Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - Jury Awards Father Nearly $11 Million in Funeral Protesters Case - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - Jury Awards Father Nearly $11 Million in Funeral Protesters Case - Local News News Articles National News US News: "BALTIMORE — The father of a fallen Marine was awarded nearly $11 million Wednesday in damages by a jury that found leaders of a fundamentalist church had invaded the family's privacy and inflicted emotional distress when they picketed the Marine's funeral. The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned later in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress to the Marine's father, Albert Snyder of York, Pa. Snyder sued the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified monetary damages after members staged a demonstration at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq"

Women blamed for men’s sleepless nights -Times Online

Women blamed for men’s sleepless nights -Times Online: "Women who wear figure-hugging clothes are giving Muslim men sleepless nights and distracting them from prayer, a prominent cleric said yesterday."

North Muskegon campaigns have some intensity -

North Muskegon campaigns have some intensity - "Override Headlee in Ferrysburg on Nov. 6

Voters in the city of Ferrysburg are being asked to do something this Nov. 6 that they wouldn't have to bother with, had the late Mr. Headlee not succeeded in attaching his pernicious tax-limiting provision to the state's constitution. The so-called Headlee Amendment was aimed at tying homeowners' property taxes to the rate of inflation; what it mainly succeeded in doing, though, was to tie the hands of city and school officials by throwing monkey wrenches into the budget processes of municipalities and school districts throughout Michigan. Thus, Ferrysburg voters have the choice -- the honor, really -- of overriding another Headlee rollback in Ferrysburg. If it is approved, the proposal would restore 0.3424 mills that would otherwise be cut from the city's operating budget, which would generate a little over $52,000. Cities, which have inflationary pressures of their own to deal with as well as ongoing steep cuts in state-shared revenues in recent years, already have a hard enough time keeping up with just the vital and basic services that their taxpaying residents expect and deserve. We strongly urge a 'YES' vote on Ferrysburg's Headlee override. "

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Way News - 1 in 10 Schools Are 'Dropout Factories'

My Way News - 1 in 10 Schools Are 'Dropout Factories': "It's a nickname no principal could be proud of: 'Dropout Factory,' a high school where no more than 60 percent of the students who start as freshmen make it to their senior year. That description fits more than one in 10 high schools across America."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Greg Mankiw's Blog: Redistribution in the Rangel Bill

Greg Mankiw's Blog: Redistribution in the Rangel Bill: "Redistribution in the Rangel Bill

The Tax Policy Center has run the numbers to show how different income groups would be affected by the Rangel tax reform proposal compared to the tax law currently on the books.

Here is roughly what the numbers (in Table T07-0300) show:

The bottom three-fourths of households, those making less than $75,000 a year, are not much affected. They each would receive a tax cut of about $100 per year.

The next 24 percent, those making between $75,000 and $500,000, would receive much more substantial tax cuts.

Those in the $200,000 to $500,000 range, who are in the 96 to 99 percentile of the income distribution, would get a tax cut of about $3,600 per year.

The top 1 percent, those making over $500,000, would pay substantially more in taxes.
Those making more than $1 million would see their tax bill rise by an average of more than $100,000.

Thus, as a first approximation, the plan increases the progressivity of the tax code by redistributing income from the very rich (e.g., CEOs, hedge fund managers, superstar athletes and actors) to the upper middle class (e.g., doctors, lawyers, congressmen)."

LA Daily News - 34 percent believe in ghosts

LA Daily News - 34 percent believe in ghosts: "34 percent of people who say they believe in ghosts, according to a pre-Halloween poll by The Associated Press and Ipsos. That's the same proportion who believe in unidentified flying objects - exceeding the 19 percent who accept the existence of spells or witchcraft. Forty-eight percent believe in extrasensory perception, or ESP. But nearly half of you knew we were about to tell you that, right? "

Quack Michael Moore has mad view of the NHS | Minette Marrin - Times Online

Quack Michael Moore has mad view of the NHS Minette Marrin - Times Online: "Unfortunately Sicko is a dishonest film. That is not only my opinion. It is the opinion of Professor Lord Robert Winston, the consultant and advocate of the NHS. When asked on BBC Radio 4 whether he recognised the NHS as portrayed in this film, Winston replied: “No, I didn’t. Most of it was filmed at my hospital [the Hammersmith in west London], which is a very good hospital but doesn’t represent what the NHS is like.” I didn’t recognise it either, from years of visiting NHS hospitals. Moore painted a rose-tinted vision of spotless wards, impeccable treatment, happy patients who laugh away any suggestion of waiting in casualty, and a glamorous young GP who combines his devotion to his patients with a salary of £100,000, a house worth £1m and two cars. All this, and for free. This, along with an even rosier portrait of the French welfare system, is what Moore says the state can and should provide. You would never guess from Sicko that the NHS is in deep trouble, mired in scandal and incompetence, despite the injection of billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money. While there are good doctors and nurses and treatments in the NHS, there is so much that is inadequate or bad that it is dishonest to represent it as the envy of the world and a perfect blueprint for national healthcare. It isn’t. GPs’ salaries – used by Moore as evidence that a state-run system does not necessarily mean low wages – is highly controversial; their huge pay rise has coincided with a loss of home visits, a serious problem in getting GP appointments and continuing very low pay for nurses and cleaners. "

German Party Backs Highway Speed Limit | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited

German Party Backs Highway Speed Limit World Latest Guardian Unlimited: "A majority of delegates at a conference of the center-left Social Democrat party backed a resolution stating that ``a fast and unbureaucratic path to climate protection is the introduction of a general speed limit of 130 kilometers per hour,'' or 80 mph. "

Japan's death penalty under threat as EU spearheads push for global moratorium - Mainichi Daily News

Japan's death penalty under threat as EU spearheads push for global moratorium - Mainichi Daily News: "The European Union and nine other countries started an open negotiation on their draft resolution on a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty, seeking support from other UN member states in order to pass the resolution at the UN General Assembly's committee on human rights later this week. The resolution, co-authored by the 27 EU nations along with Albania, Angola, Brazil, Croatia, Gabon, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines and East Timor, requests countries that still practice the death penalty to 'establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty,' according to a copy of the draft resolution obtained by the Mainichi."

An environmental warning proposed for cars in Europe - International Herald Tribune

An environmental warning proposed for cars in Europe - International Herald Tribune: "The advertising business has jumped on the environmental bandwagon, finding ways to give all sorts of industries a 'green' tuneup and profiting in the process. But is it about to backfire? The European Parliament proposed last Wednesday that car advertisements in the European Union carry tobacco-style labels, warning of the environmental impact they cause. Under the plan, 20 percent of the space or time of any auto ad would have to be set aside for information on a car's fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, cited as a contributor to global climate change. So, should we prepare for warnings along the lines of, 'Driving this car may damage the health of the planet'?" | News | Quebec to introduce veil ban in voting News Quebec to introduce veil ban in voting: "Quebec City will follow Ottawa's lead by requiring all electors to show their faces before casting a ballot in elections. Premier Jean Charest's government is expected to introduce legislation on Thursday to compel all voters – including veiled Muslim women – to uncover their faces to a polling station official. The change will be enforced for provincial, municipal and school board elections."

Human race will 'split into two different species' | the Daily Mail

Human race will 'split into two different species' the Daily Mail: "The human race will one day split into two separate species, an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures, according to a top scientist. "

Edwards plans big for presidency - A Concord Monitor Article - Your News Source - Concord NH 03301

Edwards plans big for presidency - A Concord Monitor Article - Your News Source - Concord NH 03301: "John Edwards says if he's elected president, he'll institute a New Deal-like suite of programs to fight poverty and stem growing wealth disparity. To do it, he said, he'll ask many Americans to make sacrifices, like paying higher taxes. "

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Talks over road funding remain in dark tunnel -

Talks over road funding remain in dark tunnel - "For the second time in four months, officials from local townships got together -- along with invited guests from the Muskegon County Road Commission, the state Legislature, the Michigan Department of Transportation and other agencies -- to discuss the crumbling condition of many county roads and the need to find money to repair them. "

mebee they spent the $$ on other stuff?

Talks over road funding remain in dark tunnel - "For the second time in four months, officials from local townships got together -- along with invited guests from the Muskegon County Road Commission, the state Legislature, the Michigan Department of Transportation and other agencies -- to discuss the crumbling condition of many county roads and the need to find money to repair them. "

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Save the birdies!

No nuke, no coal, no windfarms. I'm thinking the enviros are pretty clear:
No people, No factories, No jobs.

Conservationists lose wind farm ruling Houston Chronicle: "The venture that would build the proposed transmission line, in filings with the PUC, said the 'true purpose' of the alliance intervention is to stop the construction of the two wind farms. A preliminary assessment of potential impacts from the wind farms, conducted for the alliance by EDM International of Fort Collins, Colo., found potential threats to local and migrating bird populations in South Texas. The wind industry has said the installation would not harm migrating birds. Blackburn said the transmission lines might not result in daily kills but could prove deadly when bad weather and other factors force birds to fly at lower altitudes. But he said the real danger is from the turbines."

No coal!

Dozens of Coal Plant Proposals Scrapped Due to Global Warming Concerns: "At least 16 coal-fired power plant proposals nationwide have been scrapped in recent months and more than three dozen have been delayed as utilities face increasing pressure due to concerns over global warming and rising construction costs."

Bush's fault?

Michigan's jobless rate climbs to 7.5%: "Michigan's unemployment rate is up slightly to 7.5 percent. State officials say the seasonally adjusted rate last month rose one-tenth of a percentage point higher than the August rate. The state's unemployment rate continues to lead the national rate, which was 4.7 percent last month. "

Low income kids get a new "benefit"!

Everyone must be so proud!
What new "benefits" are being cooked up by enlightened libs?

Maine school to offer contraceptives - Yahoo! News: "King is the only one of the three schools with a health center, primarily because it has more students who get free or reduced-price lunch, said Lisa Belanger, who oversees Portland's student health centers."

The truth that none dare speak?

Is there scientific proof that all races have identical intelligence?

Controversial DNA pioneer's talk halted - Yahoo! News
London's Science Museum canceled a Friday talk by Nobel Prize-winning geneticist James Watson after the co-discoverer of DNA's structure told a newspaper that Africans and Europeans had different levels of intelligence.
James Watson provoked widespread outrage with his comments to The Sunday Times, which quoted the 79-year-old American as saying he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really."
He told the paper he hoped that everyone was equal, but added: "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true."
The comments drew condemnation from British lawmakers, scientists, and civil rights campaigners. On Wednesday The Independent newspaper put Watson on its front page, against the words: "Africans are less intelligent than Westerners, says DNA pioneer."
Watson, who serves as chancellor of the renowned Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., was to deliver a sold-out lecture at the Science Museum, but on Wednesday night the institution said Watson's comments had gone too far and the event had been canceled.
Call to Watson's book publisher and his office in New York were not immediately returned.
This is not the first time Watson's speaking engagements have caused a stir.
The Independent catalogued a series of controversial statements from Watson, including one in which he reportedly suggested women should have the right to have abortions if tests could determine their children would be homosexual.
In 2000 Watson shocked an audience at the University of California, Berkeley, when he advanced a theory about a link between skin color and sex drive.
His lecture, complete with slides of bikini-clad women, argued that extracts of melanin — which give skin its color — had been found to boost subjects' sex drive.
"That's why you have Latin lovers," he said, according to people who attended the lecture. "You've never heard of an English lover. Only an English patient."
Telephone and e-mail messages left with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory after business hours Wednesday were not immediately returned.

The lies of omission

Not a major surprise, but nowhere in this article do the unbiased CNN folks mention that the US economy is in marvelous health. By every traditional measure, GDP growth, productivity, total employment, unemployment, deficit % of GDP, stock market, inflation, consumer spending, etc. Most at record positives.
I guess those are not important enough to report to the unwashed.
Sophistry! - CNN Political Ticker Poll: Nearly half think U.S. in recession «: "Nearly half of Americans think the U.S. economy is in a recession — close to 46 percent of those surveyed in a new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation Poll out Thursday morning say the country’s economy is in a recession while 51 percent of those questioned say no."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Water for oil?

If the Senate's new "renewable fuels" mandate becomes law, get ready for a giant slurping sound as Midwest water supplies are siphoned off to slake Big Ethanol. House and Senate negotiators are preparing for an energy-bill conference, and if the Senate's language prevails, America's economy will be forced to consume more than five times current ethanol production.
Heavily subsidized and absurdly inefficient, corn-based ethanol has already driven up food prices. But the Senate's plan to increase production to 36 billion gallons by 2022, from less than seven billion today, will place even greater pressure on farm-belt aquifers.
Ethanol plants consume roughly four gallons of water to produce each gallon of fuel, but that's only a fraction of ethanol's total water habit. Cornell ecology professor David Pimentel says that when you count the water needed to grow the corn, one gallon of ethanol requires a staggering 1,700 gallons of H2O. Backers of the Senate bill say that less-thirsty technologies are just around the corner, which is what we've been hearing for years.
Some corn-producing regions are already scrapping over dwindling supply. The Journal's Joe Barrett recently reported that Kansas is threatening to sue neighboring Nebraska for consuming more than its share of the Republican River. The Grand Forks Herald reports local opposition to a proposed ethanol plant in Erskine, Minnesota, with anti-refinery yard signs sprouting up and residents concerned about well water. Backers of a proposed plant in Jamestown, North Dakota, recently withdrew their application when it became clear that the plant's million-gallon-a-day appetite would drain too much from a local aquifer. In Wisconsin, new ethanol plants are encountering opposition in Sparta and Milton.
"There are going to be conflicts," says Iowa State hydrogeologist Bill Simpkins, "and there are going to be lawsuits." Even in Iowa, which enjoys abundant rainfall, there are no guarantees that supply can meet the new demand. "The problem is we don't know enough about some of these areas to say whether people can pump out a lot more water," Mr. Simpkins says.
The political fights could get ugly, because plants tend to pop up near cities, not necessarily near the biggest water supplies. Ethanol needs a rail system to be distributed, and ethanol factories save money on boiler maintenance when they get the same kind of high-quality water that humans prefer. In states like Iowa, where ethanol plants are considered agricultural projects deserving of preferential treatment, ethanol can also muscle out other business uses.
Ethanol's big environmental footprint is not limited to water, because biofuels like ethanol are highly inefficient. In September, the Chairman of the OECD's Roundtable on Sustainable Development released a report entitled, "Biofuels: Is the Cure Worse than the Disease?" Authors Richard Doornbosch and Ronald Steenblik compared the power density of different energy sources, measured in energy production per unit of the earth's area. Oil -- because it requires only a narrow hole in the earth and is extracted as a highly concentrated form of energy -- is up to 1,000 times more efficient than solar energy, which requires large panels collecting a less-concentrated form of energy known as the midday sun.
But even solar power is roughly 10 times as efficient as biomass-derived fuels like ethanol. In other words, growing the corn to produce ethanol means clearing land and killing animals on a massive scale, or converting land from food production to fuel production. Peter Huber of the Manhattan Institute says that the best-case scenario promoted by ethanol cheerleaders will actually cause the greatest environmental disaster. If people can actually refine cheap, low-maintenance production techniques that don't require huge water supplies, Mr. Huber predicts a world-wide leveling of forestland as farmers turn vegetation into fuel.
Writing in Science magazine, Renton Righelato and Dominick Spracklen estimate that in order to replace just 10% of gasoline and diesel consumption, the U.S. would need to convert a full 43% of its cropland to ethanol production. The alternative approach -- clearing wilderness -- would mean more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere than simply sticking with gasoline, because the CO2-munching trees cut down to make way for King Ethanol absorb more emissions than ethanol saves.
Slowly but surely, these problems are beginning to alert public opinion to the huge costs of force-feeding corn ethanol as an energy savior. The ethanol lobby is still hoping it can keep all of this under wraps long enough to shove one more big mandate through Congress, but the Members need to know the problems they'll be creating. We hope that House conferees, who did not include a new mandate in their energy bill, insist that any final bill is ethanol-free.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kiwi women are the world's most promiscuous-UK-World-The Times of India

Kiwi women are the world's most promiscuous-UK-World-The Times of India: "A new survey has shown that Kiwi women are the most promiscuous in the world, with an average of 20.4 sexual partners. "

Politics | $4.5 million for a boat that nobody wanted | Seattle Times Newspaper

Politics $4.5 million for a boat that nobody wanted Seattle Times Newspaper: "Why would the Navy waste taxpayer dollars on a boat that nobody wanted? Blame it on Sen. Patty Murray and Congressmen Norm Dicks and Brian Baird. All three exercised their political muscle to slip language into a 2002 spending bill to force the Navy to buy the boat from Edmonds shipbuilder Guardian Marine International."

Friday, October 12, 2007

John Edwards walks into a bar ... - By Mickey Kaus - Slate Magazine

John Edwards walks into a bar ... - By Mickey Kaus - Slate Magazine: "Crops Rotting in the Fields! ... Oh wait. That's last year's crops-rot-in-fields story. Sorry. Here's this year's. They haven't rotted yet... [Thanks to reader C.B.] .. Update: Is the Bush administration rushing to declare a crisis and use it as an excuse to open the door to more illegals? I don't know the answer. But the LAT reports the administration is 'quietly rewriting federal regulations to eliminate barriers that restrict how foreign laborers can legally be brought into the country' under the existing H-2A and H-2B programs for temporary workers. ... I can see why it might be useful to simplify applications. But if it's seasonal work, why would it be necessary to 'extend the definition of 'temporary' beyond 10 months'? Do all these legal workers actually return when their 'temporary' work is over? ... The Bushies are also considering expanding 'the definition of 'agricultural' workers to include such industries as meatpacking and poultry processing. Is it really impossible to get American citizens (or existing legal immigrants) to do meatpacking jobs? ... If an unlimited number of non-temporary 'temporary' workers in can be allowed in under existing law, then why did the Administration feel it needed an explicit new guest-worker program as part of 'comprehensive' reform? ... Krikorian? ... "

Friday, October 05, 2007

Mae West would have loved this story

"Is that an iPod in your pocket or are you really, really happy to see me?"

iPod Sets Man's Pants On Fire - News Story - WSB Atlanta: "The new iPod Nano is hot. But one Douglasville man said his old Nano got even hotter -- hot enough to burst into flames. “So I look down and I see flames coming up to my chest,” said Danny Williams. Williams said the burn hole from the pocket of his pants marks the spot of his 15 seconds of flame. He said he had an iPod Nano and an glossy piece of paper in his pocket. He believes the paper shielded him from being burned."