 Dec 2010 As the fallout grows from WikiLeaks' release of secret US diplomatic cables, the website's founder Julian Assange could be extradited to Sweden as early as today. A fresh arrest warrant has been issued for the Australian, who is believed to be in hiding in Britain, to face possible charges of rape and molestation. WikiLeaks embarrassed the US government this week by releasing thousands of secret diplomatic cables.

Army, Marine, Air Force chiefs a ‘no’ on DADT repeal; WH priorities a muddle

December 4, 2010 · Posted in News and Current Affairs, Political News, U.S. Military 

Activists who thought Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal was gaining momentum got a rude awakening from three of the nation’s military service chiefs on Friday. In short: the military brass is not on board with allowing gays to serve openly in the military, at least while the nation is involved in two shooting wars.
WASHINGTON — The chiefs of the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force do not support a repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, telling lawmakers Friday that such a move could add unnecessary stress to the force.
“The potential for damage is there,” said Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps. “A repeal would absolutely have an impact on combat units … so my concern goes back to their issues of cohesion and the burden on those units.”
The chiefs spoke during the second day of hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee, one day after Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged the same lawmakers to act now on a repeal. On Tuesday the Pentagon released details of its review of the issue, recommending a slow but deliberate pace of training and policy changes to allow gay troops to serve openly.
But the Army and Marine Corps leaders in particular said they did not agree with the assessment that a dramatic policy change would have only limited impact on troops’ morale and mission effectiveness. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said a repeal would “add another level of stress to an already stretched force” and “be more difficult for the Army than the report suggests.”
All four service chiefs said they believe a repeal of the 17-year-old law will take place in coming years. But while Adm. Gary Roughead recommended Congress act on a repeal now and Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz pushed for a repeal no sooner than 2012, both Casey and Amos said lawmakers should wait until the pressures of combat operations overseas are not weighing on troops’ minds.
Fueling the chiefs’ concerns was the disparity between the opinions of most troops and their families, who overwhelmingly seemed unconcerned about repeal in the recent comprehensive Pentagon survey, and the opinions of troops actually engaged in combat:
A survey conducted as part of the repeal study showed that fewer than a third of troops believe repealing the law would hurt the mission focus or effectiveness.
But among troops from Army combat units, 48 percent predicted a repeal would negatively affect their team’s ability to “work together to get the job done.” That number rose to 58 percent among Marine combat units. Sixty percent of the combat Marines and 49 percent of combat soldiers said they would not be able to trust an openly gay colleague.
Amos said he could not support the change in military policy “as long as we have forces involved in combat,” because of the demands already placed on those units.
And there was also significant resistance to changing the policy among military chaplains, some of whom indicated in the survey that they would leave the service if the policy is repealed.

Some Republican lawmakers had indicated they would be open to voting for repeal, but Olympia Snowe of Maine and Scott Brown of Massachusetts, two leading targets for cross-over votes, later indicated they would only vote for repeal if Democrats relent on extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich. And John McCain, who has become the leading voice on opposing repeal, is standing firm on his position. Meanwhile, McCain is emerging as a possible mover on getting the START treaty ratified, since he could be a key lever in pushing his fellow Arizona Republican, John Kyl, to relent. That potential White House deal with President Obama’s chief adversary in the Senate could spell doom for DADT repeal if a comprehensive tax-START deal is cut.

Some Democrats, along with recalcitrant Republicans, are questioning why the START treaty is such a priority for the White House now, with so little time left in the lame duck session. But it seems that the same question could be asked about DADT, which is a priority of gay rights activists, but nowhere near at the top of the list within the military itself, which is focused on winding down operations in Iraq and making progress in the mess that is Afghanistan. Even inside the military, troops don’t necessarily care about gays in their ranks, but liberals fail to recognize the inherently conservative, largely evangelical Christian and closed culture of the military, which wouldn’t encourage open homosexual conduct even if the ban was listed. That may not be fair, but the military isn’t fair (President Obama just pardoned nine people including one who was convicted in the military of both drug possession, and adultery…) and it’s also incredibly resistant to change — which is how we wound up with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the first place.

Still, for gay rights groups, DADT is THE top priority they want the president focused on, while other Democrats wish he’d drop everything else and focus on jobs — and on salvaging the holidays for 2 million people about to lose their unemployment benefits — and Hispanic constituents want to see the DREAM Act gotten done before Republicans take over the House.)

It all adds up to a fine mess, with competing interest groups and competing priorities for the White House, and the lame duck Congress, which is quickly running out of time.

BY  The Reid Report