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Archive for January 4th, 2009

Great Barrier’s Grief

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 4th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Great Barrier’s Grief

ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Leave it to global warming to ruin both a day at the beach and an entire oceanic ecosystem. Researchers are blaming the environment’s public enemy No. 1 as well as rising seawater acidity for what has been the slowest coral growth rate at the Great Barrier Reef in more than 400 years.

The BBC:

Coral growth in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has slowed to its most sluggish rate in the past 400 years.

They studied massive porites corals, which are several hundred years old, and found that calcification has declined by 13.3% since 1990.

Global warming and the increasing acidity of seawater are to blame, they write in Science journal.

Coral reefs are central to the formation and function of ecosystems and food webs for tens of thousands of other marine organisms.

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Airline Apologizes to Detained Muslim Passengers

AirTran plane

AirTran Airways was in damage control mode Friday after forcing nine Muslim passengers off an Orlando-bound flight at Reagan International Airport in Arlington, Va., the previous day. The travelers were detained after two other passengers reported hearing what they considered to be threatening remarks by 33-year-old Inayet Sahin as she and members of her family found their seats on the plane. Sahin and her group denied any wrongdoing, and on Friday they were considering AirTran’s conciliatory offer of a refund and a return trip home.


The Washington Post:

Officials said several other passengers overheard the conversation and became alarmed when they heard Sahin remark that sitting near the engines would not be safe in the event of an accident or explosion. Irfan and Izaz said the remark was entirely misconstrued and that the conversation was nothing more than innocuous banter.

“The conversation we were having was the conversation anyone would have,” Irfan said of his sister-in-law in a telephone interview from Florida today. “She did not use the word bomb, she did not use the word explosion. She said it would not be safe to sit next to the engines in the event of an accident.”

The three were traveling with six others: Irfan’s brother, Kashif, 34; Kashif’s three boys, ages 7, 4 and 2; Sahin’s sister; and a family friend. All but one are U.S.-born citizens, but Kashif Irfan said he and the others think they were profiled at least in part because of their appearance. He said three of the six adults in the party are of Pakistani descent, two are of Turkish descent and one is African American. He also said they have a traditionally Muslim appearance, with the men wearing beards and the women in head scarves.

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Reid, Burris To Meet As Senate Showdown Looms

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 4th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

Reid, Burris To Meet As Senate Showdown Looms
Arrangements are under way for a Wednesday meeting between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Roland Burris, the Democrat tapped by Illinois Gov. Rod…

Brian Normoyle: Coleman Should Concede to Victorious Senator Franken
On the morning after the November 2008 election in Minnesota, incumbent Senator Norm Coleman prematurely declared victory in his long, hard-fought reelection bid against opponent…

Paul Jenkins: Along Came Caroline. And Andrew. And Beau.
Speculation about Hillary Clinton’s successor in the Senate will soon be moot, but the debate about America’s political dynasties is hopefully just starting. This year’s newly open Senate seats were particularly revealing, with the leading contenders in New York, Delaware, Colorado and Illinois all including the kin of prominent politicians. This is nothing new: as recently as 2000, the presidential election offered the choice between the son of a former president and grandson of a Senator, George W. Bush, and the son of a Senator, Al Gore. And, of course, long before that, the Adams’ had been the first father and son US presidents. But rather than disappearing as one would expect in a more mature, diverse democracy, the habit seems to be intensifying.


No International Outcry Against Hamas

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 4th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

No International Outcry Against Hamas
Just for a lark, I decided to google “international condemnations of Hamas” this morning. You can guess what came up, right? Naturally, searching for condemnations of Hamas, one finds only international condemnations of Israel. An Australian report noted that the “British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is calling for an urgent ceasefire, while Russia’s Foreign Minister says he’s told his Israeli counterpart to urgently halt the military action.” The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, “strongly condemned Israel’s disproportionate use of force,” as did Brazil. Indonesia called on all countries to “sever all forms of diplomatic and business ties with Israel.” French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who currently holds the rotating chair of the European Union, did call upon Hamas to halt its rocket attacks but also censured Israel’s “disproportionate response.” Let’s fantasize. Let’s pretend that the “international community” (it’s not a community, thus the quotation marks) actually lived by the principles it claims to advance. It happens that international communiteer par excellence, Jimmy Carter, (he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts”) was in Syria on Dec. 14, meeting with Hamas leaders. Nobel laureate Carter was silent when Hamas announced its decision to allow an Egyptian brokered ceasefire with Israel to expire. Nor did he — or any international leader — comment upon the 4,000 rockets that Hamas has rained down on Israel just since 2005.


In Cut and Paste Job, Treasury Admits It Still Doesn’t Know What Banks Are Doing With Bailout Money

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 4th, 2009 5:34 am by HL

In Cut and Paste Job, Treasury Admits It Still Doesn’t Know What Banks Are Doing With Bailout Money
Earlier this month, as we noted at the time, the congressional oversight panel for the financial bailout released a report on how the Treasury is spending the $700 billion in taxpayer money Congress gave them. In its report, the panel,…





Report: SEC Probing Other Madoff-Style Ponzi Schemes
Was Madoff just the tip of the iceberg? The SEC is investigating at least one case in which investors may have been cheated out of as much as $1 billion, by money managers using tactics similar to those alleged to…


Israeli Professor in Washington Post: War Is “Unnecessary, Cruel and Cynical”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 4th, 2009 5:33 am by HL

Israeli Professor in Washington Post: War Is “Unnecessary, Cruel and Cynical”
It just gets worse and worse. But, as always, some of the most eloquent anti-war testimonies come from Israel itself. The surprise here is that an American and not an Israeli or European paper published it (the MSM’s bias in…

Watching Death Day and Night So Close By. . .
I have just been communicating in the last few minutes with two friends over Facebook — one a prominent Jewish American blogger now visiting family in an Orthodox community in Israel — and the other a prominent Arab Muslim blogger…

The Grave Dancers
I’m so happy to see that Sam Zell, the “grave dancer” who has already destroyed our local newspaper, the L.A. Times, has found fresh territory to plunder. Sam and a bunch of former Resolution Trust Company (R.T.C.) officials are working…


Suicide bombing in Iraq kills as many as 32 people.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 4th, 2009 5:32 am by HL

Suicide bombing in Iraq kills as many as 32 people.
Outside of Baghdad yesterday, a suicide bomber disrupted a reconciliation gathering, killing as many as 32 people and wounding dozens more. Capt. Muthanna Ahmed, a spokesman for the provincial police, told the Washington Post that the “gathering was convened to foster reconciliation between Sunni and Shiite tribes in a region once so violent that residents […]

Outside of Baghdad yesterday, a suicide bomber disrupted a reconciliation gathering, killing as many as 32 people and wounding dozens more. Capt. Muthanna Ahmed, a spokesman for the provincial police, told the Washington Post that the “gathering was convened to foster reconciliation between Sunni and Shiite tribes in a region once so violent that residents had nicknamed it the Triangle of Death.” The attack was the worst Iraq has seen “since a suicide bomber killed 57 people at a Dec. 11 meeting of Arab and Kurdish leaders who had gathered to discuss ways to reduce tensions in the contested northern city of Kirkuk.”

Fox News claims ?magic negro? text was ?inadvertently cleared for air.?
As ThinkProgress recently noted, Fox News allowed at least one racist message directed toward President-elect Obama to make it on the air during its New Years broadcast. In a statement to TVNewser yesterday, Fox News VP of programming Suzanne Scott defended the incident, claiming that the text message referring to Rush Limbaugh’s “Barack the Magic […]

As ThinkProgress recently noted, Fox News allowed at least one racist message directed toward President-elect Obama to make it on the air during its New Years broadcast. In a statement to TVNewser yesterday, Fox News VP of programming Suzanne Scott defended the incident, claiming that the text message referring to Rush Limbaugh’s “Barack the Magic Negro” song was “inadvertently cleared for air.” Instead of offering an apology, Scott took the opportunity to attack Fox’s rivals:

Fox News VP of programming Suzanne Scott explains, “We received tens of thousands of text message submissions during our New Years Eve special, and this particular viewer submission was inadvertently cleared for air. At FOX we recognize our error as opposed to networks who allow their hosts to utter crude vulgarities to the public.”

Fox New has a history of allowing racially-charged language aimed at Obama and his family to make it on air and then claiming it was simply a mistake. In June, after a Fox chyron referred to Michelle Obama as “Obama’s Baby Mama,” Fox’s Senior Vice President of Programming Bill Shine explained it by saying that “A producer on the program exercised poor judgment in using this chyron during the segment.”


Forest Service Is Set to Allow the Paving of Logging Roads, Aiding Developer

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 4th, 2009 5:31 am by HL

Forest Service Is Set to Allow the Paving of Logging Roads, Aiding Developer
LOS ANGELES — The Bush administration appears poised to push through a change in U.S. Forest Service agreements that would make it far easier for mountain forests to be converted to housing subdivisions.

Colo. Senate Replacement Named
In a surprise choice, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) appointed Denver schools Superintendent Michael Bennet to fill the Senate seat vacated by Ken Salazar, who is slated to become interior secretary in Barack Obama’s administration.

The Talk Shows
Guests to be interviewed today on major television talk shows:

Curbs May Be Eased On Paving In Forests
LOS ANGELES — The Bush administration appears poised to push through a change in U.S. Forest Service agreements that would make it far easier for mountain forests to be converted to housing subdivisions.

Tone May Be Key to Obama’s Agenda
Rarely have lawmakers confronted an agenda as ambitious as the one Congress will face upon convening this week, with an incoming president pushing to stabilize an economy on the brink of long-term recession, to create universal health coverage and to overhaul federal energy policies.