Friday, April 22, 2011

Jim Rogers Massive Inflation is Coming !!!!!!!!!

Arnold Schwarzenegger, President of Europe?

President of the European Council, to be precise. But it amounts to pretty much the same thing.

To be honest, His Grace has no idea if this report is true or not (it started here, and has spread here and here), but it is certainly an intriguing (and highly entertaining) prospect. Having served two terms as Governor of California, and barred from following his fellow thespian Ronald Reagan in running for The White House, Arnold Schwarzenegger does appear to have hit something of a political brick wall.

Being Austrian-born prohibits him from becoming President of the United States (Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the US Constitution). But it is just the ticket he needs to succeed Herman Van Rompuy. If this were an EU-wide plebiscite, the outcome would be foregone. Although both men are Roman Catholic and 63 years old, Van Rompuy is obscure and unknown, while Schwarzenegger is a global brand. It is interesting that his former chief of staff, Terry Tamminen, talks of the need for a higher-profile man – a Washington or Jefferson of a new unified Europe. It’s certainly true, as he says, that ‘the French do not want a German, and Germans do not want an Italian’: that’s why we’ve got a Belgian.

The prospect of President Schwarzenegger brought to mind a certain quotation by a certain previous president of the Council of Europe, Paul-Henri Spaak:
‘We do not want another committee. We have too many already. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people, and to lift us out of the economic morass in which we are sinking. Send us such a man and, be he god or the devil, we will receive him.’
The problem with Van Rompuy is that he exudes committee: indeed, he is a one-man committee. Schwarzenegger has stature in abundance and would hold the allegiance of the people (certainly on Facebook). Judging by his performance (political) in California, he might even lift us out of the economic morass into which (thanks to PIIGS), we are all sinking. An Austrian leading Europe? With an Austrian pope at his side?

It will certainly cause the futurist premillennialists a little bother. Many in the US are persuaded that Obama is the Anti-Christ. For those who believe he will arise from a European 10-nation confederacy, Schwarzenegger is rather more plausible than Van Rompuy. After all, it’s easy to envision the Apocalypse of the Last Days and Armageddon with a Terminator than a bank manager.
posted by Archbishop Cranmer 

"A shift in power in Egypt hasn't changed much of the geopolitical map. A shift of power in Syria would have tremendous consequences.........."

Malley on NPR:
SIEGEL: Now, I understand that you did not meet directly with President Assad, but I wonder what your sense of him is. After all, he was regarded at the outset as being interested in big reforms. Then he pulled back. Does he actually want to reform things, do you think?
Mr. MALLEY: Well, in my impression, it's twofold. First of all, I think he understands the economic plight that his country faces. I mean, one would have to be blind not to see it. And to that extent, he knows that he's going to have to reform the country. On the other hand, the notion that some people have had over the years that he could reform the country against his own regime, that was the illusion, that he could turn against the very pillars of support of his regime and become a revolutionary that would lead a revolution against those who brought him to power. And that's not going to happen. And so it's not a matter of him being stuck. It's that he is part of the very regime that today is trying to save itself, and it's not going to save itself by committing suicide.
SIEGEL: How would you describe what the U.S. interest in all this is, to help the Assad regime save itself and maintain a stable Syria; to help them be thrown out so that it would thwart Iran's influence? What is the U.S. interest here?
Mr. MALLEY: I think this is one of those very complicated cases. And one could judge the complexity by the ambiguity of what the administration and the shifting tone of the administration. I don't think that they saw it as to their advantage to have instability in Syria, partly because they didn't know what's going to come next. And, you know, we don't know what's going to come next. It's not a society that the U.S. knows that well. There is a history of Islamist activism. On the other hand, of course, if you were to tell anyone in the administration that tomorrow you'd have a government that would be less pro-Iranian, that wouldn't be providing weapons to Hezbollah, that would be prepared to make peace with Israel, I think they would take it. So it's really a question of fearing the unknown, fearing instability, which could come, you know, at a great cost to many, many Syrians. You have a community of minorities, religious and ethnic minorities, who could suffer greatly. So I think the administration was hoping that the regime would reform enough. As the toll mounts every week, they're inching towards a much tougher position.
SIEGEL: You've worked in the Middle East and followed the region for years. How do you place what's happening right now in Syria in the context of the history of the region and also of uprisings in nearby countries?
Mr. MALLEY: Well, first of all, I think once again it goes to prove that nobody's immune and that it could happen anywhere, and we just will only know it after it happens. I think the paradox of the Syrian situation is, on paper, Syria's much less important than Egypt. I mean, the fact that Mubarak fell should be more significant than whether or not Bashar Assad falls. And yet, because Egyptian foreign policy basically didn't have much of a role over the past several years, the shift in power in Egypt hasn't changed much of the geopolitical map. A shift of power in Syria would have tremendous consequences for the U.S., for Iran, for Lebanon, for the rest of the region, and that's why so much is at stake..."

Largest Fossil Spider Found in Volcanic Ash

- 1 day ago -
The largest fossil spider uncovered to date once ensnared prey back in the age of dinosaurs, scientists find.The spider, named Nephila jurassica, was discovered buried in ancient volcanic ash in Inner Mongolia, China. Tufts of hairlike fibers seen on.....

Syrian Forces Fire on Protests, Killing 11

Syrian anti-government protesters demonstrate following Friday prayers in the central city of Homs, Apr 22 2011
Photo: AP Photo
Syrian anti-government protesters demonstrate following Friday prayers in the central city of Homs, Apr 22 2011

At least 11 people were killed in Syria Friday when security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters in several cities.

News agencies say witnesses reported deaths in areas including a suburb of Damascus, Douma, and the southern Daraa region, a hotbed for recent protests.

Thousands of protesters across the country took to the streets after Friday prayers, and security forces responded by firing tear gas and live ammunition.

The rallies against President Bashar al-Assad's government came one day after the president signed a decree ending almost 50 years of emergency rule. The decree was part of his effort to end anti-government unrest.

Witnesses say protesters at some rallies chanted "freedom" as they called for an end to Assad's rule.

A Facebook page calling for people to join the rallies called them the "Good Friday" protests - a reference to the holy day when Christians believe Christ was crucified and died in Jerusalem. A website image shows Christian and Muslim images together with the words "one heart, one hand, one goal."

Amnesty International said Friday's demonstrations could be the largest yet in Syria. The group says a government crackdown on protests has killed at least 228 people since last month.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

Obama orders probe to find what's driving up gas prices

McClatchy reports:
President Barack Obama announced Thursday that his administration will investigate to see if fraud or manipulation in oil markets is behind the spike in gasoline prices.

"We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain," Obama said at a town hall meeting in Reno, Nev.

He vowed that a broad government task force under Attorney General Eric Holder would "root out any cases of fraud or manipulation" in gasoline prices — "and that includes the role of traders and speculators."

For those who thought Barack Obama was so "intelligent": have you ever taken a class in microeconomics??

A Strike I’d Actually Support


A drink or two helps with this sort of thing.
The Telegraph reports that the French riot police are threatening to go out on strike to resist the French nanny state. The issuing of alcohol to men going into physical combat used to be a routine step during the ancien regime. France with its Catholic tradition ought to be more resistant to the pettiness of modern Puritanism.

The CRS (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité), which made its name quelling student demonstrators during nationwide disturbances in 1968, has always enjoyed a glass of beer or wine with its meals. 
However, following photos of riot police drinking bottles of beer during Paris street protest, police chiefs have decided to put an end to the tradition.
They were wearing body armour and carrying weapons as they sipped from beer and wine bottles. Some were also smoking.
Didier Mangione, national secretary of the police union, said bosses were “trying to turn us into priests, but without the altar wine”.
“Nobody should object to a small drink on jobs,” he said. “CRS officers do not have any more or less alcohol problems than anybody else in society. They should be allowed to drink in moderation.”
While British police are strictly barred from drinking on duty, the French have traditionally been allowed 25cl of wine or a small beer with their main meal of the day.
It was normally served on an official tray and sometimes eaten in full view of the public, often outside riot-control vans.
“Our right to drink alcohol with our food is protected by the law and our members are very unhappy at being treated like children,” Mr Mangione added.
The CRS, which was formed after the Second World War to “protect” the Republic from internal threats, has always been renowned for employing particularly tough officers.
They are often seen bracing themselves for action on the streets of major cities like Paris, Marseilles and Lyon.
Whenever a riot is threatened in a housing project or outside a university, it is invariably the CRS who are called to mobilise. Their tactics involve responding swiftly, and often violently.
Mr Mangione said he would be making a formal appeal against the new rules to the police authority.
Hat tip to Ralph Coti.

Syria: Assad Names New Governor of Homs, Clinton Condemns Violence Calls for Reform

April 21st, 2011 by Naureen

On Thursday, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad swore in Ghassad Abdul Aal as the new governor of Homs following clashes between demonstrators and security forces which resulted in the death of 17 protesters and scores of arrests. Najati Tayara, an activist in Homs, stated that the city was quite on Thursday but that security forces are stationed on the outskirts of impoverished neighborhoods with the expectation that protests will continue tomorrow.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the ongoing violence  and arbitrary arrest of protesters in Syria and called for a “political process that can respond to the legitimate needs, interests, and aspirations of the people” who are seeking “substantial and lasting reform.”  She also noted the U.S.’s particular concern about the situation in Homs given reports of violence and casualties among both civilians and government personnel.

Old Navy One Day Wonder – $6 Solid Polos

one day wonder Old Navy One Day Wonder   $6 Solid Polos
On Saturday 4/23, Old Navy is offering up another One Day Wonder deal in store only.  This time you can score solid polo shirts for only $6 each!

There is a limit of 5 per customer and of course while supplies last!  They will also have clearance bottoms for $6 and less so you can complete your look.

You probably want to get there early for the best selection!

Body found is confirmed to be missing girl: Phylicia Barnes.

For several months you may have noticed that we featured an advertisement on the front page which contained the image of a young black girl smiling at the camera.  This beautiful  black girl  had gone missing since December, and like many other pretty black girls who suffered the same fate as being abducted in America, the story was mostly ignored by the media for some time until many of us complained and took mainstream media to task for it.  Rather than simply beg other media outlets to take the story seriously, Beth, Amber, Lo, Folk, and the rest of the OHN staff decided that we should keep her face in the forefront each and every day in hopes that someone somewhere will find Phylicia and reunitie her with her family.
Unfortunately… it will never happen in the way we wished it would.
The body found in a Maryland river has been determined to be that of  Phylicia Barnes, a missing teenager with metro Atlanta ties.
The chief medical examiner’s office confirmed that the body found in the Susquehanna River is Barnes. Maryland State Police and Baltimore Police will hold a briefing at 8 p.m. tonight.
Two Maryland State Troopers recovered a body of an unidentified woman around 10 a.m. Wednesday and then were contacted about a second body, this time of an unidentified male, around 2 p.m., state police said.  Troopers were alerted to the area by some people who were working on the dam, state police said.
Maryland State Police homicide detectives are investigating the deaths of both people.
A forensic examination was scheduled for today.
Barnes, whose 17th birthday was in January, was visiting her half-sister in northwest Baltimore. She was visiting from Monroe, N.C., a city outside of Charlotte where she was preparing to graduate from high school a year early.
Barnes’ father, Russell Barnes of Riverdale, spent time in Baltimore after his daughter disappeared. Her mother, Janice Sallis, also went to Baltimore but then moved back to Atlanta in January at her family’s urging.
More than 100 detectives — including half of the Baltimore police’s homicide unit — – as well as Maryland State Police and the FBI had been assigned to Barnes’ case. Authorities were using helicopters, cadaver dogs, and other investigative tools to try and find her.
Authorities have interviewed more than 25 so-called “persons of interest,” but no one has risen to the level of a suspect, said Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, speaking to the AJC in March.
Investigators are pursing the case as an abduction and as a homicide, he said.
Authorities had gone to North Carolina and other areas to interview people but had found no reason to go to Atlanta, he told the AJC.
Barnes left her 27-year-old half-sister’s apartment on the afternoon of Dec. 28. Her debit card hadn’t been used, her cell phone was turned off, and her Facebook page wasn’t updated. She also missed a flight home to North Carolina. [source]
Our hopes and prayers go out to the family of Ms Barnes, and may the person or persons involved in this horrible act, come to justice in some way shape or form.
Rest In Peace…..

Who Really Are the Most Influential People in the World

By Richard A. Lee

For a state that finds itself as the punch line of too many jokes, Time magazine’s recent list of the 100 most influential people in the world offers New Jerseyans some badly needed ammunition to counter the laughs that people have at our state’s expense.

Governor Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker made the list, as did Newark native Ray Chambers, who has worked hard to revitalize the city and now is focused on eradicating malaria; former N.J. Environmental Commissioner Lisa Jackson, who now heads the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and punk rock pioneer Patti Smith, who grew up in Deptford Township. Not a bad showing for a list that includes just 100 people from all over the world.

More telling, however, is how the list – which was compiled by Time editors – compares with the results of magazine’s online poll, which is based on votes cast by the general public. Christie and Booker also were among the Top 100 in the poll, but so were Susan Boyle, Beyonce, Lada Gaga and Betty White – all of whom received more votes than Governor Christie and the Mayor of New Jersey’s largest city. To put it another way, in the eyes of the public, Susan Boyle, Beyonce, Lada Gaga and Betty White are more influential than Chris Christie and Cory Booker.

Granted the online poll was not a scientific measure, but it wasn’t TMZ or Entertainment Weekly asking their readers to cast votes. It was Time, the world's largest weekly news magazine.

One could also argue that, since the editors of Time are journalists involved with covering the news, their sense of who is influential is more on target than that of the public. But even if this is true, it may no longer matter in today’s media environment. News content is increasingly being determined – not by journalists and by news value but instead by companies and individuals with the technological expertise to match content with audience preferences. As a result, the news industry is in danger of losing control of its future.

“In a media world where consumers decide what news they want to get and how they want to get it, the future will belong to those who understand the public’s changing behavior and can target content and advertising to snugly fit the interests of each user,” Tom Rosenstiel and Amy Mitchell wrote in the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s most recent State of the Media report. “That knowledge – and the expertise in gathering it – increasingly resides with technology companies outside journalism.”

Since nearly all news organizations rely heavily on revenue from advertisers to support their operations and to generate profits, the ability to connect advertisers has long been a fundamental component of successful media companies. In the 21st Century, however, technology has emerged as a new and more effective intermediary.

“Of the many changes that the Internet has delivered to the nation's newsrooms, the ability to measure traffic for a given story, blog or video may be among the most profound,” Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi wrote in a September 2010 article for American Journalism Review.

Farhi said The Post has used items “with dubious or tenuous news value,” such as celebrity photo galleries, polls and trending topics on Twitter and Google to draw people to its website:

“High-minded headlines and stories about foreign wars, the federal deficit or environmental despoilage might have paid the bills in the age of Murrow and Cronkite, but they only go so far these days,” he wrote. “Shark videos and ‘naked Lady Gaga’ headlines get major play on ‘serious’ news sites for an obvious and no longer terribly shocking reason: They draw traffic.”

While such practices may still raise eyebrows inside newsrooms of journalism stalwarts such as The Washington Post, newer organizations have put policies into place that leave little room for discretion over content.

In a recent Los Angeles Times column, longtime journalist Tim Rutten shared the contents of a memo from AOL’s chief executive officer, Tim Armstrong, in which Armstrong instructed the company’s news editors to use website traffic, profitability and editing turnaround time to evaluate potential stories. “Note all the things that come before the quality of the work or its contribution to the public interest and you've arrived at an essential difference between journalism and content,” Rutten wrote.

All of this represents a fundamental change – not just for the media, but also for how the agenda is set for public policy. Hundreds of research studies have found that when news organizations placed attention on an issue, it resulted in increased attention from the public, as well as from government leaders whose actions and decisions determine public policy. But now the agenda-setting role appears to be shifting from journalists to the citizenry.

In a relatively short period of time, the technological advances provided by the Internet have dramatically altered the manner in which news is reported and consumed. As technology continues to advance, it could very well have an even greater impact on the actual content of news itself.

# # #

Richard A. Lee is Communications Director of the Hall Institute. A former State House reporter and Deputy Communications Director for the Governor, he also teaches courses in media, politics and government at Rutgers University, where he is completing work on a Ph.D. in media studies. Read more of Rich’s columns at richleeonline and follow him on Twitter.

Nation’s Mood at Lowest Level in Two Years, Poll Shows


Americans are more pessimistic about the nation’s economic outlook and overall direction than they have been at any time since President Obama’s first two months in office, when the country was still officially ensnared in the Great Recession, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Amid rising gas prices, stubborn unemployment and a cacophonous debate in Washington over the federal government’s ability to meet its future obligations, the poll presents stark evidence that the slow, if unsteady, gains in public confidence earlier this year that a recovery was under way are now all but gone.

Capturing what appears to be an abrupt change in attitude, the survey shows that the number of Americans who think the economy is getting worse has jumped 13 percentage points in just one month. Though there have been encouraging signs of renewed growth since last fall, many economists are having second thoughts, warning that the pace of expansion might not be fast enough to create significant numbers of new jobs.

The dour public mood is dragging down ratings for both parties in Congress and for President Obama, the poll found.

(More here.)