tagged w/ ksirys
As of ,....THIS "moment".... ( ( ( ding ) ) )
- I have only looked up 3 citizens o' c u r r e n t ,..........so far,........
janforgore : 59,750 total votes
33,311 submissions ( thats CRAZY nuts )
17, 269 rantings,....uhm, comments
(I kid , .....I kid , -The anointed prophetess of Gaia , Gaea,...Ge,....( U KNOW,...heap BIG avatar of the EARTH GODDESS )
all time winner ! ( for now. . . .)
pjacobs51 : 24,131 total votes ( he sticks with it, fer sure, fer sure )
- - - a VERY bored man,.....but he tries his best to keep amused,...and knowledgeable,... I think the rest of us are the better for it.
- - - - ( I think they win,....but I need help with data---- lend a hand
this is a fun NEW YEAR " c u r r e n t " - thing . )
me 7535 total votes
1077 submissions - - - -( + this one )
16,269 comments GOD,....but I talk a lot, - - - not more than the "earth itself", ....mind you,.........
----------- HELP ------------
( with this ) ..................add NAMES !
http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/ppart/ppart1002/ppart100200029/6416468-gold-star-in-a-gold-circle.jpgAs of ,....THIS "moment".... ( ( ( ding ) ) )
- I have only looked up... more
By IAN URBINA
Published: March 24, 2010
PHILADELPHIA — It started innocently enough seven years ago as an act of performance art where people linked through social-networking Web sites and text messaging suddenly gathered on the streets for impromptu pillow fights in New York, group disco routines in London, and even a huge snowball fight in Washington.
Laurence Kesterson/The Philadephia Inquirer
Young people filled South Street in Philadelphia on Saturday in what officials said was the latest flash mob to turn dangerous.
Mustafah Abdulaziz for The New York Times
Seth Kaufman was injured in the flash mob Saturday, which he called “a tsunami of kids.”
But these so-called flash mobs have taken a more aggressive and raucous turn here as hundreds of teenagers have been converging downtown for a ritual that is part bullying, part running of the bulls: sprinting down the block, the teenagers sometimes pause to brawl with one another, assault pedestrians or vandalize property.
On Wednesday, the police here said that they had had enough. They announced plans to step up enforcement of a curfew already on the books, and to tighten it if there is another incident.
They added that they planned to hold parents legally responsible for their children’s actions. They are also considering making free transit passes for students invalid after 4 p.m., instead of 7 p.m., to limit teenagers’ ability to ride downtown.
“This is bad decision making by a small group of young people who are doing silly but dangerous stuff,” Mayor Michael A. Nutter said in an interview Wednesday. “We intend to do something about it immediately.”
Flash mobs are not unique to Philadelphia, but they have been more frequent here than elsewhere. Others that resulted in arrests and injuries have been reported over the past year in Boston, South Orange, N.J., and Brooklyn.
Philadelphia officials added that they had also begun getting help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to monitor social-media networks. And television and radio stations are helping to recruit hip-hop artists to make public service announcements imploring teenagers to end the practice.
In the past year, at least four of the flash mobs have broken out in the city, including one on Saturday in which roving teenagers broke into fights, several onlookers were injured and at least three people were arrested.
“It was like a tsunami of kids,” said Seth Kaufman, 20, a pizza deliveryman at Olympia II Pizza & Restaurant on South Street. He lifted his shirt to show gashes along his back and arm. He also had bruises on his forehead he said were from kicks and punches he suffered while trying to keep a rowdy crowd from entering the shop, where a fight was already under way.
“By the time you could hear them yelling, they were flooding the streets and the stores and the sidewalks,” Mr. Kaufman said.
The ad hoc gangs have scared many pedestrians off the streets.
City residents are also starting to complain about the number of unsupervised children, and child advocates are asking if there are enough activities to keep young people busy after school.
“We definitely need more jobs for kids, we need more summer jobs for kids, we need more after-school programming, and we need more parent support,” said Shelly Yanoff, executive director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, a children’s advocacy group in Philadelphia.
Ms. Yanoff added that libraries and after-school programs had been reduced and a program for youth offenders had been cut sharply. On Friday, officials said, two preteenagers assaulted a woman as part of a violent game called “Catch and Wreck,” in which children pick out people who appear homeless and then beat them and take any money they have.
The police, who say these assaults are unrelated to flash mobs, arrested an 11-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl in the attack. The police said they also planned to charge the boy in an attack on a 73-year-old man who was beaten and robbed in the same area on March 13.
The flash mobs have raised questions about race and class.
Most of the teenagers who have taken part in them are black and from poor neighborhoods. Most of the areas hit have been predominantly white business districts.
In the flash mob on Saturday, groups of teenagers were chanting “black boys” and “burn the city,” bystanders said.
In a Feb. 16 melee, 150 teenagers spilled out of the Gallery shopping mall east of City Hall during rush hour and rampaged through Macy’s, knocking down customers and damaging displays.
The police arrested 15 of the teenagers and, according to one report, some had not been allowed to call their parents six hours after they were detained.
Clay Yeager, a juvenile justice consultant and former director of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in Pennsylvania, said he believed the flash mobs were partly a result of a decline in state money for youth violence prevention programs.
Financing for the programs has dropped 93 percent to $1.2 million in this year’s budget compared with $16 million in 2002. City financing for such programs has dropped to $1.9 million in the past three years compared with $4.1 million from 1999 through 2002, a 53 percent drop.
Mayor Nutter, who is black, rejected the notion that race or the city cut in services was a factor.
“I don’t think people should be finding excuses for inappropriate behavior,” Mr. Nutter said. “There is no racial component to stupid behavior, and parents should not be looking to the government to provide entertainment for their children.”
Violent crime in Philadelphia has dropped 12 percent and homicides have fallen 23 percent since 2008.
Bill Wasik, a senior editor at Harper’s who is credited with introducing the notion of a flash mob in 2003, said he was surprised by the new focus of some of the gatherings.
Mr. Wasik said the mobs started as a kind of playful social experiment meant to encourage spontaneity and big gatherings to temporarily take over commercial and public areas simply to show that they could.
“It’s terrible that these Philly mobs have turned violent,” he said.By IAN URBINA
Published: March 24, 2010
PHILADELPHIA — It started... more
3 years ago
Christian Science Monitor
.High divorce rates and teen pregnancy are worse in conservative states than liberal states
By Naomi Cahn and June Carbone Naomi Cahn And June Carbone – Fri Mar 12, 11:43 am ET
Washington; and Kansas City, Mo. – Ask most people about the differences between families who live in “red” (conservative) states and “blue” (liberal) states, and you’ll hear a common refrain: Massachusetts and California are hotbeds of divorce and teen pregnancy, while Nebraska and Texas are havens of virtue and stability.
The reality is quite different. And the evidence should force all of us – conservative and liberal alike – to think carefully about the policies we set to help American families thrive in the 21st century.
According to a new federal study, women with a college education are much more likely to be married than are women who have never graduated from high school. And men and women who married after the age of 25 have lower divorce rates than couples who were married at younger ages.
We could have predicted these results. The US family system, which once differed little by class or region, has become a marker of race, culture, and religion. A new “blue” family paradigm has handsomely rewarded those who invest in women’s as well as men’s education and defer childbearing until the couple is better established. These families, concentrated in urban areas and the coasts, have seen their divorce rates fall back to the level of the 1960s, incomes rise, and nonmarital births remain rare. With later marriage has also come greater stability and less divorce.
Societal support for high school sweethearts who want to tie the knot at graduation or for shotgun weddings – where the bride is accidentally pregnant – no longer exists.
Difficulties in the “red” world, meanwhile, have grown worse. Traditionalists continue to advocate abstinence until marriage and bans on abortion. They’ve said an emphatic “no” to the practices that have made the new “blue” system workable.
Yet, paradoxically, as sociologist Brad Wilcox reports, evangelical Protestant teens have sex at slightly earlier ages on average than their nonevangelical peers (respectively, 16.38 years old versus 16.52 years old), evangelical Protestant couples are also slightly more likely to divorce than nonevangelical couples, and evangelical mothers are actually more likely to work full time outside the home than their nonevangelical peers.
While the devout who make traditional marriages work have happy stable lives, economic circumstances have made it harder to find matches that support gendered family roles and to get marginal couples through family tensions.
Sociologist Paul Amato concludes that among the marriages least likely to last are those in which women who would prefer homemaking roles end up working outside of the home much more than they expected because of the husband’s inability to support the family.
These factors reflect class and cultural differences, but all of our research suggests that the great recession is likely to make things worse. The hallmark of what we have termed the blue family paradigm is training for autonomy.
With a more extended transition to adulthood, better educated youth also need greater flexibility – to navigate their developing sexuality; to switch jobs, cities, and specialties; and to renegotiate family and career responsibilities. In hard times, dual careers provide a cushion, and flexibility about gender and work roles makes it easier to trade off child care and employment.
Hard times, however, also increase calls for a return to more fixed and traditional values. The fact that traditional families are flailing often persuades them that a return to traditional values is that much more critical. In today’s world, however, almost all of the traditional nostrums have proved counterproductive.
Missing from this debate is recognition of the bankruptcy of traditionalist family values as policy for the postindustrial era. We are entirely sympathetic with those inclined to lock up their daughters from puberty until marriage, but we do recognize that the societies abroad most insistent on policing women’s virtue are locked into cycles of poverty.
In the United States, states that emphasize abstinence-only education, limit public subsidies of contraception, restrict access to abortion – and, yes, oppose gay marriage – have higher teen birth and divorce rates.
Yet the failure of the family values movement simply produces another round of moral panic and calls for more draconian restrictions. The most destructive have been those that marginalize the next generation. The latest studies show that as the economy has gone south, teen and nonmarital births and abortions have all increased. This indicates that contraception has become less available and pregnant women more desperate about their futures. Employment figures also demonstrate that male employment has fallen even further than female employment, making youthful weddings that much riskier.
The solution? As we outline in great detail in our book “Red Families v. Blue Families,” there are three critical steps we can take: (1) promote access to contraception – within marriage as well as outside it; (2) develop a greater ability to combine not only work and family, but family and education; and (3) make sure the next generation stays in school, learns the skills to be employed, and cultivates values that can adapt to the future.
Naomi Cahn is the John Theodore Fey Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School, and a senior fellow at the Donaldson Adoption Institute. June Carbone is the Edward A. Smith/Missouri Chair of Law, the Constitution and Society at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. They are coauthors of “Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture.”
---Christian Science Monitor
.High divorce rates and teen pregnancy are worse in... more
3 years ago
Pakistan suffers record number of deaths due to militant violence3,021 people killed in terrorist attacks in 2009 – a 48 percent increase.
A market set on fire in retaliation for a suicide blast in Karachi.
A record number of Pakistani civilians and security forces died in militant violence last year as the country reeled from an onslaught of Taliban suicide bombings that propelled it into the ranks of the world's most perilous places.
Pakistan saw 3,021 deaths in terrorist attacks in in 2009, up 48% on the year before, according to a new report by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based defence thinktank. Researchers counted a total of 12,600 violent deaths across the country in 2009, 14 times more than in 2006.
At least half of the dead were militants who were killed in US drone strikes or, mostly, sweeping army offensives against their mountain strongholds of Swat and South Waziristan along the Afghan border. Another 2,000 or so Pakistanis died in bloodshed unrelated to militancy: political clashes, tribal feuds and border skirmishes.
In comparison just over 2,000 civilians were killed in war-torn Afghanistan during the first ten months of 2009, according to the UN. In Iraq 4,500 civilians were killed during the year, said Iraq Body Count, an independent monitoring organisation.
The high militant death toll in Pakistan was driven by the army operations, although battlefield casualty figures are notoriously difficult to confirm. The army dislodged the Taliban from their Swat stronghold but failed to capture the local leader, Maulana Fazlullah, who reportedly slipped into Afghanistan.
In October the army moved into South Waziristan, capturing roads and towns but not the militant leadership, which is thought to have moved into North Waziristan, a hornet's nest of militancy, where speculation is growing that the army will open a third front.
The army has failed to stop the suicide attacks, which surged by one third to 87 bombings that killed 1,300 people and injured 3,600. PIPS researcher Abdul Basit said the militants were using "innovative tactics" such as targeted assassinations, kidnapping and the use of sophisticated bomb materials. "This year they were more technologically savvy," he said.
The strife is frazzling public opinion. A recent Gallup poll found that four-fifths of Pakistanis feel unsafe in public. "Life has completely changed for everyone," said Ali Mustafa, a doctor whose best friend was gunned down during a "swarm" attack on a Rawalpindi mosque in December.
The new year started as badly as the last one ended: a Taliban suicide attack on a volleyball match near South Waziristan on January 1 killed over 90 people. In recent days, Karachi has been wrenched by a spate of politically driven killings, unlinked to Taliban militancy, that have killed about 40 people.
Imtiaz Gul, author of a book on militancy, said that although only a small number of al-Qaida fighters were hiding in Pakistan, the group provided the inspiration for much for the mayhem. "What we see in this region right now is a fusion of interests and ideologies," he said. "Al-Qaida is connecting people."
The tight bond between homegrown and foreign militants was underscored at the weekend when a video emerged showing the Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, sitting beside Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, the Jordanian suicide bomber who killed seven CIA operatives at a base in southern Afghanistan on December 30.
Pakistan has become a magnet for aspiring jihadis across the world, partly thanks to the power of the internet. Yesterday five young American Muslims went on trial in the eastern city of Sargodha. They are accused of coming to the country to try and plot terrorist attacks. The men deny the charges.News
Pakistan suffers record number of deaths due to... more
3 years ago
During the depths of the economic crisis last year, the prices for many goods held steady or even dropped. But on American farms, the picture was far different, as farmers watched the price they paid for seeds skyrocket. Corn seed prices rose 32 percent; soybean seeds were up 24 percent.
Such price increases for seeds — the most important purchase a farmer makes each year — are part of an unprecedented climb that began more than a decade ago, stemming from the advent of genetically engineered crops and the rapid concentration in the seed industry that accompanied it.
The price increases have not only irritated many farmers, they have caught the attention of the Obama administration. The Justice Department began an antitrust investigation of the seed industry last year, with an apparent focus on Monsanto, which controls much of the market for the expensive bioengineered traits that make crops resistant to insect pests and herbicides.
The investigation is just one facet of a push by the Obama administration to take a closer look at competition — or the lack thereof — in agriculture, from the dairy industry to livestock to commodity crops, like corn and soybeans.
On Friday, as the spring planting season approaches, Eric H. Holder Jr., the attorney general, and Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, will speak at the first of a series of public meetings aimed at letting farmers and industry executives voice their ideas. The meeting, in Ankeny, Iowa, will include a session on the seed industry.
“I think most farmers would look to have more competition in the industry,” said Laura L. Foell, who raises corn and soybeans on 900 acres in Schaller, Iowa.
The Iowa attorney general, Tom Miller, has also been scrutinizing Monsanto’s market dominance. The company’s genetically engineered traits are in the vast majority of corn and soybeans grown in the United States, Mr. Miller said. “That gives them considerable power, and questions arise about how that power is used,” he said.
Critics charge that Monsanto has used license agreements with smaller seed companies to gain an unfair advantage over competitors and to block cheaper generic versions of its seeds from eventually entering the market. DuPont, a rival company, also claims Monsanto has unfairly barred it from combining biotech traits in a way that would benefit farmers.
In a recent interview at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, its chief executive, Hugh Grant, said that while his company might be the market leader, competition was increasing as the era of biotech crops matured.
“We were the first out of the blocks, and I think what you see now is a bunch of people catching up and aggressively competing, and I’m fighting with them,” Mr. Grant said. He said farmers chose the company’s products because they liked the results in the field, not because of any untoward conduct on Monsanto’s part.
Yet in a seed market that Monsanto dominates, the jump in prices has been nothing short of stunning.
Including the sharp increases last year, Agriculture Department figures show that corn seed prices have risen 135 percent since 2001. Soybean prices went up 108 percent over that period. By contrast, the Consumer Price Index rose only 20 percent in that period.
Many farmers have been willing to pay a premium price because the genetically engineered seeds that make up most of the market come with advantages. Genetic modifications for both corn and soybeans make the crops resistant to herbicides, simplifying weed control and saving labor, fuel and machinery costs. Many genetically engineered corn and cotton seeds also resist insect pests, which cuts down on chemical spraying.
Lee Quarles, a Monsanto spokesman, said the price increases were justified because the quality of the seeds had been going up, and new biotech traits kept being added. For example, he said, many corn varieties now include multiple genes to battle insect pests, raising their value.
Mr. Quarles said higher prices were justified because the traits saved farmers money and made their operations more efficient.
Monsanto began investing heavily in biotechnology in the 1980s — ahead of most other agricultural companies. In the mid-1990s, it became the first to widely market genetically engineered seeds for row crops, introducing soybeans containing the so-called Roundup Ready gene, which allowed plants to tolerate spraying of its popular Roundup weed killer. Soon after, it began selling corn seed engineered with a gene to resist insect pests.
The number of biotech plant traits has grown since then, and other large companies — including DuPont, Dow Chemical, Syngenta, BASF and Bayer CropScience — have gotten into the business. But Monsanto has taken advantage of its head start. Today more than 90 percent of soybeans and more than 80 percent of the corn grown in this country are genetically engineered. A majority of those crops contain one or more Monsanto genes.
As biotechnology has spread, Monsanto and its competitors have bought dozens of smaller seed companies, increasing the concentration of market power in the industry.
rest at linkHttp://www.nytimes/com/2010/03/12/business/12seed.html?partner=rss&emc=rss... more
3 years ago
By CORNELIA DEAN
Published: March 4, 2010
Climate scientists have long warned that global warming could unlock vast stores of the greenhouse gas methane that are frozen into the Arctic permafrost, setting off potentially significant increases in global warming.
Now researchers at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and elsewhere say this change is under way in a little-studied area under the sea, the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, west of the Bering Strait.
Natalia Shakhova, a scientist at the university and a leader of the study, said it was too soon to say whether the findings suggest that a dangerous release of methane looms. In a telephone news conference, she said researchers were only beginning to track the movement of this methane into the atmosphere as the undersea permafrost that traps it degrades.
But climate experts familiar with the new research reported in Friday’s issue of the journal Science that even though it does not suggest imminent climate catastrophe, it is important because of methane’s role as a greenhouse gas. Although carbon dioxide is far more abundant and persistent in the atmosphere, ton for ton atmospheric methane traps at least 25 times as much heat.
Until recently, undersea permafrost has been little studied, but work so far shows it is already sending surprising amounts of methane into the atmosphere, Dr. Shakhova and other researchers are finding.
Last year, scientists from Britain and Germany reported that they had detected plumes of methane rising from the Arctic seabed in the West Spitsbergen area, north of Scandinavia. At the time, they said they had begun their work hoping to gain data to predict future emissions and had not expected to find evidence that the process was under way.
It is “indispensable” to keep track of methane in the region, Martin Heimann of the Max Planck Institute in Germany said in a commentary accompanying the Science report. So far, Dr. Heimann wrote, methane contributions from Arctic permafrost have been “negligible.” He added: “But will this persist into the future under sustained warming trends? We do not know.”
In an e-mail message, Euan G. Nisbet of the University of London, an expert on atmospheric methane, said the situation “needs to be watched carefully.”
Atmospheric concentrations of methane have more than doubled since pre-industrial times, Dr. Heimann wrote. Most of it comes from human activities including energy production, cattle raising and the cultivation of rice. But about 40 percent is natural, including the decomposition of organic materials in wetlands and frozen wetlands like permafrost.
Dr. Shakhova said that permafrost in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, peat land that flooded as sea levels rose after the last ice age, is degrading in part because runoff from rivers that feed the Arctic Ocean is warmer than in the past.
She estimated that annual methane emissions from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf total about seven teragrams. (A teragram is 1.1 million tons.) By some estimates, global methane emissions total about 500 teragrams a year.
Dr. Shakhova said that undersea methane ordinarily undergoes oxidation as it rises to the surface, where it is released as carbon dioxide. But because water over the shelf is at most about 50 meters deep, she said, the gas bubbles to the surface there as methane. As a result, she said, atmospheric levels of methane over the Arctic are 1.85 parts per million, almost three times as high as the global average of 0.6 or 0.7 parts per million. Concentrations over the shelf are 2 parts per million or higher.
But, “I am not the person to judge” whether the Arctic findings suggest that estimates of climate change in coming decades should be rewritten, she added.
“I would not go so far as to suggest any implications,” she said. “We are at the very beginning of research.”
Andrew C. Revkin contributed reporting.By CORNELIA DEAN
Published: March 4, 2010
Climate scientists have long warned that... more
3 years ago
By AL GORE
Published: February 27, 2010
It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.
Times Topics: Global Warming | Al GoreOf course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy — the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.
But what a burden would be lifted! We would no longer have to worry that our grandchildren would one day look back on us as a criminal generation that had selfishly and blithely ignored clear warnings that their fate was in our hands. We could instead celebrate the naysayers who had doggedly persisted in proving that every major National Academy of Sciences report on climate change had simply made a huge mistake.
I, for one, genuinely wish that the climate crisis were an illusion. But unfortunately, the reality of the danger we are courting has not been changed by the discovery of at least two mistakes in the thousands of pages of careful scientific work over the last 22 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, the crisis is still growing because we are continuing to dump 90 million tons of global-warming pollution every 24 hours into the atmosphere — as if it were an open sewer.
It is true that the climate panel published a flawed overestimate of the melting rate of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas, and used information about the Netherlands provided to it by the government, which was later found to be partly inaccurate. In addition, e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain showed that scientists besieged by an onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics may not have adequately followed the requirements of the British freedom of information law.
But the scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes. What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged. It is also worth noting that the panel’s scientists — acting in good faith on the best information then available to them — probably underestimated the range of sea-level rise in this century, the speed with which the Arctic ice cap is disappearing and the speed with which some of the large glacial flows in Antarctica and Greenland are melting and racing to the sea.
Because these and other effects of global warming are distributed globally, they are difficult to identify and interpret in any particular location. For example, January was seen as unusually cold in much of the United States. Yet from a global perspective, it was the second-hottest January since surface temperatures were first measured 130 years ago.
Similarly, even though climate deniers have speciously argued for several years that there has been no warming in the last decade, scientists confirmed last month that the last 10 years were the hottest decade since modern records have been kept.By AL GORE
Published: February 27, 2010
It would be an enormous relief if the... more
3 years ago
Considering how many conservatives visit Current to berate, falsify information and diseminate bad information, we progressives should visit the websites conservatives call home and return the favor. Below are listed the fifty biggest conservative websites visit them and do your worst.
1) Fox News: 260
2) Wall Street Journal: 383
3) The Drudge Report: 748
4) New York Post: 888
5) WorldNetDaily: 2,692
6) Newsmax: 3,264
7) Free Republic: 3,988
8) The Washington Times: 4,717
9) TownHall: 5,986
10) The Rush Limbaugh Show: 7,624
11) Real Clear Politics: 7,957
12) National Review: 10,346
13) Hot Air: 11,517
14) Michelle Malkin: 12,871
15) Glenn Beck: 13,153
16) Human Events Online: 17,538
17) The Heritage Foundation: 20,746
18) Newsbusters: 21,452
19) Lew Rockwell: 24,677
20) The Weekly Standard: 25,565
21) News With Views: 27,352
22) Sean Hannity: 28,086
23) Pajamas Media 28,969
24) The Ludwig von Mises Institute: 29,116
25) Atlas Shrugs: 29,548
26) The American Thinker: 29,980
27) Cybercast News Service: 32,348
28) Neal Boortz: 32,857
29) Reason: 33,254
30) Lucianne: 34,135
31) Ann Coulter 36,864
32) The Cato Journal: 39,187
33) Daily Paul: 41,465
34) The Volokh Conspiracy: 42,021
35) Bill O'Reilly: 42,533
36) Redstate: 42,655
37) Conservapedia: 43,866
38) Power Line: 44,542
39) Jewish World Review: 44,765
40) Front Page Magazine: 48,645
41) Daniel Pipes: 49,692
42) Little Green Footballs: 49,844
43) Campaign for Liberty: 50,638
44) The American Spectator: 52,377
45) Commentary: 55,447
46) GOPUSA: 58,771
47) James Lileks': 60,536
48) Right Wing News: 63,097
49) Wizbang: 63,427
50) Day by Day:Considering how many conservatives visit Current to berate, falsify information and... more
3 years ago
Owen Franken for The New York Times
Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Mosque of Drancy, in the northern suburbs of Paris, supports the French law to ban the wearing of Niqabs, full body and face covering for Moslem women in France.
HASSEN CHALGHOUMI, 38, is the imam of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s dreams. He supports a ban on the full facial veil, the so-called burqa; he opposes religious radicalism and promotes a “republican Islam” focused on France; he is ecumenical; and he favors dialogue with France’s Jews.
But Mr. Chalghoumi has also received death threats for his public positions and in particular his support for a ban on facial veils, including the black niqab, which reveals only the eyes. There are voices of dissent among the 2,500 worshipers at his mosque here in Drancy, just northeast of Paris. He has been called “the imam of the Jews.”
Twice, bands of young men, wearing knitted skullcaps and many of them bearded, demonstrated angrily at the mosque. At Friday Prayer two weeks ago, they demanded his resignation. Some shouted, “The anger of God on you,” which Mr. Chalghoumi understood as a threat.Owen Franken for The New York Times
Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Mosque of Drancy,... more
3 years ago
Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Security forces clashed with demonstrators Thursday as Iran marked the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, while thousands blanketed a Tehran square to hear their president announce the expansion of Iran's nuclear program.
Pro-government security personnel -- both plainclothes and uniformed -- assaulted vehicles carrying Mehdi Karrubi, a reformist leader who ran for president in the disputed June presidential elections, and former President Mohammad Khatami as their opposition supporters poured onto the streets, opposition sources said.
Militia members also beat the wife of opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi with batons, according to postings on the social networking Web site Facebook and opposition Web sites.
The forces were preventing opposition leaders and their followers -- the so-called Green Movement -- from reaching Azadi Square (Freedom Square) in central Tehran, where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered an anniversary address extolling the country's nuclear program to supporters. They fired on crowds in some areas and pepper-sprayed demonstrators in others, opposition groups said.
CNN has not been able to independently confirm opposition reports.
Follow CNN's special coverage on Iran
Members of the Basij, the paramilitary force loyal to Iran's hard-line leadership, attacked Karrubi while he was headed to a meeting with supporters, his son Mohammad-Taghi Karrubi told CNN. The militia broke a window in the car in which Karrubi was riding, an opposition Web site said. When he switched cars, that car also was attacked.
"The guards attacked and the crowds came to him. When the crowds started to come, and surrounded him, again the guards attacked with tear gas, tear as well as the batons and different kinds of weapons against the people. And unfortunately my father received very bad gas tears and his face is burned," Mohammad-Taghi Karrubi said.Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Security forces clashed with demonstrators Thursday as Iran... more
3 years ago
Frank B. Porter Jr.
Meltdown’s causes are still in place
By Frank B. Porter Jr.
December 9, 2009
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Sending your articleYour article has been sent. E-mail| Print| Reprints| Yahoo! Buzz| ShareThisText size – + WHILE EVERYTHING was falling to pieces in September 2008, James Stewart tells us in The New Yorker, a perplexed President Bush said to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, “Someday you guys are going to need to tell me how we ended up with a system like this.’’ If they ever told him, he never told us. But we’ve got some clues.
It appears to have been an equal opportunity meltdown with both sides of the political aisle being ably represented. From the left came earnest but misguided social engineering which, under the banner of affordable housing, pressured the money lenders to provide credit to the uncreditworthy. On the right was flagrant pandering to Wall Street’s big dogs, which allowed them to create the obscenely over-leveraged capital structures that ultimately brought them down and should have been unthinkable from the get-go to anyone with an MBA.
However we ended up with this system, it is becoming clear that little is going to change. Community groups are trying to reinflate the housing bubble, the Dow is rising, bankers are smirking again, and Wall Street lobbyists, perhaps with inside assistance, are drilling bigger and better loopholes in the administration’s flaccid efforts at regulatory reform.
We certainly can’t expect changes in the bankers’ hard-wired behavior. The only financial animals who can survive in dead water are the investment advisers. They extract their fees whether the tide’s ebbing or flooding.
For the rest of the sharks, inactivity spells death. Like troops caught in the open, they’ve been trained to “do something, even if it’s wrong’’ or has no purpose other than generating fees and commissions. This is highly rational behavior, because, by the time any particular toxic mess explodes, its purveyors will have moved on.
We can expect the customary dance to continue. Go public. Go private. Stir. Serve. And repeat. Acquire. Divest. Leverage. Flip. Borrow. Hedge the borrowing. Refinance the borrowing. And do it again. Write “fairness’’ opinions. Price public stock offerings artificially low so favored insiders will benefit when the market recognizes the issuer’s real value and the share price jumps.
Much of this wouldn’t have happened without the complicity of those sleeping sentinels, the ultimate enablers, the rating agencies. Having been paid by the issuers of the securities they were analyzing, the rating agencies assigned them the magnas and summas that made even the most rotten tranches eligible for purchase by regulated financial institutions.
OK then, what’s to be done? Answer: plenty, but how about starting with this - have the federal government take over the rating of securities. Give this function to the SEC or create a new agency, but, in either case, make certain the new entity’s funding is not subject to legislative meddling and that it is staffed by persons talented enough to cut through complexity, spot mutton dressed up as lamb, and not be threatened or penalized for making that call.
Strip Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch of their power to determine whether a security is a permissible investment for regulated purchasers and, by rule or statute, transfer this function to the new federally chartered entity. Thank the rating agencies for their diligence, then hire their ablest analysts.
Without something like this, we can expect another debacle in less than a decade as we keep disassembling the few remaining Depression-era protections. Future products will have different names, but their sale will, as always, be predicated on the “greater fool’’ theory and they will, of course, be old wine in new wineskins. When will we learn that outsized returns are always accompanied by comparable risks?
Who might lead this brave new entity? Why not someone who’d be eager to tackle grade inflation and not be expecting a job on Wall Street when he completed his tour of duty? How about David Swensen, Yale’s respected chief investment officer, a man who, inexplicably, is not entirely focused on maximizing his personal bottom line? Whoever is chosen must pass the Bernie Madoff test. Owning more than three Rolexes is an automatic bar. So is direct or indirect support from the bankers.Frank B. Porter Jr.
Meltdown’s causes are still in place
By Frank B.... more
3 years ago