Monday, December 20, 2010

Jessica Fashano Citi Banker Suicide

NY Times reported that , A 27-year old Citi banker, Jessica Fashano, commited suicide on Saturday by jumping off the roof of a Manhattan building.

Jessica Fashano, 27, who worked as an analyst at Citigroup after graduating from Georgetown in 2005 -- and was actively involved in fund-raising for various charities, including the Harboring Hearts Housing Foundation and the Acumen Fund.

Her body was found at 8:13 a.m. on Saturday, in an internal courtyard of Trump Place - a luxury apartment complex on Riverside Boulevard where Fashano did not live. Surveillance videos captured her walking into the Westside apartment block that morning, 16 blocks away from her own home on 52nd St.

Fashano left no suicide note but foul play is not suspected. Police sources say she'd been taking medication for depression.

Prosecutors to sue Ernst & Young over Lehman collapse
Prosecutors in New York are set to file civil fraud charges against accounting firm Ernst & Young LLC over the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The suit, led by Andrew Cuomo, could come as early as this week and may seek to impose fines and other penalties, the paper said.

No one at Ernst & Young was available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours. Andrew Cuomo’s office could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit stems from Lehman’s use of a controversial accounting technique called Repo 105, the paper said.

Lehman’s court-appointed examiner, Anton Valukas, has said that the use of Repo 105, which dated back to 2001 and was used without telling investors or regulators, gave the appearance that Lehman was reducing its overall leverage levels in 2008 when it was not.

Lehman used Repo 105 to temporarily remove $50 billion of assets from its balance sheet in 2008, according to his report released in March.

this is of the big fish..we should hear more..

GOP Seeks To Kill New START Treaty Despite Calls From Religious Leaders

President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former President George H.W. Bush and the nation's military leaders have all endorsed New START, the arms control treaty being debated in the U.S. Senate.  The treaty allows the U.S. to keep watch over Russia's stockpile of nuclear weapons and thus reduces the chances that one might fall into the hands of a rouge state or terrorist group.

"On behalf of Christians across this country, we strongly urge you to bring the treaty to a vote, and to support ratification of START," wrote The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, and The Rev. John L. McCullough, executive director of Church World Service, in a letter to members of the Senate.  The pair said it was vital the treaty not "be caught in the gridlock of Capitol Hill. Its ratification is too important for the future and security of the United States and the world."

But U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader, is waging a fight against the treaty.  McConnell, you'll recall, has said defeating President Obama's 2012 re-election is his #1 priority in the new Congress.  Republican Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, who in the past has said he might vote for the treaty, is now telling people he might vote against it out of anger that Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed.  Leaders of the minority party in the Senate are clearly putting politics before national - even world - security.

75% of Americans support the treaty, according to a CNN poll.  Leith Anderson, president of the conservative National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), said earlier this month:  “As I travel around the country, I see ‘Support Our Troops’ signs everywhere. Despite political conflicts on many issues, our nation’s security has always been a unifying issue that draws Americans together across party lines...  “I urge all Senators to set aside any partisan consideration and join their colleagues – both Republicans and Democrats – in swift action on the New START treaty.” 

Click here for information on how you can contact your Senate representatives.  Tell them to ratify the treaty. 

By Rev. Currie

Sistah Talk TV Interviews Me About Being Black and Pro-Palin

The Youtube clip below is an edited version of a television show I took part in this past Saturday in New York City. Sistah Talk TV is an up-and-coming public access talk show, produced by Zakkee Starman, designed to cater to the issues and lifestyles of Black women. Shawn Seymour Gipson, a friend I went to school with and have not seen for over 20 years, is the show's co-host. When we reconnected via Facebook, she mentioned having seen my blog, MotivationTruth. She was quite intrigued as many people are when they find out that I, a Black woman, don't espouse the agenda of the Democratic Party.

After Shawn spoke to the show's producer, he began to take a look at my work and contacted me about coming on as a guest. He feels that the Black conservative voice is one that is not often heard, and of course he is right. Regardless of his personal view of where I stand politically, he felt it important that people realize that not only don't we all look alike, we don't all think alike either. I refused his first few invitations, but eventually--after much thought, prayer, and counsel from people I trust--I made the decision to do the show.

That takes us to Saturday. First of all, I was well-aware of what I was getting myself into. I've read some comments by my Black sisters recently that suggest that I should have known what was coming. Believe me, I knew what was coming, but I also know that there is substance behind where I stand, and I'm not usually one to be intimidated, although I certainly don't like to be ambushed.

The show was heated from the beginning. The guest panel consisted of two other guests: singer/actress/comedienne, Penwah Phynjuar, and Robin Michele Downes of The co-hosts are Dietra Kelsey and Shawn Seymour Gipson.

Most of the opposition came from Penwah, a strong supporter of President Obama, who made her--shall we say?--disapproval of Governor Palin and those who support her quite apparent. In her mind, which she expressed freely, I am simply an ignorant sell-out, a "Kizzie," not Black enough, the list goes on. She discussed her view that I've been played by what she deems to be flat-out racism on the part of Governor Palin, Republicans, and the Tea Party movement as a whole. There really wasn't any reasoning with her, nor was there any evidence given to support her claims. I'll let the video say the rest.

Ms. Downes spoke well of conservatives' focus of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps; however, she took issue with Governor Palin's hunting as shown on "Sarah Palin's Alaska," to which I quoted the Governor: "We eat; therefore, we hunt." I truly don't understand how people who enjoy a good steak, chicken, or pair of leather shoes are offended by those who make each of those things possible--and enjoy doing it.  People like the Palins hunt for food--not just for trophies. Although she and I disagreed on that issue, she conducted herself well. She was certainly professional and cordial.  That conversation is not on this clip, but it will be viewed when the entire episode becomes available.

The hosts, I felt, were clearly a representation of the Left, but they handled themselves well. Shawn came with the issues. Although she has bought into some of the lies out there about Governor Palin, she did not make it personal toward me. She was strong, yet respectful. Bottom line: as lively as our exchange became, we walked away agreeing to disagree, and we walked away with our friendship intact. Dietra had the difficult job of trying to be fair, giving each panelist an opportunity to speak, quelling the vitriol being thrown in my direction at times, and handling the calls coming into the studio.

Some of the calls had me scratching my head. One gentleman stated that Governor Palin's use of "soccer mom" (he meant hockey mom) during the campaign was a dog whistle for racism. Maybe it's me, but how is it her fault if not many Black people play hockey? Should she apologize for being proud of the sport or her children's involvement in it?

I will leave my remarks at that. The Youtube clip gives you an idea, but you really won't get the full effect until you see the full version. It truly was the lion's den, and I suppose I was intended to be dinner, but I can bite back--respectfully. It saddens me that there are people out there who hold such hate for Governor Palin without any good reason, who accuse her of racism without any evidence, and who accuse me of selling out my race because I don't need someone else to think for me but can reason on my own. I persevere nonetheless. My goals was to go and discuss the issues: why I support Governor Palin, what sets her apart from the others, what she's fighting for on behalf of this country. I believe I did just.

I thank Sistah Talk TV for allowing me a voice Saturday, even though it was indeed a battle, and the comments since then--some of them anyway--have been downright ridiculous. It is my prayer that I conducted myself in a way befitting a Christian, a professional, and an unabashed Governor Palin supporter--yes, even as a Black woman. Besides, the principles she espouses: respect for life, national security security, limited government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, and job creation know no color. They serve each of us well, and both the sistahs and brothahs out there would do well to at least listen with an open heart. There's too much at stake to play the race game.

Bloomberg Mayoralty Falling Through the Cracks

This CityTime scandal will we believe, prove to be the gift that keeps on giving-at least for those of us who didn't genuflect to the myth of Mike. We were definitely amused on Friday when the mayor opined that sometimes these kinds of things just slip through the cracks-the NY Post reports: "Somehow $80 million in alleged fraud just slipped through the cracks, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday, when asked about the mind-blowing CityTime payroll scandal. "If you want to know how big projects have things that slip through the cracks, this is as good an example as you need," Bloomberg said on his weekly WABC radio show. His comments came on the heels of the arrest of six people charged with defrauding the massively over-budget CityTime project that was supposed to digitize worker time cards a decade ago."

Comptroller John Liu thought this was as funny as we did, and retorted that under this definition the Grand Canyon was also just a crack. All of which calls to mind one of our favorite lawyer jokes. A lawyer dies and goes to heaven. He complains to St. Peter that he is only fifty years old, and is too young to die. St, Peter looks down at his sheet of paper (perhaps a time sheet) and responds: "But it says here that you billed for eighty."

This is a gut wrenching scandal for the mayor because it goes to the heart of what should be Mike Bloomberg's strength-information systems. This is one area where he should have all the expertise in the world-but if he failed to give proper oversight to this initiative, what does that say of all his other claims to excellence?

In our view, CityTime will be the beginning of the end of the Bloomberg era of omnipotence. The critics, emboldened by this demystification of Mike will start to peck away at his legitimacy-and search for other areas to question his authority. The erosion appears to  be inevitable-and will be advanced further as the details of how this scandal was allowed to fester become more fully known.

The NY Daily News begins this process yesterday, with a lengthy evaluation of the makings of the City Times scandal-it is not a pretty picture: "In March 2008, a veteran city consultant working on a complicated project called CityTime complained to the Department of Investigation. His letter had a bold title: "Fraudulent Timesheet submitted for time not worked. The complaint said "two senior level managers (Mr. Mark Mazer - consultant - and Mr. Scott Berger - consultant) sign weekly timesheets of [a senior manager] having full knowledge" the woman was absent or on vacation. As far as the whistleblower could tell, nothing happened."

This is what is known as a smoking gun-and if it had been taken seriously then, the entire scam would have been immediately shut down while an investigation was initiated-and not allowed to rot for another two and a half years: "More than 2-1/2 years later, the allegations exploded into the Bloomberg administration's biggest scandal, exposing years of slack oversight, bungled management and missed opportunities."

And the overseers at the Office of Payroll Administration were incompetent-at best: "Prosecutors say OPA did an internal audit in July 2008 of 31 consultants who were fired the previous year. Nine of them were paid for 890 hours even after they stopped working. "This situation should not have occurred," OPA's audit said - but never probed how or why it did."

And then there are the deaf, dumb and blind folks at DOI: "The whistleblower, who says he will testify under oath, knows of "three other people who went to DOI before I did with complaints of CityTime corruption." He met with two DOI investigators in June 2008, but said they gave him the brush-off. "They were two young girls who were right out of college and knew nothing," the whistleblower said. "They let me talk, but I got the distinct impression they weren't going to do anything." He finally heard from DOI a few months ago, which called him back for an interview that made clear they were probing CityTime."

That's two and one half years later-but DOI defends its crack investigation: "DOI spokesman Diane Struzzi denied the agency ignored the allegations. "No one walked into DOI's offices and laid out this $80 million fraud scheme ... That is preposterous," Struzzi said. "This case was made by determined DOI investigators and auditors who followed the money, uncovering the shell companies, the kickbacks, and the money laundering."

We'll see how this plays out, but we believe that the record will eventually show that the investigation was mounted in a less than expeditious fashion-and that it was slowed by a reticence to blow up CityTime-one of the mayor's signature projects. When it became impossible to ignore, we got the following instructive anecdote: "Bloomberg admitted CityTime was "a disaster" in March 2010, but mistakenly said then-Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler was in charge of fixing it - prompting a shocked look from Skyler."

In reality, the mayor was out to lunch, making his weekly golf outings to Bermuda no longer indulgent chuckling matters-examples of his rich eccentricity. In the hindsight of CityTime, Bermuda excursions can be seen as examples of Bloomberg's laxity in matters of management-raising questions that will no doubt be pursued in a number of other policy areas.

Once the curtain is pulled away, and the great wizard is exposed as simply a little man with an expensive megaphone, no area of this mayoralty will be considered sacrosanct. This is, therefore, the beginning of the end of the Era of Mike Bloomberg.

MSM Still Using Casualty Figures Hamas Conceded Were Wrong

Honest Reporting/Backspin
20 December '10

AFP picks up on the latest IDF air strike on a Gaza rocket squad. This background snippet is woefully off:

The strike was one of the most deadly since Israel's 22-day war against Gaza's Hamas rulers, dubbed Operation Cast Lead, which began at the end of December 2008 and cost the lives of 1,400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 13 Israelis, 10 of them soldiers.

Odd. Hamas already confirmed the civilian casualty figures had been inflated all along.

Tom Friedman on why the military is going green

Semper Viridis?

December 20, 2010
what could save America’s energy future — at a time when a fraudulent, anti-science campaign funded largely by Big Oil and Big Coal has blocked Congress from passing any clean energy/climate bill — is the fact that the Navy and Marine Corps just didn’t get the word.
God bless them: “The Few. The Proud. The Green.” Semper Fi.
Spearheaded by Ray Mabus, President Obama’s secretary of the Navy and the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, the Navy and Marines are building a strategy for “out-greening” Al Qaeda, “out-greening” the Taliban and “out-greening” the world’s petro-dictators. Their efforts are based in part on a recent study from 2007 data that found that the U.S. military loses one person, killed or wounded, for every 24 fuel convoys it runs in Afghanistan. Today, there are hundreds and hundreds of these convoys needed to truck fuel — to run air-conditioners and power diesel generators — to remote bases all over Afghanistan.
Two years ago, I sat on the Defense Science Board Task Force on DoD Energy Strategy, which took testimony and wrote a report, More Fight — Less Fuel, on how energy efficiency and renewables makes sense — and can save lives — for the military. The findings are here.
Efficiency and renewables are finally getting the serious attention of even the most conservative Pentagon planner, which is not surprising given these stark military realities:

  • One of the most dangerous targets in a war zone is the convoy trucking in fuel at an equivalent cost of hundreds of dollars a gallon;
  • The single biggest contributor to the weight of the backpack for special forces is the battery; and
  • Domestic (and international) military bases still rely on an antiquated and highly vulnerable electric grid for primary power.
NYT columnist Tom Friedman has a column on the subject, “The U.S.S. Prius,” quoted above.  Here’s more:
Mabus’s argument is that if the U.S. Navy and Marines could replace those generators with renewable power and more energy efficient buildings, and run its ships on nuclear energy, biofuels and hybrid engines, and fly its jets with bio-fuels, then it could out-green the Taliban — the best way to avoid a roadside bomb is to not have vehicles on the roads — and out-green all the petro-dictators now telling the world what to do.
Unlike the Congress, which can be bought off by Big Oil and Big Coal, it is not so easy to tell the Marines that they can’t buy the solar power that could save lives. I don’t know what the final outcome in Iraq or Afghanistan will be, but if we come out of these two wars with a Pentagon-led green revolution, I know they won’t be a total loss. Wars that were driven partly by our oil addiction end up forcing us to break our oil addiction? Wouldn’t that be interesting?
Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, the assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, used to lead the California Energy Commission. She listed for me what’s going on:
On April 22, Earth Day, the Navy flew a F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet powered by a 50-50 blend of conventional jet fuel and camelina aviation biofuel made from pressed mustard seeds. It flew at Mach 1.2 and has since been tested on biofuels at Mach 1.7 — without a hiccup. I loved the quote in Biofuels Digest from Scott Johnson, general manager of Sustainable Oils, which produced the camelina: “It was awesome to watch camelina biofuel break the sound barrier.”
The Navy will use only “third generation” biofuels. That means no ethanol made from corn because it doesn’t have enough energy density. The Navy is only testing fuels like camelina and algae that do not compete with food, that have a total end-to-end carbon footprint cleaner than fossil fuels and that can be grown in ways that will ultimately be cheaper than fossil fuels.
In October, the Navy launched the U.S.S. Makin Island amphibious assault ship, which is propelled by a hybrid gas turbine/electric motor. On its maiden voyage from Mississippi to San Diego, said Mabus, it saved $2 million in fuel.
In addition, the Navy has tested its RCB-X combat boat on a 50-50 blend of algae and diesel, and it has tested its SH-60 helicopter on a similar biofuel blend. Meanwhile, the Marines now have a “green” forward operating base set up in Helmand Province in Afghanistan that is testing in the field everything from LED lights in tents to solar canopies to power refrigerators and equipment — to see just how efficiently one remote base can get by without fossil fuel.
When you factor in all the costs of transporting fuel by truck or air to a forward base in Afghanistan — that is, guarding it and delivering it over mountains — a single gallon of gasoline “could cost up to $400” once it finally arrives, Mabus said.
The Navy plans in 2012 to put out to sea a “Great Green Fleet,” a 13-ship carrier battle group powered either by nuclear energy or 50-50 blends of biofuels and with aircraft flying on 50-50 blends of biofuels.
Mabus has also set a goal for the Navy to use alternative energy sources to provide 50 percent of the energy for all its war-fighting ships, planes, vehicles and shore installations by 2020. If the Navy really uses its buying power when buying power, and setting building efficiency standards, it alone could expand the green energy market in a decisive way.
And, if Congress will simply refrain from forcing the Navy to use corn ethanol or liquid coal — neither of which are clean or efficient, but are located in many Congressional districts — we might really get a green revolution in the military. That could save lives, money and the planet, and might even help us win — or avoid — the next war. Go Navy!
Ultimately, the whole nation and world will be “always green” — the only question is whether we do so voluntarily in time to avert decades if not centuries of catastrophic climate impacts or are forced to do so by the reality of peak oil and global warming a couple of decades too late….

Posted By Joe

Saudi King May Move Ground Zero Mosque

Posted By Pat Dollard.

NY Post:
A Manhattan lawyer with ties to the Saudi royal family is sounding out officials and community leaders about a plan to move the controversial Ground Zero mosque to the West Village.

Attorney Dudley Gaffin is claiming King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia might want to buy shuttered St. Vincent’s Medical Center and transfer the mosque to a new Islamic cultural center he would build on a plot at the site, say sources who have heard Gaffin’s pitch.

The king, worth more than $20 billion, would also save the hospital, reopening most of the units that closed when St. Vincent’s filed for bankruptcy on April 14, the sources said.

They say that Gaffin, who heads his own firm in lower Manhattan, is floating the idea to gauge what the reaction might be — and to ready a bid to rival the Rudin Organization, which is trying to snap up St. Vincent’s in bankruptcy court with an eye on tearing down six hospital buildings for luxury housing.
“He’s asking what it would take to put in a bid,” said one community leader who did not want to be identified.

“He says the king wants to do this as a p.r. move — to save the hospital and move the mosque away from the World Trade Center site,” the source added. “He wants to show that Muslims can do good works.”
“[Gaffin is] talking about the Saudis,” said another source, a politically connected lawyer. “I don’t know if any conversations have taken place [with them].”

The cost would be at least $300 million — the combined amount that the Sisters of Charity, which owns the hospital, owes the biggest secured creditors, GE Capital and TD bank.

“He wanted to know what it would cost,” said the community leader.
Gaffin said the mosque and cultural center would likely be built in a space now occupied by a shuttered nursing facility on 12th Street, just east of Seventh Avenue.

Sources said Gaffin claimed to have broached the topic with Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, but reps for both denied it.

“No one here has heard of this,” said Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna.
Gaffin sought legal advice on the matter from former council member Herb Berman and revealed the plan to the Coalition for a New Village Hospital, a group of doctors and nurses trying to resurrect St. Vincent’s, the sources said.

Gaffin’s nephew, Ariel Barkai, said he’s pals with a Saudi royal and was asked to pitch the idea to his friend but declined. “There were some discussions — somebody’s trying to save the hospital,” said Barkai. “But the Saudis never hired us.”

Reps for Abdullah, one of the world’s wealthiest men, did not return calls seeking comment.
The 87-year-old king is currently in town after recuperating from back surgery he had at New York-Presbyterian hospital on Dec. 3.

Abdullah previously said he would not get involved with the Ground Zero mosque.

Developer Sharif El-Gamal wants to construct a $100 million mosque and Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero, but the project has gotten bogged down amid controversy and financial woes.

Gaffin, a trial lawyer and senior partner in Gaffin & Mayo, did not respond to requests for comment.
St. Vincent’s sprawling campus includes a 758-bed teaching hospital. Most of those injured on 9/11 were treated there — as it was the closest level-one trauma center. In the aftermath of the attack, it became a gathering point for friends and family of the missing, and a fence near the hospital displayed hundreds of photos of victims.

New Black Panthers To Fight For Georgia Prisoners

Georgia's correctional system could soon face a lawsuit from the New Black Panther Party and Black Lawyers for Justice.

The groups held a news conference at the Macon State prison Sunday. They announced their plans to investigate the treatment of inmates in Georgia prisons after receiving complaints from prisoners and their families.

The group says they are accusing state corrections officers of covering up inmate abuse. According to a press release from the New Black Panther organization, inmates are demanding a decent living wage for work, opportunities for higher education, better health care without excessive fees, and an end to cruel and unusual punishment.

"We want to go about it in a way that's civil and let the facilities that are doing these things know that we won't stand for it,"says Deron X, Muslim Minister with the Nation of Islam.

The organizations say they plan to release the results of their investigation within a few weeks. They also say any evidence of abuse found will determine what legal action they will take.

The Department of Corrections did not return our call.

Human Rights Watch Denounces Israel’s Policies As Apartheid

Today, the human rights’ New-York based organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW), published a comprehensive report untitled “Separate and Unequal”, and it is a departure for an organization which is usually quite friendly towards Israel as opposed to Amnesty International. The report shows that Israel operates a two-tier system for the Israeli and Palestinian populations of the occupied territories of the West Bank and East-Jerusalem. Human Rights Watch is calling on “The US and the EU to avoid supporting Israeli settlements policies that are inherently discriminatory and that violate international law.”

“Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools, and access to road. Meanwhile, near by Jewish settlers enjoy all of these state provided benefits. While Israeli settlements flourish, Palestinians, under Israeli control, live in a time warp-not just separate, not just unequal, but sometimes even pushed off their lands and out of their homes,” said Carroll Bogert from Human Rights Watch.

The HRW’s report takes even its assessment of the serious human rights abuse a step further by calling on the United States to significantly reduce military aid to Israel because of Israeli’s blatantly discriminatory policies stifling development of Palestinian communities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, when analyzing the situation in the West Bank, came up with similar  conclusion than HRW.

“The forbidden roads regime (for Palestinians) is based on the principle of separation based on discrimination, and assumes that every Palestinian constitutes a security threat. This assumption is racist, and cannot justify a policy that indiscriminately harms the entire Palestinian population. Therefore, the policy violates human rights and international law,” according to B’Tselem website.
According to HRW, by making Palestinian communities virtually uninhabitable, Israel policies have had the effect of forcing residents to leave their communities. From 2000 to June 2009, in an area covering 60 percent of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which is under exclusive Israeli control, more than 30 percent of Palestinian residents have been displaced.

“While Israeli policy makers are fighting for the ‘natural growth’ of their illegal settlements, they are strangling historic Palestinian communities, forbidding families from expanding their houses, and making life unlivable. The policies surrounding Israel’s settlements are an affront to equality,” said Carroll Bogert with Human Rights Watch.

To read Human Rights Watch’s report “Separate and Unequal” click here.

Note: All photographs by Yossi Gurvitz .

By Gilbert Mercier

Tensions Rise Over South Korean Artillery Drills

Delayed at first by fog, South Korean artillery drills began live fire exercises this morning on the island of Yeonpyeong, near a disputed maritime border between North and South Korea. The small fishing island was shelled las month by the North, raising tensions near the border between the two countries and setting off a series of threatening statements from both countries. Will the latest row push the Korean peninsula closer to war?
This picture taken on November 23, 2010 by a South Korean tourist shows huge plumes of smoke rising from Yeonpyeong island in the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea on November 23, 2010. This picture taken on November 23, 2010 by a South Korean tourist shows huge plumes of smoke rising from Yeonpyeong island in the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea on November 23, 2010. (Getty Images)
We're joined now by Brian Myers, professor of international studies at Dongeso University in Pusan, South Korea, for more on the growing tensions between the two countries.


Brian Myers

DeSean Jackson’s Walk-Off Punt Return TD

DeSean Jackson… The most dangerous man in the NFL. I mean… Final score – Eagles 38, Giants 31. The Giants now trail the Eagles by one game in the NFC East, but because the Eagles swept the season series, it means the Giants will almost certainly be on the road for the first round of the playoffs (unless they collapse and miss the playoffs altogether). Maybe next time don’t kick it to the fastest man on the planet.

Mexico's oil pipeline explosion death toll rises to 27

Bloomberg, 12/20/2010

Mexican authorities blamed an explosion in an oil pipeline that killed 27 people on a criminal gang that was trying to steal fuel.

Yesterday’s blast at the 30-inch Nuevo Teapa pipeline operated by state-owned company Petroleos Mexicanos in San Martin Texmelucan, Puebla state, also injured 52 people, the company, known as Pemex, said in a statement on its website. The explosion damaged 115 houses, Pemex said.

The attempt to steal fuel from Pemex, which is often a victim of theft, is part of the broader wave of criminal activity afflicting Mexico, said David Shields, a Mexico City- based independent energy analyst and publisher of Energia magazine. The company said last year it had 5 million barrels worth 9.3 billion pesos ($750 million) stolen in 2008.

“It’s not an isolated incident,” Shields said in a telephone interview. “It’s part of the constant problem we’re living every day.”

Read more…

NATION: "Monitoring America" - local, state officers are watching you "Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.... The government's goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States. Other democracies - Britain and Israel, to name two - are well acquainted with such domestic security measures. But for the United States, the sum of these new activities represents a new level of governmental scrutiny."

FCC’s Democrats Narrowing Net Neutrality Gaps

by author David Goldstein
Federal Communications Commission - FCC - logoFederal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is making progress in narrowing gaps with his two Democratic colleagues over his controversial plan to adopt sweeping new rules for the Internet, National Journal has learned. But with the talks very fluid, and differences remaining, there’s still a possibility that the regulatory initiative could be pulled at the last minute from the agenda of Tuesday’s commission meeting.

Genachowski needs the support of Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn to approve his “network neutrality” proposal, which would create enforceable rules designed to protect the openness that is the Internet’s hallmark. While both Copps and Clyburn are net neutrality advocates, they’ve complained that the chairman’s framework cuts too many breaks for major telecommunications and cable providers of broadband. The two Republican regulators on the five-member commission remain staunchly opposed.

To read this Tech Daily Dose report in full, see: